August 21, 2016

The Gender Gap: Narcissism

Narcissus by Caravaggio
Everybody misses the main point Ovid intended: Don't be obsessed with your physical appearance.

First in a series as GSL helps close the Gender Gap.

One of GSL's great joys is helping the many fine women in his life get ahead or deal with adversity. I like being the first person they turn to when spirits are in need of uplift or triumphs celebrated. A couple months back during a National Guard fitness test, I was designated as one of the graders entrusted to accurately count standard meeting push-ups, sit-ups, and 2 mile run. GSL is a strict grader so everybody looking for favorable treatment gets in the line with their buddy holding the clipboard who will "hook them up" with an inflated score.  Everybody that got in GSL's line was female. They know they won't get a free ride but they like how Crafty Old Pro GSL shares the tricks of the trade such as how to grab a legal breather during push-ups and sit-ups enabling an additional 4 or 5 reps and guidance on how to pace the 2 mile run. With GSL holding stopwatch calling out splits and encouragement, they never quit. The 3 decades younger females love getting a GSL fistbump when they achieve their best ever score earned by giving their all.

Grandpa Cooper, Great-Grandma Long, and Grandma Cooper with Uncle D & Mum in front. The women up GSL's matrilineal line were strong, smart, independent, and accomplished. Their fine example is one GSL tries to follow and wishes to share.

No doubt you've recently come across an article referencing #ontrend Narcissus but they all miss the main point Ovid intended. The female obsession with beauty and their physical appearance is a big reason women have underperformed in many fields compared to men. Men don't admire men for being handsome, Women too often admire women just for being beautiful. Men hearing a negative comment about his physicality deals with it far better than women. You almost never hear a man complaining about someone chiding him about his weight, baldness, height, etc. The Sticks & Stones Nursery Couplet serves men well. Thank goodness GSL's mum & Grandma taught him that invaluable life skill as a wee lad. Talk is cheap so don't be offended or too flattered by it. The Den loves cheering on strong, highly competent women who excel in male dominated fields although we are often disappointed at the lack of female support we feel their impressive achievements deserve.

Is this what a Double Standard Bearer looks like? No, but you must admit had a man said what Ms Steinem said on Bill Maher, he would have been tarred & feathered

GSL prefers this Heavyweight Public Intellectual. She'll go toe-to-toe with anybody.
I suspect if she had Playboy Bunny tenure, more women would read her. No woman, and very few men, understand men
better than Camille Paglia..
Highly recommend her Sexual Personae which I devoured when it first came out.

The Den featured Barbara Tuchman in one of our first posts. You'd think a woman who won 2 Pulitzers after only writing her first book at age 50 would be a prominent inspiration to middle aged women. Do you think Instagram Feminists would be more admiring if she looked like Joan Didion and slept with JFK rather than writing the book that convinced him to exercise greater caution during the Cuban Missile Crisis?
I'll bet at least 10 times more men have read her books than women.

Another fabulous writer The Den has promoted is Hillary Mantel. I can make the following claims with near certainty.
Far more men read her than women. If she was a size 4 and looked like Sharon Stone, her female readership would more than triple and her male readership would remain virtually unchanged.


  1. WelL, Hay!

    Are you not transfixed yourself by the pearly sheen of skin and satin shine? Those are always the long-ago artists I wonder about most, for the mixing and digging and concentration and sheer mastery of the brush to get those colours and textures to the eye---oh, my. And the ingenious metaphor with the circle of arms holding him fast in an ego-grasp he'll never break.

    So good to know you're back---just ain't no tellin' where you'll be off to next, or what you'll get up to.

    I have an endless admiration and fondness for strong women, as well---mine of good old hill-country and Mississippi Delta raisin's, with all the dirt and mud and mosquitoes in the mix of ordinary things to rise above. Lots of proud-strong women as forebears, and I'm so glad to be able to remember and treasure several dozen of them. Nobody was rich, nobody was famous (does just a tee-ninecy bit notorious count?), but they were all good, hard-working, sensible, funny, smart women who took the time and place they lived in and made it not only their own, but welcoming and easier for all of us young-'uns to take our own places in the line.

    God Bless all those wonderful old G.R.I.T.S. Girls lining the branches of my Tree.


    1. The strength & keen intelligence of those Old Hill Country G.R.I.T.S. always comes shining through in the beautiful power of your Delta-Gaelic prose darling Rachel. They are up there in Heaven packing a Divine picnic basket of fried chicken, potato salad, & peach cobbler and will spend an Old Oak Tree afternoon proudly marveling at the wonders you reflect back on them.
      I predict the not-so-famous aspect will not carry on to the next generation after an eager publisher darkens your door.