Sometimes the stuff I see online makes me laugh. Sometimes it makes me, shall we say...a little miffed. Sometimes it saddens me, and sometimes it makes me think that I am less and less suited to the world I find surrounding me. Today I read one such piece. I appreciate that the writer put a lot of thought into it, and I cannot do anything except believe that he's being honest about his feelings and his perspectives. I respect his position, but I disagree, and I disagree with something of a heavy heart.
In preparing to write this short post, I looked at the website (which is very popular), and my spirits drooped even lower. In the interests of fairness, the website can be found here:
It's a catchy name for a site, and I'm ever so slightly envious of it. However I'm aware that in saying the following, I may be a) being slightly unfair because I haven't read everything the guy has ever written, and b) be treading upon hallowed ground for some people. But, it's a big world and perhaps there's room for one more opinion, even if it doesn't sit well with some/most/the overwhelming majority of the people.
There's no denying that there has, for centuries - and probably millenia - been inequality between the genders. Such inequality has been unfair, unjust and indefensible. Men have held overt power over women for no other reason - and I'm presuming here that it began in pre-history and was cemented by the major organized religions of the world) - than we are, typically, physically larger and stronger. It's a very un-evolved situation and we should know better. In most modern nation states, where education is readily available, we do know better, but the inequality still exists. There is still a long way to go before we reach a place in modern society where the sexes are regarded as equal partners and have equal status in all things. I'm a bit of a fatalist and suspect that the perfect balance may never be struck because as a species we tend to veer away from perfection, especially when it lies within reach.
Having said all that, I despise anything that I perceive to be unfair, and the tone of the post I'm referring to (which on the blog is the one about not washing the dishes) - and unfortunately, much of the other stuff that I've seen, seems to wander a little too far into the general area of "All men are idiots/goofs/chauvinists/unthinking/insensitive/assholes/idiots(twice for good measure)" which is so beloved of media sites these days - social or otherwise. I can theorize about why this fellow (who I'm sure is a perfectly decent, intelligent man) takes the viewpoint that he does, but since I'll probably be wrong, I'll stick to my own feelings on the matter.
For my money (not that I've paid any), there's rather too much generalization in the world about 'men'. It's the kind of generalization which, if it were used towards women, would be rightly condemned. However, recently there seems to have been a growth in the acceptability of men-bashing, and of throwing us all into the same basket.
It doesn't matter who the target is: prejudice (the holding of a negative belief or opinion based upon little or no evidence) is simply wrong. Prejudice is most often manifested verbally in opinions, and progresses to discrimination when we act upon those prejudices to treat people differently based upon them. It's pretty simple stuff. The easiest, laziest way to display prejudice is by way of using generalizations - in this case, the use of the word 'men' to describe what (presumably, in the author's opinion) we all do, and the characteristics that we all have. While I don't agree with some of the author's statements, I don't have a problem with him having them. I do have difficulty, however, with his tendency to describe us all in his generalizing statements. Being a man does not make him - or I - an expert on men; all it gives us is a male perspective.
Yes: there are insensitive, foolish, chauvinistic (and all the other bad kinds) of men out there. The truth is that there are also wonderfully sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent and caring men out there - of course there are. The very same could be said about women. That, however, is not the balance of the posts that I've read, and I find that sad, disappointing and more than a little troubling, especially since the website in question seems to be so well followed. As a man, I'm being included in the prevailing generalizations, and that is fundamentally unfair, and is not truth.
I don't believe in a battle of the sexes, but it seems that lot of people may be immersed in the idea that it is very real, and that the opposite sex - all of them - are the enemy. It's a dangerous, destructive idea. The more I think about it, the sadder I get.