Last week’s blog was a response to a superficial article in Time Magazine about men being pigs. I took offense. I argued that some recent high profile behavior of men was unfortunate, even juvenile. But “pigs?” I thought the use of the word sounded more like militant Puritanism than intelligent discussion.
Then I went on the air. We do a monthly radio show on marriage and relationships called “The Marriage Conversation” and it airs on WTBQ, N.Y. the first Wednesday of every month. The host, Shannon D. Sanford, a quality journalist and now a friend, challenged me this way – ‘isn’t it piggish behavior to be married and flashing your crotch on Twitter?’ – or something close to that.
Her point I believe was fueled by women’s frustration and big annoyance with the little boy behavior of men who some of us have helped put in office to (intelligently we hoped) represent us. We can’t fully ‘vett’ these guys and yet they are ‘our’ representatives – governors, congressmen, cherished athletes. So my question is this: What can we legitimately expect of public figures beyond their policy positions and leadership skills?
Most of us who are interested in this conversation (it certainly sells a lot of magazines and tv news time) by now have listened a little to the media’s take on French attitudes – ‘his private life is his business’ etc. But is it? Is a person who makes silly choices, a man who can’t keep his word, or a ‘soft’ predator really OK with the ‘big issues?’
Are we ready for a national conversation around standards of individual consciousness? Do we dare explore the philosophy hidden behind French attitudes – that being that my private life isn’t necessarily reflected in my public decision making? Is integrity a thing we can compartmentalize?
So the frustration that creates a screaming headline like the one on the cover of Time may just be that – how do we decide who to put our confidence in, and what is their responsibility to us (in terms of their psychological and emotional health) once in office?
Most men I know are ready to admit that they like women, are attracted to them, are grateful for their presence in their lives. Most men honor and appreciate the women – mothers, daughters, wives, partners – who chose to hang out with them.
But we do have “issues.” It would be good if we could use our fascination with dysfunctional politicians to fuel a conversation about healthy male sexuality and how women impact all of that.
More to come….
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