August 26, 2009

"If you really want a man to be nice to you, never give him a hard time, never talk about emotions and never ask him how he is feeling."

Says the famously feminist Fay Weldon — author of "The Lives and Loves of a She Devil." She also thinks women should just do the housework already and give up on trying to get men to do their share. Also:
"I think we should have more teenage pregnancies, and work afterwards.

"If you have children late you have no energy left for sex, and then men wander off to find someone else.

"The definition of a good man has become ridiculous. I just think that as long as you have a sort of semi-good looking, able-bodied, intelligent man, you should have his baby."
Okay, now we're talking about Fay Weldon again after all these years? Like we were in 1989...


Laura(southernxyl) said...

Never ask him how he is feeling?


My husband had a wretched sore throat last Sunday. We started out to walk to the store and he had to turn back. I went on to the store, came home and found him napping, and when he woke up I asked him how he was feeling.

He seemed to appreciate my concern.

I wasn't supposed to do that?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"'The thing is, you need to find a man who is cleverer than you, or at least not let him know that you are cleverer than him,' she said."

Okay, forget it.

Joan said...

But the trouble is, the battle became too fierce, and the whole culture encouraged women to believe that men are stupid, useless creatures who are the enemy.


I don't agree with Weldon entirely. I expect my husband and children to put their laundry in the hamper, and I get a fair bit of help around the house besides. But the stuff about being nice, and reasonable about sex? She's right.

This pushback against the demonization of males has been going on for a while now. Dr. Laura had a book out on this topic years ago. I hope it's finally starting to gain some traction.

My kids asked me yesterday why I don't let them watch many Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network shows. I told them it's because they always make the adults, particularly the men, stupid, and they encourage kids to disrespect their parents, especially their fathers. Many television commercials do the same thing -- it's always the dad who is the idiot, and the mom who is the smart one. It's offensive, and it's an idea that's repeated millions of times a day. Newer shows (Phineas & Ferb comes to mind) are a little better, but we still have a long way to go.

Shanna said...

I think the cleaning bit is probably true, but more important is to be grateful for what others do for you, not just in marriage but in life. Positive reinforcement is always going to triumph over the negative.

Salamandyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan said...

Laura -- Weldon means "feelings" as in emotions. There are very few times when I can imagine really needing to ask a guy how he is feeling, emotionally. Usually, they let you know.

Come to think of it, it's kind of a stupid question for anyone other children who are still building an emotional vocabulary. People generally let you know how they are feeling -- at least what they want you to know -- through their words and actions. I think we spend entirely too much time worrying about how people are "feeling".

Geez I sound cold! I'm not, but I don't spend a lot of time psychoanalyzing my family, either.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I know, Joan. I was being silly. Because my exact words to him were "how are you feeling?" and she said not to say that.

I think it's actually kind of intrusive to ask somebody about their emotional feelings. They may be none of my dang business. If my husband wants me to know that he's anxious, unhappy, whatever, I reckon he'll tell me. I expect the same consideration.

chuck b. said...

Well, I never saw that movie--but oddly enough I read the book; all I remember is that the cover was green. But this clip is very funny.

It shows the strong influence of John Waters.

chuck b. said...

The director was an NYU film student in the mid-70s. did you know her? Susan Seidleman. She made feminist-oriented student films according to My friends in college did that too. Most of them used Cocteau Twins music as soundtrack material.

vw: horthity. A good name for a blog about gardening.

Synova said...

The comments after the article are sort of interesting. Most of them are either all or nothing.

After 20 years of marriage I'm NOW in the midst of convincing myself that he doesn't CARE if the food is cold. It makes me nuts, but I'm learning, finally, to just put the food out and let it sit and get cold. And he can eat it cold. I'm the one who feels like I'm supposed to serve warm food and the result is that I'm mad, crabby, nagging, and horrible because he's not cooperating with MY efforts to serve warm food that HE doesn't care about.

We'd all be happier if we just quit trying to make the other person shape up.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Never ask him how he is feeling?

You can ask-- once. What you can't do is assume the answer is a lie and keep asking until you get the right one.

Synova said...

Oh, and talking about feelings is a euphemism for talking about *relationship*. And yeah, don't do that.

And not letting him know you are cleverer than he is? Who goes around telling someone "Neener, neener, I'm smarter than you?" Don't DO that. Not a contest.

And yes... have kids while you are young and your womb is elastic. Really. Biology wants us to start having kids sometime between 16 and 25... NOT between 35 and 40.

Joan, on the television shows? My impression was that Cartoon Network was the best, then Nick, then Disney and PBS. The more "educational" a station was trying to be and the more deliberate they were about portraying "family" the worse it was. The Proud Family is a pure abomination.

traditionalguy said...

What has she done now? Going from the ditch on one side of the road into the ditch on the other side. Men do have emotions and are willing to share them in an affiming and non-judgemental relationship. In fact that is the best part of marriage. No one likes to risk rejection for showing fear and uncertainty, so ask in an affirmative way, but do ask and listen non-judgementally.

Michael Hasenstab said...

She's channeling Dr. Laura.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Not letting him know that you are cleverer than he is = dumbing yourself down so he can feel good. That is not the same as not rubbing your superiority (if any) in his face.

We left that crap behind in the 1970's, didn't we, with the fragile male ego?

Also, we're supposed to accept men who are "able-bodied". In a wheelchair? Blind? SOL. Don't like that either. As it happens, my husband is able-bodied, but if he became disabled he would still be a good man and worthy of my affection and esteem.

Pogo said...

I prefer Shanna's approach.

Gratitude for the things your spouse does is essential, and hard to keep up when you simply aren't in the mood. But it does get easier with time, and I have much to be grateful for.

Fay Weldon seems to have come to some peace, which is nice.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Not letting him know that you are cleverer than he is = dumbing yourself down so he can feel good. That is not the same as not rubbing your superiority (if any) in his face

Agreed. Plus not everyone is good at everything. In my marriage, I'm the go to person for technical/computer stuff and for science type questions....oh and cooking

My hubby is the mechanical guru. Mr Fixit. And he is a font of information on all sorts of cultural things and much better in math than I am.

He pitches in and does some housework with out my even asking and I'm suitable thankful and let him know it. It works out just fine.

The issue is, as laura says, not to rub it in.

Young women have been conditioned to make a big freaking deal out of everything. Let it just roll off of your back for most things. The key is picking your battles and not getting your panties in a wad over every little thing.

campy said...

The key is [...] not getting your panties in a wad over every little thing.

That's the easy part. The hard part is figuring out which are the little things.

Pogo said...

If it's under $100, ain't drug abuse, isn't a crime, doesn't risk death, and doesn't involve infidelity, it's probably not a big deal.

Pogo said...

Oh, plus 'no punches were thrown'.

campy said...

The little things are the ones we agree on.

The big things are the ones you're wrong about.

Synova said...

LOL, campy. So true. :-)

Anyway, pretty much seriously... Rule 1. Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule 2. It's all small stuff.

campy said...

LOL, campy. So true. :-)

Married 32 years 363 days and counting. I had to have learned something by now.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

That's the easy part. The hard part is figuring out which are the little things.

They're all little things. Except his thing. Never imply that his is a little thing.