Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dr. Fleming continues his series on jerks.

Jerks: Cases of Arrested Development

From his comment:

It is not just that Jerks are predominantly male but that jerkitude is a quintessentially male quality that grows out of our nature, when that nature fails to ripen into manhood. Many “great men” are jerks–conquerors like Napoleon, statesmen like Churchill, novelists like Hemingway, self-important surgeons and scientists. Women by contrast, even stunted women, are born to care about other people, because they are designed to be wives and mothers. One of the teenage girl’s most annoying qualities is their affection for melodrama, but they do not simply make themselves the stars of their ongoing soap opera; they let others share the limelight. The way they carry on over a sick friend or a girlfriend who has been jilted! And Lord help us if someone they met once somewhere has died in a car accident. I was talking with a friend of mine not long ago about the awful tragedy songs of the 50′s and 60′s–”Teen Angel,” “Tell Laura I Love Her, “Honey,” “Patches,” “Last Kiss.” My stomach is curdling as I write the titles. Most of you are too young to remember these–but you can get them off Youtube–but the one thing my friend and I distinctly recalled is that no guy could ever stand them. (“The Leader of the Pack” was unintentionally amusing, though.) And we loved the parody, “I want my baby back.”

What is the feminine equivalent of the Jerk? I think we all know the answer and it rhymes with witch. But while the Jerk is an otherwise normal male who has not grown up enough to acknowledge other people’s existence–at least not consistently–the b–ch is a terrible deformation of the female character. The act is part domineering mother but, and this is significant, partly an imitation of what women perceive to be male behavior. It is a common complaint in offices that when women do what men do routinely, they get known as b–ches. This is only partly true, because this sort of woman goes way over the top in her aggressive and exploitative behavior, but the element of truth doesn’t make them any more tolerable. The sassy, self-assertive, scheming female–Scarlet O’Horror as Jones calls his boss in A Confederacy of Dunces–does things a man would get punched out for. I don’t want to dwell on this, because it is too easy for men, who are responsible for the way the world is, to point the finger at their victims.

The Thinking Housewife, Male Authority Revisited
Alte, The Patriarch
Oz Conservative, A leftist woman responds

No comments: