A Letter to the Ladies in my Life

August 28, 2010

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good; oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood!”     -Eric Burdon

Ladies (and Gentlemen), it turns out I am no Jonathan Swift. My last post, “Men Unite!” was my first attempt at satire, and it looks like a failed attempt. Satire is defined as a literary technique in which the author ridicules a weakness in society for the purpose of changing it. Jonathan Swift was a master at it, nowadays think: “The Simpsons” and “The Daily Show.” The problem with my essay was that it confused too many people, and it was hard to see my main point. If the essay leaves you confused, it’s not likely to change any hearts for the better. If you focus on the last two paragraphs and the Peter Kreeft quote at the end, you should be able to see my true purpose for the essay.

The hearts I was trying change belong to men, not women. I was not trying to bring women down, but rather to provoke men to rise up and be what I believe God intends them to be. I was inspired to write “Men Unite!” because in my observation, a significant portion of the male half of our species has been increasingly shirking their responsibilities as spouses/partners, as fathers, and even as human beings. The essay is really a call for them to stand up and be real men. If there is any criticism of feminism at all, it is with the way fictional female characters are often portrayed in the media these days, but even with that I think Hollywood means to just make more money playing off of male fantasies. I think that the female characters from the movies mentioned in the essay are unrealistic portrayals of women, and taken to an extreme can have devastating consequences on both male and female understandings of each other. Think about the boy who watches the female heroine beat the tarp out of six men at the same time; will the man he turns into think twice about beating up a woman who threatens his pride? Or the teenager who sneaks up at night and “watches” Sex and the City, which is not considered to be porn, and determines that it is just as common for women to release their sexual tension the same way men like to, so he is unconcerned about his date’s feelings and any “consequences” she might have after hooking up with her. True, it seems that some women are that way, but go to any college campus and see the troubling results of the “hook up” culture. These girls think they’re having fun at first, but the fun doesn’t last too long unless they numb the pain by getting wasted every weekend. At least that’s an outside observation from a man who was stuck cleaning up their puke, hearing their gossip, and hearing their tears as a UD coed-dorm custodian for six years. (It’s one of the methods I used to work my way through college).

The fact is women and men are wired differently in the brain/soul. We are as different mentally as we are physically. Now, that is not saying that men and women do not have the same capacity for intelligence! With the statement, “We have generations of history that proves men are intellectually superior to women, so this can’t be an issue of man lacking the ability to rise to the occasion. I had to discover what the cause of this mental impotence could be,” I was trying to be sarcastic, but was not able to fully communicate my tone in the essay. I was actually trying to mock the ridiculous assumption men had for years that because we are (in average) physically stronger, and were typically the hunters and providers as a result, that meant we were smarter. I assure you I believe that men and women have the same intellectual capacity, and as such should be given equal rights, equal opportunity, equal pay, and should only be judged on the merit of their individual skills, talents and abilities. I believe that men and women are different, not unequal. Ideally our differences should complement each other. In other words, both have the same value and both have important things to bring to the table and both should respect what the other has to offer. A marriage should be a partnership. I have no problem sharing the dishes, sharing the laundry or sharing anything else with a woman (and I love to cook!). I have to do it all myself now anyway! It is between the man and woman in the relationship to decide how they want split up the duties of life and marriage and parenthood if they decide to take it that far.

Since we are on the subject, I would like to take the opportunity to speak of parenthood; I believe very strongly that the best possible situation for a son and a daughter is to be raised by a mother and a father in a healthy relationship. Both genders of children need both genders of parents for the most possible smooth transition into adulthood. This doesn’t always happen the way we would like, and God gives us grace, but we shouldn’t hide the truth that a healthy mom and dad is the ideal parental situation for kids just to save the feelings of those of us who are doing it alone for whatever reason. Some parents are forced to go it alone through tragedy; some choose to go it alone because they and/or their partners have revealed a high degree of irresponsibility, but I can tell you from first hand experience that being a single parent is HARD! Anyone who tells you any different is either mooching off his/her parents too much, or is disconnected from reality. I’m not saying a single parent can’t be successful, I’m just saying a faithful partner would make life a whole lot easier. Statistics show that the majority of kids raised in broken homes underperform their counterparts in almost every way. Most of the time (but not all) it’s the man who flakes out and skips out on his woman and kids. Most of these kids (but not all) grow up to be emotionally damaged and disconnected with a greater potential to do the same thing to their kids and the cycle just repeats itself, but like ripples in a pond their influences grows wider and wider, and like a cancer it spreads through our society.

