Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Rantings of a Single Male: Part II

Rant B

This rant begins by introducing an individual by the name of Petra who will be referred to throughout the book. When the author was 21 years old and traveling in Europe he met a young German woman by the name of Petra. The author then carried on a two-week affair with Petra while traveling through parts of Europe though they were unable to speak to each other because of the language barrier. At the end of the two weeks there was a pregnancy scare. In response to this Mr. Ellis states, "On the trip she had just ‘hoped’ she couldn't get pregnant while leaving it for fate to decide. From this experience I learned that you cannot that trust women to take responsibility for their own bodies. They prefer to wait until responsibility is thrust upon them." (P. 12)

Several weeks after Mr. Ellis returned to the United States, Petra came to live with relatives in Connecticut. Plans were made for Petra to come and live with Mr. Ellis in Ohio during the summer. When she arrived with greatly improved English Mr. Ellis discovered that Petra was actually a radical feminist. Petra made it her mission to indoctrinate the author in radical feminism. The affair disintegrated when Petra refused to engage in sex with the author when he disagreed with her feminist ideas. Ellis states, “A the time I didn't understand that her opinions were emotionally grounded, and I tried apply my male logic to her ideological assertions. I wanted to teach her how to analyze and reason. She would have none of it. I never told her what to think or believe, I just challenged her. That only infuriated her.”(p.13)

Some of the issues Petra demanded the author’s agreement with included:
-Women should be granted jobs in fields where they are underrepresented, even if they were not qualified.
-Women should make at least as much of men in all lines of work even when men are more qualified or more experienced.
-Alleged rapists this should be sent to prison on the word of the alleged victim alone.
-It is wrong to use words such as chairman or freshman or to refer to females as girls and not women.

In response to this attempted indoctrination Mr. Ellis stated, “But I don't think a man's role in a relationship is to simply validate the views of a woman. Why does it always come to that?" (p. 15)

At the end of the summer Petra returned to her relatives in Connecticut. The author stated "... our whole relationship was based on a big misunderstanding. But then, I suppose that's nothing unusual" (p. 15) The author reports that even though it was a difficult summer he didn't think it was a complete waste. "Had it not been for her endless stream of irritating drivel, I would still have only a vague awareness of feminism. I had just been presented with the vision of the future insanity of women. Little did I know Petra’s irritating drivel here would turn out to be prophecy." (p. 15)

The author has many good points regarding the feminist ideas that Petra expected the author to agree with. The ideas Petra attempted to convince the author of which I detailed in this entry are illogical. Part of the deficit in logic is due to the broad generalizations that some of these feminist ideas put forth. Generalizations such as the idea that women have been oppressed by men for thousands of years and so are now deserving of preferential treatment above men. But then, broad generalizations are often illogical.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ellis repeats the mistake of many feminists by using broad generalizations as well. For example, “ From this experience I learned that you cannot trust women to take responsibility for their own bodies. They prefer to wait until responsibility is thrust upon them." (P. 12) I suppose this is true in some cases, however, it certainly is not true for all women. Mr. Ellis, however, is correct in thinking that all adults should be responsible for their own bodies.

Or “But I don't think a man's role in a relationship is to simply validate the views of a woman. Why does it always come to that?" I wonder though, does it really always come to that? If a woman was looking for a "yes man" Mr. Ellis is right, that would not lead to a healthy relationship. I think one of the good things men and women have to offer each other are our differing perspectives on issues.

As I've mentioned previously, hyperbole is often used when discussing a subject that one is passionate about. I suppose any expression described as a "rant" could likely contain some hyperbole as well. When hyperbole is used to express ideas there are dangers on both sides of discussion. Many women who read this may react to the hyperbole thinking, "But I am responsible for my own body, this guy is full of it." which is not going to predispose her to listening to his other ideas. A man who reads this may develop the opinion that, indeed, most women are untrustworthy, and only want a "yes man" which can lead to the inappropriate judgment of the feminine gender as a whole.

Nonetheless, as a woman, when I read a broad generalization in this book I am trying to consider if, in fact, I too am guilty of the sorts of things Mr. Ellis tends to accuse women of. I think it is a good idea to ask myself, “Do I tend to only associate with people who agree with me?” Or "Am I willing to listen to others' ideas without mentally planning how I will refute them?" Hopefully I can learn from this and share what I learn with you.

17 comments:

Ame said...

Women like Petra make ME hate women!

singlechristianman said...

