Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Gender-riffic Pity Party

This has been quite a week for gender relations here in the blogosphere, with the latest volley courtesy of the sweet and awesome KassyK.

To get all Sex and the City on you, I couldn't help but wonder...who has it worse, men or women? Let's find out by having a gender-centric pity party/social experiment!

I need your help. I need you to add, in the comments section, ways in which men have it worse than women, and women have it worse than men. Then I'll assign point totals as objectively as possible (I am, after all, an unreasonable, irrational, and squishy-brained woman).

We'll total it all up, and the gender with the most points is the Queen (or King) of the Pity Prom. Points are assigned based on relative onerousness of the gender burden, recency (I care more about current divorce inequities than the hazards of 19th century coal mines), and other important factors I'm sure I'll think of later.

Here are a few to start us off:

Menstruation, 50 points for women.

Prostate Exams, 10 points for the men.

The Taliban, 25 points for women.

Preference for mothers in custody hearings, 30 points for the men.

The Ground Rules:

This being the Internet, you may grab virtually any statistic via Google, and use it to back whatever spurious claim comes to mind. Citing statistics, no matter how tangential, gets you an extra 5 points.

Commenters may not personally insult one another. However, this being the Internet, general insanity is welcome. And debate? Go for it.

Gender traitorism welcome and encouraged - women, sell out your team by claiming childbirth isn't so bad after all, men, come on, go ahead and say you're more likely to be imprisoned due to your own foolishness.

Here I am, saving the world and answering deep questions. Awesome. Voting closes at NOON FRIDAY.

Have at it, gang.


Lemmonex said...

Sucks for women:

Um, women fuck up their bodies to carry on our species. I really want kids and I know it is a choice, but I am not looking forward to stretch marks and having my vagina swell to three times its normal size for two months post childbirth.


Sucks for men:

Cannot express emotion

Anonymous said...

To start for our side I'll grab at the low-hanging fruit. On average, we die earlier than women do. Our life expectancy is averages at about 75 and yours is 80.

And don't give me that crap about you carrying babies for 9 months so you deserve to live that much longer. Assuming that you are pregnant for 9 months and then breast fead for 3 months on average, you'd have to have 5 kids just to even things out. If you breast fead longer, you can probably drop it down to 4.36732489 kids.

Shannon, do I get extra points for attempting to use math?

Shannon said...

Lemmonex, thanks for starting us off! Ok, I'm going to award 15 points for post-pregnancy box bulge, as it's voluntary and temporary.

As for men not being able to express their emotions, 60 points. It's lifelong, non-optional, and I imagine it sucks.

So you sold out the girl's team, there.

Jo said...

Women: I'll go with fear. We can be all bad ass and strong, but it's more likely that a woman walking alone will get attacked/raped than a man walking alone.

Shannon said...

I Have Thoughts, point totals for lower life expectancy is going to be weighed later when we're closer to the point totals. Why? Because if the world sucks more for men, then dying sooner is a boon to them.

Jo said...

Oh and for men, to keep going with the childbirth thing. They can't create life in their bodies. Despite the downsides, that's pretty f*ckin cool.

Anonymous said...

So theoretically, that sucks for us which should increase our suck points. Thanks Jo.

Lemmonex said...

Female Genital Mutilation gets nothing?

And before men pipe up and say circumcision is mutilation, I agree. If I have sons, they will be uncut...but the after effects are no where NEAR the same as FGM.

Anonymous said...

Reading Female Genital Mutilation makes me throw up a little in my mouth. I'm going to get back to work before I cover my keyboard and screen in vomit. GAK!!!!

Shannon said...

Jo, fear is lifelong and non-optional, plus a similar level of misery to not expressing 60 points.

Also, men get 15 points for not having as big a role in the reproductive process, as there are definite drawbacks for them (ex. man wants gf to abort, she doesn't, he has to pay child support).

Lemmonex, sorry, didn't know FGM stood for -- thought it might be Internet slang I'm not hip to. FGM gets 35 points (dreadful, but happens to relatively few), circumcision is good for 10 (fairly bad, but not as bad, happens to more people).

suicide_blond said...

girdles, corsets and five inch hi heels..oh wait some of those are pluses! seriously...that whole not getting paid equally...or promoted equally...sux..

Ibid said...

