Male Answer Syndrome

0

Dear Artist,

“Male Answer Syndrome” (MAS) is the tendency among men to give answers to questions whether they know anything about the subject or not, particularly when in the presence of women. The idea was first written about by Jane Campbell in the “Utne Reader” in 1992. It seems that women tend to be more truthful and modest about their knowledge — or lack of it — than men, and are more likely to answer, “I don’t know.” Some men hardly ever venture those three little words.

Psychologists tell us it’s a form of “male display behavior” and is a subtle method of attracting females. It’s prevalent in pretty well all cultures and can result in significant abuse when inappropriately used from positions of power — politicians, generals, salesmen, priests, critics, etc.

Researchers also report that many females actively encourage Male Answer Syndrome. Thus we have “Female Question Syndrome” (FQS), coined by Bob Genn in 2010. During a recent speech, I had an opportunity to observe the phenomenon and watch myself in action. Women asked pretty well all the questions. They were mostly good ones like, “Do you pre-visualize, or do you make it up as you go along?” or, “Why Sap green?” Straightforward and useful, these questions didn’t leave much room for baloney. Questions of a more difficult nature had me catch myself to stay on track. The only male questioner was a folded-armed, glowering chap who asked, “Do you still have your Bentley?” I had the distinct feeling that he would rather be on the stage exhibiting MAS tendencies himself.

Now here’s the interesting part: Jane Campbell pointed out, “Men have the courage and inventiveness to try to explain the inexplicable.” This suggests the use of creativity, fictionalizing and visualization. A man may even start to believe his own baloney. This might account, in part, for the disproportionate number of men over women actively successful in the arts. While there are far more female artists than male, we often find the women networking, taking courses, and politely asking questions. At the same time, more men are riding to the top. In some cases it may be on ever-building crests of baloney.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Growing awareness of MAS has led some to call for a moratorium on all male-female conversation. This is alarmist. But women must remind themselves that if a man tells them something particularly interesting, there is a good chance that it is untrue.” (Jane Campbell)

Esoterica: I have observed that successful male artists often exhibit some typical female tendencies (sensitivity, flair, humility, empathy, etc.), while successful female artists often exhibit some typical male tendencies (egotism, audacity, righteousness, exaggeration, etc.). Nothing to do with sexual preferences, it has lots to do with creative impulses. Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but in the art game they both need to come together on Earth. Girls can also learn to take more liberties with the truth, to ride on a crest of baloney. And girls need to remember what boys have always known: The shakier the position, the more baloney required.

Ample demonstration of MAS
by Christy Michalak

I shared this with my husband and here’s his response: “Male Answer Syndrome first arrived on the planet when the girl amoeba asked the boy amoeba why he was so crass. He said he couldn’t help it cause his cytoplasm was in reverse inverted dioxyplasmic reflex shock. She called him a vacuole and then ate him.”

(RG note) Thanks, Christy. And thanks to all who sent excellent examples of MAS as exhibited by husbands, boyfriends, instructors — but particularly by husbands — ex and otherwise.



There are 5 comments for Ample demonstration of MAS by Christy Michalak

From: Dave Reid — Mar 26, 2010

Interesting; I didn’t know that about ‘answering’. I thought I was just filling in information that was being sought by an interested party (male or female). Does the prevalence of MAS vs FAS vary according to business groups or educational groups? I’ve been in some mixed groups where it was hard for me to get a word in edgewise! However, I think there are more FQS than MQS because most guys don’t want to appear short on their areas of knowledge. Do you think we can get to have a more equally sharing relationship in MAS, FAS, MQS, FQS, over time?

From: Justin — Jun 09, 2010

It originated, as far as I know w/Sam Hurt in his Eyebeam comic strip.

http://eyebeam.com/1985/index.php?num=167

There is an additional comic that says the originator was a David Stanbury, but couldn’t find a columnist by that name.

From: anonymous — Dec 10, 2010

Great writing! I am totally satisfied with what you have expressed on this admirable blog. You have it well justified. Hope to read more!

From: John Cowan — Mar 08, 2011

There is a variant of this well-known in the geek community called Geek Answer Syndrome. The difference is that geeks actually care deeply about giving the *right* answers (at least, according to them), so the answers may be wrong but aren’t baloney. See http://xkcd.com/386 .

From: Mark — Nov 22, 2011

Please allow me to add a second vote for Sam Hurt’s Eyebeam. I know that citing Unte Reader probably makes you feel cool. Trust me on this: citing an obscure college comic from the mid 1980’s, WAY more cool.

Painting the baloney
by Claudia Cohen, Sausalito, CA, USA

032610_claudia-cohen-artwork

“Cassandra”
bronze sculpture
by Claudia Cohen

This one really hit a bone or two, including my funny bone. I’m now thinking of painting a mountain of baloney, with little artist figures, of both sexes, climbing the slippery slopes involved. I wonder if I can paint that… Maybe…. Time now to get painting…

The power of childhood programming
by Marlene Lewis, Webster Groves, MO, USA

032610_marlene-lewis-artwork

Untitled
original painting
by Marlene Lewis

Often, women seem to want men to come up with the answers, whether those answers are true or not. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing where little girls grow up realizing what their roles will eventually be in the real world and knowing that they will have to be grounded in reality in order to produce and raise babies. Girls probably devote a good deal of their early childhoods “fictionalizing” their future roles as ‘good mommies.’ On the other hand, it seems that boys often spend their early years fictionalizing themselves as heroes and conquerors. Lots of room for ego-expanding fantasies. And, mothers and fathers alike seem to foster those grandiose ideas. Hence, the children grow up… one sex devoted to perpetuating the species, the other expanding to new frontiers and trying (hopefully) to keep in check their desire to destroy it.



There are 3 comments for The power of childhood programming by Marlene Lewis

From: Henryk Ptasiewicz — Mar 26, 2010

Nice painting, nice reply

From: Jan Ross — Mar 26, 2010

I certainly observed this difference in upbringing having had 3 brothers! Great painting, Marlene! What medium did you use?

From: Susan Elcox — Mar 27, 2010

I often ask my husband questions I know full well he doesn’t know the real answer to just to hear his opinion. Sometimes he gives me a different answer depending on which side he thinks I may be on in an effort to “debate”. My reason for asking, I rekon, is to stimulate conversation.

