Friday, December 2, 2011

Why gays make perfect parents (but lesbians don't)!

Boys apparently need fathers to show them what it really means to be a man. I'm quite sure I had a mother, in exact terms I have two; although one is absent that clearly does not remove a father's label so it shouldn't hers. But can someone please explain to me what it really means to be a woman? I think I have a better idea of what it means to be a man, in fact, which I find an itsy bitsy bit amusing. Maybe our fathers are supposed to educate us on that matter too? Since they're all-knowing on the subject of manliness, they should reversely know what is womanliness, since it's all about polarization and stuff. No pressure, boys. It's not manly to get nervous, or have insecurities, or fail. Even women know to teach their sons that.

21 comments:

Riklurt said...

It has been postulated that the "absent father" problem is a bigger problem than the "absent mother" because it's so much easier to come by "surrogate" mothers at a young age in our society. A kid with only one parent will likely go to preschool; in preschool, there are plenty of caring adults who can serve as role models... but most of them are female.

This tendency continues - there are more female child psychologists, more female school curators, more female nurses - basically everyone who takes care of a kid professionally in some sense is female. Because of this, it's very very hard to find a male role model if you don't conveniently happen to have one in your home.

Yeonni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yeonni said...

A role model isn't someone who just hangs around in your life, usually it takes someone who takes an interest, who has some similarities with yourself, someone you respect and look up to. To have a bunch of women who have all chosen a nurturing profession is about as giving in the place of a mother as a canary bird is for a friend - it might soothe the pain a little, and for some it will be more giving than others.

I'm tempted to say this theory is pure bullshit, but it might give us one thing: a realization of that you need to include both men and women in the raising of a child, and encourage gender equality among the occupations that handle children and teenagers. If nothing else it would promote a slightly more diverse group of people, wherein a child might find at least one that's desirable, whatever gender that one has. Ideally, everyone, the society as a whole, will be involved in child raising, from championship boxers to Wall Street traders, but that's a fairy fantasy.

I have grown up with a mother and surrounded by women, both inside and outside my family. Of course it's done something with me subconsciously, but consciously I cannot say that any one of them strikes me as my "role model" or someone who has taught me anything about being a woman (no offense to them, they're all good people).

The problem of absent fathers is possibly another issue born from our strict gender roles; a single mother is under social, economical and emotional stress more than one that can share her duties and burdens with another person (just like a single father), and have less time for her child. To then add the fact that she has been raised to only know the "female" side of things, instead of a full range, that means she has to deal with a lot of things society has not equipped her for, and society says; "well fuck that, we don't have male caretakers that can help you, cuz male caretakers are GAY".

If that theory was actually something taken seriously, shouldn't we only adopt to single fathers and not single mothers, considering their relative capacity to raise their children well? Only to gays and not to lesbians?

Riklurt said...

Role models are not something that you have to understand consciously, though. A lot of imitative behavior is done completely unconsciously, so to the point that we may not even notice it. I don't know if the hypothesis has been tested or to what extent, but I'd say it's very hard to say anything about its validity because it's a swampy issue.

The term "role model" is kind of loose - we often think of it as an explicit, "I wanna be like that guy"-sort of mindset, but it need not be. Children often imitate behavior pretty blindly, particularly at a young age.

The theory would obviously imply that we should actively attempt to surround children by more men, simply to compensate for the lack of grown-man-to-child interaction, if it is correct.

Yeonni said...

If the mimicking is completely subconscious, then it becomes an issue when your instinct tells you that there's nobody around that fits to mimic, or? That must be the only way, because you consciously thinking (or being told) you have a penis and therefore are like dad would not count as subconscious mimicking. In those cases you pick a target, or have a target picked for you. But if this is the case, also, then that means when there's no one around for you to mimic that fits, you pick the next best. In my case, I didn't have any Asians in my immediate surroundings, so I picked Caucasians to mimic. If you extend it like this, there's a hell lot of things that would hurt you the same way as living with same-sex parents without others of the other sex around. Many "functional" sons of single mothers have many of their mother's traits; they've mimicked her in the cases where their genes haven't steered them, which means those who don't find their mother suitable are as likely to find another woman suitable as another man - I think they keywords are presence and connection, rather than sex, also for the subconscious mimicking.

The only exception is the knowledge of gender-specific things, since a man would probably sense that he cannot learn how to "be a man among other men" only by watching a woman; this is imo where society needs to adjust the attitude because with equality and open minds, there will be greater lenience for what is "right" in such situations - we would teach our sons and daughters how to "be a human among other humans" instead.

Yeonni said...