Guys have to ask out the gals. Some women take it upon themselves, but by and large men are expected to take the risks in that area. Ask, plan, pay, call, and propose. Then the guy has to support her while she can work or not depending on their financial needs and her own desires.

A woman puts up a personal ad and has to develop a spreadsheet to handle all the responses. A guy puts up a personal ad and gets the occasional spam.

I can't get out of a speeding ticket by crying.

Ibid said...

Women get better clothes.

Men get cheaper clothes.

Anonymous said...

Geez...where are the other men?

But the whole equal pay thing, while unfair, does create a negative for those men in a relationship. We are immediately placed in the "bread winner" role adding additional stress to our lives, a stress that probably speaks to why we die earlier.

Shannon said...

Blondie, the uncomfortable clothes are at least somewhat optional, so 15 points. Unequal pay is worth 40 points for the women's team.

Ibid, men having to take the initiative in the dating scene is 25 points for the guys. Speeding ticket, rare and not awful, so 5 points. And your clothing point is a wash, 5 points either side.

I have thoughts, breadwinning pressure is 20 points.

Hey, anybody keeping track so far?

Ibid said...

To be fair, women as a gender make ~$0.75 for each $1.00 a guy makes. But the women who skip the whole having children thing make ~$0.95 for each $1.00 a guy makes. They make less not because of their gender but because they take off to have the kids and are always using them as an excuse to leave early and come in late. The childfree and professional women then have their pay anchored down by the expectations that the child-burdened place on the whole gender.

Michael J. West said...

Men's (extremely sensitive) reproductive systems are external to the primary trunk of our bodies. Susceptible to direct contact and/or injury.

In short, men can get kicked in the nuts.

Shannon said...

Ibid, I would say the wage gap issue you cite is compensated for via women with children doing larger proportions of housework (in short, their workday is equally long). But you do get the automatic 5 points for digging up statistics.

Mike, as I've never been kicked in the nuts, you can come up with the points for that.

Anonymous said...

Men's bodily functions are considered humorous. Women's are considered crass and unladylike.

If you are Mormon, you can't get into Heaven without your husband inviting you.

It's easier for women to fake an orgasm and, often, more necessary.

Michael J. West said...

I'm gonna have to give it a full 30points. One kick in the nuts is worth half a lifetime of emotional inexpression.

Oh, and freckledk:

It's easier for women to fake an orgasm and, often, more necessary.

Fair and true. But as an inverse, it should be pointed out that men have to work harder to bring a woman to orgasm.

Jo said...

Just thought of another benefit women have: multiple orgasms... not only that but different types of orgasms (I would explain, but I'm assuming you all know, and I don't want to be graphic).

Shannon said...

FreckledK, fart joke inequity, 5 points. Mormons, 10 points, and faking orgasms, 15 points. (In terms of quality of life, I'd say 20 points, but I have to dock 5 points because I'm anti-faking, pro nicely explaining what you need.)

Mike, 30 points for getting knocked in the nuts. And 10 points for sexual labor inequity.

Anonymous said...

women get UTIs pretty easy--men (might, if they choose) have to go to war. split the difference on that one.

when men age, they go bald--when women age, they go kinda crazy and stop having their periods (so, i guess it's not good or bad really.)

men have to go to women for boobs--women have their own and don't feel the same way about what men have that they don't. penis envy be damned.

if a man is blonde, he's probably scandenavian--if a woman is blonde, she's probably dumb. draw your own conclusions.

men don't have to keep their toes pretty.

men's "sexy underwear" doesn't hitch a ride inside.

men don't get raped. too often.

Anonymous said...

but when's the last time you heard of a man using sex as a weapon?

women suck and deserve their punishment. which is being a woman.

i kid, i kid.

but seriously.

Anonymous said...

A take-charge man is a leader. A take-charge woman is a bitch. But a woman can ask for directions anytime, anywhere....and often benefits from the etiquette rule of "Ladies First."

Anonymous said...

One more, and then I'm done:

Some men prefer smaller breasts, but no woman prefers a smaller penis.

Michael J. West said...

Women have to change their name when they get married. Which is sometimes good, I suppose...but the requirement, or at least the stringent expectation, probably isn't the nicest feeling...

hey pretty said...

women seem to pay more for dry cleaning.

women are more likely to be ripped-off by auto mechanic.

on the other hand, men often feel pressured to live up to societal standards of "macho-ness" whereas femininity has taken on a more fluid definition of late.

but on the other, other hand, men are ruled by the whims of one little organ.

