Millennial Guys Aren't So Sure About This Whole 'Leaning In' Thing


Many Millennial dudes are down with the ideas of girls ruling the world, but some aren’t so sure about all the freebies women are being handed just because of their concave nether regions. After all, couldn’t this all end in ladies controlling all the powerful and prestigious jobs, earning more money for doing the same work as men, and expecting guys to stay home to cook, clean, and put the kids to bed, too? WHERE WILL IT END?

In Peggy Drexler’s latest for The Daily Beast, she claims Millennial males are feeling overlooked because of the in vogue emphasis on empowering women in the workforce. After eons of blatant discrimination against the ladies, some young men believe the business world is overcompensating for past injustices — and with all the girls leaning in (to take their jobs), these guys are wondering who they can lean on for support.

Some see the rise in female power as an “invasion.” They are in a fighting mood, determined to recapture lost territory. Others, [sociologist Michael Kimmel] argues, are largely indifferent to economic and other measures of female progress. For these “masculinists,” it’s about retrieving an “inner sense of their own masculinity.” Many, he says, find it in men’s empowerment groups or in the reaches of cyberspace.
It’s likely that most male Millennials in the workforce fall into Kimmel’s third category. They fall somewhere between “eager embrace and resigned acceptance.” They think it’s right. They think it’s fair. But they are largely along for a “rather apolitical ride.” Their support is rooted in the reality of change.

So, uh, they know the change must and will come — but they’re not really doing anything to hasten its arrival. Which, honestly, fucking sucks. Men in the workplace should be the most vocal proponents of women in the workplace, and I’m sorry, guys, just because YOU weren’t directly involved with keeping women in the kitchen, that doesn’t absolve you from the realities of our ugly past. In fact, it gives you an excellent ethical opportunity to atone for our collective sins — and generally just be an awesome person — by recognizing that you still benefit from a corrupt system, and you’re down to even the playing field.

When Dexler spoke to some young male managers and asked their thoughts on the fairness of women benefitting from things like companies talking openly about hiring more women (because, again, the not hiring women in the not so distant past thing), one guy responded:

“When you think about it, we all grew up at a time when women were getting extra support. It’s just been part of our lives. But I think most men will tell you that it makes no sense that 90 percent of a school’s athletic budget goes to boy’s sports. Or that a woman qualified for a job gets moved aside because she’s a woman.
“On the other hand,” he quickly added, “let me tell you what I just experienced. A number of us applied for an open position. It went to a woman who was in the Women’s Leadership Group. The supervisor for that position is the sponsor of the group. “You look at that, and you wonder. Is she the best candidate? Quite possibly. Did being a woman and a member of the leadership group give her just enough of an edge to get the job? How can you rule that out?”

So? Like men haven’t been benefitting from such affiliations for years? And like they won’t continue to, and at more agressive rates as there are simply more men in positions of power in most professions? And, you know, if two candidates are equally qualified, and if a company already employs more men because of decades of not hiring women, why shouldn’t the job go to the woman?

Further, these situations always feel like red herrings intended to turn us off the trail of the real issue — that the hypothetical other person wasn’t equally qualified. Please see: Abigail Fisher.

The smartest guy in the bunch, had this to say about sisters doing it for themselves:

It’s not like they suddenly imported a whole new category of people to compete for a finite number of jobs. The talented competition has always been there. It’s just that, now, a lot of that competition is female. I see some extra support. But I don’t see outright bias. I don’t believe things like women’s groups and mentoring are discrimination—certainly not the kind that used to block the way for women.

Right? That’s a history lesson, right there. All these guys so worried about women being given some slight advantage because they’re women need to reference the not so distant past — when men were given the complete advantage because they were men.

And that’s not just a history lesson — for all of the belaboring of statistics like “67 percent of women put career success high on their list of life’s goals, versus 60 percent for males” the fact is — that’s just a survey. The proof is not in the estrogen-enhanced pudding. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that just over half of “management, professional, and related occupation” positions are now held by women, nearly one hundred percent of U.S. women work jobs that pay men more, and we’re not doing so great with that whole gender gap thing, either.

So, the Millennial bros — or, really, any bros — who are stressed about women getting all the advantages these days can sit back and relax; men still have it much, much better than ladies. However, if we can all support each other, we can have a fair and awesome workplaces the world over and just binge eat from the giant office pretzel jar while watching unusual animal friendship videos on YouTube and trolling Reddit while we’re supposed to be working. You know, the stuff we all love to do.

[The Daily Beast]

Shutterstock/Piotr Marcinski

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