I realized something. Equality is actually not desirable for those who like the standards they are in; because it means less diversity, in a sense, than to have strict roles. If there was no European culture, or Asian culture, or African culture, only *culture*, there would be less problems, but people would perceive it as less diversity, wouldn't they?

Perhaps I should just give up on it all. If people are happy, me being unhappy and resentful shouldn't ruin it for them.

Riklurt said...

I don't at all understand what the second comment means - the two concepts are entirely disconnected in my mind. Yes, cultures shape us, and yes, to some degree gender unconsciously shapes us, but as long as people don't condemn other people for choosing to break against what they've learned, shouldn't that be fine? Tolerance for differences is the goal, not the elimination of differences, in my mind at least.

As for the first comment: It might be worth pointing out that gender identity doesn't happen in a vacuum. It might not even be a naturally occurring phenomenon at all. It's just that our society wants people to pick a gender - preferably the one matching their biological sex - so that the absent-father problem lies not so much in the fact that we absolutely need to learn to be men, but that society tells us to "Be a man"; only in the absent-father case, "man" causes a nullPointerException because the kid in question doesn't really know what it means. But if nobody raised the question, there wouldn't be a nullPointerException because the concept "man" isn't really necessary to build a human.

Does that make sense?

Riklurt said...

I've been thinking about the second comment a little and I think I understand what you mean more, now. People who think pluralism is good for the sake of pluralism are silly; there's no inherent value in Swedish-ness or Japanese-ness, perhaps that is what you're objecting to?

Having spent so much time reading about Evangelical Christians, I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction of "you're wrong" whenever someone opposes pluralism simply because, in 95% of the cases people oppose pluralism because "Everyone ought to be like me".

Yeonni said...

I think you managed to get what I was getting at; that if people stopped shoving "be a man" at kids and just taught them "be sensible" or something, you could avoid that nullPointerException.

The second thing is more complicated. People don't seem to want "diversity" they want "easily recognizable categories". They want Japan-ness and Swednish-ness, not person-ness, just like they want Christianity and Buddhism, not personal religions. Individual cultures or religions make things complicated and fuzzy; it forces away generalizations and brings around many unknown scary things. And so then, I feel like I'm not entitled to be a person-ness person and have a personal religion if this instills unrest and discomfort in everyone's perfectly ordered world bubble. Or rather, I'm not sure I could stop being one, but I'm tired of being a cause of unrest and would rather hide out in the forest somewhere.

Riklurt said...

On the first issue: We are agreed, then.

On the second issue: People do want to sort the world. Do you really feel that people get so upset by something they can't easily sort, though? That's not my experience, but then, I don't usually talk to people about that deep personal stuff very early on. If someone asks me if I believe in God, I say "yes" because that answer sort of correlates with what I believe. Still... you wouldn't think people would be that weirded out by the notion that each individual is unique. We're sort of taught that from a young age after all, so it should come as no surprise that all individuals, being unique, can't be described with a small amount of words. Finite, perhaps, but not small.

Yeonni said...

Not upset as in "how dare you be different", but rather... rattled? I don't like conflict; I like problems, perhaps, but not confrontations about those problems, and I get very very tired from being a walking confrontation requiring explanation and motivation. I hate being asked "do you believe in God", because without explanation any answer I would give would carry so many connotations that they would classify as false; "yes", in my case, would be as untrue as "no" or "maybe", and I hate lying, especially when it makes people assume false things about me. In fact, unless the person in question has thought about it a lot, they'll need extensive explanation, not just explanation. And I blame this on convention and labels and simple categories that we teach our children without the necessary context; such as genders.

I know perfectly well that it's not about me and it's just the way the world is bla bla bla. Really, that comment up there is just about that I'm tired. I'm tired of feeling like I'm questioned in every single thought I have, whether I really am or not, and I'm tired of the world - again, as it is, and I'm tired of discussing this because it makes me want to shoot people in the head. All of them; the ones that understand and the ones that don't. And most of all I'm tired of that I always somehow reach that point, no matter what subject.

Riklurt said...

I am stuck doubting myself now, because my answer to your question is simply "But that's just how the world works", and I'm not sure that's a valid point. I've just sort of... always assumed that everyone lies about themselves.

It's like I haven't even considered the possibility that you could not lie about yourself in that sense. I mean, I do it every day: Most of my thoughts and emotions are too complex to be perfectly summarized in just one word, usually it takes several sentences or more, so I've just sort of accepted that we use inaccurate clumsy language to sum it up as "I am sad today".

Kristin said...

A little late to arrive in this conversation, that seems to be more or less over. But I can't help myself, so here it goes...

First of all, Da-Ryun, I find your comment on "a bunch of women who have all chosen a nurturing profession" outright insulting. Your comment implies that women who choose to be a teacher are all alike, and then rule out the possibility that any of them could ever have made a good role model for you.

