Thursday, May 4, 2017

The End (?) of Men

I found Mr. Ogden’s talk this Monday night to be quite interesting. I liked it because he voiced ideas and opinions that we do not often hear in class, but I also am confused slightly at the overall point of his talk. I appreciated Hanna Rosin’s article and TED Talk, and I liked that she was constantly telling us facts about women and how they are really beginning to make a name for themselves in the workforce and business. But I also found a few gaps in the talk as well. The name of her article and talk, “The End of Men,” does not seem to preach quality or reality. Men hold the majority of spots in public office, there has only ever been male presidents, and currently in the House of Representatives, there are 362 men and 76 women. With this current trend, the ‘end of men’ is not going to occur for a very long time.
At one point in her article, Rosin talks about how women have started overpowering men in the movie business and media. She writes about the movie Up In The Air, starring George Clooney. She muses on the fact that Clooney gets denied by two women in the movie because they deem him “too old” and writes that “If they sexiest man alive can get twice rejected, what hope is there for anyone else? The message to American men is summarized by the title of a recent offering from the romantic-comedy mill: She’s Out of My League.” I think that Rosin interprets these ‘new’ concepts in movies as empowering- women turning the tables and denying men rather than being the ones denied. But I feel like these two examples also play into the objectification of women in the media. In Up In the Air, George Clooney is still able to sleep with the women, and when they turn him down, it is almost looked at as comical. If this were a woman sleeping with two different men who both denied her, this would be interpreted at as sad; people would feel bad for the woman and pity her for her inability to keep a man. In regards to the movie She’s Out of My League, the movie cover speaks for itself.
There would never be a movie with a nerdy, unattractive woman being kissed by a hot, overly sexualized man on the cover as her nerdy friends look on in amazement. This is not the face of women’s empowerment, but the face of objectification. Although I see Rosin’s point, that women have turned the tables and taken the power in these movies, they truly are not given the power. They are subjects to the men, serving them for their desires and defying them for comedy.
Later on, when Mr. Ogden mentioned his own upbringing and his life at home, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he does the majority of the cooking and laundry, raises the children equally with his wife, and that he isn’t even the one who “wears the pants.” I think that it's great that he and his wife play such equal roles in their family, but that is something I simply cannot relate to. I have never seen my dad cook a full meal, do a load of laundry, or even go shop for the week’s groceries. Mr. Ogden’s argument, that women need to realize that we are achieving more and more power and rising above men, is extremely subjective. He mused on the fact that his bosses and coworkers are largely women, but he is also in education, one of the few professions that women are really pushed to pursue. My dad works at an investment firm and he has a number of female coworkers, but his boss is male and the CEO is male as well. I have gone to work functions with my dad and the majority of the people there were male. One of my closest friends attends Umass Amherst as a civil engineer major. In the engineering building that holds the majority of her classes, there is only one women’s bathroom on the basement floor in a building with seven floors. There are bathrooms on each floor- but each one is male only.
As much as I would love to believe that women are finally taking the reigns in society and achieving things they never have before, I know that, at least right now, this is not realistic. I do, though, believe that women should focus on their achievements as a whole more than we usually do. I appreciated Mr. Ogden saying that he knows a number of ‘kickass’ women in his life, and I think that women, and all people, should appreciate the ‘kickass’ things we do each day. But in realizing the great accomplishments of our friends and peers, I think that we need to recognize the challenges we all face, and admire each other for how we succeed despite them.

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