Saturday, February 10, 2007

Real Men: Revisited

This is an old article but well worth commenting on.
In August 2006, The Daily Mail had Nirpal Dhaliwal, the apparently pathetic husband of Liz Jones, prattling on about how much of a man he is. So much of a "man" that he belittles his wife publicly, cheats on her, willfully ignores her needs, and psychologically abuses her. This while he's living on her largesse. So much of a "man" that he needs to tell everyone in lurid detail how he banged his wife last night. (Trust me. Read the description. That is NOT making love or having sex. It's a pathetic little boy trying to play at being a man.) As a true feminist, I am unbelievably offended not by how Dhaliwal presents women (It's hard to be offended by a pathetic child's ramblings on a subject he obviously understands so poorly.) but by how he presents men.

Feminism is, in its essense, the pursuit of gender equality. I could not consider myself a feminist if I did not consider myself the equal to any man in the human sense, in the sense of our inherent value and dignity as human beings. (Surely, there are men who are my betters in a variety of fields as there are women who are my betters in a variety of fields. But in humanity, we are equal.) In the same vein, I would not dare call myself a feminist if I did not consider men to be equal to women. Honestly, the matriarchy obsession amongst some so-called feminists sickens me.

It is my belief in the inherent worth of men that elicits my rage when I encounter the likes of Dhaliwal or when I contemplate the most anti-woman ideologies that men like him perpetuate. Men like Dhaliwal and the ideologies they uphold demean women, this is true. But no less so, they demean men.

When they argue that a man needs to demean, belittle, ignore, control, or dominate women to feel good about himself, they argue that men are children. When they argue that the "gold standard" of manhood is the ability to dominate a woman by wielding his penis as a weapon, they argue that men are animals. When they argue that expectations of responsibility, accountability and common human decency are "unfair" weapons of mean women who want to take their manhood away, they make of men both children and animals.

Honestly, can anyone read Dhaliwal's writings without thinking of a sniveling child stomping his feet and insisting that he is too Superman? Can you read his writings without thinking of some primitive, mindless ape demonstrating his dominance by making loud noises and displaying his penis? This is not manhood for this is not full mature humanity.

That women like Liz Jones permit and even reward this behavior on occasion is sickening. "Boys will be boys," they say. "What can you expect from a man?" they ask. Those statements alone infuriate me. Excusing immature behavior with the same nonchalance as one would excuse the dog piddling on the carpet is pathetic and demeaning. You should surely expect more from a human being than you would expect from the dog.

You should expect that a human being, having reached maturity, will act as a mature human being with respect for not only their own inherent value but also for the inherent dignity of others. You should expect that the higher virtues of mind and spirit be developed conscientiously through long thought and repeated practice. You should expect that a fully functional adult human being rise above the level of a child or animal. You should expect these things from men no less and no more than you should expect them from women. Anything less is anti-feminist and anti-human.


Blogger Stacey said...

I don't agree with your assertion that feminism = the desire for gender equality. I honestly have never witnessed a disparity in equality between men and women; I think most things some 'womyn' assert to be inequality are fabricated. My version of feminism is accepting that we ARE women, we don't need to be like men, and embracing all that it means to be a woman and all the power that entails.

That said, Dhaliwal is a douchebag.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

With all due respect, because you know I love you, you have been very sheltered from the realities of life.
Let me start with a few personal experiences before I get into statistics.

I was working at unnamed company when a casual conversation started that I was only half paying attention to b/c I was trying to get my job done sparked a controversy. At this particular company, we were forbidden from discussing our salaries for reasons that became obvious. Anyway, a fellow employee became upset because I made more than she did. Why? I had a MUCH higher education and a MUCH better track record with my employers. So, even though she had more experience in management, I made more. By the by, we found out that a male employee who had both less education and work experience than I did and less relevant experience than she did was making FAR more than both of us. Why? Even though the boss wanted to give me a huge promotion with far more responsibility than this guy had, I realized that I would still be making less than him. I ended up leaving the company for other reasons.

Coming out of grad school, I applied for a technical position at a TV station. Due to inside connections, I found out that although I had better qualifications, better grades, more experience, etc., I was being passed over for a guy. The guy turned out to be a complete disaster. But they made a point of replacing him with another guy.

Now some statistics. Even after controlling for major, grades, and honors, men still make substantially more money coming out of college than women do. Even controlling for job reponsibilities, experience and qualifications, women still make about 70 cents on the dollar of what men make.

Many insurance companies will pay for viagra but not for feminine health products like birth control or hormone therapies. Funding for research into female-related health problems falls FAR BEHIND that of funding for research male-related health problems EVEN when you control for the severity of the problems. Recent studies have shown that women receive a far lower quality of health care than men in large part due to the health care communities propensity for IGNORING women's health complaints until symptoms become severe enough to become obvious. For example, 1 out of 4 young women who present with symptoms of ischaemia (lack of oxygen flow to the heart that can lead to a heart attack) are discharged without care.

And we can go on. In employment, health care, legal protections, career opportunities etc. women still fall behind men. That is NOT equality.

Inequality between the genders created feminism and feminism will be necessary until those inequalities are done away with. It's perfectly great to say that we should accept that we're women and don't HAVE to be like men, but don't call it feminism.

Feminism is about accepting that people should have the opportunity to fulfill whatever their ambitions might be and develop their potential to the fullest without being told unfairly and unnecessarily that their gender impedes them.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Loz said...

Reading Liz Jones articles as I have done for the last six months or so, she presents an image of a woman who looks for this sort of behaviour, that she's actually chosen Dhaliwal because of his behaviour towards her, not despite of. Of course, her diary articles could all be some extended joke on credulous readers, but she's written almost each week for at least six months how he belittles her and makes her feel awful, yet she doesn't want to break up with him because she's fast approaching 40 and doubts she'll ever find anyone to be with again, so will be living alone with her cats.

This is not to suggest that she deserves this behaviour but she doesn't seem to do anything to stop it, or at least remove herself from it.

11:39 AM  

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