Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Male Entitlement

We've all heard the phrase male entitlement before, but what does it really mean and how does it relate to masculinity? Male entitlement refers to the idea that men are owed sex because of their maleness. This phenomenon has become particularly relevant in the past few years as the rhetoric of the "friend zone" and being a "nice guy" has become common. The phrase "friend-zoned" refers to when someone (usually a woman) rejects romantic or sexual advances from someone (usually a man) and instead insists that their relationship remain platonic. While this phrase may seem harmless, the underlying implications are that men are entitled to sex and to have a platonic relationship with women is somehow punishment. While dealing with a whiny friend-zoned nice guy is certainly annoying, for most of us it is nothing more than an awkward inconvenience. However, some of us are not so lucky. The idea of male entitlement combined with how we socialize men to react to rejection with violence can be a deadly combination.

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On May 23rd 2014 Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in California, killing six and injuring fourteen others. In a video Rodger posted the day before the shooting, he stated that his motivation for the mass shooting was that he had been rejected by women and because of this they (and the men they slept with) deserved to die. In his video Rodger calls himself a nice guy and says that women only date assholes. Let me repeat that one more time. A mass murderer called himself a nice guy. Rodger and so many other men are brainwashed to believe that if women reject them it is not something that is wrong with them, it must be that something is wrong with women, or with society that tells women they should only be attracted to "manly men". This defensiveness allows these men to believe that they really are nice guys. I believe this is summed up pretty well by the scene in the film "The Social Network" when a woman tells a man "you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

We socialize our men to believe that they deserve women, and if women reject them violence often results. To stop this trend we must begin to change the way we portray positive relationships between men and women. We must show that women are autonomous and that men are not entitled their bodies, their love, or their friendship. We must discourage the use of phrases like "friend-zoned" and "but I'm a nice guy!" that undermine the autonomy of women and portray them as objects to be won.

To read more about the harmful effects of male entitlement, check out this article!

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