Friday, April 16, 2010

Here's to you, Stanley Tucci

So the other night I rented "Julie & Julia," a fun little film perfect for the evening. But I gotta tell ya, the best thing about the flick - Stanley Freakin' Tucci under the direction of... well.... whoever directed the damn movie portraying Paul Child, husband of Julia.

Paul Child was, quite frankly, a man. And he was portrayed as a man -- an adult, smart, sexual, witty, well-written and well-read, kind, compassionate, brave and for lack of a better term, manly man. Furthermore, it appears that the film depicted the two of them and their relationship quite accurately. They liked each other. They respected each other. They had delicious sexual desire for each other. They talked to each other. They each had individual lives that they loved to intertwine. He was not some obstacle she had to overcome in order to succeed. He was not some ogre enforcing his will nor "shaping" her.

I mention this, because I think if I see one more movie, TV show, commercial, comic or anything else that perpetuates the "all men are over-sexed, unaware, mindless morons" myth, I'm going to fucking explode.

Seriously. My health may be in danger here.

And it's everywhere. In some cases it's blatant, like the sit-coms and commercials who couldn't sell beer or vacuum cleaners if men were, like, competent human beings. But in other cases its couched in "science" and even under the guise of "helping" men understand women. Evolutionary psycho-babble would have you believe that men are just barely containing some inbred need to fuck every female that crosses their path (not true). The PUA and MRA's people promote the idea that lying and deception are simply the natural order for men to get what "they want" and what women are naturally withholding because, ya know, deep down, chicks really like being manipulated and holy-mother-of-god, trained.

Well intentioned neo-feminists are constantly spouting "men, you just need to listen to us" mantra as if being respectful and considerate of another human being were some big fucking revelation. At the same time, you have the aforementioned Ev-psych and PUA idiots spouting shit like "don't blame us for being assholes, we're men."

My girl over at BarefootDreamer posted a lovely list of things men can do for their wives and I agreed with everything on it, only my feeling is that it shouldn't be gender specific. Doesn't everyone want to be treated with respect? Doesn't everyone want to be listened to? Appreciated? Sincerely praised? Wouldn't you, if you loved your husband, want to encourage your husband and make his dreams come true? Shouldn't every adult human being take umbrage at being "told" what to do?

I agreed wholeheartedly with the "tell us your problems but don't act like we are your problem." The trouble is, that's exactly what the entire list was doing. Moreover, it plays straight in to the "all men are mindless morons" paradigm especially at the end with a bit that really bothered me. It was a long list of things a man needs to be to make a woman happy and not screw up then wrapped up with what a woman need to do keep a man happy (Show up naked and bring food. har har.) Maybe your man is a neanderthal but mine isn't. In fact, I doubt neanderthals were that neanderthal.

So here's Ivey's corollary to what is, in fact, I think a wonderful list for how people who want to enjoy their relationships should try to act. These are just a few additional things to consider:
  • If your life partner IS ignoring you, it's because he or she is an ass, not because of their gender.
  • If your spouse doesn't listen to you, then she or she is a self-absorbed prick (gender not withstanding).
  • If your spouse doesn't spend time with you, then he or she may have a priorities problem or they may actually not enjoy spending time with you. Two different problems requiring two different solutions.
  • If your spouse doesn't praise you, or encourage you, or try to make your dreams come true then you need to take a look at your specific spouse or the dynamics of your specific relationship, not paint half the human race with the black brush of insensitivity.
  • If your husband or wife is habitually condescending or bossing you around, then that person may be a control freak or a jack ass but it's not simply a natural behaviour they have to overcome, it's a character flaw.
  • And yes, if your spouse is happier it's likely that you will be happier. But you can't make anyone happy. You could be doing absolutely every fucking thing on this list and still be married to an unhappy, miserable, or unrealistic person. If that's the case, it's sad, but it's not your fault.
Relationships are between people, not concepts, not ideas, not cultures, not even genders -- it's about PEOPLE, people.


  1. A-frikken-men!

    I got no problem with the notion that men and women are biologically different and consequently have different drives, needs, etc. as a class of human beings. But on an individual level good and decent are not gender specific descriptors.

    Doesn't mean I'm above exploiting the stereotype for a laugh occasionally though. Blowjobs while drinking beer and watching football rule!

  2. Great list Ivey... I completely agree!

  3. Great post!

    But what are PUAs and MRAs?

  4. Pick Up Artists and Men's Rights Advocates.

    The PUA's are really the most annoying since I actually agree with a lot of the men's rights positions (re: custody and alimony issues). The PUA's are essentially trying to "help" men score women by teaching them "the game," much of which seems to involve a significant amount of lying, deception, and manipulation. Again, I think some of their suggestions are great (e.g. be more confident, less needy) but the number's game aspect combined with a certain "it's about the pussy not the person" is irritating as all fuck.

    And like a certain brand of feminist's really do hate men and very large amount of MRA's really do hate women. And like both of those labels, rarely seem willing to call out their own.

  5. Great post. I think that kindness and respect is a gender neutral concept. Listening is also something that is not a skill set that automatically comes with a vagina.

    Well said.

  6. Julie & Julia was a pretty good movie and I also liked how they showed Paul Child. It was very realistic seeming.