I have a problem with the assertion that all men cheat and my reasons will become apparent shortly.
I do feel like I’ve been writing a lot for the boys lately (see “What Solange taught me about Domestic Violence”) but I just can’t shake off the need to speak on the labels that have been placed on men.My contention with such labels is that they are nothing more than sweeping generalisations often made by women who have had their hearts broken and can’t see past the man who did them wrong and so the next step is to paint all men with the same brush.The men who did them wrong are the dogs not the entire male species. Another reason behind my distress is that I absolutely loathe when men make sweeping generalisations of women because one woman broke their heart, however I will deal with that in another article. For now I will focus on our tendency to equate masculinity with infidelity.
I went to dinner with a few ladies last week and naturally the topic of men came up (yes we speak about men) and the conversation was rather enlightening because of the various opinions that were being thrown around.I found it extremely ironic that despite my single parent background my views on men were far more positive than the ladies whose parents were still together. I left there quite perplexed but at the same time I was determined to conduct more research in this area. I actually forgot to research (I lead this very busy life you see) but was reminded of the topic a few days ago when a girlfriend of mine came over for a girls night in.
She asked me “Cristine do you think all men cheat?” “Are all men dogs?”
I replied rather confidently and without hesitation, “No I don’t think all men cheat. No not all men are dogs.”
Please do not confuse my optimism for naivety.I understood then and I understand now the gravity of my statement and I do not mind reiterating it again.I just don’t think all men cheat and by extension I don’t think all men are dogs. I definitely think it is unfair to speak of infidelity as if it were synonymous with masculinity; moreover it’s not nice to diminish man to an animal.
Firstly, if I was to accept that all men cheat that I am being defeatist. By accommodating society’s view that all men cheat , I am demonstrating expectation of failure and this isn’t an attitude that I want to take into any new relationship.
Secondly, there are no general rules when categorizing people. People just can’t be pigeon-holed on the basis of gender hence the reason why you find females who are serial cheaters. I think we should stop propagating infidelity as if it were a male disease because females are capable of cheating as well.The fact that we don’t hear “all women cheat” deserves some consideration. The answer can be traced back to our understanding of gender roles i.e. our perception of masculinity and femininity. Men are pictured as these animalistic predators who are so influenced by their urges to the point where they lose all their sensibilities until that urge is satisfied. It is far easier to classify men as cheaters because of the way they are perceived. Women on the other hand are seen as dainty, coy and harmless beings and so are less suited to life as a cheater because of society’s understanding of womanhood. This tendency to categorise genders is wrong especially when the stereotype is so harsh and quite frankly undeserving.
Thirdly, fidelity is a choice and men are capable of making that choice in the very same way women are capable of making that choice. There are men who choose to remain faithful to their partners not because the sexual attraction to other women isn’t there but because they have made a decision to act on their sexual impulses with the woman they have chosen.
Lastly, I don’t think we understand the ramifications behind the statement “all men cheat” because if we did we would start adopting the opposing view which is “all men are faithful”. Stating that all men cheat reinforces stereotypes and creates wedges between the sexes. The stereotype itself probably creates unhealthy sexual relationships which exacerbates the problem further. Stating “all men cheat” presents cheating as normal and faithfulness to your spouse as abnormal when in fact faithfulness to your spouse should be the standard and cheating should be deemed unhealthy and wrong. Women in relationships with cheaters will begin to perceive their relationships as healthy. Instead of these women to find ways out of their relationship or seek guidance from a professional, they will stay in those relationships simply because “all men cheat” and leaving an unfaithful relationship in pursuit of another unfaithful relationship will appear pointless to her. Stating “all men cheat” provides men with an easy and convenient excuse. When caught in the act, they can simply say “all men cheat” and be alleviated of all blame.
All men don’t cheat and I am sure of this fact. Some men cheat and some men probably deserve to be likened to that four legged creature but if you haven’t been with every single man that graces the earth then on what authority are you building your assertions on? However, I understand that pain and fear can colour our perceptions and past hurt is likely to turn women against men but like that expression advices “don’t be bitter, be better.”
I’m happy to live in this optimistic bubble that I have created because I strongly believe that not all men cheat. Neither do I buy into the “all men are dogs” story that the world is selling because quite frankly I’m too busy making my own stories. It is defeatist and unfair to the man who remain faithful.
Love Cris x
Memo to self: no more articles favouring men. lol.