I don't think it is just boys who are more leery of girls, but men also more leery of women. I know a number of very nice guys who abstain from even trying to have reationships with women beyond casual co-worker comaraderie. Women apparently feel safe in being forward and making critical comments about males, but for men this is more risky. They have been well-drilled on the dangers of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination -- it can cost a man both legally and financially. And, from what I have seen, women are more free to openly talk and laugh about sexual matters, including a review (with other women) of the man's sexual abilities or lack thereof. I have overheard conversations between women that included descriptions of their date's penis (positive and negative), with much laughter at what would be great embarassment for the male. Men I have spoken to don't go into as much detail . . I don't think they want to paint that picture of their date's body for me . . and do so more in whispers or behind a closed door with one other person (man). Funny how the traditional images were of swaggering, boastful men, and the discreet, delicate and easily embarassed women. Now the roles appear to have reversed, at least in my experience.
Yes, I think we can point to countless examples of this- like just look at how men's roles on TV have changed. We have gone from shows like "Father knows best" in the '50s where the dad is the respected head of the family to "Family guy", "Married with children", "Home improvement" where husbands are pictured as bumbling idiots and it's the wife who keeps sanity in the family. In fact, this is now so much the standard TV sitcom formula- sensible women, idiot husbands- that I can't think of a TV sitcom in the last twenty years that hasn't been like this. It's no wonder that boys grow up with no self-esteem.
I definitely think there is a trend toward "role reversal" but I havent seen any fear from my two. Just the opposite unfortunately. My older son is increasingly focused on the idea of sex. Its not that hes not aware of things like pregnancy and disease, but being realistic, I suspect that if the opportunity comes along, he will take it.
After the other posters experience with his son I have to admit Ive been holding my breath. I know its not far off. Suspect we will prepare before it happens - at least I hope so!
For the rest - let me think lol. It's been a while since I've had a chance to post, but clearly there are differences in our opinions!
My elder son was a Freshman in high school (about 11 years ago) and told me that he was attending the Prom with a Senior girl. I assumed it was wishful thinking and told him not to get his hopes up (in my day, no Junior would have anything to do with a Freshman, let alone a Senior, who barely tolerated the Juniors). When he later reaffirmed his date, I assumed that the girl must not be too attractive if she had to "settle" for asking out a Freshman. Boy was I wrong! The girl, and a female friend, came over to the house and, what a cutie! Obviously, things had changed since I was in school.
That same son always thought he was something. He took his early success with girls as recurring proof of his desirability. I told him, "Don't get too cocky. When you are a teenager, just being male carries a lot of weight with girls, who tend to want to go steady sooner than boys." He continued to feel confident until he got into his 20's and his stock declined. Whereas just being male was good enough before, by the early 20's young ladies expect more . . they want to see that the guy is preparing for a career and a lifestyle that is at least comfortable and affords opportunities. On that, I was correct, but my son refused to heed, continuing to assume that a male with a high school diploma, nice hair and a cheerful personality would continue to garner female respect. He is learning the hard way that these qualities he possesses are woefully inadequate.
So, I think your sons are in that respite period right now -- thanks to the attitude of girls that age -- and unless they continue to excel into their 20's, they will be in for some hard knocks. And, when they enter the working world, and depending upon their chosen profession, they may well find they are in competition with women and in settings rife with gender conflict. The presumption (increasingly false, I think) is still that the red carpet gets rolled out for males. So, females are then encouraged to feel both at risk for victimhood from males and a supposed patriarchal environment, and to attack that supposed preferential treatment of males by knocking them back on their heels.
Some here and in other venues claim I over-dramatize the anti-male aspects of American society. Certainly, there will always be males who succeed, but I think part of the cost of doing so is a demonstrated willingness of those men to throw males in general under the bus. When women note that males are still disproportionately the top executives in corporations and the major politicians, I respond that the only thing those men have in common with me is the design of genitalia. I, and most men, mean nothing to male leaders, and they are only too quick to levy punishments upon the mass of men if that appears to be the best way for them to maintain their position and wealth. Note that a male executive or politician does not have to prove he is anti-male, but rather must show that he is not anti-female. That, and he stands vulnerable to discrimination and harassment lawsuits. Being male (or white) is seen as further proof that he would favor a person like myself, so he is under the gun to show otherwise and bash me as necessary.
Actually, I think I could get a better break from a woman, or minority, than another white male, as I then have a (albeit smaller) stick to whack back at them with accusations of being anti-male, or anti-white. To be sure, such accusations are not taken near as seriously as those by a woman or minority against a white male. But at least it is something.
Another thing I notice from my working experience: Females who see that a man is down are quick to point up that fact to him, with some relish. It is part of the punishment, having the knife twisted by women and his supposed "male ego" further bruised.
The quoted articles, which in turn quoted several other articles, impresses me as a case of writers and newspeople who are only talking to one another and really don't have much of an idea what anyone else is thinking or doing. Boys are more romantic than they used to be? Used to be when? Ten years ago? Thirty years ago? Sixty years ago?
All of that notwithstanding, there are some women that men, if not boys, are afraid of, in a sense. It is the beautiful woman. Here I speak only of myself, of course. I have no idea what anyone else thinks, although others here are never afraid to make such assumptions. But anyhow, a really beautiful woman, and I've known a few, can be sort of intimidating. One might be a little reluctant to ask such a woman for a date for fear of being rejected. That does nothing for your confidence, you know. Oh, I realize the rich among you don't have too many worries like that. You dress right and have a nice car and don't have to flip hamburgers to get through school but for the rest of us, it is a problem.
Oh the other hand, I suppose there's girls in the same boat.
"Here I speak only of myself, of course. I have no idea what anyone else thinks, although others here are never afraid to make such assumptions. "
Just once, Blue, I'd like to see you take a leap into positing a viewpoint, an opinion, an assumption of your own . . without worrying about being right, or not covering every possible situation. You DO make sassumptions . . we all do. They may not always be right, but if we don't assume some things, it would be hard to function in life. When you are driving, I assume that you assume that other people will abide by the convention of traffic lights. But, it is certainly possible that someone might not. So, to avoid making a potentially erroneous assumption, do you approach each intersection with trepidation, unsure in the knowledge that a green light means you are safe to keep driving through the intersection, and that crossing traffic will stop for red? Sometimes that is not an accurate assumption, but I think you and most of us make the sassumption in order to function adequately.
