THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

04: Relationships cont’d

with 5 comments

DeAngelo’s claim that “men and women are different in many ways and that they usually respond differently to various types of communication” almost suggests that men and women are different species altogether. It is precisely this analogy that is extended and mobilized by our second perpetrator of the masculinity conspiracy in this chapter, John Gray, in his book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. As the title suggests, Gray’s books is based on the metaphor that men are Martians and women Venusians: different species from different planets.

In Gray’s story, Martian men spied Venusian women through their powerful telescopes from their home planet, quickly fell in love from a distance, invented space travel in order to reach the Venusians, and arrived among them where they were welcomed with open arms. At first, the Martians and Venusians knew they were literally different species, and consequently spent a lot of time getting to know one another and learning one another’s language and customs and, as a result, got on famously. Then the Martians and Venusians decided to travel together to Earth, where they soon forgot that they were from different planets and therefore profoundly different, and that’s when Gray tells us all our problems started.

Gray suggests that life back on Mars was something of a paradise for men, as they only did things which came naturally to them, and which explain the natural tendencies of men on Earth today. On Mars, men had jobs where they could demonstrate their competence both through actions and the way they dressed, such as being “police officers, soldiers, businessmen, scientists, cab drivers, technicians and chefs.” On Mars, men were concerned with “outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and racing cars.” On Mars, “men fantasize about powerful cars, faster computers, gadgets, gizmos, and new more powerful technology.”

However, over on Venus (populated by lovely women), Gray suggests, “everyone studies psychology and has a master’s degree in counseling. They are very involved in personal growth, spirituality, and everything that can nurture life, healing, and growth.” Such concerns are even reflected in the built environment, as Venus is “covered with parks, organic gardens, shopping centers, and restaurants.” While Venusians and Martians were fundamentally different, Gray tells us that differences attract and that “in a magical and perfect way their differences seemed to complement one another.” These, it seems, were halcyon days when Martians and Venusians knew who they were and each did things a certain way (halcyon days in which men and women know who they are and do things a certain way).

Back on Earth, this Martian heritage remains and means that men speak and behave in certain ways. For example, when a man gets stressed, Gray tells us he retreats into his “cave.” So, when a man returns home from a hard day at work, rather than talking about his issues (which is perfectly natural for Venusians), men retreat into their metaphorical cave of silence and/or watching television. Gray says it is a fundamental error for women to follow men into the cave in the hope of trying to tease them out: men need to be allowed to emerge in their own time. Similarly, men must learn that women need to articulate their feelings in comparable moments of stress and to listen to these feelings without acting on the compulsive need to offer solutions (a distinctly Martian character trait, we are told).

CONTINUES >>>

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Written by Joseph Gelfer

December 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Grey completely abandons any premise of “natural=right” with his ridiculous interplanetary genesis myth. It’s just raw rhetoric. I can’t believe how popular this crap was! (Is?). Perhaps it’s a useful roadmap of the conspiracy, but it’s no geological excavation!

    Anonymous

    July 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

    • What I find paradoxical is that many people know it is crap but nevertheless are compelled to fall in line with it.

      Joseph

      July 11, 2013 at 10:34 am

      • It’s insiduous because it does a decent job of giving you the rules of the conspiracy game, told in the form of a bedtime story, it’s like a delicious blue pill cupcake.

        Anonymous

        July 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

  2. When I read Gray’s book I was almost convinced I was really a man. I love my cave.

    prairienymph

    February 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

    • Yes, the cave exits, but it belongs to us all 🙂

      Joseph

      February 15, 2012 at 8:21 am


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