The things I hear and see in our society today make me cringe when I think about my growing boy. My biggest goal as a Mom is to prevent him from becoming a cast member of the Lord of the Flies. I look at the behavior of grown men and think "they really don't have a clue about how to function in society." We have trained our men to be so self-focused and so aggressive that it is only through their own idea of what would be devastating consequences to them do they stop to evaluate their personal behavior.
I've been watching the Women's Fast-pitch World Series over the last week, watching my husband's ever-surprised and amazed facial expressions. Yes, women can be aggressive, and yes women can be extremely competitive. There are many women who love to play sports, and they play sports well. So many men are conditioned to focus on themselves, to do whatever it takes to get to the top, to win, to mark their territory and to behave in whatever way that makes them feel good about themselves. This totally leaves out empathy and understanding of the opposite sex, the other half they are expected to become one with in marriage. As a culture, we are setting men up to fail...big time.
I don't think most men are oblivious to who women are as individuals out of meanness, but more out of just ignorance that they are as special or important as the man himself is. Society has trained us this way. Society tells us that women play support roles at best, not that they can be the main character.
When a man is asked who most women's heroines are, they may be surprised that Kim Kardashian isn't nearly as high on our list as it is on theirs. There are so many serious female athletes out there, and yet the bleachers are as empty as the player's pocket books. It is so sad to me that very often the only time women are noticed at all is when they are taking off their clothes. Women are great athletes, they are geniuses, they have biological urges and bodily functions they must perform. They have big dreams of success and they have sexual fantasies. They put their pants on one leg at a time.
Guys, if you truly want to develop empathy and understanding of women, get to know them. Talk to them. Show interest; ask questions about who she is. Learn that each woman is as unique as each man. Show her you value her as much as you value yourself. Support her in her goals and dreams. Treat her with respect in front of her and behind her back. Don't just pay lip service to respect; monitor the shows you watch, the magazines you buy, the sites you click on whether she's with you or not. Learn about yourself. Challenge thoughts about the opposite sex you may have once thought were perfectly fine.
Be the change.