Validated Blogging

Yesterday I accidentally blogged about validation, mainly in response to a thing I read on the interwebz, a habit we’ve already established I should kick. Then my friend OBL responded to my angsty little post with a comment and then a full-fledged rant on her own site about the elusive nature of validation for the middle-aged woman. Click here. It’s a must-read.

It reminded me of a trope I keep hearing about men (from men) on the interwebz where I don’t belong. It goes like this: Men are simple creatures. They need to be fed and they need to be admired.

Whenever I hear this I wonder why men are not insulted by it. Surely they need other things. At the very least they need power tools and televised sports, right? Every woman I’ve discussed this with has noted that this view of men makes them sound like giant four-year-olds. One need only provide them with goldfish crackers and tell them their scribbled drawings are beautiful and they will happily toddle off.

But what really bothers me is the implication that women do not need admiration. They exist to do the admiring. Here’s the thing, though: women are giant four-year-olds too. They need the exact same kind of validation that men need.

Problem: our culture’s preferred method of providing validation to women is to tell them how beautiful and hot and sexy they are, right up until they are no longer any of those things, which happens way, way before their need for validation goes away, which is almost certainly never.

Men have many other avenues for obtaining validation, none of which involve appearing to be 22.

As OBL points out, pursuing traditionally male forms of validation doesn’t usually work for women, because it comes with a heaping big dose of guilt about whatever you are not doing while you are out selfishly pursuing validation. Meanwhile, the things women are really supposed to be doing—you know, raising the children and admiring the men—offer nothing, validation-wise. Children are notoriously ungrateful and the cultural response to mother-work ranges from dismissal to contempt.

Then there’s the whole bit about balding, beer-gutted, impotent men thinking that women their own age are too old. Having read a zillion personal ads in the last few months (oh, my bad habits!) I can tell you that is a very common belief indeed. But we discussed that yesterday.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere. It’s an early morning stream-of-consciousness blog. Luckily for me, I’m now headed off to a job that provides a certain amount of validation in the form of successful grant requests and doing good for my community. And it keeps me out of trouble on the internet for eight hours.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Validated Blogging

  1. I definitely get my validation primarily from my teaching. I think that’s why, even though I don’t get paid as much as I should, i keep doing it. It is incredibly satisfying to be told that I am an awesome teacher – and it’s not just selfish, because I’m helping them, right!? I read OBL’s blog too and I am thankful that i have a husband who does validate me on all the other stuff that there isn’t much validation for. And he must be fairly unique, because he still thinks I’m pretty hot and sex has only been getting better the last few years, which makes him want more and more of it. Hmm… Many thoughts to ponder huddled up inside on this freezing cold day…

  2. Yup. All great points. Oddly enough, your post reminded me of when I was recently watching Parenthood on the NBC App and every commercial break included an ad for Viagra. ??? Are old dudes watching this show? Nope. And the ad was a single camera zooming in closer and closer on a blonde lying on her stomach on a beach. She could not have been more than 35. Yeah, I’m sure she’s looking for an impotent old guy who watches Parenthood online. And getting him would give her SO MUCH VALIDATION.

  3. It reminded me of a trope I keep hearing about men (from men) on the interwebz where I don’t belong. It goes like this: Men are simple creatures. They need to be fed and they need to be admired.

    Whenever I hear this I wonder why men are not insulted by it. Surely they need other things.

    YES!!!! Exactly!!!!

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