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Reverse Sexism

On October 23, 2010

A man has to be twice as good a parent as a woman to get child custody. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult.

Ouch. Blatantly sexist.

A woman has to be twice as good as a man to get the same job. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult.

Ouch. Popular coffee cup.

I’ve worked almost 20 years in legal offices that do, among other things, divorce law. There is a grain of truth in the blatantly sexist statement. It stems from the idea that women are better at home with children, that men are naturally inferior caregivers to children. The popular coffee cup also has a grain of truth in it. Men can still get jobs, particularly management jobs, more easily than women with equal experience. Presented the way they are, both of my examples are insulting to a group of people because of their gender and how that group has received special treatment in the past. Both statements reverse this by saying the other group of people are better than the first group of people because of their gender. Only one is funny. Why?

The coffee cup is, to my mind, a good sign. The problems of women advancing in the workforce can be laughed at. Scoffed at. Those making the sexist barriers can be openly mocked as the fools they are. Humor is often overstatement. Our society allows us to laugh at treating men as superior to women. Unfortunately, we cannot laugh about treating men as inferior to women because this is often not seen as inaccurate. Instead, it's treated as a truism.

I think humor can be a gauge of how society thinks. Sadly, humor tends to be harsh and insulting, enjoying the embarrassment and pain of others. That is to say, it is tainted by our sinful natures. To me, these examples show that we still have as much, if not more, work to be done on sexism against men as that against women, both inside and outside the formal church.

What do you think? Are men being encouraged to use all of their gifts, even with children, even in the family?

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