It has happened thrice to me this time around single that I have gone out with an evangelical lady who has seemingly had the idea that it is her job to "fix" me - without knowing what it is that needs to be fixed; see, since she doesn't know me yet.
... This "feminizing" of the church is having more pernicious effects than we realize; though lately I am coming to think that the fault is not something to be laid at the feet of angry women per se but rather feminist ideas from the culture at large .. yet when I read historical accounts I wonder at whether in fact an age old plan is in place to "weaken" the church's witness by cutting off the influence of masculinity.

And I like Petra the band very much, and I have a niece named Petra Faith as well (whom I suggested the name for, if I may brag :)

Here in a nutshell is my "rant of the single christian man" -- there does not seem to be a "grid" for many in church leadership to "see" a single man as a competent (for lack of a better term - perhaps "ernest" works) believer who actually is seeking God and how to walk with Him. One will be seen as a predator (the "biblical dating" crowd) a competitor, or a loser (the "marriage mandate" crowd). Actually laying some Greek on someone to refute their simple error will be seen as some kind of air or attitude pulling instead of the ernest believer to believer discussion it should be.

Yet a man with a woman at his side is suddenly "normal" -- even if she is on a different spiritual page.

The Learner said...

Ame,

Yeah, unfortunately women like that do make the rest of us look bad to some. I hope you are feeling better.

The Learner said...

Hi SCM,

If you don't mind sharing, could you tell us what happened with these three evangelical women that gave you the impression that they were trying to fix you? I don't doubt your perception, just would like to know what gave that impression.

This "feminizing" of the church is having more pernicious effects than we realize; though lately I am coming to think that the fault is not something to be laid at the feet of angry women per se but rather feminist ideas from the culture at large

I think that is very true. When someone is very angry and antagonistic it is hard to rationally discuss ideas. I hope that women who are not so angry and antaginistic but still may be influenced by these feministic ideas and not realize it can have their eyes opened. I hope that if believing women can begin to recognize these issues more and more that it will help.

singlechristianman said...

I am going to ask leave to just lurk and not respond to your question, as I am becoming sensitized to how I may complicate matters in this four- or five-dimensional blogosphere, as someone I went out with this weekend thought I was talking about her; which I was not, this matter being now resolved. Which doesn't mean I won't answer it, just that I am not doing that at this moment; acknowledging that I am leaving you sort of hanging and thus only get the degree of respect that comes with only delivering so far.

Ame said...

SCM - if you flip the words, this is also what I've found to be true for single women ... or at least those who are divorced with kids, like me ...

"Here in a nutshell is my "rant of the single christian man" -- there does not seem to be a "grid" for many in church leadership to "see" a single man as a competent (for lack of a better term - perhaps "ernest" works) believer who actually is seeking God and how to walk with Him. One will be seen as a predator (the "biblical dating" crowd) a competitor, or a loser (the "marriage mandate" crowd). Actually laying some Greek on someone to refute their simple error will be seen as some kind of air or attitude pulling instead of the ernest believer to believer discussion it should be.

Yet a man with a woman at his side is suddenly "normal" -- even if she is on a different spiritual page."

singlechristianman said...

I will leave you with this thought, though, since I need to be on more pressing business than blog haunting:

Treat single christian men with dignity, not niceness. These are two different concepts, even if the pragmatic effect is the same.

Dignity means acknowledging it when you don't have an answer. Dignity means "don't treat them like six year olds." Dignity means being polite if you do not wish to associate with them on a personal level. Dignity means that you do not look down on them for their single state. And it also means that they get the dignity that comes with being thought to be responsible for their words and their actions, IOW, that they are adults, like you are. It is infantalizing to do things like presume to speak for them as to what their issues, concerns, or problems are, or what they ought to be; and it is giving them dignity to allow them to speak for themselves in these kinds of questions. It is not dignity to treat them like errant children for every little thing; and even if they are in sin in some area (real sin, not pretend sins like going on a date without some elder's permission, or having a tatoo, say) then still they are worth the dignity that comes with being in the great Family.

The Learner said...

Sure, SCM, no problem.

Ame said...

SCM - thank you for expanding that ... dignity vs. being nice.

If you have any more thoughts and are willing to share, I'm open to learning.

***

"yet when I read historical accounts I wonder at whether in fact an age old plan is in place to "weaken" the church's witness by cutting off the influence of masculinity."

Very intruiging.

Ame said...

