Realistically, men will never understand the struggles that women must endure throughout their lives.
The year is 2016 and men still feel the need to work the phrase “no homo” into their daily vocabulary. This example, among countless others, exhibits the illusion that men must maintain their masculine exterior in order to be accepted by mainstream society.
In the past decade, humanity has progressed to be more liberal in terms of the LGBTQ community, as well as many other social constructs that were stigmatized in the past. Yet, men live in such fear of being portrayed as feminine that they go to ridiculous lengths to seem masculine.
Some attempts are subtle, others are not. Recently, scrolling through someone’s Facebook page, I stumbled upon a picture of a silhouette of a couple kissing with a sunset as the backdrop. My eyes wandered to the one comment that read, “As gay as this sounds, I’ll never forget that sunset.” I giggled and immediately screenshotted it for proof. What men don’t realize is that by trying to come off as “normal” they are actually just making themselves look stupid and uncultured.
It’s ironic women are labeled as the sensitive ones by society’s standards, yet men’s masculinity is so fragile that companies have actually started to profit from it. Gendered products are absurd but they are money makers. The fact that men would rather buy products that are marketed specifically towards them verges on a new level of sensitivity.
Last year, pictures of a male-targeted version of Q-tips went viral, displaying the only difference being a metallic background and the words “Men’s Ultimate Multi-Tool”. Other gendered products have arisen such as soap, sunscreen, chapstick, tea and candles. If a man wants to sit in a lavender-scented bubble bath with some flower scented candles surrounding him, who’s to judge?
Even social media is buzzing about the issue, a popular hashtag #MasculinitySoFragile went viral after being created by Anthony Williams, a sociology major at University of California, Berkeley. Williams finds the topic to be hilarious and sad, considering the comparison of this topic being between men’s ego’s being hurt and women’s safety. The issue becomes more than just a joke whenwomen who say “no” to a man on a date are in danger of being a victim of violence.
The hashtag came about after the original #NotAllMen campaign surfaced, which represented that not all men are rapists, murderers and general scum. In response to this, women responded with #YesAllWomen to share awareness of the violence that women experience every day including sexism, misogyny, rape and murder. In general, if society would stop putting so much emphasis on what is considered “normal” there would be less pressure to fulfill these unnecessary expectations.
In 2014, a massacre that left many dead and injured in Isla Vista was the result of revenge against a woman who had sexually rejected the killer. These types of situations are constantly occurring and are putting women at high risk for being subject to violence.
Men will go as far as degrading women with their friends in order to feel more masculine. Even a popular and respected artist such as Dr. Dre has lyrics like “b*tches aint sh*t but hoes and tricks.”
Oftentimes, we look past these things as a society and constitute them as jokes, but there is a bigger issue here. Women are maliciously brutalized every day because men feel entitled to owning women and treating us as disposable.
A despicable group of human beings have coined the term “meninism” paralleling the term feminism. Horrifyingly, this group has gained many followers who are under the warped impression that they’rein need of advocacy for the supposed unfair treatment of men by society.
Feminism is about protecting women, not spitting on men. At the end of the day, men and women alike need to treat each other with respect and most importantly, as equals.
If we work to dissolve the unrealistic expectations that we place upon both genders, people will feel more comfortable to live their lives without the fear of being judged. To contradict “The Cure”, boys do cry, and that’s okay.