Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Men are the new outsiders....and the struggle for equality is just beginning

What does the word "outsider" mean today?
It was Paul Sartre who reminds us that "hell" is other people...and if that is any guide, then anyone who is not "the self" is part of the hell that Sartre speaks about.
Jonathan Swift took the position that, while he admired and even liked individuals, he really despised the group, any group.
The rich, for the most part, have contempt for the poor.
The highly educated, for the most part, condescend to those  whose education and/or intellect is not up to snuff.
The people in management, while dependent on the blue collar/lunch-pail workers, nevertheless almost universally refuse to associate with those people, except when forced by a company activity, like a corporate picnic, or some form of game, or the retirement of a long-standing executive.
And, conversely, workers have a stereotype of the people in the executive suite, as out of touch, arrogant, insulated and isolated from the realities on the workplace floor, and also conversely, rarely, if ever spend time with those executives.
Union leaders are almost universally despised by the executive group, seen as a severe drain on the expenses because they are continuously arguing for more wages and benefits, more safety and better ergonomic conditions for their members. Naturally, the corollary is that union leaders perceive their management counterparts as obsessed with feathering their own nests, through stocks and bonuses, while they strip the unions of the benefits they have already attained.
Men are so nearly universally hated by women, especially hard core feminists, as interested in only one thing, as lazy, sloppy, irresponsible and more importantly as blocking the ladder to the top for those millions of women who are determined to reach that top rung on the ladder.
Men, conversely have an extremely confused and confusing picture of women, preferring to keep not a respectable distance but rather a "safe" distance, in order to avoid the political, cultural and potentially legal nightmare of harassment, a charge that was spawned by the feminist movement, in order to protect their sisters from the uncontrolled and uncontrollable ravages of male testosterone. At least that is how those feminists see the situation.
And, in too many instances, too many men have provided cover, support and even agency for the feminists, against other men, who have been far too often left hanging in the breeze without any kind of support, protection or even character references.
There is a new group in Toronto, calling itself, CAFE (Canadian Association for Equality) urging public support for its movement to level the playing field between the genders. Of course, the feminist movement is dead-set against such a group even attaining what would be normal conventional steps in the holding of public meetings. Having entered the field long before CAFE, the feminists believe they have staked out their claim on gender departments gender curricula, gender courses and public support for their form of gender equality, based as it is, on their belief and perception that, for centuries, men have been deliberately, willfully and conspiratorially suppressing their female counterparts.
Deliberate, willful and conspiratorial...would be extremely difficult to apply to men, any group of men, for, as some have noted, that would be analogous to herding cats...simply impossible.
Men have joined the military establishments in many cultures for centuries, believing they were going to fight against enemies of their state, their homes, and, not incidentally, their families, including their wives and children. Men have also joined workplace organizations also for centuries, once again believing that to do so was not only acceptable, but was required of any self-respecting male, in order to provide for his family, including his wife and children. A few men have found their working niche in orchestras, theatres, and some athletic fields, where for a long time, those fields were exclusive to men, in the belief and perception that to include women in the activity would put those women at a distinct and severe physical disadvantage. Some professional schools such as medicine, law, engineering and some maths and sciences were, for many decades populated primarily by males, until the breakthrough, both in  belief and in practice, along with public support, of both policies and funding that provided enhanced access to female candidates to the extent that females now dominate both undergraduate and graduate schools in most North American universities.
Once those policies, and funding practices were begun, they were never removed, as perhaps it was originally intended, and the enhanced access continues to favour female candidates.
Are men the new "outsiders" of the twenty-first century?
Some would argue that they are.
Some workplaces are now so heavily populated by women that men really are the exception, like the black-sheep, used only to count the flock, because there are so few of them. And those workplace cultures, including most elementary and increasingly secondary schools, are dominated by female administrators, by a female culture, by a female-centric curriculum and by a female-centric board of education. In one Ontario board of education, between 1990 and 2000, there was not a single male elementary teacher hired, to staff the dozens of elementary schools under its jurisdiction. That benchmark points to how far the pendulum has swung, away from a balanced faculty, given a relatively balanced school population, to one that innocently, and with impunity is obviously going to favour female students, female applicants for promotions, and the embedding of a female-oriented and supportive culture.
It is sheer madness, what we, both men and women, have permitted to occur in the transformation of our education system, our public culture and our political correctness...and we have both participated, whether conspiratorially or benignly.
And we are left with a culture in which men who aspire to be leaders have to exaggerate their "machismo" and their bully strength, in order to demonstrate that they are not "wimps" or effeminate and women believe that 'their time has finally come'....when we all know that, for example, female family practitioners strive so diligently and excessively to earn the respect of their profession, that they are burning out rapidly, attempting to cover the bases of their profession and their families.
That trend may be changing as some have realized there are limits to their energy, their capacity to balance, and they are demanding less demanding work schedules.
Men, on the other hand, are not enrolling in university, as they once did, and are choosing not to join what they see as a competition in which the playing field is significantly tilted in favour of female candidates. Men are also subjected to the greatest cuts in job losses, as the recession has eliminated many of the once-traditional roles of male workers in construction, labour, and similar jobs. Information centric occupations are also more favourable to female applicants, whose ability and capacity to master the details of those jobs does indeed exceed that of their male counterparts.
Men are found to be "sissies" if they are sensitive, especially by other males, most of whom consider gayness to be the most abhorrent condition a male could inhabit. Naturally, women are neither offended by gays and lesbians, nor or they put off by those who are, in the same way that straight men are.
So, if men are the new outsiders, then gay men are the "farthest-out" of the outsider group....and while small voices are beginning to be heard protesting the inequality of men, the battle has many generations yet to work its way through before all the defensiveness of the feminists evaporates and the over-compensating of males is no longer needed, just to make the field look level, even though it does not succeed.

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