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dany masado

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can we reform the discussion surrounding gender inequality?

As of late, the gender discussion seems to dominate the mainstream discussion on social justice. The alarming trend that I have noticed is that it has become a real battle of the sexes where one side accuses the other of causing its demise, which means any progress for one gender is seen as a loss for the other. I am proposing that we start to reframe the gender debate in a way where we can honestly address issues faced by men without saying "men just don't have as bad", in a way where we can address female issues without saying "women complain too much, get over it.
We must remember that progress in gender justice is (or should be) a benefit for all not a sum zero battle. Often, we get caught up if tallying up a score on who has it worse, rather than finding ways to address issues for both sides, simultaneously.
What will you tell your sons or your daughters when they come to you for advice?

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    Jul 1 2012: In response to my take on this topic, J M asked me to define a woman's 'private hell'.

    I used the word 'hell' as a symbolism for oppression. Women all over the world are dealing with domestic violence, objectification, institutionalised inequalities and oppressive cultural/traditional practices.
    A woman may face one, all or none of these; and individual experiences are individual experiences.
    One may symphathise or emphathise with an oppressed fellow, but it is impossible for someone to feel a pain that is experienced in another person's body.
    That is why I called it 'private hell'; in order to make it clear that women in the developed nations are not in any way better than Middle-East, Indian, Chinese, or African women. Just like someone agonising over a toothache, is in no way better than someone who has just been shot in the foot with an AK47.
    An African proverb says 'Think twice if a ragged man promises you a beautiful cloth'.

    The effects of oppression on individuals do vary. In fact, the responses of oppressed individuals to oppression, varies.

    Sometimes oppression becomes fatal such that the oppressed could forget his or her original state of freedom. One will definately not notice the abnormal if one does not even know(or remember vividly) the norm.
    A tamed lion, a charmed snake, a castrated bull or a de-horned Rhino; are all different from an unaltered lion,snake,bull or rhino.
    Here, the animals are different. So their alteration is a form of 'private hell'.

    There is a gap between equality laws and attitudinal realities. Now, I refer to the attitude of men and women. The truth is that some nations have successfully created the illussion that women are free; while some other nations have made it clear that they are not.
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      Jul 1 2012: "The truth is that some nations have successfully created the illussion that women are free; while some other nations have made it clear that they are not."

      I couldn't agree more
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        Jul 3 2012: Free to do what? What can't people do now that they want to? I hear this all the time. If only we were free... What do women want to do that's so wonderful and perfect and if only men would stop holding them back?

        Women graduate high school and college at higher rates than men in the US... and have for 30 years straight... but men are oppressing women.

        Women are less likely to be unemployed than men... and have been for 20 years.

        Womens health costs more money than mens health because of pregnancy, so men are taxed extra to cover the difference.

        Womens retirement costs more than mens, because they live a decade longer than men... So men are taxed to cover that too.

        Rape and murder are down. It's illegal to beat your wife. "Irreconsilable differences" is grounds for divorce...

        What are men doing that is so horrible? I was born in 1982... so I haven't seen any of this oppression you talk of.

        It's also important to point out that while women were being oppressed in the 1960's... Men were being drafted into a meaningless war. Rich men have it easy, and they always have, most guys, do now, and have always, lead miserable lives where they work for people they hate, to feed their family.
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          Jul 3 2012: Oh David- pick something other than pregnancy- we might carry the ball but you made the pass! That in particular seems like we are on the same team (even if we do all the work!)
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          Jul 4 2012: David, I think you make a valid point, especially in reference to the fact that all men are required to register for the draft, which women don't have to do. The graduation rate for women is much higher, but nobody sees this as alarming because it indicates progress in the women's empowerment movement. We do need to be able to address men's issues as well as women, avoid dismissing either gender's problem under the idea that either one has it worse. domestic violence is still a problem so is rape (no matter that the rates are down, they could be better). however, I also see a bias in the way rape is addressed in that there isn't enough coverage on male rape (especially in the military). Wasn't it recently that the definition of rape was changed to include males too? I think that is grounds for dicussion
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        Jul 4 2012: I apologize for being a bit terse... It just seems to me like everyone feels oppressed now, but we all think our group has it worse... To me, all the arguments fell apart when old white men started to be able to sue their employers for agism... Really... Old white men are being descriminated against?... in the job market? We're doing something wrong here.

        I don't mean to pretend that women don't have specific issues, that do warrant further work, study, and assistance. In every southern state they're trying to pass birth control legislation, and that's nonsense. It's rediculous that we're re fighting some of these battles.

        You mentioned sex trafficing... I personally think an honest discussion of legalization of prostitution, might be essential to dealing with that problem long term, but it's a very sensitive subject with fair and rational arguments on both sides. Whatever the solution however, it is simply unacceptable that this is a relatively common practice in strip clubs country wide.

        Btw... The real increase in medical expenses comes from increased life expectancy, I just wanted to talk about that with social security : p. Just so you know I don't have any problem with these taxes and such, I've been convinced by the argument that these are good investments...

        I just think it's important to point out, if you smoke, drink, or eat too much... and you're a man. Statistically, you will pay into social security for 30 years, and die before you collect. African American and Latino men also have shockingly low life expectancies to this day... In fact, the average black man, lives to be 67, and that's the age you start collecting social security under current changes...

        There are dark aspects to our system, that need to be reformed... I just really think men and women need to work together if we want to fix them, and... Life's hard all around.

        "A woman who seeks to be equal to a man, lacks ambition" Timothy Leary

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