Balancing the genders
by Paul deMarrais, TN, USA

I have found the cure for Male Answer Syndrome. You have to laugh at yourself regularly. Sometimes as a workshop teacher I find myself spouting some amazing b.s. When this happens I make a joke about it. We all laugh and fresh air invades the space. I believe women are better at humor than men. They take themselves less seriously and are better at coping with complexities. They are more selfless, having to raise children and to care for others. Perhaps some are too selfless and need a bit of ‘selfish’ added to achieve more mastery. Men, conversely, are good at selfish but need to work on servanthood. I find male artists do tend to see the value of their ‘feminine side,’ at least the artistic men who are fun to be around! An inflated ego quickly makes you a clown. As the process continues, you also become insufferable, boring and eventually left alone. Women can be annoyingly self deprecating, self eliminating and masochistic and if that goes unchecked become bitter victims of life. This is no fun in the end either. Balance is the way to go. Each gender needs to see the value of the other and in the other. We need each other to be at our best.

(RG note) Thanks, Paul. While there were tons of responses to this one, there was a remarkable shortage of letters from men. Thanks for your excellent one. I have to give another speech in a week or so and I’m totally worried what I might say. Perhaps that explains it.



There are 4 comments for Balancing the genders by Paul deMarrais

From: Rose — Mar 26, 2010

You are so smart, in so many ways…Thank you…

From: sharon cory — Mar 26, 2010

Good, balanced answer. As one of those women who can be annoyingly self-deprecating and masochistic, I’ve learned to tap into my store of testosterone and humour to get rid of the bitterness.

From: MARTI — Mar 26, 2010

Paul,

Ditto on your view of life.

I totally agree with you. My husband and I are very different. I love to be spontaneous and he is very methodical. We laugh at our need for each othr. EXAMPLE: Going on a picnic…..I want to just get up and go, he wants to put gas in the car first. Without me, he would never undertake a picnic. Without him, I would run out of gas along the way. We need each other or neither of us would ever get there. Together, we get there a bit later, but we do get there and enjoy the day. ( We have been enjoying the picnic for the last 34 years).

Thanks for your insight. GBYD!

From: tikiwheats — Mar 26, 2010

Paul, I see you have developed your feminine side and a good sense of humor which, for me, is necessary and laughing at our own BS is such good therapy for everyone within earshot. MAS and FQS get tiresome real fast. A good balance is “key”, and thank you too, Robert, for your wisdom and humor.

Workshop dynamics
by Lorna Dockstader, Calgary, AB, Canada

032610_lorna-dockstader-artwork

Untitled
oil painting by Lorna Dockstader

Men may simply be perceived as being more successful, as anything seen as a rarity is often seen as having more value. To their detriment, the large numbers of women painting sentimental subjects are continually decreasing their value. And a humble person in a creative endeavour is even more of a rarity. Observations made at workshops, and attended mostly by women are interesting to say the least. Over the course of ten years, I watched as one female participant asked the same questions of each instructor, most often a man, who always gave her the same answers over and over again. Then, afterwards, occurred this dichotomy; I watched her FASing to others on her newly acquired knowledge. Then, observed again, as she was unable to apply this information to her own work. BS syndrome out of sync with reality.

The best advice I was given by an instructor was to stop taking workshops, and I did. There comes a time when you know you should. As for the baloney part; for every gullible client, there are some unscrupulous artists willing to MAS them, and it’s entertaining to watch them in action. Their chests almost puff out like an exotic bird in some bizarre mating ritual. Meanwhile, the more introverted, and often humble artist, stands back in quiet observation, integrity intact, quietly reaping the benefits of their kindness, at a later moment in time.



There is 1 comment for Workshop dynamics by Lorna Dockstader

From: tatjana — Mar 26, 2010

Lorna, gorgeous painting, as always!

Male bashing trap?
by Sharalee Regehr, Langley, BC, Canada

I agree that men and women are different and these differences can determine success in a free market society. I would like to suggest that you may be falling into the male bashing trap that is so prevalent in the advertising that we see on TV today. They put men down making them appear stupid and childlike and show women are superior. This is dangerous in my opinion. The language that we choose to describe the characteristics of male attributes can be framed in a way that does not place judgment on them. All qualities of behavior have a positive or negative application. Female characteristics also can be applied in a less than helpful way. I am sure that you were wanting to be sensitive to the female readership. We are not in opposition to men but can certainly learn from them as they from us.

The Pepsi challenge
by Corrine Bongiovanni, Windham, ME, USA

032610_corrine-bongiovanni-artwork

original painting by Corrine Bongiovanni

As a clinical social worker/artist who’s very willing to ask many questions as well as listen, I’ve learned that there is a special type of “logic” utilized by either sex when it comes to blowing the baloney around. My analogy that parallels your information is this: put two Pepsi cans side by side with the one belonging to a woman having more holes in its sides than the can representing men. These two cans represent the traditional way in which men and women process differently. Women tend to take things in and then more often think and speak aloud their thoughts as they occur. Consequently, information comes in and goes out the other side in a more sequential flow. Men, however, tend to take information in and hold onto it until they are dead certain about what they want to come out the other side and only then do they speak their thoughts. So, in my scenario, you might say that the women show more courage!



There are 3 comments for The Pepsi challenge by Corrine Bongiovanni

From: Larry — Mar 25, 2010

You might …

From: Consuelo — Mar 26, 2010

Come on Larry, you can do it…you might?

From: Kate — Mar 26, 2010

And once again I have been shown to be male. Bummer.

Boy Groups and Girl Groups
by Lis Allison, Ottawa, ON, Canada

032610_lis_allison-artwork

“Trillium”
mixed media by Lis Allison

Be aware that any group with a male person in it is a Boy Group. It is less so if the group is large and overwhelmingly female, but in any group of, say, less than 50, the presence of even one male will change the group to a Boy Group. And Boy Groups operate quite differently from Girl Groups. The curmudgeon in your anecdote may have simply been expressing his discomfort at being in a Girl Group.

Two, I think the reason more males are considered successful in the arts than females has a lot to do with the definition of success. Just as there are Boy Groups and Girl Groups, so also are there Boy Rules and Girl Rules. And success in our culture is largely measured by Boys using Boy Rules, the first one of which is always: ‘No Girls Allowed’. I know, I know, this rule is strained to the breaking point these days, but it still operates. If the first rule for being a Great Artist is that you have to be male….. you see the problem. Great chefs are male while practically all women cook…. Society (operating as a Boy Group) assumes that anything done by Boys is serious and important while the same thing done by Girls is a nice hobby.



There are 15 comments for Boy Groups and Girl Groups by Lis Allison

From: Linda Mallery — Mar 25, 2010

well said!

