5 Things Women Get Easy (that men would love).

In every society there are things that come easier to some people than to others and gender is one of those divides. Even in a primitive society, women often miss out on adventure and meat for being at home, whilst men miss out on safety and fruit for being away. In today’s society we’re told time and time again about the cultural and legal privileges that men have over women and we’re only just starting to acknowledge the many advantages that women have legally and in education. However we don’t really touch on the cultural advantages women have that men have to work incredibly hard to get.

So here are five privileges our culture bestows on women that men rarely receive, but absolutely love receiving.

1: Physical touch and sex.

Women benefit from all sorts of physical interactions. I’ll focus on two extremes: basic touch and sex.

Basic touch is when a friend hugs you, or a coworker rests a hand on your shoulder to reassure you. Women are more likely to be offered this touch and, with new concerns about harassment, less likely to receive it when we don’t want it.

Sex has always been easier for women to get than for men, as humans are social animals and for society to thrive, all women must be offered a chance to reproduce. However men are becoming increasingly stigmatized for their sexual urges and natural desires on top of this, which means men have a much harder time getting sex.

However men enjoy all sorts of physical contact and are just as de-stressed by a hug as a woman is.

2: Help.

Women are more likely to be offered a helping hand with something difficult and less likely to be stigmatized for asking for help. This means that in every case where a woman finds herself in trouble she is more likely to be helped on her way by a friend or stranger than a man is.

This is even reflected by our social aid projects. Although by far more men are homeless than women, more women receive homelessness support. Although men suffer domestic violence and especially physical abuse as much as women, almost all DV shelters assume that the woman was the victim and most are women-only.

We are a society unwilling to help men even when they need it.

3: Common courtesy.

When you’re exiting a supermarket and someone lets you out before they enter, when a parking spot is given to you, when a door is held open for you or helps you pick up something you dropped, that is actually a form of common courtesy, a way of being gentle and polite to everyone around you.

But, again, women are on the receiving end more often than men. Try watching a doorway from a waiting room or a cafe for a few hours. Most of the people having a door held for them will be women, even if it’s also a woman holding the door. Yet sometimes even when their arms are full, men don’t get that same bit of help. But it’s beyond assistance. If someone is stood by a door, struggling with a pile of boxes and nobody opens it or held it open for them, they are practically invisible. Nobody sees them, so nobody extends that politeness to them.

But apparently most men are invisible in that regard.

4: Assumption of parental instinct.

When a woman moves to collect a child at the park, nobody questions it. When a female teacher sees a young boy after school, nobody questions it. When a mother is involved in a case of domestic violence against her child, nobody believes for a second that she was a willing and sane participant. This is the assumption of parental instinct: the assumption that a mother is a parent first and a human later. And it definitely has its downsides, as all the aforementioned scenarios have played out before and the ending has been child abuse.

But men face the opposite. The assumption they have no parental instinct. If a father takes a picture of his own child at the park he is attacked. When a male teacher sees a young girl after school she is questioned as to what he did to her. When a father is involved in a case of domestic violence against his child he is assumed to be the instigator. Whilst nobody should carry the assumption of parental instinct the way mothers do, nobody should be assumed to entirely lack parental instinct the way fathers are. The choice between a good father and a drug addicted mother should be obvious and his relationship status shouldn’t be the pivot point for the entire custody case.

In these cases, ultimately the children are the ones who suffer.

5: A break or a free pass.

Women get this and we sometimes don’t even realize it. It ranges from women (in general) receiving shorter sentences for the exact same crimes as men (in general), to girls being more likely to get a hall pass or extra mock time in school, to women being able to smile their way out of a parking ticket. In short, because women look more childlike and frail than men and because women are attractive to men, men and women alike are more likely to give a woman a free pass if she acts out, commits a crime or lies.

Men don’t get this pass unless they are under serious duress or look particularly infantile and sweet. Even when they are literally children, boys are more likely to be tried as adults in serious criminal cases than girls. And men of certain socioeconomic, cultural or racial backgrounds in certain countries may be treated more harshly than the law requires. The assumption seems to be that men “can take it”. A man “can take” being forced to the ground and having a rib broken during arrest. A boy “can take” waiting for half an hour for the toilet. A man “can take” paying his parking ticket. A boy “can take” being tried as an adult for arson. Girls are sweet and innocent, women are childlike and nice, but males need to own their actions and then some.

But men aren’t machines. Yes, men are more designed for hardship than women. This much is evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of years men have spent hunting and warring as women stayed home and faced relatively little danger. But what is natural isn’t necessarily fair and in a world where everyone abides by the law as best they can and everyone pays for their actions, it is genuine injustice to make men pay more unnecessarily.

