Sunday, May 24, 2015

Real Solutions to Gender War

I have always found it hard to understand why so many good men wind up with bad women and so many good women with bad men.
On one side is my roommate Michael, who has never hit a woman in his life, and whose wife stabbed him with a knife. On the other side is Julia, a brilliant artist for whom I have written a poetry book, who although she was always determined to be good to her husband got brutally mistreated by him.

Clearly both men and women are capable of both good and evil; and it is important to understand who is who. There will always be men, and there will always be women, and the two need to work out workable arrangements in which both sides fulful their prerogatives.

I am neither for nor against either men or women. I am for good men and good women; and I am against bad men and bad women. This, I regard as the rational stance.

When men tell me that I owe it to the other men to control the woman, I tell them that I owe nothing to the next man that I don't also owe to the woman – that nothing is owed to a gender and that everything is owed to people who have contributed to humanity, of whom as many were women as were men. When feminists tell me that I am a chauvinist or a misogynist, I tell them that they don't know what chauvinism and misogyny is, and that if their hearts were as strong as their language then they would be in front lines fighting people like ISIS and Taliban. In both cases we see a great wrong. Men should not be coerced to collaborate with the worst men out there in their attempts to oppress and abuse women; and people of goodwill should not be coerced to collaborate with the worst women in history of humanity to attack good women and innocent men.

I do not seek to oppress or control women. I want to be good to the women in my life, and I want them to be good to me in return. My enemy is neither men nor women. My enemy is both men and women who want to be ugly to the other gender.

There are many false reasons given for what I am describing. One of them is that the people in these situations are guilty of co-dependence or low self-esteem. Whatever self-esteem a person has is likely to be worn down by these kinds of situations; and it is high self-esteem, not low self-esteem, that comes from the worst of attacks by men who want the woman in the subservient role. As for co-dependency, this happens to all sorts of women who are not co-dependent; and you can ask any number of strong-willed women in Middle East to tell you just how wrong-headed this analysis is.

Probably the most ridiculous argument that I've heard is that in these situations the women are responsible for what is happening to them, and that responsibility means leaving them to their situations. This is simply outrageous. A responsible man is not going to be beating his wife or raping his children; and if he does so, it is he, not the woman, that is failing to take responsibility.

So here you have it. Both sides in this matter are wrong. The real solution is for men and women to figure out how they can live together peacefully. And it is this that actually has a chance of putting an end to this whole ugly gender war.


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