The Gender Wars

I recently read these two articles. The first was written by a man about things men don’t know about women. The second is a rebuttal of the first post, written by a woman and an avid feminist.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-10-things-women-wont-tell-you-20140116-30wkp.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-21/ford-the-treachery-of-hairy-women/5208716?pfm=ms#comments

Now I’m sure that just about anyone could have a field day pulling apart these articles for whatever their personal agenda may be. Unfortunately, I find this black and white, stereotype slandering to be both tedious and unhelpful.

How long is it going to be before people actually realize that gender doesn’t really matter that much?

Men and women both cheat, members of both genders can be cruel and manipulative. Just as men and women can both be gentle, loving and generous.

What is more important? Really. What genitals a person has, or the actions they take and behaviors they exhibit?

It seems to me, that in these gender wars between feminists and anti-feminists, everybody is essentially losing.

Feminists started out with an admirable goal: equality. And that’s something that I believe in wholeheartedly. Between men and women, between different racial groups, between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Every single person on this planet has the right to equal opportunities, to love and respect, and to voice their opinion without threat of violence. But equality doesn’t mean that every one is the same. We’re not all the same. Men and women are different. But so too are women different from other women and men different from other men. Each individual has a different life experience, different goals and dreams and fears.

It seems to me that it’s about time we started treating individuals as individuals.

Instead, I find that everywhere I look I’m finding generalization and stereotypes, fueling anger and retribution in the form of MORE generalizations and stereotypes. As seen in these articles and the responses to them.

“Oh, but I know a woman who had an abusive husband… so feminists must be right”

“Butt, I saw a husband being abused by his wife… so anti-feminists must be right”

I mean WAKE UP. I’ve seen both of those things, I’ve known women who have cheated on their partners, I’ve known men who have cheated on theirs. I also see men all the time who are loving and kind and would never in a million years raise their hand against a woman. And I’ve known women who are strong and independent and don’t need a man to feel fulfilled in life. I know women who can’t wait to start families, I know women who are petrified of the thought, value work more than family, or simply don’t feel the need to have children at all. I know men who work hard, men that don’t, men that would love to raise their children at home.

This is part of the human condition. We are all different.

These gender wars pull us apart and make us see each other in stereotypes and generalizations. Do you live that way?

I hope not.

I try not to. Sometimes it’s a struggle. To see through the bullshit that gets thrown at us all the time. From the media, from friends, from family. From ourselves.

Maybe we should start enacting some of the values we try to teach our kids. Be kind. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. We’re all unique. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Romance

 

Being Valentine’s Day today, and with my new husband in a different state seeing family, my mind has wandered to romance.

My husband has long claimed to be non-romantic. I’m not sure if this is a “man thing” with the assumption being that romantic gestures are too touchy-feeling for ‘proper’ men to bother with. Or if he isn’t actually sure what romantic things are, and so doesn’t recognise for himself when he does them. And, a third possibility of course, is to lower my expectations so he doesn’t have to do anything grand.

Now, to give you some idea of where I’m coming from; here are some of the things that I think of when the word romance comes to mind:

Exhibit A: The man doesn’t cook, which is fine with me, he does the dishes and I’m happy. But, when I’m sick, or having a painful ‘time of the month’ he will often go out and get me dinner, or even, on occasion cook it himself so that I don’t have to.

Exhibit B: He always holds my hand when we are out. We have been together nearly 8 years now.

Exhibit C: Just before we recently got married, we had to change our ceremony from outdoors to indoors because the weather was just too hot. And he’s looked concerned and asked me if I was sure that was okay, to which I was like yeah it will be fine, we will still have a great day. And he said to me, that he thought he was more worried about things going well than I was, and when I asked why, he told me it was because he wanted it to be a perfect day for me.

 

And I dunno if that’s what most people would consider romance or not. But to me, these things matter more than any flowers, or fancy jewelery (though he does like to get me nice jewelery).

I know a lot of people, including those that know me, seem a bit weird that we just got married, and instead of going away together, my husband has gone for a trip without me. I won’t lie, it’s not easy being apart from him. But that would have been true whether we were married or not, and has been true in the past when he’s gone to see his family interstate. But we have practicalities to look after, our dog is an important one, and I don’t think she would go well in a kennel. I rather think that it speaks to their lack of trust though. Like the second we’re apart our love for each other is somehow going to disappear. It seems a bit ridiculous to me. Because I know, from the things that he does for me, those every day considerations; that he loves me, and I think that’s the most romantic thing you can have in a relationship.