You really are one of those zero-sum guys, aren’t you? It’s all either/or and no room for nuance or the possibility that all kinds of people have challenges and problems and it’s not a contest as to whose are worse. This is a function of an ultra-hierarchical and dominance based system. It’s why ultra-competitiveness is harmful, because only one can win. There’s no possibility for win-win.

Women talking about their experiences doesn’t mean they think men live on easy street. And the term androcentric simply refers to the primary focus of the culture, and that women are still often treated like they aren’t quite full citizens/people. Men may have problems, even white men have plenty of problems, but their personhood isn’t routinely denied. Did you read the article from Lorelie Weldon about all the times that the fact that she even existed was denied, right to her face? That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what androcentric means, as well as a host of other things, including that only masculine traits are valuable. “Don’t be such a girl……”

I’ve read plenty of articles written by men about the patriarchy, feminism, etc., and have no issue with those when they are done with empathy and a real attempt to understand. We all know what we know, and to some extent, what we don’t know, but there is an awful lot for all of us that we don’t even know we don’t know. People who write in absolutes about things that they don’t even know they don’t know — and who have never even attempted to learn the other’s perspective are a different thing entirely. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about and reading about what it’s like to be a man in this time of shifting expectations and structures. I don’t claim to be an expert, and would not doubt defer to someone who was male who was making a compelling argument (just as I would to someone of a different race or ethnicity) but that doesn’t mean that I understand nothing at all about the issues facing men right now. I most certainly do, and have a lot of sympathy for that, but the way forward is not to revert to the 1950s and to say that toxic traits are OK. It’s to press ahead to a place where all people can be who they actually are (including healthy masculinity) and not who they are supposed to be and that equality of opportunity is an actual thing.

I read an article the other day about how many men are physically abused by the women in their lives (much higher than I’d realized) and how they are often scoffed at or ignored when they try to report it. This is a terrible thing! And it’s also the result of a patriarchal culture that insists that men be stoic and in control at all times; that women should be easy to manage (and what’s wrong with you if you can’t?), etc., etc. I’m out there actively seeking to learn about and better understand the experiences of other people. That’s why I’m on Medium in the first place. Demonizing anyone, feminists, for example, is not helpful. Most feminists are well aware of how men are also hurt by these norms, even if they choose to primarily focus on women’s concerns. Women who talk about their terrible experiences are not necessarily demonizing men. Most of us get that it’s not all men, for heaven sakes! But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t speak up about pervasive and often institutionally entrenched wrongs. If you want to write about inequities as relates to child custody, or whatever, please do. I’ll read it and no doubt learn something. I don’t need to tell you that your experiences or concerns are not real or valid in order to care about the things that are closest to my heart. Try it sometime. You might actually find that you enjoy it!

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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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