Or, when you enter a store, do you not assume a degree of safety? Or, do you not wish to make that assumption, considering the possibility that any of a number of fellow shoppers could produce an AK 47 from beneath their coats and mow you down. There are parts of the globe where an assumption of safety might not be realistic. But here, in U.S., or in Europe, etc. if you did not make the assumption of safety (albeit, there is no guarantee) how could you, or I, function in society?
So, if we make assumptions about some things, why are other assumptions considered (by you) folly? Courage Blue, make and express some assumptions. I might not agree with your assumptions, but it would be refreshing and welcome to me to read them.
Now that's funny. It's usually someone else who complains about my opinions.
I make assumptions all the time but when I don't think they're warranted, I usually don't. I just don't care to see people making posts and making statements that are assumptions about everyone. They may be nice, neat and logical but they're usually wrong.
I read some firearms forums and I disagree with a lot I read on them. I like to say I'm the resident cynic. In the case of public safety in a department store, I assume safety. That's been my experience over the last 55 years, the previous ten I don't remember well enough and probably didn't go places on my own. I do drive with some trepidation, though, because I've had a couple of accidents.
Of course people here won't agree with my assumptions. Why should they when they don't even like the experiences I had.
In any case, you haven't commented on any of my opinions in my previous post other than this one. In other words, the way I read it, you aren't disagreeing with my opinions, your are disagreeing that I actually have an opinion, which is quite the opposite of what you stated.
Marseil, I don't know if something gotst in translation, but I don't find it difficult to understand what I was saying in the previous post: I would like to read others' assumptions (we all make them) rather than the apparent assumption by Blue that no assumptions or generalizations are valid.
Contrary to his response, " . . the way I read it, you aren't disagreeing with my opinions, your are disagreeing that I actually have an opinion, which is quite the opposite of what you stated." . . I was ASKING for his assumptions, opinions, anything that is a personal expression of his own beliefs and observations. I was not stating that I did not want him to have opinions . . quite the contrary. I know he will have opinions whether I know what they are or not, and I welcome reading some of those. What has frustrated me now and in the past is his input here has usually been to just deny that any assumptions expressed could have some validity. If that is the case, then please challenge those assumptions based upon specifics anjd not just "We can't know what others, think, believe or do, so there cannot be any assumptions. And even if we could know, there are certainly exceptions contrary to your stated generalizations. Thus, your generalizations have no validity and are not worth discussion because not everyone or everything abides by those assumptions."
Sometimes I feel like I am the only one here who will go out on a limb to say what I think. Everyone else just counters, "You're wrong", but doesn't say why they disagree. Or they just post a link, as if someone else posting it makes it more valid than their own expressions of opinion. Preferably, since no one is always wrong, it would be nice to see acknowledgement of some aspects of my positions/arguments as possibly having validity, followed by discussion of where you might disagree.
Marseil, I offer the same invitation to you, to express your beliefs more. All I really know about you is: 1) You share Nat's contempt for George W. Bush, the Bus Administration, and the direction of U.S. during those years, and 2) You believe Americans to be generally uninformed, misinformed, and makers of bad decisions . . at least as compared to Europeans. There must be more that you think, right? Let's hear it.
Yes, I am leery of women generally. I think I have stated enough times the reasons for these feelings. I think when you get burned a few times, you learn to be careful around fire, no?
As for the "beautiful" part, that is your claim, not mine. I don't have a problem with attractive women per se. It is how that individual woman carries herself and treats others that makes an impression upon me.
I was watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, and then Nightline on ABC . . and it seemed to me that being "male" is a joke. "Oh, you have to be a 'real man', and that is ridiculous!" But the other day, I was talking to a female co-worker and described my brother-in-law's "ridiculous" alpha-male behavior, and she said, "I want the man to be the lead and be the man of the house." Really? Why? Isn't such male dominance supposed to be the scourge of the past? Didn't Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Ireland and their dedicated minions liberate women of all those male-inflicted, self-defeating thoughts? Or, is my co-worker simply exercising freedom of thought and deciding what SHE wants from relationships and life?
Just as I have had African-American friends and co-workers tell me, "Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don't speak for me.", am I also to belief women who tell me that "The National Organization for Women and other feminists don't speak for me"? Are they brain-washed by men? Can only Feminists speak for women, decide what women should want, decide what allowable men should be, or if men should continue to exist at all?
Who decides? And why?
(Marseil -- do you have any questions about anybody? Apply such questions to them. Such as, what are Americans? What should they be like? Who decides what they should be like, or if they are allowed to exist at all? See, not so hard to participate in this conversation.)
Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem argued for CHOICE. They may have done it in an aggressive manner, but it came down to that the only options open to women should not be staying barefoot and pregnant, and cooking dinner for "their man." If you WANT to do that, great. If you DON'T WANT that, you CAN do something else. And you should get paid the same as a man to do it. Is that really so bad?
I want a man to be a man - and I hope I raising my two boys to be good men. It's one of the reasons I post here and other places to try to get a male point of view. BUT, I don't want a man who thinks he owns me, or that I should be his servant or his maid. I don't want a person who is afraid to tell me how he feels. I want to be the most important person in his life and I want him to be the most important in mine, but I will understand if he looks at the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue. I don't care if he goes out fishing or to the game with his buds - but I don't want him to expect that I will be at home 24/7 waiting for him.
All women are not angry at men. All women do not want "feminized" men. But there are some. Your arguments almost always assume that ALL women should fit into a neat category. They don't. Any more than all men do. There were "sissy boys" a long time before Betty Friedan. And there are still macho pigs out there. I understand men get hurt, and legally can get the short end of the stick when it comes to custody. However, I also know women who pay child support, and who lost custody of their kids. So, Gloria Steinem worked for men to in a way.
