There are disturbing trends of male underachievement in employment and education that, if left to continue, will leave men in a very bad place. Economist Larry Summers estimates that by 2050, more than 1 in 3 men aged 25-54 will be out of work in America (compared to 1 in 10 in the 1970s). The BBC reports that current trends in Britain suggest that a girl born in 2016 will be 75% more likely to go to university than a boy. Hillary Clinton might just be right when she said that “the future is female”.
The typical method of dismissing sexism against men is to say it isn’t “institutional”. This usually means claiming that prejudice and discrimination against men occur as isolated events by individuals, without backing of institutional power, and with limited ability to do harm. A clear counterexample is that the criminal justice system is more severe on men than on women in numerous ways, including likelihood of arrest, chance of pretrial detention, bail amount, and chance and length of jail-time. And many are calling for even more special concern and treatment for women in the justice system.
News organizations and human rights groups reporting on tragic events commonly single out the victimization of certain groups (based on gender, nationality, religion, age, etc.) as especially noteworthy. Sometimes this is based on the circumstances of the incident, like if a group is disproportionately targeted or affected (“Gunmen shot dead 11 people, mostly Christians, in central Syria on Saturday”). Other times it is based on properties of the group, such as if they’re more relatable to the audience (“At least 2 Americans among the dead in Nice, France attack” in an American outlet).
Singling out “women and children” is especially common in this reporting. Sometimes it happens when they’re disproportionately affected (“Dozens killed in Aleppo; mostly women and children among the dead”), but even when men are disproportionately affected—which is very often—it’s still generally “women and children” whose victimization is singled out. I consider this an example of male disposability and finding the suffering/death of men less distressing than that of women (and children).
Men’s and women’s reproductive systems are different, and so a full discussion of reproductive rights needs to take into account each gender’s unique concerns. Being the ones to carry the child gives women unique concerns involving the physical/medical consequences of pregnancy, but not being the ones to carry the child gives men unique concerns as well, namely paternal uncertainty—men are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to knowing if the child is theirs. This page looks into how big of a problem this is, and what we can do to address this unique reproductive concern for men.
Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972) prohibits discrimination based on sex at federally-funded educational institutions in the United States. Historically most known for ensuring equality between male and female athletics programs, in August of 2011 it was invoked to apply a new policy for sexual assault to all federally-funded universities and colleges. The “dear colleague” letter (pdf) from the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama administration defines acts of sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, etc.) as “discrimination based on sex”. Among other policies, this letter mandates that universities and colleges (if they want to keep federal funding) investigate claims of sexual assault made by students and apply the “preponderance of evidence” standard when determining guilt.
Male disposability is our society’s tendency to have less concern for the safety and well-being of men than of women. The concept is central to many men’s advocates’ critiques of society similarly to how women’s traditional lack of access to power (and their current lower levels of participation in it) are central to most feminist critiques of society. This page is a primer on male disposability: what it means (and doesn’t mean), the evidence for its existence, whether it should exist, etc.
The ugliest element of the social justice movement is the belief in different standards of treatment for different demographic groups. Members of “privileged” or “oppressor” groups (especially men, white people, and straight people) are considered acceptable targets for various types of treatment (generalizations, employment discrimination, identity-related insults, hatred, and dismissing an opinion because of identity) that would not be tolerated for “sympathy-worthy” groups, especially women, those who aren’t white, and those who aren’t straight. Many people become disillusioned with the social justice movement after realizing that in their view of the world, acceptable treatment depends less on the action itself and more on what group you’re in.