Is “human decency” the punchline?

Tumblr has been going all social justice the past week, thanks to Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster on blocking the Texan bill that would severely restrict access to abortion and abortion clinics. Luckily, and I heavily emphasize the word luckily, common sense and the slightest bit of respect for women won out, and the bill was struck down.

Way to go, Wendy! :)

Moreover, on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, rape jokes have come up again as a heated topic of discussion. You get the usual bigots who say that rape jokes are just jokes, and if you can’t handle it, don’t pay the money to see the show. Then you also get the folk who do have human decency and say that, hey, rape jokes aren’t funny.

In a society that’s supposed to be post-Enlightenment, we really are anything but. When the statistic came up saying that 40% of households have women earning more money than men, the country goes berserk, saying how these crazy feminists are taking over the world, etc. Excuse me, read it again. 40% of households have women earning more than men.

That means that 60% of households still have men who are the main breadwinner.

When I read this, I was shocked. I wasn’t shocked because, ooh, women are going to be ruling Wall Street. I was shocked that this was classified as news or a new finding.

What the heck?! All this says is that “men are the main breadwinner in most homes”. How is that news in any way?

Or is it news because, oh no, women are actually getting closer and closer to having equal financial power in the home? If that’s the kicker, then surely we must be in the Dark Ages.

I’m even more shocked at this CNN article titled “When rape jokes aren’t funny“, which talks about the poor and tactless performance of Daniel Tosh. With that title, it’s as if rape jokes were funny in the first place. Which they weren’t, aren’t, and will never be. Either the CNN writer deliberately did this, or that rape culture is so ingrained in our society that it has gone unnoticed.

But CNN is a giant news network! It must have star reporters or excellent writers to have seen the errors. Surely this tasteless mistake should not have slipped, but it did. With the prestige of the network in mind, I almost think that it’s a tongue-in-cheek.

________________________

Now I’m going to make a seemingly chasm-sized leap to another topic: men’s rights activists/activism (MRA). Surprisingly, there are many supporters for this social group. It’s bizarre, because honestly, the topics they focus on, these “men’s issues”, are already topics that feminism supports and is fighting for:

  • child custody to go to the father
  • men having the confidence and resources to confide about being rape victims
  • fighting for fair trial for men who are accused of rape (so that they are not automatically convicts)
  • men not being called pedophiles for wanting to be teachers
  • men not automatically convicts after a student sex assault allegation has been claimed
  • and other things that involve men and being treated equally

One of the stupider articles that I read trying to defend MRA states that feminists deny any discrimination to men, ummmm no. 

NO.

Okay, I don’t think MRA understands feminism as the supporters claim to do. Yes, we know that MRM supporters do not consist solely of men. Do realize that feminists do not solely consist of women or weak men either.

Feminists, by definition,

the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes

That’s from Oxford Dictionary.

Notice that it says:

  • advocacy, and
  • equality of the sexes

Now, we’re going to hear some anti-feminists saying (and I don’t know why they’re anti- since everyone’s enjoying the benefits of feminism), “Why do women get special treatment, and not men? What’s the deal? How is that equal?!”

You’re right. It isn’t equal because women were subpar to men for, oh, I don’t know, since the dawn of human civilization. The vast majority of human history was about how men ruled, how men designed the game, and women were not even players. Women were merely on the sidelines, expected to support and cheer men on.

This is not to say that men benefited entirely from this patriarchy. Men undergo enormous pressure to fit within the social norms just as women do. Because if they don’t, then they get called “a girl” or “pussy“. That’s right, the worst insult a man could be labelled is either to be a member of the opposite sex, or a body part of the opposite sex. In fact, the worst-ever insult would be calling him the female body part he was born out of.

Isn’t it ironic!

Yes, we understand that men have daily trials just trying to live as “men”. But wouldn’t life be so much better if men experienced the same rights as women, or women experienced the same rights as men? Wouldn’t life be fantastic if men could be nurses without being called names? Wouldn’t life be better if the worst insult to call a man wasn’t that he’s a member of the female sex, or a body part of a female? Or anything related to female?

And that’s why I see these men’s rights movements as immature and undeveloped social phenomena. That’s all they are. I don’t even see them fit as being called “social movements” because they’re such primitively designed and primitively organized … people (if they can be called organized) that it can’t be a movement of any sort.

Unfortunately, the loudest group of MRM supporters are not people who are fighting for child custody, or fighting for men to have the same respect as women when they apply to certain jobs. The loudest MRM supporters are those who claim feminists are depriving the men (and note: only men) their rights. The loudest feminists are, however, people who are changing the face of politics, such as Senator Wendy Davis today.

No, sir, you do not get to whine about how the spotlight isn’t on you when the spotlight was on you since the dawn of humankind. The reason why women are being focused on is because we were always living in the shadow of men. You should, in fact, be grateful that you do not need such specific advocacy of your rights, to constantly remind people, “Hey, I’m human too”. You should be thankful that being privileged is the norm for you.

Another issue with MRM is that, unlike feminism, it does not target at all the biggest factor in reinforcing these men’s issues: language. Language is the biggest motivator in social change, since the way a word is used can drastically change the connotation of a concept. For example, “gay” used to mean “cheerful” and “happy” when I was in elementary school (which is about 10 years ago). Now, this definition is hardly used, if even known about.