The biggest thing is that we just didn't want to be treated like sperm banks - making a deposit whenever men felt like it - and feeling like that was all we had the ability to do. I appreciate a great male body - but I also want a man who can think. Trust me - women have more on their mind than sex. But a lot of times that is truly all that seems to be on the guy's mind. He's winning, charming, and friendly - but for one purpose. Not all men. But enough that women got fed up with it. Steinem and Friedan just said "we have rights."
Reproductively, for one: They can choose to have intercourse or not. If they have intercourse, they can choose to use birth control or not. Same as with men.
But women have extra choices that men don't have, aren't afforded: If a woman has intercourse and gets pregnant, she can give birth or abort it -- the man has no say. A good man cannot make a woman carry a pregnancy that she doesn't want and then allow him to raise that child . . if she wants it aborted, it is aborted. If she gives birth, she can keep the baby or put it up for adoption. If she keeps the baby, she has every right to go after the alleged father for child support (if she receives any sort of public support, then the choice isn't hers -- the State will go after the man). And, while men sometimes obtain custody and the women pay support, that doesn't happen near as much as the reverse -- especially for young children, as courts assume that children need their mothers more than they need their fathers. If the mother can be shown to be unfit, then the father could gain custody, but again that is not the typical outcome.
If she gives the baby to adoption, the alleged father has a small window (in some states, just 30 days) to register on a paternity registry or have all parental rights severed forever. This is true even if the sex that resulted in pregnancy was a brief tryst and he might not know the woman became pregnant, or he might have moved from the area since then. It doesn't matter -- all the law requires (per a seminar I attended on the subject) is a brief listing in a newspaper ("If you think you might have fathered a child, contact . . .") and if the father doesn't see it or know about it, his rights can be terminated forever.
Speaking of "alleged father", how many men ASSUMED, because their dear partner told them so, that a baby is really from him? Every woman (barring some hospital mix-up) knows the baby is hers, but the man wouldn't unless he requests a paternity test. If the couple is married, what husband wants to essentially accuse his wife of cheating by asking for a paternity test? Very few. So, we men rely upon the truthfulness of a woman (and, yes, women are human too and they do lie . . often very well) to acquire the facts. That is, until there is reason to need to know the bio link between father and child (such as, one of them needs a transplant or other procedure, or if a divorcing man latter suspects his wife's infidelity) and the truth comes out. Even then, courts have maintained the child support order for a man that finds out, years later, that the children he assumed were his and that he helped support and raise were the result of his wife's infidelity. His emotional hurt gets compounded by financial damage. A double whammy for him.
Personally, I think a paternity test should be a routine part of the blood testing already done when a child is born. The child deserves to know the truth, and so does the father. If a man doesn't have to request the test, but could decline to know the result, then he would have no one but himself to blame for not knowing if the child is really his. If the child is not his, better for all concerned that the truth be known up front and the couple can then decide to stay together or part based upon facts, not assumptions. But, we are no where near the point of requiring such testing. So, men continue to hope and assume.
As the mother of two sons, I would expect that you want the best for them, as I do my two sons. Knowing the truths I described above, and wanting to give good advise, what do/should you tell them? "Scott and Tommy, I have something to tell you. I hope with all my heart that you will find love and have your own families. But, I also want you to know the realities. When it comes to sex and having children, you have two choices: To have intercourse or not, and to use your own protection or not. After that, most of the decisions are up to the girl. She has the say, not you. Your children are more hers than yours. Don't expect that you will have kids if she doesn't want them or you and her do not stay together. The kids go with her, and you will pay for them. I don't want you to live an unhappy life or think that true love is not possible, but I do want you to know the truth about these things so that you can live your life with eyes open."
I never had that conversation with my sons; unfortunately, I didn't have to. They saw first-hand what I went through and have since told me that they never want something like that to happen to them. I told them I would like to be a grandfather one day. My elder son says he never wants children. The younger son, who is gay, told me he hopes to have children one day, but how he will do that he isn't sure. His babies need to come from some woman, so again he faces the prospect that the women can change her mind at any time and he could still end up paying but not having the children with him. While I was as proud as any Dad to have sons, I think I would worry less if they were my daughters now.
My parting point: You, I, any responsible parent of boys, wants their sons to be good, principled, contributing members of society. But where is the reward for being that, for them? If the outcome for being a quality man is MORE punishments than if one were a low-life man, then what reward is there for being a good man, other than inner satisfaction (which, believe me, fades fast in difficult circumstances)? What do we do, when even a lot of MEN refuse to see the unjustness of it all? How do we get MEN to abandon the fear of being perceived as weak, as bested by a woman, as a victim, as someone who cannot handle life's hurdles? We see what we do -- change nothing. Women banded together to change things for the better for themselves, but men stubbornly refuse to do the same.
It's not as simple as Male or Female. If you spread people out on a Feminine-Masculine scale you will find them spread all the way from one extreme to the other. Sure, males will mostly on the Masculine side and females on the Feminine side but there will be a lot that are towards the middle and in some cases there will even be some girls being more 'macho' then some men- and vice-versa.
Frankly I don't think extremes of either are good. Both genders have good and bad aspects and it's better to have a blending than all of one or the other. A man can be so "macho" that he's reckless and compassionless. A woman can be so feminine that she helpless and lacks self-sufficiency. Neither extreme is good.
I perceive females as having a lot of choice (to use Jenn's word) in how they will act, talk, dress, be. But males? It isn't so much their choice, as they are constantly told conflicting things: Be sensitive, it's OK to cry . . . don't be such a wimp! Be forward and pursuing . . . that man is harassing me and needs to be punished! Real men could be a nurse or a secretary . . there aren't any 'real' men working here!
From day one, boys get told that they must somehow earn and prove manhood . . but now, nothing really qualifies them, no matter what they do. Even posting something like this can get a guy accused of being less than manly, a whiner, a wimp (I know, I've been called such things). But, I don't hear anyone saying that girls will have to earn or prove that they are "real women". Pretty much, if they possess a vagina, they qualify. Everything after that is icing for them -- be a homemaker, or an iron worker . . . have a partner, or stay single . . . have children, or be childless . . . get formal education or just have common sense . . they never stop being women, and no one asks if they are "real". But men . . somehow are supposed to chase the elusive "real man" that everyone told them they should be . . but never really how. Men are always subject to not being "real", and women define that as much as anyone.
