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A Day in the Life of the Oppressed American Male

madamab's picture

Picture this, my friends: It's Bizarro World, and instead of a corporate and religious patriarchy that's hostile to women, we've got a corporate and religious matriarchy that's hostile to men. (Yeah, I know that has never happened in the history of the universe, but go with it.) What would a day in the life of the oppressed American Male be like?

Well, Joe America gets up in the morning to go to work. He wants to work out - he has to look good for his wife (Emily), or she might divorce him for a younger man - but he and Emily share the duties of taking the kids to school, and it's his turn today. He anxiously examines his growing middle-aged paunch and his receding hairline as he drops little Jane and John off (kisses, children!) and drives to the train station to begin his daily commute.

It's payday today, and it really burns his britches that his co-worker, Meredith, gets a bigger paycheck than he does for doing the same job. (He has a friend in HR who told him about the salary disparity. The guy could be fired for it, but men have to stick together, you know.) Joe knows there is a new law that will let him sue the company for their unfair pay practices, but realistically speaking, how would he pay for the lawsuit? The company is much richer than he is and can hire better lawyers; not to mention that he really needs the job, if not for the money (his wife makes a lot more than he does), then for the independence. He swallows his rage and gets to work.

Soon, Joe's boss, Frannie, calls him into the office. Frannie tells him that he won't be getting a Christmas bonus this year; the economy, you know. Joe is speechless. "But my review was excellent," he says. Frannie tells him that only managers are getting bonuses or raises this year. "Just be happy you have a job," she says smugly. "Yes, ma'am," Joe says through clenched teeth, and exits the office in humiliation.

It's lunchtime, and Joe gets together with some of his work friends. They talk about the usual things: movies, TV shows, fashion, dieting and makeup. Jesse is worried because he and his wife are going to Hawaii for their vacation and he can't fit into his trunks from last year. "I hate it when she stares at all the men on the beach except me," Jesse confesses.

Joe is philosophical.

"That's just how women are. Look, you should try yoga like me. I've lost 10 pounds since I started."

Fred is bored with the conversation. A naturally thin man, he conforms to all the typical standards of male beauty and doesn't ever have to worry about his metabolism or his complexion. He's got a full head of hair, too. (Joe and Jesse hate him a little bit because he's gorgeous, and suspect he's hung like a rhinoceros on top of it all.) He changes the subject.

"Guys, did you hear about the new show that's set in the 60's? It's called 'Mad Women,' and it's got all these sexist stereotypes of men in it. The guy who sleeps with the married boss, the cold, calculating lonely guy who only cares about his career...it's really offensive."

Jesse yawns.

"That's nothing. Every single movie these days is pissing me off. There was that 'Groom Wars' movie, which was about two guys who were totally obsessed with their weddings; 'Obsessed,' about a guy who tries to steal another woman's man; and on and on and on. You'd think there are no men with jobs and lives of their own out there. It's like I fell asleep and woke up in the 50's or something."

The men all sigh and agree. What can they do? It's a woman's world. They clean up their lunches and walk back to the office without walking past the construction site - they can't stand being treated like beef on the hoof by the sexist female construction workers.

After work, Joe realizes he hasn't picked up any condoms recently. Thanks to the new Health Reform bill, however, his health insurance no longer covers them. They used to be so cheap, but now the price has increased tenfold, and that expense doesn't exactly fit into the household budget. He worries that without them, he might accidentally impregnate his wife, even though her birth control pills are still covered by her insurance. She has already told him that she doesn't want any more kids. He wonders how many abortions she's already had. Three? Four? He can't remember. It's like she's the most fertile woman in the world! Sometimes he just wants to cuddle, but she won't take no for an answer some nights. He sighs and buys the condoms anyway.

Frustrated with the life he's leading, Joe decides to get involved in politics. He's always heard that the Democrats were the party for men, and he enthusiastically voted for the President because he was told she was the most masculinist president in decades. But other than that, he doesn't know much about the Party. He goes to a local meeting, and is a bit intimidated to see that all the leaders of the group are women. He wonders where all the men are. Nonetheless, when the floor is open for questions, he speaks up.

"If the Democrats are the Party for men, then why are they making it so difficult to control my own body? It's incredibly unfair. And why am I still only making 77 cents to every woman's dollar? When am I going to get my equal rights?"

The women in the room stare at each other blankly, because everyone knows that men should be using their icky man-parts for reproduction only. They don't understand why this is a big deal. It's not like condoms are BANNED or something. Men are still free to decide whether to buy them or not, even though they might be just a wee bit more expensive these days. Anyway, what are men going to do, vote Republican?! Everyone knows they hate men wayyyy more than Democrats do!

Joe goes home from the meeting discouraged. He wonders if anything will ever change, if men will ever achieve the respect and equality they deserve. Joe realizes that in America today, it's as if men are yelling into a wind tunnel while women have their hands over their ears screaming "la la la la la, I can't HEAR YOU!" And why not? It's not like it benefits women to listen to men. Women are in power, and they're quite enjoying keeping it that way.

Discouraged, Joe goes home after the meeting late at night, knowing he's got to start the whole thing over again tomorrow. He's got a loving wife, two beautiful kids, a decent job and a nice place to live, but somehow, something seems to be missing.

Maybe it's his humanity.

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