May 1, 2019

DAPHNE PATAI: A Fantasy For The Sexes.

In contemporary America, women and men still act out ancient roles. From the point of view of the men, the society is a matriarchy: Women have physically less demanding jobs — with the sole exception of childbirth, by now a rare event in the average woman’s life. Women sustain far fewer injuries on the job, are not required to go to war, take better care of their health, and for these reasons and many others enjoy a lifespan significantly longer than that of men.

In this society, men use their physical strength, when necessary, on women’s behalf. Women claim to be equal partners when that suits them and claim to be entitled to special consideration when that suits them. They insist on autonomy in maintaining or aborting pregnancies, but at the same time, they determine the fathers’ duties-and rights, if any. Women claim child support. They can either demand or impede fathers’ continuing involvement with their offspring, as the women see fit. The result is that women have advantages over men in child custody suits, just as they have learned to use charges of child sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Though dozens of studies show that women, by their own account, initiate violence against their domestic partners as often as (if not more often than) men, and cause as much injury when weapons are involved, somehow the social mythologies of this country keep that fact from gaining broad public attention, let alone credence.

But worst of all, in terms of the interactions of daily life, are women’s emotional demands on men. At home, men routinely sit through harangues that demonstrate women’s greater verbal skills and emotional agility. Men, inarticulate, try to figure out what is required of them in a given situation. Not by accident, verbal therapies in this society archetypically began with men listening and women speaking. Even as little boys, males learn to be in awe of girls’ verbal fluency. The feeling of ineptness, of being no match for females at the verbal and emotional level, is the common inheritance of all but a few exceptional males.

The matriarchy here described, structured to protect women’s interests as against men’s (and, ironically, having conned men into defending such a set up) puts a premium on women’s special social and emotional skills. Everywhere, women engage men and one another in personal conversation, offering and receiving disclosures, demanding commiseration, giving advice, spreading censure. Men, trained to keep to their workhorse style, are uncomfortably cornered by women, in the workplace, and at home, demanding that they speak from the heart. When asked “How are you?” women give a detailed and precise accounting. In offices, they spend valuable time discussing personal matters.

Studies are done on the economic costs of smoking and poor health, but not of the costs of women’s work habits.

Read the whole thing.

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