Sunday, September 03, 2006

Men are Simple Creatures

'Texas Jaye' over at Blondesense (for my money, one of the smartest and wittiest blogs around) writes:
The odious "column" by Michael Noers in Forbes preaching to his choir of like minded men has gotten considerable criticism. Actually, Noers performed a public service or at least a service for women.

After I calmed down, it occurred to me that again women had to be reminded of Germaine Greer's adage, that women, "had no idea how much men hated them."

Noer's piece wasn't so much about how miserable smart well educated, well paid women made him and his fellow perpetual frat boys feel, well, so inadequate, but rather, it was a male manifesto full of misogyny.

It should serve as a serious wake up call about how much men resent sharing their lives with women who ask them to clean the house, wipe their urine from the bathroom floor, and do some laundry.

Forty-six years after the Feminine Mystique, we are still raising men with cave man values and tremendous hatred of women. They can only "love" us if we are inferior, under their thumb, not a threat to their masculinity.

Read Noer's piece and replace the word "wife" with "my niggra mammy" and see if you are more offended or get a better insight into this man who once compared wives to whores. Not that liberals haven't made the same comparison, but usually it was made to illustrate that marriages based on that type of agreement are really more about prostitution and marriage as institutions of servitude and not based on any contract a free woman would make.

Now with Viagra and the drug's competitors, guys can still be erect on demand just like their frat boy days. Men really do get insecure about their inability to get it up on demand which really shows a rather narrow imagination when it comes to human sexuality, doesn't it? Unless of course he expects her to do it all for the both of them. William Kristol said that with the legalization of Plan B, college boys are completely off the hook for any responsibility for contraception.

Remember that the next time, women, you go to bed with someone whose middle name you don't know. And how much fun is it to go to bed and perform sexually for a man who thinks your sole purpose in life is to clean up after him and stroke his ego by being his doormat, trapped in his house, with no credit, no real job, and no way out and no way in your own life.

Kristol commented on one those testosterone filled Sunday talk-chat shows that college boys would just tell their girlfriends to go buy the morning after pill. Tell their girlfriends what to do. Let that sink in while you recall that rousing anthem, "Under My Thumb." Funny how easy it is to dance to oppression.

Rather than worrying about your china patterns when you get engaged, women, go to a marriage counselor and make sure you and your beloved understand who is going to clean the bathroom, who is going to cook, who is going to wash clothes and dishes. Take that ridiculous sum of money you are going to spend on a wedding and make damn sure you know what you are contracting to do. If he won't go to counseling, you don't go to the county clerk for a marriage license. If he doesn't want you to work outside the home, he wants you to work inside the home without his help. If you do have a job, make sure you have household help.

Over that romantic, candlelight dinner, if he says he wants to take care of you completely, pay for dinner and walk out of his life. You may keep the ring, it was a gift, it wasn't consideration for your soul.

If your husband won't help you, hire someone to do it and if he won't support paying your help, get a divorce. No man is worth that impossible division of labor. And while you go slowly out of your mind, he will leave you for that younger, dumber, secretary, the one for whom he bought the new breasts and BMW, the one who does everything for him including wiping his ass while you were scrubbing the collars of his shirts.

I thought this was a given. I thought these wars were over. More and more I hear that a lack of shared responsibilities, more than sex or money, is the cause of divorce. That was what she said. He said it was because she put his job before him. But if he puts his job before her, he is a real man. She on the other hand is considered a bitch.

My father told me when I went to law school, after I had been married for 15 years, that no one would like me and they would think I was a bitch if I became a lawyer. I replied that most people who knew me were well aware of my bitchness and it was high time I got paid for it. It really hurt my feelings because I really had this fantasy that he thought I could do whatever I wanted to do. He, however, confided to a friend of mine that he and my mother thought that I would get in may be two years of college and that would be enough. Now I see why my mother and my father never encouraged me to embrace a profession. It threatened them. And it begged the question of how my mother, a very intelligent capable woman, never went to college. She was afraid to threaten his ego and afraid that she couldn't make it in the world on her own. So she lived with the fear and accepted his violent and narrow view of the world.

