The man box is one aspect of patriarchy — with very specific gender roles for both men and women. But another aspect is that it is also a racial and class system and not just a historical power differential between men and women. What gets labeled as male disposability is really related to non-elite disposability. If you aren’t at the apex of the dominance hierarchy, then you don’t count for as much. This is why many men have no real experience of patriarchy benefiting them.

Rich men’s kids aren’t the ones who get sent off to wars that largely benefit the economic interests of those same rich men. Women have never been eager to enter wars but have always been willing to participate as much as they were allowed to — as spies, ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, etc. and now in combat positions. “Over sixteen hundred female nurses received various decorations for courage under fire (in WWII).” So, the MRA characterization that women are somehow sitting at home with their feet up while they let men be cannon fodder on their behalf is unrealistic. As is their failure to notice that most of the dangerous jobs that men do women have been prohibited from by patriarchal notions of what is appropriate for the genders.

The same goes for what you described on the street. Patriarchy says that a man should be able to control his woman and if he can’t, he is not quite a man. It makes for an effed up dynamic where people don’t know how to react, how to help, and sometimes who to believe because we have a preconceived idea based in this dominance hierarchy about who should be where in the pecking order of power. Dismantling the rules of the man box as well as the other hierarchical aspects of patriarchy that are based in traditional power is the only way to make things better for everyone.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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