When We Address a Man’s Needs, Why Do Some Women Hijack the Discussion? Part 1

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If I say, “Men really like sports,” some women (a small but vocal percentage) retort, “I can’t believe you just said that! Women really like sports, and let me tell you why women like sports. In fact, you need to know about the sports women are playing, why affirmative action supports more women in sports, and why women would have been more interested in sports had this culture been fairer to women years earlier."

In hearing these women express their thoughts, we quickly lose sight of the original statement, “Men really like sports."

It is no longer about the man. It is about the woman.

The same holds true when I say, “A husband needs respect.” Immediately we hear the mantra: "What about us women? Women need respect. It goes both ways! We deserve to be treated with respect. Men do not deserve respect since they have not earned it. They need to show respect to get respect. Women need respect more than men."

FEAR AND ANGER

Some feel that when we talk about what is true of most males we are implying this is untrue of women. When some ladies feel this way, they change the focus to the woman.

Why? Love, fear and/or anger drive this hijacking of the conversation. At one level it is quite understandable. They care about the feelings of women, since they know their own feelings. So, they jump into the conversation to protect and defend women (and themselves). Feeling righteously indignant that women are unfairly overlooked, they get on their bully pulpit. In the face of what feels to them as favoritism toward men, as well as a dismissive attitude toward women by not mentioning women, they make the woman front and center, pushing the man off stage.

HIJACKING

Why do I say hijacking?

Hijacking, in the sense to which I am referring, means some women take the topic about men in a new direction by making it all about women. Some women redirect the topic from men to a new territory where only women’s issues matter. They have been conditioned to change course by making the woman the focus whenever the man is highlighted.

In this instance, these ladies will not consider men needing respect as a standalone discussion. They will not even introduce how women are similar to men in needing respect but that it is important to discuss the merits about a man needing respect in order to understand the male's psyche.

Instead, they take over the controls and fly the plane far away and land in a country called the Pink Republic. At that place, the male’s need for respect has disappeared from sight. It is all about the woman.

NOT MEAN-SPIRITED BUT BLIND

These female hijackers are not mean-spirited. Their hearts are in the right place. They feel a noble duty to say something. Unfortunately, they say it in such a way as though they alone recognize this horrible oversight they are addressing. Thus, in their minds, this terrible infraction and impropriety toward women needs to be broadcasted. The curtain must be lowered on the male and raised for the female.

But these hijacking women don’t see what they are doing, nor do many of us. They marginalize the male, shoving him into the shadows where he cannot be seen. Ironically, in speaking out of their concern that women will be unmentioned, they end up causing the men to be unmentioned. Few of us detect what is going on here, and if we do, we tend to give these ladies a pass as we would give our mom or sister a pass. Because we know that women care, we allow them to take over the conversation.

DOES THIS LOSE THE HEARTS OF MEN?

But pure motives do not make for wise comments or good leadership. Their comments can de-energize the very men they seek to reach—their fathers, brothers, and husbands. How so? The cascade of these heavy comments emotionally buries the guys. Most men shut down. From these women, the men feel no empathy or understanding. Instead, these men feel judged and replaced. Sadly, these guys end up walking away from engaging the post on Facebook since they see how quickly their need for respect is unappreciated. Even worse, they see how they are blamed for making women feel disrespected, though the men never hear that women could be blamed for making men feel disrespected.

The men leave the conversation and go watch SportsCenter. Men really like sports.

-Dr. E