That fragile male ego


5 comments posted
from one who has lived in two places and nowhere

I lived in the world as a man for part of my life and as a woman for another. Even though I was a kind of conscientious objector to masculinity, I lived a life of extreme privilege: white, college-educated male in the U.S. today. I lost much of that privilege by transitioning although I retain the parts white and college-educated . I am still, years later, discovering aspects of oppressions everywhere. Some of these are subtle and some surprise me with how blatant they are. Everything you have stated above is all too true.

Men are stuck in a horrorshow of fear. Fear of each other first. They take it out on everyone but women are the most available to abuse. The classic image of women placed upon a pedestal by men should be reversed. A few privileged men stand atop a very small pedestal. They push and shove each other to maintain their places on the pedestal for they fear falling off and descending to the levels of "girlie men", women, children, etc. "the others." The men who do fall off immediately try to exert dominance to distiguish themselves from the "lower beings." It's a desperate life and it eats their souls. If it were not for the hideous things they do in their frenzy, one could almost feel sorry for them. Sometimes I do for a moment for specific men.

the steelmare's picture
Posted by the steelmare (not verified) on 25 December 2004 - 1:21pm
Very interesting

What you say about the pecking order is a great insight. It makes sense, the weak ones picking (pecking) on the "weaker."

I think you might be a bit down on yourself about college-educated. I don't know how old you are, but my other went to college and was hardly the only one. (Her mother, though, was a real feminist against all odds, though, rising from a 6th grade education to become president of an AFL-CIO local in a major metropolitan area.)

-media girl

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 26 December 2004 - 11:35am
It's a sorry thing to be able

It's a sorry thing to be able to describe human society as something as simple and ugly as a pecking order but it sure looks like one too much of the time.:sigh:

I guess I meant that being college-educated gave me access to a network of people who were going be important parts of the power structure. I was there for the education but came away with connections and expectations that might have served me very well. As it is, I still carry the idea that I am supposed to be listened to and that being articulate and connected are more important than hard work.

I'm over fifty. My mom, a farm girl, went to college in the late 40s on a science scholarship. I was only the second one on both sides of my family to go to college. Both of us were acutely aware of the difference between us and the other students who expected to go to college simply because that was how it was in their families. On the other hand, my mom went to school with the guys on the GI Bill and I went to school with a lot of Equal Opportunity legislation-funded students so we were among two waves of the less-privileged who were also the first in their families to go to college. So many social movements were born of the networking that went on in those cohorts.

the_steelmare's picture
Posted by the_steelmare (not verified) on 26 December 2004 - 1:37pm
Not in their experience

I think men simply do not understand women's lives and this is largely from a lack of genuine interest in women's activities. Look at politics, sports, business - the media. The newspaper. It's all men's games with some women players, but let's face it, the majority of world leaders are men, the majority of big business is captained by men, and the majority of sports are men's sports.

There is a "Women's Section" in the paper because the remainder of the paper is the "Men's Section."

To take another tack, I believe the statistic that about one forth of all women, maybe more, have had sexual intercourse forced on them. That number is lower for men and it is quite possibly why men often have an irrational fear of homosexuality; that some man might think it's okay to make an unwanted sexual advance on one of them - then where would they be? Well, he'd be a girlie-man and have to deal with unwanted advances.

Women rightly fear men's greater physical strength. Moreover, if a woman is attacked, she is less likely to fight back and even less likely to use deadly forces under otherwise identical circumstances than would a man.

Men see this as part of women's "weakness" rather than attempt to understand why a woman might not wish to be violent with men, even in a self defense situation. How many women simply endure it - not because they are weak but because they understand something that escapes most men. Thus, by misreading women on this, some will say feminists are over-reacting to the threat of male violence - but every time a man dates a woman, he does not need to give serious consideration to the possibility that she might up and decide to get physically violent with him. And let's not forget that the most common sexual assault on women is date-rape. Because the women is less likely to resort to violence, these acts of terror go largely under-reported and don't show up on the men's "radar." It's all boys-will-be-boys and when the police were called in after my room mate was beaten by a man she knew, the New York (state) cops did nothing because she had been having drinks with him and probably "deserved" to have him slam her head in between the car door. He beat her, but she must have provoked it.

To presume to preach to women on such issues is not so much arrogance as it is cluelessness.

I would say that the average woman know more about men than the average man knows about women. We read their media, but few men read ours, let alone understand our thinking.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 25 December 2004 - 1:44pm
I once came upon as part of a

I once came upon as part of a workshop - sorry no citation at the moment - the idea that the further up the power pyramid one lives, the fewer languages one needs to speak and understand. Near the top, one needs to communicate only with those on the same level. The lower orders have to speak both their own and the languages of the upper orders. The orders come down in the language of the powerful and little goes up until the revolution. This analysis was made with regard to race but is easily extended to gender. Men do not have to read women's words, men only need to make sure women understand men's words. Men don't want to have to become fluent in another language as long as theirs works just fine for them.

Here in California the idea that "white" people might have to speak Spanish to get along, has shocked many folks. "What! Have to talk like those people to get my needs met? How terrible! They should learn my language."

the_steelmare's picture
Posted by the_steelmare (not verified) on 26 December 2004 - 2:25pm