[Note: this is specifically about today's women in the modern, developed world, especially the West, not womankind from the beginning of recorded history or from all over the world.]
One of the most accepted premises of our society is that women are more mature on average than men. It’s so accepted that it’s hardly ever questioned, either by men or women. Look at TV commercials or sitcoms, where the guy is often a childish buffoon or oaf and the woman is the long-suffering, patient, and more mature partner who must act almost like a mother to the man’s child. If you watch talk shows, news programs, and stand-up comedy, also, pandering to the idea of female maturity and pointing out the ways in which men are immature is an easy way to get ratings, audience approval, and a cheap laugh.
This wasn’t always the case, however. For example, think back to shows like I Love Lucy, where the roles were reversed and the male Ricky Ricardo had to act like a surrogate parent and deal with his female spouse’s immature, buffoonish ways, and clean up the messes her immaturity would cause. Such a show wouldn’t be allowed to exist today, but at one point in Western society it was the norm to assume that the average man was more mature than the average female, and this belief was often reflected in the popular culture of past eras. However, if a show nowadays ever tried to return to that dynamic, it wouldn’t go well. Not only would women likely be outraged, but so would modern men. At the very least, the immature woman would have to be treated within the show as an acknowledged exception or anomaly, to ensure to the viewers of the show that the creators know most women are not immature, whereas with the immature men depicted on television, there isn’t as much concern with assuring the viewer that the oafs on the screen are not meant to represent the typical male.
There is a ebook called The Great Female Con by Andey Randead that I have recommended as essential reading in my Recommended Reading Section, have been emphasizing lately on my Facebook fan page, and mentioned in recent blog posts. One topic the book discusses is whether the average woman is indeed more mature than the average men. Randead makes the case that while they are savvier and more socially sophisticated, they aren’t actually more mature (emphasis is from original text):
I tried to understand why females seem less mature and more selfish than men. First, I looked at specifics to see that they actually are. Did you ever watch a group of grown women at a strip show? It’s like a group of teenagers. You’d think they’d never seen a penis in their lives. They laugh, they scream, they grab, and they suck. Unbelievable. I always used to think that this was because women were not used to this luxury of seeing male strippers, and since it was a novelty, they were goofier about how they responded to it.
Men, on the other hand, have been doing that for years. They are much more civil and reserved. They basically just sit and watch. No teenage antics, usually. So I figured that once the novelty wore off, females would eventually act similarly to the males. Well, guess what? It’s been many years since the advent of male strippers, and females are still as goofy and immature as ever. Even though most have seen more dick ends than weekends, they still react in an immature, childish way towards it. Is it because they’re embarrassed? The way they grab at the guy’s cock would suggest not. Is it because it’s a novelty? They’ve been doing it for thirty years now. Is it because they haven’t seen many before? Fat chance.
Although this is one silly example of women’s immaturity, I believe it is an indicator of one of my theories. There is no question that women mature faster than men both physically and mentally. However, I believe they only mature to a certain point. Men, although slower, mature to a higher level. This is why women can do and say much more to men than men can do or say to women. Men are mature enough to deal with it and let it slide. Women aren’t.
As a man, if I were to make any comment that was even in the slightest bit derogatory, disrespectful, or degrading towards women, every woman in the room would jump up and protest, yet women can say the exact same thing about men and guys just let it slide. So much so that women don’t even realize when they’ve made a comment that is really sexist towards men. That’s not training or tolerance on the men’s part; that’s a higher level of maturity at play…
Women are like maple trees, men like oak trees. The maples grow fast, but only to a certain point. The oak takes time, but grows to a higher level of maturity.
This point about how easy it is for women to say stereotypical or sexist things about men with men just taking the high road and not making a big deal about it is very true. For example, when Lorena Bobbitt made the news for cutting off her husband’s penis, plenty of talk show hosts, both male and female, made lots of jokes about it. And female entertainers especially made jokes where they portrayed Bobbitt in a positive light. Some women even joked they were going to “pull a Lorena Bobbitt” if they ever caught a man cheating on them. Now imagine if a man, because his woman cheated on him, disfigured her genitalia in any way, and then talk shows and comedians of either gender tried to make light out of it? Would the average woman be able to laugh it off?
Let’s look at a recent controversy that occurred on the show The Talk, a blatant ripoff of The View, when a news story was discussed involving a woman who cut off her husband’s penis and threw it in the garbage disposal and shredded it because he filed for divorce. One of the hosts, Sharon Osbourne, proclaimed among other things that it was “quite fabulous” and “hysterical”. She even added that she still lights candles by Lorena Bobbitt’s picture and “loves her.” Meanwhile the female audience laughed uproariously.
