Ever since pop icon John Mayer released the hit single “Daughters,” there have been mixed reactions to his song. Many have praised Mayer for addressing the vital role men play in their daughters’ lives. And when one considers the plight of the female protagonist in the song, it’s easy to see how such a tear-jerker would be a smash hit for a pop culture mired in gynocentrism. In other words, it’s more of the same “girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice” and “boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails” (so let’s kick Junior to the curb and see if he wails).
But there are some women who apparently do not appreciate “Daughters.” One example that comes to mind is Meghan Hunter, whose open letter to John Mayer has been floating around on the Internet. In Ms. Hunter’s opinion, Mayer is a sexist for portraying women as weak creatures unable to cope without men. Perhaps Ms. Hunter takes umbrage at the verse: “On behalf of every man, looking out for every girl/You are the god and the weight of her world.” An objection to this sentiment is understandable, given the degree of self-worship among many contemporary women.
Anyway, Ms. Hunter would have us to be believe that women are self-reliant. I would like to believe that, too. Or at least I would like to see women put up or shut up. I am tired of incessant bromides about how “independent” and “self-reliant” women are, when they are the beneficiaries of myriad legal and cultural privileges that men do not enjoy. If Ms. Hunter and her sympathizers think John Mayer is condescending to women, then they ought to direct a generous portion of their ire at leftists. Why? Because for many a woman, Joe Taxpayer is most certainly the “weight of her world.” But no, the feminist chatter-heads do a collective one-eighty when the welfare state is considered.
Self-reliance, indeed. What about the double-standards concerning how each sex is supposed to deal with their emotional pain? From talking to other men, I got the feeling that we, as males, are expected to just repress our past experiences when dating or getting married. Go to any online matchmaking board and you’ll find plenty of women whining about how they don’t want any man who is “bitter,” “has issues,” or is “negative.” Yet men are expected to be patient and understanding with a woman still “healing” from some “trauma” in her life due to some “insensitive man” in her past (whether it be her father, former boyfriend, or ex-husband). In short, when a man enters into a relationship with a contemporary female, he is expected to stop the car, get out, drop his baggage in the middle of the road, and suddenly lug all six pieces of hers on his back. So much for female self-reliance, or equality for that matter.
Now let us address the greater sexism in John Mayer’s song that Ms. Hunter, of course, ignores:
Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from
A woman’s good, good heart
What a reassuring thought for our society. We don’t have to worry about men. They have no particular needs, feel no pain, and therefore cannot be seen as innocent victims with regard to any social issues that involve them. It’s a comforting message for many women, since they don’t have to reflect on their own behavior and how insensitive and demeaning they may be towards the men in their lives. But the pièce de la résistance is the final two lines, a leg of mutton thrown to the female ego: “But boys would be gone without warmth from/A woman’s good, good heart.” It plays to the conventional wisdom of how independent women can be apart from men and yet how, at the same time, women are God’s gift to men everywhere. Apparently, the idea of a man being responsible for his own happiness and sense of self-worth is too radical a notion for our society to handle at this moment.
In closing, it is clear that John Mayer is not a “sexist” of the male chauvinist stripe as some commentators claim. Rather, he serves as a foot soldier for the new “chivalry.” He reaffirms the values of a culture that has a disturbing habit of belaboring the problems of women while marginalizing men. Frankly, I don’t see why feminists would object to John Mayer’s song. It adds fuel to the victimology so central to their worldview. Perhaps it is because he denies them the luxury of maintaining, at the same time, the contrary notion that women are strong and independent. Who knows? The fact remains that the song “Daughters” won two Grammy Awards this last February. I’m certain that was in no small part due to the lavish adulation heaped upon Mr. Mayer by thousands of his young female fans worldwide. I guess when it comes to feminism, another song by John Mayer puts it aptly: “I found out there’s no such thing as the real world.”