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Male Bashing is Bad. Joking is Okay. Right?
I've written a lot on this blog about how we women often disparage men, and that's a bad thing. I've talked about how we have to let men be men, accept that their different, and understand that just because we see the world a certain way, it doesn't mean that we're right and they're stupid. It just means that we have different viewpoints. And that's okay.

In fact, I'm quite passionate about this. I've written many columns in my seven years as a columnist explaining why I think male bashing is so dangerous. It makes men feel inferior, pushes them out of the family, and contributes to the marginalization of true masculinity in our society.

So I feel a little chagrined today, because I received an email after my last column accusing me of doing just that. In that column, I wrote that men are capable of thinking about nothing, and women aren't. This is often a point of contention in a marriage.

But I went on to say that women are jealous of this brain feature and so continually try to find ways to think about nothing, to no avail. So we may berate them for it, but we also wish we could do it, every now and then.

Here's my question: was I male bashing? I don't think I was. First, I was talking about something which is a fact. Women have more connections in their brains than men do, which is why we recover from strokes more easily. We can't turn off our thoughts as much. Men can.

I was also using an analogy from a best-selling book whose purpose is to explain gender differences so that we can see that neither side is right; we're only different. I thought I was taking the same approach.

Finally, my impression was that I was, if anything, making fun of women, not men. I told how women thought about the stupidest things, and I outlined our quest to be like men. So I don't think it was male bashing.

I do think I used humour (or at least tried to; you can be the judge of whether it was really funny). But I don't believe I was putting men down. I was just describing an honest difference between the genders.

So here's my question for you: was it male bashing? I'm open to being told it was. Maybe I need to be less flippant in my joking. And where is the line between joking and bashing? I do think we need to laugh at ourselves, and especially our relationships. And I think people learn better with humour. Most people honestly aren't aware of these gender differences, and when we explain them, it often improves a relationship.

Also, I don't think describing a difference means that you're bashing one side or the other. Women are more emotional; is it female bashing to say so? I don't think it is. There are differences. We need to see them.

Bashing, I think, is making fun of one gender and coming to the conclusion that this means that they're somehow inferior, or don't function as well. Pointing out differences, then, I don't think is bashing.

So help me out: how do I draw the line better? I'm very against male bashing, and I don't want to participate. But I also do want to be funny and help the general public understand some of these things (I think Christians are more in tune to gender differences than the public is, which is why I've been writing about it in my column, which is aimed at a general audience).

Leave a comment and help me out! Thanks so much! And enjoy your week!

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At 8:42 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

LOL I wouldn't call a person a "man" who thought you were male-bashing. If it was a member of the male gender, I'd call him a little boy and tell him to grow up.


At 8:45 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

Hi Mrs. W!

That's the weird thing, though: it was a woman who accused me of it, not a man. From a man I'd just dismiss it, but because it was a woman I think I need to take it seriously.


At 9:48 AM , Blogger NancyC said…

I giggled when I read the column because it is true. I then read parts to my hubby. He snickered too and replied..."pretty much":P
Meaning that pretty much is how it goes.
I don't think it is either Male or Female bashing. It's an observation that I think is pretty darn accurate:)
Men and Women ARE different and it will always be that way. We were made that way for a reason.
Please continue writing just the way you have been. It's funny, insightful,refreshing, and true:)


At 10:09 AM , Anonymous Bonnie said…

I don't know where she got the male bashing from, maybe she was reading a little more of her own life into your post. . .perhaps some guilt. I think the post was not only dead on, but funny and interesting to read. It sure helped me understand my husband more, I had never thought of it that way, and I am always the one worrying about what he's thinking. I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and I truly have learned so many things that have improved my marriage and my relationship with my girls. Keep writing and making us all laugh, that is what you were called to do and you are reaching so many of us.


At 12:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I think the enemy is trying to get under your skin plain and simple. You are speaking to a topic that is vitally important. The enemy does not want you keep on keeping on. ;)

I saw no bashing only truth.


