The Man Box

July 10, 2013

I had a chat with my husband the other night about how I write about men, if men are the focus of that particular post. It came up because I asked him why men seemed hard to get through to – the good ones – because the first reaction is to somehow take it personally.

My husband was saying that I can’t bundle every man into the same box – which I completely agree with. I explained that in my mind, I absolutely don’t – but that it’s hard not to when I’m writing of the problems we face, based on statistics that come with with men’s actions.

How else can it be done?
It’s important to also understand that I hover the magnifying glass over women just as closely – if not more so. Therefore crying misandry is a mute point here.

I know – I really do – that the good men (like my husband) find the act of rape abhorrent, for example, and I also know they would never lay a violent hand on a woman – just as my husband has never laid a hand on me or on our two daughters.
They want the best for the women in their lives.

I’m afraid, though, that it’s no longer enough.
The fight has to spread beyond the walls of our home; as the horrifying outside world encroaches ever so much closer to touching our own lives – especially our girls.

How am I to express to you good males – from my/our perspective (because it counts) – the effect the male gender is having on its partner?

Partner, not enemy.

The Yang to its Yin:

Yin and Yang

‘Yin and yang are in pairs, such as the moon and the sun, female and male, dark and bright, cold and hot, passive and active, etc. But yin and yang are not static or just two separated things. The nature of yinyang lies in interchange and interplay of the two components. The alternation of day and night is such an example.’ *              

Statistically – in the BIG scheme of things – it’s a mean, sad and violent union with females:
* Personally: domestic violence + rape + VAW
* Politically: low % of women represented in government + legislation on women (only) and their bodies and
* Economically: >10% of women in clout positions in all top areas of media, publishing & business + lower pay (77c to a male’s $1).

When you step back and read the above statistics – logically – it doesn’t resonate well.

It’s unfair.
It looks like a bit of a boys’ club.

Don’t the good men feel that women and girls deserve a fairer shake of the stick?

I have often recognised and asked for the assistance of the good men on this blog.
I reach out for advice.

Sadly to deaf ears it seems, as I never actually receive suggestions of what approaches might be taken that may work on the men doing their gender a MASSIVE disservice or on the young boys who are suckling on a teat which teaches them, from an early age, to objectify women and therefore see them as less.

You live in the male realm – I don’t.

* Is it all the fault of males? No.
* Are women to blame for contributing to the imbalance? Of course they are.
You can’t have a porn t-shirt, showing a woman’s objectified body, without the woman’s participation. But we are still, ultimately, comparing apples to oranges.

The following video is a Ted Talk called MAN BOX by Tony Porter.
This is a good man, speaking up about the traits boys are raised on and how that has affected HIM personally. Boys need to see more of this.

So back to you good men.

Question # 174: Do you permit the imbalance to continue, through your silence?

I feel there are good men/bad men; good women/bad women.
I imagine a bell curve where the big, bulging, bell part is full of goodness.
But the voice, the shout, the outrage; predominantly bellows out of women. Men at times agree, of course, but where are the EQUALLY loud male voices and blogs calling out for a transformation to this paradigm?
Careful not to stumble on and trip over all the Facebook pages about sluts…

Using the Nanny State excuse leaves us hopeless because there must be a moment where the line is crossed.

Haven’t we already crossed it?

I thought I’d leave you with this collection of comments left on people’s Twitter accounts about the Female Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli.

THIS is hatred.
Many of the comments were left by men with images that suggest they’re in a relationship.

How do we change this, guys?

Deep Breath




8 Responses to “The Man Box”

  1. katedrury said

    My mother just accused me of being a ‘man hater’ because I posted something on my FB page about how men can react when women are angry. Nothing baffles me more than when women accuse other women of man hating when they are really just speaking out and demanding the right to be heard. :0/

    I am lucky to have some good men in my life. Men like women come in all shades; some good some not so. I look forward to the time when good men and women are no longer afraid to speak out and when those who become a little more silent are those with attitudes that are so destructive!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Exactly, a time when all the good people fight the bad – Lord of the Rings style! 😀
      I’m sorry your mum said that to you. Bum. x

  2. Harls said

    I suspect the only think these neanderthals would respond to, would be a shaming from their mates. Problem is, their mates are just the same and not likely to step up.
    Here is how I see it: looking at the history of humanity, females were seriously repressed for 99% of it. Now in these “enlightened” times, women are considered equal by most, but there still exists a neanderthal rump that are still in the dark ages. In this respect, gender equality is akin to gay rights. Both have come a long way, but unfortunately with a fair way to go.
    It’s up to ALL men to speak up when they hear a wrong comment made by another guy, not laugh along. We are getting there, just as the gay rights movement has made massive strides in the last few decades. It will take a while longer and I daresay it will NEVER be complete, just as I suspect for the gay community.
    Just a comment – your “good men” distinction sounds a little like you are casting around for the good ones in a sea of bad ones. I know this is not your intent. Surely just “men” will do, as the majority of us are good and don’t need to be qualified as such?

    • questionsforwomen said

      Funnily enough, me calling you just ‘men’ was precisely the thing my husband DIDN’T like and hence the reason why I wrote the post as I did.
      And I don’t think there are good men in a sea of bad men – I know there are more good than bad – but it FEELS like there’s more bad.
      Yes, I agree that speaking up with mates is great – I just think it needs more of a face/presence in the media that kids can see – so that it’s not just those banshee women.
      We’ll get there. 🙂

  3. Laura said

    Well this is a great topic, and one I am talking a lot to my partner about as I embark on starting my own blog to discuss issues for young women (AND MEN)…
    This is just the conundrum, the issues hit women the hardest, but they need men and women to work on solving them.
    We discussed the use of terms like ‘womens issues’ and ‘feminism’ and how most men will automatically tune out when they hear this term because without meaning to they assume its not relevant for them…
    I cant say we came to a full conclusion as we are continuing discussions while I start up writing, but I can say that the TED talk “Jackson Katz – Violence Against Women is a Mens Issue” was a really good help!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thanks for writing in, Laura, and I hope your blog kicks off well. We sound like we have similar concerns about the current paradigm.
      I did see that TED talk – I know I definitely put it on my Questions for Women Facebook page a while back. But as you say, many men seem to take a defensive stance when trying to address issues of their gender.
      We can only keep writing – voicing our concerns – and hope that we see some change occur.
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  4. Personally, I don’t have a problem since, as you point out, you’re talking about men but not all men. And I agree with what you say as well. We men do tend to get defensive first, just as I’ve noticed some women get defensive if I make similar-sounding statements about women. It is (I guess) the way that it is.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Sadly, yes it is.
      Each gender has its pitfalls and we can probably see ourselves in them a bit, when we start to defend them.
      It’d be nice if could just think logically and become aware of this bad habit and see the problem, not play the blame game.
      Thanks heaps for your comment 🙂

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