Skip to comments.What Can Manly Men Expect of Women?
Posted on 12/22/2009 9:14:21 AM PST by SnakeDoctor
Awhile back, Leo posted these delightfully nostalgic and funny Marital Rating Scales from 1939 in the Community:
[See linked article]
After having a good laugh, what Kate and I both noticed after reading through these charts was that while we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husbands Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wifes Chart, hed probably be met with the look of death.
Now obviously some of the expectations on both charts are just silly, and part of the reason that the Wifes Chart seem even sillier is that a womans place in society has changed far more than a mans during the last 70 years.
But its also indicative of a new double standard that has emerged in our modern age. Women are still free to flog men for their shortcomings and expect a lot from them, but if a man has any expectations for women, the conversation is bound to go something like this:
[See linked article]
It seems like men are catching onto to this movement to recover some of the good things of the past, while holding onto the progress weve made. I was just reading this interesting article in the NYT about how 20-something men are rejecting the whole casual, let it all hang out Baby Boomer vibe thats dominated society for the last few decades and are starting to want to dress up and look sharp. This quote, from a college professor, particularly stood out to me:
But the younger generation is looking at getting dressed up and making their mark, Mr. Cohen continued. Its a real generation gap here. I teach at three different colleges, and I am amazed how dressed up some of the students are. Girls still come in their hoodies and pajamas, but boys come in their suits.
In some ways, the new movement towards a return to traditional manliness needs women to be on board to be successful. After all, if you have men opening doors and asking women on real dates, and theyre just laughing in your face, thats clearly not going to work out too well. And if you have men striving to be their best, but they feel like women arent even trying, youve got a recipe for creating strained relations between the sexes and bitter and disillusioned men who think all women are an unappealing mess who are not worth the trouble of dealing with (something you already see in certain online communities).
We often get emails from women who praise us up and down for the mission of the Art of Manliness. This is just what men need! they say. I love the idea of bringing back traditional manliness! they tell us. We love that women are on board with the movement, but it makes us wonder, Okay, if men are manning up, what are women going to do to follow suit?
After all, if women say theyre not in favor of a genderless society, and they want men to be men, then they have to be prepared for the flip side of that equation. A world where women are women.
Now dont get me wrong. A mans desire to man up should really have little to do with women and their opinion of him. Basing their lives around the opinions of women is exactly where men have gone wrong these last few decades. A man should want to seek true manliness out of his desire for confidence, honor, and self-respect.
But its also wrong-headed to think that womanliness has nothing to do with manliness. It would be hard to define manliness unless it was juxtaposed beside femininity, the way we wouldnt be able to define dark, without the experience of light.
And its also indisputable that men used to be motivated to be honorable men because they felt they got something in return from the women in their lives. Manning up involves some sacrifice, but men didnt feel like they were the only ones making an effort. Men dressed up, took women on dates and paid, brought home the bacon, took care of their wives, and acted as the rock in the family. In return, they could count on women to look classy and attractive, be charming, cook dinner, take care of the house and kids, and make her man feel like king of the castle.
But these days a new double standard has emerged where its okay to celebrate men manning up, but telling women they need to recover some of their femininity is offensive. To wit:
A woman telling a man to stop looking like a slob and dress up. Awesome!
A man telling a woman to stop looking like a slob and take care of herself. Sexist!
Saying that men should stop hooking up with women. Awesome!
Saying that women should stop sleeping around. Sexist!
Saying that men should get off the couch and go to work. Awesome!
Saying that a woman should be nurturing with kids. Sexist!
Saying that men should take the initiative in relationships. Awesome!
Saying that a woman should let the man lead (ever!). Sexist!