Well perhaps the concept of a "macho man" is outdated Bob. Back when men had to go out and battle wild animals for food and survival are gone. These days "masochism" causes more problems than it solves. I've heard it said that if countries were governed by women there would be no wars. Think about that.
Youtube is full of teen boys doing crazy dangerous stunts- often breaking bones and worse- why? to prove that they are men? Does going down a stair railing on a skate board or jumping from one moving car to another prove you're a "man"- or just stupid? Even big muscles are outdated in our technological age. A "macho" guy has big muscles to dig a ditch. A smart guy has a machine to dig the ditch for him.
I'm just saying pick ONE, or TWO, and not all these conflicting messages. Don't tell me to strive for X, and then to strive for non-X. I can't do both.
As for male stunts, I attribute that to something old and something new. The old is what, I'd guess, young males have always done. They have some much energy, perhaps testosterone driven, that they crave adventure and "seeing if I can do this." Sometimes foolhardy, yes, but also the thing that made men explore the oceans despite warnings that the Earth was flat and they would sail off the edge The thing that made men seek to climb the highest mountains, dive the deepest part of the oceans, or want to fly up to the heavens. Why? To see if they could do it and to feel what it felt like to be there, I suppose. Not all bad.
Well I'm saying women should stop looking for "macho" men and men should stop thinking they must be "macho" men.
It makes more sense for a woman to be interested is a slender guy with glasses taking Business Administration who may someday be a high paid executive than a big muscular guy who will spend his life moving furniture around for a living.
And yes, we need risk-takers- when it's for a good reason- Orville Wright took a risk seeing if he could make a flying machine and many men died perfecting air-travel but it lead to great benefits for society.
On the other hand, a guy seeing how many cars he can jump over with a motorcycle is just silly.
why I think younger males today take so many unnecessary risks, and you are correct about it, Nat: Trying to prove their manhood. That doesn't sound new at all -- I even noted that manhood is something males have always had to earn, while females gained womanhood just be existing. The new part is HOW males today feel they must earn manhood, compared to how males have traditionally earned it. 40, 50 years ago, young males were taught that a respected place was waiting for them as adult males, provided they did the right things and prepared for it. You got your education, chose a career to pursue, courted females, found love and married, had children. You were still "the man of the house", the decision-maker, a pillar of the community, a valued person -- a man! Most young males, even the ones that temporarily "turned on and dropped out" (per Dr. Leary) came back to that ideal they were taught.
In the decades since, part of the ascension of women has included the decline of men and male roles. Men still get educated, but so do women . . even more women now than men. You can select a career to pursue, if there is a job available, and women are now competing for jobs too. You can still court women, so long as you are appropriately wary of not being too pursuing, such as to be accused of harassment or stalking. And the females are actively selecting too, not just fielding offers, so don't ever think she is just waiting around for you to make the moves. By the way, females still ultimately do the choosing, so get used to rejection. You can hope to get married -- at least the first time, it still seems special. But don't assume you will be the bread-winner or head/king of the home or anything. The family is the woman-and-her-children --- you're only around so long as she is OK with that. Chances are, you won't be around too long, as many marriages end in divorce within 5-10 years now. So, expect to be on the out-looking-in on family life and your children's lives. You are the lesser parent . . expendable.
So, if males still want to earn manhood today, how do they do that? I think one way they try is doing foolish stunts that put them at risk for injury . . . or extreme sports, where they could make money and garner a following as well as demonstrate that they are "man enough" to risk injury. I think another way to earn manhood today is violent crime. Black males lost their place in homes and communities before white males, and I think that is one reason we have seen so much more gun play and deaths from gun shot wounds among black males. While it may seem like a waste of life to some, we should look at it from their perspective. When the opportunity to "be a man" within a traditional family setting is limited, and when they don't really have much to lose, life does become cheap and living dangerously while you are alive could be more appealing. I tend to think all males in our society are heading in that direction.
Bob, do you really think girls respect guys who do pointless daring stunts? Spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair- a great way to impress a girl. And athletes will tell you that even minor injures can plague you as you age- many become debilitated and some even commit suicide from the chronic pain of youthful injuries. There's been much discussion about this just recently in the news.
Maybe Jenn can give us insight on what girls think but I suspect they have more "respect" for a guy who studies hard and get a good education so he can make a good living than one who does crazy stunts. Yet today's young males are the worse educated in generations. No wonder women are replacing them in business. That's where men are losing their manhood!
I don't think girls' perspectives are a major factor in defining "manhood", at least not in the eyes of young males. As I noted before, there are so many contradictory criteria now for what "makes a man" that no one can really qualify. Today, females can (increasingly do) fulfill all the positive "man" criteria of the past as well as or better than males. They can do anything a man can do, often better (we are always told this) and can do things men cannot do. Today, a male is simply a less-qualified female that lacks the ability to bear children. With the loss of opportunities to qualify as a man on positive terms, what young males have available to them is trying to qualify as a man on negative terms. This means being aggressive, being "bad", being a force to be reckoned with, risking injury and death. Until girls take over the bad criteria (and their numbers are growing there as well), that seems to be the remaining ground for males hoping to qualify as men to try to stake out.
None of this really makes sense, Nat. If you try to make sense of it, you will just end up shaking and scratching your head.
Well I think we agree really- I agree that many boys and young men are the way you say- and I think you agree it's not really a good thing. Yes, today's young men are facing a situation men have never had before where they have lost many traditional advantages males have had in the past. But I'm saying doing crazy stunts and extreme displays of machismo is not the solution. The solution is to stop thinking in terms of male versus female- and think in terms of just "people". The most qualified person will get the jobs of the future irrespective of gender so if guys are concerned about being displaced by women- they should get a good education so they can compete equally with women in the world of today and tomorrow. But too many boys are not doing this.
But that doesn't address the greatest problem for males
May 28 2012, 12:33 AM
Which, in my opinion, is not simply whether males can obtain education and compete for jobs. They can do that and still be peripheral and expendable in the society. Men cannot just be non-birthing women -- they must have a unique, valuable and irreplaceable role in society, as women do. Otherwise they remain unnecessary and expendable. What is unnecessary declines and becomes extinct.
