Crossposted from r/mensrights. I think this goes to the heart of some of the arguments that you see from feminists who oppose men's rights.
One of the recent dog whistles from feminists is that men can't be discriminated against, because men are the ones who hold power and influence in society, and not women. While I don't agree with the logic behind this argument, I also don't think it's true that men have most of the power, and that women are strictly powerless.
In this post I will briefly outline ways that women have power, and how this power has been used to subjugate men in various areas of society.
Examples of power and influence held by women
- Women make up 54% of the electorate in the United States (source), and a majority of the electorate in most democratic nations world-wide. The female vote is often seen as the most important cohort of voters. It is more important than the male vote, the white vote, and the minority vote.
- Feminism and women's groups make up the second largest special interest group in the United States (behind the military industrial complex) and are the largest special interest group worldwide, in places like Canada, Japan, and Europe. They also hold significant sway in local state and municipal elections. And let's not forget that the military industrial complex is not friendly to men.
- Women hold a significant amount of wealth worldwide, and a majority of the wealth in the United States (by some estimates: 60%) (source 1, source 2). To the extent that wealth translates to power, women are the ones who take most of it. This also means that, baring an aversion to investing in equities, women likely own a majority of all publicly traded companies in the United States.
- Women control a majority of spending, exerting even more economic influence through the wallets of their boyfriends and husbands (source). What this means is that most companies cater to women, not to men. Most luxury cars worldwide are sold to women (source), most advertising is marketed towards women, and most decisions made by large companies are designed to cater to women.
- Women control most relationships and most marriages. The so-called "ball and chain" is real. Women make a majority of the decisions for most families (source), and when a husband and a wife disagree about something, the wife gets her way the vast majority of the time (source). Note that this is not because men cede this power to women willingly; women actively take it from men (source) through manipulation, gaslighting, the threat of divorce, and other abusive behaviors.
- By default people listen to women more, and women exert more social influence than men. Gender feminists like to talk about power dynamics between wealthy men and poor women, as if it were a common occurrence in society. But they ignore that, by default, it is women who have the upper hand and often control men. Women are more likely to get their way and are more likely to be in charge of social situations than men.
- Academia is incredibly sympathetic to women and gender feminism. Equity feminists (feminists who believe strictly in equality) have been complaining about this since at least the 1990s (source). Gender feminism is the primary form of feminism held by academics, and there has been widespread complaints that dissenting views are not tolerated, and that professors with dissenting views are often discriminated against. Examples of unethical academic behavior and discrimination is published in the academic literatute, and is itself the topic of academic study, even among feminists (source 1, source 2, source 3).
- Hollywood is incredibly sympathetic to women and gender feminism. Most media representations of men are negative, and masculinity is actively attacked in TV shows and movies (source). Most Hollywood actors pay lip service to gender feminism, and it is likely necessary for them to do so if they want to advance their careers.
Examples of how this power and influence has been used
- Many of our divorce and child custody laws were championed by stay at home wives who were afraid of being divorced, and women today are slow in wanting to change them (often not even wanting to sign a prenup when they get married). Being that most women supported these laws, and that women made up a majority of the voting public, it was only natural that these laws were passed. The amount of money that is transferred from men to women through marriage and divorce is likely on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars a year, if not more. This represents a significant infringement on male financial and bodily autonomy, and it is women who are primarily responsible for this situation.
- Men do not have the same rights that women have when it comes to their choice to be a parent. Women can unilaterally chose whether or not they want to raise a child, and men are forced to go along with that decision. Men are literally powerless here, being completely beholden unto the mother, and are often forced into wage slavery as a result.
- Men are less likely to receive custody of their children, even when they are the better parent (source 1, source 2). This is in large part because of laws that were passed by female voters, and by discrimination and stereotypes that fathers face on a societal level that are often enforced by women.
- Women have dramatically expanded welfare programs and created an unfair tax situation for men. Welfare may be politically divisive, but it is factually true that women are more likely to use welfare (source 1, source 2), and it is factually true that women have consistently voted to expand welfare benefits to themselves (source 1, source 2, source 3). Women on average consume more government resources than what they pay back in taxes, and as a result, it is men who are paying for these programs (source 1 (USA), source 2 (New Nealand)). This represents another form of wealth transfer form men to women.
- Women have successfully manipulated men over thousands of years to provide them with free labor and money. As a result, women can work easier jobs that pay less money, and use men to make up the difference. Societal norms that pressure men to pay for dates, and to be the primary breadwinner in a relationship, are enforced by women and their preferences for dating and marriage. The wage gap is likely not only caused by women, but is itself an indicator of financial privilege that women have over men.
