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Mar 27, 2011

Man, Marginalized


Odd as this may seem, in the post-modern and feminist-aware Western World, we don't have to look very far to see man-hating. It took me a while to start noticing, since it was so ingrained in the media and educational system I grew up with that I took it for granted, but it is all over our culture. The rampant bashing and berating has a silent but powerful side-effect; it leads to developing negative beliefs about men, particularly within relationships. 

I've heard -out of women's mouths to my own ears -phrases like "men are shallow," "boys don't know anything about relationships," "guys are stupid" and other words along the genre of men being utterly incompetent or useless.

And what happens in my mind when I hear a woman say such a thing? Red flag. Some women have negative assumptions and beliefs about men, and to say such disrespectful slander -to a man's face no less -is a pretty quick way to make me think twice as to whether I want to continue associating myself with her.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. When someone berates me as a man -or my gender categorically -I'm less inclined to want to talk to her, and further away from dating or even considering potential marriage and having children with her.

I should note that I'm not talking about the way men are (clearly some men are exceptional on both ends of the spectrum and the majority fall in the middle), but how we are portrayed and perceived in today's society as a gender -separate from who we are. I will agree that it's hard to separate the two out, especially when so much of our roles may stem from societal expectations and the jokes supposedly have at least a kernel of truth.

I used to feel marginalized and deprecated as a man, particularly since I'd heard it over and over again from so many different women of different backgrounds and life stages. When I was a young teenager I was even apologetic, as though being a man was something I should be ashamed of or make amends for. Society had told me that's how I should feel about my manhood.

Over time I've realized the untruth of those beliefs. I am unapologetic of my masculinity, and I don't really tolerate that kind of disrespect. Hearing a woman bash men simply tells me what she believes about men and informs me of her experience with men, reflecting her own biases and attitudes instead of defining me as a man.

And clearly she's been hurt, which I can empathize with. But I don't extend that empathy to forgiving the disrespect.


  1. Well said. Many feminists claim to believe that men and women are equal, while in truth they believe that women are better than men. Women should not need to put down men to be validated. Both genders have strengths and weaknesses.

  2. I agree - if someone needs to put down others to feel good or respected, it's not really empowering.

    I don't really like to say "strengths and weaknesses" because it seems judgmental and opens up the door to make value judgments as to which strengths are better and which weaknesses are more detrimental (thought I don't presume you mean it that way).

    I just like to say there's a lot of opportunity to learn from one another, and a huge part of intimacy is the growth of learning those things.