Be the Change

Over the weekend, I was flipping channels and noticed something terribly, terribly wrong with how men are portrayed in the media.

[Insert overbearingly vocal and usually misinformed female dissent here.]

A diaper commercial I saw portrayed a group of men watching a football game together with friends and each of them had their respective infant in hand.  The suggestion of the commercial was that men would not be capable properly care for their children while the game was in play on television, and so the diapers with which the mothers had thought ahead to wrap their babies’ bottoms in prior to leaving them with their hapless fathers would last until the game was over, thus absolving the men of any responsibility for leaks from the diapers of their unsuspecting children.  Presuming, of course, that men are incapable of compassion or concern over the welfare of their children given the distraction of a televised game.

There are a number of things wrong with this advertisement.  Primarily, the suggestion is that without women, men would not think of anything on their own, let alone the well-being of the infant children left to their care.  Yet, in reality, we trust men to help provide for us and our children, to make decisions which women sometimes cannot or will not, and to provide shoulders on which to place our heaviest burdens, literally and otherwise.  So, it would seem that men are good for all that, yet in media we portray them as being more helpless than children, incapable of reasonable thought.

Much of media has followed this line of thinking and, as a woman with several decent and lovely men in her life, I take offence on their behalf.  While we are forced to suffer an endless barrage of women portrayed as VICTIMS of anything from breast cancer to heart disease and depression, there is very little coverage of men’s issues aside from baldness and erectile dysfunction.  And even these sensitive topics are commonly insensitively portrayed.  Moreover, men are often blamed for oppressing women, for perpetuating the unrealistic expectations women feel they have been subject to.  Yet I don’t commonly see men buying fashion magazines or attempting to fit into Size 00 clothing (what, exactly, is a Size 00?).

The hypocrisy of this tainted female mindset is mind-boggling.  Many of us complain that we are downtrodden, we have it so much harder than men, men don’t understand and do not even try to understand.  Yet, in the midst of all this vocalization about how we women deserve fairness and accurate portrayals of what life as a woman is or should be like, we take every opportunity we can to negatively portray as much as possible any man who dares come within range.  How can we expect equality from the viewpoints of men, when clearly, we do not regard men as equals?  I refer you to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ in which the pigs in the story point out that while all barnyard animals are equal, some are “more equal than others.”

Further, while many women have young sons, they apparently see no correlation between the negativity they project to the grown-up men in their lives as having any impact on their sons’ perception of themselves.  How do you suppose a son feels knowing that his mother/sister/grandmother/aunt regards other men in this fashion?  As a parent, you will expect him, of course, to treat women with respect and kindness.  But how can he adequately learn this when he sees the women in his life showing little to no respect toward men, a member of which population he will ultimately become?

Bottom line, treat others how you would wish to be treated.  Be the change you wish to see in the world!  Even if they happen to be a man. 

To quote a great man named Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

NB: In order to foster the heretofore unheardof notion that men are, in fact, capable of great sacrifice for the betterment of others, I recommend the following movies:  The Next Three Days (Russell Crowe) and Dear Frankie (Gerard Butler).

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