Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics

by Featured Guest on October 20, 2011

The book in a nutshell

By Tim Goldich

The overarching principle that pervades and unifies every element of this book can be expressed in a single word: Balance. The book’s “radical” premise is this: in the benefits enjoyed and in the liabilities suffered, in the power and in the victimization, in the freedoms and in the constraints, it all balances out between Man and Woman—and it always has. By helping to promote a general understanding and perception of this balance throughout the culture at large, this book’s ambition is to effect a fundamental gender paradigm shift.

As it stands now, common wisdom perceives imbalance—an “imbalance” of power enjoyed by men and victimization suffered by women. Society has long recognized a world of male power/female victimization, yet that has never been more than half of the full story. The missing half can be found. It’s contained within a shelf full of excellent but as yet rather obscure books. What might be thought of as the female power/male victimization half of the story remains obscure because neither sex wants to hear it. Nevertheless, for every female complaint, there is an equal and opposite male complaint. For every one CEO there have been many POWs.i Hard/hazardous labor, battlefields, prisons, mines, the streets, the sewers—men have always occupied both extremes, the most and the least enviable positions on earth—the latter in far greater numbers than the former.

Imagine, if you will, a gigantic scale where there is love on one end of the balance beam and respect on the other:

This love/respect dynamic upon which gender balance pivots can be described in two brief statements:

Throughout history, both sexes have respected men

more than they’ve respected women.

Throughout history, both sexes have loved women

more than they’ve loved men.

Feminism has made women’s lesser status along the respect axis abundantly clear. Both sexes have listened and both sexes have worked together to change the cultural environment in ways that promote respect for women. That men are less loved, however, may ring true from the outset yet be met with cynicism just the same. Both sexes receive the female side with empathy and the male side without empathy exactly because both sexes love women more and men less.

Hostility toward women is given the pejorative label of “misogyny” because hostility toward women is forbidden. Ours is more a misandrist (“male bashing”) culture. But few know this word misandry—a word that would, if it existed in common parlance, condemn hostility toward men the way the word misogyny condemns hostility toward women. Our lack of love toward men is so pervasive as to be invisible, and we concern ourselves with it so little that we don’t even have a word for it.

Balance is revealed in the following four key statements:

One: At birth, members of both sexes are assigned roles, conditioning, and socialization that facilitate and ensure a world in which men are more respected/less loved and women are more loved/less respected.

Two: Historically, men have been no more empowered to escape their biology, role, socialization, conditioning, and concurrent fate than women have been.

Three: The two sexes, equally powerless and equally powerful, have plied an equal overall force of influence upon the world and upon each other, engaged in equal complicity and partnership in the sculpting of our world, and are thus equally responsible for outcomes both good and bad.

Four: Throughout history, the enormous consequences and vast repercussions suffered by women for being less respected have been matched in full by the enormous consequences and vast repercussions suffered by men for being less loved.

These four statements are key, because taken together they lead inexorably to the one key truth: It All Balances Out!

In light of the world as it is ordinarily perceived, the above may strike one as an outrage, but I can make my case well. Indeed, I intend to do so, because I believe that a culture-wide perception of this balance that I speak of forms the only path leading to the full restoration and preservation of love and respect between the sexes.

As things stand at the dawn of the new millennium, we can clearly see that men and women have broadened their horizons. Yet at the same time, we feel a profound wedge has been driven between the sexes. Progressing further and healing the divide will require a new system of gender politics that deals with the many and varied issues of men and women as equal opposites that balance each other. This balance is plain to see, but only to those who have come to a full understanding of both perspectives, female and male.

Understanding begets compassion, which begets love to replace rancor and resentment. With full cognizance of balance, there comes a dissolving of self-righteousness, divisive hostility, vengeance motives, and victimhood—the emotional bile currently poisoning love/respect between the sexes.

If average, ordinary men were empowered enough, enlightened enough, and courageous enough to speak to what truly lives in their minds and in their hearts, doubtless a new cultural ideology based on fairness, maturity, and sanity would soon replace the escalating “Battle of the Sexes” insanity wherein we now stand bewildered.

We have learned to take seriously the need for both sexes to better respect women. But our lack of love for men itself blinds us to the need to be equally understanding and sympathetic when it comes to the issues and inequities of men. By better understanding the vulnerabilities of men, both sexes may learn to better empathize with and love men.

The goal ultimately is for a unified movement that would combine the concerns of men and women equally under one banner. But first, men must distract themselves from the business of rescuing women long enough to begin dealing with their own issues and the issues of their less fortunate brethren. Both sexes must forgo the illusion of “superman.” Men must cry out, and women must listen. Only then can the gender politics of the future be built upon an even foundation.

i WWII, Europe and North Africa, about 8.75 million allied POWs (Prisoners of War) taken by the Axis powers and 8.25 million German and Italian POWs taken by the Allies—in all, about 17 million soldiers, sailors, and airmen prisoners of war. This does not include the war in the Pacific, nor the Korean or Vietnam wars or any other armed conflicts worldwide. In comparing this number with the number of CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) up at the pinnacle of success, think of the “Fortune 500” companies. Multiply that number by as many as ten thousand and you still don’t approach the total number of POWs [Source: Vance, Jonathan F (editor), Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2000) p.341]

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