There’s a lot here, so forgive me if I am wordy and, perhaps, somewhat disorganized in responding.
Meg
193

I want men to take women’s complaints seriously.

On that point, I will only answer for myself, though I have indeed presumed to generalize about male experience in other ways.

Sister, if you had ANY idea, how much of my life heretofore had been taken up in taking women’s complaints (a term no man dare use and one in antiquity associated with not taking women themselves,) seriously, you would know that to back up my views as expressed here, I have nothing to answer for, apologize for or seek redemption for. No ma’am.

It took most of a half-century for me to realize, that I actually had any right to take my own things in life seriously at all, with the way that anything and everything women wanted to complain about (and prevail about) was the be-all and end-all of human existence as I was witnessing it.

I have no dispute, with the assertion that it is difficult to be a woman. God knows, most women make it look damn near-impossible. The ones who don’t, who make their womanhood seem a blessing to live and a joy to behold, stand out like shiny diamonds in a pile of dusty coal. For the most part I look on at women’s agonizing over their femaleness and think “better you than me.”

My point, and I’ll re-state it as a courtesy, is that whatever the experience of womanhood means to women, no part of this imparts any innate grasp on what it is to be a man. Nor does it accurately establish in some calculus of comparative suffering, that women by virtue of “women’s complaints” have any right to dictate the terms of manhood to men. To the extent that our actions affect your lives, yes, but not because Woman but because Human. We expect no less from you.

But I will never rest with the idea that men owe something back to women for our not being female. That relegates your women’s complaints to the status of a grievance against nature, not against men. Take it up with Her.

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