In search of the Liberated Man…

It’s the year 2008. Most girls go to college. Some girls grow up to be physicists, lawyers, doctors, politicians. Some girls want careers; others want to be moms; some want both. This period in the history of western civilization has been one of the best for a woman to live in, given all of the choices she has that were, just mere decades ago, not even open to her. Equality can only get better. The march moves onward.

Yet, despite all the changes in gender equality, one thing remains always the same: the male ego.I came to this conclusion after an email discussion with a liberal guy friend of mine. I mention that he’s liberal because I usually give liberal men the benefit of the doubt. I mean, many of the issues the liberals support are truly feminist causes–pro-choice, equal wages, gender equality. Many liberals are also atheist or agnostic, not pinned into gender roles specified in the Bible. So, I guess, I just assume all liberal men have had the Neanderthal loved out of them by important women in their lives who have raised them to be more than the “manly man.” (As opposed to my stereotype of the Bible-thumping, country-loving, traditionalist conservative.)

Well, I learned once again what happens when one ASSumes. My liberal guy friend, in a discussion about the types of qualities we look for in a potential mate, explained to me that he wanted a “professional” woman but not someone who made more money than him. He said he had “traditional values” and that some part of him felt it was right that the man be the breadwinner of the marriage. Now, this is a guy who does not want children. So why the heck, I ask you, should it matter if the woman makes more money than he does? And, look at the duality of his request: he wants a professional woman–which he later defined as a career-minded woman who had a better job than, say, working at a pagoda in the mall–and yet, at the same time, she can’t make more money than him.

Um. Hello?

Good luck, dude, in finding that nice balance between a career-minded woman with the lower salary. I mean, heaven forbid she actually rise in rank as she works her way through the male-dominated business world and, during the course of your relationship, ends up pulling in a higher salary. Then, what? Are you going to have to elevate your skills, climb the corporate ladder yourself, to ensure you always stay one step ahead of her? How mature!

I just don’t get where these ideas come from. I mean, geesh. Is there some deep seeded need in a man to take care of a woman? Even when she doesn’t need to be taken care of? It makes me sick to my stomach to consider this entire cycle of logic. It makes me wonder how many guys out there with whom I interact on a daily basis have a Neanderthal living just beneath the surface of their skin… Do they think less of me because I have boobs and a vagina? Is that all I’m good for to them, a pretty little sex toy to be bought and shown off to impress the other Neanderthals?

I totally reject and disdain the “manly man.” It is utterly ridiculous to me, in this day and age when people are getting married much later in life and, thus after establishing themselves, for a guy to assume this age-old protector role in a relationship. Haven’t we gotten past this cave man mentality yet? If I was perfectly fine in my life–safe and all–before I got involved in the relationship, I sure don’t need a man to keep me safe in his cave while he brings the food and the money for the household. I’m independent, I can hunter-gather all on my own.

A good relationship is based on a 50/50 share of responsibilities. It’s like the yin and the yang of Zen Buddhism: you are weak where he is strong, you are strong where he is weak, and the two of you use your applied skills to battle the downs and sail the ups of life together. It shouldn’t matter who makes more money in the relationship because all the money is going to the same place. The woman should be proud if her husband makes a good living; likewise, the man should be proud if his wife is the one bringing in the higher income. It’s a team effort here, not a competition.

Any man who derives his identity and sense of self-worth from his ability to bring home the prize bacon in his household is, to me, pathetic. This is the new millennium. Men can also hold their heads high in choosing to be house husbands. I praise any man who gives up his career to raise the children, as I would any woman who would make such a choice. I, too, am a traditionalist in that I think someone should stay home to raise the kids full time, at least in their crucial first years. This society has suffered greatly from the lack of input from the father in child-rearing (which fortunately was not the case in my upbringing). Do we really want to continue the traditional role where the father remains aloof in the child-rearing process–the “Cat’s in the Cradle” mentality that turns out children who as adults yearn for a relationship with their father?

It irks me endlessly that men have no problem taking part in the process to make a baby, but then, when it comes to child rearing, they like to back off with their hands in the air, saying, “Well, you women are better at nurturing than we are.”

Bull pucky! The reason men are not innately better at nurturing is because society has supported this “manly man” image and the “manly man” image dictates that showing too much affection for a child is not manly. A man is just as capable as a woman in providing care for a child and the child will still turn out “normal.” Any suggestion otherwise is strictly environment over chemical wiring. I think society’s voice is louder than any chemical/genetic wiring as far as the gender roles are concerned.

