So you think that men aren’t oppressed?
OK, so, I’ve been mulling over how I should go about making this post, as I’ve been thinking about these things for the last few days.
We always hear from people who choose to identify as feminists that women are oppressed within society (for the purposes of this post, I will be talking about Britain and the US, maybe a wee bit of Canada in there too), and we are told that this is so due to a few different factors playing into each other, I feel this would be a fair statement to describe reasoning behind Feminists proclaiming women as an oppressed class.
One of the biggest factors is that of the Gender Role society pushes onto women, that of the gentle, passive, weaker gender, along with expected actions, behavior and jobs for women, due to gender roles.
Now of course, to attempt to deny that there are gender roles placed upon women would be idiocy, they are clearly there, you can see them easily, all you have to do is open your eyes.
Other factors concerning the reasoning behind why being seen as a woman places you as a member of an oppressed class or group, is that there are apparently substantially higher numbers of women being raped, murdered or beaten, than there are men.
I’m sure we’ve all seen people trot out statistics claiming that men make up ludicrously high percentages of rapists (we’re talking 95-99% sort of stats), and statistics claiming that women will, over their lifetime, have a 1 in 6 chance of being raped, these sort of statistics are pushed to show that women are being oppressed, and are at a constant threat of being harmed in this supposed patriarchal society.
We also hear talk (usually, without supporting statistics) that women make up a disproportionately high percentage of domestic violence victims, which again is something being used to show that women are part of an oppressed class or group within society.
I have also seen people who identify as being feminists, claim that women are also at a higher risk of violent crime in general, something which sounds very scary, and would definitely show that women are at a huge disadvantage in society, especially in terms of their personal safety.
There’s a big issue with all of this reasoning behind women being the only gender group that is oppressed within society, and that simple issue is, this all applies to men too.
Now yes, you will see some feminists say “the patriarchy hurts men too!”, and then go on to say that either, misandry isn’t a real thing, or that men cannot be an oppressed group within society (usually, because of the patriarchy). Now of course, there are massive issues here, and it is something I’m going to attempt to go into here.
To start off with, I’m going to talk about gender roles;
Now, as I said above, we have rigid gender roles set forth for women that result in a narrow path for women to be able to act within, and work within, which I’m sure no one would argue against as being oppressive due to the fact that it restricts what you can do, say, look or feel like by punishing you if you step outside of your gender role.
Nowadays of course though, women do have more freedom in regards to gender roles, and stepping outside of them, and this is due to feminism battling for women to have the right to do so, and succeeding in doing so, at least partially.
However, when I see people raise this, they often seem to conveniently forget, or ignore, that in a binary society, gender roles effect more than one gender (and effect those who identify outside of the binary, even worse).
It does seem as if, these same people who care so much about how gender roles restrict what women are allowed to do within society, are not aware, or do not care that men are also restricted by their gender role too.
When a man is to step outside of the gender role prescribed to him by society, he is ridiculed and punished, and all to often I see people claim that it is because a man as seen as acting feminine, or being like a women, and as such is mocked or punished because being seen as feminine, or as a woman is a bad thing, which is an explanation that I do not agree with, due to the simple fact that, when a woman is doing these feminine things, or acting like a woman she is not mocked or punished by society, because this is in fact, part of the gender role that is applied to women within society.
So, if we are to claim that part of what makes women the oppressed gender group is that they have restrictive gender roles, then it would be facetious to completely ignore the fact that men also face their own set of rigid gender roles within society (this is without even mentioning that there hasn’t been a gender equality movement that has directly dealt with these issues, in the way that feminism has for women’s gender roles)
In regards to statistics regarding women being raped, there are massive issues, and I really do mean massive.
If we take statistics that are often seen bandied around claiming that men make up a huge percentage of rapists, looking into them properly already shows why these statistics are an issue.
The issue with these statistics is that they come from a time period where rape is defined by law as something that men do, and happens to women. So the statistics have a modicum of truth to them, however they are statistics that cannot, and should not be used. Why? Simply because they are massively flawed, and they are flawed because, as I said, they come from a time period where the only gender that can be legally classified as a rapist is a man, when we see these statistics with this knowledge, it becomes obvious that the use of such statistics is flawed, and only further reinforces gender roles (yes, that’s right, they reinforce them, and they do it by pushing that women are the weak, meek and timid gender who have rape happen to them, and that men are the big, strong, aggressive gender that rape).
Statistics that, over her lifetime, a woman will have a 1 in 6 chance of being a rape victim, certainly paint a picture that women are the gender group in our society that are the victim, and are the oppressed group, however, there is another statistic that seems to be continually ignored regarding rape.