From: Karen R. Phinney — Mar 26, 2010

Well said!

From: Karen R. Phinney — Mar 26, 2010

Whoops! Meant to add, “I agree with you……………..” The Boy Rules/Girl Rules definitely resonates!

From: Virginia Wieringa — Mar 26, 2010

Brilliant deduction, my dear Allison!

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Mar 26, 2010

Guess what- Ladies?

There is only one thing that will change society’s assumption that what you girls do is a nice hobby. And that is YOU GIRLS YOURSELVES.

We men can not change this for you. And quite frankly- I’m not interested in doing YOUR WORK- FOR YOU. Only you women will change the hobby paradigm by ceasing to be involved with your hobby crafts and pursuing your profession/vocation with all the same dead seriousness that we men have to apply to our profession if we intend to succeed. We have to. Only when you have to- TOO- will this change.

You can no longer blame this on us men. You want it to change- you change it. And stop complaining. And stop asking us for THE answers. Your answers are INSIDE YOU.

AND WE’RE ALL DEAD TIRED ANSWERING YOUR ENDLESS QUESTIONS.

Shut up and figure it out for yourselves. Unless you’re incapable of that…

From: Linda Harbison — Mar 26, 2010

I agree with both Lis’s original point and Bruce’s take on it. We are are all part of society and must deal with the opinions of others, BUT we each ultimately have control over our own attitude toward our work.

From: Anonymous — Mar 26, 2010

OK J. Bruce, you might have had me listening except you showed your true colors with the last sentence…

a put down of women which deserves blame.

From: Kenneth Flitton — Mar 26, 2010

I have to say I had more fun than enough reading all the back-and-forths between all you people with some theory or other. Made my day

From: Observant — Mar 26, 2010

J Bruce, you make a good point is that women must take themselves seriously if anyone else is going to, BUT REALLY!
… WE’RE ALL DEAD TIRED ANSWERING YOUR ENDLESS QUESTIONS. Shut up and figure it out for yourselves. Unless you’re incapable of that…

What a nasty angry man you must be!

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Mar 26, 2010

Actually- what I am is not a female and not a heterosexual male and stuck in between this gender war working in a (perceived) female medium which has forced me to deal with being the only male in a group of 200+ females- and it is a truly disgusting place to be- especially for someone who has no sexual interest in women! Truly- ya’all never shut up and you define your perception of reality and whether or not you feel alive by how many friends you chatted with endlessly about nothing every day!

Another thing I am is a male who ISN’T black and white- who’s brain sees all shades of gray and every color too- where both sides of MY BRAIN are in harmony and constantly working together creating- where my masculine and feminine sides are also balanced and working together.

Another thing I am is empathic and a healer and light/energy worker who had to figure out the duality BS a long time ago and can’t believe all you straights can’t figure it out now.

Another thing I am is someone who has no interest in supporting your BS.

Terrible- isn’t it- that someone who’s gay can call all you straight people and women on your BS- both sides of it.

Just makes me laugh.

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Mar 26, 2010

Now after my post earlier I went to work and had to think about this some more!

And I realized I had a list comment to make- sort-of referencing a letter topic of the recent past.

I especially want to know what everyone’s- but especially the women in this group’s- PRIORITY LIST is.

I’ll illustrate my point.

#1 on my PRIORITY LIST is:

Create. Create art- every possible moment. Take breaks as needed- sleep when necessary- recreate when possible – but WORK- every day. Every single day!!!!!!! Go to work. And create.

#2 is:

Take care of necessities as they happen. But don’t let them ever get in the way of creating.

#3 is:

Have sex. Have an extraordinary amount of sex. (Note- I’m not having sex with any women so it’s re-creative sex- not pro-creative sex) (If you don’t understand the concept of re-creative sex- I’m truly sorry for you.)

Whenever the energy of sex arises- MOVE IT. Never let it back up- for if I do it becomes #1 on the list and gets in the way of creating. Allow it to be #1 for a brief moment- but move it and get right back to creating!!!

This is the male body experience. From puberty to death men have to move the sexual energy that builds up- in some men- twice a day. To not move it causes WAR. Repressing it- as our society has demanded of men for an unbelievably long time- is THE SINGLE MOST RIDICULOUS CONCEPT ON THE PLANET. (Note- I’m talking about re-creative sex.)

There’s 6 billion+ people on the planet. Baring a planetary-wide nuclear war or a direct strike from some asteroid- humans will NEVER stop procreating. And they (YOU) are procreating us into oblivion.

So that’s MY PRIORITY LIST.

Along with creating art I also create events on a regular basis- but they come and go as necessary and don’t interrupt my creation experience- they are just part of it.

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Mar 26, 2010

Now to finish that thought off- what is your PRIORITY LIST- ladies? And men?

If you want to succeed as an artist- and your PRIORITY LIST starts with taking care of your husband and children- then as far as success as an artist goes- you’ll never get there. Your priorities are off by a million miles. And really- your husbands and children need to learn how to take care of themselves. Cut the apron strings early and encourage independence.

So- truly- a gifted caregiver/caretaker is someone who understands the intrinsic value to taking care of themselves FIRST. If you don’t take care of yourself first- if you put others needs before your own- then you are a dysfunctional co-dependent caregiver. The best caretakers are people who are able to do it from a profound place of detachment.

So- if you got married to a fairytale- expecting Prince Charming- then you have no idea that the basis for your entire connection to relationship reality is a fairytale. A fairytale is NOT reality. And you married your DADDY expecting your DADDY to take care of you. And frankly- if your daddy has his priorities straight- he’s at work.

Women do not own the rights to empathy. Men do not have to go out and kill dinner anymore. However we got here- we don’t- and really can’t anymore- blame it on our genetic coding.

It truly is time for all of this gender BS to change.

All humans are an interesting combination of masculine and feminine energies. The best artists know this- and know how to work with it.

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Mar 26, 2010

And that- Robert- is why I didn’t send a response to your letter about men always having the answer…

From: lady not — Mar 26, 2010

I don’t relate to what Alison wrote, I don’t care if males or all females are in a group – actually I don’t like any groups at all. I am an individualist. I get Bruce’s point, but the aggressive part gets in the way. As I read it feels as he is screaming at me – but since it’s just words on the paper, and I like the main aspect of what he wrote, I will answer the question:

Hi Bruce, my priorities (female):

1. Health stuff / exercise (7h hours per week)

3. Spend as much time with my husband as possible doing things that we both like doing – 20h per week

4. Make money in the profession that pays me best (not art) – 40 hours per week

5. Make art alone – 20-30h per week

6. Learn, read, research – 7h per week

7. the rest is a blur…sex included

When the mortgage is paid off, #4 will go to the bottom of the list. I am an artist, as successful as I have out into it. The more I put, the better I will be – has nothing to do with my gender.

