Feminism has been a source of great positive change, and it will likely continue the same in the future. However, there is something wrong with it that has gone ignored for far too long. The problem is simple: any doctrine of sexual interaction has to address the sexes. Both of them. One cannot construct a realistic new social dynamic between the sexes if you ignoree one of them entirely. That's just ridiculous. I have yet to see feminism address all of the inequalities between the sexes. It has done a splendid job overcoming problems faced by women, but if feminist doctrine is to be believed, men encounter no social disadvantages whatsoever. This is simply untrue. College attendance is a perfect example. Women entering college have begun to outnumber men by a startlingly large amount. The U.S. Department of Education reported in 1996 that women comprised 56 percent of college undergraduate and graduate students. Recent studies show that this gap has grown even larger. When unbalanced statistics like this begin to show up, it becomes consequential to start paying the male end of the spectrum some attention.

If men in society have started underachieving (or if they have really been underachieving all along), it is ludicrous to apply the feminist idea of systematic gender-based oppression. This leads to other theories. Some suggest that men may be intellectually inferior because of their biology. There is, of course, no evidence in support of this. This argument is simply poetic justice for similar conclusions drawn about women a century ago. Far more likely is the possibility that the fashion in which males are socialized has had a detrimental effect upon their ability to compete in an academic environment. If true, this makes the inequities faced by men fundamentally different from many of those faced by women, but no less real. Sociology teaches us that nearly any dominant social group will ascribe characteristics to other groups, which it will then use to define itself by negation. For example, the characteristics generally ascribed to young black men include a violent temperament and lack of education. White culture then takes these constructions and creates an illusion of respectability by saying "Well, at least we aren't like them ..."

Men are no exception. We think of women as emotional and touchy-feely, and so it is acceptable for men to be anything but that. Women wear makeup, so men cannot. Women carry purses, so men cannot. Someone once told me that it is insulting to women that men do not wear skirts or dresses. Maybe so, but it is a social restriction on men, not women. Think about that. Guys have a much more limited choice of apparel. Guys are not allowed to be emotional. Guys are not allowed to be physically affectionate. Guys are not allowed to be asexual. There are even "girly" alcoholic beverages that guys are made fun of for drinking. Because of this atmosphere of identity by negation, women are really much more free to do what they like than men are. There are also appalling cultural myths extant in society about how guys only think with their penises. I gag when I see this kind of tripe show up in sitcoms and other hallmarks of pop culture. Who hasn't seen the idiotic husband/boyfriend character starting conflicts with his significant other, only to be outmatched by her superior feminine intelligence? You may say that it's all in fun, but any myth this prevalent is not just there for sheer amusement; people internalize it.

Men are viewed as walking tampon-wannabes. If a guy hugs you, it's because he wants to get into your pants. If a guy talks with you, it's as a prelude to getting into your pants. Guy friends are only your friends, because they're hoping to get into your pants in the near future. And if a guy and a girl do have sex, it becomes entirely the man's responsibility afterward. Women are far from blameless in this matter; they buy into the cultural constructions of gender just as blindly as men do. We all know the statistic published by Ms. magazine editor Mary Koss that one in four women have been raped in their lifetimes. Of the women who were supposedly raped in this study, fully 73 percent weren't aware that they had been raped and 43 percent continued to date the supposed rapist. These figures are by Koss' own admission. Now, either women are really remarkably ignorant about what their own rape entails, or the "one-in-four" figure Koss speculated is a gross attempt to demonize American men. Men are demonized and restricted, and they are stumbling in matters of scholarly achievement. And still feminism speaks of a society ruled by a callous elite of men. Perhaps so, but each American male has to pay for every bit of the advantages enjoyed by the few. Feminists, if you're genuinely serious about finding equality for the sexes, then we have to focus on reforming attitudes concerning both of them.

It is in many ways a shame that the above writeup loses its direction half way through and veers off from a legitimate and fascinating discussion of the socialization of men into a kind of whinge against the popular media and women's reported attitudes towards men, not to mention fashion. I'd give a lot to hear the original argument brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

The problem with relations between the sexes, and I'm only talking about the generations born since the so-called "sexual revolution", is that they keep being told that the feminist revolution is over, it goals have been achieved and its presumably clearly defined objectives put into practice. It then follows that any social phenomenae which are detrimental to either women in general or men in general are somehow all the feminists' fault.

