What About Men is the title of a new book by a noted feminist Caitlin Moran who was interviewed in a recent Time Magazine Q&A about her book. My first reaction was, why do we need another book by a women discussing masculinity? I am not opposed to women writing about the broader issues of masculinity but I wish they would not try to walk in a man’s shoes.
The first question Moran responded to is, “Is it true that it’s easier to be women than a man now?” Great question but her answer, “…is that we women are able to talk about problems of gender and men still seem not to have invented that technology in a way that isn’t damaging, angry, and women blaming.” is absurd. Did she read my blog? Has she read any of the recent books on masculinity like Richard Reeve’s book “Of Boys and Men Why the Modern Male is Struggling ” The correct answer is that, Title IX, #MeToo, and the many glass ceilings broken and freedoms created by the feminist movement have made it easier for a women, especially a young women, than a young man. Younger men are confused about what it is to be a man that is non-toxic and patriarchic and still be considered manly.
Caitlin wrote that, “the patriarchy is screwing over men as much as women.” She followed with, “I think all men presume they’re in patriarchy and they’re winning.” I’m not sure what country she is talking about. The data about American men that I have frequently highlighted clearly indicates that men are not winning. They are more likely to commit suicide, overdose on drugs and are falling behind in almost every academic category. Caitlin, please tell me which men and what are they winning? She concludes this response with the familiar antiquated trope that boys are told not to cry. How many examples of high status men – athletes, celebrities – showing public emotion has to take place before we abandon the notion that boys are told not to show emotion.
She does make sense when she advises young men to make sure that sex takes place in a committed relationship. Her reasoning is that this is the way young men can protect themselves from false accusations of sexual assault. Unfortunately, she does not offer the same advice to young women. Why shouldn’t both sexes be careful about choosing a partner who is truthful and can be trusted? Gender equality should mean that both males and females make good sober choices about who they want to sleep with.
I certainly appreciate the attention being paid to gender issues and the struggles that both men and women face in sorting out gender roles in our modern society. However, I caution both male and female authors on the subject to stick to the data and avoid over generalizations based on their own particular biases and experiences.