Shannon said...

Jo, stop selling us out! As men are more likely to have orgasms in general, but the multiple thing is far trickier (or so Cosmo says), I'm going to call that one a wash.

Anon #1: UTIs, 15 points. War, 40 points. Baldness 5, menopause 15, the rest women get 15 suck points and men get 10.

Anon #2, sex as a weapon...hrm, rape, anyone? But since a specific suck factor wasn't introduced, I'm afraid I can't assign points.

FreckledK, leadership/bitchiness nets 20 points for the gyn team. Not being able to ask for directions is a wash (as I don't think most guys WANT directions), and chivalry gets the guys 10 points in suckitude. And as an I-95 myself (all north-south, no east-west) I'll give 5 points for your boob/penis comparison to the men's team.

Mike, well put. 10 points for the name change, and an extra 5 for the fact that if a woman divorces, her married name follows her around forever (seriously, Mrs. Johnson STILL gets mail, I've been divorced almost two years).

HP, thanks for weighing in! 3 points for dry cleaning for women, and 7 for getting ripped off by mechanics. Machoness must be exhausting, though, so I'll give 20 points to the guys for always having to be tough.

Thanks everybody -- please do keep sending these in until noon on Friday, this has been really fun!

Dana said...

Women are more likely to be discriminated against in the name of religion. Whether it's fundie Protestant churches who won't allow them to teach or pray publicly with men, or Catholics who can't become priests, to Muslim countries where the women aren't allowed to go out in the street without head covering, women seem to get the most rules that are aimed specifically at them.

Men can go out in public without their shirts on without a problem most of the time, but if a woman did that she'd be arrested. And women get a lot more crap if they "offend" people by not dressing modestly (hello, Miley Cyrus.)

And every negative mood women ever have is blamed on "hormones." We can't be in a bad mood for some other reason -- if we get mad about something, we're asked if it's our "time of the month." Men have hormones too, but we don't dismiss their emotions because of them.

Oh, and a guy who's over 30 and single is "playing the field" and is somehow more attractive. A woman who's over 30 and not married is desperate and looking for someone to get her pregnant as soon as possible.

KassyK said...

Thanks for the link!..and I'll go with Jo on FEAR for 30, Alex. :)

That and how we are faulted for "aging" and periods.

But then again, we get to make babies. That IS pretty awesome.

We still have it harder in general...but I give men that there are some things we DO have better. For sure.

Rob West said...

On the subject of orgasms, men can pay a pretty heavy price for lack of an orgasm. I'm talking, of course, about blue-balls.

It's pretty rare, I'll grant you, but it is, personally, the most painful thing i've ever experienced. Very few men even understand it, but no women do at all. I realize that you ladies have no frame of reference, but I'll describe it for you anyway: it's like being punched in the balls repeatedly and constantly, for about 6 hours at a time. The pain is literally paralyzing. Mike, I may have to give you the last word on point assignment for this, but if we agree that one shot to the balls is worth half a lifetime of emotional repression, I have to submit that one case of blue-balls is worth a lifetime's quota of nut-punches.

Rob West said...

Hey Pretty

"but on the other, other hand, men are ruled by the whims of one little organ."

I can't jusy let this slide. Men dont' deserve points for this, because frankly, it doesn't bother us in the slightest. In fact, 99% of the time, we rather enjoy it. If anything, it's women who pay the price for this. The burden generally falls on them to satisfy this need for us, and I would say that doing so is much more disruptive and inconvenient for womenthen it is for them men. Men will actually consciously plan their day around it.

*Shannon, this doesn't directly relate, but I wish I still had the article I wrote for you on myspace about men vs. women in junior-high sex ed. You didn't by chance copy it or anything like that, did you (I can't imagine why you would, but still...)

Michael J. West said...

if we agree that one shot to the balls is worth half a lifetime of emotional repression, I have to submit that one case of blue-balls is worth a lifetime's quota of nut-punches.

My young brother, I envy you. You have obviously never taken a really serious blow to the nuts if this is the case. Blue balls sucks, and it lasts longer, but it's never caused me to crumple to the floor like a wilted flower, unable to think, move or speak.

Anonymous said...

Suffice it to say that a papercut has done that to Michael. -The Other West Brother.