It must be really hard to be a man. Men seem constantly ready to produce proof against other men that suggests that they are less manly. To live up to this “manly man” ideal against all your male peers and family members must be a tremendous burden. I can at least be thankful that women do not seem to carry so much of an image burden, except perhaps, when we have to deal with the “too butchy” versus “high maintenance” contradictions. In my experience, I’ve felt pressure to balance myself between being down to earth enough that I enjoy getting my hands dirty with the guys, but still having to be feminine enough to look pretty and presentable in society. Some guys call this “being a lady.”

For the most part in my life, I’ve avoided allowing myself to be defined either way. I am admittedly a tomboy, certainly a feminist, and I do like to get my hands dirty. In fact, I’m more comfortable drinking beer around the campfire than I am attending some formal event in a gown and makeup. I do don makeup once in awhile and I enjoy wearing nice clothes to work or other events, but on an every day basis I prefer to not wear makeup (and I mostly don’t because I will end up rubbing it off, even at my desk job, because I have a habit of rubbing my eyes and face when I’m thinking). I used to try to look nice to impress, but now I generally think, “This is how I am, like it or leave it, because I will not change myself to please anyone else.”

So when I come up against the male ego and all of its required goading, I just get annoyed. Why can’t the male ego adjust itself to this brave new world? What is it about the male ego that demands so much power over everything else? Why do men feel this need to protect and covet their lovers like a possession? And, lastly, why do men buckle when it is suggested by another man that something they are doing is not manly? Why can’t they just say, “Hey. I know my wife makes more money than me and I’m damned proud of her accomplishments.” Why would anything any other man says to you affect how you choose to live your life?I like a man who doesn’t need to prove himself or his sexuality because he knows who and what he is. My husband and I used to call this new creature the Liberated Man. (Maybe that’s why I assumed all liberals were not Neanderthals.)

44 thoughts on “In search of the Liberated Man…

  1. Yea for liberated men like my husband, who doesn’t care that I make more than him. Heck, if I made enough to support both of us he’d gladly be a stay at home husband rather than going to the job he hates every day.

  2. eh… I don’t know. I think our society is in a stage of rapid change, and you can’t expect everyone to be on the same page all at the same time.I know a lot of women who say things like, “I’m a liberated woman, but I still want a man to hold the door open for me and pick me up in his car for a date.” It doesn’t mean she supports patriarchy, it may just mean that there are some traditions that she would like to maintain and she isn’t comfortable giving up all of them. Everyone has some gender traditions that they still support even if they consider themselves liberated.I think there is wisdom in that. When society changes too rapidly, we run the risk of getting rid of long-standing traditions without realizing that there was some value to them. I think society needs to move organically to embrace these new ideals, and not try to impose them too soon with rigid rules about what men and women can or can’t do. If you are opposing the rigid rules of the past, then imposing new rules to replace them–no matter how liberal–isn’t really liberal.It is like how Protestants got rid of so many traditions from the Catholic past, then slowly but surely are hungry for them and have brought many of them back in a new form–statues, artwork, paying to saints, reverence for Mary, early thinkers in church history, monasticism, liturgy–elements of Protestantism are hungry for these things today. Those traditions were there for a reason, but in a rash of idealism they were burning artwork and calling themselves “enlightened.”I think in a lot of ways it is hard to be a man. For thousands of years, it was beaten into men that they MUST perform in certain areas, such as providing for their family. Now suddenly, society tells them that it has all changed, but no one tells them what being male means anymore. And I think women are unclear about what they want and send mixed messages about it. Every woman you meet has different expectations about how “liberated” they want to be, expecting the man to fall in line with their set of rules. As a man, you just gotta play it by ear.When you go on a date with a woman, there is a lot of anxiety wondering if you can open a door for this woman, or offer to pay, and you run the risk of commiting some kind of social blunder and getting backlash for it. A lot of men are really flexible about it, but if you open the door for the wrong woman you can get backlash, and if you don’t open the door for another woman you can also get backlask. Many men don’t really care and are willing to accomodate either way.

  3. Frank,How about “shared responsibility” in a relationship? Is that so hard to understand? Respect each other, love each other, take care of each other. But dont feel like you have to protect the woman from anything. Why is this stuff so hard for a man to understand?Personally, I would prefer that a guy treat me no differently than another guy… with the same expectations of my intelligence and ability to take care of myself. Dont assume I’m weaker cuz I’m female. I reject things that suggest the man thinks I cant take care of myself… ie, paying for dates, fixing something on my bike even when I can do it myself, trying to do stuff for me around my house. It’s sexist to assume I cant do these things myself. Help if I ask for your help; dont just say, “Well, wait until I come over and I’ll do it for you you.”I dont mind the occasional paying for dates or opening the door, etc, etc. But when you’re always insisting on paying for dates, that says to me that you think I cant afford to pay. And it harkens to a time when the woman really couldnt afford to pay for a date. I hate when I have to fight a man to pay for the date… How did men get in charge of everything in the first place? It doesnt make any sense to me. We should have always been gender-balanced because each gender has something to bring to the table.Aside from some obvious physical feats, a woman can do anything a man can do. Except pee standing up. Which really sucks in the woods.

