Sunday, September 18, 2011

Guinevere's Blog #4 Tannen/August

    Are you a marked woman?  Do you hate men?  While the two essays of August and Tannen were both about societies perceptions of gender, each author differed greatly in what they were saying and the way in which it was written.  I found the essay of Eugene August, "Real Men Don't" to be trite and almost offensive to the reader's sensibilities. He sounds as though he has experienced a great deal of name-calling and taunting as a young boy, and after growing up he has decided to lash back at all of his attackers.  He claims that "During the past thirty years, anti-male bias in English has been greatly fostered by misandry, hatred of men..." (August, pg.129).  I totally disagree, and his statement is poorly supported.  He goes on throughout the essay to use many examples of slandrous vocabulary, that he says is only used toward males. "Jerk, geek, chicken, weakling, fraidy cat", and so on, are some of his examples that have definately been put in use toward women as well.  He spends alot of  time explaining how men are every bit the target of abuse and violence as women, stating that "282,000 husbands who are battered annually" (O'Reilly,23, pg131). Well, this may be true, but since he does not compare the number of women ( I'm guessing this is because a significantly larger amount of women are in this sad situation), it really means nothing to the reader.  All in all, this essay sounds like the very needed therapeutic writing of a damaged human being, who has a huge chip on his shoulder about women and a dillusional perception of society in general being abusive toward men.
     The other essay,"There is No Unmarked Woman" by Deborah Tannen, was a comparative pleasure to read, and felt like fair assessments of  one person's observations regarding outer differences of men and women, and how this relates to the inner workings of our American culture.   She notes that "To say anything about women and men without marking oneself as either feminist or anti-feminist, male-basher or apologist for men seems as impossible for a woman as trying to get dressed in the morning without inviting interpretations of her character" (Tannen, pg.145).   This really says it all, as far as how tangled up and tongue-tied we have become, and I truly believe that if we would all step back for a moment and see that at the core of life there should be an innate and equal RESPECT for all beings,  we could begin to heal all of this human mess we have made over the centuries.

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