As the daughter of a father, I am painfully aware of the discrimination and injustice that men face daily. I am grateful to my father because had I not been born to him (via my mother), I would have remained ignorant of these hardships.
For example, take public transportation. Riding on subways and buses has become boring for men, as they are confined to one seat rather than two, which would be pretty fun. What’s the point of living if you’re not able to splay your legs across some sweet plastic seats and talk loudly about how Bernie would’ve won? I feel sorry for them as I quietly enter the bus, pay my fair share of tokens, and then squish myself between two men. I adore public transportation because it feels like I am paying for a warm, sticky, uninvited hug.
Then there’s how men are overrepresented — in government, entertainment, regular conversation — and thus never get to feel special. I am incredibly noteworthy almost anywhere I go because, as a woman, I can be sexualized, infantilized, or sexualized and infantilized. Men are never seen as a Hot Baby; they can only be a Boss Baby, a gorgeous film starring, written, and directed by men.
And don’t even get me started on how the entertainment industry treats men. As a woman of color, I’m not burdened by the responsibility to create art and entertainment for the mainstream culture. Hundreds of new films, radio programs, and television shows premiere every year — can you imagine dealing with the constant onslaught of opportunities to make art and get paid? It would be exhausting, and I’m already tired from avoiding rapists and calling senators to protect my access to birth control.
Additionally, studies show that lottery winners have a higher risk of bankruptcy and misfortune after acquiring their financial windfall. That’s after one instance of receiving lots of money. My dad earns approximately 20% more money than his female counterpart (aka my mother). Being a man is like being forced to win the lottery over and over again. Terrifying.
This week, my father’s heart shattered as he read the myriad #MeToo messages on social media and realized he could not post one for himself. “I wish my voice were welcome, too,” he said, struggling to withhold his fingertips from tapping onto the tempting keyboard. “I’m so sorry,” I responded, realizing how lucky I was to share that I had been sexually harassed before.
Finally, as a literate woman who enjoys novels, I have gained an incredible sense of empathy for which men can only dream. While they experience difficulty relating to women protagonists, I wield the incredible ability to identify with guys like Harry Potter, Huckleberry Finn, and Shrek. Do you know how hard it is for a small, non-green woman to identify with a fat Scottish ogre? I’m thankful for the many chances to hone my skills, and I pity men like my father who are restricted to one meager way of empathizing: thinking of his daughter.