I am literally copying and pasting this post because it is PERFECTION.
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1. Discrimination based on sex is not sexism
Sorry dudes, it’s not. “Sexism” is a manifestation of a large, societal system that privileges men over women. Frequently it manifests itself in the form of discrimination against women. But just because it does that, it does not mean that discrimination against men is “sexist.” In fact, much of the “discrimination against men” that I see bandied about is really just legal mechanisms for redressing men being privileged over women. Evening the scales, as it were. Let’s look at some examples, shall we?
Spousal/child support. This is a big one, frequently cited, but it’s not sexism. Yes, men more frequently pay spousal and child support, and compared to women, they often pay more. An unsubtle analysis might make it seem like men are getting the short end of the stick. No, dudes, we’re not. Women who work are paid less than men who work. So frequently, because our marriage laws generally demand a division of property, that means that a man who makes more than a woman has to give up some of his income to continue to support that woman. And that’s for women who work. Women also have more barriers to entering and re-entering the workforce after having been a parent/caregiver. Women who care for children of a marriage give up the opportunity to work and make money, and engage in what we might call uncompensated child care. That’s a disadvantage to women, post-divorce. Looking at child support, we see a similar pattern. Women are overwhelmingly expected/forced to take care of children in an uncompensated manner, so post-divorce, society looks to the income-earning spouse, generally the man, and expects him to pay up and help support the child. Moreover, society generally expects women to continue taking care of children after a divorce, without much of a regard to whether or not the woman wants to, or the woman’s ability to re-enter the workforce and earn a wage to support those children. So as far as these forms of support, they’re not things that “disadvantage” men, but legal mechanisms to help redress an imbalance that overwhelmingly favors men.
Let’s look at a less legal example (and a much simpler one): “ladies’ nights.”
Some dudes look at this and say, “This is discrimination against men, because women get free drinks, and men don’t.” You’re wrong. This isn’t discrimination, but rather, a pretty blatant attempt to get dudes to go to bars by advertising to dudes that something they want is going to be at the bar: women. What these bars are doing is pretty much offering you a service/promise of women being there. You’re getting something in return for not getting free drinks. And it’s all a product of the pretty effed up kyriarchy.
Another example from my comments: the “concrete basement” or the fact that men are overwhelmingly involved in more industrial accidents than women. First off: see above re: the pay gap. More men are in industrial accidents because women were not allowed to be employed in industrial jobs. Men got the huge advantage of being in jobs where there was good wages (and as the 20th century wore on, benefits) while women were routinely denied being able to work at all and those good jobs too. Yes, there were more accidents, but women never even had the opportunity to take those jobs with its attendants risks and rewards. And certainly a discussion of sex-based fatalities could not be complete without what was the historically #1 killer of women for all time: child-birth. Sorry victims of industrial accidents, but there’s a crapload more deaths of women at childbirth both today around the world and everywhere historically than there are for industrial accidents. This is a pretty common tactic of anti-feminists: to take a negative byproduct (industrial accidents) of what is a huge advantage for men (having jobs for wages), and make it seem as if it is “sexist against men” because of that byproduct.
One of my commenters, “John,” laid out some more examples, and I’ll address them. He mentioned the draft (selective service). While again, this is sex-based discrimination, but historically, selective service was viewed as a responsibility for citizens. And who weren’t citizens? If you guessed women, you’re right! The draft is another example of a negative byproduct that hurts men, but a byproduct of something overwhelmingly privileged in favor of men. When the U.S. was founded, women couldn’t vote, mostly couldn’t own property, couldn’t be elected to office, couldn’t engage in most occupations, etc., etc. Citizenship, and all its attendants rights (voting, participating in elected office, holding property) and responsibilities, like the draft, was exclusively male.
John made a pretty crazy argument about circumcision that I won’t adress, suffice to say that according to my understanding of how this all works mechanically, female circumcision as practiced is far worse than male circumcision. John also brought up adoption, but I think I’ve addressed how legal rights in favor of women have developed to redress society’s privileging of men on this stuff already. He brings up a pretty crazy argument about men who rape women (in statutory rape cases) don’t have a choice in whether or not to abort, give up for adoption, or keep the child. I don’t think I need to cover that one much more than simply to say that after committing the crime of rape, you don’t get to press any parental rights upon the victim.
2. The Kyriarchy sucks for men too
Yo dudes, believe me, I get it: the kyriarchy, patriarchy, heternormative world sucks for men too. That doesn’t make it “reverse sexist” however. It makes it shitty. And we should do stuff about it, but whatever it is, “reverse sexist” is not the appropriate term to characterize it.
One comments, in responding to comments about how women are often forced to prove themselves in workplaces, often competing against other women in a cutthroat manner, made the point that men also have to compete in a cutthroat manner against other men in the workplace. I’ll wholeheartedly agree, but whatever you want to call that phenomena, “reverse sexist” isn’t it.
If you’re a man who recognizes that society sucks for men in the way it places expectations on men to act in certain ways and be certain ways, let me point in the right direction of the enemy: it’s society and how we structure our culture, not women. Sure, women can buy into how our society is structured just as much as men can, but that doesn’t make all women any more than it makes all men the enemies or opponents of feminists.