Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Male Cliche


I've been blogging for about four months.
While my learning graph has not been perpendicular, it has maintained a comfortable azimuth or something like that.
One makes a number of incidental observations while hauling oneself up a forty-five degree slope.
About other writer bloggers.
About the sexual positions of other bloggers.
That didn't come out quite right.
I mean the position other bloggers take regarding the other sex.
Dear me, there's a lot of unexploded ordnance around.
I mean the opposite sex.
And there's constant cliched stereotypes presented about men.
They are dumb and oblivious. They scratch. They roll over and go to sleep. They believe crying an attempt at emotional blackmail.
Wait. That one is probably true. That they believe it, that is.
Now, a lot of these stereotypes are presented as humor.
Let's face it, a lot of humor depends on acceptance of mutually agreed stereotypes, like the mother-in-law.
And we laugh, because many are funny as hell.
I've invested in a water-proof chair cushion actually.
But eventually, one becomes irritated by the repetition of the lovable but idiot DH theme- "dear husband" I assume - one of the code expressions which indicates a group is aware of itself as a group with clout, but can also indicate a certain fossilization of conventions along the lines of the Academie Francais. When does instant communication become insular communication, Us vs. Them.
Poor guys.
Reduced to "hubby."
That term always induces projectile vomiting.
Reminds me of a cleaning lady from a certain London district who used to phone at odd hours when her husband was in jail for beating her up. The conversation always went like this: "Missus 'Arris? Is your hubby 'ome? Could aoi spek to 'im, please?"
I've probably annoyed every romance writer on the planet with this observation.
But, you know, I haven't seen the equivalent chauvenistic cliches about women/wives presented on any men's blogs. Or the wife referred to as "wifey," "the old lady", etc.
Why is that?

26 comments:

Ric said...

could be that we 'writer' types are also more sensitive, more in tune with our feminine side, and therefore less apt to stereotype our female companions.

Bernita said...

Or maybe, men aren't just as addicted to convenient cliches, Ric.
I donno.
It gets on my nerves.

Robyn said...

In part, I think DH is just part of internet abbreviations. IMO, BTW, ITA, LOL, etc. We apparently don't like to type.

On the other hand, I don't think it's just women writers, Bernita. Any group of women I've ever spent time with- church, work, school, civic, you name it- has eventually gotten around to the ManBash. Similar to ChildBash, but nastier. ChildBash must always be prefaced with "don't get me wrong, I love my kids and wouldn't give them up for anything" before the inevitable "omigod can you believe he did this" horror story.

ManBash always reduces the husband from Dear Husband to My Other Child. That's always bugged me, too, though I will admit to using abbreviations.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I haven't seen the equivalent chauvenistic cliches about women/wives presented on any men's blogs. Or the wife referred to as "wifey," "the old lady", etc.
Why is that?


Because we'd beat them up.

M. G. Tarquini said...

"I can't wait until the holidays are over, the kids are driving me cra-azy."

I liked the holidays. I didn't have chauffeur them to their hundred and one activities. My kids don't make me crazy. I like them.

Bernita said...

You're right, Robyn, I was a little unfair extrapolating about the abbreviations.
My favorite hate about the "Child Bash" is the cry, "I can't wait until the holidays are over, the kids are driving me cra-azy."
Sighs. Eye-rollings. Other Oh-Pity-me collectors.Cheap role playing.
Bleah.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

In addition of the waterproof seat, I've also invested in a plastic cover for my keyboard. LOL

I think you just miss those kind of male sites, Bernita.

My post today and the one yesterday came from sites belonging to men. LOL And a couple of the male comments were pricelessly filed in the "to be used as a post" folder.

That Hanger cartoon is great. LOL

Dennie McDonald said...

Okay - I admit - I use hubby - mostly becasue it is easier to type than husband - So I am lazy - i cannot help it. =)

As a writer - and a romance writer at that - I actually try to stay away from the male sterio types and shot for the female ones - don't know just me. I want my ment to be men darn it - gruff and in charge - no simpering sourpuss dumb as a post guy for me!

jason evans said...

Thanks for sticking up for us XY's, Bernita. :)

Carla said...

Same distorted logic as the one that allows women in offices to put up posters of half-naked young footballers, but heaven help any man in the same organisation who tries to exercise equal rights and put up the Playboy calendar, perhaps? It's okay for the Oppressed to snigger at the Oppressors (that's alternative and edgy and cool and independent) but it's not okay for the Oppressors to snigger at the Oppressed (that's a cruel abuse of power).

Because it's an in-joke among a certain group of women?

Because it's thought of as a specialised sort of Internet language, like LOL, blog, etc and signifies that the writer has learned the terminology of her new environment?