At 1:01 PM , Blogger The Sheepcat said…

Hmm, part of masculinity as I see it, Sheila, is not to need to be protected all the time. It doesn't surprise me that it's a woman who took offence on behalf of us men.

My wife and I agree that there's a lot of unfunny anti-male humour around, in ads and such, but truly, I didn't think you were out of line at all. Farrell's book has been really helpful for us.


At 1:06 PM , Blogger LAURA said…

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I love it! And I read the post you are referring to... and I loved it! If you only received ONE comment about it being bashing then I would say to not let it get to you. (If you received an entire pile of complaints of it being male bashing then that would be a different story.)

We can never please everyone. There will always be someone who misunderstands or misinterprets our point or our purpose. If we start to listen to all of that then we will have a hard time staying true to ourselves and our calling. Take it to God. Ask Him for wisdom and insight, take the lessons He gives you and leave the rest. :)

Of all the posts I have read so far I would never accuse you of male bashing. If anything I would say it is the opposite since you always seem to be encouraging women to be better and love harder. And I love the humor you always through in. :)


At 1:25 PM , Blogger Christi said…

I think it could have become male bashing had you not done a comparison between men and women or if you had used name calling. But you didn't.

There is too much male bashing and it is something we need to be careful of (and honestly something I used to participate in).

It is possible that this person is just sensitive about this area because of something in her history (or her spouses history).


At 3:05 PM , Blogger Tonia said…

That was NOT male bashing!!! It really wasn't. Maybe the person commenting was just having a bad day or maybe her history affected her comments. What ever it was it wasn't man bashing. In fact this was a new concept for me & I feel that I learned something important.

You have a habit of teaching me something new on regular basis or at least helping me see something from a new perspective. That's one of the reason's I keep reading your blog.


At 3:19 PM , Blogger Sarah DeVries said…

Sheila, my husband and I read your previous post with much hilarity. My hubby did not find it in any way offensive. The funniest part, to us, was that in our marriage the male/female stereotypes are often reversed - and this case was no exception. I am like a waffle, my husband is like spaghetti. It makes us giggle. But my husband does occasionally manage to think about nothing, and I still find myself doing the typical woman thing and assuming he's thinking about something he doesn't want me to know about! LOL I do find sometimes typical women can be oversensitive to things that don't actually exist - and the person who sent you a reproving message is probably one such case. ;)


At 9:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Just wanted to thank you for helping me to feel relieved that I'm not alone with the "getting ready for vacation" nesting syndrome. Ditto on all that you posted on Heart of the matter!

God Bless!


At 10:13 PM , Blogger shale said…

No, not bashing at all. Fact is fact. I suspect the commenter apparently disagrees with the fact/truth that men are wired this way for a reason, and therefore thinks you were bashing men. On the contrary, I truly appreciated the insight (never really thought it through to that entirety before) and agree...and think young married women NEED to realize this truth about their spouses. It will save a lot of stress and frustration if we understand our men better. After 23 years of marriage, I have come to appreciate my husband's amazing ability to help me see things in new, more appropriate ways, because he can distance himself from things I can't. It's truly a God thing. I wasted a lot of time being resentful and worrying through those early years of marriage, and I see now that was absolutely needless.

Never did fine. Just, I don't think you miscommunicated because it never occurred to me at all that you were bashing till I read today's post. Rather, I think it was misunderstanding.


At 1:33 AM , Blogger heidi jo said…

think for a moment about the difference in these 2 statements:

1. men are capable of thinking about nothing

2. men are incapable of thinking about something (something important, something while using wisdom, something relevent, something constructive, something meaningful, etc)

BIG difference between the 2.

as to your article, the real deal was did you intend to or did you have motivation to bash men? i think not. if you read the entire article in context, your heart seems pretty clear to me.

