Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
– Katharina, the shrew from The Taming of same.
Hey, I didn’t say it; she did. Well, okay. She’s fictional. Actually, Shakespeare said it. Alright, well, he didn’t “say” it; he wrote it. And no, I don’t believe that women should be subservient to men, although I hereby give license to all my earthly enemies to try and make it look like I do.
A modern woman may read the above lines, see the words “thy lord… thy keeper,/Thy head, thy sovereign” without being able to see further, and consequently join the feminist cry of “Patriarchy!” However, it should be clear to the intelligent reader (whose sex shall remain anonymous) that the main portion of the above quote, indeed, of the entire monologue, deals with making the simple mental effort – one that appears to be beyond the scope of a great many modern women – to remember what men actually do when they’re not harassing, raping, or otherwise lording over their women.
I believe that one of the major contributing factors in modern-day social ills has to do with subdividing the community, something which I hope to delve into in later articles. Subdivision against one’s will, as in sending boys and girls to a school where they don’t want to be, sending Dad and Mom on long commutes miles away from the house, and continuing this process ad infinitum across the human community, means ultimately that we will all be certain to know each other a great deal less. The one we’re most surely to know the least is the taller, heavier, hairier, bass-resonant creature, trained in keeping his emotions to himself and communicating only when necessary. Suddenly, everything he does, all that “painful labour,” becomes ephemeral and unimportant, since it happens far away from the senses and thought processes of the beneficiaries.
This is, I believe, at least part of what led to a silly poll I saw at the gym on one of those women’s shows. I don’t know if it was “The View” or one of the others. (To me, they’re all “The View.”) Based on the poll I saw, I can tell you that “the view” is looking bleaker, if not stupider. The poll simply stated: “Do women need men?” 40% responded “Yes,” and a full 60% responded “No.”
It’s become so routine for me to hear cultural misandry and feminist-infused cultural doctrine that I was prepared to wave this off like so many shit-obsessed flies. Then something amazing happened on one of the other TV screens. The poll, it seems, was displayed on “The View” at the same time that an all-news station was reporting more than 100 earthquakes throughout Southern California the previous day. No major, stop-the-presses quakes. Apparently, these sorts of small quakes are quite normal in that part of the world, but so many in a 24-hour period was considered newsworthy. The televised report went on to mention that a great many water and gas lines were ruptured during the quake. That’s where the idiotic 60% need to be directed, I thought. Do women need men? Well, ladies, you do if you want your Southern Californian water and gas turned back on. Would you like to know why?
Because you never, ever, ever see women fixing the water and gas lines. When you do, it’s an anomaly. Anyone who dares shout “Patriarchy!” at this should be aware that Betty Friedan wasn’t looking out her suburban living room window pining to dig in the dirt with the construction boys. As far as water and gas lines are concerned, women have never had to be. All they have ever had to be, as Shakespeare pointed out centuries ago, is grateful.
60% of these “View”-watching, heavily subdivided layabouts have forgotten how to express any gratitude at all, apparently. That “60%” was displayed on a pixilated television screen that was conceived and designed by many men, from older television screens that were conceived and designed by men now deceased. The characters 6, 0, and % were chosen out of innumerable visual aids available on modern computers, all of which were conceived and designed by men. The raw materials requisite to make every single machine that displayed that “60%”; the rockets that propel the satellites into space; the satellite dishes; the cables that connect those dishes to those televisions; the electrical power to make the machines work; the cameras that recorded that women’s program; the lights that lit the set; the set; everything, everything, everything the women – enjoying the program from home or starring in it – participate in and gab about incessantly has something to do with some man somewhere first figuring it out, then standing “To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,/Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe”; yet that is as nothing to millions of unthinking participants.
A stupid, thoughtless, pointless poll like that can be easily displayed on one television screen while a report on an accompanying screen merely implies the fact – the undeniable fact – that it’s going to be “blue collar” boys out in the California heat making certain that water and gas are restored to the creatures who don’t need them. The men, I meant; not the water and gas. Hell, we need water and gas.
Much of my problem with the poll actually lies with using the word “need.” As I have pointed out elsewhere, all needs are based on desires. Therefore, whenever we use the word “need” we should make every effort to remember that somewhere, however loosely connected, we are implying some sort of desire. I would like to ask the poll-takers what the lack of desire is behind that lack of “need.”
Regardless, I would have to agree with the 60% and say, “No,” women don’t need men. But my interpretation of the question is undoubtedly too broad for the poll-takers, and too literal. You see, it all depends on what you want. What do women typically want from men? Let’s list the personal wants first:
Division of labor
If you’ve got yourself a man, new or used model, then you undoubtedly have some combination of the above. Subtract physical protection and financial resources, and the man will most likely have some combination of the remainder in his association with you. Well done, if that’s what you want, or if you want anything at all.
But there’s a community outside your front door. Your sense of it, due to its subdivided nature, may be muted, but it’s there, whether you want (need?) to think about it or not. Do you want (need?) to be able to walk out your front door not only feeling safe and secure, but also feeling engaged in your community to some extent? Then let’s expand the list further:
Physical protection within and without the community
Division of labor at the macro level
Paved, relatively flat surfaces for travel
Regular food supply
Access to and ability with various natural resources for furtherance of the above
If you’ve got yourself a herd of males, then you most definitely have some greater combination of the above than you apparently ever even bother to think about. If, of course, that’s what you wanted, way back when you said you didn’t need men.