Michael J. West said...

Fortunately, papercuts are gender-neutral, because there is NO worse pain than a papercut.

Shannon said...

Hi, Dana! Points: 25 for religious discrimination (I'd go higher, but we've already got 25 points for the Taliban.) 10 points for nudity double standards for the women's team, hormonal/women should always be happy (and it's ok to tell women you don't know to smile, a peeve of mine), 20 points. For the whole women marry by 30/men can play the field bit, I'll give it a full 25 points.

Hi Kassy, glad you enjoyed the link! I think most of what you said was covered by Dana. And I'm really with Jo on the fear thing - it's difficult to have that fear and also be socially conditioned to be nice and pleasant - it means sometimes women ignore their instincts in favor of being nice to psychos.

Rob, the eternal question of blue balls. I think they're imaginary and used as guilt trips against high school girlfriends. (I kid.) I'll give blue balls 15 points for men. I'm afraid I don't have the article, which is a shame, it's hilarious (Rob wrote a really funny MySpace blog post for me about what the guys were doing when the junior high girls were learning about their periods).

Also, I don't think I've ever discussed my reproductive organs with my sister. You West boys are weird.

Anonymous said...

I am not a West boy by birth, so does that exclude me from the accusation? Besides, I categorically deny being weird. I'm merely eccentric!

And doesn't a points-based system nullify and attempt at serious discussion of gender-based issues, because it seems when one trivializes discussions down to points, taglines, and stereotypes, the conversation eventually devolves into blue-balls and reproductive organs.

Wait, wait. That's happened.

-Dave B.

Anonymous said...

... nullify ANY attempt...

Sorry. I'll spell check better next time. -D.

Shannon said...

Dave, actually, I'm impressed it took us almost 40 comments to get down to brass, brass tacks.

My readers are a classy bunch (and funny, too...I can't tell y'all how much fun I'm having reading your comments).

Anonymous said...

rob. this is jesse, mike's friend, and you know i'm a whore. so. i've had blue balls many a time. because my reach exceeds my grasp, you understand.

anyway, i'd liken blue balls to getting your nuts squeezed constantly by a small, perverse underwear monkey. and i know you know monkeys. it's painful, and it sucks...

but it's not the life-threatening (as in suicide) evil that is a kick in the nuts. i've had a kick in the nuts that lasted as long as the usual case of blue balls. between trying not to vomit, and vomiting, and thinking "maybe i should just lay on my back and vomit so i choke to death and this is all over," i'd have to say it was not an experience worth reliving.

if you have blue balls, at least you know you tried.

Shannon said...

Jesse, hi! How ya been?

I've been attacked by monkeys, but luckily none of them got anywhere near my underpants. The description is quite vivid, and makes me feel kinda guilty about having been such a good girl in high school.

Shannon said...

Voting closes in less than 90 minutes!

Justin said...

I really, really dislike the "fear" one. You don't have to be scared. A person chooses whether or not they want to live in fear. I'm 5'6" on good day, 145 lbs when I'm bloated, and I'll walk through the roughest neighborhood you can find in D.C or Baltimore. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm male. It bothered me in KassyK's post, and it bothers me in this follow-up. You guys probably think that woman who let her 8yo ride the subway alone is a horrible mom.

I have nothing else useful to contribute. Well, maybe that women make us to go opera, but you won't play Halo with us.

Shannon said...

Hi Justin, I displayed boundless sympathy for blue balls, so I think y'all can give us fear. This is a big issue for a lot of women, and I'm saddened when a guy doesn't get it. It's not about relative size so much as the dynamics at play.

So I'm going to rampantly overgeneralize: men become the targets of violence via macho foolishness or their own violent tendencies (ie, gangs, barfights, etc). Women become the targets of violence via being nice people (being stalked by a former boyfriend, letting an attacker in to "borrow the phone", etc). The lack of control or real ability to fight back is what's scary.

VOTING IS CLOSED! Results soonish.

Justin said...

But the number of women who are attacked is actually very, very small. It's like not flying on a plane because you're scared it's going to crash, even though (IIRC) you're far more likely to die driving your car to work. And yet, we mock people for being scared of driving, but not for being scared of flying. Why live in fear of something that's very, very unlikely to happen? This atmosphere of "oh my god, I could get raped, I better not go alone" is all a psychological stigma. It's effectively terrorism - the threat causes people to live in fear, even when they logically shouldn't.

