People always comment on the fact that men and women are so different. It’s true. Men and women are not only different in their physical makeup, but they are different on a physiological and psychological level as well. The needs of both genders are, to put it bluntly, entirely unaligned. For generations, the conversation has been proposed that men are too stupid and women are too complex. This may be true. But, I think that the 21st Century has added new factors to the issue that may be contributing to a deeper difficulty of seeing eye-to-eye.
Humans are largely influenced by society around them. We learn how to act and what is expected from what we see every day. In the last century, most of the social cues people learned were first hand. Children picked up how to treat their significant other from their parents or grandparents. There were little outside influences. That is to say that if you didn’t see it with your own eyes, in your own neighborhood, it probably didn’t have much of an affect on you.
With the increase in human’s accessibility to technology, that paradigm has shifted. People gain influences from a multitude of different places these days. I believe it is safe to say that due to this increase in information accessibility, the values and expectations for people have changed.
In modern times, two major contributing factors to the genders’ inability to be compatible are Disney movies and pornography. When we are young, we watch heartfelt stories of love and triumph, set to cartoons. These Disney movies cause a major rift in the mutual understanding between men and women. Throughout all of the “princess” movies, the strapping young lad braves life and limb to save his darling from sure destruction—Frozen, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, just to name a few.
These movies create an ideal in a young girl’s head. She believes that when she grows up, she will find a modern day prince; a man who is not only willing to die for her, but also willing to kill for her. This is a man who will walk to the end of the earth and jump over the edge if she asks him to. Unfortunately, most men are not up for getting stabbed in the gut with a saber, or riding hundreds of miles on horseback to help you out of a bind. It’s just the truth.
Not only do these movies make women think that men’s actions will consistently be valiant, they also insinuate that this man will be devastatingly handsome and look past any flaws the girl may have. It sets men up for failure and women up for heartbreak. They are fantasies for a reason. Yet there are still middle-aged women in an apartment with two cats waiting for their perfect prince to come sweep them off their feet.
This brings me to the concept of men’s expectations of women in the 21st Century. Pornography has been around since the late 1800s, if not earlier. Sex has always been a taboo subject in this country. Not only is it not talked about, but watching other people have it has always been frowned upon. America, which was founded by Puritans, has always had a very narrow view of sexuality and what is appropriate. Attaining pornography in the past meant that someone had to go out into the world, among people, to acquire it. Undoubtedly, if you asked your dad about sneaking looks at his friend’s father’s Playboy when he was young, he would guiltily confess.
Now, with the invention of the Internet, people are free to be pervs from the comfort of their own living rooms. Teenaged boys watch porn and expect all women to be as sexually adventurous as the porn star who has been with hundreds of partners. Some are, but with the vast majority this is not the case. Everyone enjoys sex. That is a fact. But most women enjoy it with a person they are committed to, or at least have some emotional interest in. They don’t expect to pass you in the grocery store, looking at the cucumbers, and suddenly be taken right there in the produce section. They want romance and passion, not a stick and poke among the kale and lettuce.
These two differing opinions of what love and sex are creates a disconnect of expectations between the genders. Women want a Prince Charming who will look upon no other maiden with loving eyes. Men want a porn star who is ready to get fucked at the drop of a hat, and this is simply not the case for either party. Both genders need to keep in mind the existence of fantasy, whether romantic or sexual. Until expectations are made more realistic, 20somethings will mostly likely struggle with the concept of a balanced relationship.
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