Wednesday, May 18, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Why the Man Hate? ( By Melissa)

This is something that didn't bother me until I had a son. In fact, I probably engaged in it more times than I care to admit. After I had my son I had to see the world through the eyes of what it would be like to me a male in today's society and what I find bothers me.

I know this blog is focused on women, but as women we have a duty to the other sex to treat them as equals.

What? Men's rights? Why do they need rights? They have always had rights and women have always been repressed! Get outta here....

Let's be realistic. Traditionally men have had more rights than women. They are better paid than women. They are more likely to be in management positions in the work force. The list goes on and on, there's no denying it. Traditionally females have had to fight to have equality, again no denying it. However does this make it okay for one sex to push the pendulum in the other direction, ever?

I worked in a daycare environment for many years. It's no big secret that usually day care providers are normally females around child bearing age. At one preschool I worked in we had a young man who was in school for elementary education apply for the position of lead teacher, and he was hired. Honestly, he was more qualified than half of the staff because childcare is typically an entry level position with no college level experience needed. To round out his resume, he had children of his own as well. So here was an experienced dad and future educator on staff, great right?

Not really, in the eyes of many mothers that brought their children in to the daycare. "Is he.. going to be changing diapers?" I had one very concerned mother ask me when I was in the room by myself with the toddler age kids one day. I didn't even know how to answer that without feeling indignant on his behalf. Why wouldn't he? He was staff! Was he automatically suspect because he owned a penis? Other mothers would not really speak to him when we worked in a class together, but would speak to me only. This guy was always friendly and professional, plus really great with the kids. But because of his gender he was never quite accepted by many of the mothers as a day care provider.

I have heard mothers say when they are at a park that if they see a dad there with his kids they think all kinds of interesting things. For instance, if dad is letting the kids swing higher in the swings than what they think a mom might like they "Tsk tsk" in their own minds and hope mom comes along soon to correct the father. Or if the dad tries to have a conversation with them they figure he is a creep trying to pick up ladies at the park, instead of just another parent trying to strike up conversation. Some moms get so upset by the dad on the playground scenario they move to the other side of the playground (because he might be a pedophile of course!) or they leave altogether, never noticing the fact that the dad is paying little attention to them and having fun with his own kids.

What really drives me crazy is how men are thought of as people who think with nothing but their stomachs and penises. How many times have you heard the phrase "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? Or even worse in the case of a cheating spouse "Well I guess he just wasn't happy in bed now, was he? I will never have that issue, my man gets is satisfied!". I know we all like a good meal and great sex can't be scoffed at, but is that all men like? NO. Maybe there are shallow ones out there that only like to eat and have sex, but they aren't the majority. Most men aren't much different than their female counterparts really. They want to you to be affectionate, have great conversations with them, laugh with them, let them vent and even vent to them sometimes and lots of other things. Why do we minimalize them to their basic needs?

Something that we have been seeing in a legal prospective, especially in divorce and custody agreements, is that men are often not given equal rights. Slowly this is changing but it is still not equal by a long shot. The default for most custody agreements is for the mother to have full custody of the children no matter what. Men usually don't even fight this because they know how the courts work, they don't really have a chance in hell of it being any other way unless the  mother is very abusive, woefully negligent or doesn't want custody. And the abuse or negligence is often difficult to prove and the custodial parent can attend parenting classes to preserve their custodial status. The battle is an uphill battle, worth fighting of course, but it starts off on unfair ground in the first place based on the fact that one parent has a penis and one has a vagina. That is the standard criteria.

Even with no extenuating circumstances and two parents who are loving and stable the default custodial parent will almost always be the mother. For no other reason than she is the mother. The only good thing we have going for us in the court system is that more and more custody cases are becoming shared custody instead of primary custody by one parent and the other having every other weekend plus some holidays. Like I said, it's changing, albeit slowly.

I will leave you with this statistic about male suicide rates. Why are the rates higher for men than women? I don't know. I am sure there are multiple reasons outside of social ones. It is a very scary statistic to read though and makes me feel like we need to really consider the overall mental health of men. We need to realize they are not all closet pedophiles. They don't all think with only their stomach and penises. They are good fathers, teachers, coaches, co workers, people who walk past us on the street and sit next to us on the bench at the playground.

"Males have a significantly higher rate of death by suicide than females, with an age-standardised rate of 17.4 deaths per 100,000 males in 2007, compared with 4.9 deaths per 100,000 females."-