That statistic is that, before the age of 18, men (or, in reality here, I suppose boys would be the more correct word) have a 1 in 6 chance of being raped, or sexually assaulted. You will also notice that, at the link, it mentions also that men are far more likely to not disclose that they have been raped (this itself ties into gender roles), this means that potentially, that 1 in 6 figure could be much higher.
Now, I have actually seen many people who claim to be feminists claim that, rape of men (by men) doesn’t “count”, in regards to why men are oppressed because, well, they’re men and a man raped them, so in a patriarchal society, the man is still the ruling class. This sort of behavior sickens me, because it is saying that the rape of a man, by a man, is not as important as the rape of a woman, by a man.
Of course, this statistic is only regarding males under the age of 18, and not adult men.
If we are to talk about adult men (outside of prison), then with the available statstics (when correctly applied), men are 60% of rapists, with women making 40%. It also shows that the majority of male rape victims (80%) had a female rapist, which shows us that men are not the gender that rapes, and women are the gender that are raped.
It shows us that Rapists and the people that rape, and rape victims, are the people who are raped.
The statistics discussed in the link, also show that the percentage of women made to envelop, is the same as the percentage of men made to penetrate, at 1.1% of the 18000 people surveyed.
This, clearly, is a far cry from the supposed fact that women are at a disproportionate risk of rape to men, so we can garner from this that an attempt to show that women are the only gender oppressed in society by using statistics that claim men are the people who rape, and women are the people raped, is not only false, but only further reinforces gender roles and stereotypes.
Onto claims that women are at a much higher risk of being a victim of domestic violence.
Now, this one is just false, and you know what? I think just-smith has laid out enough information and studies/stats for you to read by yourself, though I’d suggest paying particular attention to this link, which talks about how over 40% of domestic violence victims are men, yet there are only 60 domestic violence refuges that cater exclusively to men, compared to 7,500 in England and Wales alone.
Regarding claims that women are at a higher risk of violent crime in general (I can assure you, this isn’t a strawman, which is really rather unfortunate), I have a one word rebuttal.
Of course, there other things which effect men negatively (and in at least some of these cases, women are protected).
I’d feel comfortable saying that the most prevalent, or largest of these issues is that or male genital mutilation (or as people who seem to be uncomfortable admitting what it is call it, circumcision of infants).
In the US & Canada Female Genital Mutilation is a crime, to mutilate your daughter’s genitals in america can, and likely will, result in prison time for the parents, as well as the child being taken away.
In Britain, it is not only illegal to mutilate a female child’s genitals in Britain, but the law extends to protect British citizens across the world, which means that if a girl’s parents were to take their daughter out of the UK, to another country for the procedure, and return to the UK, they would be arrested.
Now, people can argue all day about semantics of FGM vs MGM, but this is not what I’m doing right now, and I don’t feel the need to argue semantics.
The reason I don’t, is because bluntly, circumcision of an infant, without medical necessity is mutilation. Not only is it mutilation, but girl’s are the only gender protected from this, boys have zero legal protection, and people born intersex have it even worse.
There is also the fact that men are 165% more likely to be convicted of a crime than a woman (race obviously, is also tied into this, to quote Permutation of Ninjas, ”if a white woman has a 100% adjusted chance [of conviction] (we’re doing comparisons, remember, and not tests, so this is valid) then a black woman has a 119% chance, a white man has a 265% chance, and a black man has a 315% chance”).
Add on to this that women on average get a prison sentence 40% shorter than that of a man, we are seeing that the courts in fact have a huge bias against men, and for women.
I’ve seen claim that this lower rate of conviction and sentencing is due to misogyny, and well, it’s not.
From all this, I am not understanding why it is that people seem to think men cannot be oppressed in our society, I really don’t, because as you can see, men also face rigid gender roles (arguably, more rigid than that of a woman’s), men are victims of rape at a roughly equal percentage, men make up of 40% of DV victims (not considering that men are less likely to report it), that men are sentenced and convicted at a higher rate than women, that men are not given bodily autonomy at birth.
But of course, the argument always trotted out as to why men aren’t oppressed is because?
Men have privilege, and women are oppressed. Which of course, is a narrow view that will be supported because of the patriarchy.
However, we are now not so much in a patriarchy, as a gender kyriarchy, so claiming that because men are the leaders, they can’t be oppressed, doesn’t really hold truck.
Not to mention that claiming because women are oppressed means men obviously aren’t, is facetious, since privilege and oppression are not parallels, they intertwine, since men hold privilege over women in certain situations, much like women hold privilege over men in certain situations, yet both are being oppressed by the gender kyriarchy.
To sum up;
Women are oppressed in society.
Men hold privilege in Society.
Women hold privilege in Society.
Men are oppressed in society.
It’s not a one way street, and to claim it is, only furthers oppression, and reinforces harmful gender roles and stereotypes.
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