In our society males are traditionally reared in the old competitive mode of the animal kingdom. So with women's advancement in fields previously considered male territory, how he reacts depends on the man. If by early conditioning, or because of emotional immaturity, a man already considers women inferior, what does this do to his male pride? Could the increasing violence toward women be an expression of emotional insecurity and unresolved anger? Of his inability to cope with the decline of long-held traditional roles?
What does a man feel, how does he react when he suddenly discovers that the old rules of "keep 'em barefoot and pregnant" no longer need to hold us back? And if the loss of accepted power to dominate a woman is an underlying cause of increasing violence toward women, how can we help men realize what we are really asking of them? That far from reducing their role in our relationship. we are asking them to give more of their reality to us.
The macho male image, strong in some cultures, does little to encourage men to be open and perceptive in their relationships with women. It will require a definite change in the way they relate to us. They might actually discover that it's nice to be able to express their feelings and not always be expected to have control of every situation.
There is no doubt that we women are demanding a long overdue chance to express our talents and abiities. And it is only fair that we finally receive equal pay for equal work, but present research on violence toward women should also alert us to the dangers inherent in this evolutionary transition toward balance.
I believe we women have a big responsibility. History is full of examples of women who led the way in social and humanitarian reforms. Relationships are our god-given business. And we are good at it --- when we want to be.
Fortuntely, we have help. Many men have also joined the crusade to steer humanity safely through the troubled waters that an exit from stereotyped roles produced. In his book Michael McGill, Ph.D., Professor at Southern Methodist University, competently addresses the inabiity of men to share their thoughts and feelings, even with each other. The McGill Report on Male Intimacy is an eye-opener for women as well as for men, and should be read by both sexes.
We women can start by doing some individual and collective soul-searching. Consider the following questions, privately and honestly. Especially if you are a teenager who has forgotten that this period of your life is less than a third of your probable life span. So how will it affect the rest?
- Do you actually want to have sex with most of the males you meet and know? Do they really attract you? Do they appeal in any way beyond their physical appearance?
- Are you using sex as a tradeoff?
- Are you caught in the trap where you are afraid that saying NO may produce a social vacuum?
- Do you sometimes have the feeling you are caught in a revolving door, not going anywhere you want to go?
- Are you just marking time? Hoping that at least one frog will turn into a prince; therefore the more frogs, the better your chances?
Well some frogs, like toads, can produce warts. And society's warts are clearly evident today in the herpes and AIDs plagues that first struck the sexually permissive part of society but now strike the innocent and the newborn.
Are we women still operating under the old value system that required so many cows or camels as proof of our worth? What is your gut reaction to the following statement made by a television executive named George Gerber; it's still an industry standard:
In a basically male-oriented power structure, you can't
alienate the male viewer. But you can get away with
offending women because most women are pretty well
brainwashed to accept it.*
I rest my case.
*New Woman's A Thump On The HEAD To. . . August 1983.
Copyright (c) 2010 Anne Forrest Elmore