A hundred years ago when women couldn’t vote or hold the same careers as men, it would be hard to argue that our society wasn’t tilted against them. However, those days are long dead and gone and women have largely achieved the sort of parity with men that the feminists of the sixties were demanding. In fact, we’ve gone beyond that point now and what we’re finding is that many women want to have it both ways. They want to be thought of as just as strong, tough, and capable as men while simultaneously demanding all sorts of special protections. In fact, it’s considered bad form to even suggest that men aren’t a privileged gender and that, yes, in some cases, women are the ones who are at an advantage because of their gender. We’re not even supposed to ask the most basic questions about the terrible trials women supposedly face because of their sex.
For example, it’s fine to complain that women make 76 cents on the dollar that men do, but any reasonable person should agree that’s not sufficient to show that there’s a problem. To do that, you need to ask tough questions. Are women working the same long hours that men do week in and week out? Why should the woman who only works 50 hours so she can have a “balanced” life make as much as the man putting in 70 hour weeks to get ahead? Along similar lines, if a woman takes three months off to be with her child after she has a baby, while a man whose wife has a child just takes a week-end, isn’t he more dedicated to his job? What about a hard working female secretary and a hard working male coal miner with the same skill level? Even if their education and level of ability is the same, shouldn’t the one doing the dirty, dangerous, unpleasant job make more money? Moreover, from a common sense perspective, if you could actually get by with paying women 76 cents on the dollar to do the same work that men do, wouldn’t all women firms dominate every field because of the reduced overhead? You don’t hear people who complain about women making less than men cover relevant questions like these because when you compare apples to apples, that pay gap disappears. So, if you compare never married, college-educated women to never married, college educated men, you find that the women actually make more than the men.
It’s also great that we have a “violence against women act,” but isn’t violence against women already illegal? So, we just had a big public battle over a congressional bill that for all the carping, caterwauling and complaining, it does nothing of significance – but, fine — most of what politicians do in D.C. is a waste of time anyway. But, here’s a question: Has anyone ever considered passing a “violence against men” act? Oh no, that’s silly and ridiculous — yet in 2011, there were 9,829 men murdered vs. 2,813 women. Violence is a much bigger problem for men than women, but we just shrug that off.
Also, we just went through an entire campaign season where we were told women were getting the short end of the stick because they had to pay for their own birth control for non-medical issues — just like men do. The fact that so many Americans took something so remarkably frivolous seriously doesn’t speak well for our country, but it is an indication of how far we have come. At one time, being allowed to vote, go to school, and get hired at the same job a man did were “women’s issues,” but now we’re down to paying $9 a month for the pill. If that’s considered a serious “women’s issue,” it’s fair to say that women “haven’t just come a long way,” but have evened the playing field with men and then some.
So maybe it’s time to start asking some different questions about whether guys are getting a fair shake.
To note one example, what about the failure of our university system to educate young men? In 2009, 25 percent fewer men received college degrees than women? Where are the people calls for “men’s studies departments” to help rectify this injustice of our female dominated education system?
Moreover, we’re all willing to say that it takes two to have a kid and there is no question that the father of a child should be just as responsible as the mother for the care and upkeep of the child. Even if Papa is a rolling stone, Mama is entitled to get some of his rocks to take care of the baby. But, if it takes two, then why is a father’s consent not required for the mother to get an abortion? If you call yourself “pro-choice,” then why is the father locked out of being a part of that choice when it’s his baby just as much as the mother’s? Just as no man should be able to skip out on his financial obligations to his children, no woman should be allowed to take the life of a child without her partner’s consent.
We’ve also gotten to the point where our divorce court system is notoriously biased against men. In fact, it has become so imbalanced that we’re now commonly seeing false allegations of domestic abuse being used as a tactic in custody disputes. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Nina Shapiro discussing how the system is rigged against men.
Rhea Rolfe, an attorney who once taught a “women and the law” class at the University of Washington, recalls sitting with a male client in a commissioner’s courtroom one day. There were maybe seven or eight cases heard. “She ruled against every single man,” Rolfe recalls, “and two of them were unopposed.”
“In any other arena, the evidence gets you the ruling,” observes attorney Maya Trujillo Ringe. “But in this particular arena, the dad has a much bigger uphill battle.” So much so, she says, that she and other attorneys often joke that “if you put a skirt on the dad, same facts,” he’d win primary custody. “You can overcome the bias,” Ringe adds, “but it takes a lot of work and a lot of resources.”
Attorney Jennifer Forquer agrees, noting that “fathers will routinely be sent to parenting classes” by commissioners. “It doesn’t matter if they took paternity leave, if they changed diapers. If a mother makes an allegation that a father’s parenting is deficient, he ends up going.” If a dad wants to make such an allegation about a mom, she says, “you have to be careful how you present that.” Commissioners are not inclined to believe it, she says.
By far, though, the most damaging allegation—the one that can change everything in an instant—is domestic violence. That’s why, Rolfe says, “there are attorneys who will advise a client to accuse the other party of domestic violence in order to gain an advantage.”
The accusations may not constitute what the general public thinks of as domestic violence. “Frequently, it’s not a big thing that you did, but the woman claims to be afraid,” says Rolfe.
Yet commissioners—and what Bianco calls a “little cottage industry” of professionals used by the court to assess and treat domestic violence—tend to give those allegations credibility and see a man’s denials as further proof of his guilt—the ultimate catch-22.
This issue extends beyond divorce court to marriage.
Did you know that “over 200 studies in the last 50 years have shown that men and women commit violence against one another at equal rates? It’s not like men are these horrible, horrible critters that do 98% of the battering. No, it’s 50/50. Women suffer more physical damage because men are bigger. But that doesn’t mean that men don’t suffer their own fair share of damage. In fact, 1/3 of all murders that occur in couples are men murdered by women.” You certainly aren’t going to hear that on the Lifetime channel, are you?
Furthermore, did you know that while the numbers vary, a considerable percentage of rape charges against men are false?
According to the FBI, a higher percentage of rape claims are false than any other criminal complaint, 8 percent compared to 2 percent for other crimes. More detailed studies have found much higher rates of false rape charges. A study of all rape allegations in a midwestern city over nine years found 41 percent were false and a study of more than a thousand rape allegations on Air Force bases over the course of four years concluded that 46 percent were false. In 27 percent of the cases, the accuser recanted.
No woman should ever be beaten or raped and quite frankly, as someone who has female friends who have suffered both, my instinctive reaction to hearing about it was a strong desire to kill the men who did that to them. But, with that reaction in mind, no man should ever be falsely accused of rape or of beating his wife either. Yet, women who make false accusations are usually given a slap on the wrist instead of getting the hard jail time that they deserve.
Playing the blame game ultimately serves no one but the people who make their living as professional grievance mongers and so, it would be counterproductive for men to claim that they’re victims of the “matriarchy.” But, it is time to recognize that men have gender-related complaints that are every bit as serious and legitimate as women do, if not more so.