Men's skills are relatively primitive and easy replaced with technology. Not so, at least to this time, for women. I think it is inevitable in advanced society for males to decline and females to succeed. Note that the societies today in which males remain dominant are less advanced, more primitive, such as societies in many parts of Africa and the Middle East. In the relatively more-advanced West, we see the decline of males and prominence of females. From a strictly male perspective, the solution seems to be to significantly damage those advanced societal systems that give females advantages. When the distribution and regulatory systems that allow ease of modern life are impaired, men become important again. Or, more simply, when there are shortages of life essentials such as adequate food and potable water, and a decline of govt and law enforcement authority, women and children again need men to provide and protect them. If today's males were smart, they would work together to bring about these changes and take back a valuable role for themselves. Ultimately, there is no other way to counter male obsolescence.
Oh Bob I don't think men are going to become obsolete. First, there are jobs where physical strength is an asset. Second, if a man is good at what he does he won't be replaced simply because he's not a woman. And third- the fact he doesn't get pregnant and have babies is an Advantage- not a Disadvantage as far as employment goes.
So it's not that men are being disadvantaged- it's just now they must compete on a more equal footing- where it's ability that counts and not their gender. The problem is too many young men today are not taking education seriously- they are goofing off in school and dropping out- that's the reason they will lose jobs to women- not because they are males.
Try an exercise (I did this at a seminar): List all of the characteristics, positive and negative, that you think of when you say "Man", and list the characteristics that you think of when you say "Woman".
The outcome in our group was that every person listed almost entirely positive characteristics for
"Women". For men, there were some of the same positive characteristics as in the "Women" list, but fewer, and some negative, characteristics. For Men, there was "aggressive", much more than the more positive "protective". There were more "dominant" listings then "Head of House" -- as we discussed the lists, the dominance aspect seemed to be viewed more as over-bearing and oppressive rather than as protective -- that men were generally more part of the problem rather than a help or solution. Overall, women were viewed entirely positively, while men were a mix of some positive that women possessed in greater abundance, and negative attributes that women did not possess.
There was a happily married (to a man) young woman in the group. I asked her, "You are happily married, and I think that is great. But, your list shows that the positives you value in a person exist more in other women. Your decision to marry your guy . . . was that mostly because of genital tissue configuration, or was there another reason you risk going against the odds by marrying a man instead of another woman?" The women seemed entirely puzzled by the question. She wasn't gay, she said, so she would be with a man. not a woman. So, given that tissue configuration IS important, is she and maybe a significant number of other women choosing to be with less-quality (than females) males rather than a superior female with different genitalia? Seems like some women make this trade-off.
Still, I tend to think that females can be more easily bi-sexual than males. Yes, I read that more males are confirmed gays, but among those people who can swing either way, women seem to be able to make that move more than men, in general. So, if females value personal attributes more often possessed by other females, if they can get over the different appearance of genitals, might they by more satisfied in relationships with other females than with males? I'd like to hear what actress Meredith Baxter-Birney would have to say on this. Note that,unlike males, females just need a bit of sperm to have children. For men seeking children, they need a women to provide the egg and a woman to carry the pregnancy. Still, the resulting pregnancy belongs to the woman, not the man, so he is always in a tenuous position.
Given all this, and when women can do anything a man can do, plus more and better, I think the case is made that man are rapidly becoming obsolete. There are even processes in the research works to have conception with another female, eliminating the need for sperm to create children. What is males' purpose then? Logically, I don't see one. Logically, I don't see any good place to be for my sons or any sons they may have in the decades to come. I think there are two outcomes: Either men acquiesce to the decline and extinction, or they destroy civilization to make males worth something unique again.
Personally, I don't see a way. Yes, women can to allow an unnecessary place for males in future society. I can see a lot of women wanting to do that -- they aren't without compassion. But such beneficence is fragile and fleeting (see: divorce). Just as soon as a man gets cocky and challenges a woman, she strikes back, proving to him that he is an obsolete hanger-on. His individual aggression back at her just gives further ammunition to the perspective that tolerating unnecessary males has caused unnecessary problems for society. The push gets stronger to beat down these ungrateful males that didn't know how lucky they worry to be tolerated in society when they no longer have a positive purpose.
My hope is that men wouldn't let their degradation go too far before they would lash back at society and destroy the capabilities that made women all-important and men ready for extermination. Just destroy the governmental structure, utilities and distribution system for goods and services. Faced with life and death issues, males become important again.
Wow, I thought I was a pessimist, but even I don't think things are as dire as that, Bob. You've had some experiences that have given you a very negative view of women that I'm sure I can't change. In any case, we are of an age where we are out or nearly out of the job market anyway so whatever happens is not going to be our problem.
Just because I am heading into the last quarter of life and less susceptible to social harm (unless elderly people also come to be seen as an undesirable burden as well) doesn't mean that I don't care. I want to see positives for young generations that follow. I'd like to think that my generation didn't screw up every good thing that was laid in our laps by our parent's generation. And, I want to see positives for future generations of young women as well as young men. Clearly, males need females more than the reverse, so it also helps men if women do well and are content. I just don't know, given the current cultural climate in U.S., and the likely future trends that I see, if men and women can stop being adversaries and peacefully co-exist.
Well I think you are seeing our problems too much in sexist terms Bob. As I just posted in a post below the vast majority of today's jobs can be done by either sex. It's not gender that is the problem- it's that there are not enough jobs for the number of people who need them. But don't blame women for this- blame computers that have made it possible to eliminate millions of jobs from our economy.
Even more than race or ethnicity. The best way to destroy anyone is to hit them where they live. That is their home. If you can attack someone in their home, you can devastate them. That is what is happening to men -- driving them out of their homes, away from affection, their children and roles they were taught to aspire to as children. Is it any wonder that men are killing themselves at such high rates with alcohol, drugs, violent crime and outright suicide? If the red carpet were really laid out for males, would they be killing themselves like this? If men were really these horrible people that feminists and other women describe, there would be a LOT more females dead now. But look -- most victims of violent crime are men . . . check the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports -- men turning their anger against each other, instead of the real source. Look beyond the headlines, and think. Just look around and think for a change.
