Posted by: joshlaw15 | April 5, 2018

Considering Males

As the semester comes to a close, I began to reflect on the things we learned in this women and leadership class and the perspective it gave me. I learned more about the conditions women face when it comes to leadership in today’s society, but with everything I learn, I try to get a fuller picture to not become biased in my collective knowledge. I began to think how all of this relates to men. We do a lot of talk of women, which rightfully so, that is what the class is about, but when it comes to leadership as a whole, women are but half of the equation.

I was lucky to grow up with a lot of good male role models who taught me what it truly means to be a man in the world we live in today. They showed me that all of these negative ideas or stereotypes of males that are present are not what to look at and not what you should become, even though the world fits you into that category. I was growing up in a new world, uncharted territory where anything could change, but my morals and beliefs what it means to be a man and a good person would not.

I came across this video earlier this week about the condition of men and how today they are falling behind. Now right off the bat, yes this video is biased in nature, so I did not watch with the belief that everything that was said was fact. I instead listened to what their argument was, in order to gain a different perspective of what may or may not be happening. What I heard was a little shocking. I’ll link the video below, but the premise behind the video is that males are falling behind women in education, health, productivity, and happiness. Interesting…

Again, I’ll leave the video for you all to get the information the same way I did, but it gave me a new way of thinking about males and females in America. It made me think of how if something bad happens, we as a society like to turn on the negative figure as a whole. By focusing on turning that one negative to a positive, we lose sight of what is happening to the other side. I agree that there are a lot of terrible things happening to women in the workplace, but now I realize everything isn’t all that sunshine and ice cream on the male side either.

Some of the points made in the video, being a male, I did connect with. For instance, males now have the stereotype of being the oppressor, creepy, or power hungry. Many times throughout my short life, I have felt that this is the way society sees me. Some stereotypes limit women, from experience, and I have felt limited by my stereotypes too. For example, males are seen as being pedophiles when being friendly to little kids, but when women are friendly to kids there is no issue. Consider this; say you are at a park and you want to make small talk with a mother and her baby before you sit down at their bench. You say, “aww cute baby,” the lady with the baby wont question a girl if she does this but may think differently if a guy does this. Furthermore, if another male sees this he will think differently still. I know this example is extreme, and nobody’s going to lock me up for being nice to kids, but I have this stereotype locked in the back of my head. This makes me keep myself as far away from little kids as I can, just to block any possibility of people looking at me in a weirdly negative way.

So as I see this post getting longer and in an attempt to wrap up this huge topic that could be discussed for hours, I have a few questions. Does any of this make sense, or is this just a weak attempt to grab power back from women? Will things get better for men or worse? Look at the suicide rates on the video, it’s an issue for men. How will this affect women and their leadership? Will women become the dominant figure and men will one day be among the “oppressed”?

I don’t want this post to be seen as an attempt to discredit this class, I truly believe that everything we have discussed is valid. Over the entirety of this class, I have desired some perspective of what it’s like on the other side.

https://tinyurl.com/yd5hnpdn

 

 

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Responses

  1. I think this is such an interesting topic and I do not think it discredits this class at all. We talk about the double bind for women, but there does seem to be an invisible, or maybe not so invisible, double bind for men. I know many men that like children, but are scared and do not want to come off as creepy, like you said. Yet women are not juged, they are encouraged to be maternal and love children. However, if we surpress mens natural paternal nature, and discredit them when they try to connect to their paternal instincts, how can we expect them to want to be in domestic roles. Is it that men feel they must work and women must be with the children becasue society has shunned them from doing so?

    It is interesting to hear that men seem to be falling behind women in different areas. However, the more I think about this I wonder, are men really ‘falling behind’ women, or are women getting more recognition for their accomplishments and abilities and it appears they are falling behind? I know this can sound like some hate. But it reminds me of the reading we did that said men feel like they must give something up for women to gain something? Is this what they are giving up? Recognition? Also, as we have said before and a question I have had for the whole semester, why does gender matter? Who cares if women are smarter than men or vice versa? Should we not want the most qualified people regardless of gender? I do see this double bind forming for men, and I am not sure how to combat this problem. I think only when things are truly equal will things change, and I am not sure that will be in my lifetime.

  2. Men do face problems in America, but the video used to describe them contains misleading information. After listening to Tucker Carlson’s arguments, he does two things. He either paints half of the picture or he rewords the statistics, altering the interpretation of the information. It is accurate that men commit suicide at a higher rate than women, however Carlson fails to mention several details. Men use more lethal methods, such as a firearm, while women often attempt suicide through the use of drugs. Women actually attempt suicide 1.2 times as often as men (Afsp, 2018). Mr. Carlson further sensationalizes the statistics by saying, “…the suicide rates are highest among American Indian and white men, who kill themselves at 10x the rate of Hispanic and black women.” Although accurate, his argument is to overall compare men to women. By comparing white men to black women, it weakens his argument because the two are not alike. It would be more accurate, if he compared white men to black men, or men in general to women, which was his original argument.

