Ed.: 101617 – Words: 2536 – Audio: N/A
(…and no, I’m not talking about the Mel & Helen movie)
I follow a blog called Drifting Through, by Gretchen Kelly (yes, I’m not totally political) and a recent post popped up in my email titled, Dear Men, This Is Why We’re Tired. Here’s the link and I encourage everyone to give it a good read. HERE.
Now.. reading her post inspired me to reply, in kind, through my own post.. for two reasons. While I wished to do a reply directly on her blog, well, it was likely going to be a long one.. and, two, the tenor of her quasi-rant (but written well) suggested to me that a male reply to what she wrote was not going to be overly welcome anyway, much less appreciated, even if my only reply was to allow myself to lay prostrate on the ground in front of her for her to begin flogging me for daring to be born a male. I certainly had no objection to what she wrote, and I realize that the things in her post were not necessarily debatable, should I object to anything, which I did not. But there are perspectives, the typical “there are both sides to any story”, although I am not looking to patronize or condescend or look for some gendered excuse for the idiocy and abuse of my gender brethren. It’s not anything about, “Oh yeah? You have no idea the embarrassment I go through having to stand in the grocery line with a box of tampons you asked me to bring home.” We are way past lamenting about stereotypes here.
Using her post as a kind of introduction to the current events regarding Weinstein, Cosby, et al, let’s continue the discussion a bit. I will itemize my points for better reference. These are NOT in any order of importance.
Gretchen very likely echoes the feelings of many women about being tired of all the victimizing and objectification of women by men across society. I can certainly understand that. In a similar vein I made a post a while back regarding how tired I have become being the one race and gender that is not qualified or credible to have an opinion about nearly everything in society. In fact, I am a W.A.S.P… male, not by personal choice, mind you. Consider this…
- I am not a black American, hence I have no idea about how they feel in their struggles for racial equality.
- I am not a Native American… yada, yada, same reason. In fact, my race was responsible for evicting them from their traditional lands and I should carry the guilt.
- I am not a Hispanic to fully comprehend the immigration issues.
- I am not gay, lesbian, or bi to fully understand their feelings…
- I still have my original equipment of the manufacturer (OEM human parts) and hence I am unable to fully understand those humans who have feelings to change their genders under the knife…
- My life is not dominated by religion so I am unable to fully understand evangelical conservatives…
- I was raised a Lutheran, hence I will never understand being Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, et al.
- I am of white and of European ancestry so I am apparently a receiver of “white entitlement” and as such I can’t identify with any social struggle, and in fact, I should have social guilt.
- I am the same racial and ethnic cross-section of the Founding Fathers, who founded this country for white people only… and for that I should carry the guilt of the white Founding Fathers declaring independence for self-serving means.
- I am of the same racial and ethnic cross-section as were the slave owners in this country. Hence, I should have guilt for slavery in America.
- I am of the gender that victimizes and/or objectifies women… since time began (or Adam & Eve). I should feel guilt for that.
- Because I am not a female I have nothing to say about abortion…
- ..and of course, the undeniable, because I am not female I will never know what it’s like to give birth. Therefore anything I experience in life will never compare or exceed that experience.
So when it comes to having identity issues you’ll have to pardon me for apparently being responsible for all the social ills… and unable to discuss any of them given my social isolation. But please, flog away.
All the “poor me’s” and “being tired of” comparisons aside, the point is that socially we prefer only to listen to those that echo our own personal suffering because they themselves have been there. Anyone “outside’ the problem have nothing to say in the matter. If because of the (admittedly many) males who look at women as sexual objects who have to be dominated in some way, and thusly to be abused, women feel the need to bring forth their outrage, I am all for it. 100 percent. Now.. how do we, as a society, “fix” this? I think women seem to assume this is simply a “maturity” thing they often toss man’s way as if it were an “Oh, grow up!” light switch or something. I absolutely positively abhor the sexual victimization of women (any contact unconsentual) and verbal denigration. But since I am not a woman, am I supposed to be feeling gender guilt for something?
It’s being suggested that even though I may be a “safe” male, it does not mean I am an active male in chastising my own gender for remarks, jokes, derogatory stereotypical references done in private, locker room environments; that somehow my complacency or “acceptance” of this behavior contributes to other males of weaker constitution going out and victimizing women. Is this based on some level of scientific research? Is there some results suggesting that men telling “rape jokes” back and forth leads to wholesale male desires to go rape someone? (I am reminded of the general vindictive cheers by women when they hear Lorena Bobbit’s story).
Here’s some points I have that contribute to the overall non-romantic male-female relationships and how to approach resolving issues of female abuse.
- I’m an educated behavioralist as well as a pragmatic problem solver in my management career, hence my approach to topics is many times based on a humanist approach; first acknowledging the inherent science regarding human nature… nature vs. nurture… then going from there to suggest interactive mechanisms to allow both genders to reach goals together. It’s not about trying to cast guilt for nature’s diversions or deviations. Women absolutely despise any suggestion that our genderized instincts are at play… any suggestion that there’s a science behind gender differences. Women prefer to assign male “urges” and behaviors across the board as being simply a matter of choice; “nature” being just an excuse. In reality this isn’t about behavior modification as a matter of choice.. as if it were a light switch. This is the same for female behavior as well.