Unless you’re a hermit. Are you a hermit? Then for all of the above in both lists, the answer is “No.” You, as a hermit, don’t need a man to _____. Enjoy your newfound freedom as a hermit (or is it “hermitess”?). In fact, here’s a list of things you’ll “need” in your life without men. For all those who would accuse me of misogyny, I hope that my affirmations below of women’s magnificent abilities will dispel those arguments:
- Women know how to make fire.
- Women know how to hunt.
- Women know how to fish.
- Women know how to skin dead animals.
- Women know how to make tools from rocks.
- Women know metallurgy.
- Women know carpentry.
- Women know how to pour concrete.
- Women know how to read.
- Women with natural leadership ability can help coordinate the other hermitesses to get all of the above done.
- If any individual woman does not know how to do one or more of the above, she can quickly learn, because she has a human brain.
If, ladies, that is how you wish to live, without men as any sort of necessity, then go to it. I myself have never hunted, am quickly bored with fishing, and skinning anything is beyond my ability to stomach. Furthermore, if I can’t light it with a match or a lighter, then that fire is going to remain unlit. Therefore, beyond my feeble abilities at a handful of the above, I am also quite lazy. I see that list and can think of not one single thing I want to do very much, and certainly not on a daily, do-or-die basis. I’m pretty sure that most female readers feel the same, unless there’s an avid hunter or fisher among them.
We could call up the hunter, e-mail the fisher, find a carpentress, get a book on pouring concrete, and start making lists, ladies. We could do it. But think about it: How many of you really, really want to? Furthermore, hunters and fishers eventually like to go back to the hunting cabin to turn on the electric light and play cards. It is in that precise moment that a little gratitude ought to be in order, or you can forget about cabins, electric lights, and printed playing cards.
Because, you see, this far after Betty Friedan’s righteous anger and the Second Wave, women aren’t flocking to the occupations required for the backbone of civilization to remain aligned and sturdy. Men fill these occupations, and only in part because it’s expected. I seriously doubt that many construction workers would really want to leave that work behind to crochet or knit. Construction work is not pleasant work, but there is the camaraderie, the paycheck, the chance to be outside on a nice day (or a horrible one), the opportunity to build and maintain muscle, the methodical and pleasing effect it can have on the thought process, etc. You also get to build something, which is cool.
This many decades after “NOW! My Body, My Choice! Take Back the Night! Slut Walk!” and the like, if a group of women actually built something straight from the raw materials all the way to the gables on the roof without a single man’s assistance, two things would happen: 1) We’d fail to acknowledge that what they accomplished was due not only to moxie, but to the information provided by men who had previously accomplished something similar; and 2) We’d have to have a big, big celebration that everyone who’s anyone would have to find out about and participate in; and which would eventually become a national holiday and a staple of Women’s Herstory Month. Otherwise, “Patriarchy!”
If civilization is what you want, then men are what you need. Nature is fun until you have to rely on nature for survival. If you do not wish to do that, and you’re the sort of woman who wants a high-powered job to feel fulfilled as a woman or a human being or whatever, all you will ever do is that which so much of the rest of humanity, including me, does: You will climb a set of stairs built on the backs of men. The only difference is that it is you, not I, who claims not to need them.
It is unconscionable for a woman to stand and proclaim “The End of Men” in a studio built by men, with cameras invented, maintained, and improved upon by men, connected to power sources that are kept running by men, all the while using a language hammered out and spun to dizzying heights by the thoughtful processes of countless male writers. It is equally dumb to flash a silly poll denigrating everything that makes knowledge of the poll results possible to millions, and expect us all to laugh heartily along.
Think about it: A worker for “The View” picks up a headset designed by a man, connected to a computer fixed by the IT guy, and sends a ring signal out of the building built by “blue collar” butt cracks, into the home or the very pocket of the poll voter. Throughout this process, one sex has most definitely been required to be not only present, but physically and mentally active to a high degree, in order for 60% to completely ignore that same sex, and we’re not talking about ignoring women.
Now for the bit that ought to sober any female reader. Let’s look at what men typically want (need?) from women on a personal basis:
Division of labor
Not too much different from what women usually want from men. But what will men require of women if they want community, or civilization itself? It’s an exhaustive list, but here we go:
Thank God you’re still wanted, ladies.
In spite of the fact that she’s female, it seems that every gay man alive wants Judy Garland. She belted out a torch song in “A Star is Born,” a song that, in my opinion, simply torches all other torch songs. Her soon-to-be mentor and suitor, Norman Maine, played by James Mason, walks into a dimly lit, low-ceilinged nightclub, where he watches Esther Blodgett (Garland), surrounded by male musicians moving rather seductively to the rhythm, in a highly sexually charged scene, singing a song about “The Man That Got Away.” It’s a fantastic film and an electric song. It was probably composed with Garland in mind. (Boy oh boy, is that how she sings it!) The movie mainly concerns the rise to stardom of Blodgett (who is turned into Vicki Lester by her brilliant husband), due only in part to her extraordinary talent as an entertainer. Mostly, it was due to Maine’s tireless efforts, in spite of his faded career, depression and alcoholism. The movie ends tragically, but there, to an expectant crowd of admirers in a theater, Vicki meekly steps up to the mike to tell it like it is:
“Hello, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine.”
With a single song and a single line, Judy says it all.