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OftenBen has a great example, and I'll add to what he's saying (and I have the stats to hand). For 2015, the last year for which more detailed data is available, the CDC found that men made up 77% of all suicides (33,994 out of the total 44,193 that year). If you look at causes of death, suicide is #7 for men overall. For males aged 10-34, it is #2, falling only behind the catch-all for accidents. I also looked in their searchable stat database for crime-related deaths. In 2015, the CDC has 14,051 male victims of homicide (which, as an aside, vastly outnumbers the number of female victims). This means that despite all our hand-wringing around violent crime, right around 3 times more men died of suicide than homicide.
- but I think the vast majority of MRA-type rhetoric is engineered to create outrage from things that are rarely an actual issue
That's been my experience as a rule, but the problem is this is kind of a red herring. Or at best, it's an easy way to dismiss legitimate gripes by bunching them in with the shitty ones. If we're not supposed to jump to conclusions about, say, women who accuse men of sexual assault, why is it okay to jump to conclusions about men who say something far less serious?
- I personally do not see this kind of narrative, ever
That you then go on to mention your appearance says to me that you're only looking for one specific kind of narrative. But we shouldn't assume that just because there isn't a narrative that is analogous to the prevailing one about the plight of women in some specific way, there isn't one at all. I mean, the disperaty in suicide I referenced above is already a clue that something is wrong.
And there are some doozies out there. I was born in the early 1980s. The way I was raised (and I'm not alone in this) was already an overcorrection. The subtext of all the messages I received, starting probably in late elementary school, was that my sexuality was inherently dangerous, and that no matter how careful I was, I was one momentary slip-up away from committing some grevious sin (like making someone feel uncomfortable, whether reasonably or not). When the comment link talks about how he hoped he would become asexual, I can relate to this in no small degree. I spent my entire adolescence terrified of approaching a girl, because I had internalized the idea that I would be assaulting her in some way. I spent my entire time desperately hoping for an obvious signal from someone I was interested in that would make it okay. (And of course this was one more thing in addition to all the usual fears of rejection, etc.). When I did finally end up in a relatioship at 19 (that she initiated), I spent the entire time in a state of anxiety that I would say or do the wrong thing (that the girl in question was a walking minefield of triggers didn't help, either). Meanwhile, I was simultaneously still taught (by actions rather than words) that a degree of the stereotypical family was what I was supposed to expect. All the older people in my life (parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends' parents, etc.) were in relationships that were structured that way. But then I was also being told how wrong the "throwback to the 1950s marriage" was. To this day I have a degree of this cognitive dissonance. I'm now in my mid-30s and have been married for almost 8 years, and my wife and I are still figuring out what roles we want to take in our day-to-day lives. There are constant background pressures going both ways.
- But, in the grand scheme of things, bias (personal and systemic) against men pales in comparison to what pretty much every other group of people face.
Alright, but to say this, you need to be prepared to establish a threshold. If the things facing men aren't as bad (and to the extent that it's even meaningful I wouldn't disagree), how bad do things have to get before we're allowed to say something? How widespread? Am I allowed to complain about my own experiences above? Or do I have to wait until some point on a scale someplace is reached?
The problem is that we're bound and determined to force things into some arbitrary dichotomy. Men commit more sexual assaults and harassment, sure, but are also victims. (And I think victimization may actually be worse for men, but I'm not sure how you could realistically compare the two.) Meanwhile, "believe all women" has become "blame the man immediately," and we've reached a point where we're simply too lazy and too self-centered to think about it harder than that. You would not believe the heat I got on this very site for suggesting that "automatically assuming that some website's decision that a guy was an abuser is true" is a bad way to go about things, and many of the arguments boiled down to "I can't be bothered to consider more nuance." If we're going to say that because a majority of X is done by Y group, where does that stop? A majority of crime in the United States is committed by young, black men, but we've (finally and incompletely) realized that the truth is more complicated than that, and that it's counter-productive to make assumptions and paint such a large group with such a broad brush. Yet if I suggest that the same reasoning should apply to gender issues, I'm attacked as a sexist.
Meanwhile, somebody suggests that both genders have problems and you, a guy, say that this is somehow overblown because men couldn't possibly have problems. And you base this largely on the fact that you personally haven't felt them. How is this any different from me as a white guy saying racism isn't a thing because I haven't experienced it?
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