    The largest factor that Mr. Carlson fails to mention is intersectionality. His arguments can only be made loosely for white men. White men account for about 72% of corporate leadership across sixteen top 500 fortune companies (Jones, 2017). Women only make up 20.5% of senior managers and 6.4% of CEOs. Furthermore, only 21% in total of senior executives are people of color and this number decreases significantly with individuals who have multiple identities, such as African American women.

    Carlson goes on to mention that women graduate from high school and college at a higher rate than men. On average women are earning more bachelor degrees. However, they are still receiving far lower wages, doctoral degrees, and do not advance as far in their careers as compared to men.

    White men are not at risk to lose their leadership roles as much as they fear is happening. Fear is often used as a tactic to keep control over current society. Mr. Carlson is actually referring to the problem of hegemonic masculinity, which teaches men that to be successful in life they need to be rich, heterosexual, have violent and aggressive behavior, and suppress all emotions. This has been shown to have substantial damaging effects on men in our society, correlating with behavioral problems and depression. All of which, he mentions in his video, however he is going about it in the wrong way. Men in America are facing problems by being pressured to fit into the hegemonic stereotype, but it does not have to be this way. This stereotype is what is perpetuating the dominance and subordination between men and women, not women’s advancement in leadership. Women leadership is not going to infringe on male leadership, but hurtful stereotypes do. Women’s empowerment is not out to diminish male’s leadership, they just want the same opportunities in receiving promotions, pay, and leadership training that white men often do receive.

    https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

    http://fortune.com/2017/06/09/white-men-senior-executives-fortune-500-companies-diversity-data/

    https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/27/10/2016/hegemonic-masculinity-how-dominant-man-subjugates-other-men-women-and-society

  3. Thank you for this post; it is eye-opening, brings in a new perspective, and I do think this makes sense. Earlier in the semester, we talked about power and its definition. To be completely honest, the idea of power still confuses me because power can be either positive or negative, and it depends on the one who holds that power. Regarding our class, we have focused on how men with power have oppressed women (so their power is negative), and women must learn how to take that power to try and change certain structures (essentially turning negative power into positive power). However, there are both men and women who hold powerful positions and they both have good and bad perspectives–neither side is perfect. So is this a weak attempt for men to gain power back from women? No. I think this is a cry for recognition and respect. The video you included mentioned something about how both women and men need one another, and I do think that is true. Both men and women bring different perspectives and ideas to the playing field, and we shouldn’t undermine anyone.
    Perhaps this all stems from a lack of communication. From what I understand, the women’s double bind stems from what others expect from/of women, thus causing women to feel bound and restricted. Some of these expectations are verbally expressed, but others are internal. With the internal expectations, we’re not even saying what we mean, so how can I really know what others would expect of me if they don’t express themselves? And for the verbal expectations of women…if they don’t sound reasonable, we should ask “why,” not to attack someone, but to learn their perspectives and get to know why they believe those expectations. Because we are all intrinsically different, we cannot expect everyone to have the same thoughts. But if someone says an expectation that does not match our own, our society takes offense because those expectations limit or undermine our characters as human beings. And that is where we get miscommunication, which leads to the double bind. I used the double-bind example for women, but I don’t doubt it applies to men as well.
    With all this in mind, I think we need to continue recognizing the double standards we are applying to both men and women. Change can begin with a mentality shift. If we focus too much on one side of the argument, we lose perspective. As far as taking action goes? I’m not sure, but it starts with us. Why should we wait around for people to start treating others with respect when we could do that in our everyday lives? I probably sound like a cheesy, motivational commercial, but one person truly can make a difference.

  4. I think a discussion like this, not only makes understanding woman in leadership more complex, but leadership as a whole. There is an interesting interaction with “the rise of women” and the “fall of men” to put it crudely. I certainly think that women in the workplace are gaining power and influence like never before, but certainly still have a lot of limitations (it’s getting better). However, I also think that men have their limitations as well. There is a very definitive point in a boy’s childhood when “its stops being cute and becomes downright creepy.” These stereotypes are what limit other men by not only by women but also by other men. These extreme examples are not always present so there is a grey area. I certainly do not believe this is not (entirely) desperate attempt to grab power that is slipping away, but rather an acknowledgement that it is not all rainbows and daisies for men as well. If I were to add another layer of complexity to this, however, I think there is a fight for power among men. Take the white male for example and look how he was portrayed throughout history and look where he is now. He is never seen on the front of college websites, he is excluded from the diversity conversation, and he is serotyped as the “mass shooter.” From where the white male was a hundred years ago versus today, it is a very different reality. I struggle to only talk about gender when it comes to leadership because, there is so much more complexity if you look at the groups within groups.

    I pose a question. We have talked about it time and time again about the point of equilibrium of men and women in the workplace. Do you think when we as a society reach that point, it will truly stay equal are there will be a gender that takes control?