  4. Maybe I should start opening doors for men… ;)And, really, I didnt mean to sound harsh about the date paying thing. I think a couple should take turns paying for dates. I would think that would make any guys happy! Why should the guy take on the financial burden of all your dates when both of you have good paying jobs? That’s all I’m saying…

  5. Communiation is important. Too often, people bitch to everyone and their brother about something without ever letting the person they are dating know their thoughts on the situation. They just assume they should automatically know, even though every person out there has different opinions on the matter.If you want to be liberated, then be liberated. Don’t wait for the men to act the way you want him to act. YOU go out and YOU be the person you want to be. Quit being so passive and then whinning because the men are not “giving” equality to you. Uh… Hello? That’s not equality!

  6. Well, that’s the thing. I think I let it be known my views on these matters with those I’m involved with.The point of this post, though, was that guys say things that baffle the hell out of me and then expect me to not feel its sexist. Like the friend who said he has to be making more money than his mate! I mean, that’s not something you can change about the guy. He has the innate conviction that this must be the way for his future love. And it’s a stupid, sexist way of thinking! Especially after he stated that he wanted her to have a professional job. It says to me that he wants her to have a good, respectible job, but that she can only advance so far, he’s still gotta be better than her or his fragile male ego will implode…

  7. Hey, I’m not arguing that some people are insecure and need to setup certain “power parameters” in their life to feel superior to the people around them. I have not seen this to be exclusive to men, in fact, it seems to be a common trait in human nature. Whether it is better grades, or having the last word in a conversation, or making more money, it’s all the same thing.

  8. Does anyone have data showing what women (in general) prefer in a mate? Specifically, do women desire men who make at least the same amount of money as they do?I suspect, tho may be wrong, that the majority of women want men to pull their weight in the $$$ dept. Assuming that is true, then men would naturally want to make more money than their sweetheart, just to keep her happy.Comments?

  9. Well, I for one can say that I dont care if my husband makes more than me or if I make more than him. I have dated men who make more money than me and I have dated men who make less money than me. I’d prefer to have a happy partner who enjoys what they do for a living than one who is crunching away at a job he hates for money we dont need. It’s always nice to have a little extra cash, but seriously, you cant buy happiness. So I put no stipulations on my mate’s salary. In fact, it would be to my advantage if I made more than him so that I could justify continuing to work after we have kids, letting him be the stay at home dad, because it would make financial sense!My husband made significantly more money than I did. But then, I was fresh out of college when I met him. Now, my salary would be much closer to his, though probably still far off, but if he were still alive, I’d probably be supporting him while he went back to school to get a law or physics degree (which were the two things he was interested in going back to school for). Or we’d have our first kid by now and he’d be staying at home anyway. Or I would. Whatever.When I’m looking for a person I want to spend the rest of my life with, money never enters my considerations. All I ask for in that arena is that no matter how much money he makes, he’s good at managing and doesnt spend outside his means or is in debt. I’m a saver at whatever level of income I have and I expect the same out of someone I’d be living with… And I am certainly not going to join expenses with somenoe who has a credit rating in the toilet. I just like a guy who knows how to live happily within his means…

  10. Sounds like you’re fearless hunter-gatherer in your own cave. But do you still feel that way when the electricity fails or are you back to being a fearful woman? I think everybody, male or female, wants to be protected at some time or other and I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that. I think most men don’t like to think of themselves as gigolos and therefore don’t relish the idea of being dependant on a woman’s financial support. Maybe that’s where your liberal friend was going with his thought that he doesn’t want his hypothetical mate to earn more money than he does. That’s a bit different from saying that he wants a subservient sex toy.

  11. When I married my wife, she had a ton of debt. Didn’t matter to me. We just buckled down for the first few years and paid off the credit cards before having kids.

  12. Anon, I wont pretend my requirements for a spouse are easy… ;)Bob, okay, yeah, I’m fearful in my house at night, imaging serial killers and the like, but ultimately, I manage and deal on my own. I still didnt need anyone to protect me. I could get a dog for that. And, as you know, sometimes even dogs are useless as far as that goes. ;)

  13. I think everyone gets fearful in the house at night, regardless of gender. The other night I patrolled the downstairs because I heard sounds of a box scraping on the floor. Damn cat! :)

