Oh, won’t somebody think of the men? Clearly, no one in Ottawa is doing so, if the latest federal budget is any indication. Luckily, the menz have Neil Macdonald, CBC’s voice of the voiceful, to take up their kvetch for them. And he’s written a real doozer. Let’s take on some of the more, er, INTERESTING points of his little screed, shall we?
First up, we have this sly dig at transgender, intersex, and other non-binary people:
While some, particularly in academia, regard gender as a “cisnormative” construct, the human race is in fact binary, and, as the budget’s authors acknowledge, government policies have different impacts on men and women.
Ah yes, those evil, egg-headed academics. Those would include scientists, who are increasingly finding out that the male/female sex binary is, indeed, a cis-normative construct of gender, not to mention an extraordinarily inaccurate and incomplete one. Clearly Neil Macdonald has never heard of chromosomal anomalies, or of differences in neuroanatomy, because the biological basis for non-binary genders is all way above his widdle man-head.
But hey, at least he’s willing to concede that insofar as the limited scope of the sex binary allows, men and women ARE being treated differently by our federal budgetary bean-counters, so…WIN?
Don’t bet on it. Next crack out of the box is a slam at whoever the hell dared to identify female persons as, well, persons:
“Governments must understand to what extent their policy choices will produce different outcomes for all people,” it says, inclusively.
Read past the first few paragraphs, though, and “all people” quickly morphs into “women.”
My gosh, it’s as though the Famous Five had never existed. Nobody said that women comprise “all people”, but that “all people” must include women. Why is this such a difficult concept for some people…i.e., men like Neil Macdonald?
After a few not-so-problematic paragraphs, in which a couple of salient facts slip through (yes, Virginia, there IS still a gendered pay gap, and men are still unfairly advantaged over women in all the places that count!), our cranky uncle returns to his mutton:
Every liberal, after all, is raised to believe that male privilege is the anchor determinant in our society, and that being born male — especially a white male — confers possession of the keys to society’s ignition.
What’s this “raised to believe” shit, Neil? This is not a matter of upbringing, let alone belief, and the problem crosses all party lines. Sexism, unlike Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, does exist. You even acknowledged as much just a few paragraphs ago. And if you think you’re NOT at a special advantage by being born white and male, I suggest you try to replicate John Howard Griffin’s “Black Like Me” experiment, this time in drag.
Or if you’re a wuss — or one of those egg-headed academic sociologists you like to disparage — you might want to try a little Marketplace-style hidden-camera experiment using non-white, non-male undercover reporters to show you just how different their lives are from yours. But I ought to issue you a trigger warning, Neil…what you see is going to shock you, and not in a good way.
And now we get to the real meat of the matter, and of course, it’s not mutton. It’s beef:
Women do much better than men in school.
That wasn’t the case even 20 years ago, but as Statistics Canada puts it: “Today, the situation is completely different. Education indicators show that women generally do better than men.”
The gap begins in kindergarten, where girls earn better marks than boys, and continues right through university.
“More girls than boys earn their high school diploma within the expected timeframe, and girls are less likely to drop out. More women than men enrol in college and university programs. A greater percentage of women leave these programs with a diploma or degree.”
If that trend continues, and there is no reason to believe it won’t, it isn’t hard to see what lies ahead: an increasingly uneducated and unemployable male population.
Well, cry me a river, Neil.
Yes, female students DO do better in school, but it’s not because schooling is built more around their needs, as you seem to be insinuating. It never has been. The educational systems in this country were built by males, for males. Girls were only admitted as an afterthought…and in large numbers, only after a centuries-long feminist struggle.
And girls aren’t dumb; they can pick up readily on how much more they need to do to get taken half as seriously as boys, simply for want of a penis. Take it from one who was always the class brain while female, Neil: Female students do better because they work harder. And they work harder because, being girls, they can’t get away with nearly as much slacking and acting-up as boys. It’s as simple as that.
And then, to back himself up, he trots out an expert:
“It is quite troubling that increasing numbers of young men are dropping out,” says Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada. “They don’t tend to do well in public school, and they’re constantly told that if you don’t go to university, you might as well not be in our society, and they know they probably aren’t going to university, so they just drop out. An increasing number of men are not in the labour force and not going to school. This is not good.”
