I am married to a remarkable man.
I have two sons.
I have a father.
I have two brothers.
I have a father-in-law.
I have a brother-in-law.
I assist a man who teaches G's Sunday School class every week.
I like the men my best friends are married to.
Most of my best friends have sons--I definately like them.
I like my husband's friends, who are men.
I like his boss in Dallas (but then our cruise was his doing..so maybe I'm biased about him).
Shall I continue or are you seeing the point? There are many men in my life that I truly like and admire and love.
Basically, I like men. Especially the ones in my life. So with this in mind, you can probably understand why I don't take too kindly to man-bashing. It does not sit well with me and it never has. Sure, there are less-than-wonderful men in the world...just like there are less-than-wonderful women but for the most part, I don't like to be stereotyped as a woman, nor do I tolerate stereotypes about men--especially negative ones. This practice of using a person's gender as an excuse for something or as a disparraging statment is annoying. For me it ranks as a pet peeve.
I bristle at these statemets and others like them:
"That's a man, for ya."
"Well, what do you expect from a man?"
So, today, while the boys and I were checking out the newly-remodled (very nice) JoAnn's today I witnessed an incident that set my hair on end. I went to the fabric counter to have some fabric cut. The lady there rolled out the yard of fabric I wanted and aligned it up with the yard stick that is mounted on the big cutting table. She got out her scissors and moved to cut to fabric. This is when she realized that the table's metal cutting gutter (the scissor guide) on this cutting table had been installed at the half-yard mark on the ruler, not at the usual yard mark.
Her response was to exhale deeply with exasperation and say "No doubt, a man did that." The disdain in her tone was clear.
Right there under the attentively listening ears and watchful eyes of Julian (my ten year old), who was leaning over the table to watch closely the cutting of my fabric, she chooses to disparrage all man-kind. Gee, thanks.
I looked at her. I looked at my sons. Did she really expect me to commisserate with her based on no other fact than that I am a woman?
Not this chick. I like men. Just call me a fan of men.
On the way home, I was thinking on this as I munched on my Chic-Fil-A nuggets. It occurred to me that it is not acceptable to make slurs against a group of people based on their race or ethic background. In fact, it's so unacceptable, we have a term for it--"racial slurs". If used in the committing of a crime, speaking or writing a racial slur can elevate the crime to the level of a *hate crime*. The penalties for a person guilty of a "hate crime" are more serious than the penalties for "run-of-the-mill" crimes. That's how serious most American's take racially-based slurring or dengration.
So why not ban similar "gender slurs"? Or at least make them socially unacceptable? Gender and race go hand-in-hand. Neither can be changed and both have been the subject of prejidice in our sordid past. So, why is it OK to casually and uselessly bash a group of people based on their gender, when we wouldn't think of allowing similar words about a persons race to pass between our lips? Why is it called harrassment if it occurs in the workplace, but is aceptable elsewhere?
I say it's not OK. Nobody benefits from this and we can do better.
Words carry weight, although we often throw them around like paperclips, as if they make almost no difference in the universe. Even Julian (who many times is not at all sensitive to vocal tone clues) recoiled at the weight of her tone. He backed away and looked at me to see if he had done something wrong. I winked at him and we went on.
Hate serves no righteous purpose and improves nothing. Whether the woman actually "hated" men or (more likely) was just expressing her exasperation without thinking about her audience, I don't know.
So now you know.
I am a fan of men.