for the record, most men i know are quite happy to be able to simply think about nothing sometimes. there are enough joys and stresses to fill our brains that sometimes we ALL just want to shut it off for a while! it's an amazing coping skill if you ask me... it has nothing to do with their intelligence or capabilities - on the contrary! i think it is a great way for them to reboot, refresh, wind down, and simply breathe without having to DO or FIX or SOLVE or even CONTEMPLATE.... just be. oh how i wish i could do that on command!

you most certainly did not appear to be male bashing. you were not bashing men for an inability to think of something constructive. you appeared to have the best of intentions while hunorously educating us girls about our men so we don't drive them crazy with the "what are you thinking" question when they are happy to be free of thought for a few brief moments of their over-filled days. when we ask the question, we break that moment of freedom they are enjoying. :)

my hubby can save the world, protect our family, provide while working ridiculous hours in a seriously straining environment... he can drive in some of the worst traffic in the USA, still make it home to wrestle with our son, and remember to thank me for dinner and tell me how great it was... a few moments where he doesn't have to think of ANYTHING are cherished. his days are full... no doubt he's capable of "saving the world" - but i'm glad he has moments when he doesn't HAVE to right that second. and so is he.


At 9:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I did not think it was male bashing at all. Just looking at the differences between men and women. I think it is true than men are able to relax more, or "think about nothing". I wish I could, even as i write this i am thinking about the laundry that needs to be done, the floor that needs cleaning and worrying than my kitchen floor is not clean enough even though i mopped it last night.

Thank you for your kindness and encouragment, reading your blog makes me realise that me true calling is to be a wife and mother.


At 12:56 AM , Blogger TRS said…

Unequivicoly, NOT male bashing.

You are explaining gender differences... and that is a MUST!

I'm a person who considers sociology my hobby. I LOVE reading about gender differences and I feel I understand men better (or at least their 'whys') as a result.

But I recall, one day in the work place - I was talking with one of the guys and he told his perspective on something... and I said, "That's because you're a guy. Women think this... Guys think that."
He shot back with... "You hate men!"

Now granted, I'm not the most eloquent speaker sometimes, and I may have been blunt - so I struggled to explain the reality of the differences... that I appreciate the differences... and therefore respect men all the more!

(I do think the fellow's opinion was formed after months of similar observations on my part... and that example was the last straw for him.)

Some of my favorite readings... I don't recall the authors..

The male and female brain


Why Men Can't Ask For Directions & Women Can't Fold Maps. ( I do take slight offense at that title, but the book is dead on... including observations on Male trained Female Brains and Female trained Male Brains!!)


At 4:46 PM , Blogger ReconditeReconnaissance said…

Male bashing has become mainstream in our society. Here is a male perspective if you're interested:


At 2:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

As a male this whole site makes me feel useless. From the title to the image at the top(all it needs is a dumb cartoon dad with a fishing pole). Obviously your main audience is single mothers or angry feminists. I think that you should do a review and blog post of a very popular book out right now. Called Save the Males. I think that you are feeding a machine that is ruining our families. I am a full blown democratic women lover but seriously feminism has gotten out of control.


At 8:38 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

I'm sorry you feel that way Anonymous. I don't think you've looked around the site very much, though.

First, my audience is married women, as you'd know if you'd read my pieces (or the column above). Second, my main message that I'm giving women is to STOP BLAMING MEN and START LOOKING AFTER YOUR OWN PROBLEMS! You would know this, too, if you had read any of the Wifey Wednesday posts when I talk to women specifically about marriage (my target audience wouldn't be single women if I have a weekly marriage theme, would it?)

As for the title, the truth is many women do feel taken for granted. They do feel like maids. That's a fact. But it's also a fact that it's up to the women to do something about it, which is what I say, day in and day out, at this blog.

I'm sorry if you don't like the title and the picture, but please don't make comments like that when you haven't actually read the content!

As for being a feminist, have you read my posts labeled feminism? I'm entirely against the feminist movement, and I've written rather long diatribes on it.

I don't mind you not liking my site; just please read more next time before you post stuff on people's websites. It would make people take you more seriously. Argue against what they're saying. Engage people. That would be far more effective.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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