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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Heart Men

Take a quick glance below at the my sidebar named "Night Table".

The very last book listed are the memoirs of an Iraqi woman named Zainab Salbi, called "Between Two Worlds".

It's a very rivetting book, because of her reluctant family's association with Saddam Hussein -- until at least two-thirds of the way in, when it turns into something which for me, is very discomfitting.

She is raped (by her Iraqi-American husband, to whom her mother arranged her marriage), and she leaves him, only to be haunted by her revulsion towards all men.

Although she finds solace in the love given her by her Palestinian-American husband, her life mission becomes to found Women for Women International, a support group if you will, for rape victims of bloody conflicts the world over.

But then I got to this passage, and I felt something inside me deflate:

"It is true that I loved Amjad, and that I feared Amjad. Poor Amjad, the more loving he was, the more I panicked. I was afraid of being confined by him, and being betrayed by him [...].

The more supportive he was, the more vulnerable and trapped I felt."


Perhaps it's because I had recently seen North Country, the film for which Charlize Theron donned her Aero Bed dress for the Oscars, with its unrelenting cesspool of male hate, and a few other recent incidents along the same lines, but I just couldn't read any more after that.

See. I like men. No, check that.

I love men.

I'm not that proud to admit this, but I shall, that I prefer to deal with men to women.

It is true, however, that I am one of those women who befriends other women easily, and manages to know how to weed out the more envious ones from the caring, supportive friends (it helps that I'm very frank when upset, and don't let situations fester, which is a common problem amongst women).

But almost all my close emotional ties have been with men (and with the exception of just one, all straight men) -- from my male cousins, to my roommates at University.

My ex-boyfriends have remained at least friendly with me, after the relationship was over.

I even accompanied an ex-boyfriend to Cuba, since his grandfather was dying there, and he begged me to. How could I refuse, despite my nausea of Castro? He was still my friend, and he needed me.

And as you have read constantly on my blog, I adore my father, who though distant emotionally from me and from most people, always lit up when I entered the room.

Trust me, little girls always feel daddy's love like a brazier, warming them for years to come.

But what happens if your contact with men has been spottier?

What if you have had abusive relationships with men, from father on down?

What if you're exploited (oh hated but apposite word) by some men, because of your lack of self-confidence or self-worth?

What if you were raped?

I don't know, and God willing, I hope never to know how that feels.

Not for one moment, though, do I diminish the very real suffering of women at the hands of sickening men, during history's progress.

Sexism, battering, rape, stalking: it reads like a special list of indignities or worse, which men will never truly comprehend because more often than not, they will not ever experience these abuses.

Believe me, I understand what Zainab Salbi and the thrust of North Country are about.

It's just that these wholesale condemnations of manhood, inferred or explicit, are anathema to me.

They're just not what I am about.

All my life, I have fought to keep a balance in my logic and actions, one which ironically, my Liberal 1970's parents taught me was important, only to be surrounded by feminists in my collegiate career who, at any given opportunity, never passed up a chance to sneer at men.

(Or to belittle women who didn't share their opinions)

It's not just the particular feminists I have met, either.

I have met more than one woman who, when you summed up all that they had to say about men, it boiled down to this phrase:

"All men are pigs"

And I'm sorry, I just loathe that kind of thinking.

It literally makes my skin crawl when I am in the company of women who think like this.

Listen, I know that if I had grown up with a less fond father, had less positive interaction with men, or had been born to a more traditional Eastern, perhaps Muslim family (with their heightened sense of female "honour"), my thoughts might be different.

The thing is, I have experienced Sexism.

It was not in the least bit pleasant. Perhaps even, men cannot fully appreciate just how desensithising it is, to be looked on as a carcass of flesh at the mercy of someone's unwelcome lust.

It is truly disgusting.

But I did not project one man's action, (or even that of other sexist episodes which go hand-in-hand with vivacious, comely youth, alas), unto the whole of the male gender.

All I have to do, is think of my father:

My father who never went to a single PTA meeting, or Parent's Day, or school play of mine, and yet remember his gentleness -- not just to me, or to my mother, but to all human beings.

This kind, elegant, sometimes explosive, but always worthy man, who has dedicated his life to saving other people.

To me, this was an amulet I hugged to my heart, whenever I heard the words "All men are pigs" being utterred around me.

In the most alive logic of the word, "All men are pigs" was debunked by just the mere fact that people like my father, and my boyfriends, and my male friends, existed.

Even I know that sweeping generalisations are not to be taken seriously, but just the mere fact that few women pipe up and say "You're wrong", has always upset me.

So, today, instead of being quiet, I repeat, happily,

I love men.

So what if some of you are oinkers? The good ones are manifest.

(Dedicated this 8 March 2006, The International Day of the Woman)

11 Comments:

  • Happy International Day of the Woman to you Victoria!!!! You are a woman that can be admired by men and women!!

    Un abrazo, Jose

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Wed Mar 08, 09:07:00 am GMT-5  

  • Dittos, Jose.

    So what if some of you are oinkers? The good ones are manifest.

    We are oinkers. It's just that some of us are able to overcome our baser instincts and act like gentleman. That's why we have those massive frontal lobes in our brains: to become creatures of thought, not creatures of instinct.

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Wed Mar 08, 09:12:00 am GMT-5  

  • You are able to push aside the often smothering debris which buries so many in all-encompassing beliefs.
    I heart women but it is for this reason that I heart you.

