Whether you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, chatting with the person next to you in yoga class, having a conversation with your hair dresser, or watching television, all around you, other women are criticizing their man or men in general. The message is clear; men are dumb, incompetent, simple minded, stupid, or worse.
While waiting in line at the grocery store last fall I heard a lady say to her friend “ just wait until you see our pumpkin this year, I let Mark carve it” and then the other lady responded “well you should see how Joey is dressed this morning, my husband dressed him.”
A part of me wanted to turn around and console these poor women that wound up with a man that couldn’t dress his son appropriately or one that couldn’t carve a pumpkin correctly. But of course I knew they were simply engaging in their favorite past time: Male Bashing.
Male bashing has become socially acceptable chit chat among women, it's a part of our culture, it's a woman's right and if men don’t like it they should just grow up and act like a “man”. Women engage in male bashing so frequently now they may not even consciously be aware of it.
Prior to finding the man of our dreams, my friends and I were all supportive of each other. We would talk for hours about the qualities and characteristics our “dream” man would have. He would be confident, strong, gentle, kind, and masculine.
He certainly wouldn't be the stereotype created in all the man bashing stories. The man we wanted and most women say they want is a man that will give them a special love; a man that will honor and cherish you and put you above every other person.
Women say they want to feel as if they are the most important person in the world to someone else. And as each of us married we were convinced we had found the perfect soul mate.
Over time, as we pursued our careers and raised our families, we became careless. We forgot to cherish, protect and take care of what we had. We often behaved in ways, though perhaps unintentional, that caused us to lose and devalue what we said was so important to us.
GIRLS NIGHT OUT
Now, when girlfriends meet for a girl’s night out, within a few moments we catch up on all the things going on in our lives. (Or give each other some details that we didn't post on Facebook) And almost immediately one friend says… you wouldn't believe the stupid thing my husband did.
Within a couple of minutes everyone shares all the annoying things their husbands have done since they last met. Everyone suspects their friends are exaggerating, so your stories grow as well. The game is on and you find yourself in a competition as if there was a grand prize or award for putting up with the worst husband.
Women have a need to connect with each other on an emotional level, to love, nurture, and share and help their women friends. Often in this group, one of the women does have a legitimate relationship problem and needs help.
So in an attempt to help, we exaggerate our own husband’s negative traits to make the other person feel better about their situation. This game often starts as a genuine caring for the other person. After all no one likes a bragger.
But over time it became a pattern, a way of interacting with each other. It is the socially acceptable and popular thing to do now. Everyone does it, so it must be okay.
HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?
When you see him after one of these sessions, how do you feel about him? Do you believe what you said about him is partly true so Is it ok? Do you tell yourself he probably does the same things when he is with his male friends so that makes it alright? Or do you feel guilty? or do you feel like a traitor?
DOES IT HURT ANYONE?
Do you ever wonder if this man/husband bashing thing you do is just an innocent game you engage in with your girlfriends…. or do you wonder if it harms your relationship?
And what about our sons and daughters, what do they hear? How do they act on their interpretation of what they hear? Does it influence their behavior? Does it cause your son to have positive feelings of self-worth? Does it influence the way your daughter feels about her father? What about her future relationships with men?
Statistics show more and more people are remaining single these days, does male bashing contribute to this phenomena?
DOES IT HURT YOU? DOES IT HURT HIM?
PAUL & PATSY COHN
PAUL & PATSY