Which has nothing to do with gender or size.

I'm not arguing over points, I'm just saying this country promotes a culture of fear. The woman I referred to earlier got insane amounts of flack for letting her 8yo on the subway. See: Blue balls sucks (a lot), but the guy who said it's the worst pain he's ever felt needs to get out more :) I mean, I'm a computer nerd and I've been in more pain than that several times..

Rob West said...

Mike, and Jesse,

I have to disagree with both of you. I know voting has closed, but I would like to make my point nonetheless. Last week, for the first time in maybe five years, I had an experience with the Blue-Eyed Monster.

It sucked supremely. All the things you guys have just described and said it wasn't, it WAS. Maybe not as bad I described earlier, but for at least a solid 90 minutes, every small movement made me have to actively resist gagging from pain. So i can't simply relent or back down on this one.
I must envy you, then, Mike West, if you've never had a case like the one I described.

Shannon said...

Justin, I think the fear isn't something that can be logicked out of existence (I'm making up words today). It's not like I walk down the street in terror or anything, I don't know anyone who does. It's just this: women are more likely to be murdered, raped or beaten, more likely to have the perpetrator be someone they love, and way more likely to have their victimhood sprayed all over the mass media for sick enjoyment. That kind of thing just doesn't happen to guys.

Rob, perhaps Mike has more talent for closing the deal. (I have just completely skeeved myself out.)

KassyK said...

Justin--I don't mean this rudely--but I want to explain a bit more...I think you have a hard time understanding our fear because you are a man.

You have not seen tons of guys giving you the look that says "I want to fuck you" and being scared they may actually act on it when YOU don't want it.

We are conditioned in every medium to fear because of all the points Shannon mentioned and because it is what it is.

Women get raped. More often than men.

Its not like I am scared every minute but when I just saw a girl getting kidnapped on a tv video surveillance walking to her car from Target...I am going to fear walking to my car in a parking lot.

I WISH I could logic my brain out of it...That's the thing--we cannot.

If we DO go somewhere alone and gd forbid we are attacked...people ask us why WE DIDN'T BRING SOMEONE WITH US. And we are chastised for "going alone"..."asking for it"..."being in a dangerous area".

That's all. Its just a matter of understanding our fear. Not "explaining" it...but just that we have it and that is how it is.

I really wish we didn't! Believe would be that much easy.

Shannon said...

First off, can I just mention how weird it is to see smiling, happy photos of the West boys...while they debate blue balls vs. nut-kicks? Yowza.

Kassy, put it very well. I'm not a fearful person in general, but I do resent having to worry about stalkers and the like (I get stalkers like other girls get the flu). I think what makes it trickier is that women are also raised to be nice, play along, not hurt anyone's feelings, in short to not be assertive. And not being assertive makes you all the more of a target.

Dana said...

I know voting's over, but I just thought of the double standard that exists about people who love commitment-free sex. If you're a guy, you're sowing oats or have been "poisoned" by an evil ex. If you're a woman and just want a FWB relationship, you've got a secret agenda to entrap a man by using our sexual wiles. Or worse, dismissed as whores who are after money or something else from the man. It's never accepted that women can just be horny sometimes.

(Of course, on the other side are the men who are entrapped by a ton of women who fit the described behavior to a T. While there are plenty of male freeloaders, they're not usually using sex as a weapon like many women seem to do. So there's some points for guys there too.)

This was a great discussion. And you really, really need to get a Twitter account. You've got a way of provoking discussion that would be really popular over there. The link to my account is linked to my name.

Connie said...

oh darnit! Happened on to this blog too late. Can I make a claim that mom-duties are more time consuming around the clock than dad-duties? You know what side of the bed kids come to in the middle of the night.

I wanted war points for women too. I had 9yrs active duty Army and barely missed deployment, several time. Sux to be essential personnel, get all the shots and packed up ready to go, then get left behind when a male is deployed in your slot, again.

Ah well... Great discussion.

Shannon said...

Dana, I agree! I don't entrap men with sexual wiles. Flypaper is MUCH quicker. And I'll hold off on Twitter for now -- this blog alone is a pretty huge time suck.

Welcome, Connie! The war points for men were for the draft. And I see you're in Cairo...what are you doing over there?