get over it

How are men and women even supposed to interact anymore? These kinds of sites are just bashing on men that women don’t like. What if men made a site complaining about all the skanky gold-diggers we’ve met? We’d be labeled as insensitive jerks.

(from today’s Chronicle)

There’s this feeling out there in the world that I’ll label “double standard” for now. It’s a feeling caused by the perception that men and women, whites and non-whites, straights and gays, etc., etc., are treated differently. That, like the guy above, men who act like insensitive jerks are labeled as such whereas a woman doing the same thing would not be considered an insensitive jerk.

It seems like very simple logic. If, as we’re told in America, everyone’s supposed to be treated equally, you ought to judge behavior equally regardless of gender, race, class, etc. Fine.

But the fact of the matter is that not everyone is equal. There. I said it. There is gross inequality in the world. Everyone is different. Oh my god.

What’s more, not only is everyone different, but that’s a good thing. Now get over it.

When it comes to gender issues or race relations or any other “hot topic” like these, the issue has nothing to do with equality or difference. Let’s make that clear. So clear, I’ll repeat it. The issue is not equality or lack thereof.

The issue is power.

The issue is that straight white males between the ages of 18 and 45 have all the power. No amount of whining from the right is going to convince me otherwise. I know that SWMs have all the power because (a) the United States Congress is about 80 to 90% white and male, (b) our current Speaker is the first woman in Congress’s 200 year history, (c) there has never been a non-SWM president (even Pakistan had a woman president), (d) the members of this nation’s most prominent Boards of Directors are almost overwhelming SWM, (e) women still get paid far less for the same jobs as men, (f) white kids still have better chances of getting into not only college but the college of their choice (think about that one, it’s important), and (g) if you still think that SWM don’t have all the power, may I remind you of Katrina?

So this double standard isn’t because society is saying this group can get away with stuff while this other one can’t or this group deserves a better chance at getting into college than this other group or we’re going to treat people different because of inequality or difference. In fact, it isn’t even a double standard. The fact of the matter is that straight white men have all the power. So when a guy leers at a woman and she feels uncomfortable, it isn’t because she’s thinking to herself, “Only women can do that!” She’s thinking, “Is this guy going to, at best, say stuff that makes me uncomfortable or, at worst, rape me?”

That’s a real fear. Accept it.

So. Now that that’s settled, we can get on to more important things. Like overturning this power imbalance. Or shifting our country’s foreign interests from the Middle East to the genocide in Africa. Or undoing the mess of the environment.

To that end, there’s this.