The truth is I cannot really comment on the female experience, because I’m a man. However, as such I am disheartened to be lumped into the same category with some of my “brothers.” There are still plenty of good and honorable men out there; I have the honor of calling many of them my friends, however, some of the males I mentioned in my essay do not deserve to hold the title of “man.” They are at best, adolescent boys, at worst animals without reason or conscience being led by their groins. As a teacher, it breaks my heart to see so many boys heading down that loser path and to see so many girls lower their standards and end up teenage mothers or with multiple abortions before they graduate or drop out of high school because they think that’s all that men have to offer. Because no one taught them how to respect, love and honor others, let alone themselves. It is simply overwhelming. That’s what really had me all riled up. I tried to diffuse my anger with humor and sarcasm, but unfortunately, it seems that most people who commented completely missed the humor, and I blame that on my lack of writing skills. In the future, if I ever decide to write satire again, I will be sure to get my English teacher cronies to give me the thumbs up or thumbs down before I publish it for the world to see! Thanks to Stephanie and company for being woman enough to call me out; I am still learning! Thanks to those of you who read my blog, and for those of you who found “Men Unite!” first, please take a look at some of my other work and you will find my true heart.

God Bless!

Pete

”The two most ridiculous errors about men and women are unisexism and male chauvinism. The unisex feminist says that women and men are not different in value, therefore they’re not different in nature. The male chauvinist says that men and women are different in nature, therefore they’re different in value.” -Peter Kreeft

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6 Responses to “A Letter to the Ladies in my Life”

  1. Brandolyn Says:

    Hi Peter!

    I didn’t read your essay last week, but I sure will now! =)

    First, I just want to say that I am so glad I’m not the only one who tries to be funny or satirical only to find people just don’t get what I’m trying to say. So, just know you are not alone. I’m sure people will give you grace!

    As for the content of this essay, all I can do is agree. As a single parent, I know what you are saying. It is hard and, while I agree we can have a certain measure of success, I do tend to think that having a 2-gender, 2-parent home would yield more success. Just my opinion, however.

    Funny that you titled your essay “Men Unite”. I wrote one a couple years ago called “Ladies Unite!” In it I urged women to stop accepting poor behavior from the men in their lives. I encouraged them to stop rewarding men who clearly lack the willingness to express respect by rewarding those men with their time and affection. It bothers me so much that women just don’t see the value they have and are willing to cast aside all self-respect to gain the attention of a guy like that. I just don’t get it. Personally, I want my husband – the man God has set aside for me – and I will not settle for anyone who isn’t. The sad truth is the adolescent boys you described had children and didn’t give them the love they needed. Some of those children were girls and they grew up seeking the love of a father they never knew. And the cycle continued. So, so sad.

    Anyway, I just wanted to offer a word of encouragement for your essay this week. Very, very awesome in my book. Now I will read the other one!! =)

  2. peterrock12 Says:

    Thanks, Brandy! I hope you like the other one, and I hope you “get it”! It is so sad what is happening more and more frequently. Babies having babies. Every time we have a girl get pregnant in my school (which is often), someone makes the sarcastic and sad but true comment, “Imagine, we get to teach that kid in 14-16 years, and it will be our fault if he/she isn’t successful in school.” This is the greater societal consequence of taking away individual/personal consequences for deviant behavior. It’s good not to ostracize a girl who becomes pregnant, especially when she could have had an abortion, but our society tends to reward young women for having children out of wedlock and unprepared in the name of charity and self-esteem. It’s that whole give a fish, teach how to fish dilemma. It’s like the government decided it was just easier to give without teaching responsibility. But then again the responsibility lies with the teenage parents who had no positive upbringing. Feels hopeless, but with God all things are possible! Thanks to people like you who give spiritual and practical support to women who have to make hard choices.

    Peace,

    Pete

  3. Ryan Chin Says:

    I think it’s harder to be a “Man” these days. We are expected to kick ass and change diapers. We have to be the shoulder to cry on and we are expected to cry with them. We have to vacuum and take the garbage out and mow the lawn and go grocery shopping….

  4. peterrock12 Says:

    I agree, Ryan. I think the best test of whether or not a “male” is a “man,” is not in the tasks he does or doesn’t do, but if he handles those tasks with integrity and sees them through to completion. There has been a real mix up between the roles men and women play, and it’s not politically correct to say it, but men are wired different from women. I think some women expect/want their men to be the tough bad boy and at the same time be just like their girlfriends. I see it like this: There is an inner strength that should be natural for a man, while women tend to be more sensitive. The world, and more specifically, children, needs both. Neither is a weakness; a woman’s sensitivity is not weakness, but rather a man and a woman’s differences are meant to complement each other and make a whole, a unit. Some men come across to some women as not caring, and many men take the attitude too far, so their women are justified in complaining about wanting them to be more sensitive. Men seem to react two different ways, either they become more hard and emotionally distant, or they become more soft too emotional and eventually lose the respect of their women. I think the real test of the man is not to become more sensitive than they already naturally are, and neither to become more distant, but rather a man should seek to become attentive to his woman’s needs. Then he can truly be the strong shoulder for her to cry on.

  5. Mary Kripke Says:

    Wow, truly nice article. Where can I find this subscription?

    Mary Kripke

  6. Pat Says:

    The fact is women and men are wired differently in the brain/soul. We are as different mentally as we are physically.

    You wrote this one year ago…..you are so right! If only others would realize this it would solve many problems in relationships.

    Keep writing….you have listeners…


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