“Dad, it’s just science. Girls are superior to boys IN EVERY WAY. Everybody knows that.”
My (then) 9-year-old son was adamant about this.
I tried to tell him gender doesn’t matter. I tried to tell him that everyone was different …special …unique. But it was falling on deaf ears. And I realized my son is being raised in the world of “girl power,” beta males and Homer Simpson dads. He’s never seen a father or husband be right or smart or clever in ANY TV commercial in his life. The man is always the foil. He doesn’t know he’s supposed to be a hero. Because the male hero archetype is being systematically removed from the culture. Nobody needs a man to complete, help, heal, fix or rescue them. We get it. And so, males are currently a bit adrift.
Men are in the process – literally as we speak – of going from Viking marauders to domesticated care-givers, complete with soft hands, gentle smiles and baby front packs. And it’s actually wreaking havoc on our testosterone levels. There is science that backs this up.
I always wanted to elevate myself beyond my gender. I refuse to allow my wife to care for me in any way when I get sick. I’ve driven myself to the ER several times with kidney stones. I will not be the “man/baby” with the cold. I wash and fold my own clothes. I vacuum. I change diapers. And I never require sex. I’ve chosen booze to take its place …but I digress.
This has nothing to do with my wife or our relationship. This started years before I met her. I never wanted to be “that guy” …the stereotype …the simpleton, easy to bash. I was raised during the “me” generation, and Hellen Reddy let my 7-year-old self know exactly how it was going to be. I was sent the signal from my youth, “YOU are the problem, young man.” And so I guess I’ve spent my life trying to not be the problem.
Enter a 70-year-old alpha male, child/billionaire/president, driving women insane and into the streets. I understand the marches I suppose. But I sure wish someone had marched with a sign decrying all the Muslim nations that actually DO abuse women …again, I digress.
The truth is, here are a few points where a lot of men (okay – just me) are coming from regarding women and marches and such:
1. We hear you the first time.
This march that attracted millions of women, was pretty much a lot of women telling us …
* “We refuse to allow mysogonist billionaires to get away with disrespecting women!” Got it. Trump bad. 50 Shades of Grey, good. K …
* “You can’t just grab us by the privates.” Got it. We’ll pass the message on to the Donald. In exchange, could ya’ll tell Madonna that threatening to blow up the White House is kind of a thing?
* “We are NOT giving up the right to terminate our potential offspring.” Got it. Even if I can see a foot print in your belly …you get to get rid of it. Check. More on that later …
EVERY single man I know, knew all of this already. But thanks for reminding us …again. Because we love that. Especially when you scream it at us.
*** As an aside …were the vagina costumes on Pinterest or something? How did that many people know how to find/make one? Anyway …moving on …
2. We’re not trying to make more money than you.
This 78 cents on the dollar thing is a good sound byte figure. But it’s misleading. There is literally no place in America where someone can systematically hire women at lower rates than men …BECAUSE they’re women. At least not legally. This has been against the law for over 40 years. You can only make something a law so many times. There is no “man pay chart” and “woman pay chart” at any company, anywhere. We all know this, right?
But there ARE market forces in play. Take movies for instance: All actors don’t get paid the same thing because of the market. And a lot of that market is, ironically, driven by …women. More women will go see a Brad Pitt movie than they will a …oh …I don’t know …Ashley Judd movie. Film people know this and offer Ms Judd the amount they can project based on her past box office performances. They’ll do the same with Brad. And no matter how many laws are on the books, those two numbers will never be equal. The market simply won’t allow them to be.
Incidentally, this is the same reason I don’t earn as much money as Harry Connick Jr. And we both have pianos and penises …I’m assuming.
When you factor the dozens of variables into the equation, the pay discrepancy between men and women is actually less than a nickel per dollar.
3. You (ladies) body shame each other. We just like your bodies.
Marilyn Monroe was a size 14. And I don’t care. Men don’t sit around and talk about who is a size what. Women are the ones who focus on all that stuff. We don’t really even know the difference between a size 6 and a size 10 …or a size 18. We think you’re hot just like you are. We’ll take you being nice to us over flat abs any day.
4. Sometimes we NEED to fix it.
We know you always say you don’t want it fixed. You just want us to listen. But trust me on this …fixing it is WAY easier than listening. And we break so much stuff, we should fix some things, sometimes. At least let us THINK we’re fixing it on occasion. We need to feel useful.
5. Motherhood and fatherhood are viewed very differently.
I understand the part of the recent march that focussed on reproductive rights. As much as I think abortion is an abomination, I am on record as not wanting to imprison women who have one (as long as I don’t have to pay for it …I think that’s fair). But think of this …
When you demand the right to “choose,” what is that “choice” you’re asking for, exactly? You’re demanding the right to choose MOTHERHOOD or not. That’s pretty much the core of it. You want the right to say, “I’m not ready for this and so I am terminating it.” Okay …fine.
But if a man decides HE doesn’t want to be a father …he’s labeled a “deadbeat dad.” I dare say if a million men marched in the streets to demand their right to NOT be fathers, we would call them cowards and pigs and dismiss them as horrible human beings. As someone who CHOSE to be a father, I certainly would.
But maybe I should re-think my view of deadbeat dads if we all get to decide, POST PREGNANCY, if we actually want that responsibility or not. In the spirit of true equality, why does a man have to be a dad if he doesn’t want to be, if a woman doesn’t have to be a mom if she doesn’t want to be? Just a thought …
Finally, you should know ladies, that most of us men ARE trying to be good fathers and good husbands and good citizens toward you. We’re pretty sure we’re on our way to just being sperm donors and strong backs in your future society (I’m already out on both counts).
But we’re not trying to subjugate you. We don’t want you to shut up and sit down (well …at least not sit down). We don’t think of you as less than us. To the contrary, most conversations I have with my bros are about how much smarter women are than us. We know you’re not servants. We don’t want to rape anybody (at least the large majority of us doesn’t).
Just like my 10-year-old son, we think of you as superior to us in almost every way. And we’re actually cool with that.
We still just don’t quite understand you. That’s probably because we’re not all that smart in the first place. So, grant us a little grace.
The only definite thing we’ve figured out so far is …we’re pretty sure you’re all crazy.
PS – that last line was a joke. PLEASE don’t send pages and pages of emails. I’m winking and laughing. Laugh along with me! Seriously …only send a paragraph at the most. I just can’t read it all. I know every detail is important but …cut me a break. I have chores to do! Seriously …