- Along with the science of human instinctual behavior there are also physical differences.. and not just with the obvious breasts-and-genital differences either. Nature has elected to evolve human females as being physically inferior to the male physique; a very rare combination in the animal species on this planet. In most lower species the female is more than physically capable in defending the unwanted advances of males. Why not humans? Why is it that the human species is rare in having any concept of unconsentual sex.. or rape? I know.. this is way too scientific for females since it’s far easier to assign males as being dominated by their penis for far more selfish gratification reasons. In humans behavior is constantly dictated by instinct as well as cognitive life experiences. This is NOT an excuse for piss poor behavior. Also, this is NOT a new social problem just associated with 21st century man somehow running amok because of rape jokes in locker rooms. Women have been “treated” like this since the beginning of time. This is not a 21st century problem.
- Are some females selective? This is going to be a risky suggestion and some may suggest my apparent insensitivity to even bring it up. BUT… I have observed this myself in “some” females through life. I will cite a couple “average” examples.
- 1. My ex was a nurse and she would sometimes come home after her shift and tell her stories of the day. Many times that included the latest old guy patient on the floor who tried to flirt or actually grope the nurses. In all cases the nurses just dismissed these “violations” to either patient senility or simply a “cute old guy, not meaning any harm”. When I questioned my ex on similar behavior being done by a younger patient, like 40’s or 50’s, she said they would call the head nurse to administer some harsh language. Even younger guys… You see, old patients are “cute”, younger patients were “perverts” when exhibiting the same behavior. In any case, I never heard of some long term trauma by the female staff for having been groped. I am not talking about a physical assaults, which also did occur.
- 2. My GF, also in her 60’s, has carried with her all her life her teenage infatuation with Paul McCartney. So this has led to the occasional late night bantering, “If he were to be at our front door right now..” theoretical scenarios. Now, my GF has been blessed with above average looks and has had a lifetime (even into her 60’s) of having to deal with guys of various ilk’s and proclivities with amorous intentions. One of her jobs she had in her 20’s was with some insurance broker who couldn’t keep his hands off of her. Not that she was ever groped, but the casual touching got a bit much, coupled with the flirting, and she ended up quitting that job because of it. It didn’t change her life.. she was not traumatized.. and she dealt with the problem in her own way.. by quitting and moving on. So I asked her once, if Paul had done that to you would you have rebuffed his advances and quit? She said, “Hell no!” My point here is that what seems to determine the interpretation of improper behavior from a male vs. Okay behavior is how “hot” the male looks. By the way, even today if Paul showed up at our front door she would jump his bones.. and caring not one iota what I think (nor him apparently either). Not to minimize or excuse or to cast dark on the real life traumas many women face, I can’t help but wonder how many of Weinstein’s victims (let’s take the rape accusations out of this scenario and just consider his lecherous groping and exposing himself) would have complained if it were the likes of a Redford, Cruise, Connery, McConaughey, or any of the newer younger male Hollywood hunks? Again.. don’t get me wrong here.. I am NOT minimizing female victimization by making male excuses. I am pointing out that just advocating men “behave themselves” will not even get close toward fixing the issue at hand… and that over a million years of conditioning and evolution both genders have inbred behaviors (just the fact I have to nearly qualify each sentence I write in here with acknowledging female suffering at the hands of men, pretty much says it all).
As a bit of a story postscript that is true and factual….
My current GF and I met when she was an office manager and I was a supervisor at a funeral home. Prior to our getting more serious she was learning the ropes of the new proprietary data entry system. One day the manager/director came into the office to mention a computer entry error my GF had made. As he pointed out the error on her computer screen he quite casually and without nasty intent did one of those smacks on the top of her head with the few papers he had in his hand. It was a small office and we all bantered a lot so there was a measure of familiarity beyond a formal office setting. But nonetheless, she turned him in.. and I readily was a witness. This guy was not performing well at all generally, and was not well-liked so the incident made for the final “nail-in-his-coffin” kinda thing (professional pun very much intended) and he was terminated. I leave it up to the reader to evaluate this event.
Now, I am not one bit trying to minimize the current outrage by women victimized by men (I just said that). What I am saying is that if we need to make some social changes to, 1. Give women a safer employment environment free of predatory males, 2. Enact laws if necessary, 3. Raise a social awareness of female sensitivities and sexual diversity (ever wonder why we teach sex education but not how to understand the impulses? It’s rather like, here’s how you use a gun and here’s the bullets… but you decide when to use it and for what reasons.). Our human diversity includes many variants. We are only now acknowledging as a society the diversity in sexual preferences.. gay, bi, whatever. This also extends to those males (and females) who seem unable to control their sexual impulses to the point where they abuse females.
Here’s another thought…
…I am in my 60’s.. if I see a strikingly beautiful 20, 30 year old, why am I not allowed to convey my perception of her without any sexual intention at all (‘You are a very beautiful young woman.”) without fear of her feeling grossed out that she managed to “attract” an old guy, obviously a sex pervert simply because of the age disparity.. to which now she will judge me that way forever? Mentally I might be thinking, “If only I were 40 years younger..”, but I surely understand my age and my social place in life (which is a bit idiotic in itself.. another post maybe) to not wish to offend her. It was meant as a compliment. Yet if I were 40 years younger she very likely would have enjoyed my compliment and not judged me as some predatory pervert. (and, no, I have never actually said this to any woman without the mental filter of “beware.. you are an old man saying this”).
What I am saying, folks, is that this current outrage from women for being sexually abused from men of power (or not) is not a simple problem to solve as it goes straight to nearly a million years of evolved human interaction. But it does not mean we don’t TRY to “fix” it somehow. But the “fix” solution is not going spawn from only the male side simply “having to behave themselves”.
Now, my real question is…. why did so many women vote for an abuser and misogynist as president?