the plight of men

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the plight of men

Postby TerraFrost » Sun Jul 31, 2005 9:10 pm

My sociology classes discussion of gender issues was kinda lacking, imho. Basically, it centered on the problems females have in societies.

Females are taught to beleive that physical appearance is more important than anything else. This, in turn, leads to increased eating disorders among females.

Likewise, females are taught that jobs involving science are inappropriate for them. As a consequence, fields such as engineering appeal much more to men than they do to women, etc.

Also, women, on average, get paid less than men do. Unfortuantely, as no studies were cited, I can't really go into specifics on that.

However, what about the plight of men? Why is it that it's a bad thing when women don't enroll in engineering, yet it isn't a bad thing when men don't enroll in nursing? The lesson one takes home from this is that engineering is a better field than nursing, that women can be just as good at engineering as they are at nursing, and that you're not a "real" man if you enroll in nursing. So why not mention that when discussing gender issues?

Or why not mention the fact that "real" men also don't ask for help? To provide a few quotes from this article...

“What we’ve found is that traditional notions of masculinity and traditional male gender roles can be quite harmful to men,”


“Although many more men than women commit suicide, for example,” says Rochlen, “we’re still seeing that most patients who are getting mental health services are women. With both physical and mental health services, men are just more resistant to getting care.”


“Men may not be willing to acknowledge that what they’re feeling is sadness and they may tend to cope in destructive ways—what you’re seeing may not look like sadness, but that’s the root.”

Perhapes the appropriate conclusion to be drawn from this is that a dead man is better than a skinny woman.

Also, solving the problems of men would go along way towards solving the problems of women. Take the fact that women tend to do more housework than men and consider the following quote (from my sociology courses course packet):

Of the men who earned more than their wives, 21 percent shared housework. Of the men who earned about the same, 30 percent. But among men who earned less than their wives, none shared.

Also consider that one of the symptoms of depression is, as the previously linked to site stated, "fatigue or loss of energy". When women get paid more than men, women do all the housework because the men are depressed. As such, if you put an end to male depression, you'll get males more willing to help out around the house. In this way, focusing on the plight of males benifits women just as much so as focusing on the plight of females does.

Now take violence against women. That seems to me to be just another symptom of depression - specifically "Noticeable agitation or slowness."

Ultimately, I suppose this lack of coverage is, itself, testament to the plight of men - to the whole "they're on their own" mantra. Of course, it is ironic that that in a class where students are frequently asked to break social norms that professors, themselves, perpetuate social norms.

EDIT: Sociology professors aren't the only ones who are guilty of ignoring the plight of men. Consider the following quote from "The Architecture of Inequality: Sex and Gender":

There is no disputing that American girls must struggle with all their might to feel good about themselves once they start having women's bodies.

Sadly, I think this quote is well representative of the text which presumes to discuss gender issues when, in reality, it fixates on feminist issues.
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Postby tsian » Mon Aug 01, 2005 2:36 pm

To be fair, I think most feminists would agree that it is also wrong that men do not go into nursing nor ask for help. My women's studies teacher certainly did, at any rate.

I would say that since women have traditionally been at a greater disadvantage, we tend to focus on that.
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Postby shahmask » Tue Aug 02, 2005 3:26 am

terra, did u bring this up in discussion by any chance during class? i know that if it were a really really small class (less than 25) i sure as hell would have said quite a bit. if it were even a smallish class, say 50 or so, i probably would have brought up some of that stuff. i know i did talk about some of that stuff in my geography of information socities and a bit in my frontiers in geography class. mind u, unfortunately, those two classes didn't really deal much with the social issues per se, so it wan't that much of a discussion.
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Postby TerraFrost » Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:07 am

To be fair, I think most feminists would agree that it is also wrong that men do not go into nursing nor ask for help. My women's studies teacher certainly did, at any rate.

That's good :)

I would say that since women have traditionally been at a greater disadvantage, we tend to focus on that.

I can understand that. I guess the real question is... how much focus ought to be given to both? Certainly 99% / 1% in a gender issues discussion seems bad, but what about 90 / 10 or 80 / 20? That's not something I can really comment on...

terra, did u bring this up in discussion by any chance during class? i know that if it were a really really small class (less than 25) i sure as hell would have said quite a bit. if it were even a smallish class, say 50 or so, i probably would have brought up some of that stuff.

Nope... the closest I came to doing it was when the group I'm in (the class is split up into five groups) was giving a presentation on how gender roles are influenced by magazines portrayal of gender. I brought a Scientific American, everyone else (well, with one other exception) brought magazines like Seventeen, Vogue, Maxim, or stuff like that. This kinda made me feel more uncomfortable than I might have otherwise felt, and... blah.

If I had ended up talking, my game plan was to mention that females aren't the only gender whose roles are reinforced by magazines - that males roles are, too, even if the magazine doesn't have any pictures of males in it.

But bleh - it's easier to play devil's advocate on a message board than it is to do so in front of the entire class, heh.
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Postby shahmask » Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:29 am

your magazine story is hilarious. so something i would have done.
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Postby TerraFrost » Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:33 pm

A point that was made in class was that the fact that breast augmentation is as popular as it is among women is testament to the sexualization of women - that breast augmentation desensitizes the breast for the sole purpose of exciting men.

However, there is another operation quite frequently performed on males that performs a similar sexual desnsitization. Circumcisition. kuro5hin.org elaborates.

To provide a few quotes...

Circumcision eliminates over twenty thousand nerve-endings, the most sensitive part of the penis. Circumcision removes the penis' only moving part, that which enables the natural gliding action during sex. Circumcision exposes the sensitive mucosal membranes of the glans, drying it out as it was never meant to further reducing lubrication and sensation. Circumcision takes away the glan's protection - the rubbing of clothing on the glans causes the skin to thicken considerably deadening sensation.


Most psychologists now agree that childhood trauma even if not remembered stays with us. The first association these boys have with their penises is incredible pain. Later in life this pain often manifests in a host of sexual problems. When I first started having sex I was never quite satisfied and always had a feeling that something was missing. I was lucky because I remembered my circumcision and the trauma surrounding it the knowledge was there that this is where the problem lay and I discovered information about circumcision and restoration in my early twenties shortly after becoming sexually active. Many circumcised men also have the feeling that sex is not quite what it could be. Unfortunately as is natural these men often look outside themselves finding dissatisfaction with their partners or the way they are having sex not realising the primary problem is that their penises do not work quite the way they were meant to.

Thus is the initial trauma and loss due to circumcision later multiplied into many more sexual, self-esteem and relationship traumas. The tragedy is that many men are completely unaware that the root cause of much of this is their childhood circumcision.


So although circumsization may not be done to sexualize men it does reenforce the fact that the opinions of men - their wants and desires - are triviliazed. In this way, the traits that lead to male depression are instilled in males when they're really really young...
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Postby shahmask » Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:16 pm

to some extent, that may be true. but i believe this article is over generalizing and over dramatizing. all those nerve endings are gone, but most males are circumcised (cut) in the united states and i have a hard problem believing that the united states has men having excessively more problems thanj a country that doesn't practice circumcision regularly like britain or japan. but, i love all men. cut and uncut :).

also, woman that get breast augmentation, in my opinion, aren't getting it solely to pleasure a man. it is for themselves. and i could swear that a good surgean keeps the feeling in woman's breasts.
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