Posts Tagged ‘gender’
Men and women are not the same. One needn’t look further than the way we speak for evidence. When a woman communicates, she is conveying feelings she wants understood. Women rarely communicate as succinctly or as plainly as men, but to a women every unnecessary word is necessary. Because of this, you can be reasonably sure if a women hurls an insult your way, she means it–at least in that moment. Of course, women are apt to change their moods & minds, at which point, most will regret having said unkind things. It’s a girl thing…we don’t like to be perceived as mean, so we do our best not to insult people–unless they really deserve it.
Men don’t measure their words as carefully as women, and are therefore more apt to say things they don’t mean. (This is especially true of men dealing with difficult women.) Men think nothing of exchanging insults. Male jesting is a sport–a kind of jousting to determine who is most manly. Men can swear at each other, call each other vile names, impugn each others’ masculinity, then laugh it off over beers.
This is not true of women. A woman who has been insulted, will likely spend the next week stewing. She may feel compelled to share her tale of woe with anyone who will listen. Not every woman is as sensitive, but if a woman is hurt by a careless remark, it has the potential to ruin the relationship.
I didn’t fully understand this, until after I became a parent. Watching the way girls and boys play with each other, I’ve learned how differently males & females use words. In a game, if a girl misses her friends are there to encourage her, but a boy misses and his friends will have a hearty laugh at his expense. They will call him any number of names–a disproportionate number of which, will suggest he is a lesser male or even a homosexual. Contrast that with women, by trying to remember the last time you heard women call each other “butch” or “dyke”.
This inherent tendency of men to want to remind other men, of their position in the pecking order, which has given us the currently running Ad Council campaign admonishing people too stop using the term “gay” as a derogatory term.
Thanks to this public service announcement, we now know trash-talking is fine, as long as we use the right words. Clearly, it is okay to take cheap shots, as long as we don’t use any term, which could be offensive to those not being addressed. The message is clear, political correctness is more important than civility or good sportsmanship. As an avid NBA fan, let me be the first to thank pro-athletes for schooling the rest of us in proper decorum.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the message, but the label” gay” is one chosen by gays for gays to replace other more derogatory terms. The n-word is far more offensive, because it has never had positive connotations. Which makes one wonder why it has been popularized by those, it was most intended to insult. Then there’s the word “retarded, the popular use of “retarded” as an insult, is certainly as offensive as carelessly using the g-word or the n-word. Can we expect the Ad Council to develop a campaign to stop people from using the word which is clearly insensitive to the developmentally delayed?
Whether it’s the a-word, the b-word, the c-word, the d-word,or any other, what offends us, is largely a result of who we are and where we’ve been. With the exception of the frequent and thoughtless use of the n-word, which I always find offensive, I pay more attention to what people are saying, than the words they use. English has an abundance of offensive words, but polite words can be just as insulting.
For instance, there’s this guy I always see on TV. There are plenty of people who suggest that he’s gay or bi- or something. I don’t buy into those rumors, but he strikes me as the quintessentially ineffectual male. He used to be against gay marriage, but recently, he changed his mind. Now he supports gay marriage. Whether you support or oppose gay marriage, it is likely you feel strongly about it, but I get the impression this guy doesn‘t care one way or the other. In other words, I think he’s being spineless. (If I say spineless, does that insult others who don’t hold the courage of their convictions? Is it insensitive to mollusks and other invertebrates?)
This guy has been in The White House for almost a full term and NOW he‘s coming out with this new stance? A while back he had support of both houses of congress, and NOW he‘s for gay marriage? It seems clear he has no intention of promoting gay marriage, in fact, he’s clearly stated this is for the states to decide–which is especially ironic coming from a man who has shown he doesn’t particularly respect the sovereignty of the states.
Whether or not he’s saying what you wanted to hear is inconsequential. He has waited until he won’t be can’t be held accountable. If he’s reelected, his rhetoric is likely to be as meaningless as any other politician’s campaign promises. It’s lame duck politics. (If I say lame, does that insult the crippled?)
Talk is cheap. His words are meaningless, because they don’t reflect his intent.
Nothing has changed. Those who oppose gay marriage can breathe a big sigh of relief and those who support gay marriage should breathe a big sigh of contempt.
No matter how you feel about the issue, you should be insulted, because this is little more than a poorly veiled attempt to win votes. It is insulting, because it makes no difference whether those votes come from gays, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics, women, the poor, or any other disenfranchised group. He doesn’t care about these groups, he only cares how they vote.
(If I call him a pansy, does that insult flowers?)
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.
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.
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.