  14. Well, MG, that may be what <>you<> want in a mate, but is there a universal standard for what all women want? No way, no how.A LOT of people like to fall back onto traditional roles. Like Bob says, there are women who want independence but the first moment trouble brews they want to fall back into the arms of a strong man. Liberation, anyone? But really, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Men may often seek out the special comfort of their female friends before their male friends in certian situations. The reason? Here’s the shocking truth: Men really are different than women. Not all men, not all women, they are masculine women and feminine men, but for the most part, a body full of testosterone is way different than a body full of estrogen, and we are not going to be the same. And I don’t think we should even want that. The person who you think is too conservative may be a perfect fit for someone else, just like you may be too conservative for others. If you don’t like the people you’re around, then maybe you should follow the words of the country song and go find a “better class of losers.” :-)

  15. Well, it’s not a big deal as I am not dating this guy. We’re just friends. I was just shocked by his conservative statement and it made me adjust my opinion of him slightly. That’s all.I think a lot of women feel as I do. At least the more liberated ones I talk to.But I guess that’s why we fall in love with who we do… cuz we find people who meet what we deem are important… I’m just saying that the macho-man machismo over-testatoroned ones totally turn ME off.

  16. The word “gigolo” made me think of Neneh Cherry. I always thought a gigolo was a guy who played the field. A man who doesn’t want to be dependant on a woman’s financial support would be a “kept man.”

  17. 1) If the opposite spouse making more money than you makes you a gigolo, then you understand how many women have considered marriage a form of legalized prostitution – a feminist argument, though one of many (hence the need to term the broad field of ideas “Feminisms”).2) Many women like their male spouses to make a LOT of money, have all their hair (though less hair means their testosterone is higher, btw), and be assertive with others. However, many traditional marriages aren’t based on romantic love or equality, and many people don’t want marriage for those two reasons: many marry as a means of furthering their personal security, power, and holdings, and consider their husband to be their business partner, both persons using the other to look a certain way and to get ahead in business and professional ventures. 3) Yes, there should NEVER be a discussion based on “what (all) women want”, because like men, women are people. People are each unique and variable, not uniform. Therefore, you have to take each woman on her own terms NOT because feminism has made the world more progressive, but rather because people are different from each other, not the same. Perhaps some men wish that having meaningful personal relationships were easy e.g. that there was a by-the-book playbook to follow in order to understand another human being. The dominant male culture (I say this bc. there are MANY kinds of masculinities and many kinds of male cultures also), uses certain codes to craft a social fluidity without much need for intimacy in personal conversations. Perhaps this alone creates the expectation that “good” relationships are as easy as this simple code, and that there’s an easy equivalent to saying “it’s all good” in order to avoid discussing potentially confusing, emotionally disturbing, or personal details. However, this culture creates a false sense of intimacy between men in their male to male relationships, and I could really see how difficult it would then be to attempt to marry a person who was socialized to be openly emotional, socialized to discuss these details rather doggedly until one feels that he/she has arrived at an understanding of the other person, and after marrying that person, to be emotionally open with her yet not give in to believing sexist stereotypes about women and trying to infantilize her or berate her when she is assertive or authoritative, as people can tend to be.If she isn’t assertive or authoritative, as the sexist “perfect wife” would be, you wouldn’t respect her, nor would she be good at anything, as being good at something would give her an area of expertise and therefore assertiveness and expert knowledge.Clearly I’m rambling through this argument, but my point is that men are people, and women are people. People are unique. There are MANY kinds of relationships, and M and F often don’t clarify what type of married relationship they expect before marrying…or what kind of dating relationship if the case is dating. There’s the business-arrangement power-marriage, the married the mother of my children marriage (recreating one’s idea of “family” but not marrying someone he necessarily finds sexually gratifying), the friendship marriage, the romantic lovers marriage, and more. If she thinks (as she often does, bc. she’s socialized to believe in this) that she’s going into a romantic love marriage and then finds herself in mother of my children marriage, there is trouble. So my point is, people are all different – it will take a great deal of hard work to get to know the individual, and knowing that they are male or female doesn’t automatically give you “the owner’s manual” on how they function, feminist or no. Relationships are hard work. Some people give up, others tough it out and work to remain open, continue learning about each other as people grow and change, etc.I think it’s hard for men to understand women because they expect women to embody their understanding of women. They don’t expect to find out, and often don’t understand, that women are (as MarsGirl said) just more of the guys, but with differnt preferences and a different upbringing/ socialization. There’s not a set of preferences and qualities that come hard-wired into a vagina, as there isn’t in a penis. We’re all just people.

  18. <>Yes, there should NEVER be a discussion based on “what (all) women want”, because like men, women are people. <>That is basically the point I was trying to make. Holding men accountable because they didn’t automatically know what a certain individual woman wants–when each woman clearly wants something different–is unfair. But to say that there are no differences between men as a group and women as a group is to deny the obvious. There needs to be plenty of room for exceptions, and individuals fall all over the spectrum. There is no such thing as gender neutrality.

