Monday, August 23, 2010



... but it acknowledges so much of what by now we already know about the dynamics between men and women and how they have changed, it borders on redundant. My own personal flaggelation nonwithstanding, the frustration of my gender is where I am going with and by default, the exasperation at many of women as well.

As a young man in my adolescence, I would talk with my fellow nerdlings about getting dates and what would it be like to get married. One cat, the Yalie who is now married and the father of two beautiful girls out in Novi, would PMS about it the most. Me? I never worried about not being able to get a date at 13... my eye was always on 18,19, and beyond. I always figured that the herd of guys would have 'thinned' and because the trend of more girls going to college did not start yesterday, I figured they would need someone to date! While I went to the service first (and man, that is a 'boots on the ground' conversation, lest you want the SFC to happen to peek in and read an entry just when I'm talking about THAT stuff!!), the numbers did not change and if anything, the pendulum swung even further in that more girls are on campus than boys. In fact, the July/August issue of the Atlantic with 'The End of Men' on the cover mentions how in the elite and exclusive colleges for the well to do actually have policies to admit more males (which is supposedly under EEO investigation) and create a balance of men and women on campus.

But the canary in the social coal mine is being played out most obviously in the single-mother helmed households of the lower class and the shockingly divorced middle class. The resiliency of women really are in sharp contrast to their male equivalents, who are finding that they lack the skills to compete for the well paying jobs that once defined them as a breadwinner and financial provider for a family. Not only are the jobs disappearing, men are not competing for the jobs that are emerging in the new economy, many that women have not been allowed to fill but are now the leading candidates for these positions.

Stereotypes can work for you and they can work against you. Women who have been characterized as not as intellectual capable of balancing the high demands of pressure filled jobs and being able to delegate and find a consensus to accomplishing goals, find that their skill set actually translates into success when applied at achieving in academics and in the workplace. Men, on the other hand, are finding that their stereotype of being dreaming adventurers, work against them when it is time to focus in on 'what they want to be'. To illustrate the latter part of that statement, I am going to take from the article a conversation between two sorors, Erin and Michelle. A third woman, Victoria, is a biology major who is going to be a surgeon. She is putting of having a family, aware that her career early on will be spent 'working 100 hours a week', and she expects that as she is being a hot shot surgeon, her partner will be 'at home playing with the kiddies'. Michelle, a self-described 'perfectionist' and psychology major also has her life mapped out. But in discussing her unnamed fiancee with Erin, you can see where the spectre of potential trouble looms.

Michelle: He's changed majors, like, 16 times. Last week he wanted to be a dentist. This week it's environmental science.

Erin: Did he switch again this week? When you guys have kids, he'll definitely stay home. Seriously, what does he want to do?

Michelle: It depends on the day of the week. Remember last year? It was bio. It really is a joke. But it's not. It's funny, but it's not. - excerpted verbatim from 'The Atlantic Magazine


I put that story about what happens at society's 'mid-level exemption' (the young women mentioned attend UMKC) as an example of what does NOT happen in many low mid-to lower class homes for a variety of reasons. Some of it is due to the 'wiring', the socialization that created the differences between men and women that were perhaps necessary in a pre-technology world. Perhaps when men could earn wages that allowed them to support a family doing drone work, the differences were not as great between the genders as they are now.

Yet in the scuffling low-mid and lower classes, women have know for years, if not generations, that they have to find a way to care and provide for their home, husband or no. African-Americans have long given lip service to the African-American woman as being the 'backbone of our people'. But now that they are achieve in spite of the hardships they have been left with and raising daughters that are determined not to allow the same pitfalls of the Mother to be repeated, a couple or three things are happening.

Gender differences aside, brothers are simply not competitive. They were not when I was in junior high and they are even less so now. How many generations of African American men are going to cry 'it's 'the Man' ' and 'white privilege' keeping someone from finding a decent job, when the answer in my view always goes back to one of my favourite troupes that I use DEFINITELY applies here. You wanted a better life, to be able to earn more money and take care of a family? Then you 'should have done better in high school'... junior high and elementary while you are at it. The Public School system has its troubles, but I still think that sending in unprepared, undernourished and undisciplined children to school is where the breakdowns begin. But that is another subject that would take me away from where I am going (or think that I am, at least).

And I think that I am going to unravel for you (cause I already know, but I am going go over it because of where I am going) the 'original sin' that I think that I committed in my life and why it is relevant once again.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

We have become a spoiled nation, not willing to put in the effort of a real job for many years. I hope we can find our center and our drive again.

LceeL said...

I think that saying "you should have done better in school" takes the rather narrow view - the problem, it seems to me, is much larger than that. In its essence, proper education starts at home. Just look at young black men and women who come from 'whole' homes - who have parental leadership that instills in them an understanding that school, and what they do there, will determine the rest of their lives. Neighborhood and financial circumstance play a role, as well. What kid is going to be able to get through school with bangers on his case?

No, "You should have done better" is not all that there is. Poverty takes its toll. Slums take their toll. Gang influences take their toll. How does a young man break through all of that to do well in school?

Or am I just speaking to stereotypes?