I think the status of women is related to the prevailing climate. Just about everywhere women essentially own the home. It may not be legally so but basically that is the case. After all, they're called homemakers, housewives, and house keepers.
I'd suggest that in places where it's too cold to stay outside all night, women have a higher status.
I'm sorry Bob, I can't accept the premise that women are out to destroy men. That's not the experience I've had. There are ruthless people- men and women- but I don't think women are more prone to this than men. What has changed is the societal advantages men use to have are gone- it's a more even playing field now, where men and women compete with equal opportunities- and without their previous advantages- some men can't hack it.
What are you smoking, Nat? I might want some, so I can live a lovely dream like that.
I like analogies -- let me offer one. Imagine that you and I are friends . . very good friends. But we have a falling out. I am REALLY pissed at you. I knew all along that the law stated that our friendship allowed me to take most everything that mattered to you: your children, your home, much of your income. Maybe you knew it too, but maybe not . . these legal things can be hard to keep up with. Actually, I didn't even know it, but I knew people that had very close friends like this, and then they had this serious falling-out, and they told me how badly I could screw you up, Nat. Just being close friends like this . . boy, if I wanted to, I could make your life hell. But, I wouldn't do that -- after all, we are best friends.
But one day you REALLY piss me off. And you act like it is nothing -- you SOB!! Well, I'll show you. Just like those other people told me . . . let's see how smug you are when I rake you across the coals, my MOFO friend! And it is confirmed to me . . and you sadly learn . . all of that nightmare (for you) is true! I take you good, dude!! Boy, does your life suck.
And, when you complain, everyone (especially other supposed friends) tell you, "You're just pissed because Bob bested you. You thought you were too powerful to be used like this. Does it hurt your fragile ego, Nat? Deal with it, you friggin wimp!"
Should anyone blame you for not ever wanting a close friend again? It takes years for you to recover from your friendship with me -- why does anyone wonder why you wouldn't want another fukin friend? But they do. They say this is more evidence of your wimpishness and fragile ego. More taunting. But to you, they just don't understand what you have been through, right Nat? Well I tell you . . and I am FAR from alone . . I know what you have been through. I know.
How do you like the taunting, Nat? When your life has been devastated, and other people make fun of you, or just deny the reality you have lived . . how does it feel? Abuse piled on top of abuse? I understand just how you feel, Nat. That sucks. That really sucks. But few understand.
But that is daily reality for you now, Nat. No one seems to understand or care. They just keep devaluing your reality, your pain, and seem to enjoy doing that. What do you do? If you explode verbally (not physically), it is your "bruised ego" talking. If you try to make them (women often) understand, you might say, "What if you were raped, and men said, 'You're just pissed because a man got him some and you had nothing to say about it.' How would you feel?" Ohh, that is totally different. But how many men would rather be sodomized ONCE rather than get separated from their kids and screwed over for a decade or more? I wish that choice was offered to me, Nat. My butt would be lifted.
For about 4 months after my divorce, I was often looking for ways to kill myself and end the pain. I would drive the interstate and think, "I could steer my car into that concrete overpass and end this." I would weigh the hurt that my parents, siblings and sons would feel and decide, "Not yet". I could live today and still do it tomorrow -- I'm not the wimp they claim I am. I can get through one more day. I would get drunk and work out with weights and then run really hard, thinking that I might have a heart attack and die, but I wouldn't have to feel too guilty leaving like that. It didn't work.
Gradually, the worst of the anguish subsided. But who would blame me for NEVER wanting a friend (wife) to F me over again? To never have otherwise good people taunt me for feeling real pain? What person that is not an idiot doesn't weigh such decisions? Still, too few understand.
Do you -- will you -- understand, Nat? Jen? Marseil? Any fukin one?
Men DO bleed. And not just because we are weaker than women.
Wow Bob. Such bitterness! You've had a very bad experience that has made you very bitter towards women. But you can't judge all women by one. I never had any such experience, and I don't know anyone who has expressed animosity like this. While it's true women have traditionally had certain advantages when it came to divorce it's not nearly as lop-sided as it use to be. For example there use to be many benefits that available only to women- such as Social Security Widow benefits. Today men can get those too if their wife dies. In fact I don't know of any federal law where men and women are treated differently now. But there is nothing I can say that can overcome this hatred you have so we best move on to another topic.
That was a rhetorical question. My own parents didn't understand, so why should you? Actually, I would not have understood beforehand either. It really is true, the old adage, "You learn what you live." You had a long happy marriage before losing your wife. I'm sure that you think of her and really miss her. Given that experience, how could you think otherwise about my situation? I absolutely believed in the "til death do us part" fairy tale, and I too tended to assume that the guy must be more at fault if his wife wants away from him that bad.
My analogy was really to show the absurdity of marriage as we know it. It is a far-reaching legal and financial agreement, but one that really isn't spelled out. Often, people don't realize the terms of marriage until the marriage ends and their attorney is explaining the deal to them. Isn't that a foolish way to devise a key societal institution -- don't let the participants know what they really signed up for until the union ends? Are we afraid that no one would marry if the terms were spelled out prior to saying "I do"? We would otherwise never (if we are sane) sign a business/legal contract without reading it and knowing what we are signing. Yet, one of the most important steps any of us will ever take -- getting married -- is entered into with the focus upon emotion and not reason.
That is why I favor doing away with marriage and replacing it with a formal contract that spells out all foreseeable eventualities -- including in the event the union is dissolved, division of property, who gets the kids, what each parent will pay for and be responsible for. Prior to signing the contract, each party must show that they consulted legal counsel and understand all of the terms. Emotion could still have its place, but not at the expense of making an informed, rational decision. This would also side-step the issues that complicate "gay marriage", including religious aspects. People could still seek a non-binding spiritual union ("marriage"), but that would be optional and totally separate from the legal/financial agreement. And, we should allow anyone to enter into the contract, regardless of gender, and it would not be limited to couples (plural unions). I think that would be a much better, more rational and kinder process than the one now in place.
