Saturday, 6 August 2011

The gender divide (and Male Sexism)

So I was buying presents earlier this evening (only just managed to get to the card shop before they closed,) and it was after I had secured cards for my friends that I realised I was having a lot of trouble finding something for said friends, all of whom are girls. It occurred to me that, while I'm a very feminine guy, I still don't understand girls that well. (Nor does my memory help, I can never remember who likes what, who'd wear what, etc., and clothes are a no-go due to my naivety.) At times like these, it really brings to the forefront the huge gap that is only separated by one Y chromosome.

It's obvious that guys and girls are different, but, as a good friend of mine put it, sex/gender is really a spectrum. You get the girly girls and the butch girls, and the macho guys and the faaaa-bulous guys, then everything in between. There are the basic differences in the majority of people, such as hormones, development, etc. (I'm not gonna state the obvious,) but so much of it is left to vary; hair length, proportions, personality, common likes and dislikes... all are things that we typically give male and female values, but can apply to either. You can get curvy guys, short-haired girls and boys who play with Barbie dolls.

Often, the differences become stark obvious when it comes to rights or actions. Before 1928 (less than a century ago,) women had no right to vote, and sexism against women has survived in various forms to this day. In 2011, it's more noticeable now in the third world, and famously the Middle East, but even in developed countries, it still goes on. Women used to be commonly regarded as "the weaker sex". Today, there are still people who subjugate women under that belief.

But interestingly, it's not just women, especially in modern times. These days, there appears to be a lot of sexism against men. Much of it is unconscious. For instance, if I said the word "Rapist" to you, after asking me what the hell I'm going on about, you'd probably have had in your head an image of a man, or wondering who "he" was. But rape by females is both possible, and it happens. True, it's a lot less common, but the fact remains that most people will assume that all rapists are men.

Sometimes, however, it's very conscious. As the video below illustrates, sometimes women will act inappropriately with regards to men. Not all women, and not all the time, but male sexism does happen.

You can see it, too, in the standards men have to live up to. In "modern times" (i.e. 2011) there aren't many clothes that women can wear and be considered anything more than a tomboy, let alone a transvestite. Yet there's huge pressure on men to conform with regards to even things as simple as clothing. Even if a man wears a pink shirt, in many western societies he will be laughed at, mocked. Men are constantly under the pressure of being "manly" or "macho", hence why many men find it harder to cope with being gay, and why there are so many closeted gay men, because they struggle with what they perceive to be a "loss of masculinity." Preserving that is important for many of us, and men often feel threatened whenever anyone implies that they aren't manly.

A few Thursdays ago, this was made a real issue to me, not because I'm bisexual, not because I'm very feminine, not because I've even gone and worn (and own) women's clothes, but because of the way I stand. My karate instructor was telling me off for standing in a comfortable stance, namely, with one leg crossed over the other. It qualified as "girly". The sensei is somewhat elderly, I would guess in the late 50's to 60's - but not all elderly people are like this, of course. However, it was as a result to be expected that he was criticising my standing position given that he came from an earlier generation. So we had a discussion about it just before I left. You know what I did after that discussion? Ran into the hallway and cried.

But I believe in being myself. I believe in liberating men from masculinity being forced on us, when some men just are masculine and some are feminine. We should all accept others for who they are, not what they wear or how they stand. And we should treat men and women equally in all but the most exclusive circumstances (who would enter a woman, for instance, in a job for a male model?)

So yes, there is a difference between men and women. Don't let that one chromosome take away who you are.


  1. Chromosomes ain't got nothin' on me, Leo. ;P

    In those two videos, it seemed like it was implied that if one form of sexism exists, another does not, which is kinda ridiculous. There are many forms of sexism perpetrated by many different individuals regardless of their race, class, sex, gender identity, orientation or otherwise. I don't like how they went and "compared" one form of sexism to another as if they're trying to figure out which is worse or which "party" is more "deserving".

    It's ridiculous. Turning this into a black/white war makes things WORSE, not better. You can't fight discrimination by putting down the struggles and hardships of those who have been discriminated against in other ways. It just makes people feel angry and isolated and turns it into a war between "us" and "them", and then we get into the mess of defining who "we" and "they" are, and then we start forcing ourselves into stereotypes, and then we start discriminating against not only those we perceive as our primary target, but also all the other groups we didn't account for that we can't fit neatly into the little boxes we've created. People need to stop with this BS.

    It shouldn't be a war to determine what group (with the added mess of defining those groups) is more or less entitled than the other, because that's stupid. It should be a war against all forms of discrimination, including sexism. Not a "men deserve this" or a "women are entitled to this" or so on, but instead "PEOPLE deserve these rights". That should be the only line we need to draw. Everyone else should put their damn pencils down.


  2. its not only guys who get picked on for wearing pink! i stil get nightmares (im a girl btw just so you know)

  3. the fact still remains that there are a LOT more men that a chavanistic arseholes than there are frankly insane feminists
    if you take the casde mentioned above about the woman who cut of the guys peinis after he filed for divorse
    he used to slap her round the face with his dick to prove his dominance this may not be the same case but a similar one but i am prety sure its the same case go figure


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