Thursday, October 27, 2016

Women, Nasty and Otherwise

I have concluded that I am completely unqualified to write about the fairer sex. Oops, I did it again. I probably just offended thousands of feminists with a phrase that was considered complimentary back in the day. The following is not meant to be humorous, or flippant, but a reflection of an honest struggle to achieve personal understanding of how to relate to the opposite gender in a positive way, both personally and as a society.


There are countless examples of sayings that should no longer be part of our societal conversation. "A woman's place is in the home." Utter that, and you deserve to be slapped upside the head. Every son knows that if someone calls him a "momma's boy," it is not intended as a compliment. Well, why not? What is wrong with having empathy, compassion, and at least some degree of sensitivity? We have very few words in our collective vocabulary that paint a positive picture of females, but suddenly, thanks to a certain high-profile political race, "nasty woman" is embraced as a badge of honor. Meanwhile, we throw around labels like b***h, diva, and whatnot every day. No wonder we are confused.

We call our entire species "mankind." We call God "Our Father." Jesus....Jesus was a man! The whole construct of human history, myth, and "progress" is overwhelmingly male-centered. Women have always been a footnote while men have left a footprint.

Back to day-to-day gender relations. Even chivalry may have ulterior motives. Are we being a gentleman when we hold open the door, or do we just want to watch your a** go through it? I suspect it is a little bit of both. I guarantee that I have offended entirely too many women throughout my life, knowingly or not. Today, I can no longer claim ignorance, cannot continue to make assumptions, or otherwise believe I know how to conduct myself in the presence of women. I may no longer attempt a hug without an unequivocal invitation to do so.

Now, women object to suggestions they should smile. There is open hostility from pent-up rage and resentment over Male Privilege. No one can blame them. They face daily the insidious if not outright blatant vulgarities of male dominance and expectation of subordination and male-defined femininity. The fact is, men have no clue as to what the average woman has gone through in her life, how many are victims of sexual assault, attempted assault, harassment, discrimination, and/or any other form of abuse. Guys, even your closest female friends are unlikely to let on if they have faced these crimes. They are also not likely to tell you if you are behaving inappropriately.

I carry guilt for myself, and for men in general. I am ruled by hormones to this day, I admit it; but that is no excuse for bad behavior, let alone criminal behavior. I hope that I am not a jerk, but I am lustful, no question. It is not a quality I am particularly proud of, but it is a facet of my being I have come to accept.

What was once considered polite and courteous is now considered condescending and patronizing. Men no longer have a language for women that is acceptable to women, and frankly I am not sure how that can be resolved. Tension between the sexes is at an all-time high. Part of the reason for this is the rise of women into positions of social, political, and economic power. It is about time that happened, but it makes the Good Old Boys network nervous. These men then regress into childish, but still hostile, language and behavior in a desperate attempt to return current situations to more familiar but oppressive norms.

Furthermore, masculinity, in America at least, is built largely on your history of sexual conquests and your "success" in manipulating women to suit your needs and desires. There are no rules, just goals, if you can call getting laid a goal. Losing one's virginity is the standard rite of passage for teenage boys seeking manhood, along with getting your first car. What the hell?

So, here we are in a "swipe right" society, pretending we still care about dignity and respect. Alas we are shallow. It is the sad luxury of too large a population where there are always more fish in the sea, and our relationships on the whole are superficial. When all is said and done, though, one old saying still rings true: "Women: can't live without 'em."


  1. There was a time when an old saying I heard years ago was true,"Treat a women like a queen and she will treat you like a king". My wife thrives on that but our marriage is based on traditional values. In this society with our more modernistic views I am completely lost as to what it would take for harmony in a home. Even home life is different than what I knew it to be. Good luck with the responses you get because I think this is a changing equation with a result we have yet to determine.

  2. Ah, the endless give and take between the sexes.... I grew up with the vague notion that men were an almost different species than women, but after 40+ years of marriage, I've come to believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. Treat everyone as you'd like to be treated yourself. With women, you might need to add a touch of caution and treat them as you would want to be treated by a more dominant person of either sex, given that hormones might make you think you'd enjoy being treated in a way that you wouldn't actually enjoy at all, in real life. Friendship and respect is the base of any good relationship, in my mind. It really does boil down to that simple thought. Cynthia