Imagine that a man gets up to speak to a crowd, and he tells them that women are dumb. Imagine that he jokes that having a wife is like having another child to look after. Imagine that he tells this hilarious joke: Women are like fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it’s our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with.
There’s no doubt he would be run out of town and labeled a sexist jerk forever.
Now imagine that a woman stood up and said the same things about men. She would be considered witty and wise.
Tune into any female comedian, writer, or commentator, and you’ll find that male bashing is a favorite topic of conversation. Men, according to these women, are nothing more than money in the bank account and sperm donors. It seems that women have free reign to say whatever they want about men, and it’s deemed acceptable, and, for the most part, true.
And, we’ve all done it. We hear it so much we do it without even thinking. When we do this, we send messages to our husbands that we don’t respect them, that we enjoy belittling and embarrassing them, and that their feelings aren’t important. Are our husbands used to this talk? Of course, they’ve heard it their entire lives in a million different forms. But, they are not made better by it. They aren’t convicted by it or motivated to change when we talk this way. In fact, they are probably resolved that they cannot make women happy, that no matter how hard they work or how much they sacrifice or how wonderful they are, women are still going to say, Yeah, but you are still just a baby in a man’s clothes. If it weren’t for me, you would be a wandering idiot with no sense of where to go or what to do.
But, what’s even more sad is what we’re saying to our sons when we talk this way. Somehow we act as if little boys are a special breed of male, not having reached the magic age that suddenly makes them dumb and basically useless. But, what do you think happens to little boys who spend their entire childhood listening to their mothers discuss how moronic men are, how immature and how helpless they are? Is this the role that we want our boys fulfilling one day? Do we want to teach our boys that they can dream of being whoever they want to be, as long as they are aware that the main thing they’ll be is an idiot? We are killing their notions that they can be the strong and smart heroes that they want to be. They may dream of being like their daddies someday, and all the while we are telling them their daddies are dummies, and they will grow up to be dummies, too.
We are wounding our boys and our men in very real ways with this foolish way of talking. And, we are certainly doing nothing to inspire future generations of men to be more of what we want.
So, I implore you, 2014 women: let’s be a little more enlightened, a little more mature, and let’s show our boys that they and their daddies are respect-able, competent hero material. And, when we, the very first lesson-teachers, do this little thing that is so big, our boys get a trusted reflection of what they need to become just by looking in our faces and hearing our encouraging words.
Our boys deserve better. And so do our men.