Well, you get the idea. The are a few reasons for the disparity. The first is that men spent most of world history in a position of privilege (although there were real downsides to being a man during this time, too). Then the womens movement happened and they lost that position. So when it comes to recovering aspects of traditional manliness, men are excited to get on board (not because they want the exact same position back, but simply because they see the past fondly). Women, on the other hand, fought for the last few decades for the position that they now find themselves in. So even if they arent totally happy with it, looking back to recover what was good about the past makes them feel like theyre betraying what their sisters fought for. And if anyone suggests that bringing back some old school femininity might be a good idea, its been ingrained in them that they should be offended.
Second, women have historically been put on a pedestal, as the protectors of morality, while men have been disparaged as being baser in their nature. So its always been socially acceptable to castigate men but not women, because of the implicit understanding that women were just naturally pure and didnt need much external encouragement to be good. Some feminists still seem to hold to this idea-that men and women are equal, but really-wink, wink- we all know that men are actually pigs. A real head scratcher to be sure.
But these days women say they dont want to be on a pedestal, that putting them there is sexist! So now that were on equal footing, can we admit that todays women need some work too?
Could we perhaps say that equality shouldnt mean embracing and outdoing men in things that were traditionally considered masculine? That making out with other chicks for attention and lifting your shirt for beads and getting smashed and burping the alphabet and dressing in sweatsuits really has very little to do with being liberated?
That if men are going to know their way around a kitchen, that maybe women could, too? (I know lots of women my age who couldnt cook to save their life.)
That you cant insist on both being treated like a princess while also being a totally independent woman? (And that these dual impulses are driving men nuts?) And that a lot of relationships are falling apart not because there arent any good men to be found, but because women are so paranoid about losing their identity that they cant settle down and give themselves over to being with a man? (Did you know that 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?)
Now dont get me wrong. Were certainly not advocating a Get back in the kitchen! movement. Just like traditional manliness, recovering traditional womanliness will require sorting through which is the baby and which is the bathwater. And that sorting seems like an even more difficult task than it is for men. A veritable minefield where PC-ness, reality, history and progress collide.
“That you cant insist on both being treated like a princess while also being a totally independent woman? (And that these dual impulses are driving men nuts?) And that a lot of relationships are falling apart not because there arent any good men to be found, but because women are so paranoid about losing their identity that they cant settle down and give themselves over to being with a man? (Did you know that 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women?)”
I wonder if half the reason marriages fall apart is because the men are tired of being treated like a science experiment for Oprah’s latest social theory on relationships. These days a lot of women (and sometimes men) want the best of both worlds. The ones that are really paying for it are the children.
A: So they could stand closer to the stove.
BREAKING NEWS!!!! Boston.com reported that Catherine Zeta-Jones flashed the audience at A Little Night Music last night. VA VA VOOM!
Well, I guess we can at last put THAT one in the can where it belongs.
(The Manly Man is behind the camera, 'cause he's the only one who knows how to work it.)
What I notice is that many men do not just expect a woman to be attractive, sexually responsive, sweet, and a good homemaker. They also expect her to be a great professional success.
I’m an intelligent, very attractive, cultured, very fit, warm and supportive woman. But for many years I was married and the stay-at-home mom of two sick kids and the wife of a rather demanding husband, so I never really developed a stunning career as an attorney, physician, etc. Now that I’m out in the dating world, I’m AMAZED at the number of men who are gravely disappointed that I just have a humble job. I surmise that they don’t want to have to be concerned about an eventual property settlement, and don’t want to have to support me. Fair enough. But since when is working with dignity been insufficient? And these are conservative men who should theoretically care about traditional values. Yeesh! You guys think women are hard to please, but it works both ways.
Heck, I’m proud of the fact that I have done well in my job, maintain and am rehabbing a good-sized house and yard, have gotten my kids through school and into college with very little help from the X, have been developing a little home business, train horses, stay in shape, do volunteer work, and go to church. But that’s not enough: I have to have a six-figure income too. You guys are a little bit hard to please.
And I'm a man.
So you appear to be a well-spoken, intelligent, ( you are here for one!! : ) ) highly achieving woman.
I've a Q horse....what do you have?
