Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lack of Backbone...Ballbuster Women and Milquetoast Men

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about backbones and the relationships between men and women. What does one have to do with the other...? Well lots if you're having some of the conversations I've been having lately with my girlfriends. Despite have a degree in Women’s Studies I still don’t seem any closer to figuring out the roles of men and women in society. First, the thing about backbones…I’ve been noticing, both through experiences of my own and those of others, that most of the guys I'm/we're meeting are seriously lacking in that department. Whether it is an unwillingness to get pens as NotCarrie called it or simply not being able to say/ask/demand what they want; in short men are starting to fail me. However, when I take a look at what pop culture has spewed out I realize that society, in general hasn’t helped.

Case in point, I was channel surfing, something that I rarely do, because I'm fed up with the drivel they serve up as tv, but on this particular day I had decided to make a concerted effort to find something different than what I normally watched. I landed oddly enough on one of my faves from about 7 - 10 years ago, "Boy Meets World". Unfortunately, it was at the point when the slow was doing its descent into hell because they had taken it beyond high school, into the college years, but I digress.

Cory and Topanga, were having dinner at some frou frou restaurant and trying to show, his best friend (can't remember, nor do I care about this kid's name) and his new wannabe girlfriend (could care less about her name) how happy they were as a couple. As with most sitcoms what they did was show how not to be a couple in love, with Topanga losing her temper with said milquetoast boyfriend because she can't even remember why they are at this restaurant. She proceeds to yell at him, then growl (grrr) at the head waiter when he timidly requests, (another milquetoast), that she keep her yelling to a dull roar. When she questions why Cory isn't getting angry at her because of she is yelling at him, what does he do? He lets out a roar that was befitting of his cowed status...(grrr). The longer I watched the more I started thinking about the life of this show...Topanga ruled over Cory...always. He didn't have any definite opinions (that I remember), or make any decisions. He went to her school because that's where she went, he did everything for her, totally devoted himself to her and in my opinion, lost the right to his man card, or rather gave it to her along with a strap-on to hit just the right spot as she screwed him...over and over. On the other side she never deferred to him for anything and had few if any apologies, in fact the only time I believe I saw her let him take the lead is when he proposed...and I think she even took that away somewhat by turning him down and then later proposing to him (I've considered looking at this series again, but have decided my mind couldn't take it).

This is one small example of what I'm trying to get across. Where do the roles that we would like to play out as men and women take a back seat to what society has told us we should be expecting? I'm not saying that women shouldn't expect to get equal treatment. I'm not saying that men shouldn't treat women like equals. What I am saying is when are we going to let each other off the hook for acting like a girl and a boy? For doing the things that, for lack of a better word, come instinctively? I have female friends who can't cook and are proud of it, but I love to cook and love having people eat my cooking...does that make me less of a strong woman because of that? Likewise, I have male friends who are handy with the tools, which I am not so and will gladly let them come repair anything I manage to break in my home. But, would they even think of pushing the envelope a little with me if they liked me...probably not, because they've been told that they can't just kiss a woman because they want to. Instead they have to do some sort of ritualistic dance of the dinner and movie variety before getting around some sort of bases and then one more sports metaphor and they're in...

So where does that leave me...besides looking for a chiropractor, you mean? Not sure, but I think I've come to my bottom line. I want a guy who's willing to fight for the opportunity to love me, because I'm going to do the same. I want a guy who has got enough balls to approach me and not go whimpering into a corner when I give him attitude. Either rework you approach and try again or tell me what you think about my rebuff, you might be surprised. And ladies, if you're a ballbuster (and I know many of us are), take off the brass knuckles every once in while, we may be in for a surprise.

Hell, we're always underestimating each other anyway.


KassyK said...

Great post and I could not agree more. My ex and I lasted for 7 years bc he was there for me in every way (being a real man) and yet yelled back when I was a psycho bitch (again being a real man).

He never overpowered or intimidated me but then again never let me do the same.

True equality is hard to find in a relationship but if you do, it can be quite beautiful. :-)

Anonymous said...

ok, second try commenting.

This was a great post and I totally agree with everything you said. As much as I love the fact that women are now more self-sufficient, I don't understand how some men have taken a back seat. There is nothing more attractive than a man that goes after what he wants. It is a total role reversal. Women have gained more equal rights, but the men have regressed in chivalry. But maybe is it is all due to the cosmic balance of the world?!

Ar-Jew-Tino said...

I thought I would make it through my entire life without hearing a well-thought out analysis of Boy Meets World's impact on modern men-women relations. Thank goodness it didn't come to that.

Seriously, very interesting post. I think a lot of it has to do with the generation gap as well as cultural. Many of my female friends in their early to mid-20s complain about men their age and say that anyone currently younger than 28 just doesn't get it. Luckily, I'm 31 and I do.

NotCarrie said...

Maybe they're revolting since we keep insisting they need to ask US out, and kiss US first, and always pay when we go out;)

Dawn said...

