I've read the book Wild at Heart before, and Michael read it a few months ago and really liked it. Partly from that, and partly just from reflecting on our relationship over the past couple of years, we're re-defining what's okay and what's not okay in the treatment of men in general, and in our home. What's amazing is, when we became more aware and really listened to what goes on around us pertaining to men, we were both pretty amazed at just how often men get a bad rap, or are undermined or given lower expectations to meet, or just downright insulted.
Before I go any further, I'm perfectly aware of how rough we women have it in society (for all of you feminists out there who are getting your feathers ruffled :) ). We are called to be emaciated and flawless if magazine covers and the media are any indication and we wear a dozen hats day in and day out. But that soap box is for another time.
When we were at the marriage conference I mentioned before, Michael and I were both really surprised and slightly offended when, at the very end of the seminar, one of the hosts from the main church got up and asked everyone to give all of the men a round of applause for showing up. Say wha-? We couldn't understand why the expectation was so low that just to show up was something of miraculous proportions that should be lauded and praised for the men. Should women think so little of their desire to improve their marriages and their relationships with their wives? Are women the only ones who care about strengthening their marriages? No way, Jose. In fact, my husband is the one who registered us and signed up for childcare for us and made all of the plans for us to go, and I know many other men did the same and were glad to be there.
Since then, I think my "Man-Bashing" radar has been up, because I've noticed at church, in day-to-day interactions, in the media, etc etc. that in some ways, very little is expected of our men, and their intelligence and manliness is subtly insulted far too often. In a matter of days, I've heard them referred to as "clods," I've heard someone say, "Well, he's a guy. What do you expect?" and in general have picked up on the stigma that our poor men wouldn't know how to scratch their own behinds without the help of a woman.
I'm starting to think that women who wonder why their men aren't romantic or don't have a clue or aren't very sensitive might actually be reaping what they sow. After being told by their families and society in general over and over that they don't care, they don't "get it," and they're not capable of much, why would they strive for more? The sarcasm, the public remarks, and the "funny" anecdotes about men do more harm than good, and I'm convinced they damage our relationships with the men in our lives in the long run.
Personally, I've felt convicted to be more aware of what I say and what I imply, because it carries weight and it matters, and regardless of society or others, I'll be attempting to Just say NO to Man-Bashing.
Just some soap-boxing-food-for-thought. Chew on it or spit it out as you will.
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