ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.

Why do I get so irrationally angry at all these "poor men" threads?

(292 Posts)
ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 11:15:09

In the last couple of days there have been a few threads about how difficult life is for boys, how our whole society is weighted against them, how they are set up to fail academically by a system weighted against them, how they are victims of violence, how no-one takes them seriously.

I understand that a lot of the protagonists on these threads have sons and are naturally worried about how things will play out for them in their lives, That is a given when you have children I think. You also want the best for them, for them to have all the advantages in life.

However this business about men being done down all the time, I just don;t see it.

For every one ad on teh telly with a man being incompetent at cleaning, I see 10 with a man in a sharp suit being successful, with loads of adoring women gazing at him.

I see images of men doing exciting physical activities, being powerful, swishing out of expensive cars, glanching at their expensive watches, exuding authority as they sweep down the road.

Most of our politicians are men, in the papers the vast majority of "experts" consulted are men.

Men will on average earn a lot more money than women over the course of their lifetime, even if the fact that many women go part time is factored out (sorry I've got no links). In fact women on average are earning less than men, in the same jobs, before they have even started their families. In my old industry the women earned 40% less than men.

So are boys and men in our society really having a terrible time, and we need to redress the balance? If we redress the balance, what does that actually mean? What do people who call for this want? For men to earn even more money than women in the same job? For more men to be decision makers?

I just get <blood boild> when I think about just how shit it is for women and girls, still, here and around the world, and yet we are all supposed to ignore that and accept that yes, men have it worse, let's forget abotu the girls (again) and concentrate on making everything even better for men.

tortoiseonthehalfshell Sat 20-Mar-10 11:22:21

Mmm. Girls have been outperforming boys academically for a while, but - and I realise this will come as a shock - it doesn't hurt boys in the workplace. They still earn more. Why, it's almost like we don't live in a pure meritocracy!

Men do have a hard time, of course. That's why I prefer kyriarchy to patriarchy, to acknowledge the race/class/sex hegemonies interact.

But, yeah. The poor sons we worry about will probably never be raped/beaten by their partner/forced to undergo an unwanted pregnancy/be sexually harassed at work/etc. Poor, poor men.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 11:28:53

This business about qualifications these days favouring girls due to coursework, which apparently girls are better at.

Surely it would therefore be fair if qualifications were obtained on 50% coursework and 50% exams?

I have been trying to find what the % of coursework and exams is for GCSEs at the moment, but I can't. I wonder if anyone has GCSE age children and knows roughy what % of their grade is based on coursework and what % by exam? And if it differs by subject - is there a pattern to that, which sort of subjects are coursework heavy?

zazen Sat 20-Mar-10 11:49:40

I hear you sista!

On the whole in Europe women earn - for the same job and pro rata - 15% less than men. This lowered from 17% to 15% from 1998 to 2005.

In the UK a man earns prorata and for the same work, 20% more than a woman in the same job.

Gender differences in pay is greatest in Cyprus with a man earning 25% more than a woman employed to do the same job, and it is lowest in the EU in Malta, where gender difference pay is at 4%, still with men earning more than women.

Nowhere in the EU do women earn more than men.

In 2004 55% of people graduating from higher education in the EU were female.

My figures are from publications.europa.ec the european publications office.

'Poor' men indeed....

Molesworth Sat 20-Mar-10 12:04:59

I hear you too. I just read a 'poor men' post and it made me huff mightily and flee to this thread. I don't think your anger is at all irrational, ISNT.

onagar Sat 20-Mar-10 12:14:21

It may well be that on average life is better for men. There is a lot to discuss there I agree. However if reading about men/boys having a hard time makes you upset and you wish it were not talked about then yes that is irrational/biased and something for you to think carefully about.

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 12:20:05

Yes life is shit for some women. On balance life is probably more shit for more women than men. It doesn't make it unimportant to change things for both, does it? A society that determinedly disrespects it's members due to sex isn't a healthy society. And yes, as a mother of children of both sexes, it matters a great deal to me that all my children get the best chances possible.

BTW portraying men as good-natured incompetents is as bad for women as it is for men. Just as bad as portraying women as girly little bubble-heads. Neither men nor women should be expected to supply only the style or the substance of life.

BertieBotts Sat 20-Mar-10 12:23:32

ISNT, it definitely varies by subject. As far as I am aware it tends to be the more vocational subjects like Art and IT which are coursework heavy, and the more academic ones like Science and Maths are more based on exam grades. Can't remember about things like English, History, where there is a lot of essay writing. I left school in 2004.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 12:25:04

It makes me angry, onager.

That people honesty believe that boys have it worse than girls, and men have it worse than women, and we should all be concentrating our efforts on helping the poor poor men.

I know that my 2 girls are almost certain to be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, probably more than once.

But no forget that, let's all talk about the poor poor boys.

I have just had a lively argument conversation with my DH. Like so many people, he thinks that equalism (is that a word?) is a better approach than feminism. I point out that he would say that, as a member of the privileged group in our society he has little grasp of how it feels to be in the other group. I asked him if the way to seek a better deal for people in the lowest caste in a caste driven society would be to talk about making it better for everyone, including the king and queen. About how if you want action you need to be straightforward about what it is that you want. Thus if you want a better deal for people in a low caste you simply say that. And how as soon as anyone talks about equality rather than feminism it comes back to "poor poor boys" quicker than you can say "what about the girls".

