Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Marriage of Resentment and Contempt

It begins in the schools. There, empowered female teachers have set out to enhance the performance of girls by systematically favoring them at the expense of boys.

The Huffington Post reported that British boys are convinced that female teachers grade them unfairly. On the other hand, schoolgirls believe that male teachers grade them fairly.

I do not know the extent to which female American teachers try to punish boys in order to improve the performance of girls, but girls are consistently outperforming boys in schools and are taking up most of the places in colleges.

It seems inevitable that some boys are dropping out of school and failing to pursue advanced education because they have been demoralized.

Think about it, if all the girls receive great grades then boys will, at first try to improve their performance. Once they discover that they are still receiving lower grades, they will give up. This translates into depression.

Convinced, and not without reason, that the game is rigged, they stop playing.

Depression, as Martin Seligman defined it, is learned helplessness. When something is learned, someone is teaching it. When your female teachers convince you that you can never get it right and that you will never be judged fairly, you will become demoralized and depressed.

If any teachers are using their power to depress boys in order to favor girls they are engaging in child abuse. They might think that they are advancing a cause, but their behavior needs to be called out and stopped.

Of course, a boy’s experience with empowered female teachers will surely not encourage him to become very closely involved with girls.

If he is not allowed to express his anger toward his female teachers, he might try to avenge the slights by punishing the girls he becomes involved with. He will not be looking for love; he will be looking for payback.

Their experience with empowered female teachers will not encourage boys, once they become men, to trust women or become very closely involved with them.  

Rob Long suggests that when these boys grow up they are unlikely to believe that it is possible to have harmonious relationships with women. 

A recent poll bears this out. Suzanne Venker reports:

According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

More women want to get married and more men don’t. This suggests that men are increasingly being conditioned to dread close contact with women. It also suggests that men have discovered that, like school, the marriage game is rigged against them.

One would suspect that men who are brought up in such schools would be insufferable husbands. Yet, surprisingly, when men do get married they make a great effort to make their marriages work. If we believe Lisa Hickey these men marry women who resemble the harridans they have known in the classroom.

Hickey does not mention it, but I will assume that the modern marriages she describes involve people who did not marry young. I also imagine that these modern marriages involve two-earner couples who divide up household chores.

If Hickey’s article suggests anything, it tells us that the interactions between these modern married couples are contentious and bitter, a marriage of resentment and contempt. It demonstrates that this new modern version of marriage is unworkable.

Hickey believes that it can all be solved if couples merely learn how to communicate better, this being the therapeutically correct panacea for marital strife.

Yet, her male interviewees have largely passed beyond the stage of talking it out. They have discovered that they cannot win an argument with a modern woman. They know that it is impossible to negotiate or compromise with someone who is all take and no give.

Hickey describes husbands’ attitudes:

…there is despair in the voices of married men. The refrain heard over and over is some variation of “I want to have a good marriage. I love my wife. But sometimes, all I feel is resentment—from my wife, toward my wife, toward the marriage. I believe my wife thinks I am an asshole, and she treats me as such.”

One admires the stoic fortitude of these men, but still, they should have seen this before, not after they got married.

Bitter experience teaches them that if their wives are treating them contemptuously trying to talk it out is another losing game. 

These men can either tune their wives out or get angry. They have few other choices.

Marriage coach John Wilder offers a picture of what happens when couples try to communicate:

 “Women are constantly trying to control their husbands. If a man dares to critique his wife, she immediately goes on the attack, screaming and crying with the express intent of teaching, so that no good man would ever do it again. Most men learn the lesson well and early and learn to ‘seethe in silence.’ The resentment continues to grow. Men feel defenseless against this kind of attack and don’t know how to have any equality.”

Unfortunately, men try to placate their intemperate wives, the better to stop the criticism and the complaining.

Hickey explains:

Often a man will admit that a central issue in their [sic] lives is dealing with the irrational-seeming criticism from their wives in a way that isn’t defensive but shows compassion and love, despite the cost to their souls.

When a man engages with irrationality he will never win. If he tries to be compassionate and understanding, his wife will think less of him and feel more contempt. 

If, as Hickey suggests, these wives are dishing out far more humiliation than love, then the women need to change their mode of interaction. They need to tamp down the criticism and complaining and to stop expecting that their husbands should be just like their girlfriends.

Unfortunately, today’s modern woman has developed an expectation that men should act like women in a relationship. It's a formula for repeated disappointments. 

Women who have postponed marriage in favor of career, have, Hickey suggests, assembled a coterie of unmarried female friends who salve the pain of a singlehood they have chosen freely by commiserating and sharing their contempt for men.

It isn’t a good preparation for marriage.

Hickey contends that the men often have good intentions. Yet their good intentions and their best efforts never seem to improve the situation, so they become demoralized and give up.

