Men May Be Disposable, But They Are Not Ending

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About Pelle Billing

Pelle Billing is an M.D. and a professional teacher of Argentine tango, who writes and lectures about gender and men’s issues. You can read more from him at his eponymous website.


  1. Great article. Yeah, we get a bad rap. I think men are one of the last acceptable groups to stereotype. It is probably due to thousands of years of domineering and misogynistic behavior by men, which is still socially acceptable in many parts of the world. But that doesn’t make prejudice against men right, any more than it is okay to prejudge any group. Many people in this world, need to look into themselves, and be the change they want to see in the world (to coin a phrase frequently attributed to Ghandi). How great of a world would it be if every individual had the self-awareness and drive to positively contribute to society, value the positive contributions of others, and accept the humanity in each of us? Wow, that’s a world I want to live in, so that’s how I try to live.

  2. michael mcveigh says:

    Industrialisation has made many tasks suitable for women to do. However, ask them to back up a vehicle with a trailer attached….
    And when the foreign hoardes come, what will happen. To think that they won’t come is a blind disregard for history and the way it constantly repeats itself.

  3. Mike Russo says:

    I wonder if any of those the author has pronounced may have been ” immersed in feminism for too long” (not just women, but anyone who has convinced themselves of this reality) knows how often people in deplorable, dirty jobs have to open up those manhole covers to go under the street and into the guts of a city to fix a broken line. The manpower needed every thawing spring to replace fractured piping for gas, cable, water, electricity is astounding. It’s really like saying your family’s prayers are keeping you alive in a hospital. Well then, I guess you don’t need all these fancy medications or digital life support/monitoring equipment.

    Yes, I used “Manhole cover” on purpose. I did so because that’s what they are called. Yes, women can go into those holes and fix those pipes, but ask any 100000 women on the street and I would bet a lot of money that fewer than 100 would actually consider a career in doing so, but I’d also guess more than that might mention we should call them “Peoplehole covers.” I used “manpower” on purpose, because those jobs are largely held by men, and I mean VERY largely.

    How would a 100 story skyscraper, which is constantly kicked around by high winds at the top, stay up if it’s girders and concrete supports weren’t frequently repaired and reinforced? Or concrete bridges? Or highways? These are all jobs women can do, and I have seen women in these jobs more than once, but less than I can count on all my fingers and toes. The vast, and unfortunately silent majority of these jobs are filled by men. And for some good reason, since these jobs are physically tolling and let’s be honest, brutal work. Think about that worker when you drive over a bridge in your 2010 white Buick LaSabre, drinking your Iced Mocha Soy Double Shot Latte, without whipped cream. Women can be more suited to an increasing age of connectivity and digital apathy, but don’t forget the infrastructure that made it possible, and the millions of men who have actually been buried under the infrastructure they helped build in this country and around the world.

    This whole coversation is odd. Considering one of the skills women are supposed to bring to the white collar world that men don’t is an emotional intelligence. Usually, one would consider empathy and sympathy within that intelligence, and the types the author describes here are displaying a serious lack of sympathy and appreciation to those who built the steps they climbed to the top…

    • … don’t forget the infrastructure that made it possible, and the millions of men who have actually been buried under the infrastructure they helped build in this country and around the world.

      Well said, Mike, and it can’t be said often enough. It is far too easy to forget all the men who built our roads, railways, canals, airports, bridges, homes, retail and office buildings, power grid, water and wastewater utilities, schools, hospitals, and parks. Even our graveyards, which hold so many of those long-forgotten and underappreciated men who gave us the foundations of all the infrastructure we use and take for granted daily.

      That infrastructure, as both you and Pelle have rightly pointed out, is not some static fossil or a perpetual motion machine that can be left to keep chugging along unattended, and unfortunately it is not just the ghosts of the past who are all too often invisible and unappreciated for their toil and risks taken for the good of us all.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Peggy Noonan, in her post-9-11 column, “Welcome Back, Duke” pointed out that the “princes” of the city hadn’t actually acknowledged or noticed the guys who did the hard work. The latter were invisible. And if they’re invisible, I guess you don’t wonder how the work is actually being done.
    In fact, on GMP and other places, you will hear poorly-hidden disparagement of the guys who do the hard work because it’s “macho”. Trucks, chain saws, fire equipment, some military issues should be de-masculinized, miners….
    But electricity comes out if the wall and that’s all you need to know.


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