Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’
We all have issues. Some have more than others.
When we talk about our “issues” we usually mean the residue of past experiences, that cause us to feel as we do, or be who we are. In a relationship, a woman with too many issues can be a problem, but in politics, a woman with too few is a danger.
I have been disappointed during the current election cycle by the definition of women’s issues. With the exception of a couple of meaningless nods to equal pay, most of the focus makes it seem as if women are little more than the sum total of their reproductive parts.
Eva Longoria is co-chair for President Obama’s reelection campaign. Longoria, who previously starred on Desperate Housewives, should be familiar with the issues affecting women, because the story line of the popular show often centered on issues affecting women, like marriage, family, divorce, unemployment, dealing with an aging parent..et cetera. So when Ms. Longoria recently got tripped up after trying (lamely) to back off from her misguided re-tweet, I began wondering which issues made her want to take on such an important role in this Read the rest of this entry »
“What is it with women and their bras???“, asks a guy overhearing us gals talk about ours.
I always feel bad for male readers, when the topic of the day is something most can’t relate to. Today might be one such day. Most men don’t understand bras. They don’t understand why we wear them, why we like them, and they certainly don’t understand why we spend so much money on them.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the answers to those questions could be the subject of another post, but today the focus is on a man who knows the power in a bra.
There are women who hate bras, but I love them. They are vital in encouraging “the girls” to stay close to home. Everyone knows home is where the heart is. Additionally, my mother taught me, the importance of dressing in layers. With that in mind, I figure I might as well make the first layer a good one.
Since their invention, we have been shaped by our bras, as they defined both feminine beauty and feminine roles. Bras have never been more significant than they were in the The 20th Century, when bra-burning became an emblematic act for the cause of feminism. After women stopped burning their bras and went back to wearing them, bras got all girly again–until now.
In the 21st Century, the bra is being used to liberate, empower and provide economic freedom for women. Free the Girls is a non-profit organization, which came into being, because of one-man’s awareness and compassion for the plight of sex trafficking victims in Mozambique.
In America, the freedom women have over their bodies is taken for granted, but in other parts of the world, the loss of virginity, an out of wedlock birth, or a sexually transmitted disease can mean being stigmatized, ostracized or even killed. For women who are sold as sex slaves, getting out doesn’t always mean freedom from the past. Those who manage to escape, carry with them the painful memories, but many also face health problems such as HIV, or may have trouble finding work, either because they are social outcasts, or because they have no education. Read the rest of this entry »
Linda is a lesbian. She would tell you she prefers women, because she hates men. Several years ago, she said to me, “How can you not hate men? They’re such predators.”
Perhaps I was too busy enjoying the fun of being man-prey, to have thought of men as predators. In my experience, men were protectors, providers and heroes. Like a fish seeing a sparkly lure, I found their attractiveness irresistible. This made it easy for me to be ensnared by The Beloved Soul Mate. Alas, I am now the feminist nightmare–having been used as a vehicle for reproduction, a sexual plaything, and held hostage in the home, despite untapped career potential.
What kind of trickery caused me to believe men were amazing? There must have been a male conspiracy to brainwash me. My father and brothers were obviously in on it, because they had successfully convinced me men were strong, brave, kind, funny, generous, and self-sacrificing. I am probably suffering from Stockholm syndrome, because I have grown fond of my captor and my captivity. I live comfortably, and my needs are met. There have been times I felt I wasn’t treated as well as I should have been, but all that changed last week, when I discovered the book.
How could I have known the book held the power to change me??? The book made me feel ashamed and repentant. I didn’t realize, my faith in men had been diluted by the gospel of feminism. I’d come to accept that men are largely motivated by sex, and sometimes boorish, but I still held on to some romantic notions. Before the book, I was convinced I understood men, and was as fond of them as any female on the planet. I never dreamed I, like Linda, could be indicted as an accomplice in the crime of man-hating. Fortunately, the book, opened my eyes. The book, Why Men Are the Way They Are, which was written by Warren Farrell, a former feminist, made me realize it is men who are often powerless in our society.
Feminism propagated the idea of men as oppressors. We are supposed to believe that without feminism, we’d all be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. We were convinced men had all the power. They had power over our bodies, impregnating us with children, whether we wanted them or not. We were to believe men controlled industry and business, leaving women at economic disadvantage. We were told to we’d been devalued by men, because they saw us as little more than sex objects.
