Joanna Schroeder hopes men and women can become allies in the war against inequality, without too many casualties on either side.
This post is in reply to Nicole Johnson’s post: Ladies, Let’s Stop Declaring War on Men.
I really wanted to love your article, Ladies, Let’s Stop Declaring War on Men, a response to Meghan Casserly’s Forbes piece, because I really agree with your title! We need to stop fighting the people who should be our allies. But I’ve re-read yours and Meghan’s articles each three times in the attempt to find the connecting (and disconnecting) fibers. I’m still sort of perplexed.
First, let me say I am a guy’s girl. I love me my men. My writing partner is a guy, two of my best friends are guys, my brother made me a feminist, my uncles and my dad and stepdad are my cheerleaders, my grandfather thinks I’m bananas but brilliant. My husband is a tower of pleasure and an intellectual challenge to me. Seriously, I love men.
But I also love women. I’ve never once felt I had to choose sides. Interestingly, I think both you and Meghan agree with me. There is not actually a *war*. No one wins when the sexes battle. By pointing out that when women gain power, power doesn’t necessarily get taken from men, I think she’s agreeing with you.
But Nicole, who are these women who are waging war against men? It’s not Meghan, as far as I can tell. Feminists? Some feminists? Not me, not any feminists I know in real life. A vocal minority of feminists perhaps, are trying to wage war against men. And maybe Hymowitz, whose book gets a lot of press, but I’m not sure represents the opinions of the vast majority of women.
Also, perhaps, a vocal minority of whiny, woe-is-me, embittered women who have failed at dating and in the workplace? Sure, probably. I too, HATE statements like, “All men are dicks.” or “All men want is sex.” Annoying, abusive, untrue, ugly, make-you-ugly things to say. I equally hate the assumption that women are gold-diggers or bitches, which sometimes happens when guys are heartbroken or have failed at dating.
Both sexes have their annoying, whiny, woe-is-me minority. But please, don’t say this is what “women do” when confronted with challenges or inequalities. Not fair.
I ask for what I want, and I’ve gotten (or am getting) almost everything I’ve asked for. And I am just an average woman. You pass me on the street every day and you don’t think, “Now there’s the woman who is the rare exception to the rule!” No, I am the average, strong-minded, pretty-enough, hard-working woman. The whiny women are the minority, just as the women-hating men are the minority.
What if I wrote a piece on GMP wherein I said, “To further illustrate my point, here are additional examples: if a man has become unsuccessful in the dating marketplace, suddenly all women are bitches. If a man has not received a raise at work, he unequivocally has been suppressed by the feminist anti-man takeover. When a wife doesn’t ‘pull her weight’ at home, men perceive her as lazy and gold-digging?”
People would jump on my shit faster than I could reply! They’d say, “You cannot generalize men like that!” And they’d be right!
Why can you say that about us? Because you’re one of us? No way, dude.
Call us to arms! I love that! Call us to be brave, to be strong, to ask for the raises and promotions we deserve. But don’t say that’s *the* reason the vast, vast majority of CEOs are men. The reasons for this disparity are so profound that the word “plethora” doesn’t even quite reach it. First, of course, there’s the education rift for those generations (CEOs tend to be over the age of 45) that funneled women into different course paths and didn’t encourage them to pursue these types of careers. Second, there’s the good-old-boys-club in some of the corporations with these older male CEOs. Third, there’s the burden (and gift) of childbirth and motherhood and society’s expectations of how a woman’s work performance will change once she is a mother as opposed to what we expect from men once they become fathers. I could go on and on. And on.
These aren’t excuses. These are partial explanations. And times are changing, as Meghan pointed out. Women are earning more higher degrees than men, men are staying home more with little ones (there’s a dad at our school who picks up his first and third graders with a two year old on his shoulders and pushing a baby in a stroller while his wife goes to her gnarly high-paying job). But, as Meghan says, that doesn’t make men less manly or women more like men. She cites this great quote from HuffPo’s Marcia Reynolds:
“We are all evolving. It’s the labels and judgments we place on each other that are not evolving.”
Don’t de-volve us by saying that women are “this way” or “that way”. The war, of course, isn’t a real war. Obviously there is no bloodshed. But generalizations like these are a form of knocking down an opponent.
Also, am I naive to think that she’s making a joke with her snarky thanks to science? I could be wrong, but I’m thinkin’ she’s not actually pissed that science hasn’t given men, or maybe test-tubes, uteruses (uteri?) and vaginas.
Finally, it is not anti-man to point out inequalities in the workplace or anywhere else. I think she’s just saying that the premise to Manning Up is inherently faulted due to the fact that women are still far from equal in the workplace. We can’t be “defeating” an opponent if we are barely even on the same playing field.
We should all, as a united front, look at the inequalities in the workplace and accept individual responsibility for our roles in how they became this way. We should work as a team to even them out. I think you, me, and Meghan all agree on that.