I was alerted to a list of advice written by an older man to younger men by someone who requested that I rip apart the myths in it. I’m happy to oblige because she, like most of you, are likely to hear these lies and misinformation in the future, and it’s helpful to have facts at the ready to take down people who tell you that feminism isn’t necessary. The list of advice included this tidbit:
“Don’t believe the crap about the patriarchy. More women are accepted and attend college. More degrees are awarded to women than men. Women outlive men. More men commit suicide. Men are twice as likely to be victims of violence, including murder. If you consider sexual assaults in prisons, twice as many men are raped as women (society thinks prison rape is funny). The streets are littered with homeless men, sprinkled with a few homeless women. Statically,women are happier than men. The myth that girls are being cheated by our educational system is belied by the fact that schools are bastions of femininity, mostly run by and taught by women. Girls outperform boys in school. It is the boys in school getting fucked over, and prescribed Ritalin for being boys. Real wages for men are falling, while real wages for women are rising. Just because someone says something enough times, doesn’t make it true. You have nothing to feel guilty about.”
No citations here, of course. It looks like a bunch of shit pulled from an MRA handbook, but let’s go over these point by point. Judging by the content of this comment, it’s a safe bet this dude is American, so I’ll focus more or less on social trends and statistical information from the U.S.
The reason more women are attending college and getting more degrees isn’t because of some sort of discrimination against men. First of all, women are still earning far less than men who complete the same degree and work the same jobs. The pay gap has been examined every year for many decades by organisations like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the studies consistently find that women earn less than men, and women of colour earn even less than white women. Careers that are known for being traditionally male-dominated tend to have the largest gaps. Second of all, women who do get paid the same amount as men have usually had to obtain more degrees. A woman has to get a Ph.D in order to get paid as much as a man with a Bachelor’s degree.
Here are graphs showing wage gap data in the U.S. from the 1970s to 2010.
Images can be found here.
There are many reasons for which women are more likely to outlive men, and none of them are evidence of what this dude appears to believe is matriarchy taking over the country. No one is entirely sure why women tend to live slightly longer than men, but it’s worth noting that young males (between the ages of 15 and 25) have a higher risk of death due to being more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours. Which is tied to a culture of masculinity that encourages wildness and recklessness in men…which is tied to patriarchy.
Men tend to be physically stronger than women, and even more importantly they have the capacity to impregnate women—regardless of whether women want it—and those are much, much, much, MUCH bigger physiological advantages to have over another class of people than getting an extra 10 or so years of life. Seriously.
Men are more successful at committing suicide than women because they’re more likely to use more lethal methods, like guns and knives, whereas women are more likely to use pills. Also, when you factor in other issues, it’s more complicated. For example, lesbian teenagers are more likely than gay male teenagers to attempt suicide, but few people are aware of this because when there’s an LGB suicide the media only cares if it’s a white male.
In the United States, men are more likely to be murder victims of strangers, but women are far more likely to be murdered by a male intimate partner. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women will experience intimate partner violence. In the U.S., 70% of intimate partner homicides claim women as victims. And when you take countries that have an even bigger problem with domestic violence and femicide into account, the numbers will be even higher, for both stranger crimes and intimate partner crimes.
Keep in mind that when either a man or woman is murdered, the perpetrator is almost always male. Men commit the majority of all violent crimes, and this is a problem with the way men are raised and encouraged to be aggressive and “manly” and whatnot. Again, that is directly related to patriarchy. The fact that men are often harmed by other men doesn’t mean patriarchy doesn’t exist.
I don’t know where this dude got his ideas about sexual assault, but I’m going to conclude that they came out of his ass because they’re worth the shit that his idiot brain is. The vast majority of rapes are committed by men against women, and almost all male rape victims are assaulted by other men. 1 in 5 women report being raped in their lifetime compared with 1 in 71 men. And if you account for the fact that most rapes actually go unreported, it’s probably somewhat higher than 1 in 4 women, or 25% of women. If I’m being super generous for the men with regard to under-reporting, 1 in 60 men is still less than 2% of men. Stark difference there. Unless you do wind up in prison, your chance of being raped is far, far smaller than that of women. And let’s be honest, when men are raped they aren’t blamed for it because of what they were wearing or whether they drank or whom they were hanging out with or whatever. Nor do they grow up with the fear that they will experience sexual violence at the hands of someone larger and stronger than they are. Men don’t go about their day-to-day business carrying pepper spray and avoiding certain streets/neighbourhoods and constantly watching their back because they don’t fucking have to worry all the time about men raping them.
