I read an article in Grazia this week that made me mad.
It was written by an anonymous male journalist, who was claiming that being cheated on is basically much harder for a man than a woman. He was empathising with the recently wronged Robert Pattinson. “Believe me,” he said, “it’s so much worse when a woman cheats on a man.”
Of course it is.
Just like it’s always worse when a man gets a cold?
(Did you detect my oh-so-subtle sarcasm?)
He goes on about how much harder it is for men to be cheated on, because it leads them to doubt themselves and their sexual prowess and makes them wonder what they were lacking as a man that made their partner stray. “When women have their hearts broken,” he whines on, “they get endless counselling sessions from friends until they feel better.”
Seriously, does it get much more patronising than that?
Firstly, anonymous male journalist, I would like to point out that just because we don’t have penises, doesn’t mean we are immune to worrying about our sexual performance. Newsflash for you – women occasionally experience self-doubt! Gasp! We also like to think outside the bedroom too, so our trampled self-esteem will affect lots of other areas of our lives as well. (This is similar to multi-tasking. It’s that thing women do when they think about more than one thing at once*.)
Also, this sweeping statement about women finding comfort in their friends makes several very basic and not always correct assumptions. It assumes that all women have friends that they feel comfortable confiding in, and it assumes we want to bang on and on to them about our problems. Neither of these are necessarily true. Heartbreak is often a very personal and private thing, and although men may have this image of women gathering in packs, necking Chardonnay, proclaiming all men to be bastards and immediately ‘feeling better’, it’s simply not true.
The fact is that being deceived by someone you love and trust is gutting, whether you’re a man or a woman, 18 or 80. Just because women might be more inclined to vent their emotions with friends sometimes, doesn’t mean the pain cuts any less deep.
If anonymous male journalist is still wondering what it is that he lacks as a man, perhaps he should focus less on the contents of his trousers, and more on his understanding on how women think and feel.
*Said in an anonymous male writer style patronising tone