  19. Okay, but what <>I<> was saying in my original post is that I, as a feminist woman of 2008, found it extremely sexist that a male friend of mine would imply that he would need to be the “breadwinner” (and he used that word!) in a relationship with his spouse. I was surprised by him, being a liberal man (and thus what I equate with being a more educated, Renaissance man, if you will), making this sort of statement. I would be thoroughly insulted if a prospective mate said this to me because it implies that any career success on my part that exceeds his would be considered a negative quality in me. I was aghast that he expected to have a professional woman (remember, no girls working at the piercing pagoda in the mall, even if it makes her happy and feel fulfilled, he doesn’t want any of that) because it’s a contradiction in his desired. A professional woman is someone who has a job he deems worthy of respect (he even quoted a desk job as being this way–what??). But I would assume most professional women would at some point want to advance themselves… and thus may earn higher pay. Or maybe not. Still, either way, it was a sexist comment to me and I did take insult to it.There may be woman out there who wouldnt take insult in it, I am sure. We can debate that until we’re blue in the face. Still, I am just saying that I would NOT date a man who said that to me. In fact, I probably wouldnt go out with him again because it seems to me he’s adding limitations to me and my career or professional goals.Also, hello, but it makes me wonder… I mean, arent the Democrats generally pushing for equal pay for jobs since women still typically get paid less than men? (I just saw an anti-McCain ad about this subject this past weekend, about how he turned down many of these types of bills.) That’s why I guess I mistakenly assumed that liberal men are Liberated Men. I wonder what this friend of mine thinks of equal pay laws for women…

  20. Yes, women still get paid around .75 for every $1.00 men make – this supposedly is reasonable bc. men are “the sole breadwinner”. However, anyone looking around can see that in these times, a single-income household is a pipe dream: it’s necessary to have two incomes these days if one wants to survive

  21. Well, when women start working jobs that pay more, then they can make as much as men! The idea that there is discrimination in pay between men and women is total BS.Women do make less, overall. But we are not talking about men and women who work the same jobs with the same hours and the same skills. We are talking about men as a whole compared to women as a whole. Men tend to work in fields that pay more, it is that simple. I’m not saying there isn’t any discrimination. The glass ceilings may still exist in certain jobs like CEO and political offices. But in general, more men go out for jobs like doctors and physicists than women, and women are more likely to reduce hours to stay home with the family.I think a lot of this is changing and will likely be the reverse in another generation–more women will be in these jobs in a few short years, judging by the fact that more women are moving on in higher education compared to men. It is only a matter of time before certain professions start wondering what they can do to get more men trained interested and trained.

  22. Okay. Regardless of what you think about the pay rate between men and women, I’m saying, you have to admit that it’s completely sexist of my guy friend to say that he must be the breadwinner in a family in which he does NOT plan to have kids… Come on, it’s sexist, ESPECIALLY if you think the pay between men and women is always equal in the same job… Come on, I’m right, and you know it. Just admit it and move on! :P :)

  23. More women HAVE to reduce hours and stay home with children – at least in America. In Sweden and Norway, more men stay home with children overall because there is paid leave of at least a year for each parent. Those nations believes in raising healthy, well-rounded kids – not like here where the man would never even consider staying home to raise the kids – because he has to be the “breadwinner” and to be honest, his sexist male friends would give him crap.

  24. From the article:Irene sez, “Researchers from the U. of Florida found that men who believe in what they call ‘traditional roles for women’ (a woman’s place is in the home, employing wives leads to more juvenile delinquency, etc.) earn more money than men who don’t. The same is not true for women.” The researchers looked for gender role views as a predictor of a person’s earnings – not surprisingly, they were able to find them. They controlled for job complexity, number of hours worked and education and their analyses concluded that men in the study who said they had more traditional gender role attitudes made an average of about $8,500 more annually than those who had less traditional attitudes. For women, the situation was reversed. Women who held more traditional views about gender roles made an average of $1,500 less annually than the women with more egalitarian views. Put another way, if a married couple holds traditional gender role attitudes, the husband’s earning advantage was predicted to be eight times greater than a married couple where the husband and wife have less traditional attitudes. “These results show that changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity,” Judge said. “When workers’ attitudes become more traditional, women’s earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears.”

  25. <>These results show that changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity<>It be the other way: It may be more easy to hold traditional gender roles if the man makes more and the women makes less. When that is reversed, then people may have to learn to adjust their attitudes. Let’s say the women gets a raise of the man become unemployed. Under these conditions, people find that the earth does not fall apart and they learn to adjust and move on.

  26. Some women can be very mean and unsympathetic when a man loses his job – I find this heartbreaking. Then, the man thinks she only values him as a breadwinner, and thinks he has no real role in the household unless he is working a 40 hour a week job. His male friends give him shit, too, until he’s employed again. It’s total bullshit if you ask me – give a man a break!

