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Sunday, February 26, 2012

In Defense of Men

First let me say that for the most part men probably don't need  me to defend them. They're quite capable of defending themselves I am sure. But that said, it's something I feel compelled to write about.

I often feel like I'm in the minority as a woman who truly likes men. It seems so often I'm surrounded by women who blame and bash men, and frankly, I'm not on board with that. I have listened to women talk about men as if they are one step up from dragging their knuckles on the ground, and lest for us civilizing them, they'd still be eating raw meat off a dirt floor. This is far from true.

During breakups it's especially easy to blame and point fingers. When my marriage ended I had a story that at face value I could have traded on for years as the "wronged" woman. For a short while I found some solace in that. It felt validating that people viewed me as a victim of a mean man and felt sorry for me. But as time went on I realized that wasn't the whole story.

While it was easy to paint one person as the Snidley Whiplash of the scenario the truth was, I too was responsible for the breakdown of my marriage, I had to let go of thinking some interloper had ruined my perfectly happy life and realize if it had been perfectly happy it wouldn't have ended. Our relationship, like so many, had played itself out, but we were both too afraid to let it go, until we had to. Obligation, habit and fear are not enough to make a happy marriage, It was that realization that enabled me to let go of blaming and create my own happy, post-divorce life. I'm not of victim of anyone.

What I've witnessed over and over is women making themselves the victims in relationships instead of taking responsibility for their part in a relationship's failure or success. Of course there will  always be extenuating circumstances, but I think in general we can't assign white and black hats based on gender. I've known as many women who are just as unkind and thoughtless as I do guys. We are all ultimately responsible for our choices.

I think if women truly want to be equals we need to stop the double standard of wanting equality yet roll over and play victim in our relationships with men. Yes there are times when someone is a dick and that is unfair. What I posit is that we realize we all do the casting in the movie of our life. We are not magnets for "bad boys" or "bitches" (depending on your gender and sexual preference). We CHOOSE the people we let into our lives.

The majority of men are not creeps just laying in wait to take advantage of us. Just like women they have their issues, their limiatations and pasts to overcome. I think it's less about gender and more about choosing well. Perhaps instead of crying about how badly a guy treated you, you should look in the mirror and ask yourself why you picked him.

I've had my ups and downs in relationships with men, but I would not trade any of them. I have been disappointed, hurt and cried a river of tears, but  I have learned from every single one.

 I unabashedly love men. I have no desire to be with someone who thinks just like me. I love the differences and will always stand up for guys when women generalize about their failings. I just hope that the guys will do the same thing right back.

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