For decades, women fought for the right to choose between home and career, the right to choose whether or not to give birth, the right to compete for jobs and be fairly compensated for them. It was all about fairness and equality–unless one considers how women’s choices increased, but men’s didn’t.
Men are blamed for carelessly fathering children, but women get away with setting pregnancy traps. A woman on The Pill is somehow deemed more reliable than a man with a condom, despite an improbable number of men becoming fathers after having slept with women who said they were on The Pill. No matter who is responsible, men are expected to support the child.
During conception, half the genetic matter comes from each partner, but after conception, men are expected to supply the majority of the support, in return for the smallest part in decision making. The mother decides whether or not to have the child, she decides whether or not to disclose the paternity of the child, she decides whether or not the father has access to the child. She can marry the father, divorce the father, and still expect child support. A man may have slept with a willing woman, but if she should become pregnant, he becomes powerless.
For years feminists have bristled against the traditional marriage vows, which employed the phrase “love, honor and obey”, but written between the lines, is an order for men to love honor & support. Men are still expected to be the primary breadwinner. We do not think less of women who choose to stay home while men support them, but men who stay home, while women support them are seen as freeloaders or losers.
Feminism would convince us marriage is an oppressive, opportunity-limiting situation for women, ignoring how limiting marriage is to men. It is perfectly acceptable for women to reject traditional roles, but men are still defined by them. Despite economic opportunities now available, women still favor men who can provide them the greatest security–in other words, the best earners.
This sets up a no-win situation for men, who often choose between time spent at home with family, to win admiration; or time spent at work, lest he fail as provider. As a result men are often seen as vacant or inattentive by the woman who is depending on his income. While her husband is out doing what he thinks is expected, if a woman misses the affection of the husband who is largely absent, she is easily enticed by the attention of other men. Is it any wonder men die younger than women?
Author Warren Farrell says just as men objectify women as sex objects, women objectify men as “success-objects”. Is it any more sexist for men to pass over women who aren’t attractive, than it is for women to disqualify men who can’t provide them the level of security they desire? Farrell suggests that if the male fantasy is sex and more of it, the female fantasy is stuff & more of it–or as he says “better homes & gardens”.
I once was blind, but now I see. The book changed me. Reading Why Men Are the Way They Are, I was surprised and saddened to consider society’s contempt for men. We should be glad boys are taught early to keep their feelings inside, and not to pick fights with girls, or we’d have seen a revolt by now. Every chapter gave me more reasons to admire men and made me wonder why I’d never heard of this book. Perhaps the book, like men, fell victim to political correctness, as it exposes how feminist notions have put us at odds with men, making men vulnerable, distrustful and afraid of commitment. (Unless you, like Linda, hate men; this is not a good thing.)
Deb’s Note: This post doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the ideas put forth in “Why Men Are the Way They Are”. There was so much in it, even though I’ve just read it, I plan to reread it soon. I would recommend this book to every man and woman. Women will understand man and appreciate them more, men will appreciate feeling understood. Below are links to some good interviews with the author, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait to read his other titles, including “The Myth of Male Power”.
American women need to call for an armistice, or be ready to hoist their whitest panties on poles to surrender. Like so many other conflicts, The War on Women has become a no-win situation. Born out of the high ideals of suffragettes and the women’s liberation movement, our preoccupation with gender has become akin to a revolution in a banana republic, when civil unrest soon turns into a confusing battle, where it’s no longer clear who is fighting whom.
Not so long ago, women had fewer rights and were not valued for much more than man & child tending. Unmarried women were viewed with pity, for their failure to find husbands and women coveted the matrimonial link, because it validated them and provided a “proper” means by which to have a family. Then came the revolution. It started well, but eventually our preoccupation with “women’s issues” became self-defeating.
Though women can easily follow the conflicts of Gabrielle, Bree and Edie or track the complicated details of the love lives of Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones and any number of girlfriends; most of us find the details of war, far less engaging. Perhaps this is why we failed to notice when we started losing the war we’d started.
Since the beginning of the battle, women had been steadily advancing on every front. As individuals, we commandeered the power to decide for ourselves whether or not to marry, whether or not to have children, whether to choose career or family. Outside the home, women were proving they could survive and thrive in what had previously been a man’s world. As leaders, CEO’s and top wage-earners, women were gaining influence and credibility in business and industry. Voting blocs of women were now critical in determining the outcomes of elections.
