Our definition of “good guys” needs to change
With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, women showed great resilience as they mourned the loss of their reproductive rights and were burdened with the fear that their access to birth control might also soon be restricted. The media was flooded with women urging others to practice safe sex and obtain more permanent birth control, like IUDs. Additionally, there was the internet phenomenon of women praising their boyfriends for offering to get a vasectomy. Don’t be confused — men should be offering to get vasectomies. However, these tweets and TikToks comparing men who wanted to ease women’s stress of having an unplanned pregnancy to “knights in shining armor” were tone deaf.
How come it’s so unexpected and admired for a man to have some responsibility in preventing unplanned pregnancy? The burden of pregnancy — cramps, periods, labor pain, stretch marks, morning sickness, breastfeeding and even possible death, all fall onto women. Additionally, women, for the majority of their lives, bear the burden of birth control — weight gain, acne, insertion pain and mood swings. Men have never questioned if this was fair.
Women are expected to bear all the pain that men can dump on their shoulders, but still have great posture.
How did we get here? It starts when schoolgirls are taught to “protect themselves.” Society doesn’t teach boys the importance of consent. Instead, they tell girls not to wear shorts or show shoulders or wear too much makeup; otherwise, boys will not be able to help themselves. Young girls are told to make sure he wears a condom and to be assertive, even in this vulnerable time, because they still might try to ignore you. Women have been burdened with the responsibilities of womanhood at such a young age; they are not allowed to be children.
Fast forward to our 20s, we wear short dresses at clubs, drink champagne and expect to be harassed by men because we were all told “boys just can’t help it.” Now, ever so often, women meet men who do not grab their waist as they are passing by in a crowded space; who don’t expect something more after they buy a round of drinks; who don’t harass women for just existing.
And we absolutely worship them.
We talk in the bathroom about how respectful and nice he was when all he did was not sexually harass someone. Men are put on this incredibly high pedestal for doing the absolute bare minimum. This toxic mindset continues, and women are now praising men for asking for verbal consent in the bedroom, for using a condom without being told and for being upfront about STI testing.
Where does it end? If men are continually celebrated for just treating women with respect, it never does. The responsibility and burden that women carry will only increase. Men will continue to be congratulated for “babysitting the kids” as if there are no real expectations for fatherhood, while women will continue to be demonized for trying to balance work and family.
At every stage of our lives, women endure the hardships of femininity as a result of the lack of responsibility given to men. This is just one tool in our arsenal to create a generation where men can start to understand the plight of womanhood.
Most men can’t genuinely empathize with women because they’ve been given the privilege of ignorance.
In light of Roe v. Wade being overturned, it’s more important than ever that women start holding men accountable. There will continue to be a fight for our rights, and we need men to defend us with true unwavering support, the way we would defend each other.
CREDIT: Pinterest/ @caliclements_ CREDIT: Pinterest/ @caitdc CREDIT: Tyrone Turner/ DCist/ WAMU
Gwyneth Baker is an online staff writer for Rowdy Magazine. She can be found listening to Lana Del Ray, watching Gone Girl (while being an Amy Dunne stan) and yelling at men that touch her friends in bars.