Sex and Love 100

Musings on the most basic life skill . . .

Monday, November 28, 2011

Men and Women are Equal but Different

        Dr. Roy Baumeister wrote a book – Is There Anything Good About Men?  I know Roy’s work  because he was a friend of my mentor James Tedeschi.  It’s a great read and especially so for an older feminist like me.  I cannot possibly discuss it in a few paragraphs but I’ll tickle you with this.  Women have spent the last 30+ years kvetching (complaining) about the raw deal we think we have.  God-forbid we allow men to say anything bad about us!  Roy argues that we are different- not better or worse- just different.  However there is a camp out there perched on a theoretical hill with a sniper aimed right at the heart of that statement.  Why?  Because some hold fast and tight to the notion that there are no male and female differences.  To say that, to imply that makes me a traitor to all feminism stood for. Go ahead, throw tomatos at me.  
     For example take one area- math and science.   The next time you have a crowd of women together just try to tell them that they do not achieve at math and science as well as men.  Do you know the statistics?  Men outnumber women in the hard sciences.  It’s not that women can’t compete- it most likely is that we don’t want to.  I’m one of those women- I had an advanced degree (lots of math) but chose to mother rather than advance my career.  Somehow hormones and nurturing took over my brain and instead of leaving my babies at home with a sitter I decided to stay in a small college rather than join the big leagues.   But I decided.  I could have made a different choice but I didn’t.  Women have much more role flexibility than men do.  What man would refuse such an offer?  Society expects him to jump on it. Can you imagine what would have occurred if my husband walked into his firm the next day and said “I want to stay at home and raise my newborn.” 
     Imagine all you want.  He did.  It was our 5th baby and with a special needs toddler at home he resigned from his seemingly incredible position- to parent while I taught.  He got more shit than a ten horse barn with a two horse pasture.  He was the pussy whipped idiot, the lazy nutcase and the man with no backbone.  Men have very little role flexibility.
     Turn on your TV.  How many men do you see that are portrayed as emotionally rich, skilled at raising their children, or faithful lovers?  Men are stereotyped as stupid, goof-balls, philanders, idiots when raising children and clueless about love.  
     My job is not to encourage this.  My job is to illuminate how you feel about the opposite sex.  To state the truth- we are different.  But those differences do not imply that we are any less.  Roy Baumeister calls it ‘gender trade-offs’.   How about a complementary view?  What good is the door lock without the key? Each sex has abilities, needs, costs and benefits that differ.  Sex and love are areas I hope to reveal as one of those, for you, my reader.  
      My husband started his own firm.  After my workday which ends early I come home to cook and tend to the family, which now is only hubby David and our son.  I cook elaborate meals, even decorate the plate which I serve happily.   But it is my choice. I only intend to explain how we differ so we can understand our mates.  After all doesn’t everyone want to get along, love and have a good life?  Dr. Dawn Marlena Hopper   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKDwTgnMtjU  (Roy Baumeister)

16 comments:

  1. I completely agree with how men are portrayed when it comes to his home life. If he's not out there at the strip club or at the golf course all while telling his woman how it is, then he's a pussy. It's even like that in most movies " Men are stupid goof-balls, philanders, idiots when raising children and clueless about love." Not all are like this. I will admit though, my father would have me believe this, being the main male figure in my life...until I met Anthony; who showed me that there ARE REAL men out there. Men who aren't afraid what their 'boys' say when he wants to end the night early to come spend time with me. Who wouldn't hesitate for a second to quit his job if need be to raise our children. We need to give the good ones more credit.

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  3. I have just read an article that Roy F. Baumeister was one of the authors. (The article was about self-esteem.) I would like to try to read his book that you recommend because I think it is very important to know the differences to be happy together. I know he is different from me, even so I easily get upset when I realize the differences.

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  4. Personally, in my relationship, since I am going to school full-time and my boyfriend is not, I don't contribute as much financially and I'm not expected to. My boyfriend though doesn't expect that I do all the housework and has never asked me to. That is something I do out of choice to show my appreciation and love for him. I believe that expectations can be very destructive and can lead to disappointment on one hand or feelings of worthlessness on the other. Having expectations in a relationship gives the assumption that men and women are expected to fulfill certain roles and are not equal and do not have the freedom of choice. To me it is very true and important to remember that all people are different, in any relationship that is important to remember. The key is learning to live WITH others and not make others live the way you want them to. Coexistence is so so important. If the way a person chooses to live bothers you to the depth of your soul YOU can choose not to be in a relationship with that person. If you love the person you are with, even when you disagree, even when you butt heads, you should be able to accept their views as their own and your views as your own and that is that.

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  5. To be honest, I think more men would actually go out there and be Fathers if they really had the choice. Since we live in what is labeled as a masculine society, men have to be, well 'men.' We have put such an image upon men and the gender as a whole that any deviance from said role automatically label the poor souls as 'feminine.' I believe that men have the compassion that women have when it comes to taking care of their children.
    I think that gender roles shouldn't be defined be certain stereotypes. If anything the individual should be defined by how they behave. So, kudos to your husband for raising the kids during that time. Their need to be more men like that who are willing to sacrifice their time for their children.

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  6. My husband and I were seven years apart in age. He was raised by a very traditional Italian family, and I was raised by a mother who had to do everything for herself and didn't want to depend on anyone. So, quite honestly, my husband was the one who wanted the family. I did not. He wanted a wife who would be happy being a housewife and mother. I was not. I wanted to be out in the working world. But as it happened, I only worked part time and basically took care of the family while he worked. I think to this day that he was the one who should have been home with the kids, he was a fantastic father, and husband, and he was as good or better with them than I was. He has been gone 5 years now, and the kids and I miss him terribly.

