Rather than looking at all members of either gender as evil, Elana Millman writes, we all need to try and understand each other as individuals.
While writing Man on Top, I continuously stated my love and admiration for all things men. I love the way they smell, the way they walk, and they way they tend to be handy around the home. I thought that I was the great spokesperson of men until I caught myself, on more than one occasion, saying, “all men are idiots!” In a more recent incident, I agreed with my female osteopath that all men are, in fact, donkeys. We all say things for comedic emphasis while bonding with our peers, but does this it mean I secretly hate men?
I gave this a lot of thought, and I discovered that no, I don’t hate men. Phew, what a relief since it would make it considerably more difficult to promote Man on Top if I did. I may not hate men in general, but that does not mean I relish in everything that they do, just as men surely feel about women. I hate the way some men have treated me and other women, I hate the way some men treat the planet, and I hate the way some men act toward other men. That being said, I also hate some of things that women have been known to do and sometimes behave. Women can be bitchy, destructive, and self-centered, but does that mean I hate women too? I don’t think so. I am far too much of a positive, loving, light-warrior be one who thrives on hate, so why is it so easy for me to toss around such generalizations of both men and women when I don’t believe them all to be true?
Many times it stems from the great “he said, she said” debate that has plagued our culture since Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve for the whole apple-eating incident and thus cemented a cleaving mistrust between the sexes. I believe that men and women have always had communication and emotional differences, which can easily lead to resentment and rage, but it doesn’t always have to.
I, just like many women, have collected some deep hurts, wounds, and violations from men that incite those not-so-loving sentiments. These deep seeded wounds are the motivation for most man-bashing expressions, which may be warranted but not necessarily true. Through personal introspection and some counseling, I have learned that unconditional love, compassion, and forgiveness are essential if we are ever going to be fulfilled and content. I honestly want that bliss in life, but my goodness, it is an ever-evolving work in progress.
Some men—and women—cheat, lie, steal, manipulate, and use others for their own selfish causes. It may be easier to write off an entire gender after a devastating, soul-sucking relationship, but it is not fair or just. We all make mistakes because we’re human and therefore, fundamentally flawed.
One friend confided in me the strong, hateful feelings she had been holding onto after an experience with her boyfriend. Five minutes before an important dinner, her boyfriend called her to let her know he would be 45 minutes late. By the time he arrived, dinner was ruined, and she was steaming mad. In that instance, she did not feel honored or appreciated and chose to internalize those feelings. She could have communicated her desire for him to be on time or even create boundaries for acceptable behavior, so that she did not escalate to rage. But she didn’t and I got to hear what a morally reprehensible a–hole he was. Nothing got resolved.
In any relationship, I think it is important to discern our significant other’s emotions and current position. If we are unable to communicate our needs, we will quickly blame the other. We will give into our defective humanness and pout like little children with bruised egos when we don’t get our way . It is so much easier to blame all men (or women) for something without ever taking an honest look at our own motivations and habitual patterns. I truly believe that everyone wants to have more love, harmony, and connection in our lives, but we can’t have that if we are not willing to put down the hate. We need to pick up the mirror and see how we are personally contributing to the unhealthy dynamics in all of our relationships. If we do, then maybe we can truly live in a light of love and get onto a much more interesting conversation.
photo by klearchos / flickr