Some men, it appears, are feeling threatened these days. As recent domestic terrorism events have demonstrated, there are a lot of angry men — angry white men — out there. I find the effort to cast them as victims, however, to be disingenuous and unsupported by the facts. Male dominance in our society, especially in positions of political power, continues to be vastly disproportionate to our minority gender status.
Some people used the congressional hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court as an opportunity to fuel the image of men as victims. Imagine men having to be responsible for their behavior in high school and college? Yes, imagine that. President Donald Trump joined this chorus of concerned males. After all, he said, he too was the victim of “three or four” charges of sexual misconduct. Actually, make that about 20 charges, but I digress. Donald Trump Jr., is also concerned. When asked by a DailyMailTV reporter if he feared more for his sons or daughters in the #MeToo Movement, he responded, “Right now, I’d say my sons.”
Are men threatened because women are starting to find their voice? Up until 1964, more men voted than women. However, since then women have dominated the voting booth. In fact, in more recent elections, about 10 million more women than men have voted per election cycle. Also, a record number of women — 262 — are running for Congress this year.
Certainly, the gender trends are slowly — and I do mean slowly — changing. But men are still over-represented in our federal seats of power and in most state seats of power. For example, Republicans are represented by 12 white men on the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is not an anomaly. Republicans have never appointed a female senator to the Judiciary Committee. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the committee, explained this situation by telling a reporter that, “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” If Grassley’s chief of staff has been unable to find one Republican female senator to sit on the Judiciary Committee in over 33 years, perhaps Grassley needs a new chief of staff.
Women hold just 1 out of 3 federal court seats even though they make up 51 percent of the American population. This should not be surprising since 100 percent of the presidents making the nominations for our federal courts have been male.
Women don’t do much better in Congress. They currently make up just 19 percent of the House and 23 percent of the Senate. In the White House, women make up just 22 percent of Trump’s Cabinet. This is a decrease from the previous two administrations.
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, only 12 percent of state governors are female (six out of 50), and women make up only 25 percent of state legislators nationwide. This is just a 1 percent increase from 10 years ago. As you can see, women are not exactly taking over. In six states (Wyoming, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia), women make up less than 15 percent of state legislators. Is it any wonder why these six states usually rank so poorly compared to other states in education, health care and other quality of life issues?
As a female and psychologist, perhaps Dr. Christine Blasey Ford should have thought twice before making a sexual assault charge against a male nominee for the Supreme Court. As research has demonstrated in multiple studies, men are perceived as more believable than women, especially by other men. Of course, it helps that men make up the majority of the congressional committees making these judgments.
On the issue of believability of women vs. men, look no further than the Catholic Church sex scandal. Thousands of men sexually assaulted 30 to 40 years ago are believed, provided apologies and compensated. Compare these cases to how Blasey Ford and other women are treated when they talk about their history of sexual assault.
We don’t seem to trust women’s memories of these things. Sen. Susan Collins, protecting her Senate seat from a future Republican primary, would have us believe that women can’t remember who sexually assaulted them in high school. Men, on the other hand, are not challenged that way. Men are usually believed, especially by other men.
Sure, men trust and depend on women to remember things like anniversary dates and birthdays. But stuff like sexual assault, not so much. Besides, men are too busy running the world to remember anniversaries and birthdays. Our minds are full.
Well, full of something.