Friday, June 5, 2009

Taming Men?

As many of you know, I’m in the midst of a summer Collaborative Research project called “The Latino Culture of Honor and Attitudes toward Domestic Abuse.” It’s a work in progress (and will remain “in progress” for the next year). While reading an article related to my research, I came across a bothersome idea: The notion that marriage was created to tame men. This is not a new idea by any standard, but it is no less disturbing each time I come across it in my studies.

Let me make this clear: I am a feminist because I care about men. Not because I hate men, as many may automatically assume. So it’s no surprise that I am concerned by this notion of taming men. As a firm advocate against the inappropriately strong socialization that occurs from the moment a female child is born, I am bothered by fact that this idea of “taming” places the burden of yet another responsibility on women’s shoulders: the supposedly “natural” ability to “tame” men.

What responsibilities am I talking about? The unreasonable notion that women must always serve as morally superior beings. The unfair expectation for women to be the sole protectors of their bodies against men. The expectation that women’s lives should center upon the ultimate goal of being “claimed” by a man.

And add to this the expectation for women to lure men into the trap of marriage and keep them “tame” for years on end. 

This idea not only places an unrealistic responsibility on women, it also belittles the intelligence and capabilities of men. You see, when society expects women to “tame” men, men are socialized to ignore their responsibility to moderate themselves. Next thing you know, a husband cheats on his wife and society looks down upon her for her inability to tame her husband. Or a woman is raped and society attributes the crime to her sex appeal—in other words, her inability to tame the man. Or a woman is beaten and society attributes the crime to her provocations—in other words, her inability to tame the man.

Let’s get our facts straight: There have been no solid studies suggesting that raised levels of testosterone cause greater levels of aggression or sexual interest in humans. It’s time to stop attributing male aggression and promiscuity to unproven scientific notions. It’s time to stop attributing male crimes to women’s irresponsibility. It’s time to move the burden of creating socially responsible men off of women’s shoulders and on to men’s. 

No comments:

Post a Comment