Lately, I’ve been reading some things that make it hard for me to maintain a grip on my feelings towards men. I realize, fully and completely, how stupid and pointless and unfair it is to tar an entire gender with the same brush.
And yet. The theme this week seems to be: woman as bearer.
First, a book I just finished this week called Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women. Little surprise, then, that gender and religion and outrages can get very tied together, particularly when the book is written by a Western feminist journalist, who tries & sometimes manages (but sometimes fails) to present a balanced view.
What amazed me most was not so much the restrictions on the lives and freedoms of women (these, I mostly knew about, at least academically) but the reasoning behind them. In case after case, these restrictions – from the intellectually offensive requirement that women speak at a whisper and at a minimum when around males, to the physically and emotionally repugnant genital mutilations – existed because women could too easily arouse men. If a woman smiles at a man, he will believe she loves him; if she speaks to him, he may become too aroused to do his work.
Fast-cut-forward to a NYT piece I read this week that described the “disturbing, frightening, traumatic” experiences of men who had seen their wives give birth, actually seen the little furry head popping out of the body, so to speak. They were upset by the view. They couldn’t think of their wives as sexual afterwards. Who wants to make love to that?
And in each and every instance, it seems like the unspoken text is this: women, you just have to deal with this. We men are just too sensitive to deal with your sexuality, your pain, your very presence. You will have to bear the burden of pushing this watermelon I helped create out all on your own, because my delicate fucking sensibilities are being negatively impacted by merely observing what you must physically endure. We’re sorry we’re so delicate, so quick to arousal and useless once we’re that way, so capable of watching men get blown to bits on screen or in person but incapable of looking at your hair or watching you give birth to our child, but it’s just the way it is, and you women, as you always have, will just have to take up the slack. So sorry. Apologies, and all that.
It, in a sardonic way, reminds me of the line Sharon Stone utters in Catwoman, probably the best line in the whole movie: “I’m a woman, detective. I’m used to doing all kinds of things I don’t want to do.”
I can’t help it. It just makes me want to take every single one of these men, the men in the book and the men in the article, and shake them, shake them in a way that would get a British nanny fired, until their useless soft little brains are mere putty against their thick skulls and they can no longer hurt, or even stress out, the women in their lives.
Oh, some days I just think the Amazons had the right of it…