Friday, July 15, 2011

The purpose of a man

... if you can kill your own snakes, then what is the purpose of a man in your life?
The Feminine Woman

I'll admit it - I was Googling ways to be feminine. It wasn't for an essay (like last year's one regarding the bridal store), but for myself. I'm not particularly feminine, or at least I'm not feminine like the world declares I should be. I'm loud. I'm boisterous. I have an opinion about most things that I've read about. I want to explore the world, God and I doing it together, and while it'd be nice to experience love and marriage at some stage, I guess it shouldn't be the be-all-and-end-all for my existence.
So I Googled. Tapped on the keys and hunted out what made the female, female. What denoted this status beyond a rib-crushing corset ("really, if you get one that's the right size it's so comfortable"), a well-timed simper and the ability to accentuate what matters? Why did the XX Chromosome become associated with these things?

This isn't a post about feminism, nor any sort of -ism. At least, not as far as I can tell. But that quote above set my bristling powers to extra high.

What's the point of a man?
Apparently men have no point other than to kill snakes. To be the predator, protector, annihilate any threat that appears in the path of their woman. Masculinity is essentially reduced to power, and if we take away that power, what else is there to do? A man is nothing without his crown.
Does a man really need to kill the proverbial snake, whatever it may be, to be masculine? Does control need to be assumed at every single point?
I'd argue no. 
I'm not going to be with a man who considers his worth to be related solely to how masculine he is in terms of social gendered constructs (Simone de Beauvoir said that woman was made, not born - no doubt this is true of man as well). At least, it's not going to last for long considering my personality. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for masculinity, I'm all for femininity. But surely it's more important how two people respond to each other?
As the quote refers to acting around a man you're in a relationship with, there is way more to a relationship than two rigid constructs. I've been watching my heavy dose of period dramas lately (shoot me, whatever) and a quote from The Young Victoria stands out:

Albert: Then you had better master the rules of the game until you play 
it better than they can.
Victoria: You don't recommend I find a husband to play it for me?
Albert: I should find one to play it with you, not for you.

With you, not for you. I don't always see the man as protecting. There's going to be a time - as happens with every single person who has ever existed, and don't try and kid me otherwise - that a person collapses in whatever way. Gender does not determine how often you'll trip in life. And when you collapse, surely you'll be fragile, in need of protection?
Call me crazy, but I'm fairly sure any female would be mother-lionessing all over someone she cared about if they were in need of protection.
If the need arose and a woman needed to kill the snake, is that so wrong? If the man can't kill the snake for whatever reason, is dainty poor woman just supposed to leave it slithering around, hissing venom? 
It's okay if a woman mother-lionesses (because it's now a verb) over a child, especially her own. It's someone she cares about, yeah? It's a whole new can of worms if you're assuming this role with a male partner. Emasculating him. Never mind she cares, but it's better to let him get bitten than try and help out. 

What use is a man?
Companionship has to count for something. Devotion. Love.
The whole fact that you can have a laugh with him.
Falling asleep on the couch after a massive marathon of whatever show's taken your fancy.

A man, in my opinion, is worth far more than his ability to kill a couple of reptiles. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the concept of being protected (it's, ahem, sort of very alluring). But if I can't help him out, how is that equal? 
Partnerships. Not control. Not skirting around the issue in an attempt to become an ideal woman. If he's worth it, he'll appreciate you no matter how many scars you've got from battling rogue Basilisks. He might end up wielding the axe more, and that's all well and good if you're fine with it. But please, please, don't determine his worth only by this factor. A man is worth far more than that - just like we're worth far more than our ability to be serene and perfect in every way.
I don't think I've met a woman yet who's serene and perfect. I'm not going to hold a man up to the equivalent male standard, as society dictates it.

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