I have to admit it: I rarely think about how people discriminate against white men. As a feminist, I think and read about women’s rights quite often, but for whatever reason, I don’t think about how men are treated unfairly in certain situations. Today, though, a few text messages that made me laugh out loud also made me rethink my point of view.
My poor boyfriend had to attend his company holiday party today, a three-hour long potluck. [No, I have absolutely no idea what they’re going to do for three hours.] He recently became a vegetarian in order to get healthier and better at running, and he did so before we started dating, which his coworkers have labeled as his one saving grace. I should probably mention that I’m a vegetarian as well, and have been for 6 years. Apparently it’s just not manly to avoid inhaling hot wings and ranch. And it’s really not manly to convert because of your girlfriend. One of my exes used to make the case that I was taking evolution for granted by refusing to eat meat.
“We dominate animals, Emily,” he’d say. I’d laugh. I prefer not to eat sentient creatures. But, to be honest, I eat fish, so I’m not entirely innocent here. I mainly cut out meat in order to promote better health. According to many studies, meat leads to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments. I personally just feel better eating mostly fruits and vegetables. I do feel bad, though, for the men who have chosen to make this healthy and smart decision and now have to face their friends’, coworkers’, and family’s teasing. I dealt with it at my last job, sure, but no one was as mean to me as they’ve been to Alex. Luckily he doesn’t get upset about almost anything, and I’m sure it’s all in good fun.
On a similar note, one of my friends made a point of saying that she would never date a male nurse, implying that the profession wasn’t masculine enough. That’s another viewpoint I disagree with, I realized: I know a male nurse personally, and I know how much he genuinely cares about others. I have seen the amount of energy he put into his studying and his job in order to be able to be the most knowledgeable and empathetic caretaker he could be. I think it’s an admirable profession regardless of one’s gender. My point here is that judgment is silly, outdated, and close-minded. It’s almost 2014. Let’s be real: that shit is so 90s.