And women are responsible for it.
So are men.
What I’m referring to is refusing to let go of a cultural stereotype that supposedly has its roots in our make-up as mammals, specifically that women are nurturers; men are protectors.
Put another way, women are ‘sensitive’; men…we’re talking real men…are stoic and ‘strong’.
What a load of B.S., plain and simple.
Taking a look at some internet searches illustrates how ingrained this has become:
- Emotional strength: over 4 times more hits for women than men.
- Emotional awareness: over 6 times more hits for women than men.
You could easily infer that women have a much clearer understanding of the importance of being connected to their emotions. And you’d probably be right.
But, wait a minute, you say… there are ‘sensitive’ men too!
Puleeeeze, what a sure-fire way to get a guy’s eyes to roll up in his head as he simply stops listening…’sensitive’???
How about ‘decent human being’? Tell me that doesn’t work!
Think about this one: when was the last time you described a woman who was in touch with her emotions as being ‘sensitive’?
You know, when I was a single dad it never failed to to irritate me when people spoke about ‘maternal instincts’. Here I was raising my kids, basically being both Mom and Dad. So what did I have? I wasn’t being maternal and paternal, I was simply being parental!
Here’s another way to look at it – try to define what traits make a man a ‘good’ man and a woman a ‘good’ woman. Do the same exercise replacing the word ‘man’ or ‘woman’ with ‘person’. Now be honest, is there really anything different?
So let’s get beyond the stereotypes and concentrate on what makes us alike, what connects us.
You don’t have to sit around weeping over squishy commercials all day or beating a drum in the wilderness all night to be a ‘sensitive’ man; you need to be decent, connected, open, and authentic. C’mon, no more of this ridiculous posturing that has no relevance in our daily lives!
A man can express joy, sadness; he can be encouraging and understanding. A man can offer help or seek help. Hell, he can even be filled with doubt or fearful – all without losing one bit of his virility. I know plenty of decorated servicemen, for example, who can attest to that.
Let me just say this bluntly (my apologies to anyone who finds this offensive).
Being a man isn’t about balls, it’s about heart.