A friend posted this on Facebook, I felt it needed a more in depth analysis then ‘Ha! True dat!’ So what’s the lesson from this?
When she first asks “What’s wrong?” He should say “My motorcycle won’t start, I’ve practically taken it apart & rebuilt it, but no change. I guess it’s not a big deal but it’s bugging me. Sorry, do I seem distracted?”
Communication, people! It’s useful!
See, this humorous wee ‘story’ plays on & perpetuates the ideas that women are overly, & irrationally, emotional, while men are very simple & not especially emotionally astute. Both those stereotypes are bad, although society tends to reserve its most severe disapprobation for the woman for being irrational & emotionally weak, whilst the man gets away with a variation on the theme of “boys will be boys…”. The truth of course is that she’s not being irrational: he barely spoke to her, & that is understandably upsetting. While it’s excessive to extend the singular event to the entirety of their life together, if (as is implied by the gender stereotyping) he’s often like this (being so ‘manly’ & all) that becomes understandable. She also anticipated that he would be annoyed that she was a little late after being with her friends all day, which suggests that he has been angry with her for this before.
Gender stereotypes are worse than useless, they inhibit our ability to function together. If he didn’t see her as an ‘emotional, over-reacting female’, he would take her concern seriously & talk to her. If he wasn’t so trapped in the ‘I am man, must dwell on issues, not speak of them’ stereotype or alternatively the ‘I am man, must shelter fragile stereotype woman from all hurt, therefore won’t distress her with my troubles’ stereotype, he would more readily share his day’s irritation(s) with his life partner (which surely is the point of being in such a relationship?). Similarly, if she wasn’t subliminally told from birth that her function was to ‘please her man’ she wouldn’t be so ready to take the blame when he is emotionally unresponsive to her.
In conclusion: a quick cheap laugh, sure, but it relies on the ‘true dat’ assumption, so reinforcing the underlying stereotypes. Those stereotypes damage real relationships & hurt real people, as indeed is seen in this ‘story’. That’s the real truth in it, & it’s not so funny when you look at it like that.