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Men or Women – Who has the Upper Hand in American Society Today?

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Being either a man or a woman in society today has certain advantages. Most people could identify situations where both men and women have the upper hand in various aspects of society. However, men seem to have the advantage in more aspects of life in the United States than women. Men have the upper hand over women in society in many ways. For example, men receive higher wages, get more promotions, are elected to higher political offices, and are thought of as strong and invincible. They also get less ridicule in the media and less emphasis is put on how they look and behave.

In general, men earn more than women in almost every job. Most businesses state that they offer equal opportunities for men and women. However, men still dominate the job market and hold the majority of jobs with high prestige. Men usually receive promotions over women that have equal qualifications. Just eleven of the top 1000 companies in the United States have a woman in the companies’ highest position (252). In jobs where women are in full time employment, they earn only 76 cents for every dollar earned by men (254). Within the workplace, it is easy to see how men have the upper hand over women and are the ones in control. Generally, female nurses assist male doctors, female secretaries serve male top company officials, and female flight attendants are under the male pilot. Another example can be seen in the educational system. Most kindergarten teachers are female, about half of high school teachers are female, and even fewer women are found as college professors. This shows that as jobs in the education system get more prestigious, men become more numerous in the field.

Throughout history, men have held positions of power when it came to politics. In recent years, women have begun to participate in and hold political offices. However, the offices usually held by women are local offices including many who are city mayors at best. Women hold less then 25 percent of seats in state legislatures, and only 10 percent of state governors are women (257). As political offices become more prestigious, women are found in lower numbers. Men still dominate when it comes to politics today. In America’s over 200 year history, only men have held the countries highest political office of the presidency, and it does not appear that that fact will change any time soon. With men in the majority of the significant political offices, this gives them more power than women over the entire country when it comes to decisions and laws. A man’s word begins to hold more value than a woman’s in politics as well as in the country as a whole.

Another reason men have the upper hand in society is that they are believed to have more strength than women. Women are looked at as defenseless and in need of care. As long as women are looked at in this way, they will never have the upper hand in society. Men are physically stronger than women and are supposed to be able to tolerate more pain; women are therefore seen as weak. Men are also able to hold their emotions better. Women are normally thought of as emotionally weak, and men are though of as tough for being able to control their emotions so well in many situations. Many times men hold in their emotions not because they are ashamed to be emotional, but because they feel they need to put up a strong front to help women cope and to offer support.

Many people assume that men are better athletes than women since men they are usually physically stronger. In almost every sport that both men and women play, the men’s event gets most of the fame. It is also common that male programs get more funding than female programs. A men’s basketball game almost always draw a larger audience then a women’s basketball game even if the women’s team has a better record. The best example of why men have the upper hand in athletics can be seen in professional sports. Professional male athletes are commonly paid more than women athletes and are also the ones who get to do more promotional deals. Professional male sporting events also get more primetime television airtime. In addition, more male athletes have household names than those of professional female athletes and male athletes just get more fame and prestige in general. This is best illustrated by worldwide fame and high standing that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have both received.

Additionally, women get a lot of ridicule in the media. The media portrays how women in American society are supposed to look to be found attractive. Advertisements and television show that women need to be tall, skinny, and have a perfect figure with certain measurements to be attractive and wanted. Very few women seen in the media vary from that stereotype, and the ones that do are usually being ridiculed in one way or another. On the other hand, men do not have to look a certain way to be seen in advertisements and on television. There are ads that show men with dark hair and a tanned firm body, however ads also show many that look very differently. Men are not looked down upon because they are not a certain size, or if their hair is not fixed a particular way. Some men are even proud of having a large beer gut. A good example of this can be found by looking at actor Drew Carry who is a fairly large guy that drinks a lot. The media accepts him for looking and acting this way and his shows are very popular with the public. Men have the advantage when it comes to the way media presents males and females. Men have a lot more freedom when it comes to how they are suppose to look and act according to the standards set by the media.

The stereotype roles that men and women should play according to the media also give men once again power and prestige. Men have the advantage in the media because they are portrayed in more positive ways than women. Although there are a few exceptions to this, especially in daytime television this stereotype holds true. On camera, men generally play the brilliant detectives, the skilled doctors, and the fearless heroes. Women are left with the less important characters that usually include being a housewife and taking care of the family. This is especially true in commercials where women are the ones who are often shown happily trying out new cleaning products, getting pride from doing the grocery shopping, and playing with small children in toy advertisements. It is also common to see women on television as being extremely emotional or whose only purpose is to draw attention by being the sexual object to their male counterpart. In today’s world, the role that men and women actually play when it comes to the home and family is changing. However, the media continues to give women a bad wrap when it comes to what they are supposed to become in life. The worst part is that many people get their ideas about the roles of men and women by what they see in the media and the stereotype gets imbedded into their brains every time they turn on the television.

In addition, women are often judged a lot based on their reputation. A woman who dresses well in semi-sexy clothing and who dates a lot is often thought of badly by those who know her, and many times she is wrongly accused of being easy. If it is known that she sleeps around she is labeled as a slut. On the other hand, a man who dresses well and dates a multiple girls is just assumed to be keeping his options open or to just be searching for the perfect girl. A man who sleeps with numerous girls is often the envy of his friends and not thought of negative by most people who know about what he does. A mans reputation is not based so much on his personal life as what he does well in life and how helpful and kind he is to others. This is almost the exact opposite for women whose reputation is based almost entirely on her personal life.

In today’s society, the gender roles that men and women play are starting to blend together from the opposite ends of the spectrum that existed years ago. More jobs are becoming available to women, and women are slowly starting to hold more prominent positions in companies as well as in politics. However, even with the steps that have been taken toward gender equality, men still continue to have the upper hand in most aspects of society. The media is one of the main contributors of that fact. Most of what people believe that men and women should do, or what they can become comes from the media. Until the media stops stereotyping men as strong, invincible heroes and showing women as sexy, beautiful, and emotional stay at home moms who get pleasure in cooking and cleaning, men will continue to have power over women.

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