  27. That’s a good point, Anonymous. If we are going to change these social “rules”, we need to change the culture to support it. In other words, maybe MG shouldn’t be so mad at the man in her life who wants to make more than the woman he is with. Maybe you have to understand what pressure he may be under before you are so quick to criticize.

  28. Let me make this clear: This is NOT the guy I’m dating. Michael says he has no problem with me making more money with him (if that were the case — we dont discuss our salaries).I would not date a guy who said he had to make more than me. No way, no how. I have no problem if the man has to prove himself and compete with these social pressures, he’s just not the man for me. I’m waiting for the men who are ready to catch up to my progressive ideas and do not buckle under stupid things such as social pressure. Pa-shaw on social pressure. I’ve been dealing with that my whole life and I do not buckle.Men can say and do what they want for whatever reasons, but that doesnt mean *I* have to date them.

  29. We’re not even talking about you and who you are dating, so I have no idea where you got that. You claim you are so progressive but your post made sweeping generalizations about “the male ego”. I for one have very little patience for unchecked male bashing and I will call you out on that, just like you would if someone were bashing women.

  30. Sweeping generalizations are a result of a general trend towards a characteristic. That’s how stereotypes are created. We just dont create them out of thin air. I point these things out to bust them up so that guys become more self-aware of some of their misgynist tendencies. I dream of a world in which the male ego doesn’t get in the way of acting like a human being. I want to redefine the way the genders interact with each other. I feel that my husband and I treated each other as equals. He’s the only man I’ve ever been with where my gender was treated as nothing more than a consequence of how the XY chromosome. In other words, he looked at my characteristics–good or bad–as things about Mars Girl, not things about a girl in general. And I looked at him that way. There’s nothing I despise more than going somewhere and falling into our gender groups where we gossip and make motions like people have done for hundreds of years… the whole, “ball and chain routine” crap. I was happily married and I didnt air my displeasures about my husband with my friends just to act as though marriage was a burden. It’s time to break up all the assumptions and crap we’ve been saying for hundreds of years and just look at people as who they are, not define ourselves by gender.

  31. Speaking of assumptions: I’m tired of the male bashing routine, and all the so-called “feminist rants” when someone doesn’t get their way. You represent women when you do that, and it doesn’t make you look good. And it certainly doesn’t make you look empowered when you passively blame men for your luck.I know it’s a lot of fun to bash the white-male these days, and few people have sympathy, but being mean is being mean, and being wrong is still being wrong, and it doesn’t show that a person is enlightened or progressive when they take the easy way out and bash all men or deride maleness in general. These situations are more complex than that. I know women have dealt with oppression. But that doesn’t give you license to blame everything on men. Sun’s not out today? Must be the WHITE MALE’S fault. That’s irresponsible, untrue and downright cruel.I’d say more often than not women are the ones who are oppressing other women and the men really are uninvolved. These are larger societal issues and it is not “men vs. women.”A lot of women don’t want to hear that because they are cozy comfortable in their “blaming men” routine, but if you want to have a serious intellectual discussion about it you might find out that some of these assumptions are just that–assumptions. And you know what ASSumptions make you look like.

  32. I wasnt doing that. I was point out something I thought was completely ignorant that an unidentified male friend said and I was calling out the fact that it was an old-fashioned idea (and really a stupid idea). And I pondered where that idea came from. Since it seems I’ve dealt with men with this sort of “I need to protect, covet, and provide for my woman attitude,” I felt the need to point out that it is an old, out-dated idea. At least as far as I’m concerned and how I want to be treated. I was not blaming men for the downfall of women. I dont blame men for everything. I blame our society for perpetuating these male/female gender roles. I ask both men and women to think about what these gender roles imply, the discrimination behind many of them, and to re-evaluate. This is a new day. A new millenium, and it’s time to move forward from these attitudes that do not empower but hold back BOTH genders from exploring new territories.Men could find enlightenment in child-readering; women can find enlightenment in careers. The point is, no one should be expecting certain roles out of you just because you happen to be a certain gender. You should be free to chose parenthood, careers, etc. as you wish without society pressuring you to a certain mold. THAT is what I question.

  33. The idea that women are the sole perpetrators of sexism against other women is so far-fetched and ahistorical it’s obvious that your comment is based on emotional reactions rather than researched knowledge or facts. When the constitution was interpreted as applying only to men and women then weren’t allowed the vote, was THAT women doing it to other women? -Were most major European and American businesses owned, operated, and run by women throughout the last century – was the failure of most businesses to offer jobs to women a case of women doing it to other women?-Following the line of logic (if you can call it that) in your argument, it would then also follow that pornography througout the ages has been produced by women, who photograph women’s bodies and get off on it. So women being reduced from full human being status to that of parts to be appraised on the olde frat boy scale of 1-10 is something that women cooked up to do to other women. You therefore must see women checking out other women all the time, making sexist jokes in the workplace to other women, and offering to help other women with all manner of regular daily chores with the comment” you can’t do that for yourself, little lady”.I see your point, F. Men are all gay – they obviously prefer the company of other men because it reinforces their masculinity, especially when they watch such close-contact male on male sports as football – and women are the sexist pigs in charge of everything in the world! God! I should’ve known – maybe I could’ve asked the woman who is the “shadow boss” of my male bosses to give a fellow woman a raise!

