Like most Americans, I look at the news about the economy, the need for health care reform and our growing national debt, and I worry about how we're going to escape the recession.I don't know whether I'm laughing harder at men being an "endangered species" or at "the Great He-cession." Clearly, American men are in grave danger of extinction, as evidenced by our male president, his male vice-president, and his male-dominated cabinet, our 84% male Congress, our 89% male Supreme Court, a majority male American workforce, men continuing to make more than their female counterparts for the same job, the Apatovian dudebro backlash across the pop culture landscape, and the fact that USA Today wouldn't publish a piece as equivalently heavy on feminist rhetoric, even if it were well-sourced and factually accurate, to the anti-feminist rhetoric in this heap of fetid rubbish if the author paid them.
But as someone who has spent his career working to save an endangered species men I have another worry on my mind: What are we going to do about the Great He-cession?
As you've no doubt already guessed, Big Z immediately launches into the argument that the current recession is disproportionately affecting men, based on the figure that men have suffered greater full-time job losses in the last year—which conveniently ignores the huge numbers of women who were first out when job losses began years ago, and no longer even show up in unemployment numbers, because they've given up job hunting and long ago exhausted their unemployment benefits.
Naturally, he's also ignored, as have most others making the "men are faring worse" claim, that only in some fantasy world where having a job at all is a better predictor of security and quality of life than what kind of job one actually has does the assertion make sense. That women may soon be employed in greater numbers does not mean that men are faring worse, given that women are much more likely to be underemployed and underpaid; men who are laid off will have made more and ergo had more opportunity to save than their female counterparts before losing their jobs. Anytime massive layoffs strike, people who have had less opportunity to stockpile savings are most negatively affected.
And, of course, going from jobless to topless isn't exactly a Utopia for most women—but let's talk more about how terrible things are for the menz.
A 2007 government survey found that of the 36.8 million American adults who lack health insurance, 56% are men.Solution: Support feminism, which has been advocating for universal healthcare for decades.
And let's remember our injured vets: 98% of the Iraq wounded are men, and for many of them, their war-related health problems will continue for a lifetime.Solution: Support feminism, a community in which you will hear such realities of war being discussed before the war—and where you will also find support for female soldiers being allowed to fight on the front lines and share the most dangerous duties.
Psychological issues again, often left untreated because of a lack of employment and insurance affect men in much greater numbers, as well. Almost 70% of homeless adults are men, and the suicide rate for young men is five times that of young women.Solution: Support feminism, which seeks to subvert the cultural narratives about masculinity that discourage men from seeking care and asking for help, that associate need with weakness.
One argument for funding so many health service organizations targeted to those citizens who already enjoy the best health, the most insurance, the longest lifespan, and the safest and most plentiful jobs that would be women is that it's payback time.Another argument would be that the feminist women who have petitioned and fought for the existence of those organization and their funding: A) Know that women actually don't enjoy the best health, the most insurance, and the greatest access to jobs and associated health benefits; and: B) Don't subscribe to cultural disincentives that challenge their genderhood, prioritizing health above conformity.
The Obama administration showed great eagerness in addressing the problems of women soon after it took office, with the establishment of the White House Council on Women and Girls. We applaud that move, and we now look for equal time for the males of the species.I'm really tempted to suggest that Big Z blow it out his ass and leave it at that, but instead I'll take just a moment to point out what ought to be painfully obvious: It isn't that American men (which, naturally, in Zincenko's parlance means "straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied American men") lack for opportunity, or access, or privilege, or anything else. In fact, in just about every way imaginable, American men still have the advantage out of the starting gate. What American men in the main are lacking is a way to define themselves that is neither oppressor nor oppressed.
…In other words, let's think about men. It's about time we caught a break, and a he-covery would be just the thing.
Masculinity has defined itself exclusively in contradistinction to the feminine for so long that a serious challenge to the idea of inherent male superiority has left millions of American men floundering—and the best answer most of them have found for the question "What is my role if not a keeper of women?" is "I am a victim of oppression by women." Femininity has become the center-pin around which masculinity pivots—on one side there is dominion; on the other side, subjugation.
What American men are lacking is a vision of equality.
Women had to change the rules, because we were told "You can't," because we had seemingly unnavigable barriers put in our way by people who didn't want us to succeed, because, if we had played by The Rules (as dictated by The Patriarchy), we never would have gotten where are—because The Rules were designed so that we fail. For many of us, the odds have been against us our whole lives; everything we've ever done has been in defiance of the distinct likelihood—and expectation—that we would settle for less than we wanted.
But we wanted more, and so we changed the rules—primarily by raising the bar.
The men who resent that the bar has been raised, their unearned privilege undermined and replaced with an expectation to achieve to the same level as women who hadn't their head start, can now do naught but whine about victimhood. They haven't yet realized that they are not victims of women, who only want the equality that's been denied them, but victims of a patriarchal culture that has spoiled men with the promise of success without effort, and robbed them of the will to expect more of themselves.
What American men are lacking are great expectations for themselves and of themselves.
I resent giving cookies, but I don't mind giving clues: A good start would be putting personhood above manhood, maybe for the first time.