Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cathy Young looks at another side of "husband management" in this post.


Blogger DRJ said...

I know that I am swimming against the tide on this issue, both here and in the earlier post, and as I would be at Cathy Young's blog. But I think married couples should be able to strike their own balance as long as they aren't violent or abusive relationships. Some marriages may have a dominant husband, others a dominant wife, or they may vary (as my marriage does) where the husband and wife split various duties and each is the "boss" of those matters.

I guess that my point is that no marriage works perfectly and, in fact, they shouldn't aim for some perfect balance. Marriages are constantly changing and adjusting, and the best ones have spouses who accept that when it comes to everyday living, no one should keep score.

12:48 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

DRJ and Darren,

Yes, I know women who mention that a husband is verbally abusing her, telling her how to spend money, not letting her out of the house, and everyone is behind her telling her where to get help, how to get help etc. I know many men in the same postion (verbally abusive wife, controls money, wants him home all the time etc.) and they are told to go along with the program because the woman holds the power (kids, cash etc.). This is what I find unfair--not individual differences in dominance--e.g. he hogs the tv remote, she is better at the finances etc.

1:03 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Darren and Dr. Helen,

I'm confused. I agree that women have advantages in divorce, especially in division of assets and child custody matters. I agree that is unfair but I thought we were discussing the online marriage of Mad Dad and Mad Mom as displayed at his website. My point was that I think their marriage is fairly normal and definitely not dysfuctional or dangerous. So while I agree with Dr. Helen's and Darren's points, I'm not convinced that Mad Dad's website proves them.

1:26 PM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Dr. Helens' defense I posted this on e the thread on Cathy's site, referring first to a paragraph in her own post, and also quotes a term used by another commenter:

"But in fact, it is anti-feminist traditionalists, not feminists, who embrace female manipulation of men as a positive value -- a way women can wield power and achieve what they want without "becoming like men."

The problem with this is the huge number of male-bashing "womyn" who call themselves "feminists" and have in fact so polluted and degraded that good name that it now carries a very negative semantic load, so much so that when young women deny that they are feminist, they often explain why by saying that they are not man-haters.

Real feminsts should rejoice at the "over-the-top female-bashing" because it represents men moving away from the old gender roles and norms of behavior, to real gender equality. In the past if a woman slapped a man, or was verbally abusive to him, he was just supposed to be a big guy and suck it up. Now men are seeing through that and expecting equality and not finding it, either in society at large or in the courts. This is true with regard to domestic violence, both in reporting by the police and in statute - VAWA is explicitly discriminatory - in the discussion around male underachievenment in schools, and most horribly in matters of child custody and parenting.

The dishonesty coming from the other side does not help the discussion - charges of female-bashing when the "bashing" is simple criticism, manipulative swipes about men "whining" and wonderment at phyisacl violence where someone has tried to separate a father from his children in the same person who would take it for granted in a mother.

The anger you are observing among many men reminds me very much of the anger among women in the 60's. It is a beginning of something larger, and if it is welcomed instead of resisted, it can be constructive, just as before.

3:45 PM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Where do you see this anger? Who is angry?

5:39 PM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I manage my husband by spoiling him rotten. He spoils me rotten in return. So now we have to stay married to each other because nobody else could bear either one of us.

I have a favorite cartoon that has been on my refrigerator for years. It shows a woman with a baby on her hip, running the vacuum, and cradling a telephone on her shoulder. She's saying, "Oh, I don't worry about my husband replacing me with a Barbie. He's too used to having an action figure." And there you go!

5:40 PM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My uncle-in-law's brother was attacked by his girlfriend and the police were called over. The cop just told her to go home. My uncle-in-law thinks if the situation were reversed, his brother would have been thrown in jail.

7:48 PM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Where do you see this anger? Who is angry? "

Well, on this thread and many others on this blog, and at Cathy Y's blog. Cathy Y calls it woman-bashing, and she is right.

Some habe been saying for a couple of decades that we have been having an epidemic of rape, and that may be interpreted as an expression of anger. Or the need to pass special laws concerning viloence aaginst and only against womern might be an acknowledgement that there is anger. father's right sites are full of angry commneters. But you judge for yourself if anyone is saying there is anger.

8:08 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

and the more they legislate unfairly to "protect" women, the more violence there will be.

they alter the rules of law, to "protect" women, and as jim said look at the 1960;s feminists, they were angry, and they managed to get the power today, men are finally realising that we need to be angry, by all the unfair laws, that exist today.

the very naming of the VAWA act makes a point that men are NOT covererd, violence against WOMEN act. it gives the impression that only women suffer. when it affects men too.

men are acting out, read this and others you will see men are getting angry, not in the hysterical way, but the slow burn the building of it. each topic that demonises men, and fathers, adds a little fuel, until one day men will create a movement (its already begun in small stages). to redress this imbalance. of course then they will most likely be arrested for violence towards women, and thereby create martyrs.

