Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Male Myth

"Why aren't you wearing what you wore on Shabbos?" Ta asks, aghast. 

"What? I'm not wearing that fancy-shmancy suit on a date!" 

"Why not?" 

"'Why not?' He'll head for the hills! I'm pushing it as it is!" (In my sweater and skirt ensemble.) 

"Men aren't like that," Ta shakes his head. "They want you do be dressed up." 

"Ta, my Hungarian father . . . you're like that. That doesn't mean all men are."

"They aren't?" 

As a female, I'm judged all the time because I'm a girl. I'm "supposed to" have certain likes and dislikes. Adoring sci-fi and Batman is not a common feminine cliché. OK, I like makeup. And shopping. But many (many, many, many) other females don't. People are people, different people, man or woman.

Over the last few decades, it has become clear that the interests of women can vary. They build houses with pink hammers. They are soldiers. They skateboard. 
But men . . . men have had a harder time wiggling out of gender stereotypes. Enter "It's All Right to Cry, Dude" by Jim Windolf. Biblically, our men boo-hooed often. It was okay. Expressing emotion is as normal as a "typical" girl getting weepy. With all this female-emancipation stuff, one would think something as innocuous as men emitting liquid from their tear ducts would have been socially acceptable already. Guess not. 
Same here with "Single Men Face 'the Panic'." Unattached women of, er, a certain age have been known to complain of men—in general—that they don't want to commit, they're out having a good time, they all suck, while females fret over their expiration dates.

But this article shows that men, too, yearn for a hearth and home of their own. The clubbing and casual scene gets tiresome. Dudes can seek continuity and security as much as women do. Even they get asked the question, "Do you think all the good girls that you would want to marry are taken?" 
“Tonight I’m doing nothing,” [Jean-Marc Choffel] said. “I could go out, grab a girl, have fun. But the sense of life is to have kids and try to give them as much as you know. I believe in the power of the universe. I believe the day you go somewhere where you aren’t supposed to be, you end up falling in love and having babies. Definitely, I’m not giving up.”  
Girlies, the fellas are there too.      


Daniel Saunders said...

Biblically, our men boo-hooed often. It was okay.

Not just biblically. Those macho medieval knights? It was completely OK - actually, praiseworthy - for them to cry over the death of their lord.

I'm definitely a guy who wants "a hearth and home of [my] own" and not just because it's a mitzvah,not that I've ever been part of "the clubbing and casual scene". But even in the frum community there are stereotypes of what men can and can't do. As a frum guy who never went to yeshiva, but who likes cooking and loves studying Tanakh, I sometimes feel like I've crossed some kind of line somewhere into the female stereotype. I do worry about finding a mate because I never went to yeshiva (less so due to the cooking). Although my mental health issues are a bigger barrier right now.

Daniel Saunders said...

Also: my other anti-male trait is hating sport. Like you, I much prefer science fiction and Batman, as well as painting wargaming miniatures. Those are stereotypically male traits, but still minority ones.