Radical Radiance will return next Tuesday… I hope. I really need suggestions! That section is hard to do all on my own, especially because I would really like to feature everyday people as well, not necessarily just celebrities. So please: nominate someone (even yourself), point someone out, anything… just give me a hand! Remember, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org :) In the meantime, here’s something new…
Feministing pointed me recently to this ‘humorous’ commercial that Pepsi aired during the Superbowl. I have been researching this article, about feminism and men for awhile now; the following commercial provides a perfect lead in to this topic…
We all know how the largely patriarchal distribution of power in society holds women back from achieving their potential (aka the glass ceiling) and generally pressures women and girls into prescribing to some fairly narrow ideals of beauty and behavior. However, rarely do many of us consider the negative effect this same system has on men.
While men do have the privilege of easier avenues to power and education,the norms dictated by the patriarchy mold their lives negatively as well. The media and popularly held beliefs tell us that men are strong and stoic, powerful and brave; they do not express emotion as women do (or even pain, as this commercial illustrates in an exaggerated manner) and they certainly do not take interest in “girl-y” things (like diet soda, apparently). This is harmful to men, let me explain how…
“WOMEN’S ISSUE: GENDER STEREOTYPING”
HOW IT AFFECTS MEN: MENTAL HEALTH
In America alone more than six million men become depressed each year (and that’s a low estimate, considering men are less likely to report emotional disorders like depression). This large number is, in part, the fault of a society that tells men that it is unacceptable for them to cry or even to discuss their feelings. Females are expected to be emotional, to cry, to talk things out, and thus society provides females with socially acceptable outlets for their sadness. Many males, however, do not feel comfortable seeing a therapist or chatting with a friend about the stresses and sadness in their lives; for fear of being considered less of a man.
The truth, obviously, is that men and women do not have different biological processes for dealing with sadness; both genders feel emotion in the same way. More men than women, however, bottle those emotions up and do themselves lasting mental damage; not because of biology, but because society has taught them they must behave in a certain, stoic way. The brave men who do acknowledge and work through their feelings of sadness (and yes, even cry)? Often, they are ridiculed,even by their own fathers, and told to “toughen up” or to “take things like a man”. Their emotions are completely dishonored, and they are made to feel even worse for attempting to express them.
“WOMEN’S ISSUE: THE GLASS CEILING”
HOW IT AFFECTS MEN:FORCED INTO THE WORKFORCE
Another thing that the patriarchal propaganda robs men of is their freedom of choice; to work outside of, or inside of their homes. While it is often brought to people’s attention that women are still limited in their abilities to have a family and still work outside of the home, we often ignore the men in this situation. There are many men out there who would love to opportunity to stay at home and raise their kids, and many men who have chosen to do this . However, the fact still remains that most stay at home parents are women; largely due to society’s conditioning about traditional (limiting) gender roles.
Society is set up so that men are expected to be their family’s primary breadwinner. When the man is not, in fact, the provider for a family he will often feel emasculated. This is due, not to biological nature, but to the fact that society is set up so that men who choose to stay at home with their children are judged as strange or inadequate; just as women who pursue a career instead of caring for their children (or even having children) are viewed as strange or even shirking on their “womanly responsibilities”. As a result of this many men sacrifice the closeness they could have with their children and vastul underuse their nurturing abilities, simply because they feel obligated to spend most of their time working to advance their family economically.
“WOMEN’S ISSUE: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE”
HOW IT AFFECTS MEN: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Did you know that at least 40% of domestic violence victims each year are men? Most people don’t. While domestic violence is a serious issue for women it’s not just an issue for women. Men are abused, physically and emotionally, and even raped in our society and yet, we hardly ever hear about it. The stereotypical gender roles that were spoken about earlier often prevent men from reporting abuse (for fear of looking weak or emasculated), and stop other people from accepting the reports of the few men brave enough to speak out. Often, abusive women are even admired for their ability to “stand up” for themselves; even though they were acting abusively, and NOT in self defense.
I believe the clip below, another excerpt from ABC’s What Would You Do? illustrates this issue perfectly…
THE BOTTOM LINE: Men can be feminists too! If you care about reducing the stigmas related to emotion, breaking down limiting gender roles, putting an end to domestic violence, or gaining more equality among the sexes in society then… surpise! YOU are a feminist… yes, even if you’re a guy. The sooner we all realize this, and lose our negative stereotypes related to feminism, the sooner we can start making some real change because at the end of the day? Women’s issues are everyone’s issues.