I have always told my husband that the hardest job is his. The Bible says how important a woman’s job is, but it is his job to put those tasks AND the woman doing them in a place of honor... to do it publicly. This adds value to what doing those tasks means to him as well.
My father always complimented my mother on a delicious dinner, etc. and encouraged us kids to join in with our appreciative comments.
Edith, “Get me a beer!”
“What’s for dinner?”
You sound great. Do you like the outdoors and can you cook?
About 5 years ago, my college (a Southern Baptist school) printed a letter in the advice column. It was from a guy complaining that the women who were attending school were not being submissive to men like the Bible commanded.
The consensus of most of the women on campus was that until the guys were willing to step up and be men, the women on campus were going to have to be on their own. Some guys, not all but some seem to think that being a man is a question of gender and it’s not. Male is gender, being a man is in someone’s actions. And there are not alot of guys out there willing to step up and be men.
It is unnerving really. It’s not enough that you have solid morals, discipline, but you have to be at the top of your profession, any profession.
“But since when is working with dignity been insufficient?”
I have no idea. Both sides want too much out of each other really. A lot of that reminds me of George Clooney, the male secretary.
He seems to be holding out for the billionaire businesswoman, the scientist, female diplomat, the one woman on this planet who is the Alpha Female. Without realizing that such women have better options and can’t afford to throw their lives away to be the plaything of an actor.
Clooney reminds me a lot of those secretaries who are desperate to marry the billionaire while the billionaire dates the heiress/businesswoman and bonks the secretary on the side.
He wants a woman in a prestigious field and won’t settle for ‘less’ because in his mind he deserves better.
He at one point was desperate to date Fatima Bhutto, the niece of the slain Pakistani Prime Minister, but it didn’t work because he tried to get her to come to LA the same way he does with waitresses and bartenders. But she (Fatima) isn’t the sort that has the schedule a person can just drop for him.
I don’t think he can do better than a skeevy waitress or party girl bartender. His career also cripples him because a lot of women in the diplomatic/political field he is desperate to climb into have a reputation to maintain and it would kind of make them look bad to be seen dating (seriously) someone like Clooney who is in the end, merely an actor.
He might be Mr. BMOC in Hollywood, but in the rest of the world he’s no different than a male prostitute, the same way actresses are viewed as mistress, not wife material.
If one thing I have learned the hard way (not through divorce) is that a lot of men who are ambitious, but aren’t focused, tend to be bitter, frustrated men who end up abusing their wives. I know about the horror stories that abound about how such/such man married his secretary who ended up being a social monster, but there’s a little known world where successful women/socialites marry these men with intense ambitions and end up in abusive relationships because the men want their wives to open doors for them, to be the perfect social automaton, to never contradict them or make them look inferior.
You can guess what I have from my user name: an OTTB mare! ;-)
True irony. I told a friend of mine that he had lately reminded me of Frank Sinatra or James Stewart. He said, “I have been reading the Art of Manliness blog.” Now, I see you posting an article from the blog.
Back in ancient times, when I was a kid, it was debated whether a woman should work outside the home. Nowadays, she is not only expected to work but have a high-powered career. Maybe it's concerned sexy, given our current eroticized -- and narcissistic -- age. But traditional female jobs like secretary, nurse, librarian, teacher, etc. are seen as dull or mediocre. Never mind she's independent or responsible. She just isn't exciting enough.
Sorry — “considered sexy.” (Hard to post with a migraine!)
There is a difference between being treated like a princess vs. expecting to be treated like a princess. The former involves grace, generosity and humility. The latter involves pride, entitlement and vanity. The former knows the attention, lavish gifts, and stature are more from dumb luck than personal effort (a la "there but for the grace of God go I"). The latter demands that which is not earned and may in fairness evaporate upon contempt, whim or disfavor.
Be grateful for what you receive, and gracious for what you don't - that is the way of the princess. Raging bitch isn't.