Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Well, not really, but Sociologist Michael S. Kimmel spoke to Castleton students last week about the many differences, yet similarities, between men and women.
Kimmel is a professor at SUNY at Stony Brook as well as the national spokesman for Men against Sexism. The lecture began with a reference to John Grays’ best-selling self help book in World History, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Kimmel added that it is possible to be trained to be a “Mars/Venus” therapist in two days.
“[To be trained] you go out to the therapist headquarters in Northern California.yeah, where else?” Kimmel said, jokingly jabbing at the eccentric state.
According to Kimmel, women and men are far more similar then different, even politically. He also said he believes that sometimes men and women want there to be a vast amount of differences, but in reality, there aren’t.
Surveys of 3,000 American women was conducted centering on questions about men. They did this survey first in 1970 and then again in 2007.
In 1970, two-thirds of the women surveyed said men are basically kind and considerate. In 2007, only 44 percent said that.
In 1970, 44 percent said all a man wants to do after a date is go to bed. In 2007, that percentage rose to 71 percent. The belief that men are only interested in careers, and not family, rose from 39 percent in 1970 to 56 percent in 2007.
“I don’t think this suggests that men are doing even more wrong, I think that with the dramatic change for women since 1970, women expect more now,” Kimmel said in response to the previous facts.
He went on to explain the four main changes for women including making gender visual, women in the workplace, having it all, and sexuality. Regarding gender visual, he said women were becoming better represented and they made it clear that gender is a “basic fundamental bedrock” of who you are, he said.
Having it all, he said, is the idea that women want to have it all but can’t, because men do. Men have the career, and the loving family to come home to. Women have the “second shift” of cleaning and taking care of the kids.
Sexuality was perhaps the biggest change for women. Women today are entitled to feel pleasure, he said. The words ‘Rates of Masturbation’ fluttered out of his mouth and the whole room went completely silent.
“This is like, the dead silent time. Oh, my, god,” said Kimmel, “I teach a sex-education class and we can talk about the most bizarre sexual thing that only like, two people do, but masturbation? No, don’t go there.”
He said that masturbation was such an important part of the sexual revolution and it was, for women, the idea that ‘I’m so entitled to pleasure, I’ll do it myself.’
He explained that although what it means to be a woman has changed with the time, what it means to be a man has not changed.
A psychologist came up with the “Four Basic Rules of Manhood.” The first idea was no sissy stuff. Nothing that was remotely feminine should be done by a man. The second idea was be a big wheel.
“This refers to the size of your (pause) — paycheck,” Kimmel said, messing with the audience, “Oh, I know what you were all thinking.”
He made the point that privilege is invisible to those who have it. This was in reference to the idea that woman notice privilege because they don’t have it, where as men don’t tend to notice it, making it “invisible” to them.
Kimmel said he doesn’t believe women and men will be equally privileged in a relationship until men do an equal amount of cleaning, cooking, and child care among many other things.
“I don’t believe in quality time, I believe in quantity time,” he said, making it clear that he doesn’t consider watching the same movie over and over again a good bonding exercise, but instead parents should be talking to their children.
He said that acting equal in a marriage is helpful in so many ways and the key to a successful marriage. If a man does more housework and childcare, kids, wives and men themselves are happier, healthier, and do better.
Kimmel said it didn’t surprise him that when an article in Men’s’ Health Magazine dealt with this idea, the front cover read “Housework makes Her Horny.”
It was a proven fact that when wives don’t have to do all the cleaning and childcare, the couple has more sex, said Kimmel.
He ended his speech with a quote from the first line of an article from the book entitled “Men who Supported feminism.”
“Feminism will make it possible for the first time for men to be free.