Let’s start with two facts:
1. Men like women and are generally best off living happily with them.
2. Women like men and are generally best off living happily with them.
Nonetheless, public discourse on this subject—for several decades—has been overwhelmingly adversarial and wasteful. The women and men of the West have been fighting amongst themselves and have resolved almost nothing.
In light of this, I decided that it might be helpful to address the subject openly and reasonably; there might be a lot to be gained from it. But the more I worked on the idea, the more I saw that I would be tiptoeing through a minefield and resolving almost nothing.
However reasonably I might touch on a subject, there would be one group or another that would erupt before I hit the second sentence. People are so wound up by these fights that if you don’t open with the right conclusion, they’ll brand you as an enemy before you can say “also.”
Given that, I’ve abandoned any type of ordered discourse for this week’s post. When it comes to this subject, serious words are fighting words, and I’m not interested in fights. So let’s just pretend that I’ve been drinking at the keyboard and ranting indiscriminately. Here goes…
- Sure, I know that young men are naturally attracted to healthy-looking women… and yeah, I was young once, and I remember that we looked at girls long before we learned how to talk to them… but seriously, how long does it take to figure out that girls are actual people? A lot of grown men still haven’t grasped the fact that women are full-scale, authentic, complete human beings, with dreams, desires, and pains just like ours.
- Occasionally I refer to women as “girls,” just like I sometimes refer to men as “boys.” That’s just the way we talked when I was growing up in Chicago, and I’ve given up caring about the sensitivity police. Explain to me how it destroys lives and I’ll care enough to retrain myself. Until then, it’s just a word; any insult resides in the mind of the hearer.
- On the other hand, I’ve started going out of my way to use “women and men,” “he or she,” and phrases like them. I don’t want my female readers to think I’m not taking them seriously. Fully half of humanity is female, and it’s kind of stupid that so many of our words exclude them.
- Guys, watch this clip of Dustin Hoffman. There’s something to learn here.
- How can I take any women’s group seriously when they protect serial abusers like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton? They should’ve been doing everything in their power to expose these bastards. Instead, they shielded them and sucked up to them like craven sycophants.
- When was it that raising children became a bad thing for a woman to do? Is there anything with more potent implications for the future?
- It used to be that “mother” was a term of honor. Why did that change?
- Hey dads, have you ever tried switching roles with your wife for a week? Give it a shot sometime; you may find it… educational.
- Who’s addressing the evils done to the women of Africa and the Middle East? Millions of those women suffer genital mutilation and/or are murdered for making their own sexual decisions. Those problems are a lot worse than gender role complaints.
- No one—male or female—should be forced or intimidated into any kind of gender role. “Girls should play with dolls” is [expletive deleted]. Lots of girls prefer to play with dolls, and that’s just fine, but telling them that they ought to—or that they ought not change the oil in the car—is flatly wrong… and the same goes for boys. Let the kid discover what she or he wants, and don’t thrust roles upon them.
- Likewise, most of us prefer living in fairly traditional family groups, and that’s not only okay, but probably an excellent arrangement. But no one should be forced into it. It may be best for most of us, but most is not the same as all. No one is obligated to live that way. We are obliged to do no harm, and that’s about it.
- War toys—habitually given to boys—are a mistake. (And living in a war culture just makes it worse.) It’s a true saying that war is hell. We need to get that hell out of our kids’ heads, not put it in.
- There may be just as many rotten women as there are rotten men… though they sometimes display their sins differently.
- Where are the fathers and brothers and uncles of abused women? Shouldn’t they be doing something about it? The male instinct to protect women can be a good thing.
- The reproductive imperative (AKA sex drive) is necessary in humanity, but it also makes us a little crazy at times… and that goes for both women and men. Whether we call that a glitch in our programming, incomplete development, or whatever, it’s something that we should address directly.
- It’s kind of sick to use that programming glitch as a sales tool.
- Women are afraid to report sexual abuse, and the problem isn’t theirs alone. We men have to start fixing our end and make them unafraid to tell us.
- Femininity is not weakness.
- Maleness is not thuggery.
- I’ve been blessed to have had a number of exceptional women in my life. I’m not sure where I’d be without them.
- What often passes for being a “strong woman” these days bears no resemblance to the real thing. Volume, hard drinking, and tattoos are cheap substitutes for true female strength. Neither does femininity diminish it.
- My teenaged experience with the abuse of women was the opposite of what is publicized. I remember being at a party with my good friend John and learning that one of the girls had too much to drink and was lying half-conscious in a spare bedroom. We stood guard in front of the door for a couple of hours… and felt righteous about it.
- I also remember a friend telling me that an older man had groped her. I volunteered that John and I could beat him up. (I figured that two teenagers could handle one old guy.) She thanked me and declined, but I kept my eyes open for that guy.
Okay, there you have some thoughts on this subject; I hope they’re of some use to you.
- Do you have a plan for making your husband or wife a better person?
But, there are some questions. Consider this observation:
"Likewise, most of us prefer living in fairly traditional family groups, and
that’s not only okay, but probably an excellent arrangement. But no one
should be forced into it. It may be best for most of us, but most is not the
same as all. No one is obligated to live that way. We are obliged to do
no harm, and that’s about it.
The Motley Monk isn't quite sure what Rosenberg means here. Yes, all humans are "hotwired" to procreate. But, that doesn't mean that every human is capable of undertaking the obligations associated with marriage. Also, what definition of marriage is Rosenberg using?
Furthermore, his question, "Do you have a plan for making your husband or wife a better person?" Again, The Motley Monk isn't quite sure what Rosenberg means. Marriage isn't about hitching up with the goal of changing the other person. Too many of those marriages end up in divorce court. But, then, maybe Rosenberg means something else.
The Motley Monk doesn't agree with everything that Rosenberg writes here, but would observe that he is onto something important...perhaps it's best called "manliness" (that is, "stepping up and being a man") and "womanliness" (that is, "stepping up and being a woman"). Are those virtue now obsolete?
Let the discussion begin...
To read the "A Free Man's Take," click on the following link: