Only Women Are Allowed to Challenge Gender Norms

“Everything is in a state of flux, including the status quo.”

Robert Byrne

As the lead in quote to this article so accurately states, everything is indeed in a state of flux, including the status quo.  If you take a look around you, the simple fact that times are changing is impossible to ignore.

Men and allowed to marry other men. Women are allowed to marry other women. Men, the most famous example being Bruce Jenner, are having surgery to transform themselves into women.  Women are having surgery to transform themselves into men.

Indeed, times as they say, are a changin’. However, it has also been said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Nowhere is that more evident than when the topics of gender norms, gender equality, and gender roles are discussed as it pertains to men in general, but black men specifically.

Only women are allowed to challenge the status quo when it comes to the issues of gender roles, gender norms, and gender equality.  Any attempt by any man, specifically black men, to do so will inevitably end the use of one, or some combination of the following; shamming language, naming calling, a homosexual claim, or a general attack on one’s manhood and masculinity.

In the span of the last few days, I had two exchanges with two different black women that served to help validate my previous assertion. As some of you many of you may know, I’m a staff writer here at the negromanosphere.com and have written many articles for the site. Everyone once in a while, I will get feedback from female readers in the form of comments left on my articles. Other times I will get feedback in the form of an email. Or, my article will be read by someone that knows me, and I’ll get a text or a phone call about it, to which I’ll reply. The first exchange was on the topic of equality.

It was from a female reader, and she asked the question, “do I and do men in general, care about women’s issues?” I told her the truth. The truth is that in general, no we don’t care about women’s issues. I have a grandmother, mother, and a daughter whom I love very much. I do not hate women, nor am I a sexist or misogynistic. However, personally, I don’t care for women’s issues in general unless it a legal issue.  She asked why, and I proceeded to explain to her something that I’ve said many times in many articles.

For the most part, women’s issues tend to be matters of opinion.  By definition opinions are biased and aren’t rooted in any fact. Because they can’t be proven or disproven, there is now way to really debate them.  For example, an often cited example is the fact that men who have many sexual partners are seen as studs, while women who do the same are seen as whores or sluts. This is a prime example of what I mean. To some people this may be seen is a bad thing. To others it may not be. However, at the end of the day, the woman in question’s life isn’t going to change. If she wishes to continue to be promiscuous, so be it. If not, so be it.  Again, why does someone, especially someone who doesn’t know you, have an opinion that bothers you some much? You are free to do as you please, what you aren’t free from is how people will view you and your actions. That’s the real issue at play here.

Men’s issues, on the other hand, tend to be rooted in legal matters. For example, biased family court laws, paternity fraud, unfair divorce, alimony and child support rulings, prenuptial agreements being thrown out, etc. All of these things are legal in nature and have actual consequences that have a real, tangible effect on men’s lives.

Any time any of these issues are brought up, the men doing so are immediately seen as bitching, complaining, or whining. They’re told to man up and to accept things that are brazenly unfair.  Yet, when women have issues that are legal in nature, such as equal pay or reproductive rights such as abortion, they are told to fight for them. They aren’t told to woman up, and accept these things.

Not only are they not expected to take it lying down, but we as men are expected to help them and to be sympathetic to their cause. If we don’t, we’re seen as part of the problem, because after all, if we aren’t for them, then surely we must be against them right?  Yet where are women on men’s issues? Their silence is deafening.

My second exchange, interestingly enough was with my cousin. She was telling me or more accurately, she was complaining to me that she is ready to quit her high paying job (she does cyber security at Bank of America) to be a stay at home with her kids. Her husband has a high paying job as well as a banker and makes more than enough money to support their family.

Now, let’s flip that around. Imagine if a man, especially a brother, was to say something he no longer wants to work.  What if he were to say that he wants to be an at home dad? When I ask my cousin questions along these lines, she got defensive and insinuated that basically his job was to take care of her and him not working was out of the question.

Now, in fairness these are but two examples, but they are indicative of any overall sentiment among women. That sentiment is that only they are allowed to challenge the status quo and benefit from it changing.  Women are allowed to challenge conventional thinking when it comes to matters of gender norms, gender roles, and gender equality. We as men are not.  We, if they are to have their way, are to forever be stuck with some draconian model of masculinity that is mired in some bygone era while we they are free to change with the times. I reject that notion, and so should you brothers.

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