This was the darkest dawn of the year so far. However, even though it was pouring rain when I got up, my half hour walk was practically rain-free.
Porcupine update: J trapped and relocated our FIFTH porcupine yesterday! Dogs remain quill free.
Feeling lazy today --
I'm going to follow up on yesterday's post about sisters with this article that I wrote several years ago. I'd like to give men their due.
Woo-hoo! But Not for Women Only
I recently spent a getaway weekend with my two sisters, something we had never done before. Sadly, it took an impending mastectomy as a catalyst to make us plan a trip together, and we promised each other on Sunday afternoon that we will not wait for another crisis to connect with each other again. In spite of the ten years in age that separate us, we found ourselves profoundly linked with each other, and not just by biology. We wandered around the city without a plan, ate when we felt the need, and marveled at the novelty of staying up and sleeping in as late as we wanted to. And we talked. We spent hours drifting from one subject to the next – books, religion, the state of the world, kids, food, husbands, sex, parents, and poignantly, given the impending surgery, our bodies. We are all women, wives, and mothers. There is a shared experience of relationship, emotions and anatomy between all women that transcends other differences. That universal sisterhood is worth cherishing and celebrating.
There is, however, an occasionally darker side of the sisterhood that troubles me. On returning home from my sister weekend, I opened an email from a female acquaintance. It was one of those “Woo-hoo! Girlfriends are the best!” email chains. “Forward to at least ten friends, and you're a true sister, sister!” I'm not usually much of woo-hoo'er, but given my recent female bonding with sisters, I read it more closely.
Now, I do love the women in my life – mom, sisters, girlfriends, even my mother-in-law. But there is a troubling trend among celebrators of womanhood to celebrate at the expense of men. This was a typical women's affirmation chain letter. It called upon me to celebrate things like: “We don't have to pass gas to amuse ourselves,” “We can talk about how silly men are in their presence because they aren't listening anyway,” or, “If we marry someone 20 years younger, WE are aware that we will look like an idiot.”
The woman who initiated this chain had some serious negativity issues. These were the words of a man hater, not a woman lover.
Why must we make a mockery of men in order to celebrate ourselves? We live in one of the best times and best societies for women in history. Women are becoming leaders of nations, and it may not be long before the United States has a woman president. Women are working hard to help other women around the world, and little by little we are succeeding.
Sure, there are still inequalities in our society, but they go both ways. Both men and women have opportunities that are denied to the other. Both gender groups have attributes from which the other can benefit and learn. We are equal in many ways, but we are not the same. Isn't that a good thing? Vive la difference!
Yes, men can be tiresome, but please, ladies, can you remember the girls in seventh grade? Sadly, there are adult women out there who are still unleashing that seventh grader within. Let's move beyond that world where bullies (male or female) have to drag people in the dirt in order to bolster their own wobbly self-esteem.
I am deeply grateful for the men in my life – my husband, son, brothers, dad, nephews, and many others. My life is enriched by men who are caring, refreshingly no-nonsense, strong, funny, talented, and wise. My daughters have benefited from the troops of male friends who became a part of our household during their school years. Lovely as it is to be with women, it is often a relief to retreat to the society of men. I am sick and tired of hearing jokes about stupid men. What kind of message are we sending our young boys when crowds of women make an unrestrained mockery of what they are to become?
I do not suggest that the world revert to the eternal blandness of political correctness at all times. My sisters and I are fortunate to love our husbands dearly, but sometimes a little laughter at their expense is irresistible. In the face of the fears and stresses that so many of us face, laughter is an invaluable tool, as long as it is a loving laughter, not a bitter one. We might do well to accept the jokes about us in return. Women can be pretty silly. If we are too sensitive to recognize our own foibles, we miss out on some giggles.
During our weekend meanderings we met several women who were intrigued by our sisters' trip and wanted to hear more. One of them had gone through a mastectomy herself. There we were, sharing tears and smiles with a total stranger. It fills me with warmth just to think about it. Wait, I think that was a hot flash.
To all the wonderful women out there: I love the sisterhood that we share. Nothing can replace the intensity of that womanly connection. I also love men. We women are strong, capable, and mutually supportive enough to build up all of the wonderful men and men-to-be in our lives at the same time that we build up ourselves.
Let's hear it for the guys - “Woo-hoo!”