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Can Men Do Anything?

Updated on March 10, 2010

I grew up in the 80's with a sticker on my bookshelf that proudly proclaimed 'Girls Can Do Anything'. My brother had one too, it said 'Boys Can Do Anything'. They were lovely sentiments and ideals, but as we've grown up, it has become wildly apparent that although my sticker may have very well espoused a truth, my brothers may have been less representative of reality.

I know that we've existed in a misogynistic, largely patriarchal society for centuries now, so it might seem odd for a woman to say that perhaps men are getting the short end of the stick, however, as with all revolutions, the feminist revolution, the revolution that saw women demanding their rights to work and vote and own property and be considered as more than mere chattels belonging to their husbands, was perhaps unaware of the fallout it might cause.

There are several facets of society in which men are not the equals of women.

Fashion is a simple and obvious one. It would be amusing, the way that people assume it is fine that women wear whatever they want but men must wear pants, if it weren't so incredibly sexist and representative of other inequalities.

Women are favored in many ways. In a divorce, a woman has to be proven to be almost criminally insane for a man to be awarded custody. It required weeks of documented drunken debauchery, public exposure, head shaving and umbrella attacks before Britney Spears lost custody of her children, and her case is fairly representative of the justice systems in many Western countries, which assume that a mother is better and more important than a father.

Men are also marginalized when it comes to children. A woman can coo over a baby or young child all she wants. If a man does the same, he will often be accused of being some kind of predator. Even men who are fathers often receive dirty looks and outright hostility when watching their children playing at parks, and in the UK, men have been told to delete pictures of their own kids playing on toys.

In many ways, men have become little more than largely disposable, marginalized workhorses. They're assumed to be filthy, craven creatures, always looking to prey on innocent women and children and the predjudices run so deep that it's hard to find a male teacher in a primary school anymore, no matter how much in demand they are.

Western men are allowed to go to work wearing the approved uniform, come home, father children and then allow their wives to determine all important decisions relating to said children. A father has one input that is judged to be valuable and that is his wallet. Courts won't demand that a father see his children and have a hand in raising them, but they will demand his financial support. Obviously, sane women do not hold this attitude towards men, but the problem is that society as a whole supports this skewed view of the value and role of a man. It's written into our laws, it is played out on our streets and it is supported in the casual interaction of the everyday.

In the modern world, women can do anything, but men should probably play it safe and just do what they're told.


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