Reading Texas Jaye's words, I was reminded of something I heard Jane Pauley say in a television interview (on Oprah?) a few years ago, about being a successful professional co-parenting with another successful professional (Gary Trudeau): The bulk of the burden of the responsibility for parenting fell on her.

Gary Trudeau, she offered, would disagree with her assessment. He would say that "I take the kids to get new shoes," to which Pauley would reply "After I tell him that the kids need new shoes."

Pauley added that she believed that her household was no different than most others in America, and there was a general consensus of agreement coming from the studio audience: A whole lot of heads were nodding, apparently identifying with her words.

The interview with Pauley ended there, but had it been a marriage counseling session, Pauley and Trudeau would have been just out of the gates.

Trudeau would have said something like "And you would have told me what color to get, what size, what manufacturer. . . . You would have talked to me like I was an idiot, ordering me around, like I have no mind of my own, like I'd get the kid flip-flops in the middle of winter. Whatever we would have come home with, you would have found fault with and made me wrong for. You don't want shared, equal parenting; you want a go-fer and somebody to blame."

And Trudeau might have a point.

[Hmm, the GOP's rhetoric that "Democrats, 'Blame America first'" and "just want to play the 'Blame Game'". . . Could this be who they're targeting? America's men who feel blamed by the women in their lives and the women who don't even know where to start to get out from under that meme?]

I think that there are two forces involved with what Texas Jaye describes of the eternal puer. And it's something of a vicious circle.

We women are ultimately responsible for raising our sons. And our daughters. If our sons are turning out to be barn-raised misogynists, who hold all members of their mothers' gender in contempt, and our daughters are controlling and dismissive of their partners' contributions if it's not exactly what they expected or wanted, what the hell have we done to create these kids?

Having said that (and knowing that Jane Pauley's response to such an outburst from her husband would probably be "But you have let our daughter wear flip-flops to school in the dead of a blizzardy NY winter!"), the truth about men is that most of them are total and complete marshmallows who practically purr when they are given the least amount of positive regard and consideration.

Many men will tell you that they feel unappreciated and taken for granted by the women with whom they've taken vows, especially after children begin arriving. They're confused, they feel they've been lied to (by us, by society), and that they are only wanted for their paychecks.

How this all happened and how much of this conflict is due to nature and evolution (we want to pick the big earner to insure that our fertilized eggs have the best shot at survival) and how much is due to the stress of modern day life (it's just easier and faster to tie our little boy's shoelaces ourselves than teach him to do it for himself, and then wait around looking at our watches while he tries doing it before we can leave the house for school, work, errands, etc., that day), who knows?

Many men in 21st century America have come to believe that the measure of their value, their only value to anyone (their parents, their employers, friends), is by the success of their career. In spite of what may look like to us (socks on the floor, leaving the toilet seat up, belching, farting, and watching you scrub his collars), they're not getting much enjoyment out of life. [There really is a bigger issue here, about the American lifestyle and culture that is not healthy and not delivering the happiness and satisfaction that 'joining the rat race' promised.]

When that "younger, dumber secretary" comes along and strokes his parts, how she's winning him over is by stroking his ego. When he leaves his wife for this woman, as long as she keeps "appreciating" him, he'll will have no problem paying for the support services to keep their home up and functioning (as well as her breasts). All he's looking for is to feel good.

Men are very simple creatures when it comes to feeling good ('feeling good'=absence of stress). It's a short list: Sex and not being yelled at ('not being yelled at'=feeling appreciated). And video games.

SB_GYPSY writes:
Why are women automatically the ones??

Because it bugs us. If it bugged men, they'd take care of it without a second thought.
We need men on our team on this one, the vast majority of men won't change unless pressure comes from other males to do so. It's much easier to teach a boy respect for women when they have that thundering father's voice: "WHAT DID YOU SAY TO YOUR MOTHER??"
SB_GYPSY | Homepage | 09.03.06 - 10:08 am | #

That's not teaching a boy to respect women. That's teaching a boy to fear the implied threat of violence about to be visited upon him in an unequal physical match.

