Posts Tagged ‘war between the sexes’
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”.
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.
One of the best things about being a woman, is men generally like us for no better reason than our female-ness. So . . I was at the U.P.S. office, with a heavy parcel–no waiting in line for me today. (Did I mention I was wearing shorts?) It’s been said that all is fair in love and war, but is it ethical to deploy the WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Distraction)? Is it ethical to feign weakness in an attempt to get some guy to flex his muscles by carrying something heavy for us? Is it wrong to ask questions we know the answers to, just to give a guy the opportunity to demonstrate that he knows stuff? Probably, but most men don’t seem to mind the ambush.
In our age of political-correctness, we often operate in a gender-neutral fashion. Women pretend they don’t want men looking at them and men pretend they aren’t looking. We try to keep our interactions as neutered as our men have become in an era when a false step might set off a landmine or be misconstrued as an” offensive”.
Women realize early, the many strategies for gaining the upper hand with men, but some tactics work better than others. Utilizing the best of Victoria‘s secrets and ignoring Geneva‘s conventions, women often wage an unfair war against those of the other gender. In an attempt at détente, let’s examine a few of the weapons most-often used by women in the war between the sexes.
Strategically, the side with the best weapons has the greatest advantage. A woman with a disarmingly beautiful face or atomic anatomy can neutralize the one in her sights almost effortlessly. However, once she has rendered her target helpless, she must have more in her arsenal, if she wishes to successfully detain her prisoner.
The effectiveness of chemical weapons like perfume have been overstated, but pheremones have proven effective–especially in close encounters, such as hand-to-hand engagements.
Reserved for guerilla warfare are the biological weapons–including but not limited to the biological clock. While the biological clock and the “Forgot the Birth Control” bomb can provide temporary coercion, neither are effective long-term. The worst of all biological weapons is use of offspring. Though offspring can be used effectively as battering rams (especially during and post-divorce), the use of said weapons can cause long-term harm to non-combatants and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
Most effective in long engagements is intelligence. The more you know about your opponent, the more effective your campaign will be. Strive for that oldie-but-goodie goal of winning the hearts and minds. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, you can declare a victory.
If women were committed to fighting fair, we would consider complete disarmament, but I don’t think men want to live in a world where every woman looks or acts like a 19th-century schoolmarm. Until further notice, women will stick with the established tactics.
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.