From: Ann Chaikin — Mar 27, 2010

Is our culture male centered? Yes, I think that it is. I agree that as a culture we tend to assign greater value to creations by men than those by women.

Are life priorities gender based? Yes and no. It all depends on where a person finds him or herself at a given time in their life. When I was younger raising my son I had a different priority order than I do now. Since most of the people who are actively raising children are women, they probably have different priorities than men. But I think that is based on life choices, not gender. Now that I am free of child raising responsibilities, my priorities are different than they used to be. These three are all top priorities for me.

* Creating my life so that it is in line with what I most deeply care about and value.

* Sharing my life with others that I love – my husband, children, extended family and friends.

* Spending my time creating art and doing things I love to do.

Stick to what you know
by Amanda Fullerton, Hayesville, NC, USA

Before returning to art, I was a professional geologist working for engineering firms. I was not always sure of an answer to a problem, so I would say I don’t know, but I’ll find out. And I would. The men would always puff out their chests with an answer that often turned out to be wrong. The problem was that those men made their bosses’ eyes shine, because they always had an answer for their clients. The fact that they were found out to be fraudulent answers later were forgotten. Those men were promoted over me. The funny thing is, as years went on, those men were all eventually laid off or fired and I was kept on. Just the facts, ma’am.



There is 1 comment for Stick to what you know by Amanda Fullerton

From: Lucy — Mar 26, 2010

Yes, I am one of those females that company keeps while many “superficial” males are gone. Over time I started thinking that I am just an economical solution – working too much for the money I am paid. The men who moved on are BS-ing some equally BS customers – all according to the rules of the corporate game…being paid well between their moves…and ultimately doing better for their families. I wonder if I am nurturing my company which is just parasiting off my female instinct.

Male BS gave her confidence
by Jennifer Cunningham, Vancouver, BC, Canada

discovered Male Answer Syndrome myself about 20 years ago while studying civil engineering at university. I can still recall with clarity the room that we were studying in late one night. There was a group of about 12 of us, only 2 females. It happened to be a study session on something that I had a very clear understanding in for a change. As the group of us worked through problems and took turns explaining how to solve them, I noticed that most of the guys would bull through and talk with complete authority on how to solve the particular problem that they were demonstrating, even if they were completely out to lunch. It was like an epiphany to me to realize that they always did this in all subjects and up until that point I thought I was just missing something obvious when I was struggling with a concept. It gave me such confidence going forward from that day to be aware of the fact that these guys will have an answer for anything, even if they don’t have a clue. I’ve found this pattern to be true in many areas in life.

P.S. I haven’t any art images for you as I am a beginner and being female am apparently not confident enough to post them!!



There is 1 comment for Male BS gave her confidence by Jennifer Cunningham

From: Anonymous — Mar 29, 2010

You mean, “I haven’t any art images YET…as I am a beginner.” — forget the rest of the message! all the rest is not what you want others to tack onto your endeavors. DHow about, and with each painting I am thrilled with what I continue to learn!and can’t wait to start the next!”

The ambidextrous woman
by Gigi Starnes, San Antonio, TX, USA

What on earth is a girl to do if she has MAS in addition to FQS? All my life, right brain/left brain have kicked in at totally surprising times with both. Many times over the years MAS has been my standby at gatherings; my preferred topics of conversation are politics, archaeology, and art, all with lots and lots of baloney thrown in on my part. However, the FQS syndrome has served me well too by posing questions that move conversations forward. Too funny! For the past several years, I’ve allowed self to revisit the fun of playing with watercolor, mixed media, and warm glass, and both MAS and FQS have come into play. I’m having the time of my life.

Comments

comments

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Alice Helwig,  

032310_alice-helwig-artwork

Diamond Willow Red Sky

acrylic painting by Alice Helwig

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Nev Sagiba of Australia, who wrote, “Maybe in your land. In this country, at this time, women know everything about everything (even though they in fact don’t), never stop talking, berating and bullying and men are lucky to get in one word edgewise. Perhaps MAS varies between cultures.”

And also Nathan in Victoria, who wrote, “I think you were over-using your MAS tendencies when writing this letter. Your gender generalizations are baloney.”

And also Rita Cirillo of Victor, CO, USA, who wrote, “I find this hilarious. My last two boyfriends both criticized me all the time because if I didn’t know the answer to something, I made one up. If this practice makes for a successful artist, I’m on my way!”

And also Jim Gray of Pensacola, FL, USA, who wrote, “Years ago, I was teaching a workshop and one day we were on a farm out in the field with barns and cows, etc. One lady yelled from across the way, ‘I’m having trouble painting cows’ feet.’ I yelled back across the way, ‘Paint taller grass.’ It was a good day.”

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Male Answer Syndrome

 

 

From: Buzzerboy — Mar 22, 2010

Fabrication….that’s the key. I always wondered, now i know.

From: Carol Henderson — Mar 22, 2010

Well, why sap green?

From: EvilX- hahaha! — Mar 22, 2010

We know, already. Nothing new here. However, some people like me, ask anyway just to see how deep the moron will go into the BS. When I still had a soon to be ex. and after an hour or so of listening carefully to his monotonous ‘shovelling’, I would finally respond: “So you don’t know”… and watch his brain explode. Useful in verifying my assumptions about him. When I want to know something now, I save time by look it up, or asking an expert or two, to find out the truth, or options. Much less frustrating. Armed with good info, I’ll make up my own mind, or change it as practical. …sigh!

From: Mike Young — Mar 23, 2010

B.S. baffles brains. (Ok. Ok, maybe not you and me…) ‘Twas ever thus.

From: Gavin Brooks — Mar 23, 2010

I would never buy into that for a single second. My own strengths in communication, drive and ambition are more connected to my temperament than my gender. I deliberately defy any perceived boundary on female roles as a traveler, adventurer, athlete and painter. Women who step out and just paint without asking, without waiting for all the answers, without having a perfect route always rank higher in the arts. Timid just doesn’t cut it.

Consider the broad spectrum of successful women who have this is their work..whether in the arts, politics or business.

