The Window and the Mirror

If you need a simple way to understand the difference between men and women picture a woman sitting in front of a mirror while a man looks out of a window.
Women are largely inward looking. Look at the magazines they buy and the TV programmes they watch. These are nothing more than mirrors in which they may admire themselves. Even the titles of the magazines admit this. You, Self, Woman, She, Company, Glamour. They are pretty much interchangeable except that they are aimed at different age groups. Magazines aimed at younger women always have a beautiful woman on the front and highly sensualist fashion shoots within the pages. There is a mass of advertising that is very similar to the paid for content in that it promises instant transformation to some magical state.
Frequently the women in these magazines are shown as orgasmic while consuming the products offered to them- this is particularly true of perfume adverts. The articles found in these magazines rarely change much. They offer reassurance and advice on happiness, beauty and men. They will often talk about 'independent women' but this is a lie. The magazines offer no advice on the mundane hassles of life. These are assumed to disappear once this magical state of feminine perfection is attained. Work is nothing more than a canvass upon which to paint her beauty.
This may sound harsh but I am merely describing a woman's ideal fantasy self. A woman may behave in a responsible and creative way in real life but this is out of necessity. The most striking thing about the fantasy world of women's media is that OUTSIDE REALITY DOES NOT EVEN EXIST.
There are no wars. There is no politics, no economic crises or opportunities- and actually there are no men.
No men? Surely this romantic world cannot exist without men?
Well... perhaps I should have said- there are no men who are also people. Men exist as romantic and lust objects but they do not exist as rounded people. Men have no feelings in this world except to desire and love the perfect women. The fantasy men of women's magazines have no independent existence and act as a sort of backdrop to her beauty.
When a woman reads these magazines she is in fact transfixed by her ideal image.
What then, of men?
Men do not look in the mirror. We look out of the window. We are interested in technical advances, wars, political conspiracy and so on. There is nothing that does not interest us. The interesting thing about this is that the man himself is not in the picture that fascinates him.
This is a difficult concept to explain.
Imagine a woman reading Cosmopolitan. It is about HER beauty, HER emotions, HER desires and fears. She fills the frame completely.
Now imagine a man reading a magazine. What do you suppose the magazine would be about? It could be about cars, business, sex, or any number of things. On occasion it will be about looking good but in an embarrassed sort of way. Even the titles of these magazines pretend the magazine is about something else 'Mens Health' and so on. The point is that the man reads to escape from himself- while the woman reads to become absorbed by herself.
I realise this may seem offensive to some people but this was not my intention. It is quite possible to be self absorbed and also compassionate because compassion is yet another emotion to be indulged.
Equally, it is possible to be outward looking and yet a sociopath. This is not a moral judgement.
The media that men consume is entirely different. Magazines bought by men hardly ever have good looking men grinning back at them from the cover unless that man has done something noteworthy or admirable. Even then the men in men's magazines do not flirt with the reader the way women do in women's magazines. (It is interesting that heterosexual women are driven to buy images of beautiful women pouting and smoldering at them from the page.) In magazines for men we find pictures or trains, cars, world events, naked women, sport and above all- machines.
The magazines that men buy are windows upon the world. While women's magazines are a journey into herself. Men's magazines are an exploration of the world.
What can we do with this information?
I think that men should recognise that men and women are separate beings. We are drawn to one another but cannot enter one anothers worlds. Every other culture has understood this and accepted that a man will have lifelong male friendships.
Men and women can love one another but they cannot fully understand one another. This matters less than most people think.


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