  34. <>The idea that women are the sole perpetrators of sexism against other women is so far-fetched and ahistorical it’s obvious that your comment is based on emotional reactions rather than researched knowledge or facts.<>Ummm… I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. I’m not trying to be snide, but please take another look at the post I made. I never once claimed that women are the SOLE perpetrators of sexism against women. THAT comment of your is so far-fetched that it is obviously emotionally charged. What I actually wrote was that the oppression of women is a larger societal problem which includes BOTH men and women. Now whether women do it more than men I admit is a matter of debate, I wrote that women may do it more because that is what I see. I am talking about the year 2008 in America, not talking aobut the 1800s.Who are the ones critizing women for being “too fat”? Who makes other women feel guilty for working instead of staying home with the kids? Often, it is other women. This is not a men vs. women issue.There are lots of double standards. If a man keeps a traditional value like wanting to make more money than his woman, he is called a sexist, NO QUESTIONS ASKED AND NO MERCY AND NO EXCUSES. Men hear beligerant commentary about this. Yet, if a woman wants to maintain a traditional value such as having a man make more money than her, she is NOT called a sexist, we just say that’s her “choice”, and it might even be cute and funny that she wants to date a man with money. If we are going to be sympathetic for women who hold some traditional values, we need to recognize the same in men. Based on what I’ve seen in my community and family, it was the other women who provided the greatest obstacles when young girls wanted to do things such as go to college, follow their dreams, dress the way they want, eat what they want, etc. The men were largely supportive or at least uninvolved… The men would say: “just let her do what she wants” but the mothers, aunts and sisters were the ones crusading against these freedoms. I’m not saying this pattern holds true for all people for all time, but I say it to illustrate that blind male bashing is just rude and uninformed, and when women do it they become the very thing that they claim to hate.BTW–you might want to do some more research. The idea that women make less money for equal work and equal skills is a MYTH. They make less money overall, but they don’t work the same jobs overall. And don’t lash out at me just because I have opinions you aren’t ready to deal with in a mature way.

  35. I DO call women sexist who hold traditional values of wanting to be taken care of by their man. I make fun of them openly and or in my head. I feel bad for these woman who grew up in an unliberated environment where they were told that that is the only choice they have. I feel that they have not been enlightened.And I dont mean educated women who have consciously chosen to become a mother. That’s different. I’m talking about the high maintenance, clingy ones who run around trying desperately to get married.But, I guess, you can say that that is my judgment call… that I probably am a bit unfair to these women. And you may be right. But I cant stop myself from feeling sorry for “girly girls.” Even if they are happy that way, from my perspective, they are limited. But then, my will is not the one to be imposed on everyone. But I cant help but think that way.Maybe I’m a little prejudiced. And I did feel insulted once when my boyfriend told me I was very feminine. I guess I feel that being called feminine is an insult to my intelligence. I wont claim that I dont have issues balancing being a woman and rejecting the traditional women traits that I feel are negative.

  36. I totally support the freedom of women. But I do not support ridiculous male bashing, which is all too common and goes unchecked in our society. I will call people out who do that.These are larger socieal issues, and EACH OF US is guilty of supporting these social structures in one way or another. We all support the oppression of somebody. Knowing that, we can MATURELY work TOGETHER to break these barriers down, rather than viciously try to blame the “other side” which is inaccurate and unfair.

  37. Fair. But I dont feel I was male bashing with this post. I felt I was pointing out an example of a man supporting a misgynist idea that needs to be considered and changed because it is oppressing a woman, his woman someday, that he supposedly would love. Love should not be oppression!I totally agree with you about oppression. I mentioned in my earlier blog about Gene Robinson that I totally was with him on his statement that by doing nothing to help oppressed people, I’m automatically part of the problem because I live in the benefits of a society that oppresses a group of people. If we do nothing, we’re part of the problem.I agree with you that woman can be bad to other women. But honestly, as far as the weight thing goes, do you really think there’s more pressure from women than men? I feel lots of pressure from men when I’m sitting in a bar with them and all their heads turn when a big-breasted anorexic chick walks into the bar… and I look at the fat roll at my waist… and I wonder why when I hit on some guy I found attractive, he ran away like I had a disease. Tauntings of grade school come to mind, the voices of all the boys and girls who told me I was ugly. The 33 year old Mars Girl still hears those voices and still partially believes them.

