I see women complaining about sexism all the time. I notice it range from the very subtle to the glaringly obvious, shameful situations. While it isn’t appropriate, I also see a lot of women being guilty of doing the very same thing to men. Why is sexism towards women wrong, but men are fair game?
Sexism in parenting
For many years, it was believed men could not parent on their own. In the past, there were numerous cases of children even being removed from a home after their mother died because a single man was considered to be unfit. Thankfully, we’ve progressed to the point where we now are seeing the rise of stay-at-home dads (SAHD). Yet single dads are often treated very differently than single moms.
Being a single dad makes me perhaps a bit more sensitive to this issue. People are absolutely stunned when they discover that I adopted Tigger as a single parent. Many people have expressed they didn’t even know a man could do that! And we’re not talking other countries. These have been during encounters with North Americans. But there are many countries where it is practically unheard of, and I’ve grown accustomed to having someone look at me like I have two heads in those places.
“But where is the mother?” There is no mother. “Did she die? Are you divorced?” They can’t comprehend it.
Schools were the worst in my experience. I remember when my son’s class was having a party. They were one of the few schools that still allow home-baked goodies. I picked him up from class, and the teacher was letting various parents know what she was hoping for the most. Then she saw me.
I remember watching her face as the wheels turned in her head. “Oh, but don’t worry about that, Mr. Windwalker. You can bring something store-bought like cupcakes. Or even paper plates would be fine.”
I still remember the look of shock on her face when I appeared with pumpkin harvest cookies I had baked. “They were everyone’s favorite!” Remember that, lady!
There was also the time when one of my children decided to wear a dirty hoodie to school along with pants with large holes in the knees. Before he went to school we had a conversation. “Are you aware that you have food stains on your hoodie?” Yes. “It looks filthy.” I know. “And your pants have huge holes. Would you like me to patch them?” No, I like them like this. “Okeydoke.”
Needless to say I received a very condescending message from school advising me that it was important to his self-esteem to have clean clothes that were also in good repair. Yeah, no crap lady. With any child you pick your battles. With this one, who already had some major challenges, I wasn’t going to do battle for something so unimportant.
I have grown accustomed to the looks from women when Tigger is bouncing, hopping, skipping, etc., when other people are walking. Or when he’s scaling a telephone pole or high wall. The unspoken comment is quite clear: Stupid man and your irresponsible parenting. Where is his mother!
I often see people post things on social media that are very degrading to men and their lack of parenting aptitude. Just because we may approach it differently as males, doesn’t mean we’re wrong, stupid, or ignorant thank you very much.
I’ve actually had to work very hard to counter some of Tigger’s experience-based sexist views. Because of the people he’s been around, and their reactions to his daredevilism and free spirit, his view of women is that they’re all “overprotective.” I consistently counter that some women are like that, but not all women are, and that he shouldn’t just assume any woman he comes across is going to try to wrap him in bubble paper from head to toe.
Ladies, sometimes you make my job very difficult!
Sexism in the media
In TV shows and commercials, men are regularly portrayed as being rather incompetent while women know it all and save the day. If it weren’t for women, all of us idiotic men would never eat anything with a shred of nutrition, would probably die from doing basic tasks around the house, and good gawd never leave us alone with the children!
In the 50s and 60s, we had shows where men were the absolute sage in the household, and women’s primary talent was keeping a good home. Obviously, that was not right. But we’ve gone the completely opposite direction, and that isn’t fair either.
Of course, there is still ripe sexism toward women in shows. I’ve never understood why it’s perfectly okay to show full frontal nudity of women, but flash a glimpse of penis and holy s**t it’s pornography!
Men are perverts
Things had become so bad in the US in this regard that I am reticent to help a child in obvious need. The media and others have done such a great job of portraying the message that men are really pedophiles that I’m afraid to go near a kid who isn’t mine. I once was in a Walmart when a boy who was about 6 years old came up to me crying. He had lost his parents. Not wanting to be mistaken for an abductor or molester, I spoke really loudly: “Are you lost? Would you like some help?” I was practically yelling, which I’m sure didn’t help this poor boy feel any better.
“Follow me, and I’ll get you some help,” I said loudly while looking around and keeping my distance. He tried to take hold of my hand, but I quickly pulled it away because that could look even more suspicious. As we were walking toward the front of the store, the kid bawling as he followed me like a puppy dog, one of his family showed up. His reaction made it obvious this was his family, and I was so relieved. But I also waited to be accused.
Why? Because I have seen people become wrongly unglued far too often.
And it’s even worse because I’m gay. When I announced I was going to become a Big Brother (before adopting), I had some people who had known me for many years immediately question my motivation. News flash: I’m a gay MAN. That means I’m attracted to other MEN.
And since at least 95% of all cases of reported sexual molestation are perpetrated by heterosexual, married men, I’m actually your safer option.
This is the basic idea that since men having been doing it to women for so long, when they return the favor it’s “reverse sexism.” Bullcrap! Sexism is sexism. Yeah, some stereotypes are funny, and sure some men do some seriously weird things, but we’re not all bumbling idiots.
It’s also true that we often have radically different approaches to relationships and communication. Guys tend to be much more frank. “Dude, you’re getting a belly!” is totally acceptable for a male to say to his male buddy. Obviously, if a man says that to a woman most likely hell will be unleashed in all its fury.
When two men have an argument, it’s usually over pretty soon and they’re back to being friends. During an argument with a woman, it often goes something like this—It’s just like that time in 1973. I was wearing that purple shirt, and you had on that black cap with the AC/DC logo. We were at Sheila’s BBQ when they lived on Stratherson Road before they moved to Stickapininit. . . .
Most likely men are still stuck on the fact that you remember something that happened in 1973 a good 20 minutes into the conversation.
We get we’re different. No one disagrees that we think, communicate, behave, and deal with stressors differently. But how about spreading a little equality in our direction?
Being in the medical field, I’ve been surrounded by women for at least three decades. If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a woman begin saying something that ended with other women replying “MEN!” in choral unison, I’d be a billionaire. Look, just because YOUR guy is a 5-star prick doesn’t mean we all are.
Trust me, if I judged all women by my experiences with my mother and some others, I would have very few friends.
Your husband may not be able to fix your kids something other than frozen fishsticks dinner, but this one can throw together a multicourse meal that won’t be soon forgotten. And it isn’t just because I’m a homo either. My mother couldn’t manage to do much more than boil water.
So how about we all knock off the sexism crap? Women, you are no saints either, so come down off the high horse.
And girl, if you’re sick of your husband/partner/boyfriend/whatever acting like a child, stop treating him like you’re his mama. You just find you have yourself a real man.
Which examples of sexism towards males bugs you the most?