In her words:

But almost always, the men we talked to start with an intention of trying to understand their wives, get a grasp on what would make the marriage work, and have an intense desire to move toward an increasingly great relationship, instead of one where they feel continually disconnected. And yet, they can’t seem to get there. Despair is the end result of ongoing frustration and disconnection. 


n.n said...

A progressive age of fanaticism. With the justification of "good-intentions" they are, in fact, normalizing evolutionary dysfunction (i.e. generational suicide). They rationalize denigration of individual dignity. They rationalize the devaluation of human life. They rationalize involuntary exploitation. They rationalize selective liberty on subject grounds. They rationalize subversion of the first level of social organization, the family. All with the "best" of intentions.

Aside from professional opportunists, minority interests for redistributive and retributive change, it seems that single women without a vested interest in the future are the worst offenders of human and civil rights.

Progressive corruption feeds on itself to realize conclusive corruption. In a democracy, the worst offenders are the masses purchased through fraud and favor.

I wonder if there are enough virtuous people left to challenge this historical cycle of "progress".

Anonymous said...

This makes me think about the coaching vs therapy debate, specifically we might say coaching can be good and bad, and apparently you could say women are getting bad coaching from society, bad coaching apparently telling women their self-empowerment can come by claiming men are responsible for meeting their needs, and must adapt themselves to a woman's point of view to be accepted, and perhaps that empowerment works as long as young women can get away with playing their physical attractiveness card with all men in her life before marriage.

I also think of the George Bernard Shaw quote: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

Its a great quote since it shows you don't get ahead in the world by being reasonable. A reasonable person has no needs himself, or no needs beyond what he can do for himself, so his social existence is reduced to identifing and serving other people's needs, ideally exchanged for some recipicating value, whether money or good will.

Lastly, I think of shame as being the source of contempt, and that girls and women are more harshly judged for their looks and their manners, and perhaps learn earlier the art of disguise, hiding parts of themselves that are not attractive or that can be negatively judged, so that must add up to a lot of resentment, and so blaming and shaming men would seem to be a defense, and early in a relationship, I imagine women can develop bad habits, on leaning too much on their man, and he's eager to show his caring by carrying whatever burdens she feels the need to give him.

So in the long run I'd judge "therapy" is needed for the women, because they've been badly coached how to deal with their feelings honestly and can't see they are projecting. BUT perhaps "coaching" is needed for men, to identify when women in their lives are pushing false burdens onto them, and learn techniques to refuse to carry things that are not theirs to carry. And perhaps those skills can help men avoid helping women into their bad habits in relating to men!

Okay, just some thoughts, assuming the contempuous women narrative are true and accurate!

- Tom

Anonymous said...

Dr. Schneiderman we all really know what the solution is. We just don't have the courage to say it. We have to openly stand for naked gender inequality, patriarchy and loss of social power for women and their enablers. It's that simple. It would work faster and easier than anything else. Brazenly, unapologetically. "Sexist?" Sure. "Oppressive?" You bet. Don't argue these buzzwords, accept them and mock.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Oh, please. Spare us all the sarcasm and the cliches... I appreciate your comments but if you think that gender equity translates into the kind of bad behavior that the men in the Hickey article were witnessing, then you proved my point. Whatever you may think that feminism is about it is a commitment to an ideology and an effort, as Anon kindly reminded us, to make the world adapt to the ideology... and that is simply not a good or productive attitude to take into any relationship.

David Foster said...

British author Doris Lessing, circa 2001:

"I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men.

"You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives."

n.n said...

David Foster:

She is describing what happened no later than the late 80s in America. Men and boys were presumed guilty of sexual harassment, presented as incapable of self-moderating behavior, and specifically failing to respect women and girl's dignity.

It's interesting to note that there was a pejorative expression which intimated that men wanted women to be "barefoot and pregnant". The alternative realized through an unqualified "progress" is "barefoot and available" for sex and taxation.

It's difficult to believe that a majority of women are uniquely myopic; but, when they are single and without a vested interest in the future, then it becomes all too clear why they would betray their own dignity, and certainly of others. When they perceive dating as prostitution, marriage as slavery, and children as an imposed burden, then it becomes all too clear why they elect submission with benefits, and why they choose the same for others.

It's ironic, but not coincidental, that the worst offenders of individual dignity are found overwhelmingly on the Left. They have taken leave from reason and reasonable. Their philosophy predisposes them to these periodic flights of fancy. They do not respect individual dignity. They do not recognize an intrinsic value to human life.

fraydna52 said...

My brother was treated this way by female teachers in the 1960's. My husband had a mother like this in the 1950's. It may be more predominant and mainstream now, but it's nothing new.

Anonymous said...

This blog is worth a look:


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Excellent article... thanks for linking it.

Dennis said...

If I can do no right then your opinion of me has NO value. There are too many women out there to waste your time on insecure idiots. The keys to this behavior are there before one marries. If this behavior has even the slightest inking of occurring RUN away as fast as you can. It will get worse. Trying to save something that was on its way to death before it started is a waste of one's life.