A lot of people read my post about “dishes” (that wasn’t really about dishes) and came away believing I’m sexist, or that the post was.
At first I was annoyed. Because I took the accusations to mean: “You’re an asshole! You think women are better than men!” Or. “You’re an asshole! You think men are better than women!”
I secretly feel proud of the fact members of BOTH genders leveled sexism charges against me for opposite reasons. That probably means I nailed it.
But then I kept thinking about it. Am I sexist?
And I settled on: Yes. I’m a little bit sexist, but not for all the reasons a bunch of strangers who didn’t understand what they read, nor had context from reading anything else I’ve written, said.
Here are the top two definitions for the word “sexism.” One of them applies to me, and one does not:
- prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women
- behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex
Accusations of sexism in the context of discriminating against women OR men are baseless and ignorant. There is precisely zero evidence in my writing or behavior that suggests I believe one gender is BETTER than another. Nonsense.
However, do I harbor opinions and attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex?
Yep. Totally. And I guess that makes me a little bit sexist.
Libras are Wishy-Washy and Unable to Commit
I don’t believe in astrology in any sort of predictive way. I don’t believe I should let horoscopes dictate my choices. But I DO believe that astrological personality profiles have merit. I don’t know what more I can do in life than observe what happens around me and accept as true things that seem so, and dismiss things that seem untrue.
And my honest, objective evaluation of astrological personality profiles is that they are GENERALLY true. Maybe not always. I have no way of knowing. But my guess is that many people born between September 22 and October 23 demonstrate commitment issues in some form or fashion.
Women do not ALWAYS obsess over weddings and love spa days and go to the bathroom in groups and pay attention to the latest fashion trends and like romantic comedies and receiving flowers from significant others.
But, do most? I think so.
Men do not ALWAYS love sports and demonstrate competitiveness and love to “bro out” with their buddies drinking beer or playing golf or playing cards or watching James Bond movies.
But, do most? I think so.
There’s a reason all the “It’s a Boy!” stuff is blue, and all the “It’s a Girl!” stuff is pink. There’s a reason marketing agencies market the Fifty Shades of Grey book series and laundry detergent to women, while marketing fantasy football advertisements and lawn equipment to men.
And it’s not because everyone is sexist, nor because men never do laundry, nor because women don’t sometimes play and enjoy fantasy football.
It’s because Things Men Like and Do, and Things Women Like and Do, are two lists that more often than not, look differently, and all the political correctness and baseless accusations in the world won’t make that any less true.
Understand and Celebrate the Differences
Men are not better than women. Women are not better than men. But men and women are MOSTLY different, and the more understanding and accepting we are of these differences (and acknowledging that they exist), the more quickly we can arrive to a future where there ISN’T much gender discrimination in mainstream society, and where boyfriends and girlfriends, and husbands and wives can begin to better understand why we do and feel many of the things we do that damage our relationships.
I think when we first accept that men and women are often wired differently, and then take time to learn how those common traits adversely affect marriages and opposite-sex relationships, we gain a MAJOR advantage in overcoming common marriage problems.
Read Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus and tell me it isn’t true.
Or my personal favorite: How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.
Read Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti and tell me men and women don’t typically have observable and verifiable biological differences created by thousands of years of evolutionary science.
Back when we all lived in tribes and villages, men developed all of these traits in order to help them hunt and fight and mate successfully so the human race would survive. Women developed these traits in order to help them in supporting the village, raising children, caring for the sick, and gathering food and water so that the human race would survive.
Our minds and bodies still have reflexive and chemically driven responses to threats and fights and fears and emergencies and other life incidents. And because it’s 2016, and lions and bears don’t often attack us, and men aren’t out hunting for daily meals and battling other tribes, and women aren’t raising children in a village-like setting and having all that support and sense of community, these totally normal chemical and emotional responses to life events that helped us stay alive thousands of years ago now sometimes manifest as a wife getting upset about a dish by the sink, and a husband unable to understand why.
Then, when they try to talk to one another about it, using language they both speak, even though they are both educated and competent people, husbands and wives are totally befuddled by whatever their partners are saying, and often walk away angry and confused.
I don’t talk about these things in He/She and Husband/Wife terms to exclude people who experience these same fights in a gender-reversal way, or who are in same-sex relationships.
I don’t talk about these things in a generic Men Do This, and Women Do That way in order to alienate either gender or suggest one is better than another.
I talk about these things because THIS IS WHAT MADE ME UNDERSTAND WHY MY WIFE AND I TOTALLY FELL APART AND ENDED UP DIVORCED.
I think divorce is horrible. I want there to be less divorce in the world.
And I think as more people believe these things I’ve come to believe, fewer relationships and marriages will end in broken, sobbing, painful misery. I believe it with my entire heart and soul.
And since I want your relationships to be great, and your kids to grow up with both parents at home; and as I despise divorce and all it represents and am committed to reducing its frequency, I’m willing to piss off a few people along the way.
This is a secret most people don’t know. That a man and woman can sometimes talk about something, feel radically different things during the talk, never really be talking about the same thing, and that both can be “right.” And I believe when enough of us figure it out, the entire world changes.
Different is not the same as worse. Different is not the same as better. Different is just different.
And I’m going to keep saying it because it’s true and it’s important.
No matter how sexist you think it might be.