Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Plight of Men

(this is a rough mess of my thoughts, I would like to edit this and turn it into a true piece of writing - but for now, here it is.) 

I was browsing pinterest and kept seeing different posts of those “quotes” that said things like and “always be with someone who can’t stay mad at you, who can’t stand not talking to you, who is scared of losing you,” and “one day someone will walk into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else.” It makes me incredibly sad to see these posts come up as pins that my friends have put up.

As a female, most of your life you are told to look for “Mr. Perfect” to “never settle” and to “wait for the right guy.” We live is a society that sees love as temporary and that your search ends when everything falls into place.

Excuse me?

Those who know me, know I’m a bit of a feminist. Or, in actuality, an equalist. Many feminists don’t actually want equality, they want men to feel bad for how they have “hurt” women in the past. I believe today, men are just as prejudiced against as women.

Go ahead, pull out your pitchforks and torches.

Why do we expect so much of men. Why are our young boys not told to wait for “Ms. Perfect,” to “never settle,” to “wait for the right girl.” Instead they are expected to ride out on fine white horses, dressed in armour, swooping a maiden from the clutches of despair.

No woman should want this. If he does come up on a horse, wearing armour, and swooping you up, thank him and tell him to get his grubby hands off of you until you have a proper introduction. That’s just creepy.

Women are told, “if a man can’t take you at your worst, he doesn’t deserve you at your best.” In other words, “if a man doesn’t want to handle you being a bitch, you should dump him and find a stronger doormat.” We are sending this message to our young ladies that men should bow the knee to her every whim. If he criticizes you, dump his ass. You deserve to be treated like THE BEST, because YOU ARE. We walk around with falsely inflated egos of who the “right guy” should be. When he doesn’t come riding up on a horse, women seek out guys for  “a good time” and to let loose with.

“Oh, he’s not real relationship material. I just like leading him on because he pays attention to me.”

Can you say, friendzoned? Guys pushed off to the side because he doesn’t meet some imaginary ideal of “the one.”

Speaking of “the one,” I have recently been asked on multiple occasions if my current boyfriend is “the one.” I don’t know why people seem to find it necessary to ask this question. If I say “no” then they would tell me to dump him and go find the “right guy.” If I say “yes” they fawn over me and question how soon do I think he will propose, when do I want my wedding to be, have I already thought about what I want? Instead of answering these people’s question, I simply reply, “I don’t believe in ‘the one.’” It allows me some breathing room from whatever people may say next and it keeps my boyfriend from any potentially awkward questions about marriage.

So I don’t believe in “the one.” I must believe in multiples “ones.” No, not really that either. I think that after a basic level of chemistry, any two people can make a relationship work. For some it may be more difficult, it may require expertise communication, but it can work. I also believe that once you love someone, you will always carry a bit of him or her with you. This is hard for me to grapple with when I think of my boyfriend carrying bits of some of his ex-girlfriends around, but I must honestly say to myself that I carry a bit from my previous relationship. This little bit I carry does not make me love my boyfriend any less, it does not mean I hold him in comparison, it does not mean I have any judgment, it just means that these people before changed my life and me. I learned from them, I grew because of them, and I am grateful for the parts of my life they have (and do) make up. In fact, they enable me to love my boyfriend more, see all that is in him better, and withhold judgment from him.

But back to men. The oppressive man. The big man who built a glass ceiling. The man who is lost because no girl will give him the time of day. Yes, poor men. I’m not going to talk about the harm done to women through stereotyping; there is plenty of that out there. Have you ever considered though, what men must go through? They are told that they should be strong and powerful, big men who are in control of their lives, they are told they should be men who are well liked and can get any girl to sleep with them. Then women tell their daughters that they should find a guy who is chivalrous, who is kind, who will put up with her faults and not care, who are utterly and completely romantic. We, as women, are often brought up to believe that if a man doesn’t like something about us and mentions it, we should take offense that he dare insult us and kick him to the curb.

You don’t like it that I complain and nag you about doing dishes all the time? Well, SCREW YOU.  I’ll find someone who will put up with what I have to say and learn to do the dishes right!

I’m ashamed to say, that in a way, I’ve been this woman. I’ve had these thoughts. We rarely think that the man coming to us and telling us that we are out of line is speaking truth to us. We are told to take the offensive, to manipulate, to shame him into becoming our little puppy dog.

I want to briefly address the three quotes I brought up earlier.

“Wait for the boy that would do anything to be your everything.”  To me, this says, wait for the guy without a backbone. Maybe I have some weird expectations about relationships, but I believe a guy shouldn’t have to “do anything” to be something for anybody. Think if this was reversed and feminized, “wait for the girl that would do anything to be your everything.” Can you see the rage that women would throw at this, crying out “you are telling women to grovel! No woman should give up who she is for a man! This is asking women to follow a man blindly!”

hmm, seems a little backwards doesn’t it? We secretly hold these expectations for men when we wouldn’t allow this sort of attitude towards women.

“Always be with someone who can’t stay mad at you, who can’t stand not talking to you, who is scared of losing you.” A healthy relationship calls for moments of anger, moments of silence, and moments of independence. Each of these statements is calling men to once again belittle themselves to a woman. Someone who can’t stay mad at you? This one could make sense, but I have a feeling it implies that the man is too weak to stand up to the woman for long, that he is so head over heels that he doesn’t think straight. A man should stand up to a woman, and a woman should stand up to a man. Anger will happen, how you deal with the anger and work through the issue is what’s important. If someone just stops and says “oh, I just love you so much, I don’t care anymore, whatever you say,” it doesn’t solve any issues but creates a bigger problem. If you can’t not talk to your S.O for more than a day, you need to develop a sense of independence. Constantly relying on someone to help you through the day is not going to make you a strong person. And someone who is constantly scared of losing you? That obviously means they do not think they are good enough to keep you around and have to “earn” your love. This is the kind of situation that turns into one partner using the other. This phrase just lends itself to bad psychological functioning, in operant conditioning, the withholding of love to get someone to do something is one of the worst things you can do to a person. It affects them deeply. Lady Macbeth uses this technique to get her husband to kill the king. He didn’t want to, but was swayed by her refusal to truly love him if he did not commit the act.

“One day someone will walk into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else.” This goes straight back to “the one.” I don’t think I need to further explain it.

So maybe we should think a bit before we raise our children. Especially our daughters.

We should think about what kind of women we want them to be in relationships, how we want them to act towards the men they come into contact with and who they eventually will date and marry. We should think about how we treat our sons and who we tell them to be.

Maybe we should think about how we treat the men around us. Do we treat them as true equals, or do we have inflated egos that need a bit of trimming back? Should we joke around telling men who they should be, when we so steadily argue about them stereotyping women? Times are changing, should humankind not change with them? What better time to change the way we act and think, to be honest and true, and truly treat others as equal to ourselves?

1 comment:

  1. I must say you certainly got me thinking, quite seriously in fact. I won't post those thoughts here, but I'll email you!

    You truly are an equalist, (not exactly a real word!) and I'm proud of you!