I expect many of you will be familiar with the recent Observer article by Elizabeth Day about philosopher David Benatar’s claims that “sexism against men is a widespread yet unspoken malaise.” (You may also be familiar with Suzanne Moore’s response, along with Rhiannon and Holly of Vagenda’s piece mentioning the book alongside other related issues.)
This notion doesn’t seem to be unspoken to me. If anything, it’s something I see a lot online, usually in response to a mention of sexism against women. While the “sexism” tag is often little more than a derailing attempt to preserve traditional roles, it’s clear those traditional expectations are oppressive to men as well as women. Jo T touches on this when introducing her own critique of Day’s article:There’s no denying that men are oppressed by certain cultural norms. These tell them that they shouldn’t openly express their feelings, that there is only a very limited way to perform masculinity in an ‘acceptable’ way and that disagreeing with dominant tropes about what is and isn’t ‘manly’ can lead to very unpleasant consequences. Rest.