And those are five things that come very easily to women that men would love to have. Use this information as you will. Maybe you will give your husband or brother some more hugs, or your son a free pass when your daughter would get one in the same situation. Maybe you’ll think more about parenting and the assumption of parenthood before siding with mothers against fathers. Maybe you’ll even consider men’s human rights a cause you are willing to support and actively fight for them. Whatever you do to give men a little taste of female privileges, however small, remember this: it doesn’t hurt women, it doesn’t hurt society and it makes the world a better and fairer place.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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Tomorrow the papers will be signed…

…it’s odd to think of marriage this way. Well, to me it isn’t. I was never really the little girl who dreamed of a white wedding. I was the little girl who idolized Xena and wanted to be Peter Pan. I was the little girl hunting sheep round the back of our farmhouse. I had no time for dressup, boys or parties, although party food was more than welcome.

And I don’t think I ever grew out of that. If anything, I matured into it. I can say with almost complete confidence that I hadn’t once imagined a wedding until Jon said he’d want to get married. I was actually not all that into the idea of marriage until I met Jon. It just seemed like pointless expense that apparently most men didn’t want anyway, so whether I found someone whose company I actually enjoyed or became a spinster, marriage just wasn’t a concern.

So it’s odd to be looking at it now and realizing how unusual this is.

Everyone else seems to want a dress and a gathering, to be the centre of attention for a day or fifty. You’re expected to have a white dress, matching shoes and a giant cake, all your friends and family gathered for a fancy speech and a meal and a dance. Flowers that match the dress or the venue. Or if they’re less traditional they might want a themed wedding, something different, maybe a steampunk wedding or a candy themed wedding with an elaborate cake and jars of sweeties everywhere, I don’t know. So many people want to make it important, make it “the big day”, make it special. And if they want that for themselves, then that’s fine.

But I still don’t see the point of a wedding beyond making banking, child custody and joint ventures easier. Oh, and the tax break. The ceremony just looks like the best part of a deposit on a house that was wasted on fancy perishables, to be honest.

We’ve been together for almost four and a half years now and remaining together to raise children and grandchildren and look after each other into old age was always really the goal. Neither of us got into the relationship accidentally or just for the fun of it. Within three months we’d already ventured into the size of family we were looking forward to having. Sure, we wouldn’t be together if we didn’t find each other fun, but there was always a goal, it was never just fun. I’m not even sure I could build a human relationship purely based on fun. Fun is transient. My goal is to build and craft a life where I can have the most fun, enjoy myself the most. Not to just leap on it as and when it comes and live with consequences later. This was my first relationship beyond teenage social obligations to have “a boyfriend” for school conversation.

We’ve been living together as a married couple for over a year and a half now. And, again, it doesn’t really need celebrating. This is just what humans, or at least we, as humans, do. We wanted to have children and grandchildren together and look after each other until death, so living together was a natural move. We had shared our living spaces even before that, over weekends and weeks and fortnights. There were no surprises. He knew I had the odd day when I had low energy or needed to cry a lot. I knew he had days when he just wanted to sit and game. He knew I painted and read and wrote when I wanted to calm down and I knew how to get his favourite meals put together. It was a pretty seamless transition.

We’re not religious, although neither of us are vehement atheists either and I have a bit more of a belief in things beyond what we can directly experience. So there was no religious urge to marry. We would live like this regardless of whether or not we were contractually obligated to and if there is a powerful being that judges our relationship quality, I’m not sure that being legally married or not makes any difference to it.

So it doesn’t really feel like we’re celebrating anything.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to be with Jon. He is the most perfect human I have ever met. He’s good looking, tall with nice hands and a great grin. He’s smart and widely read and eager to discuss any subject with me as long as neither of us is illiterate in it, which is a rare occurrence. He’s more scientifically minded which balances and overlaps with my creative mind and where he helps me with mathematics, I can help him with language and linguistics. He and I naturally lean towards similar if not exactly the same viewpoints and even when we disagree we find merit in the other’s perspective. He’s also the only person I can be with half a day or all day, every day, for months on end without a break and not get tired of. Scratch that: he’s the only person I can talk to for over an hour daily for four days and not get tired of. He’s the only person where I don’t have to resort to the digital barrier of emails and facebook so he doesn’t drain my energy. We’re headed in the same direction in life: to a nice smallholding where we can both be self employed with 4-10 biological children and some fostered children once our own are mostly grown up. He’s great and an excellent match for me.

But I really don’t feel like I need a piece of paper to tell me that. I know that.

And I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me we will constantly strive to be together until one of us passes. I know that too.

So here’s to a tax break, future children and a great night out. May there be many to come.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!