This is pretty damn misleading, especially since jobs that don’t require higher education or specialized training have, historically, been decently-paid work-with-your-hands jobs. That’s if you’re male, and thus regarded as a “breadwinner”. If you’re female, you’re chronically underpaid, even for work of equal value. Low-paid McJobs are a feminine speciality. Because as everyone “knows”, women don’t work for their family’s support — they marry it. (Well, actually, they’re EXPECTED to do that, and they often don’t, but that’s just a small detail that only an academic feminist would point out, eh?)
And again with the misleading examples of supposed misandry in the workplace:
Women have not yet caught up to men in the private sector, but they own the public service, by far the single biggest employer in the country.
According to Statistics Canada, women not only comprise 71 per cent of Canada’s 4.1 million public sector jobs at all levels of government, but “gender parity now exists in the public sector with respect to women’s representation in leadership positions.”
Meaning that while women are still a designated group for the purposes of preferential hiring in the public service, they now have most of the jobs and at least half of the most senior jobs.
Cross puts it rather bluntly: “Women are overrepresented in government, and government jobs are the best jobs. Best job security, best pension benefits, best everything.”
Further, he says, women now dominate the feeder positions for all the most senior jobs in government.
Unfortunately, the public sector has been decimated by prior Conservative budget cuts. Meaning, an awful lot of those supposedly well-situated women are going to be made redundant, and sooner than you think. And who do you think is less likely to fall victim to budget cuts? That’s right, it’s the men with the cushiest jobs. AGAIN.
But lest anyone accuse him of being too conservative, Neil’s got a cunning plan: Trot out a progressive analyst to bolster his insistence that there’s misandry afoot in the job market!
The overwhelming majority of people who have lost their jobs in the resource sector out west and the manufacturing sector, mostly in Ontario, are men.
As Springsteen sang, these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back.
“There is a certain type of man who you wanted in the oil sands, out of town, blowing things up,” says Cross. “Those people still exist, and now they are jobless, and what do we do with them now?”
Exact figures are difficult to find, but Janice MacKinnon, a university professor and former NDP finance minister in Saskatchewan, says it’s a “staggering number.” And those jobs that do come back will demand higher skill levels.
She notes there is absolutely nothing in the budget’s gender-based analysis about those jobs, or what to do about their disappearance.
Um, maybe that’s because those are private-sector jobs, and the public-sector budget doesn’t cover those? Just a random guess.
And maybe also because the oil industry is in fact a dead end, as are all fossil-fuel and resource extraction industries, and some people aren’t taking THAT into account? Just another random guess. ‘Course, that leaves renewables, which are growing…but again, that’s not being taken into account here, because someone’s still grinding the ol’ misandry ax. And because renewables take more brains than brawn to harness. Brains means education means…well, you can figure it out, even if Neil & Co. can’t.
Also, maybe it’s time to admit that the age of easy-peasy job-hunting for the less-educated males is definitively over, and in fact has been since the advent of robotized factories and offshoring. Which is where the private sector is cutting costs, and therefore raking in profits, the most. That has been going on for decades, and now that artificial intelligence is becoming an actual thing, it’s picking up speed. And it’s long past time to admit that maybe, just maybe, poor ol’ Ned Ludd was onto something.
And finally, it’s time to admit that guys can’t just coast through life on their dicks anymore. They have to start living and acting as if they’d been born without one. And that means, for starters, you’re not allowed to whine about how unfairly life (and the federal budget) is treating you. You have to work harder, applying your head rather than your fists, and you have to get used to doing that…over and over and over again. You have to make like the smartest kid in your class, and yes, that means you have to learn how the girls do it. I can honestly tell you, from my own experience as the class smartypants, that it has nothing to do with being cute and helpless and batting our big eyelashes at anyone, and EVERYTHING to do with using the other thing our mamas gave us. Which is spelled B-R-A-I-N-S.
Buckle down and be prepared to swallow a ton of your pride, fellas. You’re about to get a taste of how the other half lives, and it’s not gonna be pretty.