Monday, October 27, 2008

Women, are you sour on men?

A man who has taken one of my workshops -- I'll call him Tanner -- is 61 years old, looks a good decade younger than that, and is handsome, fit, smart, communicative, and in harmony with feminist ideals. He would love to connect with a woman of his age, but he tells me that although younger women are attracted to him, the women he meets of his age seem to have a "gender bias" against men. He tells me,

I keep hearing about how men can't relate on a deep level, or how we seek younger women, but that is not happening with many of us who can't get past a barrier that so many of us feel. Far too often I encounter gender bias among older women, and am at a loss to explain that. I can tell you that I have zero tolerance for it. I am not exaggerating the effect of wisecracks against men I hear. It cuts deep.

All I can offer is that men read about what we've done wrong for many years and made a good effort to change. Many of us didn't have to change much to begin with, as we truly did not have gender bias and just needed some fine tuning about misconceptions or sensitivity. But sometimes it seems that nothing we could possibly do could be enough. These are not political or economic relations, but very emotional and close. A level of trust has to be achieved or the relationship will fail. Gender bias precludes that, so many relationships that should succeed don't. I suspect this revolution, that of gender liberation on a personal level, will take far longer than we thought.

I'd like to get some feedback from both men and women about this. Personally, I don't feel it -- I love men, especially the men who work hard to destroy the gender and age stereotypes that I and many women of my generation find so frustrating, and I don't even know any women who feel the way that Tanner experiences. But this is what he experiences -- I'm not questioning the truth he describes.

Tanner is one of the good ones! Yet he finds himself shot down by women for failings they ascribe to men in general that have nothing to do with him.

1 comment:

  1. I'm married and not old enough to be a woman Tanner's age, so maybe it won't matter that I say I for one am not "soured" on men.

    I do occasionally indulge in a bitch session about guys with my women friends, but it's not that serious. Also we try to be out of earshot of men as we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or have our venting session misinterpreted or taken personally. I think women have been doing this for thousands of years. Relationships with the opposite sex can be at times difficult and challenging - this just goes with the territory - and for me the woman talk is just a way of venting.

    All that being said I appreciate men who are supportive of independent autonomous women. In fact I married one of them.

    I sympathize with Tanner, but I think he's going about things all wrong. He seems very focused on a negative outcome, which usually brings about a negative outcome in the real world. He seems to be involved in a too large struggle of wanting all the 60-something women in his community to stop bitching about men. With all due respect, I don't think this will happen. He’s taking these comments too personally, as if he needed their approval before he can be a good man. And are all these women seriously critical of men, every single one? He's only going to date one woman at a time right? Why care what the rest of them think?

    I think if Tanner would focus attention on the relationship he wants in a positive way he would get farther. I've also observed that most good relationships happen when the people involved aren't particularly looking or trying to find one, and are instead focusing on other enjoyable aspects of their lives.


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