Generally speaking, the present generation of males is supposedly open, generous of spirit, sensitive and gender-blind. Right? Maybe not.
I suspect there is enough awareness to spout the correct verbiage in public that is very PC but there is a definite harboring of old, traditional concepts about women. I would have to say that there are cave men hiding deep inside the sophisticated male brain that frequently sees the world instantaneously through electronics, understands every hi-tech gadget, accepts challenges, and is non-racist. Why are so many men, liberal and conservative so unwilling to look at women as humans with needs as strong as theirs and brains that function on a par with the male population?
Maybe they are reluctant to give up the good, old-fashioned self-serving mores of women doing the dirty work since time began. If one feigns ignorance at where the cereal is kept, someone will jump up and get it – usually a woman. Even a bit of chiding might be welcomed for not remembering where the food pantry is hiding. After all, it’s a female secret.
It’s odd that a bachelor can be very self-sufficient in his own digs until he moves in with a woman and develops partial paralysis. But if he takes the big step of marriage he may very well become a domestic quadriplegic.
In a sea of subtle and not so subtle sexist undercurrents, let me point out just a few:
I was talking to a man who is in his early 40s. He’s single, heterosexual, handsome, intelligent, financially successful and has been around the dating scene a good deal. He is charming and funny. He brought up porno in a casual way because it fit into the conversation. I told him how dreadful I thought it was because it was abusive and brutal to women with undertones rape and sometimes the undertones have clearly moved to be in your face. Porno gives the impression that women loved having violent sex which is not true for most women. He gave me a shocked expression.
“Really?” he asked, mockingly. “What other kind of sex is there?”
A bit tongue in cheek to match his reaction but with sincerity, I proceeded to tell him there is erotica where there is a genuine good feeling between a couple, tenderness, gentle touching, and words of endearment. I said that most sex appeal comes through the mind. That is the most sensual part of the body. When there is open communication, caring, fun-loving teasing and trust – eroticism blossoms naturally.
The man put his chin on his chest and faked snoring. Yes, I know he was kidding, and maybe even defensive, but it says so much. For one thing, there is a great deal of truth in his gesture of humorous, feigned boredom that suggests how he really feels about love and the needs of women. He might very well agree with me, but for the sake of appearing masculine he had to take the macho stance. This is certainly ingrained in our society. If he echoed my words in the locker room the guys would have been all over him about what a sissy he was.
This kind of sexism exists in all generations of men, especially older ones. I see a lot of creative writing and rarely does a man write well about women. They are often either non-existent in a story, one-dimensional, saints or sluts, and when given a significant occupation, those very same female characters are asked to get coffee and donuts.
Recently, I was in a situation where I had a difference of opinion with an older gentleman. His response, rather than challenging me with his slant on the topic, he simply said, “Your opinion is based on being a woman.”
I interpret this as an insult that means a woman’s opinion is more frothy and inconsequential than one coming from a man. Now I know this might sound like an isolated situation where a clueless man didn’t realize how demeaning his statement was, but I have run into this kind of female deprecation often.
For instance, I attended a gathering where we were discussing the danger of the massive deficit. I remarked that before we cut services to medical programs, the poor, and the elderly that perhaps we can reduce the horrific government waste that was estimated at approximately 350 billion dollars some years ago (probably much more now since little has been done to contain that figure nor do we know the full story of the deficit as some parts of the budget are secret). That huge figure takes in money that is misallocated, stolen or falls through the cracks and the cracks can be huge.
A man who is a professional turned to me with a sarcastic smile and said, “Dear, you don’t mean billions. You mean millions.”
No sir, I MEANT BILLIONS. His misguided sexism figured a woman doesn’t know the difference between millions and billions.
Would he have said the same thing in the same way to a man? Hardly. I imagine he would have said… “Hmmm. Interesting.”
In an online video that deals with Disney characters and how they influence children, entitled, Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films, by sanjaynewton, the Disney male heroes tend to project images of men who are
physically strong with good looks and a willingness to engage in violence. Women appear to be feminine in the traditional sense of conceding to a man’s strength.
Dominance is a theme and violence prevalent in the stories that most of us are familiar with from early childhood. Even when there are female heroes they usually defer to men or wind up as the object of a man. There is little in the way to say a woman who is unattached romantically is worthy. Women, for the most part, appear to be treated as sex objects who are there “… for pleasure or to please men. And heroes are usually handsome, buff males.” – as stated in the same analysis of Disney characters.
There is no question that these images are harmful to girls and difficult for boys who might be made to feel defective because they don’t measure up to how males are depicted. This may cause a large emotional breach from women. From my perspective I see this as a huge division that impacts later in life with adult relationships. What are we doing to the young generation of boys and girls? This perpetuation of artificial and antiquated male/female images has to stop – and soon.