The Last and Worst: Rules for Men

27 Apr

This while be my final post on this blog, and I think it’s fitting that this last example of male stereotyping be one of the ugliest I’ve personally ever seen. There exists a website called Rules 4 Men. Its tagline is, “Man up and act like you got a pair.” Other than that the site offers no description of purpose or instructions, but visit it and hit the prominent “Generate random rules here” button, and you’ll get the idea pretty quickly. You can give the rule up to 5 “stars,” which forms the basis of a rating system. Here are the 5 random rules I learned today:

  • “No man should ever choose to wear a scarf”
  • “A man will never be afraid of thunderstorms. Ever.”
  • “There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men’s Gymnastics. Ever.”
  • “It is only ok to cry if only 1 woman sees you, and it gets you laid for having “feelings”.”
  • “No man shall ever turn down free beer because “it’s not their brand.””

These 5 are actually some of the milder ones. They’re unbashfully homophobic (1, 3) and gender stereotyping (2, 4, 5) in nature, but none of them contain the overt sexism and violence of some of the other rules. Below is the “toplist,” containing the 20 highest-rated rules. The list is rife with homophobia (e.g., 5, 10, 11, 20), male stereotyping (e.g., 8, 9, 12, 15), and sexism (e.g., 6, 17, 19).

1. Women cannot be annoying with a dick In their mouth. 4.16
2. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she’s officially your girlfriend. 3.85
3. The only pink things that men can like are lady parts and the inside of a steak. 3.74
4. No man shall ever own a dog smaller then a housecat. 3.71
5. When eating a banana, never look another man in the eyes and/or comment on the quality of the banana. 3.68
6. When a women is being a bitch, you must always assume there is sand in her vagina. 3.68
7. If a man is eating nachos and they are all stuck together, it is considered one nacho. 3.68
8. No man shall ever use a rolling backpack, carry the bag like a man. 3.68
9. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight. 3.66
10. No man is allowed to pick something out of another man’s face or head. 3.65
11. Every man shall allow one empty urinal of separation in a bathroom with three or more urinals 3.65
12. If a woman asks to open a jar, you must open it with ease, to prove your masculinity. 3.64
13. Never get out of the shower to take a piss. 3.64
14. Women can’t drive. 3.64
15. A man will never be afraid of thunderstorms. Ever. 3.64
16. A man will never allow a friend to drink alone 3.63
17. You can not trust somthing that bleeds for a week and does not die. 3.61
18. A man should not sing and dance at the same time. 3.60
19. If you drive over your woman it’s your own fault. You shouldn’t be driving in the kitchen. 3.58
20. If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you’d better be talking about his choice of beer. 3.57

Seeing this website made me sick to my stomach. Knowing that there are people out there writing and rating highly numbers 1, 6, and 19 is disgusting. The mere existence of the site demonstrates how deeply ingrained are the notions of men being strong, sexual, alcohol-consuming, dominating, straight. The violence in these statements shakes me to my core.

This brief project has given me so much to think about around male stereotyping and cultural sexism. Cultural sexism can be defined as the cultural images and messages that affirm the assumed superiority of men and the assumed inferiority of women. These messages are all around us. They’re in the dojo where karate classes are 90% male. They’re in the high numbers of female nurses and social workers. They’re in the way we talk about cars, male friendships, illness, cooking (twice), and interior design. And they come from everywhere: the media, our parents, the news, other people, and our friends.

I will say: life has become more complicated since I began this project and this class. It’s hard now to watch TV, go for a walk, or read a magazine without being hypersensitive to the microaggressions and cultural oppression that surrounds us. Truly, like Tatum says, it’s the air we breathe, because it’s everywhere. I’ve learned through this project that part of being a conscious, aware person means not only noticing the oppression in the world, but perhaps even more so – being in touch with my own reactions. I’ve learned through this project that my own prejudices are deeply, deeply engrained, along with my overlapping privileged identities – white, male, heterosexual, US-born, able-bodied.

My own racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, classism, and sizeism (among others) continue to loom large in my subconscious. However, having my eyes opened in this way – to examining male stereotyping and its complementary homophobia and sexism – has permitted me to be more aware and (often) critical of my own internal monologue and emotions. I’ve learned through this project that my own challenges to undo the Isms that control and limit me are a never-ending process.

This is not easy. Its cost is perhaps the most difficult one to pay: omnipresent intentionality and mindfulness. Paying this price – through draining – is something that I must do. I must do this not only because of my code of ethics, but because I owe it to my fellow human beings – my family, my friends, the communities I work with and my children. The pain and dehumanization that accompanies oppression has become very, very real to me in the last years and days, and continues to affect me in increasingly empathic ways. The pain is so, so, so real. And nobody deserves it. For that reason, we must all work for the liberation of all.

I’m reminded of a quote, and I think it’s a very appropriate one to close on. “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Doing this work during the last two years, I have come to believe that liberation – freedom from the chains of oppression – is possible. But only if we make the effort.

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