Men and society…

Once again PhiLOLZophy makes me think… this time about the role of men in society.

Their point is that it seems to be acceptable for men to play dumb — along with learned incompetence about basic household tasks.  The example from the blog post was of a couple of men who made a two week joke out of not being able to find a suitable recipe on-line.  They also made reference to an episode of The Office where the men claimed not to know how to clean the microwave, instead insisting that the female receptionist do it because they’d only mess it up.

I should start by saying that neither Hubby nor Andy could pull this off.  I’ve seen both of them find recipes on-line and I’ve seen both of them clean house — and well.  As y’all have seen numerous times in the short history of this blog, Andy’s the Evil Food Genius (EFG) — finding and adapting recipes with a skill I (a woman) could only dream of.  Of course, the specific examples in my life are sort of beside the point.  The point being that society seems to reward men for being dumb and let them off the hook for some tasks as a result.

Hubby would say that it’s part of the overall process of dumbing-down of America.  He’s probably right, at least partially.  It also seems to me that the meme of the bumbling dad /competent mom in advertising is part of this process.  Women are competent, resourceful and smart.  Men screw stuff up and women pull their nuts out of real or metaphorical fires.

It seems to me that this is simply an extension of the educational experience of many boys.  If they’re bookish, they’re called nerds.  If they’re active, they’re put on AD/HD drugs and told their behavior as boys is problematic.  The educational establishment doesn’t want any students who are a “problem”.  Boys who are naturally boisterous are a “problem”.  Imagine if the message we sent to girls was “you should be more like that little boy over there”… oh, wait, Hillary Clinton seemed to get that message, act on it and didn’t get elected President (yea — I know there was more to it, but the jokes about her not wearing skirts because of worries that when she’d bend over her balls would show weren’t based in a fear that she’d expose herself).

As a third-wave feminist, this bothers me.  If allowed to continue, bright boys will be in the same problematic situations as bright girls were in the 50s.  I think that the world would be a better place if both genders are permitted to fully explore their intellects.  Placing either gender in a stereotype does the other gender damage.

So — my friends — it’s time to stop the narrative.  Ladies, when a guy  you love tries to use the “I’m a big ol’ dumb-ass” act, call him on it.  Tell him that you don’t hang with dumb-asses…. and that you find intelligence sexy… that will change their behavior right quick, cuz some things haven’t changed for men in eons… (wink wink).

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2 Responses

  1. Well put. Let’s make it cool to be smart again. 🙂

  2. I call my husband and sons on playing stupid all the time.

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