A Facebook post arguing that “men don’t suffer” drew a surprisingly thoughtful response.
They asked her, “What are the benefits of being a woman?” How’s that for a conversation starter?
One Reddit user shared the results after this question was posed to an anonymous person’s Facebook page.
The question elicited a passionate response from one woman who literally said, “None. There are absolutely no practical benefits to being a woman.”
She then linked to a study showing how teachers tend to “ignore” girls in favor of boys in early elementary school, implying a pattern that extends throughout society and something women must grapple with on a daily basis. After all, the simple act of not being heard is a system form of invisibility that women, and all marginalized groups, must deal with on a daily basis.
Sometimes sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are obvious and overt. But more often, we as a society are learning more about the built-in, institutional forms of discrimination that inherently create an unfair playing field for women when the entire system is seemingly set up to favor men.
But maybe it’s not so simple.
In a follow-up comment that has gone viral on Reddit, one man chimed in to point out that just because women have inherent challenges, it shouldn’t diminish the fact that men also suffer:
In an extended rebuttal, the commenter lists a number of inherent disadvantages men face in their own lives: men are far more likely to be sentenced than women during criminal trials, less likely to commit suicide and are still too often “shunned” for expressing emotion and vulnerability.
Much of this guy’s response is subjective and doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. For example, he claims that all men are considered “sex-obsessed monsters.”
No doubt some people view all men this way but it’s an inaccurate stereotype to suggest that all men are viewed this way.
Nonetheless, the writes raises some fair points about gender imbalances when it comes to parenting, human resources and the continued expectations on men to be “bread winners” even as we simultaneously demand equal opportunity and pay for women.
The takeaway here is not to argue that men have it tougher than women because they almost certainly do not.
But part of creating real change starts with finding real compassion for each other and not denying the challenges of everyone’s individual experience.
We’re asking more of men these days. On one hand, it’s not much considering how little has been asked of them historically.
But if men are being asked to evolve and create space for others, they have to be brought into the full picture and allowed to be fully formed humans in every aspect.