4:07 AM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

First let me say how much I enjoy this blog. I like the topics Dr. Helen puts up, and I enjoy and benefit from much of the discussion. SO MUCH more than the name calling and histrionics on places like the Drudge report and the Huffington blog.

But more on task, I was fussing at m daughter this morning for lying, saying that it was wrong and how it damages intimacy. Then I recalled the "managing" posts and talked about how trying to "manage" people by lying to them will anger and eventually chase off healthy people who are worth being close to.

The opposite is worth stating too. Good marriages and close relationships in general are the result of being genuine, honest, and kind. That is why my marriage is a gift from God, my wife and I protect it by being real and kind. Anytime she has tried to "manage" me she has been totally upfront about it. "I am baking you a cake because I think I can use it sweeten you up for taking care of hte kids while I go scrapbook." Honestly, she does not need to bake the cake, but something about the transparency of the "managing" is cute and effective. Maybe because it is free from guile.

So the bolg helped me to be a better father! Thanks everybody!


9:45 AM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Trey,

Thanks for sharing your story--blog comments can degenerate into negativity in a flash so it is nice to hear something positive!

11:18 AM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Speaking of something positive, anonymous 5:40 has to be the sweetest, most hope-giving post I've read in a long time. With the wit, wisdom, and gentle humor she shows there (also seen in Trey's 9:45 comment), there may be a future for humans after all.

12:35 PM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To tmink:

I think that your wife is assuming that you would detect any covert attempt by her to "manipulate" you and that your response would be costly to her, if only in the long run. Her response is to try to arrange a mutually beneficial deal. Most men that I know operate very well in this type of environment. Most economists seem to assume that this is how the world works and how it SHOULD work.

(Note to Helen: most of the time, it doesn't have anything to do with sex. It has to do with INCENTIVES. However, over evolutionary time, sex is what matters the most and our emotional biases were developed over evolutionary time.)

However, a great deal of manipulative behavior by women of men seems to be based on the assumptions that the men (1) men will probably not detect the manipulation, (2) men probably will not respond to the manipulation and (3) if men do respond to the manipulation, women can respond with even more painful manipulation, including involving social and legal sanctions (i.e., complaints of abuse, restraining orders and divorce).

I think that most 20-something men, particularly those who have attended a liberal arts college with a women's wtudies department, have come to EXPECT this sort of mistreatment by women. This expectation is being interpreted as hatred of women and is why these men are so "reluctant to commit". One way to avoid punishment is to do what the punisher wants, but another way is to interact with the punisher only when necessary.

1:04 PM, April 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Females in the United States are not women. Females in the US behave like men, think like men, fact, they are men. I dont find it attractive at all.

Females anywhere else outside of the US are women. Real women. They know how to treat men. Once US men have experienced asian or latin women, they would not want anything else. More and more single men look for women outside of the US.

8:34 AM, April 22, 2006  
Blogger zed said...

I think that most 20-something men, particularly those who have attended a liberal arts college with a women's wtudies department, have come to EXPECT this sort of mistreatment by women. This expectation is being interpreted as hatred of women and is why these men are so "reluctant to commit". One way to avoid punishment is to do what the punisher wants, but another way is to interact with the punisher only when necessary.

It is far from just young men. I'm in my middle 50s and have watched in horror as the cult of victimhood has seeped into the mentality of virtually every woman I've had to interact with. Dealing with women has, indeed, become punishing and unpleasant as the default position.

I could give thousands of personal examples, but then I would just be dismissed as an "angry male". Instead, I think the mentality shown in Helen's post titled The Duke Case Continues summrizes it perfectly - " Hall said he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted "whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past."

This revenge mentality insures a perpetual cycle of shifting power and punishment of otherwise innocent people who made the mistake of being born in the wrong group. It is the ultimate "-ism" which the critical theorists use to define their own existence, even as they are the primary perpetrators of it today.

Far from the mythical "Backlash" waved about like a vodoo fetish by the victimists, the unceasing attacks on men are resulting in the great "Back OFF." Like any organism, even supposedly "unintelligent" single-celled ones, men tend to move away from situations they find toxic to them - and dealing with contemporary western women certainly qualifies as toxic when men are being punished for nothing that they personally have done, but for having characteristics in common with a group about which a complex mythology of the commission of atrocities has been constructed.

The anger which men are expressing toward women will not go away. So far it has been shouted down, attacked into silence, and dismissed by shaming tactics. As bobh said, some men avoid the punishment by doing whatever the punisher wants. However, over time even that has failed as a strategy and the punishment has simply become part of the environment. Thus, the next step is to simply avoid the punishers whenever possible.

More and more men are simply going their own way, and leaving women to wallow in their victimhood alone.

12:15 PM, April 23, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for your thoughts and insight.

12:45 PM, April 23, 2006  
Blogger zed said...

And, thanks for your even-handed approach to what are some very explosive and divisive issues.

3:46 PM, April 23, 2006  
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