"What Passes For Feminism These Days"

A reader writes:

Call me a misogynist asshole, but I have to agree with Warren Farrell on this one. Four years ago, I made a decision to move to a new city in search of better employment. When I came to LA, I left behind a wonderful relationship with a woman who was much too good for me. In the intervening four years, I've gotten on a path towards a high-earning career. However, I have also felt more emotional pain than in the rest of my life combined.  I've hardly even had a date since working 70-80 hours a week. I recently tried crawling back to my old girlfriend, but she wanted nothing to do with me.

I don't want to address any specific person whose email you printed, because maybe some of them have encountered legitimate sexism - which does exist. But, while women have a lot of avenues to address potential earnings gaps, men like me have no means to seek recompense for the emotional toll taken out on us by the expected focus on our careers.

Should my old girlfriend be legislated to take me back? Should women be required to date me? Of course not, we would all say. I guess I'm just expected to suffer in silence as all the attractive women my age date older guys with more money and nicer cars, and I have no opportunity for intimacy. And that's actually okay with me. I've made the choices I've made, I am the person I am, and one day I'll be on the winning end of this equation, assuming I'm mentally and emotionally capable of sustaining this pace for more years on end.

But, I get sick and tired of women who want to treat the workplace as somehow separate from other parts of life. There seems to be an attitude of: "I'm going to party all through my twenties while I'm young and hot, then have a family and be a mom and have a full-time career as well, and I'm owed a dollar for every dollar anyone else makes, regardless of the priorities each of us has set up until this point in our lives." That ain't life.

I wanted better career prospects, so I gave up love to get it. If I had made the opposite decision, nobody would say that I was owed anything. But if I do get successful, it is virtually certain that I will be regarded in some circles as just another beneficiary of a system (Hollywood, in my case) set up only to promote or benefit white men. Nobody will give a shit about the sacrifices I made.

That's how I, as a man born in the mid-eighties - long after the high-water mark of sexual discrimination - perceive much of what passes for feminism these days. It's an excuse that women have that men don't. I'm forced into a box (the "earn lots of money" box) just as much as a woman is (the "have a family" box), but women are given tons of sympathy for the things they miss out on.

I'm not given any sympathy at all. Instead, to the extent that I can even bring myself to talk about my personal problems, I'm thought of as a loser for not having (or wanting to have) casual sex with multiple partners. I'm somehow inadequate. And you know what? I FEEL inadequate. I just don't have anyone to officially blame for it.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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