This country is in trouble because men have given up the debate….Women say things like “We’re more spiritually evolved,” and we just go “Yeah, I guess that’s right…” Bill Maher Politically Incorrect: Women/ Feminism-Part 2
While checking out the forecast on The Weather Channel this morning, I was struck by how differently the male meteorologists were dressed compared to the women. The men wore formal business suits—complete with button-up collars, ties, and jackets. The women, on the other hand, were dressed in summery dresses or knee-length skirts topped with sleeveless blouses.
It all looked very sexist to me.
I could easily see the contours of one woman’s bra through her shirt; it was obviously a padded demi-cup. Her snugly-fitted skirt emphasized her hips and rear, but it was so tight that heavy creases were evident across the front of her thighs. Her upper arms were tanned and toned and, because of her form-fitting clothes, she might as well have been naked. There was nothing left for the imagination.
Seems to me it’s just the usual focus on women’s bodies while men wear the same ol’, same ol’ bulky man-outfit. Why can’t we just appreciate women for their intelligence, their minds, and their knowledge? Why must a woman’s body also be on display while working as an on-camera meteorologist?
Sure, sure, sex sells, even if it’s just sexiness or an attractive woman.
Some might say it’s about time—and it’s been time for a long time in many parts of the world—that women are free to display their attributes as they see fit. Why not? It’s their choice to go along with the dress code at their jobs or not. And who wants to go back to the days when we had to wear corsets and cover our ankles?
But wait a minute. Think about it.
Why don’t men display their attributes?
I mean, I like men. I’m a heterosexual woman who enjoys looking at men. Why are they all covered up? I don’t think it’s fair. Why do I have to wait until there’s a hurricane somewhere so I can catch a glimpse of Jim Cantore or Mike Bettes in a wet T-shirt?
If you think about it, men really get the short end of the stick. Not only do they have to wear heavy suits in the middle of summer, they also have a lot of unfair assumptions and expectations placed on them. Yes, we women still have our struggles in many areas, but what about men?
Men face much of the same bias and preconceived notions that women face: we have certain expectations of men and, if they don’t measure up, there are penalties: other men may tease them and women will snub them. Pressure, pressure, pressure. How many men are truly living their lives the way they want to without bending to social pressure?
Here are some widely-held assumptions about men. Which ones are you familiar with?
1. Men have natural aptitudes for fixing things around the house because they’re born with an innate interest in anything that looks like a tool or a gadget.
2. Men have a natural talent for changing tires or making repairs on cars as well as washing them. If they don’t know how to do the work themselves, they know exactly where to take the car or who to call—and they love doing it.
3. All men want to have sex as often as possible. They’re just born that way. They’re not interested in emotional intimacy as much as the physical release because the reptilian part of the brain is more dominant in men than women. Besides, they don’t really have emotions anyway.
4. Men are responsible for a woman’s sexual satisfaction. He should always make sure to actively give her as much pleasure as she wants before he gets his. Men like to work, after all, and this is just the male job description. Plus, women have no idea how to take charge of these things, and someone has to do it.
5. All men naturally gravitate toward team sports. Whether they’re active in a particular sport or prefer to cheer and shout and drink beer while their favorite team plays in the stadium or on the TV, it’s just natural for men to like sports. If they don’t, they’re, well, different.
6. Men naturally like to drink beer and eat steak. Unless he’s one of those guys who’s into some alternative, new-age kind of a lifestyle, or unless he’s a bit effeminate and goes for the chicken (probably because his wife nags him to eat better), a man just naturally craves manly food. Beer and beef are manly foods, after all, and men just like them.
7. Men don’t like to cook. They’re just not wired that way. Somehow, while still in the womb, men got programmed to either hunt the food or have it served to them, not prepare it. Unless they’re getting paid, in which case a man is called a chef.
8. Men need “honey-do” lists so they can remember the chores their wives ask them to do. This is because men aren’t designed for household tasks, so their brains aren’t equipped to remember these things. They may occasionally need reminders and corrections when tasks are finished, too. This has nothing to do with lack of job ownership, decision-making power, or being treated like one of the kids, by the way.
9. Men leave smelly socks and underwear or other clothing around the house just because that’s how men are. It’s nothing to do with the fact that their mothers picked up after them and they were never taught—or expected—to keep things tidy or do their own laundry as boys.
10. Men don’t have emotions like women do. They just don’t. They aren’t wired that way. And when they do have emotions, it’s not natural for men to show them. Be sure to forget about the men who write gut-wrenching poetry or song lyrics or the guys you see with tears streaming down their faces at funerals. Skip over all the many men in anger management classes or those who have such violent emotions that they kill people. Forget the men who act out their emotions with domestic violence and other violent crimes, such as rape. We’ll have to skip wars, too, and heck, most of human history.
A lot of the arguments and conflicts we have start with assumptions and unrealistic expectations.
Even if they’re traditional expectations, things just aren’t traditional any more. Or, at least, we’re coming out of an era when roles in life were determined by social forces and the dominant culture rather than individual choices.
Both men and women are becoming more aware, more conscious of choices and possibilities and less afraid of bucking against tradition. But we don’t always know how to handle things when it comes to personal conflicts over expectations. Buttons get pushed, defenses rear up, and people feel threatened. We go to work or school or get into relationships expecting that men are one way or another when, in fact, they aren’t. Not always. Or they don’t want to be. And too often they push themselves to do certain things because it’s expected of them but it only results in frustration for everyone.
A lot of men do fit the mold, and it works for them. But many more don’t.
Or they don’t know what they want because they’ve just been going along with the crowd. But they’re learning, just as women are. Why hold them back by putting them into the boxes that assumptions can create?
What would happen if women meteorologists wore the full-armor suits on The Weather Channel and the men dressed down a bit? Tight shorts, maybe, and a snug-fitting shirt unbuttoned a little so I can see a bit of his chest. Short sleeves, too, because I really like a man with strong arms—not too big, just tight. Nice. I’m sure the guys would appreciate the freedom not to mention lower dry-cleaning bills. If they could handle all the women gawking at them.
I think we can safely assume that The Weather Channel wouldn’t be in business much longer if they suddenly changed the dress code. But maybe, just maybe, if we loosen up the chains on men by letting go of assumptions we’d start seeing a lot of positive changes, not just for individual men but for all of us.
What assumptions do you make about men? If you’re a man, which ones fit or don’t fit? Can you think of any others? Comments are always welcome.