Dr. Helen has another letter from another beat-down man. Bottom line: Life is not fair. Women get the breaks. Men are diminished. Women don't value men. Dr. Helen concludes:
Finally, you do not have to prove your “worth” to anyone. You mentioned that you are a good husband, worker, and friend. That is indeed, good enough. You are not the catalyst for all of the evil stereotypes that some misinformed people wish to project onto the male gender. Disavow yourself of that, for shouldering that burden would make anyone tired. Live your life in a way that brings you satisfaction and let the naysayers wallow in their inflexible negativity.
Meanwhile, Cassy Fiano has a rejoinder to a stupid article explaining to men how to know if women are into them or not. Let me just add here, that if you're looking for pupils dilating or the head tilt for reinforcement that you're on the right track, you might be blogging too much.
Moral of the story? Men and women still bug the shit out of each other. They have a tough time figuring out relationships. And the current social climate complicates what has always been a crazy-making dance. Like I've blabbed before, I think that both genders face a situation where they must gender-neutralize to survive.
What is interesting about all this, is that the common differences between men and women, which used to be understood are now discounted. The differences still exist. Men still want to be respected. Women still want to be loved. Relationships are a mystery; indeed, the greatest mystery. And yet, relationships are approached like they are body signals or social science projects.
The advancement of women in the work world should not have to come at the expense at the loss of self for the man. That women or men frame it in this zero-sum way is defeating and self-defeating. If a man defined his worth by a paycheck, then, he's bound to be intimidated if his wife's paycheck is bigger. Likewise, if a woman believes a modern man is deficient because he can't breastfeed, she's bound to be disappointed.
Some things have changed and needed to change and they were good changes and everyone needs to get used to them, unless we all submit to Sharia law, in which case we'll all be someone's bitch. Until that time, women are on an equal footing with men, and that's great. A lot of resources were ignored when women had one place--in the home.
Some things haven't changed. For example, women conceive and carry and birth and can feed a baby. A man can't. A woman is wired differently. This lesson was difficult for me to embrace even though it was physically obvious. While I could hold my own and take care of things under normal circumstances, as a pregnant woman, my body was fragile. This was a bitter pill that I almost, indeed, the first pregnancy did, choke on.
In addition, women nurse babies. It's not just the milk. It's the closeness. It's the relationship. It's how the woman's body is made. It's how the baby survives best (see here and here).
Now, I know a woman doesn't have to do the mommy things these days. And I also get irritated with the Mom Nazis who try to find meaning and value in life exclusively through mother nature--namely their own pet peeves positioned as righteous wisdom. I can't help but thinking that the La Leche League and Eco Moms would have been the same ladies at the temperance meetings of yore.
But this proves my point, as much as society has changed, it's remained the same. Men and women still think about things, namely relationships, but other things as well, differently. Can we just accept this fact? Do women have to make snarky comments about men, deriding them, essentially, to promote themselves? Do men have to reduce women to porn parts or feeling less than because a woman has become more?
Women and men need one another. It would be nice for the weapons to be put away.