Respect can't be forced; it's earned. I think that it's that kind of parenting that is at the heart of the issue of how men come to their ambivalence about women. It's aversive conditioning and it's not a good way to train people. It's no more effective than spanking or washing a kid's mouth out with soap. Whatever change in the child's behavior comes about, it's of short duration. Ironically, it diminishes the mother's power as a parent. It teaches the son that a parent's power only trumps a kid's when that parent has a penis. If the situation was reversed, if it was your daughter disobeying her father, would he need or expect you to enforce his authority?

We need to raise thinking children who are able to exercise good common sense, judgment and cooperative behavior without somebody holding a gun to their heads. To maximize the chances of changing another's behavior begins by practicing assertive communication. The ground of being of assertive communication is mutual respect, that is, "I have a right to be listened to with respect, not necessarily agreed with, and I have an obligation to listen respectfully to the other."

An example of this is "I"-statements. In an "I"-statement you'd describe a specific behavior. You say how you feel, and you say what you want. You don't attack the person, you focus on the behavior. For example: "When you pee in the toilet and don't clean up after yourself, it annoys me because I have to clean it up. Please clean up after yourself."

Compare that with "You inconsiderate asshole, why don't you ever clean up after yourself?" The former statement is much more likely to produce a change in behavior. However, problem-solving "I"-statements are only half of the equation. For at least 75 years, it's been known that if you want to change behavior, you need to reinforce (praise, reward, etc.) successive approximations of the behavior you ultimately want. Works with animals, works with people.

My generation of feminists (the first generation to have Sesame Street as "Mommy's little helper) believed the right tool for any job (and training children is a job) is as close as your kitchen cabinets. Next, the first and second rules of effective teaching is to make it fun and meet your student at his or her level of interest and ability, not yours.

If you want to train a little boy to pee into the toilet, toss a handful of Cheerios into the toilet bowl and tell the kid to "sink 'em!"

For the 'eternal puer' that you married, drop a cigarette butt (they're not just for smoking) into the bowl and tell your overgrown child to "fieldstrip that puppy!" Most men know what 'fieldstripping' means, even if they've never served in the military.

That'll only solve part of your problem with 'spillage.' Most women don't realize that it's not the result of lousy aim. It's from their trying to shake their dicks dry after they've peed instead of blotting with toilet paper as we do. They even have a little rhyme that they were taught when they were first toilet trained: "No matter how you shake and dance, the last few drops go down your pants." [They truly are pitiful creatures.]

There's more, however. A stable supportive relationship typically has a ratio of at least five positive interactions to each negative one.

There have been a lot of polls of employees that consistently say the most important factor in determining job satisfaction isn't salary, or working conditions: It's to feel valued, respected and appreciated. The same thing goes with relationships. The most common complaint that couples bring to couples therapy is feeling unappreciated by their partner. Each one has hurt feelings and feels resentful and it's really hard to feel appreciative when you're feeling hurt and resentful of the other one, so you see how this is a catch 22.

Each one is feeling nurturant-deprived and waiting for the other one to make it better. The more stress the couple is under (for example, due to finances or illness or the addition of children to the family, sleep deprived), the worse this situation gets. So when people go to see a therapist with gender complaints, like "He doesn't help out enough around the house", usually both parties are feeling under-appreciated and under-loved.

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Jersey Cynic said...

Hi Maeven -- your responses to Jaye in her post at blondesense were so spot on! You make SO MUCH sense. I'm glad to have found your blog. I have been reading your words below on various posts and you really know what you're talking about. I sure hope that you are currently in a position that enables you to spread your words, your wisdom and your common sense for many to hear. I sure hope that you're a teacher, counselor, or the likes, because anyone who would be in your classroom or on your couch, would certainly have their lives enriched under your direction.

Red State Blues said...

I'll second everything that JC said. Rarely have I read such insightful comments as those you posted in response to Jaye's piece.

It's amazing to me 40+ years into the feminist experience, we still have not made the kind of progress we would have respected. Oh sure, professionally, there has been some progress, but on the perswnal front I certainly would have expected much more by now. Maybe it is my expectations that need to be re-aligned.

