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10.5.03

Ampersand points to an excellent Trish Wilson post about how traditional gender roles can be degrading to men -- a point that often gets lost in the focus on how they degrade women.

Aren't men insulted by such a derogatory view of fatherhood and maleness? Popenoe is saying what men have accused women of saying for aeons: that men think with their dicks. He is saying that men need to be corralled by social institutions such as marriage, otherwise they will act like sluts; they'll stick it into anything that moves, they'll drop babies left and right, and they'll make poor partners in relationships.

Amp is right that should feminism succeed that the resulting diminishment of sexism would be a victory for all victims of sexism, female and male. What he hasn't said -- and what I believe needs much more attention -- is that men have a responsibility to stand up to their own sexist attitudes that they have about themselves and each other. Some men's and father' rights attitudes are discriminatory against the men they claim to want to help.


You see the most extreme versions of this line of thinking in things like the explanation for the burqa -- women have to cover themselves because men can't be relied upon to control their sexual thoughts and actions should they happen to see female skin. What's interesting about this is the way that negative stereotypes of men wind up being used to justify oppression against women. Wilson points out that the conclusion drawn from the stereotype of the sex-crazed man is not that men are a lower form of human, but that women must bear the responsibility and burden of "civilizing" their husbands and sons, while implicitly excusing male wildness as natural.

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