Monday, August 12, 2013

A Conscientious Objector

I oppose the "gender war".  I think it is an immoral fight, and I refuse to participate in it.  I have unspeakable gratitude and respect for so many diverse women in my life, who have been my friends, supporters, mothers, sisters and leaders.  I don't know what I would do without the incredible courage, strength and love of the women I am privileged to know.

I am just as fervently grateful for and deeply respectful of the men in my life.  I would not be who I am, where I am today without their love, generosity, affection and leadership.  Men are awesome.  Growing up, I often spent a lot more time with males than I did with females.  It was apparent from a very young age that the differences were not merely physical, but I came to love all the rough and tumble boys in my life (as well as the quieter, gentler ones).  I have been tremendously blessed by the presence of so many good men in my life.

Today, I was reading a blog post about cookies of all things, when the the poster took the opportunity (yes, even when talking about something as innocuous as cookies) to rag on men a little bit, and then said this:  "Using brute force to prove a point rather than strategy or reason, which most women employ to prove their point, according to me is not manly but plain crude." I honestly laughed out loud.  Though I have, unfortunately, known several abusive individuals throughout my life, I have thankfully witnessed relatively few incidents of anyone using "brute force" to make their point, and those incidents are roughly equally divided between male and female offenders-.  What's more, I have witnessed dozens and dozens of incidents where a woman has used blatant emotional manipulation or abuse in order to make her point.  Both genders have their flaws, but, much more to the point, all individuals do.

Just as one does not truly empower oneself merely by standing next to someone and pointing out what their weaknesses are, neither does one empower one sex by calling the other stupid, mean or irrational.  People can be stupid, mean or irrational, and that is likely to manifest one way in men and another in women, but all individuals struggle with the natural man.  We help each other overcome that carnal nature by building and supporting, not by tearing down and belittling.

Men and women are different.  It is mind-boggling that so many of the same people who insist that being different doesn't make you less than someone else miss the flip side: that being different doesn't necessarily make you better than someone else, either.  You're two sides of the same coin, you can't do much about that;  you do have the power to decide, however, whether that coin is a dirty, grimy nickel or a piece of shining gold.  Eventually, the equation has to balance: you can't spend all your time zeroing out one side of the equation and expect everything to keep running smoothly.  Don't expect the men in your life to treat you with respect, dignity and kindness if you have no intention of returning the courtesy.

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