What I don't understand Bob is how you are so embittered towards all women because of your experience with one. If I got bit by a dog I wouldn't condemn all dogs because of what one did. Yes, there are bad marriages, but there are many good ones too. Living here in a retirement area I constantly see stories in the news about married couples celebrating their 50th or even 60th anniversary and still as happy as the first day.
As for prenuptial contracts- a lot of couples are doing that now but I suspect not many of those marriages last- if you go into a marriage expecting it to fail it surely will.
On the other hand, I have no problem with two people sharing a house and living expenses- and having a contract outlining the legal obligations of each. But they should agree that children will not result from this partnership because then you have innocent parties that are hurt when the partnership ends.
Yes, my emotional side does sort of hold it against women in general that our American cultural appears (to me) increasingly anti-male, including but not limited to divorce and child custody. I know a lot of divorced men who get stuck in that emotional state, but they tend to blame the one woman who was involved in their painful situation and much less so women in general. I return from time to time to the emotional side . . I don't think that is too weird, even all these years later, as I think most men would admit, down deep, that their relationships with women have far-reaching impacts (positive and negative) upon their lives. As I noted before, men's relationships with women "hit us where we live." Women ARE important to us.
Unlike a lot of divorced men, I don't mostly blame one woman, my ex-wife. My analogy was supposed to demonstrate that the problem is much more the laws and interpretations by courts rather than any one person. As I have told other men, "Your wife could not have done these things to you, no matter how vindictive she is, if the legal system did not grant her the ability to do so." And, per my analogy, I consider myself an ethical and non-mean person, and if I were granted the legal authority to take something away from someone, I might not jump to do it . . but given that knowledge, enough time passing, and events that might anger me, I would probably at least threaten action and maybe even make good on the threat. Women, being people, are not immune to this. If they know they can harm a man, and the right motivation arises, they are quite capable of making husbands' lives hell (more so if they are good men).
The rational side of me is what made me realize that my ex-wife was not mostly at fault. In fact, as I noted here before, she didn't take all the actions against me that the law allowed her to. She showed me some mercy, perhaps helped by my willingnmess to push some guilt buttons. Some other women likely would have bided their time and enjoyed twisting the knife and leaving me dangling. But, I was smart enough to realize she held all the cards, so being very hostile toward her would simply give her every reason to play every card and make the outcome even worse for me. Now, my biggest concern is for my sons -- that they not suffer as I have done because the law gives preferences to their partner over them. There is no perfect solution to divorce, but to say that half the population are the good people, and half are bad people that deserve punishment, simply because of their particular genital configuration, just doesn't make sense in these days when we are supposed to value treating people equitably and fairly.
While I do blame a category of women -- Feminists -- for pushing the anti-male agendas that were incorporated into our laws, I also blame men as a group. It was men's inaction in the face of the anti-male agendas that doomed them and future generations of American males to punishments simply because they are male. How man blacks would still be riding in the back of buses if blacks had waited on whites to change things? The same with men's rights: Men cannot wait for women to act in the interests of men -- men must take action in their own behalf. But, as we see here and everywhere, it is hard to get men to even see the injustice and need for change, let alone take action for change.
But, failing to act not only harms men but also harms women who might want a relationship with a man . . or at least have to live in a society with them. If the laws treat men who behave well worse than men who behave badly, what motivation do men have to do the right things? Very little.
I have 35 years working in my profession, and never once have I had a direct supervisor that was male. Yet, I always receive good yearly evaluations. I have to work with staff who are about 90% female, and well more than half of clients are female, and I haven't had a problem working with and for them. I don't mistreat people simply because of some group characteristic they share. They are individuals -- they don't represent "all women", just as I don't represent "all men".
And, as I stated, I don't only or mostly blame women for the changes that have made enemies of the genders and levied punishments upon males. Certain women pursued those changes. Many/most women agreed with SOME of the changes and didn't object. But when the changes being made became more anti-male and not just pro-female, men as a group didn't object. They didn't do much of anything, either believing that so many other men were different than themselves that the changes might be warranted, or they didn't want to appear less manly by objecting: "Bring it on! I want it rough! I can handle it! I'm a MANNN!!" It was only after the bad came and they didn't like it that some objected in their own way -- blamed the one woman that hurt them -- or ran away (split out-of-state and/or worked only for cash to try to avoid the punishments. I don't call that being a man.).
Really, if there is anything for sure that I could agree with women about, it is that men have behaved as if they are less intelligent than women. At least women will band together to change things that bother them, rather than claim that injustice is a way to "prove their womanhood." Really, in a lot of ways, men are stupid. I would agree with that.
As for long-term marriages, those are increasingly a thing of the past, Nat. It was your and my parents' generation that had those routinely. Our generation has a mix of some long-term survivors but also a lot of broken marriages. Younger generations are increasingly not marrying or marrying for a few years and the divorcing. The data on marital longevity is still skewed by the old folks. My litmus test for marriage:
"How many people under 30 to 65 years of age are still currently married (for at least 10 years) to the only person that they ever married?" That means no prior marriages that ended. What percentage of all people in that age group could answer "Yes"? My guess is that it would be very low . . maybe 10-15% . . maybe less.
Well I can't agree that men have things stacked against them. True, men don't have the inherit advantages males use to have when it comes to employment. It's a more equal playing field now and some men can't compete successfully without the traditional male advantage.
But if men are disadvantaged now it's largely their own making. Today's jobs largely fall into two categories- low-pay service industry jobs and jobs that require a good education and often a college degree. Statistics show today's boys don't take school seriously- they'd rather play video games than do homework. They make poorer grades in school, are more likely to drop out and they are less likely to go to college than girls now. So who are employers going to hire?- a high school dropout or a woman with a college diploma? It's not the fault of women that guys goof off in school- seems to me guys letting women win by default!
You keep saying "traditional male advantages", but the cut-off point for those was before I entered college, let alone started a career. I would say the 1960's ended much of what had been male advantages. The 70's were prime-time for Feminism, Ms. Magazine and legal changes that started to turn the tide against men. Yes, that process continued through the 80's and 90's, but the start was really the 70's. The young people of today were born AFTER the process was well on its way to turning the tables against males.