It is the unfortunate truth that the feminist revolution has come to a grinding halt in the eighties, stumble as it did against the barefaced self interest and greed of the Reagan years in the US and the Thatcher years in the UK (sorry for not including the rest of the world, but that's all I really know about), making it nigh impossible to sustain a public debate which did not center on the financial wellbeing of the individual. This attitude of socially acceptable, voracious selfishness managed to colour both feminist discourse and the public reactions to it, putting an extra emphasys on equality in the workplace (good) and away from equality, or at leas understanding, in the unregulated wastelands of society (bad).

Another cultural shift came with the so-called politically correct nineties, in which the mode of discourse, in particular in the media, took precedence over the mode of conduct. In other words what one said became more important, or at least more closely scrutinised, than what one did. Another imbalance therefore arose, in which both women and men colluded, and which placed the emphasys away from how people treated each other (good) and to how they spoke about each other (also good, but secondary).

During both these periods there was also a drive towards legislation and away from education in matters of social reform, which resulted in the misguided assumption that as long as something was declared illegal, it was no longer necessary to address the question of it being wrong.

Standing as we are at the bottom of this socio-political mudslide, we are witnessing the increased popularity of such socialising tools as the series Friends, in which it would seems that as long as the neuroses and the income levels are equally distributed between the sexes, all is well and good and everybody has good hair. Not so in life. The fact that some men and women, mostly well placed public figures such as actors and musicians, have managed to break out of their traditional gender roles and social constraints is not enough to pacify the general desire for social change.

To put it all more plainly, we are now living in a society where, as long as the wage stats are good, the media is inoffensive and sexual harrassement is being addressed by the authorities, all is well and good. This is simply not the case, for either gender.

Much has been said about the traditional gender roles and social constraints of women, and the title of this node does not invite a detailed debate of the issues contained therein. As to what men want, I can only say I wouldn't have a very good idea, not being one an' all. I can, however, make the assumption, both in personal life and for the purpose of this argument, that not all men were happy living within the constraints of the patriarchy, ruling elite or no. The pressures and limitations imposed on men and their social behaviour were as great as those placed on women, the flip side of the coin of the same rigid, predefined social expectations.

If the battle between the sexes is ever to turn into peaceful cooperation, it is imperative that society - read, both men and women - expand their perceptions about what consitutes acceptable, or normal, behaviour for men. Things are already changing, slowly - for example, jewlerry on men is ever so much more acceptable now than it was in, say, the fifties. Men can get away with colouring their hair, and even get respectable jobs with those haricuts. In large cities, where social change travels the fastest, it is no longer uncommon to see a man doing the weekly shopping, push chair in tow. Men are allowed more time with their children, and are encouraged to have greater involvement in their day to day upbringing.

With the increased pressure on women to go to work, owing to the increase in modern costs of living, men are no longer under as much pressure to be the principal breadwinners in the home and are allowed more freedom in chosing their careers. There are also more creative proffessions open to them, often, ironically, in the technology-driven computer industry. The role of men as the sole sexual aggressors is also slowly being eroded.

In these areas of social interaction, the feminist revolution is indeed being taken to men, albeit perhaps not with as much endorsement from traditional institutions (the state, the education system etc) as would be desireble. It is in these seemingly insignificant corners of daily life that change is to be found and encouraged. To measure the success or failure of the feminist revolution solely in college statistics is, however, to revert to the view that men and women are angling for supremacy over the old bastions of social power, and is a step back in the struggle to create a more egalitarian society.

Forget women. Fickle and flighty and never worth the time.
Ain't that the truth?

"Alright men, this is the first official meeting of the California NO MA'AM association. I'd like to take this time to introduce our newer members to our official charter. Alright? So, what do we want?"


"And when do we want it?"


"What else do we want?"


"And when do we want it?"


"Anything else?"


"And a monkey."

"What was that Clyde?"

"A monkey."

"Oh. And a monkey for Clyde."


"And what don't we want?"

"Wait what?"

"That's right new members. You heard right. We are recognizing that no matter how nice a woman is, she just isn't
worth it in the end."

Cells phones interrupt the speech, men start filing out of the auditorium.

"Where are you all going?"

"It's 10 pm. Wife called. Gotta get back home."

"Oh. Well then, alright. Just remember, what were you doing all night?"


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