  5. I think you make a good point in saying that women are only half of leadership. While the conversations about women and leadership do need to continue into the future, a conversation about the combination of men and women in leadership roles need to occur. I feel that we often discuss one or the other instead of combining the strengths of both genders in this topic. While the stereotype of men has become increasingly negative, as we hear about sexual assault accusations and cut-downs to women in business, it is important to note that not all men fall into this category, in fact I believe the majority of men do not fall into this category. While this class poses important topics when it comes to just women in leadership, I feel a more appropriate class could be leadership of the genders, which discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and flaws of both genders in various leadership roles. We discussed the ideas of women in traditionally male and traditionally female leadership roles with our interview papers, but there is also the topic of men in traditionally male or female leadership roles and their experiences as well. Good topic of discussion Josh!

  6. I think it’s an interesting point to bring up since our society also has a huge impact in the way men are taught to behave and act in our world. I agree that women are only half of the equation for leadership but I think the point of this class is that in previous classes we learn solely about men’s leadership theories and for many many centuries women have been left out of the equation for what leadership can become. This class isn’t meant to discredit men or say their typical style of leadership is bad but rather just draw attention to leaders who often face obstacles and push back and have been left out of the conversation since leadership began being studied.

    I also agree that men are often stereotyped as creepy and power-hungry in a way that women aren’t but it’s also because in our society, men are known to behave in a dangerous way towards women. Of course this does not include all men or even a majority of men but women do have to be hyper-aware of interactions with men in order to protect themselves. Trust me, it sucks for us too. And I wish when I was alone with men I didn’t get nervous and my mind didn’t unravel into every possible situation and how to defend myself.

    As for the suicide rates, it is probably because men are more likely to attempt suicide with more violent and irreversible methods. I’m not sure about the statistics related to attempted suicides between men and women but I know men are sadly more “successful” at completing suicide.

  7. I found your post to be really interesting especially because I find myself usually thinking of the problem with women in leadership as a one sided problem. I have gotten better about doing this since taking this course but have definitely noticed that I seem to think these negative thoughts about men. I have no reason to judge a man, to go along with the example you used, when he talks to a women with a baby but I find myself thinking he is creepy. I think this is just one example of how our society has encouraged all of us to stereotype people. I think what you said is exactly true that women and men should both be considered when considering leadership. I think women need to stop thinking such negative thoughts about men in regards to being power hungry and more. I do think that some men are known to act aggressively towards women but this does not mean that all men are. Women are just as capable of being aggressive towards men. I think the only true way to address this problem is to be more conscious about the negative thoughts we are feeling and addressing why we feel the way that we do. We need to recognize when we are stereotyping others versus using our own experiences to make a judgement.

  8. Throughout this class whether it be reflecting on things discussed in lectures to writing notes in regards to our readings I have always considered how all of this would relate to men because as you correctly stated there is another 50% of the population that needs to be recognized. Stereotypes are created based on some factual basis and although it sucks, it’s true. No matter who you are gender wise, race wise, sexual orientation wise, etc., there is some stereotype that one will have to deal with. As unfair as it is and as much as we all wish they didn’t exist, they do and always will.

    In the video, there are many statistics provided. Although I know there is accuracy behind them, I do not directly see how all of them relate to our overall topic of women in leadership. I do believe women have been gaining a lot of spotlight lately and the men have begun to be disregarded in certain senses and yes, they should be acknowledged because these are terrifying statistics; however, in watching this video, I felt that women were getting blamed for not recognizing men on all these occurrences and we should not be.

    In regards to your questions about how all of this will indeed affect men… women of our generation are pushing for equality and to be recognized as capable in every way. The goal is not to dominate the entire society and oppress men. I do believe a balance needs to happen and we need to ensure a pendulum does not completely sway in the opposite direction; however, IF women are more eligible and would be more successful in positions women should get them. Gender should factor into why someone does or does not get hired/promoted, it should be based on who is the best candidate for the company to thrive in turn aiding customers and society. Men and women should both be busting their ass to get to the top and with the feminist movement, women have acknowledged they need to do so, so they are. Men need to acknowledge that we are gonna fight to get what we want and they need to also, because they will no longer naturally have the upper hand without putting in an immense amount of effort. We do not want men to sit back and just let women rule the world, we want healthy competition, but if men decide not to compete then the internal fire and drive within a woman to succeed will naturally rise and the men will get pushed aside. Now that women have a voice, men will need to work harder than ever to compete with us because we are force to be reckoned with and we’re not stopping.

  9. I enjoy how you bring up the topic of children. It’s interesting to think about this. I hadn’t realized that guys are hesitant to interact with small children. I’ve written about teachers and how it’s mostly women who teach in elementary school. I wonder if this thought makes men not want to pursue this career. I also wonder if the parents of the children in a male elementary teacher’s classroom feel any sort of way about this? As for your specific example of sitting on a bench, I can see how a mother might think differently about the situation based on if it were a male or female. I believe that it’s all about the approach. If a male or female is genuine when interacting with children, it will not seem creepy in any way.

    To address your questions, I believe that after watching the video, I can see how some facts are true and some are false. The entire topic does make sense, however, it is a difficult subject to discuss due to men wanting power. Are men feeling like women are becoming too powerful in the workplaces? Do men feel mentally threatened by women? Is that okay to feel, since women often feel physically threatened by men? Leadership should not be looked at by gender but by qualifications. I truly hope that the future generations will not analyze how many male vs female leaders we have, but rather how many effective leaders we have.


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