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Just a Guy Saying Women Need Men

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Bruce Sallan: There was a popular feminist slogan in the early days of "the movement" that went something like, "A woman needs a man as much as a fish needs a bicycle."

women's legs on a pedestal

Thankfully, we have moved past the radical nature of early feminists' beliefs to a middle ground -- though you'd never know it if you looked at the courses and syllabuses in Women's Studies departments at colleges.

But most men and women -- especially moms and dads -- understand that equality doesn't mean we're the same. We all tend to agree that equal pay for equal work is the way it should be, but in other areas, our gender needs are just different. We are built differently, so get over it.

Men are slugs; women are emotional. Men watch sports; women like chick flicks. Men retreat to their caves; women want to talk about it. Men like to burp and fart; women like to do laundry. Shall I go on, or are you already screaming at your computer screen?

Part of this quirk of nature is that women DO need men, in spite of the feminist rants. We know men need women, if only for the civilizing, order and family they bring to us. (I'm not even mentioning the cooking and laundry.)  In fact, studies show that married men live longer than their single counterparts.

But women also need us. It's a fact. Sorry, Ms. College Professor, but it's true, no matter how many bras you burn. And bottom line: We need each other -- and what is wrong with that? But what do I know? After all, I'm just a guy.

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31 comments so far | Post a comment now
Bruce Sallan May 31, 2010, 5:35 PM

Black Iris - thanks for your thoughtful comments. Much appreciated rather than us belittling one another.

I’ll try and answer your question, “exactly how do women need men?” Again, I was and am making a generality, which means someone may be excluded and/or offended because it is a generality.

Of course some men or women don’t “need” anyone or someone of the opposite sex (I refuse to only use the PC word gender). But, I still assert MOST men and women do need someone and usually, “generally” it will be someone of the opposite sex.

Generally, our respective differences are built-in and there for a reason. If you believe in G*d, which I do, I believe he knew what he or she was doing. We compliment each other. On the surface, it’s simple things like the man may be stronger while the women may be more nurturing. AGAIN, there are exceptions to this generality.

Of course, these stereotypes are destained today, especially in “Gender Studies” programs in college, but that doesn’t stop them from “generally” being true.

I think these differences are what makes the world go ‘round. It’s what works best when “we” work best together. In my marriage, my wife encompasses the best of women, in my opinion, which in no way is saying she couldn’t be a fork-lift operator or otherwise take on tasks traditionally reserved for men. However, she likes being a woman. She likes me to open her door, take care of her (financially), even though she is and has been able to take care of herself and be independent (financially) for years.

I like her womanliness. I like what she’s brought to our house, to my boys, in the way of grace and manners which I, as a somewhat stereotypical man, have neglected during the many years I raised them alone.

This is the sort of thing I “need” from her. BTW, she hates doing the laundry but likes doing it better than I do. Plus, she does it better. I do other things around the house that suit me.

Even I am not the sexist stereotype some people are characterizing me as here, given that I write a blog about parenting - I write about emotions, feelings, and could care less about watching most sports, plus I know how to do the laundry and also know my way around a kitchen. But, at my core, I’m a man just as my wife is a woman - and we LOVE that about each other.

I wish everyone would realize, as some of the commenters have noted, that I do write in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and lighten up. Yipes, the “laundry” comment was meant to be funny about women, just as the disparaging “Men are slugs…Men watch sports…Men retreat to their caves, and Men like to burp and fart” lines in the blog are obvious disparaging stereotypes about men.

I think I may have now easily written more (I just checked and it’s now MUCH more) in these comments than the entire original blog. And, I hope to get a lengthier comment posted tomorrow with some links and sources to satisfy some who require them in what otherwise was meant as a “general” light-hearted (and I mean hearted) blog.

Dillon May 31, 2010, 6:29 PM

Hahahaha, I agree with everything michelle (and a lot of other people here) said. And this blog post is just insulting to both men and women.

“Men are slugs; women are emotional.”
Hey, did you know that male infants are actually more emotional than female infants? It’s societal BS from people like you that conditions boys to “retreat to their caves”.

And to reiterate what other people said:
-You’ve yet to say why women need men in your post or comment.
-Nobody likes doing laundry.
-Yes, men and women are built differently; who’s arguing against that besides your imaginary ranting bra-burning feminist college professor?
-Even if we were to take your statement as fact “men need women, women need men,” what’s your point and why are you belittling feminists for it (since, you know, feminists are for gender equality, are against gender stereotypes that effect both men and women, and are not anti-men)?

Or maybe your point was that men need women, and women need men, and men need men, and women need women; that, you know, human beings are social creatures and need companionship, romantic and otherwise. But if you had just said that, you wouldn’t have been able to have write about gender stereotypes, and wouldn’t have had any opportunity to feel superior to crazy imaginary feminists.

