*This will be the most passive aggressive column ever.
It is born out of a discussion I had on Facebook a few months back.
Unfortunately I don’t remember the cartoon that spurred the discussion but the gist of it was that a wife in an old married couple was staying dry while the husband was getting rained on because he didn’t want to be close enough to be under the umbrella that he was holding for her – I think; feel free to correct me if you know the cartoon (almost impossible from my vague description).
A friend of mine from high school alluded to the fact that the wife could’ve offered. A lady I respect immensely thought the cartoon was fine. And away we went. We couldn’t agree on why the guy in the cartoon wouldn’t snuggle up to the wife but it was a given that if someone should get soaked in a storm, even if he brought the umbrella – it’s the guy.
Since then I have continuously noted the frequency with which husbands and/or fathers are made to be the butt of jokes, and the last taken care of on television. Television shows about families use the dumb dad plotline once a month at least and usually more often. Commercials constantly use the stereotype of the dumb guy who doesn’t know what to do and needs his wife/girlfriend to supply him with stuff. To a degree, the fact that many commercials are based on the sex appeal of the female pitchperson is an extension of this trope: the guy is only concerned with the attractiveness of the model; the quality of the product is secondary.
Fathers and husbands get dumped on at every turn.
Before anyone breaks out the world’s smallest violin, I do recognize that I’m whining. Because the world basically revolves around men. The fact that single men don’t get made fun of as much as we who have settled down is a distinction lost on most and inconsequential in the long run.
I also drew a parallel between the conclusions I came to on this topic and that of white privilege. Our country is based upon white skin privilege. So I get a little perturbed by white people complaining about affirmative action with regards to college admissions. There are multiple ways that things are set up for white people to succeed so I feel they can allow for a slight effort to even things out. So it would be the epitome of hypocrisy for me to then say I shouldn’t be made fun of because of my gender/sex.
Allow me to change my stance from whining to simply recognizing that I’m the butt of the jokes and I don’t like it.
But I understand.
Trevor Brookins is a freelance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or be disappointed in his lack of output on Twitter @historictrev.