Are men something more than emotionally malfunctioning women?
Regarding your statement, why do women like the “What’s Wrong with Men” discourse so much, and why do men like it so little?
I actually take issue with women who are so big about bashing on men. Good heavens. We women are not perfect and we as a culture have pushed men to the outer edges of society. We have mocked them, belittled them and basically said "you aren't needed." But in the next breath we are also saying "You should do more. Why don't you do enough? You don't make me happy."
I'm tired of women talking about "what's wrong with men." Instead how about we stay reflective of ourselves, and look at men, eager to celebrate what they have done right?!
And how about us Millennial Women and anyone who wants to join us start speaking up more to the bitter feminists: you've had your turn. The 'I am woman. I can do all things' brand stinks. It's not fun. And it is not enough. Men ARE needed. Women ARE worthy of respect. And one cannot operate without the other for a healthy, prolific society. Men deserve a seat in our lives and they are an important formula to making the world go round. I want to tell the bitter feminists, leave the men alone and let's get back to having men AND women both in the conversation with dignity and honor.
That's great, Conor. Makes me want to give you a hug.
I have felt (?! I mean thought!) for some time now that feminism owes gender-cobblers a debt of gratitude. It has forced us long-term feminists to confront a central truth -- that on the whole, and taking into account pie chart overlaps and bell curves etc -- men and women are very deeply not the same.
The feminist first wave, women like Mary Wollstonecraft and then the Pankhursts, were fighting against the law's refusal to treat women as adult human beings. The law had 1,000 years of chivalrous feudalism at its back -- no-one knew how much of femininity was socially constructed and how much innate. I can see why the first and second waves went all-in on pretending there are no differences and emphasizing the commonality.
But it's time to move on. It turns out men have a deeply programmed need for status and that home-making has a profound social value.
It's time to build the Third Wave.
I was trying to explain some of this to my daughter yesterday. One of her friends, a boy, fell of his skateboard and all the girls and his mother (!) crowded round and asked if he was ok. This made him storm off angrily which completely baffled my daughter.
Great article. I think the ‘what’s wrong with men’ trap isn’t recognised as such by some women because they’ve lived in that trap all their lives. From the earliest days society is at pains to remind us of everything that is wrong with us and provide the solutions to our flawed bodies and minds at endless expense. And the solution changes every season... The marketing opportunity of men having to change everything about themselves at someone else’s whim is enormous.
Females also have ‘psychological needs related to accomplishment, strength, usefulness and capability;’. If men can successfully push back against the ‘what’s wrong with men’ narrative, they may also start to recognise and push back against the ‘what’s wrong with women’ narrative, rejecting the pornified, corporate vision of what we should look like, how we should behave and what we should say... relentlessly pushed until we don’t know up from down. The greatest failure would be seeing this issue as men v women rather that the wholesale commodification of us all.
This is good, each sex needs to cut the other some slack. Face to face and shoulder to shoulder - perfect.
The "what's wrong with men?" question is less about women's empathy than women's frustration. Name an existential threat to our species or our planet that is not driven by men or masculinism? Some of our more "successful" men like Tucker Carlson and Josh Hawley obsess about masculinity because they know they lack it - just like the guys on Twitter who declare themselves "alpha males" definitely are not - because any positive manifestation of the masculine is observed. This obsession with masculinism - the most negative manifestation of masculinity - is what has our society rewarding psychopathy in business and politics, driving the planet to the limits of Her resources and vitality, and the Western world flirting with Fascism. Strong men are bad leaders. Fascism, by definition, is misery for the masses, even if you agree with it. Profit at any cost is exploitation and eventually suicide by our species.
I have a meme somewhere of an older, brightly dressed woman holding a sign that says "Women would carpet bomb the world with groceries" which encapsulates the difference between feminine and masculine orientations. Men are still waging war and capitalism has stores dumping perfectly edible and wearable goods, often new in package, into dumpsters, destined for landfills, instead of donating it or giving it away because that's profitable. We raise enough food to feed the world 7 times over, but we waste 40% of it and we still have people dying from starvation. There are 6 homes sitting empty for every poor sick person sleeping in the streets. Women are managers - we manage not only homes but hospital wards, schools, offices, businesses and budgets of every description and anyone who grew up in a middle or lower class family knows Mom can make a great dinner out of not much at all. The countries who had the lowest infections and death rates during the pandemic were run by women, most notable Jacinda Arden of New Zealand. We want to know "what's wrong with men" so we can fix it!
One last note about men as emotionally unstable women - men like to say women can't be trusted with power because one week of the month we are "irrational." When a woman is menstruating her hormonal balances are at their most similar to the hormonal distribution in men. If women are irrational for that one week, then men might just be irrational all the time.
This is a great essay. (Thanks to Notes for me finding it)
Do you think an exception can be made to the point about the therapeutic mindset being alien with cognitive behavioural therapy? Particularly the kind which focuses on the rational and recognises its roots in stoicism
The female fascination with male problems still reeks of the biggest problem modern females have with men: a need to control them. An oftentimes subconscious and very well-meaning need to control, in the way we all try to control things we recognize aren’t good and probably should be addressed. Unfortunately, it’s still very much wrapped up in the end result of decades of shifting social dynamics to give women not simply more power, but complete control of social narratives to the point that we are no longer given any sense of personal responsibility or have any grasp on the currency of male sympathy: respect.
Most men don’t want to be fussed over or harassed by women.
They want to feel like men. They don’t need to be analyzed and inspected and sit quietly by while their mommies fret about how to address their behavioral issues. They can rise to the occasion if we just trust their capacity as adults to lead their own lives and (gasp!) lead women and societies well, like they once largely did.
Hi, Christine Emba here ! (Long-read author, lol). This is a very good piece, and thought-provoking, and I don’t totally disagree. Will likely return to comment *at length* but just want to register that I’ve read it and appreciate it!!
There's no crying in baseball. That's it. All you need to know.
Great article thank you writing. Lots of truth here.
My phone is undergoing some kind of identity crisis and so I hope what I write here is coherent .
Love this article/essay/piece! Yeah it seems that women especially have an inability to accept that boys and girls are different.wmy husband is the head of our family. In fact for every successful marriage I know, this is true. That’s not to mean he doesn’t try to coordinate plans or doesn’t take into consideration my feelings but we are a team. There’s a reason that children who grow up in home where there is both mother and father are usually more balanced, have better self esteem and are less inclined to see the opposite sex as some kind of adversary. That’s not to say that bad, abusive parents are better than a single strong and loving one.
My late husband (an Irishman)) had an ineradicable belief that in all contentious situations if only I would take the trouble to explain his point of view to his daughters they would certainly come round to his way of thinking. I think he thought that the reason I didn't argue much with them was because I was always able to persuade them of the rightness of my positions, whereas in fact it was just that I knew that whatever I said they were always going to make up their own minds, so I didn't ever try to heart-to-heart them. That was the length and breadth of all my 'empathy'.
Exceptional work, Conor, I hope many people read this.