Men Not Only Lack Empathy But Also Don't Care. (All the ladies say, "DUH!")
A woman friend of mine shared a story with me titled “Genes Can’t Explain Why Men Aren’t Less Empathetic Than Women.” It went on to state, in a nutshell, that on a scientific level, the differences between men and women are present but not substantial enough to warrant why men aren’t empathetic. And while I did read the article in full, I knew reading from the title what my response would be in the end and I told her as much.
“Pretty sure the answer is men are just fucking assholes who have the capacity to listen, yet refuse.”
I tried coming up with a good way to write about the subject for a month (on top of other things in my life, the pandemic, protests, etc.) and after approaching it in different ways and coming up short, I decided to just put it up in the semi-public forum that is my personal Facebook page and ask men why we seem to lack empathy then it comes to women. What happened was exactly what I expected. Lots of women coming in to discuss the issue, a few men fessing up to what they notice, and a bit of heated discussion between some recurring people.
And while the conversation sparked some interesting points, it wasn’t until I got a phone call from a male friend who saw the post and wanted to discuss it, off the books and not in writing, that I felt I REALLY got what I needed from the topic. We spoke for a good hour about the situation at hand, trying to knock out what the real reasons are that separate the men from women, even though there isn’t a full scientific difference as to why. At around the 1-hour mark of our conversation, I stated to him, and he agreed:
“Men are just fucking assholes who have the capacity to listen, yet refuse.”
Without drawing out the full conversation, here’s where I start with this: I didn’t grow up with the same dynamic as most people my age. I’m an only child whose mother was in the military and father worked odd jobs while we traveled from place to place. I saw my mom as the steady breadwinner who kept the family afloat while my dad worked what he could to supplement our income. Additionally, my dad was the primary cook and primary cleaner in the house. I grew up looking at a man who was extremely fashionable and very “male” do dishes, clean tables, make 4-course meals, vacuum, and any other thing while my mom worked long hours, was deployed a good amount of my childhood and would come home to relax and watch TV. I know so many people who say their mother was the disciplinarian, especially in the military but she was, and still is, a gentle woman who just wants good things for people. And with that said, when it comes to gender roles, I didn’t have the same ingrained and preconceived notions as most people.
Talking with my friend afterward, those things came into play. We discussed a multitude of topics from communism, capitalism, how women are better suited for STEM jobs, how men are programmed for violence and rewarded for it, especially in our military, and as a society, men put themselves in a position to deny women jobs based on them not being seen as earners or producers, which is a catch-22 as they’re only not seen as such due to men not giving them jobs that men themselves were put into by other men. He provided a good amount of the talking points I just listed but then came the most telling part. With all of our understanding, he gave an anecdote about men not giving up their seat to pregnant women on buses because they see the woman as making their own decisions to get to the point they’re at, not empathizing with the fact that, regardless of those decisions, there’s still a woman with a child weighing her down in real-time making it uncomfortable to stand for long periods on a bus that’s constantly moving and testing her balance. The man will compartmentalize her feelings into his own logic, knowing everything we just discussed, and still deny her.
Men are just fucking assholes who have the capacity to listen, yet refuse.
This leads to things like gaslighting, which, if you don’t know, here you go. Calling women “crazy” is a common thing that’s not only ableist but generally disingenuous but comes from that same lack of empathy. Instead of analyzing what leads into a reaction, we ignore everything before it as random and “crazy.” We also use this designation when confronted about very real things that they see and call us out on and...then they’re doing too much, even when women are using sound logic. How many of us have honestly told a woman that they’re crazy or trippin’ for finding out the truth? My hand is raised. The blame isn’t all on them.
I threw in a question to him that I posited to my friends. What good is patriarchy and what benefits does it really provide to the world? He shot back that men have no reason to dismantle patriarchy because it consistently benefits them. Regardless of what good it would do for the world at large, men largely care about wins and losses. Patriarchy is a win. And the chaos that ensues? By and large, men like it. Look at the police now along with their actions. Mostly men are out there, tear-gassing people, shooting protesters, and when faced with disciplinary actions for overstepping, THEY protest for their right to basically subjugate and abuse.
And while racism is a MAJOR factor in that, look at the top. When men are in charge, especially a majority of men unchecked, it’s never good for society as a whole or any specific group...except men who want to keep men in power. And #NotAll doesn’t apply here because #NotEnough care to stop this trajectory. #NotAll doesn’t help when #Enough outnumber those who want change. That’s sweet that you want to see yourself as a difference-maker. Please go out into the world, teach men near you to be better, and to show their emotions. But until you can say that #Most men care instead of #NotAll don’t, you don’t have a leg to stand on. However, those legs can be replaced by the patriarchy that rewards a lack of empathy.
So men, if you don’t like it, change it. Therapy is getting cheaper.