It’s a well-known and well-bemoaned fact that there’s a double-standard regarding men and women. We laugh at funny men, but squirm at funny women. We applaud promiscuous men, but admonish promiscuous women. We label aggressive business men as driven and ambitious, while aggressive business women are cold, hard bitches.
These social scripts pervade our lives, conservations, and media–and even though many of us recognize the half-truths and over-generalizations within these standards–they are still circulated daily, albiet sometimes with the haphazard disclaimer: “I know it’s wrong, but…”
But there are other gender roles and social scripts that are generally left undetected and unacknowledged by mainstream society: the double standard the rewards women over men. Because women are the minority, they have become the majority leaders when it comes to discussions of double standards, damaging stereotypes, and other demonstrations of gender inequity. But men face discrimination too. And any incredulity towards that statement just proves that point–men are expected to be the opressor, not the oppressed.
That’s what Dr. Tara J Palmatier’s website, Shrink4Men, aims to explore: the double-standards that men face, particularly as the silent victims in abusive relationships. Despite a name evocative of those 1,000+ emails spamming my inbox with promises of increased penis-size and pleasure, Shrink4Men offers a thought-provoking analysis of gender dynamics, sexual politics, and the psychology of relationships as Dr. Palmatier and her contributors shine a spotlight on this relatively unexplored issue. As the website explains:
“men who are in abusive relationships in which the perpetrator is a woman do not have the same support resources as their female counterparts. Much of society and support organizations refuse to recognize that men comprise approximately 50% of relational abuse targets or, worse yet, ridicule men who seek help for this reason. Many men in relationships with abusive women don’t even recognize that what they’re experiencing from their nearest and dearest is abuse. There are many double standards in our society when it come to what is acceptable behavior for men and what is acceptable behavior for women.”
Apart from exploring the overlooked community of male abuse-victims, the website also provides blog posts on topics ranging from gender issues to personality disorders, and a private and moderated forum with a strong community of men and women who support each other through their relationship difficulties, divorces, dating, parenting–and any other aspect of life. Dr.Palmatier also offers confidential consultation and coaching for both men and women who have been in relationships with abusive and potentially personality-disordered partners. This comprehensive website really provides an otherwise neglected community with a platform for education, communication, support, as well as tools for recovery into happy and healthy relationships for the future.
The Naked Truth Award is given to a person or organization that has somehow shown awesome bravery in standing up for truth, justice, health, freedom and/or coolness in our world.