We fight for equality, yet seek male approval. Is there something wrong here?


Editor’s Note: This post was written by a student in the Spring 2009 Feminist Theory class in The University of Akron’s Women’s Studies Program. To read more student posts, click here.

act-like-ladyOne normal afternoon I get an e-mail from my mother telling me I need to go out and immediately buy this book titled Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey. She says it has great advice on dating, and I couldn’t help but be extremely insulted.

Apparently, by suggesting that I read this book “right away,” my mother was insinuating that I need a man, PRONTO!

Another reason why I was insulted by this suggestion is the fact that my mother, to be honest, shouldn’t be the person to hand out dating advice. She has been divorced three times and engaged six times total. “Who is SHE to tell me that I need relationship advice,” I thought to myself.

Another thing that really got me aggravated is the fact that Steve Harvey is merely a comedian; he is not a doctor, nor does he have any credentials that would say he is a “relationship expert.”

I refused to read the book because of lack of time, and the fact that I resented this assumption that I need a boyfriend. I’m perfectly happy in the dating world, and I can find a man on my own with no help from a silly self-help book.

I feel as if stereotypes are always holding women down. We don’t need a man to complete us; we are perfectly fine standing on our own two feet.

I am still amazed by the phenomenon of people my age who are married, engaged, or in long-term relationships. I personally am in no rush to walk down the aisle in the near future. The thought of being married right now haunts my dreams, literally!

I later came across an article online from the New York Times saying, “The news that 51 percent of all women live without a spouse might be enough to make you invest in cat futures.” This statistic really shocked me, but it also reaffirmed my belief that you don’t need a man to complete you or make you happy.

About half a month later, and I come across Steve Harvey on the “Tyra Banks Show.” Still being curious about this book my mother begged me to read, I had to watch his appearance on the show. It ended up that I really enjoyed him!

Steve Harvey reminded me of my father, and he wasn’t giving out relationship advice. Instead, he was trying to help women understand men a little better.

There is such a disconnect between the sexes, and he was trying to let women know exactly what men think. I found his appearance on the show extremely helpful.

One of the things he said, which I found completely true, is that men do not want to listen to you vent your problems. Men are simple creatures. Instead they want to hear your problems, give you a solution, and be done with the entire situation. They don’t want to just listen to you vent and just hear you out, much like women do.

And to quote my father in this situation (the situation being one where I am crying to him on the phone with one silly problem or another), “Whitney, what can I do to fix this problem? What do you need?”

Being a feminist, I was extremely reluctant to listen to some comedian’s advice on dating and relationships. Until I realized he was just trying to help women understand why men do the things that they do in relationships, life, or any everyday situation.

As soon as I get time, I’m going to sit down and read his book.

I think that one of the first steps in equality between men in women is that we should listen to one other and try to better understand one another. We can’t expect to be equals if we don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

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One Response

  1. Excellent post. I hadn’t heard the statistic about 51% of women living alone but since I live with a dog, cat, and my composting worms, I surely believe it. Maybe we need to write a book to help men listen to women.

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