Boy Bashing: Learning To Watch Our Words | Darling Magazine

We’ve all been there…sitting with a group of women (likely snacking on Godiva and sipping our favorite wine), bashing a guy who couldn’t commit, a boyfriend who broke up with your best friend, a husband who isn’t “pulling his weight,” or the male species in general. But what does this really accomplish? Not only is this destructive gossip futile in soothing our wounds, but it also has the potential to perpetuate the issues we struggle with in our relationships. Thus, we are wise as women to reflect on the way we speak about men and the impact we may actually be having and the damage we may be causing. Here are the reasons why…

The Problem Goes Unsolved
While it is easy to cope with our pain by criticizing the people who hurt us, it does not serve us as individuals or in our relationships with others. We cannot change the other person or heal ourselves by raking others over the coals. What this contempt does do is lock in resentment in our own hearts, making the pain a heavier burden to carry. Ruminating over the wrongs of others only nurtures bitterness in our hearts.

We Must Be the Change
A prominent topic of conversation among Americans in the most recent election was women’s rights and the truth is that regardless of one’s political party, women have been fighting for respect and the right to be heard for a long time. However we miss an opportunity to be heard when we use our voice to tear men down. Stepping on others is no way to climb to the top. Most of us are familiar with Ghandi’s famous words, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” We must demand respect for ourselves by treating others how we would want to be treated.

We Have the Opportunity to Empower
I was recently browsing in a local bookstore and came across a book discussing “the fatherless generation.” We are in a culture where broken families are all too common. While there are many factors that may contribute to this, we have a responsibility as women to build up the men in our lives in a way that empowers them to fully embrace being a man of integrity in whatever roles they play in life. It is when we are able to relinquish control and believe in the men in our lives that true partnership exists.

We Miss the Opportunity to Grow
When we are busy blaming others for our pain, not only is it futile, but we miss the opportunity to grow in ways that will actually make a difference. Rather when we take responsibility for our pain, we are able to seek healing at the root and act out of the truth about ourselves, rather than react to the painful feelings, setting us up for success in all of our relationships.

No matter what your relationship status might be, it is important that we take a moment to consider the message we are directly or indirectly sending when we engage in contemptuous talk about men. Doing so we fail to solve problems productively, we are poor examples of how we wish to be treated and we miss an opportunity to empower men to ultimately succeed. So the next time you find yourself chatting with a group of girlfriends or spending time with the men in your lives, look for opportunities to be positive and encouraging with your words. You may be surprised by what you find.

Image via Wild Flower Wind

6 comments

  1. Thank you for all of your input! I agree that we MUST distinguish between “problem solving” and “resentful contempt.” It is ALWAYS important to discern whether a relationship is emotionally, physically, and mentally safe to engage in and these issues should never be glossed over or ignored. This too is a harmful reaction to our emotional pain. However, I do think that women often make a habit of making unfair and critical broad judgements on men in ways that can be harmful to us as women as well as the men in our lives.

    1. I am sorry, the idea that we must ‘relinquish control’ and ’empower men’ has left me astounded – and not in a good way. I hear men talk about women as if they are sexual objects constantly. I, like almost all women, have experience sexual harassment, whether it is in the form of cat-calling, groping in a club, or something worse. I do not believe in pandering to a man’s ego or nurturing him into wanting to respect me. Do not think, if you treat me badly as a man, I will keep your shameful secrets. I will not be told I cannot talk about my resentment at being misused. Boy bashing happens when men misuse, mistreat, and when they underestimate a woman. If you don’t want boy bashing to happen, do not treat me badly. It is really that simple. This is another article encouraging women to take responsibility for the actions of men. Well I refuse.

      1. Hi Sophie, thank you for your input. I’m sorry that this article felt like an excuse for men’s bad behavior. As the author, I can tell you that I in no way condone cat calling or the objectification of women in ANY way. Bad behavior needs to be called out in both men and women. Demeaning or objectifying women is in acceptable regardless of the circumstances. As a Marriage and Family Therapist and as a young woman myself, I firmly believe this. However, I still don’t believe that making generalized statements about all men in the form of what I call “boy-bashing”, assuming that all men are the same and talking with our girlfriends about how all men are bad is the answer. If a man, does something that needs to be called out, by all means call out THAT man. But I don’t think boy bashing is an effective means of seeing the change we women want and need to see.

        I want to see a generation of strong women. This means being valuing ourselves and sticking up for ourselves when others do not. I’m just not convinced that viewing the entire male gender as “bad” or “evil” demonstrates a position of strength.

  2. I agree with most everything you write here. However, I think there is an important distinction to make. There can be two types of “negative talk”–analysis & problem solving vs. bitter recriminations. When a man behaves sinfully it is healthy to recognize this and try to problem solve without glossing over his sins. While this may seem “negative” it is healthy and important for us to do. If history is any indication we have a longstanding tendency (read Mary Astell for example) to deceive ourselves about our significant other’s faults.

  3. I am passionate about this topic and it is not a very popular one. Thank you for putting it out there! Women have an incredible God-given gift to influence men. This can be a heavy burden at times, but it presents us with an opportunity to be a major blessing to the guys in our life. 🙂 Good stuff.

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