07.27.12 Love

Men and Women – Different Yet Not

Men and Women – Different Yet Not

BY Candace Hammond

There are three things I have a problem with. Spandex worn anywhere but the gym, techno music and the national fascination with all things Kardashian. All right, there are more than three, but I don’t want to seem too complain-y.
There is one other thing though, at the risk of making anyone roll their eyes at me and mouth, “What now?!” that keeps coming up for me, so bear with me even if you don’t agree – It is the dumbing down of men in popular culture. You may think the last group in the world who needs defending, especially by an independent thinking woman is men, but it’s my column and I’ll complain if I want to.

Perhaps it’s because my only sibling is a guy who I am ridiculously close to. Or the fact that two-thirds of my children are male. The thing is I like guys. I like guys a lot. I think they are fun, interesting and I love that they don’t think like me. I love that they are different. I may scratch my head sometimes in trying to figure out a particular line of thought, but I enjoy that.

But somehow, beginning with medicating little boys who are rambunctious and challenging, we’ve turned into a culture that seems to want to take the male-ness out of males. There seem to be more boys than girls who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but maybe it isn’t that there is anything wrong with them, maybe it’s just who they are – kids who are high energy and need to learn in a different way, like by being outdoors and out of their seats.

As they grow up men are often thought to be little more than knuckle dragging inbeciles waiting for a woman to come along and tame their wild ways. I know a lot of women who seem to truly believe that guys are not too far along in the evolutionary chain and were it not for we women, well, they would be lost, or at the very least living in squalor with nary a toilet brush.

Men are different than women. I know, duh. But I mean we’re really different in how we look at things, how we approach a problem and how we relate to others. I saw an interesting study where they observed men talking to each other and they tend to be side by side, not making constant eye contact, where women face one another and look right at one another. How we relate to one another is not the same. As women our way isn’t right or best, it’s different.
Men are capable of taking care of children, their homes and their partners. It is probably going to look different than how a woman might do it, but it’s okay. Our way isn’t the only way. If towels aren’t folded in thirds they’re no less absorbent, if he doesn’t load the dishwasher the way you do, the dishes will still get clean. It’s time to let go of feeling like we need to carry everything because if we don’t it will all go to hell. It won’t!

I am tired of commercials featuring grown men looking like helpless children asking permission to eat something, and women being the controlling witches who say no. Seriously? If anyone told me what to do I’d go do it immediately and utter an extremely untoward expletive. Very loudly.

Yes, of course I have to cop to the fact that yes, there are many ways in which men have an advantage in our culture. They earn more than we do, they often advance more quickly in careers, and they do not have to try to figure out how to “have it all” in the same way women do. It’s not equitable. But we have advantages too. It’s okay for us to cry and unburden ourselves with our friends. It’s okay to talk about how hard it is. We can be vulnerable. Men aren’t given that latitude. I’ve talked to men about this and they say, “Women tell us they want us to be sensitive, that it’s all right to cry and open up, and then you do and they don’t like it. They freak out.”

Men shouldn’t have to be strong all the time, and we shouldn’t have to take care of everything and everyone all the time. Men are not dumb and don’t need us to be their mommies. We don’t need a knight. Well, once in a while I like a nice rescue, but most of the time I can rescue myself.

We’re different, but we’re not. Both men and women want to feel loved and appreciated. Maybe we need to give each other a break and stop expecting to think alike. We never will, and I for one am glad for it.

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Candace Hammond is a freelance journalist and novelist living on Cape Cod. Candace writes about pop culture, fashion and entertainment for many publications. She is the mother of three young adult children who periodically deign to cross the bridge to come home – mostly for her homemade cookies. With a background as a life coach, Candace is fascinated by personal growth and relationships. You can follow her on Twitter @candacelhammond, and read her blog, candyspopgoestheculture.blogspot.com. Her debut novel, The Best Worst Year is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Comments

  • Rose

    I have to say, I found myself agreeing with and simultaneously arguing with this entire article, the entire time. I love men, and agree that we should celebrate their differences (at least, the ones that don’t hurt us). I also think it’s unfair to ask them to be sensitive and masculine at the same time. But really…if you think about men today and men 50 years ago, men have changed. I tend to blame this change on feminists who wanted so badly to prove that our differences meant women were “better” or “just as good”. But we should not be compared. I WILL say that there has been an extreme decline in masculinity, and rather it seems more popular now for men to discuss and even wear their feelings. The problem isn’t that they’re talking and expressing themselves…it looks more to me like women are attempting to be more masculine and men are attempting to be more feminine, and the whole thing is really quite dissapointing. Call me old fashioned, I don’t really care, but I think things made a lot more sense when the women were at home properly raising their children to become good people, while the men actually knew what working hard meant and how to make it happen so that they could take care of the families they came home to. Because they WANTED to, they wanted the big piece of chicken and they didn’t want to come home to do more work. There was simply nothing wrong with that, except for the women who didn’t agree. Today, I see lazy men and work-obsessed women like never before. I see young men complain about having to work, and go from job to job floating all over the place, expecting to find some roots. I see them wearing skinny jeans and jewelry, as they brag about their inner selves and how ‘deep’ they are. Then I see women wearing suits and concentrating more on climbing up the ladder than making sure their kids have done their homework and eaten properly. In fact, many women I know don’t even cook. I happen to know more men that do. Now, what is wrong with that picture, you ask? Well, maybe for the people who actually are happier being that way, nothing is wrong. But it looks more to me like everyone is confused about who they are, and maybe less certain than ever. There are plenty of women (myself included) who would LOVE to stay at home to cook and clean, and raise some morally decent kids. Women who want to take up different hobbies in their spare time so that they can actually enjoy the short youth they have, and then rub their husband’s back when he comes home and complains about the long day he had. I’m not saying women SHOULD be that way, I’m wondering why it’s suddenly looked down upon. Men want to work less and want less responsibility, women want more responsibility and want the credit and the money to show for it. I’m not saying that’s the most common thing, but in a world where men taking photos of themselves giving pouty faces in the mirror is the norm….shouldn’t we start to question what happened? And more importantly, shouldn’t we wonder if things weren’t actually better before technology and the feminists came along? I personally miss men for who they used to be, and most certainly miss women for who they used to be. Women weren’t looking down on other women who weren’t career obsessed, and men felt respected and honored for the hard labor they put in. If everyone wants to go ahead and accept everyone for who they are, great…but remember to accept those who are just fine with going back to the way things were, too. Not all traditions are bad. In fact, some should be celebrated as well.

    • patience

      this was paaainful to read.

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