The battle of the sexes is raging furiously these days. Feminism is viewed by many as a four letter word and men are looked down on like a scourge on the earth. Where is the middle ground? You can’t turn on the TV on any given day, or boot up the computer without hearing or reading stories about someone being objectified, degraded, or bullied. Debate upon debate occurs every day between women who feel they are being held down by sexist men, and men who are so fed up with being blamed for things that they lash out against women. I wish it would stop. As I’ve said before, can’t we all just get along?!
Now I realize that my experience as a heterosexual white girl from a mostly traditional family with no history of having been abused is going to color my view of this subject, but I find myself very much in the middle of this debate. I love men. There, I said it. Send in the firing squad to set me straight. I can’t help it. I just really enjoy being around men. I like that they see the world differently than women. I miss the days when chivalry was the norm. Women have beaten it out of men so much that things like holding a car door open are almost unheard of. We have told men over and over that we can do things for ourselves that now they treat us with less respect and then we hold that over them. When our daughters are grown and have boyfriends, we will complain that guys no longer do nice, respectful things for them, but it’s because they were raised with a whole different mindset.
I’m not saying that I’m not capable of doing things for myself, but sometimes it’s nice to have a man hold a door open for you or give you his coat when you’re cold. It’s nice to have a guy around to do things like fix your car, or computer, or kill bugs or take out the trash or build stuff. These are things they are generally very good at. I realize that I’m completely stereotyping here so bear with me. In my opinion, the best thing about men is their masculinity; their instinct to protect their families. Feminists apparently find it wrong for men to act as their nature would have them behave. Yes, they like boobs (generally speaking), they like to fight, they like to watch and play sports. Suddenly though, that’s not ok. They should be doing housework because it is sexist to make the woman do it all. They should not look at women as sexual objects even though they have been doing that since the very beginning of time.
I think it is a futile crusade to get men to stop acting like their DNA has programmed them to act since the dawn of humanity. Why can’t feminists stop trying? I believe we should embrace men for what makes them men and stop trying to turn them into women. It’s not a bad thing that women are women and men are men. That’s just how it is. We don’t need to fight against nature and turn women into men and men into women. Women can be many things on a spectrum and so can men. It’s just easier to let men be men without degrading them for it. Women don’t want to get degraded but we degrade men constantly. We infantilize our husbands constantly and make them sound like poor, lost buffoons that can’t handle any tasks without our explicit instructions. We have definitely come a long way from the times when women were treated like this. We sure turned it around. But the pendulum swung a little too far over and now we are still not being fair. Men are being as disrespected now as women were in the 50’s. (or any other decade you’d like to use.)
Having said all that, I can tell you that I do consider myself to be a feminist. Even though I stay home with my kids, do most of the housework (not very well I might add) and all the cooking I believe that women should be treated with respect. I believe that my daughters should know that they can do whatever they want to do with their lives. They can play with toys that aren’t pink. They can listen to punk rock and not have posters of boy bands on their walls. They can become scientists, doctors, or anything else they want to be. Prima ballerina? Fine. Sanitation department worker? Ok, if that’s what she wants. Kick ass athlete? Of course! I do not ever want my daughters to feel that they are any man’s property, or that she can’t do something she wants to do because “girls don’t do that”. However, I also don’t want her to be harassed if she doesn’t want to freeze her eggs and start her family in her 40’s. Being a feminist does not mean that all women have to wear ugly clothes so as not to attract attention from evil men, work throughout their child bearing years and berate other women for their choices. I believe that the point of feminism is to allow women to have choices that weren’t always available to them. Things like voting, working for the same pay, and not being harassed for their choice of clothes and blamed for their own rapes.
I know there are some horrible men in this world who are disgusting, misogynistic abusers who do not deserve to be around the rest of humanity, but there are also some pretty abusive feminists out there who make it seem like all men are horrible, vile beings, when I do not think that is the case at all. I would like to think that if I get a flat tire and some man stops to help me that he won’t kill me and make a skin suit out of me. Maybe that’s just me being naive but I like to think that the majority of men are good. And a lot of the ones who aren’t good, have spent a good chunk of their lives being berated for being a man. How can they ever feel good and confident in themselves when society constantly tells them how horrible they are? How could they not want to lash out?
There are so many programs now to lift girls up and make sure that they have equal opportunities and they succeed in areas such as math and science, but as soon as those programs come into being, they make it unequal for the boys. They get left behind and forgotten about because so much attention is placed on the girls. Why can’t things just be truly equal? I don’t understand where the disconnect is. I feel like we’ve come so far as a human race, but we still can’t figure out how to not treat some people differently than others. Ok, yes there are distinct differences between the sexes, but why can’t we just embrace those difference and celebrate them instead of calling attention to them and fighting about them?
I’m pretty sure I’m coming off like some little stepford wife who has no idea about how the world really works. Maybe I am, but I love the benefits that both men and women have brought to my life and our society and I just wish that men didn’t have to constantly be bashed and put down in order for women to shine. It’s the same situation as when faced with a bully. They put others down to make themselves feel good. I don’t think we as feminists need to do that. Come on ladies, we’re awesome as it is, no matter how you slice it, so can’t we just let the guys be guys and love them for it? I think we’re better than acting like schoolyard bullies.