I think that we understand what the other is saying, but feel different things in our hearts. I care about women and girls, I see great injustice, I want to help them. In our society they are disadvantaged. Why is it wrong of me to concentrate my efforts on that?

moneytistheverydevil Sat 20-Mar-10 12:30:53

Everyone will fight for their own side, of course. It doesn't stop me from seeing that putting boys at a disadvantage in education does no favours to girls either.

dittany Sat 20-Mar-10 12:34:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 12:35:16

But I honestly don't see how you can do one without the other? If a woman, for example wants to further her career after she has had a baby one of the best ways of doing this might be to faciliate the father of the baby to give up work. In the current climate that tends to be seen as odd. When parental leave is taken equally by both parents or without a bias either way both sexes will benefit. I'm sorry but saying 'I don't give a toss about boys problems because girls have it worse' strikes me as unconstructive.

dittany Sat 20-Mar-10 12:47:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 12:50:14

I'm not saying I don;t give a toss.

I am saying that it makes me angry when people say things like, they hate that girls are now allowed to join scouts, as they are cramping the boys style. That money should be diverted from caring from female victims of domestic violence because men suffer violence too. That there are inherent differeneces in the sexes which is why women earn less than men, that actually they do it on purpose not because of discrimination. That obtaining qualifications should be weighted towards exams because boys are better at exams (apparently), and if they aren't doing as well as girls then obviously things should be moved so that it goes the other way again. One sex is always going to do better on average, and it seems that people want that sex to be boys. That yes women get raped and stuff, but, you know men are more likely to be the victims of violence and thus we need to concentrate on that.

I don;t know my head is getting all muddled now, and I'm getting in a fix on another thread.

It's just with a limited pot of resources, it seems wrong to concentrate them on assisting the people who already have the upper hand IYSWIM.

I got in a mess when trying to explain to DH how I felt as well sad

onagar Sat 20-Mar-10 12:52:31

If we say that there is a worse thing happening to someone else so we should not discuss this then we fall into a common trap. On that basis we could refuse to listen to tales of hungry/cold UK pensioners because people in the third world are starving.

It is not wrong for you to concentrate your efforts on the subject nearest to your heart, but to get angry that others have other priorities or opinions doesn't help and may cause your opinions to be dismissed. Supporting women need not mean being anti-men, but there is a minority that would have you think so and it does not do your cause any good if you appear to sound like them.

I support equal rights for all people of any race or gender. To me that seems obviously right and I don't understand how anyone could fail to want that. Equality (including female equality) still has a way to go, but it's getting there.

ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 12:53:13

Orm the thing is something like parental leave which can be shared doens't mean a choice between one sex and the other as to who benefitd. It's win win as far as I can see, certainly it;s something that DH and I would have taken advantage of.

It's more things like people wanting mens problems addressed above womens. With limited money and a limited number of things you can get worked up about, I don;t see why it should all be concentrated on men, who as far as I can see are getting comparitively good deal.

Molesworth Sat 20-Mar-10 12:53:58

So a group is systematically disadvantaged, but they're not allowed to protest because by doing so they are implicitly trying to do down people in the advantaged group and therefore their protests are 'unconstructive'?

Orm, would you say the same about someone protesting against other forms of discrimination? Would you tell them that they're saying:

'I don't give a toss about white people's problems because black people have it worse'

or

'I don't give a toss about able-bodied people's problems because people with disabilities have it worse'

and accuse them of being 'unconstructive'?

You really don't need to tell feminists (or anti-racists or whatever) that by improving the lot of the disadvantaged group, the lot of the advantaged group will change too, and that this change can be good for everyone (unless, of course, you're all for the idea of certain groups being systematically disadvantaged or treated as less than human?)

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 12:55:17

OK. I agree with that. Maybe as the more 'advantaged' sex men don't have the habit of questioning, in the same way as perhaps white people didn't always question rascism when they saw it. However I do think it's helpful to look at the problem as a whole - women don't live in a vacuum.

For example I posted a thread about my DH's job in a school for children with behavioural problems. The overwhelming majority of the pupils are boys. These are boys who need the time and effort in a hope of turning their lives around. Is this not important? Surely it will help society as a whole if these children (who just happen to be mostly male) come out at the end of the experience more whole and healthy?

ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 12:55:45

"It is not wrong for you to concentrate your efforts on the subject nearest to your heart, but to get angry that others have other priorities or opinions doesn't help and may cause your opinions to be dismissed. "

It is when achieving the priorities of the other group means by definition that the group I care about has somethign detrimental happen to it, that is when I get upset.

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 12:58:05

"You really don't need to tell feminists (or anti-racists or whatever) that by improving the lot of the disadvantaged group, the lot of the advantaged group will change too, and that this change can be good for everyone "

Why not? Because they don't want to hear it or because they know it already?

dittany Sat 20-Mar-10 12:58:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wubblybubbly Sat 20-Mar-10 13:00:58

Why does it have to be either or though? Is it not possible to care about issues that affect humanity?

Can we really only improve the situation for rape victims if we ignore the further reaching impact that rape has on the the whole family/community? Different yes, but not insignificant surely, when we want to deal with such emotive and destructive issues.

I've got breast cancer, does it belittle my experience to also acknowledge that my Mother, Husband, Son and Brother are also affected by the diagnosis? Does understanding that they are also devastated by what has happened mean I should feel aggreived that it's not all about me, me, me?

BattyKoda Sat 20-Mar-10 13:01:29

YANBU

I get irrationally annoyed at the man 'bashing' threads. AIBU?

ImSoNotTelling Sat 20-Mar-10 13:02:44

Just got to go and do something with the kids, will be back in a bit.

Thanks everyone for contributions so far. I really want to try and get this one straight in my head.

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 13:05:13

ISNT - I do agree with you I think. You are assuming that there is a finite pot of 'rights' and that giving them out equally to men and women disadvantages women because men are so far ahead?

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