What you are describing would make sense in a society where men and women had equal power and “the market” could simply dictate that people who don’t know how to behave would naturally have fewer options. But the fact of the matter is, we live in a deeply entrenched patriarchal dominance hierarchy that a mere 50 years ago was codified by laws. Although a lot of progress has been made since then, it’s hardly the time to stop talking about that structural power imbalance and the problems that it causes — for everyone.

There’s a huge difference between telling women that they have to turn themselves inside out in order to protect fragile male egos and telling men that they shouldn’t act entitled to female bodies or attention and shouldn’t speak to women in condescending ways. One is saying, “Don’t be yourself for my comfort” and the other is saying “Don’t be an asshole.”

The fact that patriarchal society has trained men to behave like this is the real issue and something that needs to keep being talked about so that we can all work to dismantle that together for the common good.

“Before someone goes off on a tirade, let me explain. I’m not asserting that all men are tyrannical children. I’m simply saying that the men who staunchly uphold patriarchal norms often do so because they have been indoctrinated into a belief that power, obedience, and deference are owed them by women and others who are below them in the dominance hierarchy. At the same time, they demand to be taken care of, soothed, pleased, and otherwise catered to in the manner of spoiled children. It’s a poisonous combination that many women are completely and entirely fed up with, although some women continue to enable, both intentionally as well as subconsciously.”

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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