Yes, young males today are not applying themselves academically as they should: are more likely to drop out of school, less likely to attend college and less likely to graduate from high school or college than are girls. They are also more likely to commit suicide than girls. Clearly, boys are troubled. I think boys' problems are not only of their own making. They are the products of broken homes, where fathers have left or been driven from the family home. They don't have the image of a responsible adult male role that was instilled in you and I, Nat. They don't have the immage of a valued role for themselves as adult men, as you and I had. Also, they were reared in a society that claimed the red carpet was rolled out for males (when that really wasn't the case anymore) and extra help was being given to females to help them succeed. When you tell people (essentially) that one group has had it too good and needs to decline and another group needs to be boosted up . . . guess what, that tends to become reality.
I don't excuse boys from the responsibility of preparing for their own future, but everyone is in part a product of their environment. If we tell people they are valued and need to excel, they often do. If we tell people they are undeserving and need to be pushed back, they often are.
Finally, I have a friend who claims that there are "plenty of jobs" for people willing to put forth effort to become trained and skilled. My counter claim is that if every American had the requisite skills for this so-called new economy, there still would not be close to enough jobs to employ them. Capitalism normally requires winners and losers, and a degree of unemployment. And in this current global economy that emphasizes efficiency and cost-costing, technology replaces people with machines and American workers now must compete with slave-wage labor in other countries. Today, Capitalism results in ever greater numbers of unnecessary workers . . the losers. No amount of training will compensate for companies' lack of need for workers' services.
Well I agree that things are tougher now in many ways. But I can't excuse boys for goofing off when their sisters- who come from the same less than ideal family environment- study hard- go to college, get the necessary training and succeed in today's difficult job environment. If they can do it- why can't boys?
Because conditions affect boys and girls differently. Seeing mothers being sole heads of households means a role for girls is ahead . . . it means boys cannot see a role for themselves, as their fathers and other males are outside the family and family home. That looks to boys like their future is less than what the girls can envision. Is that so hard for you to see Nat? That taking roles away from fathers impacts boys and girls differently? Is that hard to comprehend? It sure doesn't seem to register with you.
Somehow, our society understands that black children who can see successful, valuable black adults is important. Somehow, the Feminists made us see that little girls could look at adult females succeeding in non-traditional roles and think, "I can do that too." But, somehow, it is hard for you and others to see that little boys today who see their fathers and other men close to them pushed out of the family home and made less relevant in communities can get internalized in those boys. Stop thinking with the 50's mindset, Nat -- that is so long ago and so far removed from the current realities that it makes no sense today. I could get stuck in the world of my youth too -- it is a comforting thought -- but I know that 1965 and 2012 have very little in common. We must strive to understand the people and conditions of today as they exist, and not through the prism of some long-ago time.
What I mentioned before: If you want to see males of all ages come to the fore, all we need do is have a catastrophe of major proportions that disrupts or destroys our systems of production and distribution, and our civil governance. With no more ambition or education than young boys have now, I predict we would see those young men spring into action, as if waking from a trace by the call of an essential purpose . . . and females very pleased and relieved to see that. The only thing that really impedes men from being a viable resource again is the lack of their necessity.
I'm well aware that the 1950s are over Bob. I've pointed out many times how much has changed since then.
But I think you are too eager to excuse poor performance of boys in school today. Plenty of boys grew up in the 1950s with no father at all because of the war- but I never heard anyone say that's a reason for them to goof off in school.
I wish someone else would enter this thread to give a fresh perspective on this.
It's good to see this topic is still generating some interest. I notice some references to "real men," and presumably those writers were also thinking "real women." Those are examples of taking the moral high ground with language, although I suspect there's a better, more technical expression. It's like saying "real American."
And by the way, I'm still looking for the French viewpoint on the subject.
It is said that much risk taking by young men, including mountain climbing, biking, skateboarding (is that risky?) and so on, is a reflection that "real" jobs no longer have much risk or that one no longer has to serve in the armed forces, which can sometimes be risky. In other words, it's adventure, if not exactly romantic. Being a cowboy is romantic, though not particularly risky, mountain climbing on weekends is not exactly the same. But maybe no one here ever wanted to be a cowboy.
To working men of the past and mostly of the present, "real" work did not necessarily involve risk. It did involve "real work," meaning manual labor, a varying amount of skill, and a lot of sweat. Oh, I know, horses sweat and men perspire but if you work like a horse, you can sweat like one. I mentioned skill because most work involves more skill than is generally appreciated.
I have mentioned elsewhere that there was a sort of distinction between men's work and women's work. Women have always worked, you know, a fact that somehow slips between the cracks in discussions like this. I have wondered what Jenn does for a living, for example. Maybe she's a lineman for the county or something. But working in a factory was mostly woman's work. Being a miner was a man's work. However, miner's work was desirable because it paid fairly well, not because it was man's work. It was better than trying to farm poor land and it also paid better than "working cattle," as my father called it. Zero on the romantic scale, however.
I tried looking up statistics about marriage and it's difficult to find beleivable numbers that go back far enough for them to mean something. But I think the statistics will be too technical about being married. I've been reading Genesis. There's no mention of marriage through the point I've gotten through so far. Man and wife, husband and woman, yes, but no weddings, no licenses, no rings, and so on. If a man and woman live together, they're married. Back in the hills it's called a common law marriage. There is no such thing as a common law divorce for some reason.
I dislike the term "real men" or "real women". The fact is, other than for the specific biological function of reproduction, there is not much difference between men and women and the vast majority of jobs can be done by either so gender is irrelevant.
The problem today is not who is doing the jobs, but the fact that there are not enough jobs.
They use to say that as technology changes, people have to adapt to the new jobs that are created.
When the automobile put the blacksmith out of business- he learn to be a auto mechanic.
But this rule doesn't work anymore because newer technologies like computers and automation and the internet are destroying more jobs than they are creating. Factories that use to employ thousands of people are now run by computer-controlled machines. And countless thousands of small stores across the country have been put out of business by mega-chains like Walmart and big internet merchants like Amazon and Ebay.
So as our population continues to increase, the number of jobs for them continues to decrease and this scares the hell out of people- and especially men who traditionally have seen themselves the breadwinner. Their male ego has been trampled- so they must foster it by doing "manly" dangerous stunts- as if this would solve the problem.