Now, the author, who I honestly think is incredibly talented, recently blew up on the internet for his post She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By The Sink. I started reading his blog around this time because a bunch of my Facebook friends had shared this and other posts. And, I thought they were nothing short of brilliant.
Now, yesterday’s “Sexist” post was pretty thought provoking. I got his intended message, I know he meant well and I know the point wasn’t to place all men and women into a box. But, the fact is, he said some stuff about how most women like x, y, z; and most men like abc. And, truthfully, I didn’t walk away from it with the same good feels I had after reading many of his previous posts. It felt a little like the fame from his “dishes” post maybe fuelled him to write another flashy title, and he *possibly* threw in some controversial content to pull in some readers and keep the momentum going. It seemed a teeny bit less genuine than his other posts. That’s probably not the case, it’s just how I felt. And, even if it is the case, I don’t judge that. My blog is largely read by a handful of family members and friends who see it on their wall on Facebook and may or may not click to “Read More”. And, who, I’m sure right about now are pondering why I care and/or why they should care. (You/we probably shouldn’t…carry on!) Anyway, I, literally, have no idea what it’s like to face the pressure of writing for the masses.
Admittedly, after reading the post, I got caught up in the comments (never a good idea) where it was clear that readers’ responses ranged anywhere from 100 percent agreement and praise to moderate outrage. But, the perplexing part (to me) was how sensitive and defensive the author got when people expressed how they felt when they read his post. I was a little bit disappointed. Because, I mean, this guy has written some truly enlightening material. He’s shown a lot of couples in danger “the light”. I felt his defensiveness was an eensy bit hypocritical. Here he is preaching to the world that people can be part of the same experience but see (and feel about) it differently, but he seemed to struggle with the fact that some people didn’t “get” his post the way he meant it. So, he kinda berated some of them for missing the point. It made me kinda sad…because it seemed that he could only apply his very important revelations to one situation in the past (his failed marriage) but couldn’t see how it applies to who he is today and what he’s doing today.
Anyway, even though it wasn’t at all the point of his post, the whole idea of most men and women liking certain man/woman things or being man/womany in their ways kinda got me to thinking. In the last 21 years, I have given birth to five children. Three boys and two girls in the following order: boy/girl/boy/girl/boy. Yes, my life is THAT symmetrical. They range in age from 21 to 4. They are all astounding, amazing, unique individuals.
If anyone should have solid thoughts on nature vs. nurture, boys will be boys/girls will be girls philosophy, I figure it’s me.
So, here, in a nutshell, is what my own experience has taught me: ****drum roll*** even having three boys and two girls, I have absolutely no evidence that any one personality trait is more girl than boy or more boy than girl.
Sure, I have a girl who, from the moment she could walk, was into high fashion. She cares tremendously about what she wears and she always appreciates and notices when other people look nice. I also have a girl who from the moment she could walk refused to wear a dress. She did not own anything pink until she was 16…and then only because it was a gift from her older brother. One of these girls could talk about her feelings (or anything) from morning ’til night, the other has shied away from any kind in-person emotional discussion, well, always.
I have a boy who was a breathtaking figure skater at the age of four. No lie. I wanted so desperately for him to continue on with it. But, his dad and grandfather insisted on hockey the next year. This guy has always been extremely athletic and driven. He grew up playing hockey and football, which are very competitive and sports where not just any boy can make their mark. I can’t help but wonder if he would have ended up at the Olympics if he had stuck with figure skating.
I have another boy who prefers writing and improv to physical activity. He’s played football for a few years, but sports of any kind have never been his passion. He’s soft spoken and hysterically funny in the most sophisticated, effortless and sarcastic way possible.
My youngest boy, at just four years old, is the most naturally athletic human I have ever met. From the time he was two, he could drive a baseball (off a Tee) farther than some of his much older siblings. He literally spent this past summer with casts on both legs after suffering stress fractures from (presumably) jumping around like an ape so much. He also has gone through a phase of wanting his fingers and toes to be painted bright pink. He loves to dance and can shake his butt like nobody’s business. Shakira’s hips have nothing on this kid.
I’ve gotta say, I think I’m a pretty cool mom. And, I think that my kids, on a good day, would largely agree. I’ve never pushed boy stuff vs. girl stuff down their throats. I’m totally cool with a butt shaking, nail-polish wearing, baseball slamming boy or girl. But, I didn’t go out of my way to protect them from the stereotypes that bombard them in the mainstream media either. Which is likely why my free-spirited, butt-shaking boy now sometimes feels embarrassed or mentions that nail polish is just for girls. So, I’m thinking that maybe the clientele of a spa wouldn’t be mostly girls if we, as a society, didn’t shove it down boys throats from the time they’re little that those things are meant to be for girls. Anyway, I digress….
Back to the “Sexist Post”… The line that truly bugs me the most about the “Sexist” post is this:
“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.”
Really? Because, I think that what happens around us is a very small fraction of the truth, and not trying to see past it is beyond limiting. And, I think automatically dismissing things that seem untrue means we are stagnant and not growing in knowledge or in character.
Besides, if all of humankind did this, we would still believe the world is flat.
And, you know what, I know the author didn’t mean it. At least I don’t think he could possibly believe it. Because, if he really believes that one should dismiss things that seem untrue, he never would have made the brilliant revelation about the glass in the first place. He’s asserted that his marriage ended (in part) because it seemed untrue to him that leaving a glass by the sink could, under any premise, be a big deal. And then, too late, he realized that his narrow, stubborn, closed-minded perception of truth was contributing to the destruction of his family.
Now, maybe he doesn’t have the feels for his internet readers the way he did for his family (duh). Maybe he’s writing for only those that think and feel and act just like he does. And, maybe he doesn’t want to learn anything else in the process. But, I don’t believe that. I believe this guy has simply failed to realize that, whether it was supposed to be the main point of his post or not, the way he generalized most men and most women hurt some of his readers’ feelings. And, not just the stupid mean ones who skimmed the post and then decided to hate on him. But, some of the loyal ones who have been moved by his work. The ones who know he’s a smart guy with intelligent things to say and who have intelligent things to say, too. The ones who know that, in this case, he said some things that some folks thought were less than astute. And, the things he said made some people feel good. And made some people feel bad. And, neither is wrong. And both are ok.