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  7. I remember when my sister and brother-in-law had their first child. They both wanted children but both had very demanding jobs. After realizing that they wanted as much interaction with the baby as possible, both approached their supervisors and assessed viable options. After debating pros/cons, she took maternity leave as she had fewer large projects in the works. When her time was up, he took paternity leave and became the "house husband". Because he showed initiative, his company allowed him to extend this time by working part-time from home.
    This decision was utilized again for the next 2 children. The role shift must be amenable to both partners to minimize any resentment. As companies remodel themselves, hopefully any negative connotation regarding gender roles will disappear.

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  8. When our kids were little my fiance would get a lot of crap from my Brother-in law (my sister's husband) for doing a lot to help take care of the kids, changing diapers, ect. He thought it was a woman's job to tend to the kids; and would say my fiance was pussy whipped and that I make him care for his own children. The truth is Steve was happy to be a real man and tending to the needs of his children. You would think at this point in our society gender roles wouldn't an issue, but I think men are ridiculed more than women when they act outside of their "gender role".

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  9. I will have to disagree with the statement about men are not good with kids. i beleieve that into world more men are active and are in the kids life if not raising them. there are alot more single men raising their kids by themselves than back then. i wa raised by my father and he did a great job all by himself raising me.

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  10. I completely agree with what you are saying here. My father raised us from pre-teen until after high school. When things went south and he began to take on all of the household duties, he didn't have the option to take time off of work for track meets or field trips. His job wasn't that understanding either. However, before this stuff began, my mother was able to be there for every event, where she worked was much more understanding of my mother's wanting to be part of it.Society puts such emphasize on how males are not supposed to have emotional needs and wants and it makes them feel like they need to portray an image and by doing that miss out on essential parts of their family's lives.

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  11. I agree with how you say men are portrayed. Everyone thinks men need to be the ones making the most money at work and being in control of the relationship. I think its great that your husband stood up for himself and took care of your son. Any father should jump at the chance to do that. I personally see this in my own house because my father is the one who works early and comes home to take care of the house and my two younger brothers. There needs to be a balance in the relationship and i have grown up to see my parents have that

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  12. I think men are women are different in the sense that we are biologically programmed for different roles based on our history. The man is supposed to be the hunter and gatherer therefore he should be physically stronger and more capable than a woman. Complementary to that the woman is meant to nurture and care for the young as well as the man who might come home injured. I think these traits are personified by society as you mentioned where the man is expected to succeed and to be the provider, to portray that "man of the house" image we all know so well. Over time the gap between man and woman in terms of field success and aptitude has pretty much disappeared yet society makes the implication that man is superior and should still be the backbone of the family. Men are women can achieve identically, they can even behave and think identically so therefore our differences are in our biological nature and in how we ourselves put pressure and a "norm" on how each sex should act in society.

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  13. My family is admittedly filled with goofball men who don't understand anything. My grandfather, a fountain of romance, once wrote a letter to my grandmother before they were married. He wrote to his beloved saying, "For us to get married would be a calculated risk." He later went on to become an engineer, of course. A famous story in my family is when my great, great grandfather said to his wife on the day of their wedding, "When you butter the bread of my sandwiches, make it even across the bread." Her response was, "Make your own sandwiches." And he did for the rest of his life. My family never placed "male" duty on the men or "female" duty on the women. There was never a sense of superiority for anyone. Yes, women in my family often performed tasks we would associate with women and men would do what we believe men should do, but this was due to personal choice and society. My grandmother, for example, never worked a full time job while my mother was growing up. My grandmother once suggested to my grandfather that she might get one, but he told her not to. He told her this not because of her gender, but merely because it would interfere with his benefits at work and cost them money. If she had wanted to work and it would have not impeded them, he would have thought nothing of it.

    Growing up, my mom worked as a programming consultant rather than working full time. This was her choice, she always said that she wanted to be home when my sister and I got off the bus from school. She would always take care of my both my sister and me, she would (and still does) make dinner nearly every night, and would often straight up somewhat around the house. She did all this because she wanted to do it, however. My dad is now retired and my mom is now programming full-time, but still, my mom takes care of all the things that "moms" take care of. I suppose much of this is because my dad is oblivious and would likely do it wrong, but still, much of what she does she enjoys and wants to do because she wants to take care of people. Not just her children, but everyone. My friends often joke that they love my mom more than me because she's always very open to all of them and there to help anyone. That's just who her personality is and who she chooses to be.

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  14. The title of this post is what caught my eye. I too beleive that men and women are equal but different. I don't think that either is a superior sex, but we most definitely are different.

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  15. My fathers culture will say different... My mother; irish stayed at home to take care of 3 children on her own. I believe that men and women are equal in every way shape or form! However I feel that domestic roles are necessary in every relationship! I cant expect my girlfriend the financial advisor ready able and willing to to patch a hole in drywall or de-root a tree in the back-yard... I grew up with a very productive mother, I never did laundry or had to cook for myself until college and since college live by myself cooking and cleaning after myself and my puppy.

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  16. I agree with the fact that both men and women have different roles when raising children. Choosing your family over continuing your school is common when it comes to women. Men are less likely to do this because the social norm is for the man to work and the woman to take care of the children. There is however many exceptions to this. My mother had to raise me and my sister while working a full time job. Many women are in the same situation and must do both as well.
    On an evolutionary standpoint, females have always looked after their young while the males go out to hunt or work. This instinct is in our DNA and we will always follow it. There is nothing wrong with men and women switching roles. Many men feel close to their children and feel obligated to help raise them. The healthiest and most successful parenting is when both parents participate and help support the family

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