We were winning the war. Then came the ambush,when they labeled us a special interest group.
Special can be good–but too often the term “special” calls to mind those who are disadvantaged in some way–as it is when used to describe Special Education or The Special Olympics. While we thought we were finally gaining much-deserved equality, folks in Washington were trying to figure out how to put us the political equivalent of the special bus, dictating where we could go and what we could do. They convinced us we needed Affirmative Action to win jobs or gain college admissions–suggesting that without a headstart in the race, we could never run as well as our competition. Unfortunately, many women believed this.
There were those who tried to convince us the trappings of femininity were the cruel inventions of a gender-biased society, causing men to objectify and disrespect us. Others began crusading to insure education curricula mentioned women often enough, that we’d be reminded often of just how very “special” we are.
The war which was started as an effort to win equality, was no longer about equality, because being a member of a special interest group entitles you to an unfair advantage–or what would be known at the Augusta Country Club–as a handicap. Though women are allowed to have women-only associations and girls-only schools, every formerly male-only institution from The Citadel, to Augusta would eventually come under attack. The fight to get federally funded breast cancer research, was allowed to eclipse the need to fund research for more deadly diseases. Women’s wages were often held up as evidence of prejudice toward women in the workplace, without factoring in career hiatuses many women take to start or care for family.
We started losing the battle, when we lost the hill–Capitol Hill. We were losing ground, because we were allowing politicians to turn every issue into a women’s issue. (Women have enough issues, without needing men to create more.) Now just a few generations of feminists later, America has produced some of the most helpless women since Gone With The Wind.
Somehow the feminists of the “Our Bodies, Our Selves” credo, have been replaced by generations of women of the “my body–your politics” ilk. What happened to women’s desire to be self-determining? When did choosing motherhood mean women, like Ann Romney, no longer had a valid opinion? Weren’t we fighting for the right to choose between family & career? When did women become so indoctrinated, as to allow the political fitness of candidates to be trumped or invalidated by their stance on abortion?
Using our preoccupation with our bodies as a booby trap set to trip on economic and religious freedom, birth control, which had once given women unprecedented freedom and autonomy, was now a carrot on a stick intended to distract us from the real issues. Positioning Sandra Fluke as a heroine, behind whom we should rally, political strategists were betting on the lesser thinkers in the of the special group of femalians, to react (as women often do) with emotions, instead of logic–as if a disingenuous Georgetown law student, not bright enough to procure her own birth control, would be someone we should admire. They were convinced we’d all be so angered at the thought of not having free birth control pills in our designer handbags, we would willingly ignore larger issues which could potentially harm our families. Reminding us once again, those in power believe we don’t think well enough to make decisions in our own best interest.
Yesteryear’s feminists were committed to freeing women from their dependence on men, but today’s feminists seem eager to embrace the government as a surrogate husband/provider. The Left accuses the Republicans of waging a war on women. The Right throws the accusations back on the Democrats. Make no mistake, this war now has everything to do with politics, and nothing to do with the welfare of women.
Like a woman who dates a seemingly perfect guy, believing he really cares about her, only to later learn he was just using her to get back at his ex-; we have been used. We were political pawns, sold out by both our allies and our enemies, for political gains. We’ve come along way baby, but we may have been going the wrong direction. After so many years of trying to rise above being disrespected by men, politicians have succeeded in causing us to willingly lie down and be used.
My last post was about fear. Many in this country are afraid for the future. I admit, I too fear what I see happening–especially the loss of objectivity that has resulted from relying on and trusting the media. It seems we are being discouraged from the practice of critical thinking–especially in regards to social issues and public policy. In an age when some opinions are deemed more correct than others, our individual views are no longer respected. Whereas once, discussion and debate were the sport of the thinking person, from grade school to university, dissent has fallen out of favor. Testing one’s ideas, against those of others, is no longer encouraged, and those who argue, are disregarded as disagreeable people with distasteful views.
I was frothing with frustration over the recent flap about The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. Many women have strong emotional allegiance to one or both organizations. I have views on both organizations, but allegiance to neither.
On the one side is Planned Parenthood, defending a woman’s right to control her body. Planned Parenthood’s services cover a broad spectrum related to reproductive health and sexual freedom. Over the last 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been to many the patron saint of the sexually active, rescuing many from the consequences of their choices.
