WHEN MEN ARE OPPRESSED
Historically and even right now, women are painted as the more oppressed gender. Men supposedly were and are better off. But remember, oppression is defined as the systematic mistreatment of one group of people by another group of people or by society as a whole; with institutional power as a means of asserting that mistreatment. So with this definition, we can see that oppression is not just about one group against another, it could be about the whole society against a group as well.
So, the question will be, how are men oppressed? In the past, in almost all the wars where conscription took place, men were exclusively conscripted while women were mostly made to stay at home thereby inflicting suffering and death on men just because they are men of course. The society viewed them as expendables and easily replaceable if need be.
But moving forward, some might argue that men cannot possibly be the oppressed gender because they have held and continue to hold greater governmental and social power than women. I do not think so, because oppression according to the definition I gave earlier is fundamentally about the misery of the victims, not their power. Culturally, one might argue that a particular gender is more oppressed that the other, but that depends on the culture that perpetrate gender oppression. For example, it is commonly believed that women are more oppressed than men in certain cultures, particularly those where things like genital mutilation and maiming of women are openly encouraged. But for western culture and belief and the society where I live in, the male gender seems to be more oppressed, and I will state some reasons why I think so.
- Men Are Treated As Inherently Aggressive And Violent.
We are not allowed to be flexible; we are forced into a narrow definition of MALE, and when we do not fit in to the definition they are labeled wimp, sissy, girl or loser. A man is also expected to just be aggressive and anything below this standard is unacceptable and infact abnormal. In a place like Lagos, a law enforcement officer is 10 times more likely to stop you for a random search if you were a male carrying a bag, than if you were a female carrying same bag. Because the law enforcement believes a male has the tendency to be a criminal more than a female.
- Violence Against Men Is More Condoned
Despite the growing societal awareness of violence against women, which is a good thing on its own; it is still acceptable to harm or kill men indiscriminately if the reason is “justifiable”. The case of ALUU 4 comes to mind here, as disgusting as it may sound; some people actually believed those guys were armed robbers and cult boys. And I maintained that even if they were, jungle justice should never be acceptable in any sane society be it towards a man or a woman. And I believe if they were females, maybe just maybe, the crowd would be more lenient and at least would have handed them over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.
- Men Are Not Expected To Need Reassurance And Attention
Asking for reassurance or attention is thought to be harmful to our sense of place and importance in the world as men. Whenever we do this, we are perceived as weak and needy and we risk being put down for behaving like a woman. So, we pretend like everything is fine while we suffer inside. The society most times forgets that tenderness, closeness, and softness are all inherent male traits as well; therefore it is 100% masculine to have these qualities. It is oppressive to consider that masculinity is ONLY about being tough, rough, and strong; just as it would be sexist to view women ONLY as tender, weak, and soft creatures.
- Men Are Treated As If They Do Not Experience The Full Range Of Emotions Like Women.
Anytime and anywhere risking of life and limb is involved, men are readily chosen for the job. And when we get hurt on that job or even at play, we are expected to shrug it off and continue as if nothing happened; the work or the game is considered more important than our feelings; maybe because we are looked upon as super-human.
- Men Are Treated As Inherently Compulsive In Their Sexuality.
The society looks at us like we are all sex maniacs, rapists and sex offenders even when we haven’t committed any of these crimes. Women are made to see men especially in this part of the world as someone who can’t control how he looks or acts in a sexual context towards anyone. There are rapists amongst men, but we all are not rapists and maniacs; and most of us can control our sexual urges contrary to what you have being made to believe.
- Men Are Judged About Their Sexuality Even Without Any Proof.
The society we live in will be very fast to conclude that two guys who are always together are practicing homosexuality than when two women are always seeing together. It is perfectly normal for two women to be friends and be inseparable, but it is wrong for two guys to remain friends and even live together. The world will quickly judge them and call them homosexuals.
But hey, I am not advocating any special treatment for the menfolk, but I am just saying that I believe in equality of human beings. And no one should be put in a box on the account of their gender. In this present world, there are strong men and there are strong women. The same way there are, not-so-strong women, and not-so-strong men; so LIVE and LET LIVE. No gender based oppression. Stay Safe.