Anyone who’s paying attention can plainly see that men set the script in virtually all human cultures. Men establish the machinations of commerce and power. Men’s sensibilities saturate the intonations and temperament of all media. Men leverage the masculine propensity for aggressive action and shove past women on every level — even when they happen to like or get along with women. Many men bear entitlement when it comes to women — i.e., they expect women to bow down before them, be it professionally, verbally, or sexually.
But I often wonder if men might envy women. Perhaps at some point long ago, women’s perceivably magical ability to bear children intimidated men, thus spurring a need on mens’ part to one-up and control women however they could. No emotion I’ve witnessed in my lifetime is uglier than envy, which indeed exists at the root of much destruction.
But what if men consciously decided to explore this territory? What if, while viewing the women among us, rather than entertaining concerns about staying above them or setting them equal, we entertained a reality in which they were above us, and worthy of our envy (in at least some ways)? Not the entrenched, toxic envy that leads to malice, but the benign form that underscores healthy admiration…
As I grow older, I grow more accepting of and in touch with my own gender fluidity. Part of it comes from age itself — mellowing, slowing down, feeling less angry and stereotypically male. Part of it comes from being a dad, which not only reduces male testosterone levels, but has put me in close proximity to two sons who, being prepubescent, are not ruled by gender ideologies and are just simply, beautifully human.
Part of it also comes from the ever-dawning realization that the woman within me has always been there, just as she is within every male — the same way that males reside within all females.
With all of the above in mind, I’d like to present Six Things I Envy About Women, the better to cultivate a mindset — and perhaps society — in which such things aren’t taboo or shameful to shed light on…
(1) Women Simply Seem More Comfortable Here (i.e., On Earth).
Needless to say, I’ve begun with a highly subjective and unscientific point, but it’s long seemed to me as though women — whatever grave challenges they face — are more comfortably integrated in the human experience than men. The data on criminal behavior backs this up, with women being far less likely to commit murder, assault, and other crimes than men. At the ground level, I’ve long witnessed a greater sense of ease on the part of females, who strike me as less prone to buckling under the weight of crises or developing self-hatred because their life narratives don’t play out as planned. Contrary to the cartoonish stereotype of the hysterical, easily-crying female, reality seems to present a female who’s more tapped into The Flow than her male counterparts.
(2) Women Get Courted More Overtly Than Men.
This one’s as easy to envy as it is to dread, for we all know that not a female exists who isn’t exhausted from all the catcalling and other ridiculous advances. Just the same, from the male point-of-view, I envy it. I envy women’s “attractiveness”, in the purest sense of the word — i.e., their ability to attract. I’ve gone to gay clubs a few times and been hit on by men, and I can’t overstate how much confidence these experiences gave me, to be regarded as attractive absent any veils or sideways gamesmanship, irregardless of the fact that I’m not gay. For women to have come on to me at the same volume and in the same way would have made for a utopia. One which, of course, would grow boring quickly — but oh, to just experience it for awhile!
(3) Women Get To Live In Softer & Curvier Bodies.
In comparison to that of women, the male form, in my opinion, is a simplistic throwaway. Mind you, I’m happy with the way I look, and not veering this discussion in a transsexual direction, but I’ll put it to you this way: Much as I love my penis — much as it has given me joy — I know full well that the sight of that penis is not inherently arousing to women. Some women may like it and others may not, but I think by now our dick pic culture has proven that women on the whole don’t exactly swoon and drool at the sight of male members. This has nothing to do with the alleged fact that men are more visual in their sexuality than women, for experiments have shown women to indeed be sexually responsive to visual stimuli. As it happens, however, it’s not primarily the male form that gets women going. Whereas the mere sight of the female form has the potential to send men into spasms of orgasmic overwhelm, the male has no hope of creating the same effect by “echoing” such sights via his own form.
(4) Women Generally Don’t Get Flagged For Expressing Their Emotions.
Time and time again throughout my life, while communicating with other men, I’ll get sent a clear signal of alarm if I venture too far into emotionally expressive territory. Of course it depends on the man, our bond, and the topic at hand, but as a sweeping generality, males are conditioned to sound a silent game show buzzer designed to stop each other from going too far into “mushy” territory. This is problematic for me, as experiencing, exploring, and stimulating emotion, in life as well as art, are among the driving forces in my life. I love emotion, of every kind. I love to feel, live to feel! I’ve no shame in crying, nor expressing joy or terror. Yet still, as late as 2015, I get branded something of a weirdo for reveling in these currents. Women, meanwhile, are outright expected to behave like eccentric mermaid-rainbows of emotional color. Whereas in professional or military settings (and behind many closed doors, I imagine) they are pressured to act tough, in general they are expected to be soft, whereas if and when a man acts soft we wonder how long it’ll be ’til he’s put away.
(5) Women Are Not Consumed By Roughness.
This ties into the bodily one above, but it deserves its own discussion as I’m referring to a tone of being rather than biological specifics. The female of the species is in clear reach of elegance, which shows up not only in her body and voice, but in her very way of being, be she old or young, tomboyish or princess-like, aloof or unable to pass a mirror. Mind you, the male does have much to celebrate in his deep voice and his propensities for aggression and anger, but only to a limited point, as these traits bear a rawness which can make way for coarseness. I noted above that fatherhood triggers biological shifts in a more feminine direction, and thank God for it, because one cannot be tasked with caring for small, soft, and gentle humans if one is overcome with a screeching roughness. Don’t get me wrong: Nobody loves seeing/hearing Al Pacino scream more than me, and I certainly gain no end of pleasure from my sharp, competitive, and exacting approach to business and many other aspects of life, but as no dog can sincerely deny, cats have got us conquered in the grace department.
(6) Women Get To Wear Soft Garments.
Think about this. Perhaps no gender expectation exposes more outright insanity than this one. Women, in accordance with their softness and grace, have available to them softer clothing, which feels lighter and cooler upon the skin, whereas men are issued options of harder and heavier textures, in accordance with all we expect from them. It’s no accident, then, how many Emergency Room workers have related stories of male patients’ pants coming off to reveal tights, stockings, and pantyhose underneath. For men can’t stand this onslaught of roughness. Men’s sensuality gets locked in a cage. Women think it’s funny that we drool at their nylon, for they’re by now well-accustomed to the privilege of wearing it in plain sight, and perhaps more attuned to its logistical aggravations than its sensual bonuses. But why can’t I be the one who’s encased in a snug cocoon of nylon? Why am I not permitted to honor the inherent softness of my own being? (Well, I am, of course, but I think you all know what I mean…)