Thursday, July 13, 2006

Case In Point: A Rant, Part 2

Disclaimer: See post below for details. Please remember that I strongly believe that all humans are created equal (but have differences). The purpose of my post is to express my dissatisfaction with the messages of modern feminism. I believe it hurts women just as much as it hurts men, even if this deals mainly with the guy's side of the issue.

I found this article on MSN today and noticed how much it proved several of my points from the previous post. The article concerns the disconnect in a marriage that occurred after the birth of the first child. It gives the wife's perspective, the husband's perspective and then the therapist's perspective and suggested methods to deal with the problems in order for the couple to have a happy marriage. The interesting thing about this article is that it details the wife's perspective as more legitimate from the start and attempts to cut down on anything negative that she might add to the relationship difficulties. The man's perspective is overruled and he is asked to change far more than his wife. For clarity's sake I'll address each perspective in turn and then discuss the therapist's recommendations.

First off, the wife points out that she quit her job to stay at home as if it were some enormous sacrifice. But she never addresses the fact that her husband probably works extra long hours and is tired a lot himself, in order to keep food on the table. She does not "have the energy to cook," so she spends too much money. Now, I know watching one kid is difficult, but I have watched 5, 6, or 7 on a daily basis before (babysat for large families), been tired all the time and still managed to cook a meal for those kids. It's not impossible. I find it interesting she justifies the fact that she knows best about raising the kid. She also justifies nitpicking her husband about when he changes the child's diapers and everything else he does. There is very little willingness to change her behavior in order to improve the relationship. Then there is the part about the husband and wife having a nonexistent sex life. As a red blooded, American woman, I'd just like to say, huh? I understand that things change when you have kids, but if you don't make the time to be intimate with your spouse then your marriage is going to fall apart, most likely (sex isn't everything, but it's important). Which, as we see, is what could have happened here. Naturally, the woman gets off because she was tired or "not in the mood." She fails to mention that her husband might be tired of going to work every day and coming home to take out dinners. Yet he still wants to be intimate. Okay, enough said about that part. On the other hand, her fear at her husband's one violent moment is legitimate and I agree that he should not have yelled at her so much. That's not good for anyone. (For my next post, I'll discuss Intermittent Explosive Disorder.) Then there's her mother. Obviously, the mom is a destructive influence, but she wants to "keep her in the loop," rather than limit contact which might help their marriage.

On the husband's perspective, his first sentence is an apology. He sems a bit more reasonable in general. He addresses the spending problem. It's a tough financial position to be in. I've experienced tough times when it comes to money, I know how to spend less. What's difficult about buying what you need instead of everything you want? I like the fact that the husband gives more thought to the family in general. He is not as me-centered as his wife. Also, he points out why he wants contact with his mother-in-law limited -- the mom is upsetting his wife. What's wrong with a guy wanting to defend his wife? The nagging comes in once again, only here the husband wonders why his wife demands that he do things as she would do them. I agree. If the job gets done in a relatively short time without hurting anyone or leaving a big mess then who cares how it was done? Of course, there's the intimacy issue as well. He points out that his wife's refusal to bed him makes him feel undesirable. Hmm, that seems like a natural reaction to me. Let me put it this way, say you're a married woman and your husband doesn't want to sleep with you? Heh heh. I know what you thought: "Like that would ever happen? The guy isn't going to say no." Yes, exactly. But that's not the point, the point is, it would be natural to feel undesirable. However, women always feel undesirable for a selfish reason. We feel fat or unattractive, something like that. A guy can persuade as much as he likes, but if the girl feels fat, than dangit, she's not gonna shut up about it. Anyways, rabbit trail. The husband ends by saying he wants his son to grow up in a good, two-parent home. This is contrary to his wife's ending point about wanting to be close to her husband again. Both are legitimate perspectives under the circumstances, but the guy wins out on selflessness once again. He states that he will do what it takes to make that work, his wife said nothing about that and her side of the story proves that she places more importance on her own side of the story.

Now, for the therapist (whom I think is a bit of an idiot). Notice that almost every behavior change required is of the husband? Once again, society has upheld the moral standard that the woman is always right. I applaud the writer of this article and I wonder if this was unconsciously done. What if, this feminism thing has been so engrained into our thinking that we automatically give more validation to a woman's feelings in a matter? I made a surpising implication in that last question -- men have feelings. Yes, they do.