    Still, do to me what was done to Salbi, treat me as chattel, as inferior and what seethes within will very well be directed toward those who do it. Break my spirit, my will and I will hate all like them. What that doesn't explain is hating without experiencing, as many do. Is it from fear?

    By Blogger Paul, at Wed Mar 08, 10:04:00 am GMT-5  

  • and when you write as you do, Victoria, you remind me how much I delight in and love women. Thoughtful, graceful and expressed as no man would...

    Some of these posts I feel like printing off and tacking onto a corkboard just to look at from time to time...

    By Blogger Ron, at Wed Mar 08, 11:14:00 am GMT-5  

  • Happy International Day of the Woman to you Victoria!!!! You are a woman that can be admired by men and women!!

    Thanks Jose!! That is so kind!

    BTW, as a note:

    I've been busy Wednesday, will have loads of time Thursday, and will be AWOL on Friday.

    But I am cooking up another travellogue, so bear with me!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 09, 01:30:00 am GMT-5  

  • We are oinkers.

    Bah. :)

    It's just that some of us are able to overcome our baser instincts and act like gentleman.

    Through the soothing, or what has been called the civilising presence, of women?

    Perhaps.

    I wonder -- is it a question of, you had to act in a more gentle, less gross fashion around women, to get poonanny? ;)

    That's why we have those massive frontal lobes in our brains: to become creatures of thought, not creatures of instinct.

    Well said, my love.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 09, 01:33:00 am GMT-5  

  • You are able to push aside the often smothering debris which buries so many in all-encompassing beliefs.

    Paul, is that you?? There is a complete change in tone to your comments, from just a few months back to now.

    And I love it! :)

    I heart women but it is for this reason that I heart you.

    Awww.

    Still, do to me what was done to Salbi, treat me as chattel, as inferior and what seethes within will very well be directed toward those who do it.

    Absolutely. I agree with that 100%.

    It's all very well for me not to be a feminist.

    I surely would be, if I lived in Saudi Arabia.

    Break my spirit, my will and I will hate all like them.

    But some experience all that, and do not hate.

    Those are truly heroines.

    What that doesn't explain is hating without experiencing, as many do.

    Also well phrased!

    Is it from fear?

    I don't know.

    It could be from fear of being a possibility as well as a reality.

    Some women know what men are capable of (starting with greater strength, from which all fear really comes), and they fear that, even if it never appears.

    But it threatens to do so, a priori, and that they cannot take.

    But your metaphysical point is well-taken, Paul.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 09, 01:37:00 am GMT-5  

  • and when you write as you do, Victoria, you remind me how much I delight in and love women. Thoughtful, graceful and expressed as no man would...

    Some of these posts I feel like printing off and tacking onto a corkboard just to look at from time to time...


    Thank you, so very much, Ron. :)

    I have to say, that I have never experienced what many people said would be a problem:

    That men would run a mile from a woman, if you showed them that (perhaps) you had a good brain on you.

    In my experience at least, that has NEVER been the case.

    Quite quite the contrary -- many men admire me for that, and often love the brain, first, and then the body or spirit.

    Just about the only trouble I've had, in everyday sexist terms, have been from my fellow countrymen (sadly)...never from American men.

    Which is probably why I rarely dated seriously back home...

    P.S.: That thing you said, about printing out my blogposts, is the compliment of a lifetime, Ron. Mwah!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 09, 01:41:00 am GMT-5  

  • And here Ron told me that the frontal lobe was for crushing beer cans! Hmmmph!

    I've always found intelligent women interesting and desirable, as long as they weren't spewing leftist drivel. I can take opinions on many things that are counter to my own preferences. But I will not accept silly political drivel, even if the Lass is comely.

    I managed to make it into my thirties without being a crime victim, then got cold-cocked in a parking lot by one of a group of 5 black fellows. Lucky for me, I didn't go down, but it was a near thing. I am more careful if I have to walk a quiet parking lot in St. Petersburg. But I never could work up the hatred for blacks that that experience seems to have entitled me. Five preening, strutting, chuckling toughs out of millions? Hmmm, my math sux, but I managed to do it. ;)

    Down With Chattel! Up With M&Ms!

    Hope your IDotW was a nice one, Victoria!

    By Blogger benning, at Thu Mar 09, 04:46:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Through the soothing, or what has been called the civilising presence, of women?

    Perhaps.


    There is something to be said for it. Of course, politeness never costs anything, and can be greatly rewarded.

    I'm certain my mother despaired of ever actually housebreaking me, or learning me real manners. Yet some how the yes, sir, no ma'am, thank you, would please pass all stuck.

    Just don't put more than 1 (each) of fork, spoon, knife, steak knife at my place setting and I'm ok. ;-)

    I wonder -- is it a question of, you had to act in a more gentle, less gross fashion around women, to get poonanny? ;)

    Less gross, yes. More gentle? hardly. In fact, I think it works opposite.

    I know of a man who I would describe as a...hmmm...yes, a horses's ass who has dated the most exquisitively beautiful women. I doubt he showed them any more respect than he showed anyone else (nada).

    Only problem with being gentle is when someone mistakes that for being a pushover. Then you have to go BOFH on them...

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Thu Mar 09, 05:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Down With Chattel! Up With M&Ms!

    I dunno about you, but holding a woman as chattel is too much like work for my tastes.

    For another strong woman, you should check out The Religous Policeman's post on his new best friend: Wafa Sultan.

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Thu Mar 09, 05:44:00 pm GMT-5  

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