On the other side, is best known entity to any and all who have been affected by breast cancer. Giving hope to all who have felt the helplessness of a diagnosis of breast cancer, and comfort to those who have lost loved ones to the disease, the Komen Foundation exists for the sole purpose of raising money to fund things related to stopping breast cancer. With their iconic pink ribbons everywhere, this organization is favored by all who have who have walked for The Cure , or counted their years cancer-free.
Though what these organizations do, can be quantified by their annual reports, it is the intangible things they provide which wins over supporters. Both organizations have their own mission(s). Certainly, Planned Parenthood’s status as the nation’s largest abortion provider makes them the more controversial organization, yet they succeeded in making the public angry at a benign organization devoted to saving women’s lives.
I was seething at the media coverage and social reactions to the conflict. A controversy over money, was depicted as a clash between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice factions. The battle line was drawn, somewhere between The T & A. Most of us value the stuff above our waists as much as we value the stuff below, nevertheless, the media and social networks were buzzing with allegations that that The Susan G. Komen Foundation hates women. There were accusations that Planned Parenthood was being unfairly targeted because of the political agenda of SGK. It was reported that the funding cuts would endanger low-income and minority women.
Nobody in the media was presenting the facts. The issue was covered emotionally, not objectively. Illustrating the kind of angry remarks which flooded social media and the blogosphere were comments showing the gun* pictured here, as evidence Susan G. Komen is pro-death. This seemed especially ironic to me considering one of the reasons Planned Parenthood is so revered, it that it is emblematic of women being empowered to take control of their own lives. Isn’t Planned Parenthood the feminist solution to freeing women from men’s attempts to subjugate them?
*The Komen foundation was not affiliated or partnering with the handgun manufacturer or this gun.
Lost in the emotion and hype were the facts.
There were reasons that SGK decided to pull the grants. Not only that, but SGK wasn’t pulling all the grants to all of Planned Parenthood, just to clinics who were under investigation for possible misuse of federal funds. The media focused on how women would suffer because they wouldn’t have access to cancer screenings, but they failed to mention Planned Parenthood does not provide mammography. In fact, the kind of screening they do, isn’t that different from the kind 16-year old boys dream of performing. They do manual exams, and provide referrals to other agencies equipped to do mammography or ultrasound. It doesn’t seem those services would be very expensive to provide, yet the SGK grants amounted to about $700,000. That seems like a large amount, but it’s small change compared to the approximately $300 million that Planned Parenthood receives from taxpayers via Medicaid, or the $70 million in Title X funding. Nevertheless, some vowed to never again support Susan G. Komen’s organization. Others rallied to raise money to shore-up Planned Parenthood. Listening to the outrage, one could easily be lead to believe Planned Parenthood would be significantly impacted by this loss of funding.
The politics of women’s health are filled of controversy, but the commitment to women’s health shouldn’t be. These organizations have different agendas, and represent different things to different women. The media wanted us to believe that if Planned Parenthood lost, women would suffer, but it’s not a zero sum game. The big losers in this round were neither the clinics, nor clients of Planned Parenthood. The real losers were women–as an organization funding breast cancer research became the enemy, while the organization representing a woman’s right to choose, made it clear they believe they are THE only choice.
Deb’s Note: This controversy will have a lasting impact on The Susan G. Komen Foundation for The Cure, as those who Pro-Choice supporters express disdain and Pro-Life supporters distance themselves from SGK for their affiliation with Planned Parenthood.
Less than a century ago, women in The United States hadn’t yet been granted the right to vote. Though it was allowed in some states, it wasn’t until 1920, when the constitution was amended, that women were guaranteed this right. Without the ability to voice their viewpoints via the voting booth, perhaps our country would be different today. I shudder to think of the improbable possibilities for laws [bad] men might have tried to pass. Would there be a Barefoot & Pregnant mandate? A Mall Prohibition Act? Failure to Chill Beer ordinance? Tax deductions for men who wished to claim both their wife and mistress as dependents?
Fortunately, women have made amazing strides and this country is one of the better places in the world to be female. Despite this, women still struggle, because there are some things even progress can’t change. It is possible to update our wardrobes, refurbish our furniture, restore old cars, or remodel old homes, but men are always AS-IS.
Which is why, while most of us like having a man in our lives, finding one that doesn’t make us crazy or worse, can be near impossible. Lest people mistake this for a diatribe from a man-hater, I wish to assure readers that I am a BIG fan of men. Women are almost always more and better company, but I still find the company of men irresistible. I especially like them, because they are different than women, but the more manly they are, the stronger the urge to change them. It’s like this:
I want a man who works hard enough to sweat, but I’d prefer not smell the sweat.