  38. MG: I’m not just talking about your comments on this topic, I am also responding to “anonymous” as well as the general discussion going on here.Although I will say that related to you, I am disappointed that the anger toward men who hold traditional values isn’t the same as the anger toward women who do the same, when we are all just people who live and were raised in the same culture.If you go into a bar and the men look at the anorexic with fake boobs, can you really claim that that is an example of men oppressing women?? I’m not even sure it qualifies as “pressure.” That is just men showing interest in a woman, and as far as you know, they may be doing the same when you enter or maybe they are doing it because she looks weird, not because she looks good. They have a right to look whomever they want to like. You have the right to respond to that however you wish.Why do you care? If those men aren’t interested in you, then find some who are. Those men are probably not worth dating anyway–not because they are bade, but because they seem to have different interests, so why do you worry about their opinion?Wome are the ones who OBSESSIVELY monitor the food intake of themselves and other women. Men do comment on womens’ weight but it is much less and much more forgiving of a few pounds than the pressure women put on themselves.So who oppresses women more? I don’t know. I said women do it more in an earlier post, but then corrected that because it is really hard to say exactly. The point is that I bring these examples up to show that it is a problem for <>everyone.<>

  39. oops mispelling, I meant to write:Those men are probably not worth dating anyway–not because they are <>bad<>, but because they seem to have different interests

  40. Well, I cant explain the anger (jealousy?) I feel when I’m sitting with men anywhere–even in my cycling club–who go crazy over girls with perfect bodies… and how they make such a big deal about it. I’m definitely more forgiving of the men I date. I don’t expect them to have perfect pecks and scalpted muscles. But constantly I’m hearing these remarks from men about how “great a woman looks” and the “no woman of her age looks like that!” as they drool. It makes me hate even the guys I normally get along with when we’re just being ourselves. I cant stand drooling, fawning, gawking at women. When men do that, I turn it inward on myself… I want to be attractive and interesting too. I have the interesting part down maybe. Some say I’m fun to be around. I’ll give them that. But part of me wants to be seen as attractive too.As for women, I could care less what they think about my body and looks. Maybe other women feel pressured, but I dont. I’m not trying to impress other women so if they deem me fat (and they probably do because you’re right htat women are overcritical), I dont feel as cut as I do when a guy I think is good looking talks to me like a buddy and points out how hot a girl 30 lbs lighter than me is…Oh well. I guess I’m a putz. Ultimately, I’d rather a guy be attracted to me for who I am, so maybe it’s good that I’m not a first looker. I’m the kind of girl you find more attractive as you get to know me, I guess. Or maybe not after you read my blog…

  41. We all want to be found attractive. It’s not about discrimination, it’s just a basic human desire.But sometimes the blessings can come in strange disguises. The truth is that many of the so called “lookers” don’t have a good experience with it. Women get groped everywhere they go. They often have unsatisfying relationships as they people they are with are drawn to them for their superficial traits, and being hot themselves they have plenty of easy opportunities. It is not a dream to be that way. The people I’m primarily attracted to aren’t these blond bombshells, I actually prefer a different look, so it is not difficult for me to veer that way.And it goes both ways. You’ve probably never felt how it is when a woman dismisses a man as if he’s not worth a second of her attention or desire. Women can be pretty harsh, too.

  42. As I have been following this thread a couple of things have struck me- in no particular order.The first is that we all grow up and live into beliefs or methods- some that we understand and others that we don’t. I don’t think there is a universal truth when it comes to being liberated. Your friend- the liberated one, comes with a mixed bag of stuff like we each do. Who are we to judge him for his bag. He has a preference, which I don’t think is harmful. So, why care? If it was harmful, I would have a different take. The other thing is that life has a funny way of changing things on us. One day he recognizes in him the desire to make more money than his mate, the next he wants to go to grad school and it is in the best interest of the family for him to do home duty while his mate holds down the financial fort. Values change, as people change.I have witnessed this in you through this blog system as it relates to children. One day you have sworn off children, the next week you entertain the thought. All good, who am I to judge.But, the real reason I decided to write is that I recognized in me a displeasure with anything that tends to label people. Labels that have been used here include: feminists, liberated men, at other times it is talking about women in general or men in general. I have a genuine discomfort for it. Having said that, I recognize that this discussion is an attempt to understand behaviors between the sexes and in society at large. We are all playing roles here whether we like it or not. We are all trying to figure out “how to be”. How to be feminine without being a pushover, how to be manly without being discourteous, how to be liberated and enlightened without losing tradition and grace. I think we all need to try to understand each other’s perspective. Without that we run the risk of becoming intolerant.

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