|Fathers 4 Justice campaigners (Google images)|
"It is not only women that are oppressed, men are oppressed too; they just don't moan about it"
I took a mental pause when my brother said this. "Really?"
All at once, my Dad and brothers started talking: Men do not get to enjoy exclusive perks and privileges that women take for granted; the burden of expectation on men can also be crushing...as the list gathered pace and snowballed into a full-blown rant , I could only sit back and listen.
It is not only women that buckle under the burden of society's expectations
In highly traditional societies, a woman's worth is attached to marriage and motherhood. Hence, every woman is expected to get married in a timely fashion (20-ish), 'be fruitful and multiply'. And the men? Oh yeah, they are let off the hook by virtue of being men...no sir!
If a woman's worth is defined by her marital status, then a man's worth is defined by his financial status. The set expectation is the man should strive to acquire wealth. Mind you, with fewer jobs circulating & faltering economies, it takes A LOT of sweat, grind and perseverance to break through the poverty line.
Does that mean women are exempt from working? On the contrary, women also work HARD to bring home some bacon. BUT the burden of expectation does not lie on them. The man is expected to work hard and acquire money (in a timely fashion), he is expected to find a wife and provide for his home. No one cares if the economy is doing badly - suck it up and make that dough! No one cares if you suffer liver failure trying to chat up that chick you've been eyeing for ages, doesn't matter if she spurns your advances and humiliates you, who cares if finding a wife involves going through successive waves of rejection, mini-heart attacks, humiliation and parting with hard-earned cash. Find a wife - QED. And once you've found that wife, to maintain your respect as The Man, keep the cash rolling in!
Bottomline: To be considered a full-fledged man, respected by society, you should be in good financial standing!
Being a man attracts a harsher penalty and vice versa
Here's one of the anecdotes that was given: girl drives recklessly, causes an accident; police officer let's her off with a gentle tap on the wrist. Boy involved in accident - automatic ticket; no questions.
There's an unspoken consensus that women are the weaker sex - delicate beings that should be handled with care. Men, on the other hand, are the tough guys and any form of misdemeanour attracts no mercy.
Women don't have to worry about random stop and search by the police - well, it's least likely to happen to a woman. A lone woman at dusk does not pose a threat. There are a lot of dicey scenarios that women do not stand to fear.
Women earn less but men do the tougher jobs
"A woman will complain about unequal pay, yet she will expect you as the 'man' to lift all the heavy boxes at work"...
How many women do you find in the war front? On the rigs? Defending the sovereignty of nations and sacrificing their lives? Very few.
Women have an outlet for their emotions, Men do not
Studies have shown that women live longer than men. One expert cited stress as a possible reason, and men's proclivities to 'internalize' stress rather than let go. And that brings me to my next point, it's generally permissible for a woman cry, even collapse in a fit of tears if need be, moan, complain, get things off their chest. Men, on the other hand, do not enjoy the same luxury. Most times, pain and loss are only filtered through the female perspective. For example, it's not common to hear about the pain of male infertility and childlessness. Does that mean the men not have a voice, or are they immune to pain? Are they not subject to heartbreak, loss and aches like the rest of humanity?
In a divorce, the court system favours women
This is mostly applicable in developed countries. It can be argued that it is a matter of perception, but most men would say they come off worse.
The Irony of Life
This is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but my friend narrated this story which I found amusing. She said when she was leaving for the States to pursue her PhD, her uncle called her aside and said something like: "Why are you disturbing yourself with all this book? After all, why do you think men are working so hard and killing themselves? Isn't it so they can hand the money over to a woman?"
The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. But always remember, no sex has it so good. Each has its cross.