A few weeks ago I witnessed something that broke my heart.
A watched and listened as a mom emasculated two preschool boys. I was horrified. They looked unaffected by it, but that made me even sadder, because that told me they are accustomed to it.
I watch emasculation of men happening all the time. And it breaks my heart every time. But this was especially horrible to me, because they were so young. Because even when young, males still need the same things from us, as women, as they do when they are older. They need our trust and appreciation. They need us to allow them to make us happy.
Males just want to make us happy.
I used to blindly emasculate men too, gawd help me. I didn’t know anything different. I never questioned my treatment of men and my beliefs about them as I was growing up, as I was having relationships with them – relationships of all kinds.
This mom was subbing for an absent teacher and therefore didn’t know the usual preschool routine. She came in the office with them and said, “These guys are telling me the recycling goes in here, but I think they’re lying to me.” She looked at me in expectation, expecting me to sympathize with her, to join her in emasculating them.
That’s what we are taught to do, isn’t it, ladies? We are socialized into joining together against males, no matter their age. We are expected to roll our eyes too when women express their disappointment with their man, or men in general.
I wonder if I had a horrified look on my face. I tried to keep it neutral as I defended them, “Of course they aren’t lying! This is where the recycling goes.” I looked at them and smiled, trying to let them know that I trusted them even if she didn’t. In their minds, I didn’t want to be lumped into the classification of adults, and adult women, who treat them so horribly.
Normally they deliver the recycling by themselves without an adult escort. They have been bringing the recycling in all year. Of course they know what they’re doing.
I encouraged them to proceed, but she was not done, apparently, because she insisted on following them, saying, “It can’t go in there! Surely not,” as they were walking to the closet that holds the recycle bin. I may have physically cringed at that, I’m not sure. I was trying to remain calm, but inwardly, I was angry and horrified.
“Yes,” I said as I looked pointedly at her, hoping she would back off, “They know what they are doing.” It continued though, because she followed them into the closet and stood over them as they emptied their full recycle bag into the bin and said, “Are you doing it right?” with disdain in her voice.
I felt sick to my stomach and wanted to cry, and was actually finding it difficult not to.
They were finally done, and I thanked them with smiles and words of appreciation at the successful completion of their usual task, trying to convey my confidence and trust in them. They left, and I let myself cry.
So it begins as soon as they are born, I guess, doesn’t it? In our society (does it happen all over the planet too?), as females, we are taught to emasculate males. We are taught they can’t be trusted to do anything the “right” way. We are taught they are fuck-ups most of the time. We are taught that the emasculation of males is not only okay, it is the norm, and it is expected.
We are also taught to look for their “mistakes”—those times that they don’t do something the way we think they should—and we are taught to emasculate them by pointing it out in the most embarrassing, worst way possible—usually in front of other people. Is this supposed to “put them in their place” somehow? Or teach them to do it the “right” way?
More Ways we Emasculate Men
Rolling our eyes at him and/or his behavior
Not accepting help from him (opening doors, etc.)
Expecting him to think like a woman
Not trusting him
Belittling him for doing things the way he does them (instead of the way a woman would do it)
Taking over something and doing it ourselves, because he is not doing it “right” or in the time we think he should
Never letting him win – never letting him make us happy
Not appreciating him for being a man and being himself
Interrupting him when he talks
Interrupting him when he is focused and working
Expecting, and even asking, him to think/act/talk/argue like a woman
Not appreciating those things that make him masculine: being driven, single-focused, competitive, etc.
Not realizing he is a hero and not treating him like the hero he is
Competing with him instead of trusting him
Making passive aggressive “jokes” about him or his behavior—especially when others are present
Tacitly or openly criticizing him in front of others and attempting to get others to join you in the criticism
Treating him like a child
Not showing our appreciation, love, acceptance
Assume criticism motivates a man when only appreciation will do that
Not Following the Trend
If, as a woman, you decide not to participate in the emasculation of men, you are seen as a traitor. And worse, if you decide to actually defend men, you are seen as the enemy—like men—someone who cannot be trusted.
A couple of years ago, when I began studying men, women and relationships, I came across the mother of all relationship books, The Queen’s Code, by Alison Armstrong. This book represents the results of her research of over 25 years into men, women and relationships. It is presented as a novel, a story, but it really is the compilation of her research.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be required reading for everyone—as early as grade school—especially for females.
Those couple of years ago, I took the Queen’s Code vow. I gave up the “right” to emasculate men. Because most women do see it as their right to treat men so horribly, to crush them, to emasculate them. I gave up my right to defend the emasculation of men. I laid down my sarcasm, my distrust, my habits, my self-righteous anger, my sword, my ignorance of men.
I began exploring the idea: What if men actually have a good reason for everything they do and the way they do it? What if the way a woman would do something is not the only fucking way to do something?!?!
The Queen’s Code is a code of honor and a code of conduct. To embrace the code is to embrace men, to embrace their inherent goodness and honesty, to embrace them as teachers, trainers and as the incredible support and providers that they are.
So ladies, I will not join you in emasculating men. I will not roll my eyes at them ever again. I will not tolerate you doing it either. I will leave the conversation. I will defend them. I will treat them with the respect, appreciation and trust they deserve.
And I am angry that those two little men were treated so off-handedly horribly in my office. I am angry that this is the norm. I am angry that no one seems to be offended by this. I am angry that no is paying attention. I am angry that this happens all the time, every day, everywhere. I am angry that that mom has no conscious idea of what she did (and is undoubtedly still doing). I am angry with myself that I spent so much of my life in that same category. I am angry that when I defend men I am treated as a traitor. I am angry at women. I am angry at our society that thinks this is okay. I am angry when I watch a movie or a TV show and see the castration of men by women that passes for humor.
I am angry.
Ladies, let’s give it up. Let’s wise up. Let’s educate ourselves.
Gentlemen, I’m sorry. Please forgive me for being that self-righteous, emasculating, blind, ignorant bitch for so much of my life.
At elephant journal: Ladies, Let’s Stop Emasculating Men.