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Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sandra Bullock and Jesse James: A Model of the New Relationship


This is the direction our relationships are heading, and it's a good thing. But it is a mistake to suggest that the only problem is men not being able to cope with being in a relationship with a powerful woman. I've seen just as many relationships where the successful woman married a man who agreed to "stay at home"...and then grew discontented with his "lack of ambition." In most of the successful marriages or relationships I've seen where the woman is more "powerful" the man had, say, a home business or was excellent in some field that didn't necessarily have a high income as reward for quality. Yet to personally observe a single one where the "traditional" role of homemaker and breadwinner was actually switched. And both men and women have to be held accountable for this, if we want to understand the way to a future in which women are free to compete to the max, and men are free to NOT compete, if that is THEIR choice. We are way far from that. Men criticize women for being "too powerful", and women criticize men for "not being powerful enough." Trying to point the finger and say one side is more judgmental is just sexism masquerading as enlightenment.



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8 comments:

etc @ www.fierceandnerdy.com said...

I think it should also be noted that these two people are rich and can pay people to take care of his children or any children they might choose to have if either of them have something else they want to do.

It is hard to compare ourselves to famous people, b/c they live according to different rules. I personally am a big fan of my situation, b/c being a write-at-home mother w/ a live-in MIL allows me to pursue my dreams and go places at a drop of a dime w/o worry. My husband enjoys the same privilege.

However, if I didn't have help or couldn't afford help, things would become difficult. I wouldn't be happy as a complete SAHM and the situation would become untenable. If things were reversed, I know my husband wouldn't be happy being a SAHD. He's passionate about work and I respect that.

I think there's more to female breadwinners being upset that their husbands aren't more ambitious. In general, it's hard for ambitious people to be with people who aren't ambitious. I had an ex-BF who was like this and it just boggled my mind. I think there's a difference between what people think they want hypothetically and what people think they want IRL. If you're ambitious, it's going to be hard for you to respect someone who isn't ambitious. I suspect this is true for both sexes -- look how many men trade their dutiful wives for someone who is not only younger, but often more ambitious. People concentrate on the younger bit, but m/b they should be paying attention to the ambitious bit.

One of our bloggers over at Fierce and Nerdy is actually a stay-at-home dad. He cooks, he cleans, so far he and his wife seem happy. We'll see. He gets a lot of hits. I think people are very interested to follow him on this journey.

Dan Moran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Trying to point the finger and say one side is more judgmental is just sexism masquerading as enlightenment."

Sexism and just plain nonsense too.

If A is ambitious and B doesn't like having an ambitious partner, *neither* is at fault. They just happen to be incompatible with each other.

It's the same if C isn't ambitious and D prefers ambitious partner - *neither* is at fault. These two also just happen to be incompatible with each other.

"..."Superior" is a loaded word, but I do think women are more civilized than men, and more mature than men as a sort of very broad metric -- 60/40, maybe, some number like that -- that is, take a group of 200 men and women and rate them for "maturity" (admittedly using my criteria for what that means) ... I suspect the top 100 would run about 60 women and 40 men.

"If by mature you mean something other than meeting responsibilities (caring for children, for example) I'd be curious to know what you do mean. By that standard, I think women as a group do a better job than men as a group. Sure, men make better warriors -- which merely means we're better at something that the human racce would be better off doing a whole lot less of..."

I'm a woman myself and I have a whole lotta doubts here too. Especially since the same person can be really mature at some stuff and really immature at some other stuff! :)

Steven Barnes said...

1) Dan: not "merely" biology at play, but you have to factor in the fact that men and women are different there, and will therefore have different imperatives.
2) Yes, we could use fewer wars--but warlike behavior is linked to other forms of aggression--the ability to face predators, for instance--and the competition for resources that arises from population growth, which women have an equal part in.
Males are selected for aggression and hunting/protecting behaviors. The downside of being able to protect your village from outside predation is that you also have more of the predator quality within you. "If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares also into you." When women stop selecting powerful, aggressive men, I'll stop suggesting they are co-creators of the world we live in.
4) By the standards you suggest, men are indeed less mature. We both know those aren't the only standards, however.

Anonymous said...

"When women stop selecting powerful, aggressive men, I'll stop suggesting they are co-creators of the world we live in."

I'm a woman who never selected powerful, aggressive men in the first place. I didn't even select powerful, aggressive boys when I was a girl.

Meanwhile, some girls and women who don't select powerful, aggressive men still *get selected by* aggressive men and boys who overpower them, rape them, and get them pregnant. Some of the ones who get pregnant during these rapes don't choose to give birth but still don't have access to abortion. In those cases, female selection has nothing to do with whose genes get passed on.

Likewise, when a woman threatens to fire or flunk a male employee or student if he doesn't have sex with her, gets pregnant during the rape, and gives birth, then male selection has nothing to do with whose genes get passed on.

Anonymous said...

How about John Edward case, his wife not powerfull, Tiger wood, also his wife not powerfull.
So in this case, not about powerfull women, but what is wrong with men now a days?

Anonymous said...

"Meanwhile, some girls and women who don't select powerful, aggressive men still *get selected by* aggressive men and boys who overpower them, rape them, and get them pregnant."

This is especially true in the case of that subset of powerful, aggressive men and teen boys who meet the description at http://darkush.blogspot.com/2010/03/on-keeping-legs-crossed.html ("If they are right, that men are less likely to consider marriage with a woman who has sex with them immediately, then it makes BIG sense to make this opinion known. In that way, if a woman decides to have sex sooner, she won't be surprised if she doesn't get the result of a man offering a ring.", "it's a brutal, eternal truth: men don't value what they don't have to work for. why is this so hard for people to understand?") and http://darkush.blogspot.com/2010/03/brooklyns-finest-2010.html ("If a relationship with a good man is what you're looking for, you can forget about it happening if you have sex with him before he's in love with you. Waiting 90 days isn't the answer...keeping your legs closed is the answer.").

That boils down to: the more a woman seems to want the sex this kind of man offers her the less he will want to select her...

...and the less a woman seems to want the sex this kind of man offers her (whether she's playing hard to get or actually doesn't want him to get her, how's he supposed to tell the difference and know which one she is without ESP?) the more he will want to select her.

I've noticed this trend in a lot of different customs (not all from the same culture either!):

the idea that dates who accept offers of sex/making out/kisses/even handholding (see _The Bookseller of Kabul_)/etc. are worse than dates who reject offers of sex/making out/kisses/even handholding/etc.

the idea that crying brides are better than smiling brides

the idea that child brides are better than adult brides

the idea that sex with a woman whose vagina is dry is better than sex with a woman whose vagina is lubricated from her arousal

the idea that brides and grooms who know and like each other ahead of time are worse than brides and grooms who don't

and so on.

Anonymous said...

Just remembered another one:

the idea that women with signs of more testosterone (higher testosterone levels correlate with higher libidos in women too) are less sexy than women with signs of less testosterone