Some men are jerks; most men are not. Frankly, I do not think there is a better way of correcting the bitterness searching Single women so often feel that by upbraiding the little voice that tells them the "problem" is men.
I think it must be "Man" week on Seraphic Singles because I keep thinking about the ways in which society has shortchanged boys and men. The "hook up" culture of high school, college and clubbing is horrible for women (and the children they have or abort), but it is also horrible for men. Sex on tap is emasculating. Past generations of men knew this, from Homer--who portrayed Paris as a dumb pretty-boy--to George Bernard Shaw, who credits Napoleon with saying that "woman is the occupation of the idle man."
I do not think the deep rift between men and women can be healed until women are moved to compassion for men. And by this I mean a real, disinterested compassion, one that is not about binding a man to one's side, and not about being supported by a man or having children of a man.
Men, like women, want to be loved for themselves, their concrete selves. Women are terrified that they will have to support a man who just mooches off them; men have the same fear. Women are no longer so worried that men will see them as baby-machines; this is something that now terrifies men, and it should: occasionally I get emails from women who wonder if they should marry a man they don't love just so they can have babies. Imagine if that man was your brother or son or friend.
It is hard, as a woman, to feel compassion for men and see how weak and enslaved they are to so much, including their own sexual drives and expectations. Men are usually bigger than us and stronger; that can be scary. Men can be very dangerous, to us but also to themselves. Young women do not videotape each other being pulled on sleds along icy highways by cars; young men do and if the video makes it to TV, not-so-young men watch, absolutely rapt.
However, it is not very difficult to see how advertisers, in cahoots with the entertainment industry, are constantly stabbing through the weakest link in men's armour, their sexuality, to separate them from their money.
It's so base and yet so basic that it's part of the furniture of daily life. Every morning when I check my email I have to erase yet another invitation to increase the size of a body part I don't have. If I walk along Toronto's Yonge Street or Montreal's Rue Ste. Catharine or Edinburgh's Lothian Road, naked neon dames flash on and off, tempting men to walk inside the strip club. And the pop singer Rhianna squirms around in tiny outfits on TV, singing about "whips and chains" exciting her.
(Imagine if people forced you to read erotic passages every day while handsome men gently gave you back massages. Exactly.)
And it's not just the entertainment industry. In my local medical office, scowling, sexy, nearly-naked men glare from posters warning men with SSA that only condoms save. "Relationships can't protect you from HIV" says the poster, a blatant, brainless lie if you think for two minutes about what "relationship" actually means. And it makes me angry as a human being that the National Health Service thinks it needs to use soft porn to get its advice across to certain men.
And then there's the "progressive" double-standard, as I noted while studying for my "Living in the UK" exam: more women than men receive higher education, but nobody seems to think that this is a problem. The fact that men make more money (if they still do in the UK, which I doubt, given the benefits culture and post-industrial collapse) than women is seen to be a problem.
So yes, men sometimes hurt our feelings and sometimes disappoint us, especially by not matching up to the version of them we have in our imaginations. And they sometimes embarrass us by asking for that which a big, lying, pornographic, entertainment/psychiatric/ideological industry has led them to expect. But they are our fellow human beings, and they are in a terrible fix. I think that it is our job to help to save them from drowning--without, of course, being dragged under ourselves.
Compassion literally means "suffering with."
Update: Thanks to Healthily Sanguine in the combox for linking to this! A hilarious and touching example of How Men Think.