Girls dream of meeting superman their whole lives, yet walk past Clark Kent every day.
If social comments are to be believed, every single man in existence is a potential predator who has barely any control over his self-destructive bestial nature and every single woman is a soul crushing hell-spawn gold-digger. The results of these attitudes are a culture of men chanting the horrors of marriage and relationships and women shaming men on the horrors of masculinity and guys in general. And it’s easy to believe, as every man has a story about that woman who destroyed them and every woman has a story of a sociopathic guy. Get a bunch of women or men together, bring up the topic, and you will have hours upon hours of pissing contests as each one tries to one-upmanship the other’s horrors.
This conversations, so many times, is followed up with lamentations of “where have all the good women/men gone?”
Why do I bring this up? Because of an image I found online last week. It showed a sequence of pictures of a young man helping out a young woman. And that got me thinking. Almost every guy I know has at one point or another done something like this for a lady. Almost every guy I know has been helped at one point or another by a woman who’s extended their hand to help.
Maybe I have that experience because I surround myself with the right people… so I decided to post it on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The reaction was pretty much the same. My experience wasn’t exclusive to me. Apparently every woman has had those male acquaintances and every man has had those female acquaintances who proves the stereotypes wrong, why do we keep assuming that all men/women are the same, where the same being the lowest common denominator?
Because we have all become school teachers who are no longer interested in their class.
We have all lived through this, that teacher whose rule is that “all pay for that one person who messed up.” Guilt and punishment is socialized equally among a group because of that one asshole. This works in two ways. It basically serves to turn the group into the teacher’s executioners, as they band together to get even with that one person. It also serves to reinforce the idea that students need to constantly look out and condemn the negative behavior of others. There is no recognition or support from the group for positive behavior. Chastising becomes more important than helping.
It isn’t about promoting, or even recognizing, good actions. It’s about keeping bad action at bay by assuming that everyone is bad. This means that those who are genuinely bad people see nothing wrong with their behavior as they are brethren with the rest under a common stereotype. “We all do this. I am just honest enough to admit it” becomes their moto of life. If anything, this makes it harder to spot them.
On the flip side of the coin, the only good that ends up being recognized is that one exceptional person. The problem is that this one extraordinary person ends up being used as an example to shame the rest. “If he/she can do it, so can all of you” becomes a tool to punish the group. By then, everyone knows that being exceptional becomes a problem.
The funny thing is that good actions keep happening; we are just so cut up looking out for the bad ones that we miss the good. Those doing good have been taught to keep it low key as to avoid ridicule from the group. We are so expectant of someone trying to take advantage of each other that we keep missing the good people right in front of us. And when we do see the good, we are constantly expecting the “perfect” to come right around the corner.
For an instant, stop focusing on those who did you wrong, on those who made you lose faith in friends and relationships. Take a moment and think of ever every person who has been there for you, if only for an instant, even if they failed you later on. Think of how many times you took those actions for granted. Think of all the things you’ve done for others, regardless of whether they deserved it or not. Maybe if we, as a society, started focusing on the positive actions of each other and promoting the good amongst ourselves with the same ease we complain about the current state of affairs, we might end up exposing those who do wrong and promoting those who do right. Who knows, we might even help spread doing right as the right thing to do.