I want a man who knows how to use a gun if he needs to, but dislike men who need to remind others they know how to use a gun.
I want a man who can and will fight, but not a man who wants to fight.
I want a man who shows skill in the bedroom, but I’d be really turned on, if he were as eager to show off his kitchen skills.
I would like it if my man looked like one of those attractive gay models, but if I were to find out he was gay, I doubt I’d still find him attractive.
Men think women are hard to please, but it’s actually quite simple. We want manly men, who are sensitive, soft, gentle, and sweet, like women.
Women like me, have succeeded in confusing men. Are they supposed to be he-men or metrosexuals? Are they supposed to open doors for us, or just leave us a key? It’s all about balance, as we struggle to eliminate the confusion over who wears the pants and who wears the panties.
Blame feminism, because as women gained more equality in the workplace, they sought more at home. Women were changing, and in the process they were inadvertently changing men. This made me wonder if more powerful women, meant less powerful men. Was the Great American male becoming an endangered species, teetering on extinction after having been emasculated by well-meaning feminists? Had The Great American man become as frail as the California Coastal Sand Gnat, struggling to survive in the face of environmental change?
Women would love it if men were more like girlfriends, sharing their enthusiasm for things like cashmere and Italian shoes. If we had our way, men would learn to enjoy long meandering conversations and realize the joy of shopping, but while there have always been women who wanted men who were as easily controlled as children, the majority of us still want a man with a nicely defined backbone. There are men who enjoy shopping or grooming as much as women, but most men are simply not interested, because despite everything, they are still men.
Nevertheless, the metrosexual is often exhibited as evidence that men are becoming feminized. I’m not buying it. It’s just the latest incarnation of “The Sharp Dressed Man.” It’s not like men don’t care about their image, but image is different things to different men. For some image is grooming, for others it may be a car, a fat paycheck or a perfectly manicured lawn. The term metrosexual may be new, but his type is not. A hundred years ago, a man who embraced fashion and a refined lifestyle, would have been called a dandy.
Some argue that feminism has diminished our respect or the strength of American men. Many point to the examples of television fathers–like the difference between Ozzie Nelson and Ozzie Osbourne as evidence, that our view of men has been diminished. The media often portrays men as bumbling incompetents, relying on women to guide them, but this is nothing new. Literature is full of hapless henpecked husbands. Even during The Golden Age of Radio and early television men were often the brunt of jokes. It makes for good comedy, and men are surprisingly good sports about jokes made at their expense. Make fun of a woman, and you’ll likely regret it, but men are easy targets.
Because in the war between the sexes, there is no cease-fire. Women will fight for every hill, to make sure that their wisdom, competence and superior taste in almost everything is acknowledged, but men will easily surrender or declare victory, if they get respect, appreciation and regular demonstrations of affection–AKA sex.
Feminism changed sex and the economy of sex, because it enabled women to move between supply side and demand side. Women now had demands and were controlling the supply through a kind of rationing and price-fixing. As the supply began to change, men sought new suppliers, and there were always more suppliers. Promiscuity became common and porn became mainstream. Wives no longer held the monopoly on sex, and men were suddenly contenting themselves with the kind of cheap, easy, readily available women they’d previously disdained. The one woman one man ideal was outmoded, as men began sharing their pulp princesses with countless other men, and women found themselves competing with mens’ make-believe mistresses.
It simplified things for men, as they no longer needed to please a woman emotionally or sexually just to get a little, but it was hardly the brave new world. Pleasure-seeking and erotica have always existed, and it isn’t as if internet porn destroyed the sexual utopia that existed before feminism. Marriage took some hits, and intimate sex between people who loved each other fell victim to friendly fire, making some wonder if sex within marriage or would soon be obsolete. Doubtful, as long is there is one person alive who remembers that the solo, is nothing compared to the duet.
Men still need women, and women still need men. Feminism changed our world, but it has yet to change men into women or women into men. The war between the sexes continues, because some things never change, even in the face of progress.
At the bank, a woman walked past me. Correction, a man walked past me, wait, no I think it was a woman. On closer inspection, I’m no longer sure. It was one of those moments, when my brain was scrambling to process the input it was receiving. The visual input was so confusing, that my brain and I could not decipher it.
