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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

When I think of sexism...


I do not think of a woman. I think of a man, a boy. Strange, I know. But that's just what I think of. I'm not really into trying to be a victim or create my own victim-meta-narrative, but I can't help thinking..

I think about how the preponderance of both rapists and rape-victims are men.

I think about how men are rarely, if ever, allowed to be fathers. And when they are? They're stereotyped as incompetent. They can't be baby-sitters, because they're dangerous. They can't take kids to the playground because people might get the wrong idea.

I think about how boys are falling behind in school and almost nobody seems to care amidst all the work trying to help girls succeed... despite the fact that they're already succeeding in school.

I think about how approximately half of all domestic violence victims are men, but there are virtually ZERO resources to help them. Most of the time men refuse to even admit they've been abused by their significant others. The rest of the time other people are telling them that even when they're victims they're still abusers.

I think about how men of color and LGBTQ men suffer systemic abuses because of their gender, their race, and/or their sexuality/sexual identity. I think about Matthew Shepard. I think about Trayvon Martin. I think about the kids in my PE class who were called "fag" or "wetback."

I think about the billboards showing immaculately cut bodies, muscles rippling, deeply tanned, and hairless. Always hairless. Men who look like action figures, like mannequins, and I... I look like a pasty piece of pulp. You think men don't have body issues? Just take a glance at the body-building selection in the grocery store magazine section.

I think about how I am never encouraged to show my emotion, or even have emotions. I think about how if I am placed into a difficult situation, I am expected to solve it myself without asking for help.

I think about how most violent crimes happen to men.

I think about how most of the prison population is comprised of men.

I think about how despite all the bullshit about sexism, the sexism I think of when I hear the word is the kind nobody ever talks about. I don't see this as a zero-sum game, or as some kind of Oppression Olympics. But what I do see, frightens and angers me because people don't seem to care. Instead, the focus is always on others, even in forums built specifically to address these issues.

When I think of sexism, I think of being falsely accused of rape, of having dealt with it myself. I think about people calling me stupid, retarded, a dumb guy, making assumptions about what I can and cannot do because of my gender. I think about how all my life I've lived in fear of upsetting people with my experiences as a man rather than sharing them in order to end all forms of sexism.

Maybe this is a start? Maybe.

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