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The Male Experience

The claim has frequently been made that males have it easy. We are supported and encouraged in life. Much is given to us. To what extent are real aspects of our lives overlooked when this claim is made.

Purpose: For males this will be an affirmation page. You will say, "yes, I have experienced that." For females, if you are open to an honest look into the male experience, this might give you some insights.

Part 1: Feelings (Men: you are not allowed to have feelings!)

As a man you spent your life being told, "Your feelings are invalid. The way you express your feelings is invalid. The way you get in touch with your feelings is invalid." When you caved into this pressure you were told, "You're less of a person because you are out of touch with your feelings." You learned to recognize that your feelings would not be acknowledged, or even worse, aggressively invalidated. So you learned just to keep your feelings to yourself, and do what you needed to do.

This problem is not just some oversensitivity on your part. It's deep in our culture. Studies have shown that in elementary school girls get the majority of the praise and boys get the majority of the discipline. Boys are classified as ADHD 6 times as often as girls. Why? Because the way that boys get in touch with their feelings, and express their feelings does not fit within our elementary school methods. Leonard Sax, in Why Gender Matters, shows that elementary school is structured around the way that girls think, socialize, and learn.

And the problem goes even deeper than that. Some psychological research has shown that people learn to associate positive words (love, compassion, honesty) with women, and negative words (selfishness, dishonest, aggression) with men. This bias has been quite enduring in Western culture. During the middle ages artists did not believe that a man could represent compassion. Thus to paint a portrait of Jesus they would have a female model sit. Then they would masculinize the portrait by painting on a beard. The rejection of male compassion is the origin of the long haired Jesus imagery. The New Age Movement did not make things any better for the male. They declared that the only way for a male to embody goodness would be to "get in touch with his feminine side." So once again, the acknowledgment of positive male traits stands rejected. And men are told that they are morally inferior.


Part 3: Expectations (The Fine line that you must walk.)

IT'S TOUGH BEING A MAN . (copied from an Internet forum)

  • If you put a woman on a pedestal and try to protect her from the rat race, you're a male chauvinist.
  • If you stay home and do the housework, you're a pansy.
  • If you work too hard, there is never any time for her.
  • If you don't work enough, you're a good-for-nothing bum.
  • If she has a boring repetitive job with low pay, this is exploitation.
  • If you have a boring repetitive job with low pay, you should get off your ass and find something better.
  • If you get a promotion ahead of her, that is favoritism.
  • If she gets a job ahead of you, it's equal opportunity.
  • If you mention how nice she looks, it's sexual harassment.
  • If you keep quiet, it's male indifference.
  • If you cry, you're a wimp.
  • If you don't, you're an insensitive bastard.
  • If you make a decision without consulting her, you're a chauvinist.
  • If she makes a decision without consulting you, she's a liberated woman.
  • If you ask her to do something she doesn't enjoy, that's domination.
  • If She asks you, it's a favor.
  • If you appreciate the female form and frilly underwear, you're a pervert.
  • If you don't, you're gay.
  • If you like a woman to shave her legs and keep shape, you're sexist.
  • If you don't, you're unromantic.
  • If you try to keep yourself in shape, you're vain.
  • If you don't, you're a slob.
  • If you buy her flowers, you're after something.
  • If you don't, you're not thoughtful.
  • If you're proud of your achievements, you're full of yourself.
  • If you don't, you're not ambitious.
  • If she has a headache, she's tired.
  • If you have a headache, you don't love her anymore.
  • If you want it too often, you're over sexed.
  • If you don't, there must be someone else.
  • If she discusses marriage and you're not ready, your afraid of commitment.
  • If you discuss marriage and she's not ready, your making her a possession or slave.