Much has been said about male
anger. Male guilt, too, is well documented. But in my
experience, the one thing most women fear more than
anything else, is male grief.
Women are not eager to hear about the grief many
thousands of men feel over Vietnam. Better to call it
fancy names and air it on TV, where it can become the
subject of tomorrow's lunch-time conversation with
the "girls," rather than confronting it in
the lives of the men they say they love.
Nor do women want to hear about the grief they cause.
Every time a woman complains about the "male
fear of commitment," she's adding to the grief
felt by those who would commit to her.
In Manhood Redux, C.H. Freedman
writes of the "ultimate discrimination" in
his chapter entitled "Arlington Cemetery: The
Ultimate Male- Chauvinist Preserve." There, he
relates men's horror stories of war, comparing them
to women's "horror stories" of sexism.
Essentially a comparison of male grief to female
anger, he demonstrates well how much more value our
society assigns to female anger.
For the indignity of being called "little
girl," he notes, many courts "are wont to
assume" it's "worth perhaps $50,000 in
compensation." (Manhood Redux,
C.H. Freedman, p 135) But how much, he asks, was it
worth for frightened young draftees in Vietnam to be
told they were going to be used as bait?
How much is it worth to be told your life is worth
less than a can of worms or a dozen frozen bait
herring? How much, to hear members of the opposite
sex tell you your healthy sexual desires are bad
because you're a heterosexual male? How much, to
suffer hundreds of rejections by members of the
During the past 25 years, these have contributed to
the grief men commonly feel: rejection, denigration,
callous dismissal. How much are they worth?
Few women want to hear about this because then they'd
have to confront that, contrary to the popular
pop-feminist message that men deserve to be treated
like inhuman, rapacious beasts, we bleed, we hurt,
often women make us cry, and we die.
We hear how women can manipulate men by crying
because men fear female emotionality. But the truth
is, most women fear men's tears far more. Where men
will jump to protect women from what makes them cry,
women run away from the tears of men: "Only a
secure man is appealing." (Why Men Are
The Way They Are, Berkley edition/September
1988, Warren Farrell, Ph.D., p xxiii)
Most men quickly learn most women are turned off by
their tears, so they suppress the emotions that make
them cry. Sadly, no one can be truly intimate with
someone for whom they must never cry. Hence, in the
process of becoming the "tough guys" women
indicate by their choices they want, men erect
emotional barriers that, ultimately, prevent the
intimacy women say they want. Barriers to hide their
grief from the emotionally castrating American women.