From: Darla — Mar 23, 2010

What you’re calling “Male Answer Syndrome” is the key to being an artist. After all, don’t most of us make art because it is a way to make something up out of nothing but your imagination and whatever input from reality that you choose to put in? You, and only you, determine what goes into your art. Then you show it to others; you make it real to them. Women are often taught that this is egomaniacal and presumptious. It is, but so is art!

It’s when BS drives reality to the exclusion of observation, ethics and logic that the problems start.

From: Fredericks — Mar 23, 2010

A good read Bob!

You may have nailed it.

Maybe men enjoy preening their feathers in public places with both words and paint.

From: Rene Wojcik — Mar 23, 2010

It’s the testosterone, not MAS.

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Mar 23, 2010

No- it’s the estrogen-

I’m sorry- but as a male in a female medium- there’s just as much BS there as anywhere…

From: Mary Sheehan Winn — Mar 23, 2010

I think you hit it here. While women are just as capable of slinging the bull, it’s a guy thing. It goes right along with not asking for directions.

From: Bonnie Staffel — Mar 23, 2010

Your comments led me to think that there needs to be a subtitle to your subject called the “last word syndrome.” Both of these people in my life that brought this syndrome to the surface, are extremely intelligent, but rather shy about their art work. I also do not think this syndrome is singular to the art world but in daily life between two people. Are they hacking away at the “pedestal” they seem to put one on? We have a world of facts at our fingertips and it seems that so many are now “the last word” smartipants and want to exhibit it but lack the ability to verify their own art endeavors.

From: Dorenda Crager Watson — Mar 23, 2010

Good One Robert!

I was fortunate to have a grandfather that had a Master’s Degree in “BS-ology” and I used to love watching him hone his craft! It’s all a part of the dance (as long as you don’t hurt anyone in the process!:)

From: Kelly Borsheim — Mar 23, 2010

Hahaha — looks like someone is a fan of the “Red-Green Show” those three little words that men hate to say . . .

From: Sharon Margret — Mar 23, 2010

“This is alarmist. But women must remind themselves that if a man tells them something particularly interesting, there is a good chance that it is untrue.” (Jane Campbell)”

There is also a good chance that it was first coined by a woman! And that it might also be true!

From: Suzette Fram — Mar 23, 2010

Wow, thank you Robert for my laugh of the day. I love it. “men are riding to the top…on ever-building crests of baloney.” Tongue-in-cheek undoubtedly, but just wonderful, and somewhat true in my opinion.

From: Paul — Mar 23, 2010

It goes like this in my world.

1. FQS — wife not saying anything (silence).

2. MAS — me saying something (hopefully not egotistical).

3. FIS — Female Interruption Syndrome (my wife starts correcting me, then slowly joins the conversation).

From: Jackie Knott — Mar 23, 2010

It is a rare person who can objectively lay aside all preconceived gender stereotypes. We try. We really do.

But one memory keeps returning to my mind I cannot shake: I once saw an elderly couple walk to their table in a restaurant. Him leading, her following. As they passed our table the man said, “I may have been wrong once. But I doubt it.” The look on that woman’s face spoke volumes.

From: James Trolinger — Mar 23, 2010

I was taught a long time ago, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, then baffle ’em with bullsh*t.”

From: Eleanor Doyle — Mar 23, 2010

Shortly after reading the original article by Jane Campbell mentioned in “Male Answer Syndrome” we were astounded to experience a full blown example of the same from our 7 year old nephew. He is now a wonderful, successful adult who works for the U.S. Government. My husband and I try to remember, and have told our children, that because a statement is said with strength and confidence (by either man or woman) it is not necessarily wrong. But check on it anyway!

From: Janet Morgan — Mar 23, 2010

I got to substitute teach at the Art Students League here in New York last night, and one student thanked my profusely for my help. She said the male teachers just told her where she had screwed up, but with me it was more like a interweaving conversation (her drawing turned out very nice). 18 years of working with cancer patients makes you find the positive in whatever folks are doing and encouraging things that bring out the best in the work, and what gives it life. I had a blast.

From: Julie Roberts — Mar 23, 2010

As a woman growing up it was my experience that men (including my kind father) would often ignore my questions which made me feel stupid or invisible. Later, I insisted on answers from my husband and realized that if he didn’t know an answer he just ignored the question. Sometimes I think the question stirred a part of the brain that men never use. This comment is generalizing, of course. There are men I know that are articulate or who will answer because I persist, and my husband now has no problem answering with ‘why would you ask that question?’

From: Tatjana M-P — Mar 23, 2010

Sometimes I can’t believe the elaborate, boring, and highly improbable explanations some men keep churning out masqueraded as competency, just in order to be heard. Same thing with meaningless never ending questions from some women, especially the ones with very audible high-pitch voices. One good thing about all that is that a careful listener will easily differentiate fools in the crowd.

From: Amanda Jones — Mar 23, 2010

I have always thought that women see things in a hundred shades of gray and men see things in black and white. While we are busy contemplating and considering things men are maybe more straightforward in their approach. When women share problems with each other I think we often want to commiserate. Men on the other hand are more geared to fix the problem and are frustrated by the fact that we seem to just want to talk around the issue. Because men have this need to offer a solution is why they seemingly always have answer. I know when I have asked my husband for an opinion, he thinks about it, gives his opinion and moves on. I on the other hand seem to second guess myself and think about the endless possibilities. If you apply this to art maybe men are more single minded and more decisive in their approach. While women are busy exploring all of the options.

From: Terry Janovick — Mar 23, 2010

Ha Ha Ha! That was good! Details maybe when I have more time.

From: Carla Ulbrich — Mar 23, 2010

Thanks for another great letter. It completely explains why doctors treat women like hypochondraics!

From: Abbie Williams — Mar 23, 2010

My ex husband, may he rest in peace, used to say, “If you can’t impress them with fact, dazzle them with bullshit”.

From: Tisha Rose — Mar 23, 2010

‘Coming from a family of girls, it took me some time to see through my former husband’s tendency toward exaggeration. He would even go one step further when he needed time to contemplate an answer. He would simply come back with another question!

Hampton, VA

From: Rich Mason — Mar 23, 2010

Absolutely marvelous, I think I may have even exhibited some of this behavior myself. I’ve observed the more interesting the female asking the question the thicker the baloney is sliced.

Have a great day

From: Karen Blanchet — Mar 23, 2010

Somehow building a world based on baloney does not appeal to me… smells like politics. But that is from a female perspective.