SCM -

I think you'd like reading this real-life love story. She dated all these *kind* men ... but none turned her inside out till she met a REAL man ... not only did he knock her socks off, but she married him, and they have four children together.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/category/the_night_i_met_marlboro_man

Recently someone asked her:
"Is Marlboro Man really as perfect as it appears he is? Or are there some mere-mortal characteristics that would make the rest of us not feel like we have totally missed out in our own lives?
Marlboro Man would be the first to say he isn’t perfect. He has very human flaws, just like the rest of us. But I think he’s perfect. He’s perfect for me."
http://thepioneerwoman.com/2007/12/some_answers_.html

***

What's intruiging about that question is the implication that here's this REAL man, authoritative, masculine in every way, and other women feel like they're missing out.

***

We, as women, in general (because there are those who are pushing this agenda), want that masculine man who possesses authority and strength of character and integrity ... that man who takes charge without being opressive. A real, masculine man will not only have authority but will also set his wife free to be who she is because of his authority and masculinity.

Ame said...

Hummm ... I don't think the links came through ... here they are again:

http://thepioneerwoman.com/category/the_night_i_met_marlboro_man

http://thepioneerwoman.com/2007/12/some_answers_.html

linderella said...

ame,
Thanks for sharing the link to pioneerwoman's blog. What a treat! She's an incredible writer, and a breath of fresh air. I want her to write a book, so I can buy it.

Personally, I think the real appeal of Marlboro Man (for me, anyway) isn't so much the rugged cowboy thing, but that he's very authentic, sincere and real about who he is and what he wants in a relationship, and he's not leaving her guessing, or playing head games with her. (Except for those first 4 months when he didn't call her, which I can't wait to hear her explain...)

I don't see the previous men she was with as being "kind" or "nice" at all, really. It sounds like they were sort of vague and fuzzy about what their intentions were, like junior high kids, keeping things in dating limbo. And after 4 years, the surfer dude didn't step up to the plate and offer to make a permanent commitment until she was leaving him. (Rejection works like musk...)

I love the chemistry between her and the cowboy. But for me, it wouldn't have been appealing if he had just been some gritty blue collar guy who was so "strong and silent" that he thought it was unmanly to express how he felt to her. Notice how he was able to be vulnerable and honest and say, Don't leave, or to call each time to just to say, Hey, I had a good time, and seal things. He takes responsibility proactively for the relationship by initiating and communicating, rather than leaving her hanging and wondering, Did he have a good time? Will he call? Does he like me?
And he seems smart enough to appreciate their differences, and supports her photography efforts, and takes her on dates to the city when he can. So it's not just all about "Love me, love my cattle ranch." He respects her world, too, and wants to build a life together. He said he would have moved to Chicago to be with her if he hadn't felt committed to his family's ranch. (Which says that he already came to her knowing the mechanics of how to commit.)

Sorry to ramble on here. I just felt that the dynamics of why her story seems to resonate with so many women is not just because of the exotic cowboy props, but because of how he related to her and pursued her. Fortunately, there was a mutual chemistry that made it click.

Anyway, I've always said that I need a guy who can handle me, without destroying me, because he loves me. I think that's what Ree found in Marlboro Man. And as Forrest Gump would say, that's what I have to say about that...

Ame said...

linderella - ditto!

I'd like to *hear* a man's view of her writings.

linderella said...

does marlboro man have a blog? LOL

linderella said...

P.S. I absolutely loved Pioneer Woman's long blog I read yesterday called, "My dad, the ballroom dancer," and about how learning to dance had given him a new lease on life after a sad divorce -- and a groovy new wife and dance partner! (I started ballroom lessons several years ago through a local church's singles' group, and it's really been a blast for me.) Her interview with her dad sounds like they have a great relationship, which probably gave her a terrific advantage in recognizing what a quality fellow Marlboro Man is...

The Learner said...

Ame,

Have you read the comments on Pioneer Woman's blog? Men do comment on her blog, maybe some of them commented on her entries about meeting her husband. I enjoy her writing, she can be very funny :)

Linderella,

Thanks for your comments. One of my best friends takes ballroom dance classes too and it sounds like a lot of fun :)

Anonymous said...

I scanned the story about the ballroom dancing and identify with it... I hid at work and in books for a few years after being divorced before stumbling upon argentinian tango (as opposed to "ballroom" or"american"). It's great for the Pioneer Lady's dad that he came upon social dancing and got in touch with this part of himself, as I am doing. It's a great way to connect and also for a man to learn about himself. - singlechristianman