This individual was dressed in rugged jeans and a tunic-length sweater, coiffed with a modernized Mohawk, grown long and swooping over one side of a shaved head, providing one of those come hither curls which seductively obscures one eye. The body was lithe and feminine, the face whiskered, his or her fine leather handbag? man purse? was the epitome of good taste rendered from top-grain leather.
I wasn’t sure if I was seeing a woman who was embracing manhood, or a man who had turned his back on it. He or she seemed to be hovering in the nether-land between the gender they were born and the one they preferred. Gender stuff isn’t always so confusing, but even among those who have settled comfortably into a traditional role, it sometimes is. For most of my life, the roles of the sexes have been evolving.. The movement to expand opportunities for women, has caused the roles of both genders to become more elastic. Women are now able to compete with men in most every field, and men are no longer diminished by choosing careers once held only by women.
Only a few decades ago, home was the “proper” place for women and difficult situations had to wait until father came home. Back then jobs that were dangerous, outdoors or dirty were mostly considered to be “men’s work” and self-respecting chauvinists would sooner change jobs than work for a woman.
Feminism was about redefining women, but in the process, it also served to redefine the role of males. As women become more used to calling the shots in the workplace, they wanted more control at home. The traditional roles of men and women were becoming more alike. In an effort to equalize apples and oranges, apples were required to develop thicker skins and more fiber, while experiments were conducted to see if oranges could be turned into applesauce.
That’s my take, but in fact, there are currently some who wish to eliminate gender classification completely. They suggest gender is too limiting, because we all possess a combination of male and female traits, with some leaning more heavily one way or the other. That makes sense, after there are all kinds of women and men. According to this reasoning, we all fall somewhere on a broad continuum between male and female. I’d probably be classified as a female with male traits–or what we used to we used to call “tomboy” because somewhere between girls who live to crochet tea cozies and female bounty hunters are plenty of feminine women who aren’t intimidated by auto-mechanics or power tools.
Another popular notion that it is our society, not our biology which causes us to be masculinized or feminized. I read recently of two families who have refused to disclose their child’s gender, so that the children could be self-defining. Another group says more gender classifications are needed because male and female are too limiting. Ironically, these labels make no allowances for the transgendered, because it is assumed they will choose one of the two existing labels.
In the ongoing war between the sexes, it’s impossible to know who is winning. Sun Tzu’s art of war suggests we must know our enemy, but is the enemy still the enemy when they begin switching sides? The next edition of de blog will be devoted to the current condition of the endangered American male. Stay tuned.
Q. What’s a woman’s favorite position?
A woman’s place is in the kitchen, unless we don’t want it to be. Fortunately, women are no longer confined to the home, we have many choices. It is no small thing that each day women leave their homes, proving they are every bit as qualified as men to run companies, research and develop things, build things, grow things or make their mark on the world in whatever way they wish. Women have broken barriers to become leaders in fields once exclusive to men. There has never been a better time or place to be a woman. Today women have countless venues in which to demonstrate their capabilities and competence.
Though many women still choose home over career, there is no place a woman cannot succeed, whether it be managing millions for a corporation, training men to do their jobs, or making a roomful of rambunctious children as quiet as a library. We may have different strengths than our male counterparts, but we are every bit as capable. This is why, it still amazes me to see women of extraordinary competency being rendered powerless by men.
They are such simple creatures. Compared to single-cell organisms, like say a paramecium, they are complex, but compared to females, they are simple. Simple creatures with the ability to confuse us, infuriate us and neutralize us.
Once upon a time, women got married. The end.
That was then. Times have changed and many women begin “Dating: The Sequel” a few decades past Sweet Sixteen. With 20 or so years of things learned, life experienced and all the wisdom that provides, one would think females should be better equipped than ever to succeed in their relationships. Ironically, men are still able to make even the most competent and powerful women weak.
A women may be able to go head-to-head with any man professionally, yet a man she desires can quickly turn her into jelly on legs. I remember an a female friend who was a published author, scholar and professor at a good university. Lamenting her romantic foibles, she said, “As a professional, I’m holding a royal flush, but my personal life is still a crap-shoot.” Even she realized the dichotomy of being able to take charge in everything but her love life.
Why is it that the woman who can convince venture capitalists to give millions, has trouble convincing a single individual to give his heart? Why does a woman attorney too powerful to wait on anyone, agonize as she waits for “him” to call, or a woman exec, making enough $ to afford her own driver, can’t keep a man from driving her crazy?