It’s not hard to figure out why society thinks prison rape is funny. The New York Times wrote an article about male rape victims basically saying that rape is worse when it happens to men because on top of the violence-induced trauma and shame and risk of depression, men experience a “threat to their masculinity.” Consider this excerpt:
“Since they may believe that men are never raped, they may feel isolated and reluctant to confide in anyone. Male rape victims may become confused about their sexual orientation or, if gay and raped by a man, blame their sexual orientation for the rape.”
why does that make sense, and this doesn’t (and they are saying it doesn’t by setting men’s and women’s experience up as converse): “women know that women are always raped, so they feel isolated and reluctant to confide in anyone.”
or, why does that make sense, while this doesn’t: “female rape victims may become confused about their sexuality, because they don’t believe women are to be used like objects and thrown away, but that’s what women’s sexuality is.” or this: “female rape victims may become confused about their sexuality, because they hate men or don’t want to have sex with men, but they feel sexually and emotionally bonded to their attacker after the rape.” or this: “female rape victims may become confused about their sexuality, because they like men and are attracted to men, but start to realize that men hate women and that men rape women.”
By patriarchal standards, femininity is being dominated by a man, being physically restrained by a man, being raped by a man. The essence of being a woman is being violently penetrated by a man. Think about that. Now think about what that means in male-female relations in the world we live in.
THAT is why patriarchy thinks men being raped is funny. To patriarchy, aka men, it is a man being “emasculated” by being treated like a woman.
But girls and women aren’t spared from having their rapes and sexual assaults treated as jokes. Refer to the Steubenville rape case, the Rehtaeh Parsons case being investigated now, the Audrie Potts case, and many more. All three of these girls were raped by groups of boys who took pictures of the attack, sent them to their friends, and publicised the whole incident because they thought it was fucking hilarious. The ensuing humiliation and harassment drove two of the girls to suicide.
Now look at worthless pieces of dog shit like Daniel Tosh and Seth MacFarlane who feed into the culture of rape by letting everyone know how funny they think it is when men rape women. Remember that I’m mainly looking at America—in some heavy war zone countries like the Congo, women have an almost 100% chance of being raped at least once in their lifetime, and a large number of women suffer repeated rapes and are thus even more likely to be impregnated through rape. And I haven’t even touched on rape as a tool of terror and punishment during war, which is something I could go on about for ages.
I don’t want to hear any more bullshit about men being harmed by rape more than women because anyone who says that is factually incorrect and almost certainly just trying to shut women up from talking about rape and how it has affected them and continues to affect women as a group.
The idea that there are more homeless men than women is another ridiculous lie. Refer to the first point, that women generally earn far less money than men, and pair that with the fact that there are far more single mothers than single fathers, and you’ll realise it doesn’t make any sense to assert that there are far fewer homeless women than men. In fact, the reverse is true. Women have become so over-represented in the working/lower class that sociologists have coined the term "feminisation of poverty" to describe the trend. The more lacking you are in privileges, the more likely you are to be poor. Women also perform most of the unpaid labour and if you are an older woman who didn’t complete a college degree and spent most of your life working in the home and raising children, you’re going to fall into poverty if your husband becomes ill, dies, or leaves you for a younger woman. That is not an uncommon experience for many women, and those years of lost education and work experience make finding a job outside of the home extremely difficult.
Here are graphs showing rates of poverty by sex and household type and women in poverty by race/ethnicity in 2008.
From the U.S. Census Bureau, graphs can be seen here.
I’m not even going to go over the “women are happier than men” thing, because who even cares? Lol. If women are happier than men despite everything we have to put up with from them, that’s a testament to our resilience.
The notion that “schools are bastions of femininity” is laughable as well…what is that even supposed to mean. Teachers pay more attention to boys and are more likely to listen to boys and encourage boys to respond to questions in class. In addition to being more readily ignored and punished in school, girls are more likely to experience sexual harassment which severely detracts from the learning environment.
Yet if girls are outperforming boys in school in spite of these obstacles, perhaps it’s because girls have been taught to sit nicely and pay attention instead of making a racket and being an idiot. If your brat can’t behave, you better drug him up before you send him to school to annoy all the other kids. No pity to be wasted here.
"Real wages." No more needs to be said of wages. But that line about repetition not making statements true applies as much to crappy advice dude as it does to me. Bye.