Submitted by Delaine
So I’m becoming less judgmental and more open to men – and it has taken me a few years to get to here since divorcing (better late than never, right?). But after watching the movie, The Ugly Truth, and seeing how underneath Gerard’s Butler piggish character was a wounded man with a big heart, the more sympathetic AND curious I’ve become about what makes men the way they are.
Now let me make this clear: under no circumstances do I think men acting like pigs and jerks towards women is excusable. Men are ultimately responsible for their own behaviour and choices no matter what, as are women. That being said, women slicing all men to pieces and making huge stereotypes is not the way to go either. For that unfairly lumps Good Men in with the Jerks AND doesn’t permit us to see through the ‘facade’ of Jerks. The main objective here is to respectfully ‘get along’, isn’t it?
Recently, I’ve begun asking men why THEY think men act like pigs and players towards women. I may just be skimming the surface, so please enlighten me if need be; but here’s what I’ve gotten back:
1) Their behaviour is usually a coping/self-defence mechanism. They’ve been hurt badly by a woman (or more) and instead of processing that hurt in a healthy way, they choose to treat women like ‘sexual objects.’
Now, a part of me immediately rolls my eyes when I hear this. I think, “Oh, get over it,” and “And c’mon, you don’t think us women have been hurt too?” But this leads to point #2.
2) Men’s ability to ‘process’ and express their feelings is largely hindered by society’s definition of what it means to be a man. Growing up, men are STILL learning to shove their feelings inside. This is further exacerbated by the relationships many men have with their fathers – the old school take on what it means to be a man is still being passed on.
Again, a part of me is still rolling my eyes when I hear this. After all, us women face immense social and family challenges around who we’re suppose to be too, so why should we have sympathy for you? But again, I’m trying to open a door of understanding here – this isn’t a competition to see who has it worse. I’m simply trying to understand…
3) Men are confused as all hell about what women want and even NEED from them. In many ways, women seem to be doing it all. Men don’t know where their place is. It’s not that men want to STOP women from their progress in so much as they don’t know where their role begins and ends as a result. When it comes right down to it, men want to feel like men, but they don’t know what that means anymore. Similarly, they want to make women feel like women and they don’t know what that means either.
To this, I respond that I understand the ‘confusion.’ I, too, am confused about what I feel my roles as a woman are. I feel intense pressure to ‘do it all’, which leaves me unsure of what a yin/yang partnership should look/feel like. Thus I can surmise that this situation is just as confusing and scary on the male side too.
A part of me thinks we’re going through an important and much-needed, mass social upheaval – all hell is breaking loose so that eventually we all learn to value one another for who we are verses limiting criteria such as gender, skin color, religion, or what have you. Maybe, collectively, some massive social message is in the throes of being written – it’s just not legible yet…
In the meantime, as stereotypes and boundaries continue to be pushed and broken down, I think it’s important we’re aware of when we’re erecting new walls that hurt, judge, and degrade members of the opposite sex. I know that on some levels, I’ve been guilty of this too; I’ve punished innocent men for the emotional crimes committed against me by others.
But underneath it all, I really do love the male species. There are many things about men that I admire and want and even need. Otherwise, well… I wouldn’t be out there dating, would I?
So guys, ladies: what do YOU think? Is there way more to the male wound that I’ve described here or are these ‘explanations’ nothing more than excuses? Please comment, share, enlighten me, please!
Delaine – www.iamdivorcednotdead.com