COMMENTARY | We often read about __insert sector of industry here__ having a “women problem,” meaning that too few women are considered to be in management, particularly upper management. Writers and policymakers opine about how to fix the problem, offering solutions ranging from woman-to-woman mentoring programs to laws granting women more child-rearing flexibility to, in the U.S. military, a sabbatical program designed to prevent burnout and leaving the service. Recently, however, I noticed a troubling trend, my attention originally piqued with a TIME article by Christina Hoff Summers about masculinity. Beginning with her article, currently abuzz on the news cycle, and linking to similar articles about men and masculinity, I found that most of those articles appeared to be written by…women.
Does the media have a men problem when it comes to exploring and defining masculinity? Certainly, there is no shortage of male writers who could eloquently opine on the subject. Why, therefore, do respected publications not look to men to explore and explain the roles of being a man? I can only imagine the furor that would erupt if TIME had a majority of its op-eds about femininity, feminism, and women’s issues written by men.
I was already a bit miffed with TIME due to its recent publication of a Hanna Rosin article asserting the obsolescence and irrelevance of men. Strangely enough, the rebuttal to Rosin’s wrongheaded ire came from…another woman, Camille Paglia. Meanwhile, boys and young men are being analyzed for TIME by Rosalind Wiseman, a female researcher. Nothing against any of these women except, of course, Ms. Rosin, but we fellas can speak for ourselves.
Is the masculine experience only validated when researched, explored, or discussed by a woman? Such an occurrence is blatantly sexist and could go a long way toward explaining any male backlash against modern feminism. Not only do rants like Hanna Rosin’s garner few supporters of modern feminism among men, but having masculinity scrutinized mostly by women can make men uncomfortable about discussing gender issues. Men feel banned from the discussion, isolated, criticized, and condescendingly lectured at.
Most men have no qualms whatsoever with concepts of gender equality but we do grow frustrated over double standards, a major one being evident with TIME’s exclusion of male writers in the exploration of gender issues. We men are fully capable of expressing our own views and struggles and do not need women to swoop in and speak for us. Frankly, it is insulting and offensive.
If TIME claims that there is a dearth of male writers willing to opine professionally on masculinity and gender issues, I am available for hire.