Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trying To See It From Every Side

the opinions expressed herein are based on my own experiences and things I have heard. by no means is this a scientific study.

Have you ever encountered a foreign male? If the answer is yes than I am pretty sure you have experienced the same things I have. For the most part no matter which European country they are from any foreign male seems to more freely flatter women with their words. Italians are known for their charming men and other European countries seem to top the charts in their smooth talking approach to women, minus the British who seem to be some exclusion of this rule and more closely mirroring the behaviors of American men. Their love of women is so barely concealed it seems as though they must spew forth these words of rapture lest they implode with the effort of containing them. Now meet the American man. The man who outside of the work arena seems barely able to string a sentence filled with eloquent praises together. (Enlightened males being the exception of course.) It leads me to wonder, what makes the difference. I went round and round and came to several assumptions:

  1. Foreign men really do love women more.
  2. Foreign men are better with words, language, and grammatical context.
  3. Foreign women more freely accept, respond to and encourage these words.
  4. The dissolving traditional gender roles of Americans make flirting and courtship harder than ever.

I have a hard time believing assumptions one and two. My own personal opinion is that four is the most likely candidate leaving me to wonder about the reality of the feminist movement and all of its long term implications. As anyone who studies feminism knows it has had three main waves. The initial wave was to combat physical domination of men to women namely sexual and domestic violence as well as giving women a forum in which they could express their voice ending with their right to vote. Kudos I get all this and am behind it. But it seems there is where you have lost me. After that feminism feels largely to me like ingratitude. From there in my eyes it became less about equality and more about sameness, a classic case of anything you can do I can do better. And anything you have I want too. And after all this I think men don't know what women want or expect. And they don't know what defines a man or how to be a man when half the women walking around are trying to be men. It leaves me wanting to travel around and study different cultures to examine those cultures who have maintained more traditional gender roles and see if men are more flirtatious in these cultures, to see if marital satisfaction is any higher, and to see if we have progressed down a road we would rather not be.

It leaves me missing my major of Marriage and Family Therapy and contemplating my Thesis topic if I go back to get my Masters. But most of all it makes me grateful not to be in the dating world trying to navigate these challenges that we as a culture have self imposed.


Carrie said...

Interesting thoughts. I disagree about feminism though. Third wave feminism is about relational equality, not total equality that you see in the 2nd wave of the 1960's and 70's. I don't believe it is selfish either as the benefits of third wave feminism extend to everyone.

There is still a lot of work that women need to do in order to get us where we need to be (as within a Zion society). Women don't need to be put on a pedestal as they were in the Victorian era, neither do they need to the same as men; they need to be treated with the respect any human being deserves and we haven't gotten there yet.

Melissa said...

Oh, I like this topic!! I've never really thought about it like you put it, but I absolutely agree!!! I'm going to think more on this because you have really peaked my interest in this subject.