October 4, 1990

Confessions of a Male Chauvinist Pig

Woman was God's second mistake.

Friedrich Nietzsche(1844-1900)

In much the same way as cats and dogs are traditional enemies, so are men and women. This doesn't mean that they can't be friends --they can, as many a good marriage has proved. I have also seen cats and dogs sleeping together and coexisting happily in one family. In spite of this, the tradition of enmity between men and women is a long and revered one. Further, it shows no sign of weakening and the rivalry is, if anything, stronger than ever.

I came to this conclusion , that men and women are natural enemies, while sitting in a railroad station. As the young woman next to me lit up her cigarette I was, at first, angry that she would dare to befoul the air that I had to breathe. Then I thought, soon she will go from an occasional cigarette to a pack a day, then two packs, then chain smoking and thence to an early grave. By the time she died she would be a coughing, spitting, emaciated caricature of a woman --no great loss. And while the foolish decrepit ones were dying off, the lovely intelligent ones would be available to the older intelligent man. Hah! score one for our side!

It was then that I realized that I consider women as adversaries. This, despite the fact that my best friend, my wife, is a woman. Of course this is not incompatible: couldn't a baseball player on one team have as his best friend a baseball player on a rival team?

Further, I believe that my wife feels the same way. She makes sure to take an occasional evening with two of her female friends. Although she assures me to the contrary, I suspect that they conspire against the enemy --men. Yet, I have no doubt of her love and friendship. The fact that she is a cat who lives with a dog (or pig, if you wish) does not make her less desirous of the company of other cats.

As I sat in the railroad station, I looked back upon my childhood. For as far back as I could remember girls were, if not the enemy, at least the opposing team. When the girls won the spelling contest, as they invariably did, it was "Nya, Nya, Nya the girls beat the boys!" And when, on occasion, the boys won, the teacher (female, of course) would reprimand us if we taunted the girls.

The whole system was designed to keep boys and girls as adversaries. It was divide and conquer --teachers, parents and the rest of society in a conspiracy to keep young males and females apart.

And when that inevitable time came when the mating urge occupied our interest, almost to the exclusion of everything else, the rivalry between males and females was sublimated in favor of the planting of seeds of rivalry among us nascent men for the favors of the fairest. While we foolish males were demolishing one another, the females enjoyed the rivalry and stood on the side lines cheering. They would then deign to bestow their favors, such as they choose to bestow, on whomever they chose --victor or looser be damned.

So the individual male searched among the sea of women for one who would not be an enemy, and the females did likewise. The result was usually marriage and propagation --which is probably what the system had in mind all along. Maybe it was a good idea, because when very young males and females get together, they produce more young males and females before they have acquired the wherewithal to care for them.

I am very sympathetic to the woman's struggle for equality. It offends my sense of justice to have a women paid less than a man for the same work. Yet, too often, the struggle is reduced to little more than an exacerbation of the traditional rivalries. When woman's suffrage became the law of the land, for many it was justice and equity triumphing; for others it was merely "Hooray for our side!" I have seen the same thing in the present day woman's movement; some want genuine equality and some merely want to beat the boys team.

To those who really want equality, I am an ally --to the others, I guess that I'm still THE ENEMY.

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