Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Man Child

A post by Ken on Pattern Men

Growing up, I always wanted to have girls when I had kids. In a shallow way this was based in a desire to be worshipped by little toddling daughters who would wait at the window watching for me to get home from work every day. Deeper, however, it was rooted in the fact that if there's one thing I've tried to live by, it's to not add to the problems of the world. In my experience of the course of my life, men are a problem. The "good" ones seem to be good only by comparison. Men as a whole in this society are held to a remarkably low standard, and everyone thinks it's funny.

I don't.

Men have tempers they don't control, and when they're alpha enough, nothing is done about it. Men watch football instead of care for their families. Men teach their children to believe everything they believe, and get pissed off if they're different. Men treat women like shit, unless they're "good" men, who treat women like crap. Men don't have real friendships because of the intense homophobia that colors every action we have to take. That was a big one.

Hug a certain way, or people might think you're gay. Just sit and watch the game, don't talk about anything remotely emotional. Dancing is for pansies, even if it's with a woman. No reading-- that's what women and gay men do.

Maybe it's different in different regions of the U.S. This is the culture I grew up in. These were the men and the male culture I knew. After 18 or so I didn't really have or make male friends anymore. Not that I didn't meet guys who I had things in common with. It's just that they all depressed me.  I just couldn't take it. Any adult male friendship was all about events, or parties, or shared hobbies. There's nothing wrong with friendships building through those activities, but they never did. The conversation was so much banal bullshit, and either no one felt it but me, or like me no one really knew how to do things differently. And so many, many men are emotionally crippled because of it.

So, a while back, I found out Barbie and my second baby is going to be a boy. A male. A genuine son. I sat in the ultrasound room stunned after the technician told us. Barely noticed the rest of the show (he has a huge penis, btw, the little tyke).  I was convinced that, like our first baby, he would be a girl. Had names picked out and everything. Another wonderful, beautiful baby girl to drain my wallet and make me smile for the rest of my life. No dice.

Sitting there, I had to steel myself. Had to reconfigure my brain a bit. What the hell was I supposed to do with a boy? I'm not arrogant. I don't hold myself in such high esteem to think that I'll be able to succeed in raising a good man, where roughly 99% of the population seems to fail. Hell, I don't even know what a good man is. All I know is the men who surround me aren't.

In the end, though, I'm thoroughly excited to meet my new baby. And I'm ready. Ready to give it my best shot. I want to help build a strong man, full of knowing how to tell for himself what's right from wrong instead of having other people make up his mind for him.  If he's strong, I'll try to help him become a gentle giant-- the kind of kid who only ever hits somebody when they're picking on someone weaker. I don't know if he'll be okay, in the end. Society is a difficult adversary. But I do know that at some point most boys are okay. Most are good, and sensitive, and stronger in their hearts than in their chests. At some points it's society that pulls them one way or another. All I hope is that one day I'll look at my son with utter pride at how he's grown. How different he is from all the men who made me fear the thought of raising a son. How much he knows and thinks and loves and feels. All I can do is try, and maybe, just maybe, instead of just not adding to the problems of the world, I can actually help correct them.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Myth of Male Stupidity & How it creates Self-fulfilling Prophecies

A Post by Barbie on buying into stereotypes:

We’ve all been privy to a scenario like this one:
Girl (we’ll call her Fiona) is busy showering, dressing, primping in front of the bathroom mirror. It’s almost time for her date to pick her up. She swathes on the rose-colored lipstick, the final, perfect touch for her heavy date, She blots, checks the mirror one more time. Perfecion.
Phone rings. It’s…let’s call him “Zeke.”  He tells Fiona sorry, change of plans—he’s gonna go watch the football game with his buddy instead of thei dinner and movie.
As Fiona sits on the bed and cries softly, Fiona’s mom sidles up to her, puts her arm around her shoulder and squeezes tight. “Well, he’s just a man,” she says, “They’re stupid.”

Now, call me crazy, but if Ken were to do things like this (he rarely does), I would not be having that reaction.  Why? Because no matter what society has let them think or get away with under this weird blanket we females have given them as an excuse for the bad behavior, the truth is, men aren’t stupid. They shouldn’t be give free-reign to behave as though they are. 

Because ladies, the more we talk about our men as if they are apes who simply can’t fathom why they shouldn’t blow off dates with girlfriends rather than holding them responsible for having standards for how they treat and behave around and regarding women, the more we’re telling them that yes, they’re allowed to play stupid and blow us off. We're telling them not to respect our time or relationships with us.

Every time you let your significant other “off the hook” using a “boys will be boys” sort of reasoning instead of having a conversation with him about why he’s “just being a man” instead of being responsible to you , you’re encouraging him to think of himself as just that “stupid man” who will continue to blow-off plans, say unacceptable, hurtful things to you, etc. In fact, you’ve given him free-reign to do it.

Until you and your significant other open a dialogue about why certain behaviors aren’t acceptable within your relationship and you continue play his, “I’m just a stupid male” games, he’s going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.