The Oppression of Men

Story by Bunky Raines Student Reporter


 This week I was assigned to read a collection of poetry loosely held together by a common theme: the oppression of women. I’m assigned a lot of this type of thing and it seems kind of one-sided to me. 

Of course, I agree that the oppression of anyone is terrible and should be ended. However, I’m also of the opinion that, if the oppression of one gender is oversold, it can lead to the oppression of the other. 

I wonder if the repetition of this “us and them” mentality might teach my daughters to see men as monsters and themselves as victims, rather than strong women. 

Is it okay for a male student to feel as if he’s under a constant barrage of anti-male sentiment? He feels this way for a reason, right? Are his feelings valid? I think the answer to all these questions is yes. 

Expressing such an opinion in a classroom, though, is recieved about as well as blasphemy in a pentecostal church. I’m speaking from experience. 

We were reading aloud, in class, a poem by Rita Dove about a girl asking to see her mother’s vagina and comparing it to her own.

…And yet the same glazed

Tunnel, layered sequences.

She is three; that makes this

Innocent. We’re pink!

She shrieks, and bounds off… 

After the reading, a woman spoke. “She added the part that goes She is three; that makes this innocent for males,” she said. “And it’s sad that she needed to say that.” Then another woman added “Yes it is. It’s sad that males have to be told ‘Don’t look at my child as a sex object.’” 

In pointing the finger of pedophilia at the entire male gender, those women became the very thing they were fighting, sexists. 

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster. For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche 

Neither woman saw the irony, but I did. “Don’t be so quick to point the finger at males!” I said. Then the professor intervened. “We deserve it, though.” He said. 

He’s one of my favorite teachers and I didn’t want to start a fiery debate in his class so I said no more, but that stuck in my craw. “We deserve it.” 

That’s not quite right, is it? The only way we’d deserve it is if all men were pedophiles. 

No, we don’t deserve it. In my experience, however, those who speak up tend to be silenced as quickly as possible. Those women’s words are acceptable in our society, but they’re nothing less than sexism, bigotry, and hypocrisy; A-holes standing on one side of a line and pointing their finger back at the other side, screaming “Those guys are A-holes!” 

I have a better idea. How about we admit that we can all be A-holes sometimes, stop finding reasons to point fingers at each other, and start pursuing love and unity? I’ll start. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re: man, woman, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, black, white, mexican, gay, straight, or transgender. If you’re not being a D to somebody, you’re alright with me. #dontbead 

I love the women in my life deeply and I want them to be treated fairly and with respect. Anyone who doesn’t want that is just a bad person. 

I also want men to be treated fairly and with respect. Anyone who doesn’t want that is a bad person #equality. 

If it had been a woman who spoke up in the face of sexism, people would’ve lined up to tell her how brave she was. Is it more brave to say something that’s accepted and encouraged by society or to go against the grain and point out the injustice no one wants to admit is there?