On further analysis of the therapist's recommendations I am reminded of a quotation of my dear friend I.: "Why is it so difficult to apply Occam's razor to human behavior?" The therapist goes on about the married couples' respective mothers, in classic form! It's amazing. My first reaction to the whole thing was that the two needed to talk. The wife needed to see her husband's point of view, and the husband needed to tone it down a bit and try to explain things without getting angry. Why is the husband acting this way? Because he's a married man who hasn't had sex in months. Gee, that could do a lot to a fella. The official reaction to that statement was for you to get upset that I would suggest such a thing because his wife is exhausted. Okay, why is male sexuality such an evil thing? I know, there are psychopaths out there. But the majority of normal men just want to connect with their wives and make their wives happy. Sex is the best way of expressing that for a man. It is the husband, in this case, who must evaluate how he views the word "no," in regards to sex. He's not supposed to take it personal. How in the heck can he avoid taking that personal? Then there's the whole Daily Temperature Reading bit. That makes me laugh more than anything else. Imagine, calmly stating one's thoughts could get a good reaction? You know, frankly, it's us girls who have a more difficult time with that. We always think that guys should be able to read our minds or something. Ridiculous! Most of us can't even make up our minds, let alone be transparent enough to have our mind read! However, this may be the most unbiased part of the article. It implies that both husband and wife should adjust for one another.

Upon final examination, we see that the wife is only specifically expected to change one thing: her behavior toward her mother. It's always best to remember that nothing should ever be blamed on a woman. Remember that, it will get you far in life. It's funny how equality became favoritism and then an inalienable right to walk all over about 50% of the human race.

4 comments:

Xana Ender said...

Same day, no joke was this article: http://msn.match.com/msn/article.aspx?articleid=6320&TrackingID=516311&BannerID=544657&menuid=7>1=8333

which talks about why it's better to be single that had me so angry I think I'll blog about it later today if I have time. here's an example "single people have better sex" (they found the one study that says that as opposed to all the ones that say the opposite) "single women are less depressed" (then make snide comments about how men are happier in marriage [wink wink nudge nudge that must be why marriage was instituted, to serve men I think is the insinuation]- but those poor married women are so depressed.) "you should be single because your body will be better because you're trying to keep it nice to look for a mate because you're unhappy with being single" (does this even make SENSE?!?!? Those poor married people - their bodies to go pot and of course your body is the most important aspect of you.... yuck

Esther said...

That article is pretty offensive. I want to know why it's so wrong to take on responsibility? Also, that part where it says that women should do what they "want." Well, what if a woman wants to get married and raise kids with her husband? It's considered evil to have such selfless desires and it drives me crazy. The article says that it's not about being "selfish." It is exactly that. As is the sum of feminism. If these pressures to go out and do what you want were not constantly exerted on women, maybe we would be happier in general. We're not allowed to raise a family without feeling that we're being deprived of something. It's like, the whole point of feminism was to give us choices, but it has taken away one very important choice in that process. What is so wrong about making a man happy when he's a guy who makes you happy? I mean, we should not go back to the 1950s or anything, but we could at least recognize the value in providing a good home for kids and maybe stop trying to do so much and be less hurried and more content with what we have.

I'm not ranting at you, just in general and in response to that article.

kr pdx said...

Esther, you aren't being quite fair, that her only required change was cutting off her mom. The therapist did tell them they had to make parenting decisions together--although I have to say she didn't dwell on it. (Like it's SO EASY to come up with parenting decisions together ... if it were easy, more people would do it better.)

I wish Therapist had also mentioned to Wife that she needed to actually listen to Husband's request for sandwiches rather than takeout ... such a simple step to take ... and how much better would he feel?

That Daily Temperature Reading was cheesy ... but if the communication is terribly broken, cheesy methods to get back on track are better than continuing further off track ... .

The sex: in my observation, having kids tends to expose and exaggerate whatever already exists in marriages. If they were already to the point of having "fights" about sex before the baby, they were pretty much doomed to have a worsening sex life after the birth, what with naturally heightened emotions, subconciously replaying childhood relational problems, and more weariness ...

That second article (xana ender's) was totally Sour Grapes. :P. Always love to see things that argue "The way you feel isn't legitimate."

Esther said...

KR: I said "specifically." They were both asked to make parenting decisions together.

Anyway, perhaps I was a bit unjust. The article annoyed me a lot. It just bothered me that the things the guy said were considered unreasonable and he was asked to view them as unreasonable. Perhaps he could have found a better way to phrase them, but that does not make them unreasonable. I was ranting . . .

Thanks for the interesting response.