From: Theresa Bayer — Mar 23, 2010

That was a pretty insightful letter; I’d never thought about who does the questioning, and who does the answering. Especially in terms of how men and women view questions and answers. I am of two minds on this subject. Workshops are one thing; if I’m going to pay money for someone to teach me some art techniques, then asking questions is a good way to get my money’s worth. But when it comes to asking questions in general — especially the deeper ones, other people aren’t necessarily going to know what’s best for me when it comes to my own creative vision. There is only one place for me to go in that case: inquire within. My journal has the most satisfactory answers for the really tough questions.

Austin TX USA

From: Susan Vaughn — Mar 23, 2010

That is so funny! You summed that up perfectly and hit the nail right on the head. I have often wondered myself how my husband, Bob, knows so much about everything. I swear I have never known a man who can talk about any subject and swear he knows everything about it. I’ve knocked him down a few notches in our 17 year marriage and it has been hilarious to see him cowl up in a chair with a scowl on his face. My father used to say “we’re all full of BS.” As a matter of fact, he was tempted to put initials for everyone in the family on the door to his office – HS (Horse-sh…) BS, MS (More sh…) – you get the picture. Every time my husband starts in on a diatribe of knowledge, I just sit back and listen to him pound his chest. Although, I find it interesting that much of the time, he really does know what he is talking about. Therefore, maybe he suffers from MCAS, or Male Correct Answer Syndrome.

From: Anne Hightower-Patterson — Mar 23, 2010

You left my husband and me laughing hysterically into our morning cereal. He has a major case of MAS, especially when it comes to evaluating my art. Now I know that I need a bigger knife to cut through his baloney and perhaps some good mustard to eat with it. PS I plan to beef my baloney so I can play with the big boys.

From: Brad Greek — Mar 23, 2010

I’m not sure if it is because I grew up with 4 sisters but I’m a firm believer in the “I don’t know” answer. I’ve often heard that it is better to try to answer every question, but “I don’t know” saves time. LOL I’m sure I have a few sticks of baloney up my sleeve for the needed occasion. I do keep a pair of waders handy for all the bull that flows around me. Which I’ve noticed runs like a river through the art world. It’s great to have a limb to grab onto as in your letters.

Thanks Robert,

From: Kathy Shahan — Mar 23, 2010

I was just discussing this dilemma with some artist friends about the disproportionate amount of men drifting to the top as artists, considering there are SO many women trying. This is definitely food for thought. I also think when men ‘deem themselves an artist’, they are 100% convinced (baloney as you say), whereas women on the other hand almost never get around to making the announcement to themselves or others. Our skills and worthiness must first be acknowledged by others (men full of baloney).

Could it be said, Baloney makes the world go round?

Kathy Shahan: An absolutely incredible artist, no baloney.

From: John Woolliams — Mar 23, 2010

‘Is there a god ‘ is a male construct that women really couldn’t care less about.

From: Kristina Zallinger — Mar 24, 2010

Could an MFA silence a MAN with MAS?

From: Emily W. Moore — Mar 24, 2010

An friend of mine who is a group trainer on male-female issues once told me that she would instruct the women in a workshop to only make statements for an entire day, and the men were to make no statements, only ask questions. At the end of the day the men were exhausted and women were energized and empowered.

From: Judy Roberto — Mar 24, 2010

You had me worried – and then I read to the end and decided – its not a bad thing for a girl to identify strongly with MAS – “my baloney has a first name – and it’s mine”. But it seems to be harder for the men to take when we’re not needful of their baloney ’cause we’ve got our own.

From: Royce — Mar 24, 2010

MFAs, BAs and PHDs are even more likely to be bamboozled by MAS.

From: Sherry McNish — Mar 24, 2010

I just emerged from a week-long workshop with a very successful artist. The training and overall workshop was excellent; however, it was very obvious to me that I was the oldest, the least experienced, and the least talented — and a woman. Those women who spoke up, asking all the questions, who were young and pretty did receive the attention.

As well, I just received a phone call from my weekly painting teacher (a success in her own right) who was not accepted into a recent competition. Her work was truly amazing. She was saying that sometimes it seems that it’s a “mens’ club” with all the judges being men and that their preferences stand stalwartly as they review new work. She suggested that perhaps those contestants who are accepted one year should not be allowed to compete the following year.

I am very dedicated to this honest pursuit and will not give up. Neither will my exceptional teacher! We both are recovering from our own challenges of the past week. We will win one of these days!

From: Steve Drake — Mar 24, 2010

I do not know where Jane Campbell is from, likely Venus or some part of outer space, Butu she has never had the good fortune to ask my wife a question!!

From: Kate Jackson — Mar 24, 2010

“In some cases it may be on ever-building crests of baloney.”

You ABSOLUTELY cracked me up with this line this morning…AND explained something I’ve been wondering about for a long long time! (Why there are so many successful male artists…I thought it was just because they usually had a good woman backing them up and willing to cook, clean, work, support, raise the kids, schedule his shows, workshops, etc. while he went to studio everyday!) Many thanks for the great look at ourselves and our assumptions!

Merced, CA

From: John Kuti — Mar 24, 2010

I remember it as “False Expert Syndrome.” I, like most men, suffer the ravages, but in my case I may add some real information to what you have quoted. I am currently writing a book on evolutionary theory, and part of my research shows that men, as hierarchical beings see any display of weakness as offering a potentially life-threatening vulnerability to other males. That is why men, like most hierarchical primates, try to show no vulnerability, avoid visiting doctors and withhold feelings from others. For males, access to females and mating depends on the position in the social hierarchy, so that is the key adaptation.

jkuti@sympatico.ca

From: Richard Smith — Mar 24, 2010

When my wife asks me a question she gets an encyclopedic answer with everything I know or do not know, about the subject. When I ask her a question I get the in-depth history of the situation, how it came about and everyone involved whether it pertains to the question or not. Some of us just like to communicate.

From: Ed Lougheed — Mar 25, 2010

This is brilliant. I have your book of the complete letters. It is so filled with so many valuable insights. I looked around in it for evidence of MAS, but there are few. You just seem to be curious about all things artistic. Good going.

From: Jeanne Emrich — Mar 25, 2010

Every time I delve into your book collection of bi-weekly letters, which has a permanent place now on my breakfast table, I feel grounded, reassured, informed and inspired. I also have a feeling that I am in possession of a classic, a very big classic–in fact a major work — that will be my life-long companion. I’m so glad you are continuing with your letters. They’ll make a great supplement some day!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

From: Jackie Knott — Mar 25, 2010

I think artwork needs to be submitted to competition in the same manner the NY Symphony (I believe) tryouts are done. Blind. A curtain is drawn across the stage, the musician walks to a seat or instrument center stage, and begins playing. The film clip I watched noted one woman wore athletic shoes instead of allowing the telltale click of heels to indicate her gender.