Imagine if a national broadast show hosted by men with an audience of men did that about the abuse of a woman who filed for divorce? First, I highly doubt it would ever happen, but even if it did, I doubt the audience reaction would be so enthusiastic and overwhelmingly positive. And you can bet the man would be fired.
Thanks to men’s advocacy, more men are waking up to these double standards, so something happened to Sharon Osbourne that never would have happened even a decade ago: men organized and protested. They did so until the show was forced to address it and apologize. What do you think of the sincerity of the apology however?
Picture if a man, after doing something so offensive toward women, snickered when trying to later apologize for it. Would he still be allowed to keep his job the way Sharon Osbourne did?
There are plenty of other examples of double standards that show how women are actually less mature than men. Who is more likely to throw a tantrum and make a public scene in a couple, a man or a woman? It’s anecdotal,sure, but in my experience, both as a participant and as an observer to others, it’s more often the woman. Randead touches on this too:
I have made many enemies over the years because I refuse to be made to feel uncomfortable when a personal situation between a couple arises. Invariably the female will make a scene, disregarding that anyone else with them is becoming uncomfortable while witnessing this. They will cry, yell, and talk about personal things, right in public and in front of whoever happens to be there at the time.
Stop and think about this. That alone proves a level of immaturity, selfishness, and lack of respect. If a man were to act this way in public, he would be outcast from society. No one would ever want to be around him again. He would be classified as a loser, a wife-abuser, and an asshole. Yet women do it all the time, and it’s tolerated.
Take Chris Rock’s point he made in a standup routine once: “Don’t argue! You cannot win, you cannot beat a woman in an argument. It’s impossible. You will not win. Cause men, we are handicapped when it comes to arguing cause we have a need to make sense” But why is it that women on average are so much more logic-impaired and prone to emotion during arguments than men? Again, because they’re less mature.
In the next installment, I’m going to discuss two reasons why I think men uncritically accept the idea of women being more mature than men.
The Great Female Con is an ebook I read years ago, and it, along with Anatomy of Female Power which I think it’s on par with, challenged a lot of my views on the world. Even if you don’t agree with everything it says, it definitely makes some great points that are very thought-provoking. It’s one of those books where after you read it, it’s very hard to “unread” it and ever look at the world the same ever again. I’ve been re-emphasizing this book lately because I plan to write several articles discussing its theories, as well as interview the author Andey Randead about the book. You can buy it here, and I highly recommend you do so.
UPDATE: Since the author of this book has agreed to do an interview with me, and this post has already generated such controversy, I encourage people to comment and leave questions for the author that you would like answered, whether negative or positive. I will include them in my questions. Thanks.
UPDATE 2: I left this comment below, and I think it adds a lot of nuance that wasn’t originally in the post, so I’m adding it to the main body of the post, even though it makes the post a little longer than I originally wanted it to be:
I am not saying that women are INCAPABLE of immaturity, or that EVERY man is more mature than every woman. (Not that you’re accusing me of saying this, but I point this out in case someone else is planning to take that route)
However, I think on average it’s a point that needs to be considered. Society contemplates the inferior maturity of the average man all the time, in commercials, nonfiction books, media articles, etc., but the moment an article suggests the reverse is in for a storm of controversy.
As a result, I think a lot of average guys end up internalizing without questioning it this idea that they’re automatically less mature than women, and it starts affecting all their adult relationships.
I also think this knee-jerk response against such considerations is a big reason why so many men become over the top misogynistic. They start off at one extreme, believing one myth for so long, and when they keep getting burned by this Pollyanna belief, the hurt causes them to overcompensate in the opposite direction, feel like society “lied” to them, and they become misogynists thinking all women are bad and man can do no wrong.
I think if society was as willing to talk about gender issues more evenhandedly in both directions, and consider things like whether the average woman is less mature than the average man as easily as it considers vice versa, less men would become raging misogynists down the road, because they’d develop more realistic and less idealized views of women, become less hurt and betrayed when women don’t live up to these idealized views, and less likely to switch to the opposite extreme after being burned a few times by the average woman.
Women in general are far more aware of the dark side of the average man than vice versa. For example, look at the advice a woman receives about men from the time she’s a child, both from her mother AND her father: “All men are just out for one thing.” “Make sure a guy does x,y, or z for you before you consider making him your boyfriend,” “He’s just not that into you if he doesn’t do a, b, or c,” “Never let yourself be left alone with a man you don’t know,” and so on and so on. Take the reverse, what is the advice the average man receives about a woman? How often are men every educated about the dark side of the average woman, either by his father or his mother? Usually instead he’s trained to idealize women and find better ways to audition for them. This also leads to men having lower standards for female behavior and demanding less from women, which I think contributes to the immaturity.