Opinion | If you really love everyone, you should treat women with respect
Musings with Milam
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 00:08
Normally, when I conjure the cliché image “rocking the boat” in my mind, I envision someone deviating from the norm. I envision someone saying or doing something opposed to the established way of thinking.
In other words, thought or action that in “rocking the boat” aims to appeal to a different perspective and way of conceiving the world.
Certainly then, by any competent understanding of such a sentiment, Ian Joyce failed to achieve this in his article, “I love everyone: reasons why maintaining hope in others is the only way to live.”
If by “rocking the boat” he meant reinforcing age-old stereotypes about gender roles and a man’s sense of entitlement to women, then mission accomplished.
He mentioned in his article that women seek men that see beyond their breasts and behinds, that they should instead see a confident, humble and serving heart. The role of women in a relationship is not to serve the man.
Men should value a woman that is beautiful, intelligent and has career and life ambitions of her own.
I’m not regurgitating Betty Friedan-inspired ‘60s feminism here, but simply stating that respect in a relationship entails recognizing the individual autonomy of each other.
Even so, many within our society hearken back to a time when the roles of men and women were more clearly outlined and defined.
They romanticize that period, the 1950s, as the paradigm of traditional family values.
However, even a rudimentary understanding of history demonstrates that period to be an outlier. The social and political trend had a trajectory geared towards female empowerment, which came to be fully realized in the 1960s and proceeding decades.
I do not intend to be derisive of housewives. That’s a noble role, if one so chooses it. What I do deride is the expectation that women should be housewives.
My mother, for instance, is more handy with a wrench and has the know-how to fix a vehicle more than my father.
It is not incumbent upon women to serve men in relationships because they seek true love. True love between two people ought to manifest itself in respect for each other. Not in predefined traditional gender roles that relegate men and women to certain duties.
Maybe Ian Joyce meant something different by that statement of women having a “serving heart.” Defining individuals with varying capabilities and aptitudes to socially and culturally constructed parameters is unwise and detrimental to the flourishing of that individual.
The other point of contention with regards to Ian Joyce’s article is when he argues that men should not be hated for gyrating on women who wear revealing clothing at bars.
For him, respectable love begins with respectable dress.
This belief insinuates a sense of entitlement from men to women. It is thought that men are entitled to women because of the clothes they wear.
If she’s dressing like that, surely she wants guys fawning all over her and gyrating on her body. Otherwise, she would have worn something less revealing, right?
Wrong. If a woman feels confident in her body to wear something that reflects that, it should not, then, be the justification for men to think they can have their way with her.
Moreover, if men should not be hated for gyrating on women at bars, the further implication is troubling. This forwards the idea that male personal responsibility is negated by “natural” animalistic instincts. I believe that men are not simply physical mechanisms that react to impulses. Men think and reason too.
Value should be placed on being a gentleman and respecting a woman, not believing she’s fair game because of her choice of apparel. Such thinking leads to objectifying women, and then you’re merely viewing her as something to play with to satisfy your needs.
To follow the logical progression of such a thought – that men should not be hated for gyrating – leads one to a consequence that becomes hard to justify. It’s the often-said belief that women of rape asked for it.
They asked for it because they were dressed a certain way or acted a certain way, which made the rapist feel entitled to her body.
And you can’t blame the rapist, he was only acting out his desires. She brought them out.
Not that Ian Joyce potentially thought-out such a conclusion, but one only has to peruse the rhetoric surrounding Congressman Todd Akin’s remarks to see that it’s out there.
In the interest of actually rocking the boat, then, traditional family values are archaic and I would never beckon the return of the 1950s relationship dynamic.
Furthermore, as a man, if you feel threatened by a beautiful, intelligent and ambitious woman, you are insecure. To those men that feel entitled to gyrate on women because of their choice of attire, you’re a jerk with no class.
Finally, yes, you can get pregnant from rape, Mr. Akin.