Likewise, place a mask over the artist’s signature of a painting and have the artists gathered in another room until judging is over.

Sorry, but men just haven’t experienced this kind of discrimination. It must be an amazing thing to be evaluated purely by your ability.

Male preference is sometimes peculiar: “pretty and petite” is often dismissed as fluff when a less attractive woman (regardless of profession) is considered serious about her work.

You can’t win.

From: Angelique — Mar 25, 2010

In Neanderthal days men were valued by women for their size, strength and hunting prowess. Now things are different and they have to rely on their brains. This is the root of the problem.

From: Bobbo — Mar 25, 2010

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, generalizers are from Uranus. One of my favorite Simpsons lines: Marge says, “you’re fom Mars and I’m from Venus, Homey. ” He whines in reply, “oh sure, give me the one with all the mooonsters!”

From: Brad Michael Moore — Mar 26, 2010

I tried twice to answer this letter, RG – then I decided, “I don’t know if I can speak to this, and I didn’t.” I find it is better to save my breath up for when I am drowning, and not use it all on superficial quests I have not sincerely made (and I do ask for directions when I lost on the path – But I make sure the advice given – comes to me eye to eye!)… BMM

From: Kristen — Mar 26, 2010

I don’t think the whole ‘baloney’ and MAS thing really gives guys that much of an advantage, in fact, it seems more like a weakness in the long run. From what I’ve seen, females do ask a lot of questions and they tend to be honest about their level of knowledge. Men tend to b.s. their way through stuff a lot more without fully understanding something. Sometimes b.s.ing surprisingly works, especially when you’re first trying something for the first time. I remember when I took my male cousin skiing with me for his first time and I was amazed with how well he did by just pretty much just skiing straight down the hill with very little fear; he didn’t care at all about the nuances of skiing. My female friends that I’ve taken with me on their first trips never faired so well. They have to figure out every step, every motion before they feel confidant enough to let them selves just ‘let go’ like that. It could take them several weeks worth of trips to ski as well as my male cousin did in just one day. My cousin though, despite having such a huge advantage in the beginning, has never developed any real skill in skiing, whereas a couple of my female friends who stuck with it are well beyond him now. Both my parents have been skiing for most of their lives, but my mother is the unquestionably better skier. It really is a beautiful sight to see her carving curves down a mountain slope. My father is a competent skier, even a really good skier, but he has none of my mother’s grace or level of skill, and it’s very apparent to any experienced skier watching them. My mother though, is one of the most intense questioning women I know. Any time she’s faced with a new task, she always stinks at it in the beginning, asking endless questions, terrified of attempting anything wrong; but if she has a knowledgeable teacher, she’ll eventually become best in the class, given enough time. She doesn’t allow herself to learn bad habits, making her the best student in the long run, even if you’d never guess it by watching her in the beginning. Personally, I think the reason why more women haven’t managed to reach the highest rankings in the art world has more to do with our nurturing tendencies and the ‘old boys club’ phenomenon then the whole ‘MAS’ thing. Most women seem to end up with children, and most husbands are not the primary care giver, or even equal care givers, even if both are working parents. The primary care most often falls on the women, even in today’s world. And even if women don’t have children, sometimes just looking after a husband can be a full time job. Nurturing takes up so much time and energy, women don’t have much energy or time left over to spend on themselves after. Women have instincts to nurture due to the intense levels of oxytocin in their blood that males just don’t have. You can google “tend-and-befriend” to read all the new science on the phenomenon. Basically, what this describes is how women deal with stressful situations. Men have the standard “fight-or-flight” response, where as women will have some of those hormones mitigated by the oxytocin in their blood. Instead of fighting or fleeing, they’ll ‘tend’ to their young or anyone else stuck in the situation with them, and then they’ll ‘befriend’ anyone they can, trying to form as many connections and allies as possible. I think its’ this desire to understand and befriend others that makes women such intense questioners when they are learning something new. They have to understand completely where as men just have to fight through it or forget it and leave it. And then there’s the ‘old boy’s club’ working against women, and I think that’s the thing keeping women back the most. I am currently attending a college that has an overwhelmingly male student body (it’s a school for computer animation). In my current class of thirty, I’m one of only three females. Girls at our school don’t ask that many questions. We tend to stay silent and only ask questions on a one on one basis with the teacher. The reason for this is that if you ask a lot of questions, all the males in the class will assume that you know nothing. Every time I ask a fellow student a question and it’s a male, suddenly I have a tutor that I didn’t want and wasn’t asking for. Just one question that if a guy had asked another guy would elicit a simple response turns into a two hour tutoring session if I ask it. It’s quite annoying. Guys love to teach girls. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I guess it makes them feel big and macho or something. It stinks too because you can’t be rude to them and tell them to get lost, or tell them that you only wanted one question answered because then you’ll become known as a b****. But these guys would never consider lecturing a fellow guy the way they are completely willing to lecture us girls. It’s just all part of the ‘boys club’ thing and that guys, despite what feminists have done for our society so far, still have a hard time of viewing females as actual competition or equal peers. So in conclusion to this long rant, I don’t think the whole ‘MAS’ thing is really what’s holding women back in the art world.

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Mar 26, 2010

Kristen, your post was long but entirely pertinent. I think you boiled the whole thing down nicely. And to those who keep talking about “evolution” and male/female roles as if they were inate: the wide variation of gender roles and characteristics in the cultures of the world demonstrates that too often we in western cultures assume that ours are universal. Nope.

From: sharon cory — Mar 26, 2010

Kristen I enjoyed reading your thoughts and musings. Love the way you need to work things out. Don’t forget to add humour into the mix so that when you hit that brick wall, you won’t become disheartened.

From: Jan Ross — Mar 26, 2010

I am curious whether other women have observed in a meeting, attended by mostly men, a woman will receive a ‘glance’, not a pleasant one, for asking questions or offering a solution of her own design, that is, not one a man presented? Maybe this is a ‘Southern’ thing, but I’ve observed this in the US, in a place where it appears women are merely decorative or reproductive rather than appreciated for their intellect.