Because the sort of men who read Nuts and Loaded don't blog?

Bernita said...

I guess the pefect man is the alpha male who treats women as equals, Dennie.
I probably HAVE missed those sites, Bonnie.
I've been spoiled by guys like Ric and Jason, Goody and Tsavo.
Same here, Mindy.
Can't help it Jason, I don't like artificial pre-programmned role playing - unless it's funny, of course.
Probably all of the above, Carla.
Oh, people, can we persuade Carla to post everyday on her blog?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Bernita, don't let Ric fool ya'! go and look at the comment he made on my post, yesterday! that will definitely be a posting!

Good try, Ric, "a soft feminine side...righttttt!"

ali said...

Because if they did they'd get leapt on and castrated?

I agree with Carla. But then I go read blogs like I Blame The Patriarchy (http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/) and think, they can suck up a bit of sniggering.

Sandra Ruttan said...

"But, you know, I haven't seen the equivalent chauvenistic cliches about women/wives presented on any men's blogs. Or the wife referred to as "wifey," "the old lady", etc.
Why is that?"

It is only my opinion, but it goes to the heart of my theory about double standards in our society. Any group seen as a 'minority' or an 'oppressed' group gets a free pass for lashing out at the group thought of as oppressing them.

There are all kinds of double standards between men and women. It's unfortunate. I banter all the time but the truth is, I love men. And I've always had better guy friends in my life. Being married makes that difficult. But (uh oh) men usually aren't as petty as the women who are petty can be. Read carefully. I didn't say all women are petty. Or even most...

And Bernita, I LOVE that comic today!

Bernita said...

Bonnie, you hold the torch, I'll take the pitchfork...

Ali, I got as far on that link as "pronging at will" and I was laughing so hard I had to go change. Later.

Sandra, I can't help but agree.It's the petty competition that always gets me.
Glad you like the cartoons. I think I will inflict one every day until they run out.

Rick said...

Is it at least in part because (socialization or whatever), women blog more about their personal lives, period? And therefore about their relationships? "Relationship" itself is pretty much a female-coded word.

This strikes me as a flip side of the debate over why the "big" political blogs are mostly run by guys who link to each other. They are big partly because they blog all politics all the time - if you want a political fix, you know you'll get it, not "distractions" about their personal lives, etc.

-- Rick

Bonnie Calhoun said...

And Ric....you had to SPELL out the word...period????

Bernita, sharpen that pitchfork!!! LOL

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oops...i left out the 'k' on Rick!

Ric said...

Pitchforks? Torches?
What kind of weird stuff are you girls into?

This could get VERY interesting.

Bonnie, I knew you had it in you - you were just hiding it behind that winsome smile.

Bernita said...

I think you've avoided the question, Rick, it's not that some post about 'relationships", it's because some persist in doing so in a constantly stylized pejorative manner.

Ric, we're in maenad mode.

Sela Carsen said...

My dh (because I'm lazy, don't like the word "hubby," and won't use his name) is, as we all know, darn-near perfect. That doesn't mean he isn't capable of doing things that make me shake my head in sheer bewilderment. Heaven knows I puzzle him all the time.

My son's nickname has been Monkey Boy since before he learned how to walk. He's a climber. Now he and dd (daughter is an awful long word) are known collectively as The Monkey Children. I even took them to the zoo yesterday for a visit with the kinfolk. ;)

Bernita said...

Sela, you don't fall into that whiney cliche and you're always funny.
I'll forgive even the cliche rants if they're truly funny.

Rick said...

Bonnie - leaving the k out of my name is a big mistake, when there's a k-less Ric already posting!

Bernita - tough crowd, tough crowd! But in answer, since more women blog about their domestic lives, more will grump about their hubbies. Men, I think, would be embarrassed to grump about their wives in a blog.

Having said that, there is also maybe a cultural thing going on. The Lifetime Channel runs a whole genre of "kill your husband" movies. Sure, the jerks always have it coming, but it is a bit strange.

Bernita said...

Ric, it may be a residue of the "gentlemen don't discuss their wives in public."

Mark Pettus said...

Or maybe male writers are far more less likely to have wives, and far more likely to have ex-wives, estranged wives, other people's wives...

You've become so prolific lately, Bernita, that a trip to your blog is like a trip to the reference section of the library... only much more entertaining (except when I'm looking through some exotic text about ancient sexual practices... ancient pornographers really knew how to put some "oomph" into their depictions of genitalia.

Speaking of oomph... nice profile pic. You ain't half bad looking. Too bad you aren't a lesbian.

Bernita said...

Mark,
In my hey nonny, nonny days I was not only femi -nine, I was a ten.
Now I'm just a wicked old woman, WOW, for short.