Women can multitask, park their cars better, and ask for direction–but the sorry male species can’t do a damn thing. It’s a beautiful world where you grow up with low expectations, isn’t it? A standard of male success is dying without going to jail. Poor women. They actually have to do something to be successful.
At least, that’s what I’ve always been told.
I was watching Mythbusters the other night when they had their second round of “The Battle of the Sexes,” in which they found that “throwing like a girl” is not an insult and that women generally do multitask better than men. On the contrary, men and women both parallel park equally poorly, and both sexes ask for directions about as often as the other.
About halfway through the show, I said to my family, “It’s all because of cultural bias”–and the truth is, it is.
Science, especially psychology, tells us there are legitimate differences between the sexes: Men are more visual, but women have more acute hearing; men think sequentially, women think in parallel. Neither skill set is greater or less than the other, simply a reordering of essential statistics–and men and women both can hone their weaknesses, if they wish to.
However, past the obvious, the differences between men and women come down to culture, and trust me, from one person to another, we men have got it pretty bad in the eyes of Western culture.
I felt pretty cultured as I grew up: Guys couldn’t cry, we couldn’t express emotion, we couldn’t be compassionate fatherly figures or boyfriends without a bad bone. We were impulsive, headstrong, arrogant. We were ignorant, reckless, and in general, remarkably stupid. And in the end, well, “Boys will be boys.”
It’s a lot of bias to break free from.
In my observation, every bad trait I’ve observed in a male I’ve observed equally in a number of females, so what gives? When did men get the short end of the stick?
I blame the feminists–but before you start your sword-slinging rhetoric, give a guy a break, alright?
I blame the feminists for single-handedly demanding empowerment single-handedly. By that I mean women have, through many great strides, shown us that women can do everything that men can do. However, women have not a bit tried to show the converse: That men can do everything women can do.
Whereas it’s alright for women to use power tools, it’s not alright for men to use needles and thread.
Whereas it’s alright for women to hold an office job and be CEOs, it’s not alright for men to stay at home and be caring, competent fathers.
Whereas it’s alright for women to be aggressive and competitive, it’s not alright for men to be gentle and cooperative.
It’s depressing, growing up in a society that says women need protection from violent men instead of teaching men not to be violent–by showing them, by allowing them, the socially acceptable option to become something else.
It’s a vibrant contradiction that we raise our sons to be strong and independent, forceful and domineering, but expect them to be caring husbands and soft-spoken fathers. It’s a chilling contradiction that we raise our sons with chauvinistic and criminal role models, but expect them to become upstanding and honorable adults.
I will never be that man who stands at the corner cursing women’s liberation, but here’s my message to everyone–especially the women in the crowd: Don’t leave us men behind. You’ve come a long way in your journey toward equality, but we won’t live in an equal society until we can all stand side-by-side.
Tell us it’s alright to cry, to care. Tell us we can slow down and think sometimes. Tell us we can be gentle without being weak, tell us we can be confident without being arrogant. Teach us how to sew, how to sing. Take us to the mall and let us wear some color from time to time. Take us outside and stop us by the roses (they smell lovely this time of year, don’t they?) and teach us how to cook and clean, too. You’ve learned so much how to be like us; so let us learn to be a bit like you.
But whatever you do, don’t leave us behind.