I can already tell that I'll catch some flak for this one; good thing I don't much care. As a disclaimer, however, "women" as referred to in this post is not a statement of all female homo sapiens, it is instead a generalization of the cultural representation of the fairer sex.
People, take a look at this last decade's most popular sensations for those of the double-X chromosome: Sex and the City and Twilight. If you haven't been able to tell what the problem is by just those two names being listed, I will illuminate.
For as much as men don't understand women, women's lack of understanding as pertains to their male counterparts is just as significant. Problem is, women believe that they understand men. Somewhere along the way, feminism got lost. It went from wanting to eliminate inequality and the double-standard of male advantage to wanting to institute a double-standard of female advantage and a right to be as foul as the worst men and yet still treated as independent and respectable women.
The issue, as pertains to Sex and the City, is that women perceive the vocal minority of male douchebags to be the window into the entirety of mankind. This is a horribly insulting inference, as it states to men that women see us all as poon-chasing monkeys who'd have difficulty choosing between living another day or getting laid. This leads to characters like Samantha, a borderline nymphomaniac who loves one-night stands. This is not what being an independent woman means: being independent and liberated is not analogous to being a slut, regardless of gender. Do you know what we men call guys who sleep with a lot of women and brag about it? We call them assholes. Barney from How I Met Your Mother is not idolized for his womanizing ways; male viewers find his tendencies humorous, balanced by his kindhearted nature and strong friendship.
This is a common misconception only further perpetuated by advertising and stereotypes. While sex sells, women are as much at fault as men, nitpicking anything they can about women in the media. This stems from envy or insecurity, but it only reinforces women's need to reach perfection. These days, it's even less about men - men who matter, at least - and more about other women.
Now, this isn't to say that men aren't at fault. Universally, my gender is wired to notice the visceral and visual first. I like sex appeal, sure, but that isn't the end-all, be-all as many women seem to think the male mind works. I have had numerous chances to be the douchebag that women's media believes all men to be beneath the surface, but I have no inclination to sleep with a woman simply because I am physically attracted to her. I know it would leave me feeling hollow and cheap, which is another reason why Barney is a good character: his development shows that he is looking for true love yet his upbringing and bending to peer pressure has led him to seek refuge in shallow relationships.
True men, those who aren't looked upon with scorn by the rest of their gender, do not treat women like slabs of meat with holes for one's penis. Most men aren't afraid of commitment because we suddenly realize how much pussy we won't be getting; we fear we won't be good enough for the women we love.
This is what made Charlie Sheen's run on Two and a Half Men funny: it wasn't entertaining because he was "living the dream" of being single and fucking anything that moved, it was fun because he was a sleazy person and most often got what was coming to him.
Now, I referenced perfection earlier, and that is another major issue for women in this day and age: women - especially young women - aspire to a sort of miserable perfection, the kind personified by Bella Swan in Twilight. The girl automatically makes friends, everyone loves her, she draws the attentions of the two most "attractive" men in the world (at least in the books' world), and yet she still mopes and weeps her way through the books, bitching about how hard life is for her even though her existence is fucking charmed. It seems that many women enjoy this playacting at persecution, personified by the pitiable prevalence of prepubescent pricks, particularly the presence of popular culture's "scene" and "emo" trends. Bella has pretty much no personality on purpose, so that any female reader can self-insert into the book and live out a fantasy of mopey goddesshood while attended by beautiful, eternally young models.
Ignoring the glorification of actions previously only undertaken by stalkers and serial killers (sneaking into a girl's house to stare at her as she sleeps?) and the outright disturbing actions Bella - and, by extension, the book's readers - undertakes to torment and manipulate her worshippers (yes, they're more like worshippers than lovers or suitors. And please look up Doug Walker's speech on how in another book Bella would make a magnificently horrible villain with her existing actions intact, tormenting men who love her), or the horrible ideas of child marriage brought up in the last book, Twilight opens up another can of worms that has until now been more subtle in popular culture: dependence on a man.
This has been prevalent for years in all levels of women's media. The recent Disney movie Brave is trying to paint itself as a first for the company, with a strong and independent heroine who doesn't need to rely on a man. Problem is, this was done more than a decade ago with Mulan. The woman trained alongside men, many of whom had been practicing in martial disciplines all their lives, and not only held her own but led the pack. She excelled in the military, won her army's most important campaign, and saved her entire nation. All the while, she only entertained the barest affections for her commanding officer, and at the end of the movie the two didn't even end up as a couple. Then Disney made a sequel that tore apart Mulan's character and made her another simpering, man-dependent bimbo.
Now look at Sex and the City and the movies. The biggest dramas were which man the single women would hook up with. There wasn't really a character study or a reconciliation of past issues; it was all about finding the man of your dreams.
Our next example is The Hunger Games. It's a story about a dystopian future which forces the shattered Unites States' provinces to send children to murder one another in order to win supplies for the victor's province. Now look at the cultural impact: was there a single major discourse on the societal implications of the book and how we could avoid a collapse of the same type? No, it was all about the potential romance between Peeta and Katniss. Women want Hunger Games-themed weddings because they don't even comprehend the death and destruction; they just see two teens in the woods and fantasize romantic on that bare interpretation.
So, armchair feminists and bra-burning "women's empowerment" firebrands, next time you want to bitch about how society is holding women back, don't point toward those with dongs; we're not the ones who have been constructing these anti-feminine-empowerment fantasies. That's all on you.