Saturday, October 13, 2007

Peter: "We want emotional connection as much as women do"

Peter is a reader who has written thoughtful comments in the past. I found his latest email so interesting that I'm posting it here, for your comments:

I was struck by the hostility from "Jeane," and pleased by your response, characterizing it as "anti-male". It certainly was. I've been playing the personals for a while and have been struck by the sexism that exists even here in the center of gender enlightenment (San Francisco).

When people can hide behind the anonymity of the internet, a lot of heartfelt feelings are exposed, and some of them are bitter. I understand that sexism against women is as old as recorded history, and that men need to come to terms with resentment that will inevitably be released in forums in which face to face contact exists, and much more in forums where the discomfort of a personal retort is absent. I'm prepared for that, and make a point of identifying myself as a feminist in my responses, but still am distressed by the hostility of the type I read from Jeanne.

If there is any message you can convey to older women through your forum, please tell them that many men are trying hard to get past this barrier to male-female relations that an oppressive culture imposes, but it's a two way street and we must get encouragement, not dismissal, when we make that honest effort.

My experience in internet dating - or attempts at it - is that many women begin with a chip on their shoulders, posting ads that lead with "where are the good men," "are there any good men left," "don't bother if you're (fill in the blank)," or disclaimers about not being there for casual sex.

The theme seems to be that men are presumed to be lurking on a romantic website for a quick lay. The reality is that men and women have a different biology, and that becomes very apparent at menopause. We know that, and to assume a man in his fifties, trying to connect with a woman his age, is ignorant of or impatient to the need to be considerate of those facts is condescending. We want emotional connection as much as women do, will do what's necessary to get it, including working with her around sexual issues.

But women need to give us a chance, not assume we will think less of them because we have changed in different ways and at different rates. We want you, ladies. We're ready to try.

Let's hear from both women and men about this issue. I challenge you to express yourself without stereotpying the other gender. The way to tear down barriers is one honest communication at a time.

We're listening....

4 comments:

  1. I agree but also we want ultimately to have the sex that goes with love.In my experience some older women are not interested in sex and just want the endearments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Feminism was supposed to be about women having the freedom to be themselves, whoever they are. I don't think anyone can call themselves a feminist and then make generalizations about all or most women. We're not all culture victims for one thing.

    The freedom to be who you are should of course be extended to everyone, regardless of gender, or for that matter sexual preference, ethnicity, etc. One of the side benefits of the feminist movement is that men now have more cultural permission to express themselves about being emotional and relationship focused when that's who they really are.

    Jeane is generalizing about men. She does express a common complaint often expressed by women about men, but when I hear comments like hers I think, "well that's not all men, thank goodness."

    Who we are inside determines to a large extent who we attract into our lives. I speak from experience when I say that if a person is experiencing problems with others, a look inside is in order. Other people are our mirrors. When we change our insides, what happens outside us will change too.

    I'm wondering what the poster means by women his own age. Has he considered women older than he is? Maybe a woman who is 70 something?

    Speaking for myself, I'm a lot more relaxed about what I require from the men in my life as I get older -- I'm in my fifties -- even though I'm more focused about what I want and don't want. What I mean is that I don't have these long lists of all the qualities my dream man has to have, and I just enjoy the men I'm attracted to as they are.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The guest writer has done a great job of stereotyping the female gender by saying that we all need special consideration due to our post menopausal biology, framing us as the victims of a sexist culture -- which implies powerlessness on our part -- and assuming that all women want emotional connectedness when it comes to sex.

    Why is he so defensive about women who are necessarily cautious? Yeah, maybe they shouldn’t be so hostile about it, but why not just ignore those women and check out the ones who are more open and friendly?

    I wish this guy would find himself a lover so he'd quit whining!!!

    I think I speak for many women readers who for whatever reason aren't commenting here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think it's all stereotyping.

    Some men want emotional connection, some want casual sex, some want something in between.

    Some women want emotional connection, some women want casual sex, and some want something in between.

    People want what they want out of a partner, and it's as varied as anything else on this Earth. The trick is to match the right people together and to not put down the others if they don't want what you do. And that goes for men, women, and all other genders out there. I think that once people start remembering "different strokes for different folks" and stop getting hung up that the folks they're meeting don't have the same desires as them, this world will be a better place.

    (I see this time and time again in various communities for various reasons. I work in the gay community and I see gym bunny boys getting upset at all the burly, hairy bear men. I see those same bears get upset at all the twinky, gym bunny boys. I see people who are attracted to skinny people get upset at the fat people, and the people who are attracted to fat people get upset at the skinny people. Oy!)

    ReplyDelete

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