On the one hand, we owe everything to “feminism” for changing the rules that once held us back, on the other hand, feminism hasn’t changed our gender. We are still women–the same as always, with tender and vulnerable hearts. They are still men. They still make us crazy. We still need them.
They hold power over us, because deep inside of each of us is the need to connect. We crave the intimacy of a loving relationship with another human being. We still need them, we still want them. Next time, I will address one reason men can make a woman cry herself to sleep, and not even have a clue why.
I am a feminist, but I am not a feminist. I am all for the edification and promotion of all things female, but not a proponent of modern-day feminism. I think that makes me a sexist.
I am old enough to remember the days before feminism–the dark ages when men were Neanderthals dragging gals to their dens by the hair . . . except it wasn’t really like that. Just like now, men were doing their best in spite of the man-traits to get along with us gals despite our gal-traits. For most men, it was an enduring frustration.
Then as now, men found women to be an endless source of mystery [confusion] and power [frustration]. When the power and mystery of women became too much for men they usually threw up their hands and threw in their towels. Men find women endlessly fascinating, but equally exhausting.
The fundamental problem is that little girls are different from little boys. Ergo, women are different from men. If you have made this observation and give voice to this observation, you will be labeled a sexist. It is politically incorrect to be a sexist, but I am one AND I miss the days when there were others like me, who weren’t closeted by political correctness.
Back in the days of rampant sexism, the roles of men & women were clearly, but narrowly defined. With WWII and the advent of birth control, the roles of both sexes began to be retooled. It might have worked out better if men and women had been able to agree on the needed changes. However as any sexist worth their gender stereotypes knows, men & women often see things differently.
The things men thought should define The New Woman offended the existing model of woman. (Another thing any good sexist knows, offending a woman is the same as hurting a woman.) Since men make sport of playfully hurting each other, they don’t understand why women don’t show more sportsmanship being playfully hurt.
So, as the women reacted to the slings and arrows of outrageous man-traits, the guys remained confused. All the things they knew about women became hazy. It was no longer admirable to assume a woman wanted a protector or caretaker. It was no longer valiant to be doing most of the work in the workplace. It was no longer okay to admire the things they liked best about women–like nice legs & such.
In the age before feminism, women rarely carried anything heavier than a four-year-old, groceries, or baskets of laundry. It wasn’t necessary to ask girlfriends for visual assessment of one’s backside, because it was a given that men would let us know if our backsides looked good. There was never a question about who would pay for dinner or drinks. The oppression was awful. Call me a masochist, but I miss it!
In those dark ages, doors were always opened for us–except the metaphorical doors through which women wanted to pass. Opening the door at a restaurant was no substitute for opening the door to the boardroom. Men failed to acknowledge that we had more to offer than the things on which they focused–like great legs. They also failed to realize that a four-year-old is heavier, than the things any decent man would offer to carry for a woman.
Needless to say, the retooling of woman was fraught with confusion. The problem was the retooling was too narrow. Women knew new models were needed. Men didn’t see the need–they just wanted to fix the old one.
What they didn’t get is that women, like Barbies, come in many incarnations. On the femininity continuum, women are scattered end to end–from the prim & proper “Traditional Wife & Mother” at one end, to the ready-to-take-on any guy “Gal” at the other. Men didn’t know how to deal with the less familiar incarnations of women, which frustrated women. This was especially true when the men failed to realize that the traditional ‘Wife & Mother” could also be the “Can-do “Gal”.
The new roles were confusing & subject to change–because women & men are different. Men love to compete & vanquish competitors. Women prefer productive partnerships & cooperative agreements. Men like battles to be clearly resolved like a game of king of the hill. Women desire assistance taking the hill.
I love being a woman–but it works better for me when male and female roles aren’t too blurry. Fortunately, despite all of the politically correct enlightenment about our roles, women are still women and men are still men.
Just as women come in various types, so do men. Most women are smart enough and strong enough to realize this and deal with it. When it isn’t so, it should be.
Viewed in terms of simple economics, women are in the power position. We may not have the key to executive washroom, but we have the keys to more important things. For one thing we have what they want . . It’s basic economics, baby–supply and demand. Not only that, but we are the life-bearers. We have the power to keep them from seeing the next generation. In that regard we are a superpower. They might be better at some stuff, but they can’t make it without us.
