One of the current popular video trends on YouTube consists of men going through simulated labor. It’s an interesting concept and the men have some funny reactions. But when you read the comments underneath the videos you start to wonder if women get a little more pleasure out of them than simply for curiosity or humor’s sake. It seems as if the videos are being used to back up an accusation, a popular accusation—the accusation that goes like this:
Women are stronger than men. Women suffer more. And men will never, ever, EVER understand.
Women say this kind of stuff all the time. About how men “don’t understand.” We complain about the stretch marks that babies give us but don’t give them. We insist that the father cannot ever know best for the child simply because he didn’t birth the child….
And why do we say all this? Because it builds us up. It makes us feel stronger. And a lot of this is a reaction to the many ways in which the strength of womanhood has been overlooked or taken for granted throughout history and today. We want to be appreciated, and rightfully so. But… [w]e aren’t content knowing we are strong, and so women fall into the trend of delighting in a man’s weakness – delighting when he doesn’t fully understand, or better yet, can’t fully understand….
There was a time when it was standard to consider women not worth understanding — to consider the woman’s task and life frivolous and easy. We’ve seen the damage this outlook has inflicted, not only on women, but on the whole world. So how dare we test our luck by turning the vice around?
How bold we are to assume that devaluing men won’t have a negative effect on the world at large. How bold we are to assume that it won’t hurt all of us, not just men.
~ Elizabeth Hanna Pham, “In Defense of Men,” New Feminism, June 15