Seeing Both Sides of the Coin 1


It seems you can’t turn on a TV or read a newspaper these days without seeing gender issues making headlines.  We hear about how women can’t get ahead in the workplace, get paid less than men for the same work, and are under threat of violence.  The general silence about issues affecting men and boys would seem to imply that they have it good by comparison.  But is it really so simple?  Or is there another side of the coin that our society is ignoring?

coin flipThe reality is that the narrative surrounding gender inequality is oversimplified.  It is certainly the case that there are many ways in which our society treats men better than women, yet there are also many ways in which women are treated better than men, even if we tend to treat them as if they were not gender issues or ignore them altogether.  For example, the majority of the victims of violent crime are men[1]. Men are three times more likely to be murdered[2] and four times more likely to commit suicide[3].

The overwhelming majority (91%) of those exonerated after being wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit have been men[4].  Men who are convicted of crimes, whether rightly or wrongly, can expect to receive sentences that are on average 63% longer than women convicted of the same crimes[5]. Men have a significantly shorter life expectancy than women, yet there are numerous offices for women’s health throughout the federal bureaucracy but not a single one for men’s health[6].  In recent years, girls have soared ahead of boys in education, and there are now significantly more women than men earning college and graduate degrees[7].

So why is the prevailing narrative so one-sided?  There are two major factors at play.  First, traditional gender norms call for men not to see themselves as victims.  To recognize the potential for victimization requires one to recognize that one is not invincible, something with which many men are not comfortable.  On the other hand, twenty-first century political correctness has made it accepted dogma that women are the ones by whom society must do better.  If a man dares to suggest that he has experienced a form of sexism or gender discrimination, he runs the risk of being laughed at or even accused of being a sexist or misogynist himself.

We believe that things need to change.  In recent decades, we have become acutely aware of the ways in which our society has done wrong by women.  We need to continue the process of addressing these issues, but this need not come at the expense of also addressing issues faced by men.

Equalism is an alternative view of gender issues that recognizes that both genders face their own forms of inequality.  It calls for a shift from viewing only women as oppressed and only men as privileged and instead viewing both as experiencing advantages and disadvantages.  What helps one gender need not hurt the other, as we live together, work together, and raise our children together and can benefit from one another’s successes.  Empathy should flow in both directions.

We all have the constitutional right to express our perspectives about how we are treated because of our gender and the moral obligation to hear the perspectives of our brothers and sisters with an open mind.  Let’s stop fighting and instead work together to build a better future for everyone.

By David Golub

[1] http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf, page 9
[2] https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_1_murder_victims_by_race_and_sex_2012.xls
[3] https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures
[4] http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/detaillist.aspx, 153/1684 cases have female exoneree tag
[5] http://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/starr_gender_disparities.aspx
[6] http://www.nationalreview.com/article/331870/president-and-womens-lobby-christina-hoff-sommers
[7] http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_318.10.asp

 

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One thought on “Seeing Both Sides of the Coin

  • André Levy

    Hi David,

    It seems we’re on the same wavelength. Even the logos we came up with are pretty much the same (bit.ly/1PrWmVR). Perhaps we’re tapping into some universal consciousness ;D

    A few months ago I started Lado Direito da Equidade (Right Side of Equality, andre.levy.x10.bz/misandria), a site in Portuguese subscribing to the same views of gender equalism. The name is a wordplay on ‘right’ as in correct and on right as in the men’s point-of-view. It looks as MRA in the first instance, but by saying it’s just one side, we’re making it clear at the start that it is only one side of the story. Trouble is that feminism has become so pervasive that a balanced account is pretty hard at the moment. But the semantic space is reserved for the times in which women are truly disadvantaged.

    The truth, though, is that, beyond that there is no actual way of privileging women with causing them harm in the process. And the same applies to men. Women have fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandpas and – some – have husbands and male partners. Disadvantaging ‘their men’ is tantamount to disadvantaging ‘their women’. We are sexed, not separated. No sex can win – a battle of the sexes – without losing at the same time. And that – for me – is the key insight of gender equalism.

    The format of Lado Direito da Equidade is different from the one you seem to be adopting here – let alone being being in a different language, though that may change soon – so we seem to be producing complementary content. Happy to collaborate 🙂

    LDE is also in the following channels:

    facebook.com/Lado.Direito.da.Equidade
    twitter.com/LadoDirEquidade
    lado-direito-da-equidade.tumblr.com
    pinterest.com/TagarelaMidia/lado-direito-da-equidade/
    plus.google.com/u/2/b/112959792020698505449/112959792020698505449/posts