Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Man Standard

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that our culture's ideal of a worthy male partner is a guy who is slender, seemingly wealthy, dresses well, and has a future as a successful businessman. But in my experience, these also tend to be the biggest jerks.

Our culture also looks down on guys who play video games, wear "ill fitting clothing," drink, are a little overweight, unsure about their futures, basically the Judd Apatow archetype. While women shouldn't be expected to date "losers," maybe guys like that deserve a little credit. Maybe they don't seem like the perfect guys, but in my experience, those are the nice ones.

I don't mean to generalize, of course. This has just been my experience, and my reason to believe we have our priorities all wrong. To our culture, we focus more on how a guy looks and whether he can provide financial stability than how he treats the girls in his life.

Take this article, for example:!5774541/men-on-the-decline-women-to-settle-for-dating-assholes

A woman is advised to stay with a jerk because he is mature in the more superficial ways, because he doesn't act like the "man-boy" guys are becoming. Yes, men in our society are embracing an infantilized version of manhood that includes playing video games, drinking to excess, and avoiding commitment, and that can be bad for women when marriage is shunned and women are seen as soul-crushing, dream-stealing matrons who boss their husbands around with "honeydew" lists and orders to take out the trash.

HOWEVER, I've also noticed that the seemingly perfect guys, the ones with good looks and charm, nice clothes and cologne, clean apartments, good credit, and a major that will inevitably lead to a 6-figure salary someday (think Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother), tend to carry a sense of entitlement with them. They seem to think they can treat a woman however they want, and they'll get away with it because the woman will be so blinded by his charm and convinced he's the best out there that she'll deal with it, or if she does leave, he can easily replace her with the next girl in a line wrapping around the block. To me, these are the ones to be wary of. They seem amazing on the surface, but it's that surface charm that permits them to be so evil deep down.

Nice guys tend to be found in the group of goofball "losers" women are constantly told to avoid.

Although I should point out, some guys feel entitled because they are nice. I've run into this before as well. It's called Nice Guy Syndrome, where a guy believes that because he is nice to a girl, he should have her. If she rejects him, it's because all women want jerks, and they discriminate against nice guys like him. NGS is often the motivating mindset behind misogynist violence.

What I really hate most of all is the idea that women should settle for less than exactly what they want. They're told that guys will be guys, and women should just deal with it.

It hurts both men and women when a culture idealizes a man for his clothing and bank account, ignoring the kind of person he is deep down. It means that a man's appearance and finances are his most important asset, and that treating a woman well doesn't matter, which in turn hurts woman. It also hurts women when they're told to marry anyone with money and a nice wardrobe, because it often means women are encouraged to date jerks, and stay with jerks, and marry assholes.

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