Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Everything I Know About Men and Women I Learned from Bloom County

men and women

I was thinking this morning about the differences between men and women. Of course, I mean SOME women and men, not ALL men and women. What is it they say... overall, there are more similarities within a group of women and men than there are in a group of just women or just men. 

Which is my way of saying that while it is fun to make generalizations, most people are much more complex than the stereotypes would have us believe.

Of course, I'm not talking about the obvious differences. I'm talking about romantic differences and differences in personality. Maybe just differences in thinking across the board. Specifically, this morning, I was thinking about how I'd eventually want to talk to the Babby about these things.

Is that something parents talk about? There are the drug talks and the s-e-x talks and the hygiene talks and other mortifying discussions. How about the brain talk?

Or I could just let the Babby's introduction to these concepts be similar to my own. I started reading my mom's Bloom County collections long before I understood any of the political humor or the s-e-x humor. What I did get, though, was that the characters were caricatures of personality types that could be found more or less in real life people. Steve Dallas, the trying-too-hard-to-be macho man. Bobbi Harlow, the smart beauty. Opus, who on one hand aspired to traditional maleness but ended up forging his own path.

So what did I learn about men and women in the pages of Bloom County? 

A quick list would have to include:
  • Most people, women and men both, are a little tough and a little sensitive. Flower hat, anyone? And both men and women are equally capable of amazing feats of both toughness and sensitivity. 
  • Many (not all) men are willing to absolutely demean themselves to impress a woman. Many (not all) women, meanwhile, won't notice that this is happening.
  • Super masculinity and super femininity are often facades people use to cover up what they're afraid of. 
  • A little fun gender-bending never hurt anyone. Bill the Cat as Annie, anyone? And a lot of gender bending doesn't really hurt anyone else. Hello, Milquetoast.  And especially Rosebud.
  • Men and women are good at bringing out each others' insecurities. So are men and men and women and women. 
  • Both men and women are equally full of anxieties. But many more men will have women in their anxiety closets than the other way around.
  • Women often have more freedom to push at the confines of societal gender in an everyday sense, but men receive more applause when they successfully push at the confines of societal gender roles. For a while, anyway, as Steve Dallas discovered after having his brain zapped by aliens.
That's what comes to mind now. Is any of this valuable? Probably not. But they're all things I want the Babby to figure out before she's, say, 30 or so. Sure, some of it might change - especially as people become less obsessed with what's in the pants and more interested in the person wearing them. As for most of it, though, I don't anticipate any of it changing any time soon!

(Of course, I am mostly kidding. Mostly.)

P.S. - How cool is this bike? Click to learn more:

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes


  1. I now really, really want to go back and study the cartoons I read in my childhood!

  2. You should! They've held up remarkably well :)

  3. I've never even read Bloom County. *crawls back into box*

    Also, that bike looks cool, but I'm really surprised that in this PC world, people aren't in an outrage over the lack of helmets :)

  4. You should! It can be a bit grownup, but is generally clean. More weird, and a bit political, but it's fun because it's all politics from the 80s so nothing to froth over now! :)

    And as for helmets, the weird thing is that my brain always interprets that picture with the lady's feet on the floor. Like they're not going anywhere. For me, wearing a helmet is like putting on a seatbelt - I feel weird if I start riding/driving without one. Unless I'm riding back roads in Florida because they're not really anyone around to hit me!

  5. I find nothing wrong with generalizations. In fact, I'm the queen of generalizations ;)


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