Friday, October 1, 2010

Is that really the mark of a "Real Man"?

So I'm chilling during my lunch hour today at work in the kitchen with three coworker, all women. One of them talks about her mail run through the offices and comments specifically on one particular man (we'll call him "Eric") that stands up every time she enters the room. So while talking about this man they start in on how I should be doing the same for them. I ask why. Now at this point I already knew the answer but in some faint hope that I was wrong I figured I'd wait.

"Because that's what a real man would so for a woman."

Okay folks you've been here long enough to know that I don't like it when people trying to hang things over my head as supposed indicators of a "real man". So after answering I would do no such thing of course that's when their desire for chivalry really kicked in and they started talking about how they were gonna send me over to Eric so that I can learn why I should do it. I tell them I already fully understand why Eric does that.

Its because its a gender expectation that I, Eric, and the majority of men have drilled into our heads. A show of respect for the presence of a lady as she enters the room and so forth.

Can someone tell me why women deserve such special acknowledgment?

I don't want to talk anything from Eric or any other man who chooses to go with this expectation. They are working with their own sense of manhood and they are free to choose to define it as they see fit and more power to them. However I on the other hand simply refuse to do such a thing. I mean we're all just regular people here right? Who is really so special that other people should feel obligated to stand when they enter the room?

And also don't get me wrong and think that I don't think women are deserving of respect, they most certainly do. However there is a difference between respect and special treatment. Respect is treating her as the equal human she is. Special treatment is to go out of one's way because of her gender for reasons other than "I want to do this for you".


Buck Badger said...

Respect is showing consideration and support for another. Respect is Not conforming to a ritual that glorifies the Female, while at the same time clarifying that she is seemingly also inferior. Affirmations are important, but breaking out of boxes such as these while supporting others is also important. Perhaps you need to discuss with these women how you could otherwise affirm them, clarifying how and why what they want doesn't feel okay to you. This is tricky, because you don't want to be stuck in a box with the other man where either one of you is "good", making the other "bad".

Danny said...

Thanks for dropping in Buck.

Yes it is a tricky act. As I said there is a difference between treating a woman like the equal person she is and trying put her on a pedestal. And you bring up a good point about not trying to get into a "good guy/bad guy" or "real man/fake man" dynamic with the "Eric" in my story.

I'm all for respecting women but I'll be damned if I'm gonna have my manhood judged based on giving women special treatment. Radical notions and all that.

sonja said...

"I'm all for respecting women but I'll be damned if I'm gonna have my manhood judged based on giving women special treatment. Radical notions and all that."

And more power to you for it, Danny. I wouldn't want a guy standing every time I walked into a room, because I'm self-conscious.

But if I were you, I wouldn't want to be expected to do it.

It's hardly a radical notion, IMO.

Danny said...

Thanks Sonja.

Buck Badger said...

I think that these types of areas can be helpful for us men to discuss with women (and other men). Telling a woman that she "looks nice today" could both be a positive, good thing or focusing upon her Body and not her brains/insights and similar.

Offering to use one's "male strengths" if one has them is fine - but "being a man" and similarly helping women "be ladylike" can be worth confronting when the time and place are right.

I think that it's also important how one confronts such things. Being subtle and supportive while pointing how how something makes one feel and similar can be helpful, while ridicule and sarcasm can often make one the bad guy most easily.

(I can't get your blog to accept me as: "Geo" through my blog - so - I must remain Buck Badger and (silent) "Geo" as I am elsewhere)