I totally agree. My friends who've gotten married are the ones who basically intimidated thier man into proposing. I certainly want to be married, but I don't want a wussy. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

i think cory's best friend's name was shawn. yes, i used to love boy meets world. i guess i never really analyzed the relationship in the show before. but you are so right.

it's kinda confusing 'coz women want to be treated equally as in having fair opportunities as men but at the same time we also want to be treated like women.

i guess all women just want a man to be a man without being too insensitive. of 'coz that's in perfect world.

Chuckles said...

Yeah, I have seen about 5 minutes of that show and I now it sucked.

I have teeth and I am not afraid to show them. Some of my exes have said that I am too willing to state my opinion when we are breaking up. These are the same women that claim that my passionate stance in the world is attractive when we first meet.

Maybe I have too much backbone.

Anonymous said...

Actually, most of us women want our cake and eat it too (mmm, cake..). We want to be treated like equals and be given the same opportunities. But we also want to be treated like females - which traditionally means deference and being taken care of. We want to be treated both like women who can take control and little girls who need to be controlled. We want it all. And that is why men dont want to, and need to be "intimidated" to, marry us.

Anonymous said...

Also, "showing teeth". Noone sane enjoys a partner who "shows teeth". You ideally want a partner who can disagree and show individualized opinion, but in a manner that is constructive. The only women I know who like when their men yell at them are masochistic. And the only women I know who like to yell at their men are somewhat sadistic. And the couples where they both yell at eachother - well, they usually do not last.

Basically, be mature and havean opinion. But dont be a bitch. I know, simpler said than done.

2.0 said...

This is the first time I post here, but I just had to after this great and very true post. As a man, I can understand exactly where you're coming from.

But please don't feign ignorance: the women's lib movement made this generation into wimps, when I think women SHOULDN'T be treated as equals, because WE ARE NOT EQUALS. (Quite a controversial stance, I will admit, but unfortunately it will be many years before all of you will come to believe it's true. It's simply too non-PC right now).

I say: embrace our differences. We can't exist or live a meaningful life without each other. One person must be submissive, and the other dominant. I don't care if it's the man or the woman, but stop acting as though we are equal. No relationship will EVER last if there is equality, and if it does, you can trust that the sex won't be hot.

In the end, it comes out to primal instincts. If we don't approach you, it's because we've been wired from thousands of years of evolution, when if we approached a woman and got rejected, we would be ostracized, and banned from the tribe. But ladies, if a man today is attracted but doesn't approach you, the guy is a wimp.

The most important thing I learned as I evolved is: all women just want to be bent over.

2.0 said...

Just to clarify: I fully believe everybody should have equal rights and privileges. I just think that you can't bring this same equality into the bedroom.

Marko said...

Great post. It definitley made me think.
I think we do underestimate each other alot and when we do...I think we miss out.

Anonymous said...

It goes back even further than that, look at Ward Cleaver and Ricky Ricardo - while they may have been condescending in their approach they always gave in to what their wive's wanted.

Even if you are the type of guy, like myself, who has cave man "drag your woman around by the hair" tendencies when you show them and keep them in check depends on the situation and the woman.

Oh, and I would happily meet NotCarrie in the supply closet any time :).

NotSamantha said...

2.0 your stance on the sexes not being equal has merit. And you may be onto something that most aren't ready to deal with. Can the sexes be equal and not at the same time. I think so. Today's BDSM community shows this dynamic to be true and while its just beginning to make itself known in society I think that the further men and women begin to explore their sexuality the more they will realize this.

I too believe not everyone can be the alpha dog, someone's gotta beta and while that doesn't mean a lack of power it does seem to mislead others into believing that secondary means weaker, which is not necessarily true.

Anonymous said...

What it really comes down to is that if women start acting like men, then the only men who're going to want them are the ones that act like women. A real man doesn't want to date another man; we know where that part of town is if we want to try it. We want a woman who looks and acts like a woman.

See, the problem with feminism in the US is it's never been about equality. You can be equals while still being different, but feminists have never signed on to that ideal. They've swung back and forth between female superiority and women trying to be men, and neither gets them what they want.

Every (straight) woman I know wants to marry a Ward Cleaver, except with sex appeal. And you know what? All the Wards I know want to marry a June Cleaver (mixed with a little Jenna Jameson). We don't want a woman who _tells_ us what to do or insists she's always right. As Allan says above, Ward always did what June wanted when it mattered -- and because of that June trusted Ward to have the final say. He put her on a pedestal and she treated him like a king, and they both got what they wanted in the end. In short, you can pick the pants, but we wear them.

Ever notice the standard wedding vows are "love, honor, and cherish" for the man, but "love, honor, and obey" for the woman? Not so fashionable now, perhaps, but it worked for several thousand years, whereas today we have a 50%+ divorce rate. Women aren't living up to their end of that bargain anymore, and so neither are men. You act like bitches, and we'll act like assholes (or wimps, depending on the guy). Act like June, and that guy you're with may turn into a Ward -- if he's not so jaded by now he's forgotten how.

NotSamantha said...

Anon - Another great response. Feminism has given an ideal for a society that's left women and men both confused. Not the first time that one sex has taken things overboard. The interesting part is going to be meeting someone and getting them to understand just that. I'm willing to give it a shot if he is.

NotCarrie said...

I'm up for being barefoot and pregnant if I've got any takes. I'll even bake.