When I watch my nephew “play” I wonder what life is like through his eyes. He is often in the middle of an intense battle between The Hulk, Spiderman, Ironman and often switches in and out of roles. He could also be present in a land of dinosaurs and dragons, he is most often a T-Rex. He enjoys pretending to fall down, or acting out a failed jump from the couch to the floor. He is loud and the source of brash noises that seem to only make sense in his context. He turns simple crayons into rocket ships as they burst through the sky. He loves to explore and offer up his small courage to a “haunty house” [any dark room] and transforms himself into a spooked sense of self while in play mode. Between these scenarios, there are spurts of eating. He eats a variety of foods and yet, quite nothing at all. If you haven’t caught on, I take pride in studying his every move.
As a woman that grew up with no brothers with male cousins seen sporadically, my nephew’s methods are appealing and adventuresome. At times, he gets to jumping on me too much and I put my hands up in surrender. Okay, that’s enough I say. And he seems unaware of how I don’t like this activity anymore. I offer some of my own preferred activities like coloring, drawing, reading a book. I’d like to take time to brag that now he finds enjoyment drawing his vicious characters and exploring another version of his imagination. I also have adapted my normal way of doing things to ask him to help me. When I ask him “hey can you help me?” his response is of great willingness and attention. He tries to lift the heavy box, he tries to find the item I am looking for. He loves to help at the grocery store by putting items on the counter for me to scan at the self- checkout. This is not a fast process. I name the item and what he offers me may or may not be that item. But I love to see him listen and search, trying to match words to real life pictures. This is a challenge for him and it’s exciting. Did I get it right?! What is frozen green beans again? Most of all, he wants to DO. He doesn’t want to sit and shut up, and I like it that way.
A backlash of feminism has produced an assault on men.
In high school, I recognized the similarity of many prime time sitcoms, the buffoon dad/husband. This image is different than a Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) or a Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), these are the Raymond (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Peter Griffin (Family Guy) and some others. There was a shift in the way the husband/father was portrayed in the evening TV shows from decades prior. These men are often displayed at simpletons that just always get it wrong. *insert mechanical laughs now* Without their wife, they would live as 40-something frat boys eating Doritos and sour cream for dinner. These men are incapable of caring for their children appropriately and safely. They are also inept at romancing their wives. I’m not married nor do I have children. However, don’t roll your eyes too far back. I was a child once, a child of two married people. With this image of a man or husband, what modern woman would want to be married? I feel bad this is the way men are depicted not just in TV sitcoms but also big picture movies. This image subconsciously draws us away from each other as men and women. This reiterates that message of I don’t need a man. I can do for myself. These messages are a direct result of feminism.
Can we make bunkbeds? Soooo???
And so I see many, many men taking a backseat to the feminist agenda. If they speak up they are labeled as a sexist and misogynist. If they fall in line, they are tamed. They become passive. They become the man that just stands there when someone is disrespecting you as a woman. They say nothing. If they open a door for you, I can open a door myself. If they take you out, I can pay for myself. But if you sleep with him, can you call you yourself? By the looks of it, that’s the only time some women want a man. To lay in bed with and then obsess over the lack of texts and phone calls coming in. Some women assert their Independence, but cling to their phones waiting for the sad, majestic elusive text message. There’s no judgment here because I have been that woman. Scared to know a man by any other context aside from that which I can assure myself success. I believed that interactions between myself and men were of a win/lose situation. If you know that I like you, I lose. If I’m nice to you, I lose. I used to say I’m not an ego fluffer. I’m not his personal cheerleader. Some of you may be nodding your head like, Right! Let me finish, I now see those beliefs were being held by an immature and insecure woman. There’s a quote that circulates on social media:
“Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter.”
I tried to out-shine my fellow man. I was shallow and needed men to know that I was better. I used to believe a man could offer me nothing. The root of these beliefs are for another day.
Four years ago, I went with my pregnant sister to the doctor where we would find out the sex of her baby. When the tech announced there was a penis and that it was a boy, I said “I guess our man-hating days are over.” I have stuck by that statement. How could I welcome a baby boy into this world holding in resentments towards men? How could honor this new member of the family by subconsciously being repelled by all things masculine? How could I take delight in him if I disapproved of his nature?
These days I don’t trash talk men. I actually listen to a few. Men have so much to say and so much to offer us women. Allow yourself to be a woman, soft and beautiful. Allow a man the chance to come through for you. They want to. If a man disappoints you, I plead with you to not become bitter. Do not become prickly. I can only explain this transformation as one produced by God. Without a willingness to be corrected I could not have the heart I have today. We all have value, and I refuse to put down a man in order to self-soothed my own insecurities.