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I am woman, hear me ask for help

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 in Advice, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Men, Relationships, Self image, Women

I was in line at the supermarket when a 30-something woman talking on her cellphone wheeled up behind me; I could hear everything she was saying. She was talking about a breakup, or at least it had all the hallmarks of a specific kind of breakup — she was guessing, second-guessing, making excuses, sounding hopeful and teary-eyed all at once.

It was a “He’s Just Not That Into You” Moment if I ever heard one. And a uniquely gal moment.    

I tried to focus my attention on the magazines at the checkout stand, but those were even more depressing — Cosmo wants to boost my confidence and clue me in on guys’ top sex secrets, O magazine wants to tell me how to try my true calling and how to be beautiful.

I know women can’t be the only ones who have self-doubts, but I don’t think guys obsess about it as much as we do — nor do they have such of barrage of messages coming from all sorts of media. I mean, would a guy ever pick up a book like “Why She Disappeared?” Yet, we have “Why He Disappeared” (written by Evan Marc Katz, whom I admire. Hey, I’ll take relationship advice from a guy over a woman any day!).

Are women innately more insecure than men are? Or, do we seek self-awareness more than men do?

Not to say that men don’t look at themselves and their relationships critically; I’m sure they do. And there’s advice for men out there, too, otherwise you wouldn’t see the thriving PUA movement.

It’s just that most of the self-help and relationship books are geared toward women and we’re scooping them up are like crazy. Would all those “Mars and Venus” books and seminars be around if it weren’t for women? Would Oprah and Dr. Phil be who they are without women? Not a chance!

I don’t think it’s because we’re insecure; I think it’s because women blame ourselves when things go wrong and look to others to help us, while guys try to fix things themselves.

So how can we, uh, fix this? (No, I’m not asking for your advice!) I think we need to teach our daughters to be less other-directed, stop blaming ourselves and give them the knowledge to figure things out for themselves first before looking for help. And we need to teach our sons that there’s nothing unmanly about asking others for help and to create safe places for them to express their emotional vulnerabilities.

OK, now I am asking for your advice:

  • Why do women blame themselves so much?
  • Why would men rather go it alone than ask for help?


Bring on the comments

  1. briansays says:

    i wouldn’t say insecure
    but women are more social than men
    the need to share, interact, get feedback
    may appear insecure but just another/different way to process
    primal in a way
    we are still the hunter the provider
    define our worth and status as such
    often solitary
    then retreating to our man cave

  2. amy says:

    I am the QUEEN of self-help. In particular, self-help about love and relationships (I suspect if your survey asked specifically “do you read self-help books on relationships?” it would be much less 50/50). I could do a dissertation based on all the “research” i’ve done, and in fact have considered writing my own book–because what I’m looking for isn’t quite out there yet.

    Anyway, I’ve come across some ideas, several times, that would answer your questions–and basically substantiate exactly what brian says so succinctly above. The gist is that relating and relationships are women’s “job.” So we become experts at adapting ourselves so that things work.
    As Alison Armstrong says, “women survive by adapting” (transcript of a good interview here:

    This would logically lead to a stronger tendency toward self-improvement….

    much more to say about this, but gotta get kids to bed…thanks for bringing this up in such a cogent way!

  3. Kat Wilder says:

    Are #women more #insecure than #men? We buy more #self help #books

  4. Kat Wilder says:

    Brian — That’s true; it is primal. That’s what women did when we gathered and the men hunted. I don’t mind being self-aware and reflective, but good Lord — there’s a limit!

    Amy — Well, we gotta be the queen of something! 😉 Have you heard of Beth Lisick’s “Helping Me Help Myself”? You might want to check it out.