This is why, feminism confuses me. Near as I can tell, we aren’t powerless. Women may not be as strong as some men, but near as I can tell, we are certainly as smart or smarter than many of them.
I’m smart enough to know I like it when a man offers to carry my luggage. I’m also smart enough to know men don’t wish to carry my emotional baggage. I’m not offended when a man calls me “Honey” or tells me I’ve got great gams. I’m not afraid to compete in the workplace or anywhere else. I know my limitations, but I also know my capabilities. I’m pretty sure I can hold my own against most men in most situations–when I can’t, I’m not afraid to call on a man for back-up.
I am woman. I am sexist. You don’t have to listen to me roar, but like most women, I like it when you listen.
I haven’t always been a lady, but I’ve always been a girl.
Being female is all I’ve ever known.
Actually I know men too. I have a teensy bit of experience, of various kinds, with them. They are one of the things that make being a girl so fun–at least most of the time.
Even though I think I understand men well, I wouldn’t be vain enough to suggest that I have a notion of what it’s like to be one. So following the advice of every freshman comp professor, I‘m stickin’ with what I know–what it’s like to be a girl.
Our society often identifies women as the fairer sex and/or the weaker sex.
Being a member of the “fairer” sex sounds like a compliment. Sometimes it is. It feels like a compliment, when a girl is working her look. It feels unfair when that same girl isn’t feeling the beauty. What isn’t fair is the emphasis placed on a woman’s outward appearance.
Forget the media messages, blah, blah, blah . . . .Even without the media making us wish we were taller, thinner, or prettier; on any given day there are people of both genders giving hints about how fair we are.
That’s not fair, but it’s our reality. Most unfortunate of all is how many truly beautiful women are overlooked because their external qualities don’t pass the “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” test. Women are naturally caring, loving, and nurturing. Even with unreal expectations placed over our fabulous heads, we ARE the fairer sex.
Sure, there are some genetic differences that make men physically stronger, but in this era when women train and compete in so many athletic activities, those differences are smaller than ever.
I’m a big fan of brawn, but it’s a pretty weak indicator of true strength. We all know guys who could bench press two times our weight, but most of us have the stuff to level them emotionally. (Not that we’d want to, I’m jus’ saying. ) Our emotional strength is enough to make even muscle-bound hulks look like sissies.
Men just aren’t as tough as they seem–ask any woman who has tended a man with a cold.
Without even going in to the fact that we bear live young under extreme duress; try to imagine how tough men would be, if they had a few days each month feeling of out of sorts, trying to contend with bleeding man parts.
Needless to say men haven’t a clue about what kind of courage it takes to leave the house in cream-colored linen, hoping for the best.
Are women really weaker? The mixed-gendered jury is still out on that.
I contend women are much stronger than the label implies, however being female is fraught with vulnerabilities.
The first is emotional complexity. Females live with a cocktail of full-strength emotions.
I’m not talking a little fru-fru umbrella’d Shirley Temple, I’m talking 100-proof emotion. Straight, no chaser. Potent enough to impair both judgment and driving.
Sure men have feelings, but they don’t feel stuff the way we do, and they don’t get how we feel things. It’s something only a woman can understand.
Our emotionality causes us to crave connectedness. This makes us particularly vulnerable to rejection.
We can be rejected by anyone, but when it comes to men, we’re sitting ducks. (Sitting chicks, if you prefer.) We’re groomed to let men take the lead, and to wait for them to make all the moves.
While we wait, we wonder. Does he care? Is he not interested? Is there someone else? Is he playing games? Is he just bad at time-management? When it isn’t all of the above, it’s usually just the latter.
They make us emotionally vulnerable, often, pathetically so.
They also make us physically vulnerable.
The biggest difference between us and them, is they regularly want to occupy our bodies. Sometimes they come as invited guests, some times as intruders. Most men don’t live with that kind of vulnerability.
Despite vulnerabilities, women have staying power. We put up with stuff we don’t like and find a way to keep on giving. We put up with more stuff. We keep on giving. More stuff. Still giving. Just about the time they’ve almost worn us out, we usually outlive them.
Throughout our lives, things come that cause us to believe we can’t continue. Somehow, with amazing strength and courage, women do find the strength to bounce back from unspeakable hardships, illnesses, betrayals, divorce, and even loss of loved ones. aving the staying power to get past the hard stuff, that’s true strength. We may be the weaker sex, but if so it’s usually only for a season.
Coming back stronger, that’s when nobody can deny our beauty.