About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gender Wars

This post is dedicated to Matt Conlon, in response to HIS post, written earlier today. I had written this years ago when I was ranting in the same fashion that Matt did just today at www.mattconlon.com

Echoes, sir: echoes...

It may be just me, but my perception is that there are a lot of messages bombarded at us every day that spout how difficult it is to be a woman today. To be a mom is touted as one of the most onerous professions in the world. The husband is usually positioned as just another one of the kids: useless and down-right counter productive.

You hear all the time how difficult it is to find Mr. Right. Ever tried looking for Ms. Right? Is just as hard. Well, at least I think it’s just as hard. I found my Ms. Right in college; she was my first girlfriend, and she is my soul mate.

We have plenty of comedy in our lives without either one of us having to look like the dolt. My life is every bit as difficult to me as hers is for her. We share most of the house work, and we share raising the kids. Believe it or not, she has actually gone away for a weekend here and there, leaving me to take care of all four kids for several days, and no one has died. I can cook, do laundry, help with homework, clean dishes, wash the floor, vacuum, and bath kids (although I really don’t like doing that).

I’m going to agree that, other than some biological functions, there is nothing in being a man that makes man superior to woman. I will submit a notion that I think has gone far too long unspoken, and that is that there is nothing in being a woman that makes woman superior to man either.

But let’s take a look at modern American media. From the picture that is painted by the television (both shows and ads) magazines, books, and conventional wisdom, the casual observer will take away an image that I think is not only flat-out wrong, but is one-sided.

Sickness: Men become babies when they are sick and women keep trudging along, because (I suppose) they are biologically superior to men.

TV: Men are just plain stupid and inept.

Commercials: Why is it that on nearly every commercial these days you see the woman always knows more than the man (no matter the subject – it could be that they are talking about carburetors, power tools, or athletic support devices)?

Here’s one: the man is on the telephone calling dealers for the SUV of his dreams. You get the impression that this is his sixth or seventh call, and that he’s not getting the information that he needs. The woman, sitting at the computer, finds exactly what the man is looking for in about half-a-minute.

The latest commercial on this slant these days is where the wife finds the husband in the back yard, setting up the power washer to clean the place. "Washing the house?" She asks. "Not washing," says he, "power washing." He slaps his safety glasses over his eyes, and the next thing you know the power washer is going crazy, ruining the nicely set patio table, because the husband is unable to control the power washer. Naturally, the woman has to fix this too.

Or this:
Cosby, According to Jim, Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, Listen Up, Still Standing, The Family Guy, The Simpsons.

Why is it that TV wives are always smarter than their husbands? Where did Archie Bunker go? Maybe this is why the sit-com is all but a thing of the past? Is this why “Reality TV” has become so popular? Because the scripting on the sit-coms has been so predictable?

Today's sit-coms that follow this formula include Rules of Engagement (one of my favorites, actually), Mike and Molly (to a lesser degree, but the same still), and Last Man Standing.

I do agree that the basic formula is sound, but why is it that every time the MAN is the idiot? How about both of them being idiots in their own way?

I'm not saying men are superior or smarter; we're all stupid in our own right. I'm just saying let's spread the wealth and not be so one-sided.

I'm here for you, Matt. :)


  1. Holy sh*t, that's a perfect mirror to my post.

    I think we just started the Humanism movement! (cause a feminism movement was already started some time ago, and a masculism movement is just as one-sided.)

  2. I thought so too. I've got more than a couple stored away for the Gender Wars category.

    And you're right: the way to go is "humanism". Friggin' non-terrans.

  3. lol...you guys going steady now or what????
    I am, surprisingly, with you though. Would that we could all just be people with none of these tags of male/female/straight/gay/transgender etc etc ad nauseum. Our next door neighbour used to call out to me when I was working in the yard that I was doing a "mans job" to which I would respond "it's just a job". I get a little annoyed being lumped into a description that insinuates I can be bought with some flowers or jewellery or that all I have in my mind is new shoes or going to the mall. We all have our issues I guess.

  4. I hear you, Delores. My guess is that marketing is pretty full of and uses to a ridiculous degree stereotyping. My lovely wife gets the ol' dropped jaw reaction when folks see her driving the pick-up and / or towing the camper behind.

    I've often thought that we should remove names and gender / ethnic specific information (and such) from resumes and applications (and such).

    That said, stereotypes can make for good humor!

  5. No arguments here.
    Recently I planted my face in the road when a garbage bin got away from me while I was putting it out. I was (to put it mildly) annoyed at the number of people who told me I shouldn't have been doing it, 'it is a man's job'. We both create the garbage, it seems right and proper to me that both of us put it out. Humph.