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6 Things We Blame On Men That Are Totally NOT Their Fault

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6 'Women's Issues' Feminism Blames On Men That Affect Them Just As Much
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Buzz, Sex

Not cool, ladies.

Over the last decade or so feminism has gone mainstream in terms of sex and sexuality, including a huge surge in the production of feminist porn. Global feminism's 4th wave is off and running, giving women all around the world a voice via the Internet to speak out about everything from rape to sexual harassment to body image (think Dove commercials and SlutWalks).

Women are everywhere these days and sexuality is just one area in which women are joining forces globally to have a voice.

Interestingly, with all of this emphasis placed on empowering women, more and more stigmas and myths around sexuality are being directed towards men. While I don't believe this movement is taking away men's voices, I also don't believe we're empowering men to understand that they have a role and a voice in the conversations around sexuality as well.

Some men have certainly taken it upon themselves to join the conversation, but I think a majority have just left the building. Many men seem to believe the goals of this movement are targeted toward changing certain types of men, such as "the perpetrator," "the rapist," "the abuser," "the molester," or "the sexual harasser."

Since most men don't feel as though they fall into any of these categories, they don't feel the need to take part. They just can't relate.

Instead, they feel that certain men "screw it up for the rest of us [men]."

I do believe that, on the whole, men are becoming more and more of the type of things that keep women down. Perhaps they're recognizing the need to act accordingly, and this causes them to take a backseat in terms of being open about their own shame. But if men don't speak up about issues affecting them as well, how will global change ever truly take place?

Ultimately, conversations about healthy sexuality are about everyone.

Men are half of what's going on, and they're not always the perpetrator. Quite often they're also victims of a larger society which places a lot of emphasis on sex but doesn't invite anyone to take an active role in their own sexuality. Men need to have a voice in the dialogue too.

Some male issues are very subtle, but the negative messages still sink in.

Here are just 6 issues we tend to blame on men, that hurt actually hurt guys just as much as they hurt us.

 

1. Body image issues.

Body image isn't an issue that affects women only. Men hide under their clothes, diet obsessively, take steroids and suffer silently when it comes to body image, just as women do. It's commonplace to he a woman tell her girlfriends or her boyfriend, "I feel fat," but rarely do men have such a voice or place to express this when they feel it.

We encourage women to embrace curvy bodies and blame men and the media for perpetuating the size 0 image without considering that men see "ideal male" images in the media and receive criticism from women as well.

So, let's start by recognizing that body image issues affect both men and women.

 

2. Self-esteem problems.

Women aren't the only ones who can suffer from low self-esteem. 

I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but men are victimized every day via bullying and sexual harassment, just as women are. Men aren't excluded from this suffering, and it would help all of us a great deal if men felt it was okay to share their experiences openly without being shamed.

 

3. Strict gender roles and identities.

Fifty or sixty years ago, the rules around gender were much simpler. Men went to work and were the breadwinners, while women stayed home, raised children, cooked, and cleaned. Nowadays, with women working, more men are finding themselves with domestic roles as well.

Although many men and women find this is acceptable and egalitarian, it is still a shift from how things were for the vast majority of history. This creates some identity confusion for men, especially when they receive mixed messages. It's important to recognize that allowing men the freedom to express their feelings and confusion makes any negative, misogynistic messages they receive less powerful.

 

4. Dating "rules."

Talk about confusing! Many men were raised to believe that they need to ask and take the woman out, whereas we've been simultaneously empowering women to not only ask men out but often to pay (or at least offer to go Dutch) on the first date. Many men appreciate this break from the responsibility, but not addressing the confusion it creates can cause tension later in other areas of the relationship.

Does a guy still need to ask a girl's father for her hand in marriage? Some women do still like these more traditional aspects of courting and some find them entirely offensive.

There are so many conversations like this to be had now, so it's even more important for men to speak up, and start asking more questions.

 

5. Sexual relationships.

Today, women not only initiate dating, we initiate sex too. We initiate friends with benefits relationships when we want sex with no strings attached. Awesome, right?! 

While this may sound like a win-win, I have to tell you that this can make relationships with women even more confusing for men. When we've been conditioned a certain way from a very young age, it's hard to know which end is up or down when those roles suddenly seem to change out of nowhere. It may seem nice and easy when women initiate things, but that doesn't abscond men from their part in being great lovers, and that can be downright confusing for them.

 

6. Porn "addiction."

Heterosexual men are the population most targeted by the myth of sex and porn addiction, often being shamed for their completely natural sexual desires. Men who girlfriends or wives "catch them" watching porn are made to believe they have a form of mental illness. And men who pay to engage a sex worker are vilified by our society.

We need to be careful about the way we address male concerns and men's sexuality in all of these realms.

We must allow men safe spaces to voice their sexual needs and desire so we can understand their own perspectives.

Moushumi Ghose is a sex-positive therapist based in Los Angeles, as well as the co-host of the queer-centric TheSexTalkSeries on YouTube. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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