Gazing into the kookie
It had never occurred to me that either Mad Magazine or Cracked were still in business. I don’t know why it wasn’t obvious that in a world with I Can Haz Cheezburger and Rob Enderle as a technology pundit, of course Mad and Cracked’s brand of juvenilia and mockery would have sufficient audience to generate some ad revenue.
Recently a political cartoon from Mad Magazine was making the rounds, “Who Said It? Mitt Romney or Mr. Burns?” And now Cracked has published David Wong’s “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women.” I think a more accurate title might have been “3 Ways Men Are Trained to Think of Women as Objects and 2 Ways That Manifests as Resentment” (or maybe “3 Ways Men Are Trained to Think of Women as Objects, 1 Way Men are Trained to Hate Themselves, and 1 Way All That Resentment Manifests”) but that isn’t quite as catchy, and wouldn’t drive as many clicks to their website.
The thing is, even with the words “boner” and “boobies” scattered throughout, the article is a decent exploration of how men are socialized to be jerks. And in the end, while it certainly doesn’t offer any solutions to the problem, at least Wong apologizes on behalf of his (our) gender for a specific set of recent rather public manifestation of the demeaning of women.
The same forces also teach women that they deserve to be thought of that way, or at least that the only way to succeed in life is to play into those expectations of the men around them.
And while Wong’s approach was focused on heterosexual men, us gay guys don’t escape those forces unscathed. We get told we’re supposed to want the girl, et cetera, and if we don’t that’s one of the ways we get threatened with “losing your man card” as he says. Some gay guys simply transfer all those demeaning notions to the men they themselves are attracted to. More seem to transfer it to guys that they perceive as being less masculine then them, or more masculine. They don’t always put it that way. I mean, yes, many will say “no fems” and refer to themselves as “straight-acting,” but they’re more likely to say “no flakes” or something similar. The ones at the other end sometimes say derogatory things about people who describe themselves as “straight acting,” but most will use other code words, like “game players” or “aggressive.”
Which just plays back into the whole messed up vicious circle.
I wish I had a brilliant point or a solution other than “don’t perpetuate this stuff,” which is just a longer way of saying “don’t be a jerk.” But I don’t.
So, don’t be a jerk (And I’m sorry so many of us are).