When men are called “pussy” or “girl” as an insult, that’s what sparks the most problems that MRM is trying to address. There is no use to swatting the bees. Swat the nest instead. 

Let’s look at it. Why are men being passed over for custody? Because they aren’t mothers. That would be girly of them. That would mean they’re weak.

Why are men scared of admitting that they were raped? Because that would mean they’re girly. That’d mean they’re weak.

Why are men scared of applying to jobs in the care sector, like nursing or teaching? Because they take care of the weak, and they play an instrumental role. That’s what girls do. And girls are weak.

And how do we know girls are weak? Well, they certainly aren’t in the big, money-cow fields, like politics!

I’ve digressed on quite a tangent, but surely my message is clear. To fight against the issues that MRM is trying to debunk is to fight alongside feminism.

My other message is that rape jokes are never funny, no matter in what context. It really is saddening, if not maddening, to see that comedy is being used as a shield to ward off the expected outbursts of anger. Comedy walks on a fine line, and is actually quite a spectacular art form, but many comedians fall off the tightrope that can’t withstand their blind egoism.

To hear people in this day and age, in 2013, say that “it’s just a joke” or “you just don’t get it” with rape jokes is scandalous and dehumanizing to both men and women. Not everything can be a joke because the hurt never goes away. The scar is always present.

Or is human decency a joke too? Because that seems like a myth in modern-day comedy.

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4 thoughts on “Is “human decency” the punchline?

  1. MRA’s understand feminists all to well nor do feminists have the best interests of men at heart. To put it bluntly your claims are patently false!

    • Of course feminists do not only have the best interests of men at heart. They strive for gender equality, meaning to level the playing field. Women are on a lower rung culturally when seeking active roles and are financially in terms of pay (in 2013!).

      Insults to men are “girl” and the sexual organ of a female. Girls are supposed to feel good about themselves when they’re called masculine. “Feminine” has a negative connotation no matter in which context.

      Moreover, I have already stated how feminists do fight for men’s issues. “Not have the best interests of men at heart”… I’m sorry, did you want to have child custody automatically passed over to the female solely because the kid came out of her nether region? Do you want to be seen as a pedophile when you apply to be a teacher, or a wuss when applying to nursing?

      More importantly: do you want to be dehumanized into a sexually-driven animal because people are saying “girls should put on more clothes. Their skin provokes men to grope them”, because you should be pissed off about that. They’re saying you lack intelligence.

      Although from your comment, I think you might be missing a few points because either you did not read my post fully, or did not understand it.

  2. Re: They strive for gender equality, meaning to level the playing field. Women are on a lower rung culturally when seeking active roles and are financially in terms of pay (in 2013!).
    __________________________
    Again this is false. For if it were true feminists would not have made a habit of demanding laws that place men at a clear disadvantage – both socially and legally – to women. It just so happens that between May 14, 1979 and the last working day of June 1997 – that’s a little over 18 yrs I worked in a plant where women were always paid the same as their male counterparts. Yet these same women were NEVER EVER required to do any heavy lifting while any male who refused to risk hurting his back was fired.

    Feminism is a bait and switch type of deology whose adherents claim one thing while actively doing another. In other words while you falsely claim that feminists want to level the playing field; the feminists lobbying state and national politicians demand laws that were intentionally written to place men at a clear disadvantage – both socially and legally – to women.

    Lastly I understood you clearly and just so you understand me clearly as well I am calling you and any other feminist who make these same claims A LIAR!

    • Excuse me, but have you thought that perhaps in those 18 years, it was the bosses who didn’t want the women to whine about their backs, and might as well get a guy to do it? Women were always seen as the weaker sex, and, god forbid, their complaining about heavy lifting! Firing men because they don’t want to do heavy lifting is NOT a feminist’s fault (I don’t even know how you tried to form a logical argument there). It is clearly, CLEARLY, your boss’s decision to favour women over men, and that, in itself, is not a feminist move, and your boss wasn’t a feminist either for that.

      If you have issues about how women are paid the same but are doing different VALUED things, then talk to your boss about it. Don’t blame feminists because they are certainly not the ones telling your boss to make double-standard rules. This is not your mom’s fault, your grandma’s fault, your aunt’s fault, your daughter’s fault, or the feminists’ fault. If you have a problem with your boss, either talk to him/her or leave the building. Don’t just make an illogical argument and try to pin it on feminists. Feminists are busy trying to work out the bigger picture so things like this DON’T happen. Getting on the bandwagon to blame feminists shows really low class and lack of knowledge of this social movement that somehow is still needed in the age of post-Enlightenment, when clearly some of our species seems to still be within Plato’s cave.

      Moreover, 1997 is 16 years ago! Lots of things have changed since then. Construction companies hire women to do said heavy lifting and labour. However, now companies aren’t wanting to hire women, especially young and/or married women, because they could get pregnant, and then, oh no, get a maternity leave. And you wonder why women can’t enter these industries?

      I’m not sure which laws you’re talking about are placing men at a disadvantage. Helping men feel more confident about admitting being rape victims? Helping men get a job as a nurse or kindergarten teacher without being seen as an aggressor?

      Or wanting to take abortion decisions into their own hands? Funnily enough, it is old, and often White, men who are making these decisions about a woman’s body, and when a woman speaks up about defending her own body, she’s seen as a slut who obviously should keep her clothes on and legs closed.

      Please see this comic to see why feminism is still important today.

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