Saturday, December 8, 2012

Men, Women, The Wars There Of

So, after I gave such a bang up review of the Demise of Guys, there's a new book that seems to want to talk about the same theory (though I don't yet know what it suggests.) Now, obviously, Men on Strike has not been released, so I can't make any judgment what-so-ever on what it says. This is important for you to remember. I have no intention of reading that book either, it really isn't my cup of tea.

First of all, I don't think there is a War on Men, though I do agree with the author's point that we should not solely be looking at men as the cause of the problem. It's a very feminist and egalitarian opinion I hold, but: I think both genders are contributing to whatever problem (if indeed, there is one) with lower marriage rates.

The only reason I dove into attacking the Demise of Guys thesis is because I knew they were wrong, because they were positing things within my sphere of competence. When it comes to women and marriage, those are outside my sphere, so I'm hesitant to say much except that I think a lot of the issues surrounding the decline of marriage can't be laid at the feet of a single gender. Doing that, either by men or women, is another example of a growing factionism in American society. It's most prevalent in the console wars and politics. That's a joke; even Democrats can get along with Republicans most of the time.

I mean, I agree with this part: "Because (sacrifice and capitulation) are the underpinnings of a long-term marriage – for both sexes," but I don't know if you can say that women are the ones who have to become comfortable with that realization, like the previous, unquoted sentence did. That just further alienates the point of the author's supplied italics: Both people in a relationship (regardless of whether we're talking romantic or not) need to be willing to give a little. That's the nature of relationships as a whole. Why are we dispensing this sort of advice on the Internet? This is common sense that, frankly, seems a little insulting to package as "Men are idiots, women are bitches." Which, really, the majority of these gender debates seem to narrow down to. That sitcommy anvilicious thinking has caused probably as much problem as idiotic men and bitchy women.

A lot of the specific points in both the Truce in the War on Men and Demise of Guys pieces are nonsensical. America has not become "anti-male," and men are not simply rationalists avoiding the evils of the XX chromosome. The crux of both arguments completely ignore the second gender in this equation. That's bad reasoning; it doesn't stop being a flaw because we shift our bad reasoning to women is over simplifying a complex problem. As much as I say I enjoy simple solutions to complex problems, I'm talking about cutting the Gordian Knot, not gender and society.

Honestly, I don't put a whole lot of thought into these gender studies, and for all I know, all of my writing is nonsense and the people I am criticizing are geniuses in their fields. But, a lot of the writing is surface-level, pop psychology like the Why You're Not Married article: "The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them." Here's a clue: That's not just men. I doubt women wake up in the morning and say: "Today, I hope a really angry jerk asks me to dinner. That would be so nice; I hate when people are nice to me." Here's a secret that, maybe, I shouldn't be sharing: Nice guys don't finish last, despite what everyone tries to tell you. Whenever someone tells you this, they are selling you something, and, like most products that come with a hard sell, you should think twice before buying.

Women who want to get married? They probably want to marry someone who is nice to them. I know this may rock many people's worlds, so, here's a musical interlude while you get your socks back on.

People don't work that way. In fact, you could turn around pretty much everything McMillan says to women and apply it to men. Why aren't you married? You're mean; you're not looking for people who want to get married; you can't commit; you're a liar; etc. So much of this pop psychology and gender-warfare could end if people would just admit: People are flawed. We suck.

Now, let's get better.



The odd thing is that even authors who are supposedly looking out for men's best interests seem to continue to fall into the trap of the Demise of Guys thesis by confusing grown up men with teenage and pre-teen boys: "I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband." Lady: Unless you have a really messed up relationship with that kid (which I doubt she does), that's entirely incorrect

Also, I think the Romance tag is the most misused tag in this entire blog. Another sidenote, what started as a brief, quick: "How weird is this book that ties into something I talked about before" quickly spun out of control. Now, I should go get lunch.

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