Man Hell exists. It’s a Hallmark store in Buffalo, NY where scented candles twist savagely at your nipples and cheaply framed inspirational posters gouge at your eyeballs. The foyer glistens with estrogen as I maneuver my way toward the greeting cards. The isles are stacked high with tacky nick Knacks, embroidered pillows and gaudy shit. It’s a hoarder’s paradise and I’m boiling with hatred for all womankind.
I blame women for a few things: macramé, ice dancing, dry humping, the color mauve – and men for nearly everything else… which is why this sign, a sign I wish were untrue, is currently taped to the driver’s side of my van.
The idea that it’s “a man’s world” is something I personally abhor and resent, but reluctantly believe to be true in light of this last election – as I find the phrase hard to argue against after such a politically uneducated and morally incompetent man won the presidency despite mountains of evidence substantiating his numerous and unforgivable flaws.
His victory signifies to me that we indeed live in a “man’s world” – as there is no American woman, dead or alive, in the history of our nation who could display one tenth Trumps’ petulant, ranting, narcissistic, ignorant behavior and still get elected to the Oval Office. It sucks, but it’s true – and that’s why “man’s world” is on my poster, not because I wish it so.
In fact, more than anything, I’m inviting men to contemplate their inadequacies as leaders – wondering aloud if “manly” dispositions and qualities are to blame for the vast majority of America’s problems… even if, truth be told, 42% of all women voters voted for Trump!
Later that evening, sitting on my couch debating the morality of abducting female Trump voters to use as targets at my niece’s archery practice, I began scrolling through hundreds of empowering and inspirational Facebook photos from women’s rally’s around the nation – and I began asking how the fuck America could be so fucking fucked with so many amazing, intelligent and capable women inhabiting it…. and what qualities we need to instill in our children to better our nation?
42% WTF! How can that be? I thought.
And in an instant, still filled with Facebook infused pride for women everywhere, I felt scared – fearing that we as a culture have it all wrong, knowing that we emulate what we respect and we as a nation respect the wrong qualities in our leaders.
Of course it’s a matter of balance, as all things are – but I think it’s healthy to purpousfully consider why we prefer and prioritize certain characteristics when electing our leaders…. so I submit the following to you and ask which job listing best summarizes the leader you’d like to follow, or boss you’d like to work for?
American Voters Seek True Commander In Chief!
Candidate-A Job Listing:
Our ideal candidate is enthusiastic, gentle, nurturing, intuitive and possess an open mind. They exhibit a centered disposition, are supportive, relationship oriented, make suggestions while seeking help from others and are receptive to varying opinions. They must be an attention giver who empowers others, believing we should be idealistic in a graceful and positive manner even if it slows the decision making process. Above all the ideal candidate seeks to avoid conflict.
Candidate-B Job Listing:
Our ideal candidate is confident, bold, efficient, rational and possess a focused mind. They are assertive, willful and goal oriented. Unwilling to seek help from others, they prefer to give orders and act autonomously when faced with varying opinions. They must be an attention getter who feels personally empowered, believing we should be practical in a precise and strategic manner and make decisions as fast as possible. Above all the ideal candidate seeks conflict.
* The above descriptions are crafted from lists of human characteristics I found on Google posing “feminine” and “masculine” traits in opposing pairs.
Of course we all want a balance of both descriptions in a candidate, but what if you had to choose straight up – wouldn’t that indicate where your true priorities lie? It’s easy to see why Trump was elected if you are at all drawn to Candidate B.
I despise him and I’m embarrassed to call him my president, but even I have to admit that Candidate B’s description has some allure. Sadly, I think we’re all products of social conditioning and the invisible tractor beam of our male dominated society has steadily pulled us out of balance.
Candidate A exhibits more uniquely feminine characteristics and sounds amazing, but isn’t who we as a society view as an effective leader. She’s the right choice, the only choice to help bring balance to the highly imbalanced “man’s world” we’ve created – and yet Candidate B is preferable in a general election, because most people subconsciously believe “male” characteristics are superior to their opposing “female” traits when considering presidential candidates.
In effect, women have to exhibit “masculine” traits to gain acceptance in leadership roles and political office when it’s precisely the opposite our country needs to bring balance to our national priorities and personal belief systems.
So, how do you get America to start viewing the “feminine” traits of compassion and unity as equal or superior to the “masculine” traits of agression and power? And will people ever understand that the most assertive are often the least confident?
My point being, I want more women in power, not more women who think and act like men in power. I get it. Raising your daughter to be more assertive and aggressive prepares her to succeed in our current society, but does that bring balance to our communities, nation and social values? Maybe, but maybe not. It takes more weight to balance the heavy end of a teeter-totter as you move closer to center – meaning, the more similar we become the less counter balance is asserted.
In my opinion, the best way to move the fulcrum of America’s consciousness is to cultivate compassion in our men, rather than assertiveness in our women. Women need to teach the qualities they naturally embody, not cultivate the problem causing behaviors men embody!
I understand women need to be strong and assertive to be heard – but only compassion will balance America’s scales of justice and I fear that aspiring to beat men at their own game will never level our scales.
How strong does a woman have to become to be respected the same as a man? Is it not easier to change the perception of strength, than to change a woman’s natural gifts?
I’m looking at the long game and it’s a fools game, with men and women finally playing equal parts – and nothing’s changed because the most assertive continue to become the most powerful and thus, despite gender equality, the status quo remains unchanged.
But what do I know? I’m a man after all…. with a letter to share.
It was written in April of 2012, four years into the Obama presidency by a middle school girl at JHMS. The letter, which arrived late to my mailbox along with fifty others was never delivered to its intended recipient in Rwanda. Instead, I share it with you now because it needs and deserves to be shared.
It begins with a thought borrowed from Confucius and continues on, embodying the sanctity of a little girl who has already tapped the source of her immense strength, channeling an eternal power only love can trump…
… and I can only hope today, five years later, she and her friends haven’t learned the false meaning of strength from the result of this election, the president himself – or anyone else for that matter.
PS – If you happen to know a girl who’s initials start with the beginning of the alphabet, share this with her.