In the fight for equality, we seem to have forgotten the very definition of ‘equal’. The idea that women are better by default has become the battle cry. We aren’t just deserving of parallel importance – we are the superior gender. Men are animals, women are goddesses. I can’t visit Facebook for more than a few minutes without seeing a joke or off hand comment aimed at a husband/boyfriend with the goal of belittling their abilities and personalities. Some may be lightheartedly joking and some may be serious, but a single share of a male-targeted meme or joke gathers hundreds of other comments adding their own personal ‘husband slam’ to the mix.
Many times the frustration is born out of honest feelings: lack of attention, our needs aren’t being met – be it emotional or just helping out. But, just as women need to feel supported and loved, men need to feel appreciated. They want to know that their spouse is proud of them. Unfortunately, each time a wife condemns or belittles her husband (especially in public or online) she chips away at his pride and that makes him withdraw even more. Most men share the same love language: Words of Affirmation, aka Respect. When a man is made the butt of jokes by the one person who should value him the most, it’s a shot to his pride. A man with damaged pride is not romantic or attentive. He’s too busy nursing a bruised ego – one that we created.
Discontent is a cycle and we are doing our fair share of keeping it status quo.
As a woman, I know I get my feathers ruffled when I see or hear things like: a woman can’t have a man’s job, women aren’t good at math or science, women aren’t as strong as men, all women are spiteful, all women use their bodies to get what they want, women are lazy, women are overly emotional and dramatic etc. But how often do we see our fellow females having a good laugh about topics like:
- men want a mommy to take care of them
- men are slobs
- men don’t know how to dress themselves
- men are lazy and/or don’t help around the house
- dad can’t take care of the kids like mom can
- men don’t have feelings except lust and anger
- men don’t know how to communicate
- men mess things up and women have to fix it
- men can be controlled with sex (ironically enough, this just reinforces the belief that women use their bodies to manipulate men)
I’m just showing support…
Bashing can be contagious. It’s true. A close friend says (or posts) something about her husband’s shortcomings and you want to support her, you’re her friend after all. But soon it morphs from support group to laugh fest, a collection of husbands who are now punchlines. In years past I, too, was guilty of joining the mob. Now I take a step back and really think about what I’m saying before I say it. Are my words helpful or am I just using her comment as an excuse to toss my own spouse on the fire?
But, I’m just joking…
You very well might be. And, you might have a husband who is okay with it because he jokes right back. I have one of those. I’m use to the banter that passes between us….constantly. Even so, we both respect each other’s limits, especially in front of other people. I always take the situation into consideration. Am I joking WITH him or with other people ABOUT him? Is the subject of the joke something so outlandish that no one would actually believe it – or is there danger that someone could take me seriously and think less of him? Do I feel even an ounce of bitterness behind it? Men pick up on these things and they may not always come right out and express it, often even playing it off to protect their pride. It’s important to know if your husband cares about these things and find out where his line is. And, if you do have real annoyance behind some of your jokes, then it’s time to communicate – with him, not everyone else.
What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him…
“He doesn’t even know what I said. He doesn’t read my Facebook!” While this may be true, it doesn’t exonerate us. Samantha, of ScrappySam.com, says, “I see this happen all too often –women gossiping loudly about their husbands faults and complaining to whoever lends a willing ear. I know if the shoe were on the other foot and I discovered my husband trash talked me in public I would be devastated. So why do women act like we have a hall pass in this area?”
We’re kicking ourselves while we kick them…
Women want respect. Yet, we forget that the best way to get respect is to give it. We think we’re getting what we want; and, for the moment, we might be. When we’re mad or disgruntled, it feels good to find others that will rally with us and support our rant. But, we aren’t doing ourselves any favors in the long run.
”No husband feels fond feelings of affection and love in his heart when he believes his wife has contempt for who he is as a human being. Ironically, the deepest need of the wife – to feel loved – is undermined by her disrespect.”
– Dr. Emerson Eggerich, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
Words create reality. We often hear about how we shouldn’t mock our children because it can shape who they are. Are adults so different? If someone is told “you are….” often enough, with enough witnesses confirming the statement, it may very well impact how they see themselves. Consider if your husband joked about your weight…every day…to everyone on Facebook. How would it make you feel? I know my answer: I’d be livid. It’s one thing for him to make a cute comment to me, in private. But, it’s another thing completely to air those thoughts to the world.
It also influences how others see your spouse. While you are mocking his lack of house cleaning ability, no one knows he’s a great cook, or dad or provider. They only see the negative. As my mother once said, “Don’t share your complaints about your husband in public. Eventually you will forgive and forget. But, the people who heard you will not.”