- Men are demonized and stereotyped, and these stereotypes are reinforced by TV shows, movies, and flawed academic theories.
- Feminism itself represents a force of misandry and discrimination against men, and feminist theory is often used to shame men and silence their opinions (source).
- Men are often nagged, harassed, and bossed around to do things against their will for their wives and girlfriends (source 1, source 2, source 3). Husbands spend more time, energy, and money supporting their families than their wives do. As a result, women have more free time, and more money to themselves, outside of work, chores, and child care, than men do (source 1, source 2).
- Men's spaces are increasingly disappearing in society, and the existence of concepts like the "man cave" proves that women are in charge of most spaces in society, including inside the home (source). Men's spaces are often seen as sexist and old fashioned, whereas women's spaces are seen as normal and hip. Many women's only spaces directly violate anti-discrimination laws, but are given a free pass (source).
- Our school systems have been reformed to help girls, and this has created a toxic environment for boys to grow up in (source). Gender feminism is primarily responsible for these reforms.
- Given the same qualifications, women are often paid more than men (source 1, source 2, source 3) and many job openings specifically, and openly, discriminate against men in favor of women (source 1, source 2).
- Women have successfully campaigned to remove homeless shelters for men, and create new homeless shelters for women (often in their place) (source 1, source 2). This is despite the fact that most of the chronically homeless and unsheltered are men (source). Conversations about homelessness tend to focus on helping women, instead of helping men (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4).
- There are more domestic violence shelters for women than there are for men, even though men are equally likely to be victims. This is enforced by flawed stereotypes against men that come largely from academic and societal influences that are wielded by "radical-feminists" (source). Feminists have distorted domestic violence definitions at an academic level, and have influenced law enforcement strategies, and these influences have caused female perpetrators to walk free, and male victims to be mistakenly arrested and prosecuted instead (source). Male victims of domestic violence are often afraid of reporting their abuse for fear that they might be arrested instead of their abuser (source).
- The legal definition of rape is defined in such a way that women cannot legally rape a man, meaning that male victims of rape often cannot prosecute their attackers (source). This legal definition is influenced by the feminist definition of rape, which only counts "insertion" and not "made to insert" as a form of rape. These flawed legal and academic definitions of rape have skewed years of statistics and data on the topic, and have allowed countless numbers of female rapists to walk free.
- Awareness of sexual assault and other forms of violence against men, by women, is virtually non-existent. Men are equally likely to be raped as women are (source), and women are equally likely to commit domestic violence against men as the reverse (source 1, source 2). Men receive very little recognition as potential victims, and are instead vilified as being abusers. Societal conversations that include these topics are incredibly sexist against men, and male victims receive virtually no support or attention (source 1, source 2). Research indicates that one of the main reasons for this is because data about male victimization directly contradicts the social narrative that "radical-feminists" are trying to push. In fact, "radical-feminists" often attack and argue against the validity of this research (source), which has the effect of further marginalizing men and male victims of abuse.
I think, just from these examples, it is clear that women hold a substantial amount of power, influence, and privilege in society. Men's issues can be, and often are, caused by women (whether or purpose or not). And in particular, gender feminism has been a strong force of misandry and discrimination in society over the years, a fact that other feminists have been very prominent in pointing out themselves.
Next time someone tries to argue that men can't be marginalized or discriminated against because men somehow hold more power in society, remember to point out that this is simply not true. Women hold a substantial amount of power in society, and this power has been used in many different areas to enforce gender norms, and defend the status quo, in ways that often benefit women over men.
#7. Vogel, D. L., Murphy, M. J., Werner-Wilson, R. J., Cutrona, C. E., & Seeman, J. (2007). Sex differences in the use of demand and withdraw behavior in marriage: Examining the social structure hypothesis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(2), 165. Available from: https://public.psych.iastate.edu/ccutrona/psych592a/articles/Vogel%202007.pdf
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#12. https://archive.is/NHC61 (University of Western Sydney news archives page "Men become the main target in the new gender wars")
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#17. United States Census Beureau (2016, May 28). 21.3 Percent of U.S. Population Participates in Government Assistance Programs Each Month. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-97.html
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#23. Clifton, Derrick (2015, January 10). So You Want to Be a Male Feminist? Here are 11 Simple Rules to Follow. everyday feminism. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/male-feminist-rules-to-follow/
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#41. That's a weird way of saying 75% of homeless people are men: "1 in 4 Homeless People are Women" (Newspaper article). https://i.imgur.com/v4yuVub.jpg
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