This topic is one that has been on my mind for a while. It is a complicated subject and can often stir up feelings of anger, resentment and even hostility. As you know, the human race is comprised of both men and women. We have lived on this planet together since the beginning of time. Our roles have changed over the centuries and we are now at a point where men and women are (for the sake of argument) mostly considered and treated equally, though we haven’t made it all the way there quite yet.
Traditionally, men have been in the role of the provider and women have been in charge of the home and child rearing. Those roles have, over the last 30 years or so, been shifted. Women are more often in the workplace and many men are now at home with the kids. But throughout history, women were treated as second class citizens, possessions or even servants. Many of those ideologies run deep and if we look closely, still affect us today.
The title of this post is Have We Turned Into a Culture of Man Haters? So you may be thinking what does that have to do with what you are talking about? Bear with me. Throughout history, men and women have had a love/hate relationship, literally. I currently know many women who have good men in their lives, not just their significant others, but fathers or siblings as well. I also know many women who have had nothing but terrible men in their lives. Cheating, abusive spouses, financially lazy or irresponsible significant others, deadbeat dads, emotionally unavailable fathers, and the like.
In this era of the #MeToo movement, I am thrilled that the men in society are finally being called out and held accountable for their bad behavior. I have, unfortunately, had to deal with a few not-so-nice guys in my world as well. While scenarios such as these; harassment, abuse, intimidation, and irresponsibility can be displayed by many men, we need to remember that not ALL men behave in such a manner.
Getting Past the Past
As a woman, heck as a human being, I feel it is very easy to let the experiences of our past convince us that every man will treat us in a negative way. Just because Joey was an abusive jerk doesn’t mean that David will be. But our first instinct is to protect ourselves (and that’s a good thing) but we shouldn’t have our guard up so high that we can’t see the good when it is right in front of us.
Let me give you an example. A dear friend of mine, who I’ll call John, is what most people would consider a really “good guy”. He provides for his family, works hard, is loving and caring towards his wife and kids. Is always willing to lend a hand to someone. Is generous with his time and money if he has it and is just an overall decent guy. So what’s the problem?
Well, John is from a family of not-so-good men. His father, his uncles, his brothers and the male cousins in his family have been less than stellar when it comes to treating women right. Some have neglected children, cheated on wives, wouldn’t work or contribute to the household finances, have ignored the needs of their family, mistreated or abused their wives, had drug or alcohol abuse issues and so on.
John, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of these men. Despite being an upstanding guy, he is not treated with love and respect by the other women in his family, including his own mother, despite the fact that he helps to take care of her. The arrows, via harsh words slung at John, hurt him deeply. While his own little family; the wife and kids, appreciate him and all he does, the stinging words or actions from his other female family members is painful. Would the females in his family be considered man-haters?
This situation got me to thinking about how we view other people, particularly men, as the enemy. Even the good ones. While I don’t want you to get the idea that I am having a pity party for the male race in general (as we all know, they are typically at the top of the heap) I want us as women to really take a look at our bias towards men as a whole.
In reality, it is the toxic men that have caused us to feel negative about men overall, but it is up to us to look at each man individually and not make blanket assumptions. In the same way that we shouldn’t make blanket assumptions about a particular race or religion.
Yes, there are a lot of no-good men out there, but there are also a lot of great men as well. They need to be acknowledged and appreciated and not treated like they are the enemy. Do you remember the old saying, don’t through the baby out with the bathwater? It simply means not to discard the good (or valuable) with the bad (or worthless). If the good men get treated the same as the not-so-good men, it will wear them down. Like my friend John. Thankfully, he does have his immediate family and his friends to affirm him. But some men don’t.
Look around at the men in your life. I think it is safe to say that you will likely find some bad apples, but please look closely to see if you can find the good ones. I simply don’t want us as a collective body of women to ignore the good guys. Now, they won’t always be exemplary human beings, as none of us are, but we should acknowledge and speak words of life into these men. Let them know they are appreciated and respected. Lift them up.
Think of the positive ripple effect a good guy can have. He can raise his son to be a good, respectable man. He can be an example to his daughter of what a real man looks like and how she should be treated. He can call out other men when they are toxic and stand up for the rights of all the women in his life. These men need to know we see them and together, we can bring about positive change.
A good man may be hard to find, but I promise you, they exist.