As Jaye suggests in her piece, I went into marriage having discussed (I thought) all the issues in advance. When I found myself scrubbing the bath tub with my 9-month pregnant belly hanging to the floor, I knew the discussion had been a fraud. He did, after all, come from that generation whose mothers reaised their sons to be the little princes. He talked a good game, but when it came right down to it, he couldn't walk the talk. Maybe three or four generations from now, things will have progressed. For my girl children (and their possible girl children), I hope so. Unfortunately, given that "feminism" has become a dirty word, not to mention a political climate that looks to take women back to the kitchen, it may take a few generations beyond that.

Maeven said...

I'm glad to have found your blog.

I'm glad you found it, too. I have followed your contributions at Blondesense, am even gladder to have discovered kindred spirits like you at Blondesense (and others elsewhere around the blogosphere),
at this insane time in human history.

I keep reminding myself of Margaret Mead's comment, to "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."

I know it's true.

I'm hoping that this little corner of the internet (The Constant American) can provide perspectives and offer practical solutions for the problems we have, that people don't get the opportunity to hear or consider over the din of MSM (and the two-in-one political party/corporate rhetoric), and the hectic pace that has overtaken most our lives.

I went into marriage having discussed (I thought) all the issues in advance.

I'm "nodding, knowingly" and chuckling as I read this.

As an adult-child-of-("put-any-3-letters-together-and-chairs-in-a-circle"-groups), I not only studied and trained and prepared (for myself and to be able to help others) to avoid the common pitfalls that drive people apart, I married a communications expert!

I thought I was so clever, and that that move alone would be guaranteed to cover any oversights in agreements or lapses on my part. Unfortunatrely, it doesn't really work that well when you're both "adult-children-of."

After more than 3 decades together, we still shock ourselves from time to time with how easy it is fall into (or hard to get past) old, ingrained dysfunctional family communications' styles, and then presume the worst of intentions of the other. Only after exhaustive analysis and replay do we realize what happened: "Those damned presumptions/assumptions again" - a few skipped steps in the conversation, our attention to the details diverted by some daily life distraction while making the plans (looming work and school deadlines, kids with beans up their noses, pets with beans in their ears, and always too little sleep).

Unfortunately, given that "feminism" has become a dirty word, not to mention a political climate that looks to take women back to the kitchen, it may take a few generations beyond that.

Three things come to mind reading that. They're not necessarily in any particular order (or connected with each other), but wouldn't it be a good idea for us to be looking at the bigger picture of what our leaders' decisions have on our lives, and the effect of letting them govern unimpeded, with no oversight, in secret and what it can lead to.

1) I've been thinking about how gun-ownership has been evolving in the U.S. lately. With more undeveloped land being paved over and built up, more women are taking up hunting than ever before. The NRA is going all out in its appeal to women, and suburban women are getting together for "ladies only" hunting trips.

2) Darfur and the horror that is the life of women and children. Since nobody else is doing it, wouldn't it be interesting to arm and train the women in Darfur, so that they could protect themselves and their children, walk to the river to get water without getting kidnapped, raped and killed? If anybody actually needed guns to protect themselves, those women fill the bill. And yet it hasn't occurred to the great proponents of gun-ownership in America.

I think we need to start a drive on campuses around America, where conservative young women (like Michelle Malkin) are responding to the NRA's pitches, and give them a purpose for their training. And a focus for their hostility. "Go to Darfur and Kick Some (Janjaweed) Ass."

3.) China's one-child policy, while very well-meaning and necessary, failed to tackle sexism at the same time and has had serious unintended consequences: The dramatic elimination of Chinese females to mate with all of those (preferred) Chinese boy babies.

The effect that millions (40 million) of poor, uneducated Chinese men with no prospects for good and meaningful work which eliminates them from the marriage market is going to have on China's foreign policy and relations with the rest of the world. Not to mention what it's doing (and will do in the coming decades) to Chinese women.

Already, it's driving them to suicide. And it's also driving a black market in the trafficking of Chinese females for the illegal sex trade, and the kidnapping of urban Chinese baby girls by the parents of boys who have bleak prospects for marriage in their future. The parents raise these kidnapped girls alongside their own born sons, so that when the boy comes of age he'll have someone to marry.

The world is way too small, with fewer resources for everyone to share, for this kind of craziness to be going on.