I recently followed a topic on a Facebook thread. The original poster, a woman, had complained about the unsolicited photos of men’s genitalia that she received on online dating sites (duh!), and predictably, the entire discussion incited a gender war. A few men jumped into the fray to remind the female combatants that there were men who actually did behave appropriately, and some women were all over that #NotAllMen defense like white on rice, and it was just so ugly, people.
I’m so tired of these pointless, ridiculous, counterproductive gender wars. Just plumb tuckered. I don’t care if it makes me a lousy feminist. I’m burning my draft card. Really.
Look, I understand that women have had some crap experiences with yabbos who view them as mindless, emotionless orifices. Just like I am also certain that men have their own issues with women, those involving money, being expected to “provide”. It’s hard not to stereotype when the grains of truth are enough to fill a silo. Male privilege and female privilege do exist; they are simply and typically executed in different but equally nefarious, usurious, and deceitful ways, and I am sorry that happens. Really.
Look, I like men. I like women. I like people. I think that we’re mostly good; we have indeed summoned up our deep altruism. If this weren’t true, being thought of as human receptacles or ATMs with a pulse would no longer disturb us. We know we are collectively better than that, and thus, we are offended by all things offensive. Good!
This means the default expectation remains common decency. Sadly, there are men and women—falling under the umbrella of “sentient beings”—with renegade rules of engagement. Reach a certain age, and somebody will have tried to break you down, convince you that objectification is the new black, or couch their behavior as “this is just what we do on this planet”.
Solid people get broken all of the time. Mostly, they get broken by other broken people. Broken people are like a contagion, infecting others who in turn infect others, until everyone is raging in fever trying to prove who has it worse, men or women, women or men. The correct answer is that we both have it worse—sometimes.
I’ve either been fortunate or wise enough to pick partners who engaged me as a peer. But there have been a few memorable misogynists who left me quite breathless. That’s not your fault, other guys. You bear none of the blame because some of your brethren drag knuckles. Sort of like it’s not my fault if some of my sisters are sucking thumbs.
I will also tell you this: I believe that this had far, far less to do with them trying to exert “male privilege” (or whatever …) than it did them being really rotten, bratty, entitled people who happened to be born male. Mommy and daddy didn’t love each other, they got a prize just for showing up, there’s always an etiology. Drop them into a woman’s body and they would be just as wretched to the opposite sex, using different M.O.s.
Also, there’s nothing inherently wrong with privilege. Privilege is only wrong when used to further one’s own self-interests.
Divisiveness has engulfed our nation, pitting the 99 percent against the one, white against blacks, and native-borns against immigrants. We don’t really have to take it to the man vs. woman level, do we?
We people don’t always talk about the things that have hurt us and how they have hurt us, but perhaps now we should. To make peace. To secure common decency as a default. If there are just desserts, the people who aren’t engaged in the dialogue—who don’t care to be engaged—will wander away from civilized discourse, pair up, and be miserable in some throw-back Boschian purgatory where everyone’s either yelling or bartering sex for stuff.
So quite obviously, I do not hate men; I rather like most of them. One of you snagged me a pristine White Mountain ice cream maker for $20 at Goodwill—rock! Another of you dragged me to Cuba to share a wonderful experience. No expectations, and no weirdness. People are good.
Wars start when battles are picked. Let the gender war not be ours.