Dave Taylor May 31, 2010, 8:55 PM

Bruce, I can appreciate what you’re saying here and I agree, to some extent. The difference is that I suggest that “want” and “prefer” are better than “need” and “must” in terms of this discussion. My experience with friends of both genders who themselves prefer same or the opposite gender is that people are, as the song goes, people.

Having said that, in the big picture, yes, there are roles that generally coincide with gender: men are more aggressive and stronger, while women are more gentle and nurturing. Do I know men who aren’t like that, and women who aren’t too? Yes. But overall, I find it’s a good place to start with understanding people.

And I’m with you too: as a single dad, I know that there are things I’m giving - and modeling - to my children that their mom doesn’t offer, and vice versa. To me, that’s perfectly normal and natural.

But then again, I’m a {{burp}} {{scratch}} guy… :-)

Shamim Khaliq June 1, 2010, 6:21 AM

i think when you took issue with feminism and described culture-specific gender roles, you realised this might ruffle a few feathers. which shouldn’t distract from your other point that we function better in close relationships with other people where we balance each-other out.

feminism and culture-specific gender roles: it’s easy to criticize but hard to do, the moral of one of aesop’s fables, so i hold no ill feeling towards any active movement that is trying to effect change. personally, i’m of the opinion that current equal opportunities politics reflect inequality in society which would be better redressed by sorting out the inequality directly. we should offer child-care and funded part-time courses so mothers can have careers. compensate both parents financially for missed income from spending time with your child, e.g. sports days, and legislate that both parents can take time off work to do this. as a secondary school science teacher, i found making science more “girl-friendly” increased the number of boys that liked science and did well in it. but i miss old-school boy-friendly science which was abstract and theoretical and i was good at which seems to have been removed from the syllabus. increase the choices available to everyone and mums like me could study a post-grad part-time, and dads like my husband could take time off work to be with his son during his son’s half-term holidays.

we function better in close relationships: much has been made of need v/s want, the fact that your gender stereotypes do not describe individuals. with regards to parenting, a larger rather than a smaller network of secure attachments for a child seems to protect from mental ill-health in the primary carer. children with close relationships with both parents and extended family develop better socially and emotionally; it does appear one parent’s permissiveness can balance out the other’s authoritarianism. with regards to developing mental illness, social isolation is almost a prerequisite. so yes, no matter how irritating and different other people can be ;-), we need each-other very much :-)

Michelle June 1, 2010, 8:06 PM

I agree with the general premise of his article. I do love sports esp baseball and a large percentage of women in my city love baseball although not football. Too violent
and who likes to do laundry but it has to be done.

David June 5, 2010, 8:14 AM

(I think I inadvertently hit send before I had finished my comment. I will reconstruct my remarks, and post them correctly.) Bruce, you have written this as a humorous observation, right? If this is in any way intended to be taken seriously, it is remarkably simple-minded. It is a relic out of about 1972 that would have come from someone who, as it would have been expressed, was “against women’s lib.” There is a gratuitious smear or two at college professors who ostensibly think women don’t need men — find me one, show me a coll. prof. who says, “Women don’t need men.” This is irresponsible public communication … “burning bras,” are you kidding me? This is 2010, not 1971. If this was in any way meant to be a thoughtful reflection on issues concerning men and women, I’m stunned and appalled.

David June 5, 2010, 4:11 PM

I re-read this blog post just now, clicking on the links, also. What initiated this whole topic of “does x need y”? I had thought maybe some high-profile news story had come out reporting that so-and-so claimed that some group needed or didn’t need another. But to my knowledge, this post was just sort of thrown out there as — in the words of another person commenting — a straw man argument. What does “need” mean in this context … and how IS is different from “want”? It makes sense to me that some women don’t need (whatever that means) men in their lives and some men don’t need women in their lives, perhaps only for specific periods of time; but what is so untenable or unappealing about that concept in the first place? And I’m still waiting to be shown a college professor in 2010 who is saying as a blanket, unmodified statement that women don’t need men.

Anonymous June 5, 2010, 9:59 PM

dumbest thing i have ever heard.

Mark June 16, 2010, 5:26 AM


NedNoD July 25, 2010, 11:53 PM

What about Lesbians? Last time I checked they didn’t need men…

Leah August 21, 2010, 5:44 AM

Feminists never actually burned bras. That was a fabrication to cause a media stir.

Women’s studies today have definitely turned towards turning what we think of as “women’s issues” into community issues. This involves including men, yes, by changing the perceptions of our gender’s problems as beneath larger community notice.

Your perpetuation of gender stereotypes is nothing less than backward. Female or not, I do not enjoy doing the laundry and I know many men who find burping and farting to be crude.

Your post also completely disregards queer women. Gender debates always seem to, though. The queer and transgendered communities should be factored into debates such as these, if only to provide a less tiring and overdone perspective.

Thank you for ignoring the struggles of women to achieve equality since the 1800s and even earlier in order to lash out at a group of feminists that is far from being the norm in their views. It is much appreciated and your views are so very refreshing and informed.

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