It is much more likely that you simply never in your childhood came across a woman who you felt connected to. Why this is the case is hard to say. There is the element of chance.

But to be honest I often get the feeling that you despise "women". And I really don't understand what you mean when you say that you can't come to terms with the fact that you are a woman (or something). To me, you've always seemed a lot better at it than myself.

The more I think about it the more certain I become that the source of your misery isn't what conventions society throws in your face, it's your own self criticism and over analysis of everything you are and do. Which I believe is the case or most people.

And when it comes to being misunderstood and mislabeled when you answer a question... Well, why do you even speak to people. Every concept is going to mean different things to different people. We are all stuck in our own consciousness and there's no getting away from that. Every concept has a different meaning to every person, because we draw from our experiences. And in most cases where people actually ask "Do you believe in God?" (at least in Sweden) they are not looking for the short answer.

And if I don't want to get into a discussion, I ALWAYS lie. Which, incidentally, is why Anton can be so infuriating to talk to, cause he always asks "Why?" no matter what you say...

This comment is so incoherent

Riklurt said...

Best. Final sentence. Ever.

Yeonni said...

If I dared I'm not sure I would talk to other people, but I am somehow convinced that I would miss out on something rather undefined but incomprehensibly important if I didn't. If I wasn't infused with such a sense of that I would miss out on something I have no idea what it is, I would be perfectly content interacting with the world only by reading books and watching television, and publishing my own books and just let chance decide who reads them. Never have a conversation ever again. Just my single mind is so beautifully complex I could spend my life studying it and nature, this inflation of thoughts and opinions and presence of others is honestly terrifying and overwhelming.

The generalization of "women in nurturing professions" is horrible. That's the point of it. Saying that is the same as saying "men". I tried to make a point that gender is as little a argument for "role model" or "substitute" as choice of profession is.

Obviously there is something I despise in myself, and whatever that is it's infecting my opinion of women. The lack of a fitting role model might be one of the reasons, and that is nothing but pure chance, that is also what I'm trying to say. That all this talk about "must have a male role model" or whatever is bullshit because in the end, it's just luck if you find the right individual at the right time.

Being "good at being a woman" is the result of overcompensation I think; I have no instinctive idea of what I'm supposed to do, only the strong impression of that whatever I'm doing is WRONG, so I study very carefully what others do, surgically pick out the parts I figure critical, and mimic them to the absolute best of my ability. If I need to be this thing called woman, I'm going to be a damned good one. It produces the illusion of confidence, which is very effective, but puts pressure on me being "good" and leaves me feeling like an empty shell not knowing how to fill myself. In the end I'm relatively at peace with that, actually, I just get exhausted from time to time.

My outburst is about exactly what you say, Kristin; since the problem is me, do I have the right of criticizing others? Is anything I think or say actually at all relevant, or just the result of my own issues? But accepting that would mean saying I'm a walking pod of misery with no right to opinions, which seems a little harsh and reeks of self-pity (which is worse than self-despise imo). Often I doubt if I have the prerogative to dump my shit outside the pod. I have no answer to that, and neither does anyone else.

And I know everyone lies. I hate it. I fucking crap-balls-monkey-cow-brain hate it. Why say anything at all? It makes no sense. (And I know it makes fucking sense, connecting to the tribe, making noises to confirm peaceful intent, bla bla, that's what bloody infuriates me even more...) I want to be efficient and stuff. I'm working on accepting it, okay? :P I'm just slow with that.

Thanks for the comment though, it helped me clean up my thoughts and clarify them better for you guys.

Yeonni said...

Also I've said before, please please please don't use my name, I'd remove your comment except it ruins this whole discussion.

Kristin said...

Ah, but uttering a very definitive "No." is usually a lot more efficient than not saying anything at all. Even if you disregard the whole aspect of people being confused/insulted by your refusal to acknowledge that you heard them, it would take people a while to figure out you're actually not going to answer.

Yeonni said...

I have no idea what you just said?

Riklurt said...

I wonder what it would be like to always be elaborate with your thoughts, instead of brief? I wonder what would happen if someone asked me "Do you believe in God" and my answer was the 16-page essay it requires in my head?

It's rather a moot question, since I would never really dare to speak to anyone new about it. Still, though.

Yeonni said...

Time obviously puts restrictions, unfortunately. Or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I tend to feel it's a shame however. Shit's so fascinating.

ShadoWolf said...

Woah, how could I miss this discussion? Very interesting indeed ;) A bit late to drop a comment myself though but it was a fascinating read. Gave me much to ponder ^^