From: Karen — Mar 26, 2010

Women artists need to know when FQS mode is useful in moving them forward with their art, and when it holds them back. When I take a workshop, I go to learn specific skills or techniques and I do not hesitate to “FQS” all day long. But once I’ve absorbed the information, the best thing to do is shut up and paint. I am frustrated by women friends who hold themselves back from completing art, framing it, and seeking venues to exhibit their work because they are not bold enough to move beyond the questioning phase. I am female but I can be really good at MAS, too. I can spout theories I’ve heard or read on almost any topic you’d like to ask me about. But theories are nothing more than hot air. The real deal for me has turned out to be the hard truth learned by experience — I really have to put the theories into practice and actually put the brush to canvas…not just a few times but over and over. Failure and success. When I do that I notice true confidence growing. A confidence that’s unshakable and not empty MAS. Both men and women need to find the balance between underconfidence/overquestioning and overconfidence/BS. Either can provide a starting point, but being open enough to reach in, roll up your sleeves and get your hands right on the problem gets us grounded in the real truth of art.

From: tatjana — Mar 26, 2010

Since I have been working in a male-dominated industry for many years, I have concluded that there is a way to develop a good working relationship with male colleagues as a female minority. Here is what works well for me. Communicate gently but firmly and always make sure to have exhaustive information to back you up. Be competent and pleasant, but never fearful and never replicate male behaviour. Always call a BS when you notice it, but again in a pleasant way, which leaves the opposite party a way to save face. It’s not difficult as it may sound, at least not on days when my female hormones are not acting up. On those other days I try to work on stuff that keeps my nose down to the grind and not put anyone in harms way.

I don’t think that male or female social and business strategies are more or less successful. I think it’s up to how each individual uses them. As to why there are more successful professional males than females, I believe that is because they are forced to set priorities differently throughout their lives. There are many causes for that – biology, culture, social issues, politics, finances, and much more. In places and times where women (and men) have more opportunities and are able to make their own decisions and set priorities, success will be more equally distributed.

Long time ago someone told me that the key to success is to keep the best traits of your own, and adopt the best ones that can be learned in the new environment. Sounds trivial and obvious but I keep remembering that often. It seems to work well when I consciously apply the best qualities of being a woman, and some useful social techniques I have learned from my male colleagues. Opposite happens too and usually causes a disaster!

From: Holly White-Gehrt — Mar 27, 2010

Right on!

The “female question syndrome” is really about appeasing the male ego. A taming strategy, of sorts. Its a counter-powerplay. All women know this. And surely someone can come up with a more accurate and catchy name! Come on gals….

BTW, “Male Answer Syndrome” was coined in the 1980’s by a Midland, Texas schoolmate of mine, in fact, named Sam Hurt. It was in his cartoon strip “Eyebeam” published at UT Austin. I’ve been using the term ever since. Please, credit due where credit is deserved! (And he may have credited it to someone else, yet earlier.)

From: Thierry Talon — Mar 28, 2010

How often have we heard a woman say “She hates me!”

We men recognize the exaggeration.

Both genders have their ways.

I find it mighty interesting.

Bob might be catering to the ladies here!

From: Suzanne Frazier — Mar 29, 2010

Thank you for providing an understanding of what is happening with a friend who recently lost her husband. When we are walking together, she keeps asking me questions and gets upset when I don’t know the answer. Now I understand. When she walked with her husband, she asked questions, and he always had an answer. I refuse to “make up stuff”. And I imagine he did “make up stuff” to satisfy her need for answers.

Longmont, CO

From: Lenore Conacher — Mar 29, 2010

Men are more successful painters than women because they have wives! — partners who look after all the other life-stuff. I think of Mary Pratt, confined to the kitchen while Christopher had all the “fun”; not only did she look after him and the family, but managed to squeeze in painting dinner, etc.

I’m sure I’d be a better painter if only I had a house-boy to do all the chores!

From: Esmie G. McLaren — Mar 29, 2010

Back in 1990 when my son, Daniel, was 6 years old and we were living in minimal English Japan, he asked “What makes earthquakes?” We had just been in a major earthquake in the Philippines. He wasn’t content with the simple answers, and the more info we gave, the more he asked. We combed the libraries in Osaka, but everything was in Japanese, Kanji at that. No, internet as we know it did not yet exist. So, on one of our visits to Vancouver, we bought a set of encyclopedias and brought it back with us to Japan. He could then follow his curiosity through the set til we came back to Vancouver 3 years later.

Maybe it was this curiosity for answers that brought him to where he’s at today. While he was at UBC, he started to develop the mind mapping idea in Flash. He was the first grad to have a BSc combination of Cognitive Systems and Visual Arts. Not long after he graduated, he left a full time job to pursue his take

on mind mapping. He’s one of the happiest curious persons I know. His company website is www.asterisq.com.

From: Fred Muggeridge — Mar 29, 2010

If the precisely correct answer is unknown, often a theoretical answer or hypothesis is helpful.

From: Bill — Apr 07, 2010

MAS is often seen in those with CMSD (Chronic Male Stupidity Disorder,) which is pretty close to my primary diagnosis. It is also seen in lost men who insist on finding their way using a map, rather than asking someone, especially a woman.

From: Václav — Sep 30, 2010

Is this a honeypot trap for MAS demos from M and F alike ? Turning away: “What is the difference between Ignorance and Apathy?” “I don’t know, and I don’t care!”

From: Rick Rotante — Oct 13, 2010

This is a sexist trap question and no man can reasonably answer to the satisfaction of the opposite sex.

But I’ve been known to go where angels fear to tread so here’s my humble thoughts.

Men are hard wired to “speak from the hip first and think later” It was necessary from the moment we stood upright. Can you imagine men having a think session on weather to hunt that bison or not, wondering if they could or would get hurt? It may seem uneducated to some, but due to our physiology, we tend to jump in with both feet before testing the waters because we can stand the impact. Now, understand, much to my embarrassment, I am considered a “domesticated” man even though I like to think of myself as “educated”. In my youth, I was one to shoot my mouth off with little or no knowledge of the subject at hand. Chalk that one up to youthful exuberence. Now looking back, I’ve learned to know from where I speak and think before I act. But this was due more to the combined efforts or more educated men and women with whom I came into contact. I understand the former male syndrome of which we speak, being a male. I like to view it as amusing though with some trepidation. It comes from long ago when it was necessary. Today, we are more civilized and urbane and the need for men to think more is anathema to what men have always been. But there is hope, and with the help of women, and some men, we are coming around if only to stop the constant chatter to do so.

 

 

Share.

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

Subscribe and receive the Twice-Weekly letter on art. You’ll be joining a worldwide community of artists.
Subscription is free.