Marc Rudov lists five myths about women:
1. “Women don’t like or need sex as much as men”
2. “Women aren’t as visually stimulated or as obsessed with looks as men are.”
3. “Women are more faithful than men.”
4. “Women are more relationship oriented than men – men prefer to date.”
5. “Women are kinder, gentler and more romantic than men.”
These implicit myths about women are as much a problem for women as they are for men. They are bullshit, and blanket endow all women with virtues they may not necessarily have.
How about if we flip these on their head?
1. “Men don’t like or need sex as much as women”
2. “Men aren’t as visually stimulated or as obsessed with looks as women are.”
3. “Men are more faithful than women.”
4. “Men are more relationship oriented than women – women prefer to date.”
5. “Men are kinder, gentler and more romantic than women.”
It does seem odd to read these flipped-around myths – but I bet you can think of your own examples where men have been more faithful, gentle, or less focussed on sex than women. Women will shout these down as exceptions to the rule but I believe this is more because they feel their position on Mt Moral High Ground is threatened rather than because the myths are true. The myths, to a degree, also socially condition men and women and frame how they see each other.
Men have been imprisoned in a cage that refuses to acknowledge their fidelity, their self-control, their ability to see beyond mere surface appearance, their empathy, idealism, kindness and that all these qualities are a part of masculinity. The cold, unemotional John Wayne is bullshit — and men should junk this false cardboard cutout of maleness.
The 50s tough guy man is a modern invention and denies the great spirit, and tradition of male emotion and experience. We men are able to control our emotions – we must do so to be to be good firemen, coast guards or policemen. Our ability to control our emotions is a great strength of men and one that was always traditionally celebrated. The great sagas, fairy tales and epic poems celebrate this and look down on men who gave in to their passions and indulged their emotions without any vestige of thought or reason.
Up til not long ago, popular tales or accounts of men, of explorers, shipwreck survivors or soldiers, often celebrated this ability to control fear, despair and other destructive emotions, and men’s strength in getting on with the job. If you are in an overcrowded lifeboat in the Midatlantic, and you are running out of water, and you are suffering from sunstroke, it is not helpful to crawl into a ball and cry as the water seeps in through the caulking in the boat.
There is a great difference between control and denial. By controlling emotions, it doesn’t mean we deny them, it just means that we need to know when and how to let those emotions flow. Manginas get it wrong, because they think that maleness and emotionality are incompatible. We men have our own emotions and they cannot be anything but masculine. How could they not be – we are men! Men’s emotions simply differ in degree of maturity and his progress along the path of manhood.
As for fidelity, it is simply a fact that women cheat as much as men – but other women generally ‘close ranks’ and give ad hoc excuses for why that woman’s infidelity was OK “She must have felt destitute” or “He probably never listened to her/He ignored her” etcetera.
I grant full equality to women: they can be as shallow, destructive, duplicitous, brutal, callous, cynical, lecherous, manipulative and hollow as men can be.
We men don’t have to accept the myths that grant women immunity from their vices. Don’t buy into them, and don’t let women hoist their pennant, unchallenged, on Mt Moral High Ground.
Don’t accept these myths, don’t be a willing sheep in the Mythocracy.