Monday, November 23, 2009

Responses to "A New Vocabulary for Men"

I posted the original article a week or so ago. Since then Douglas Todd has received quite a few comments on his article.

His argument was that men have been hit hard by this particular recession and that we need to be able to feel the pain and anger - and sadness - that come with job loss and economic struggles - in fact we might even want to support each other through men's groups.

Not every seems to agree.
The savage intensity and tender vulnerability men and women feel about gender issues came out in response to last week’s article, "A New Vocabulary for Men," about new efforts to support men during this emotionally battering economic downturn, which some are calling a “mancession” since so far it’s been hitting North American males harder than females.

Most of the comments had an openness and honesty missing from much of this blog's more customary commentary on religious, spiritual or ethical issues, as reader Billy Pilgrim accurately noted. It was also interesting to hear from Freemason Jack Barr (33rd degree) about how his organization has in its own way been trying to support "good" men for centuries.
I’ll just respond to a few of the offerings the blog has received from men and women. The issues surrounding gender could become a lifelong study. It is endlessly fascinating and provocative, for good reason. Much is to be learned from understanding what Carl Jung would call the ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ parts of our society and ourselves. I’ll begin with the most bitter responses. The readers' comments are in boldface, with my responses in italics.

SEADAWG59 said:
{I’ve cleaned up the spelling. DT}
“We all have ambitions and many of us will not succeed in gaining them. The article is a lot of crock, if you don’t like your job quit look for another job that you do like. There is an old military adage, tough t**** said the kitty but the milk is still good.”

Douglas responds: I could be wrong about the gender, but Seadawg seems to be an old-fashioned male. He believes life is all about sucking it up and being tough and not showing one’s emotions, certainly not grief, fear or sadness. Only anger and repression is allowed in “seadawg59’s” real-male world. There is something to be said for being strong in the face of adversity, but I find “seadawg59s” emotional authoritarianism to be chilling. DT

Here’s something from "Damned Straight," showing how, for some women, rage at men remains dominant. Although clearly intelligent, Damned Straight's comments offer a very disturbing insight into how far (some) women and men need to go to come to any hint of mutual understanding and appreciation.

"Quote from article: 'Many have been calling it a "mancession." The word has been coined because this recession is hitting North American and European male workers far harder than female employees.'
Who are you kidding?

Women still inhabit most of the lowest paid jobs in Canada, not to mention it's mostly women who are in temporary, part time or casual jobs in Canada. Most women also hit the glass ceiling, never hoping to make anything near $300,000 a year, no matter how qualified they are. Women are always at the lowest rungs in employment, during good times and bad. Even in bad times men still get higher paying jobs than women, because other men are still willing to hire them, over women.
Most people of power in Canada are men. Top politicians, top union leaders, top CEO's, and it goes on and on. Everywhere you go the men are in charge.

Douglas Interjects: Damned Straight has not provided any statistical data for her “facts,” other than we know most “top” figures in politics and big business are males. What about all those males who are also low-paid, many doing unpleasant or dangerous work? There is a cold, furious lack of empathy from Damned Straight for average men and their issues. For her it’s about blaming – all men. DT
Go read more of the comments he received about his article.

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