Day of woman
Charlie O'Leary | Thursday, February 10, 2011
Let me begin by saying that I think the Siegfried Day of Man, while perhaps indeed a little “phallocentric” (“Practical Men,” Feb. 8), is a good thing. Raising money for a good cause is something that everyone can get behind (women included, but again, that’s beside the point). Mr. Mullen’s letter (“Be a Man,” Feb. 9), though, encourages enforcement of gender roles without presuming to do any legitimate good in the world.
First, regarding the “true meaning” of a man. In his letter, Mr. Mullen states that the average man cries twice a month and that he finds such behavior “nauseating and embarrassing.” This implication that the free expression of emotion is a negative quality is what’s truly nauseating. In Mr. Mullen’s ideal world, men would suppress their emotions, pushing them down and letting them build until they find more masculine outlets for their feelings, like golfing or murder. In my opinion, being in touch with one’s emotional state is a trait to be admired (though perhaps my views are tainted by the relative lack of testosterone in my bloodstream).
Second, regarding Mr. Mullen’s assertion that women don’t like “feminine, sensitive” guys. This is an absurd case of stereotyping and isn’t backed up by legitimate evidence. Women like men of all shapes, sizes and sensitivities. Women also sometimes like women, who happen to occasionally be feminine.
Finally, regarding the idea that “the absence of true manhood is a serious problem in our society.” This is the most dangerous statement Mr. Mullen makes, because it places masculinity on a pedestal above femininity and promotes it as a virtue in itself. Men and women have elements of both masculinity and femininity, and if one is going to hold up one as an ideal, one must be prepared to idealize the other as well. To do anything less would be blatantly sexist.
I wonder what would happen if Farley held a “Day of Woman,” raising money while participating in stereotypically feminine activities. Would this event be viewed in the same light by which Mr. Mullen sees the “Day of Man?”