where are all the men?

Isaac just blew through southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi with a vengeance. He was cunning and wily, and decided to sit and stay for awhile, spinning over us for 60+ hours, dumping 20 or so inches of rain, swelling lakes and rivers and causing massive destruction to the electrical grid, trees, and unfortunately massive flooding to homes lying outside the federal levee protection area.

But despite the “mancane” who unleashed his fury, there has been, at least in my sphere, a serious lack of men, the human kind, to help ease the burden of dealing with the aftermath. Men working for utility companies are hindered from working because of the overarching concern for safety issues by their company’s administration. Men are driving around, alone, sightseeing and snapping pictures of the destruction with their “smartphones” instead of parking and helping an elderly man drag a tree limb out to the street. Men are conspicuously absent when the generator needs refueling in pitch black darkness with the winds howling about at 50 mph. Men are nowhere near when an elderly woman is doing her best to rake the yard of storm debris, and who instead pulls over to help her but a female contractor. Where are the men who place a nonchalant phone call to check on someone instead of getting off their butt, driving over and checking on others without having someone beg them to do so. Practically every female I know, and there are many, have no male presence putting aside his personal needs to be with them while the winds howl, and after when the gutters need to be pulled off the house, or the tree limbs need to be chainsawed off the roof.

There are many instances of bravery however. Here is an example of a group of Plaquemines Parish men, Jesse Shaffer Sr. and Jr., Lanny Lafrance, Drew Lafrance, Mitch Meyers, Roy Ially and Jimmy Kamm, all heroes, who cast aside their personal safety and braved the height of the storm to rescue 120 people flooded out with 10-12 feet of water in their homes down in Braithwaite. There are countless heroes from down in Lafitte, Barataria & Crown Point who battled the floods to save their homes and their unique way of life. Despite this, I still have noticed a void of males, a void that when the chips are down, some women are doing all the dirty work and the men skirting the fringes of these women’s lives are nowhere to be found.

In part I blame feminism. Sure feminism liberated women a generation ago, but there has been a backlash – men witnessed women becoming more independent and figure, what’s the use? I’ve never been a die-hard feminist – I recognize my physical limitations, am comfortable in the traditional female roles of cooking and cleaning, however I am very well educated and prefer a partnership in which a male partner is an equal and will stand alongside me instead of commanding me to bid his demands and looking for constant competition. Perhaps men still are stuck in the “I-need-to-save-the-damsel-in-distress” mode. It certainly seems like all or nothing to many of them.

I am exhausted from Isaac, and unfortunately this post is a reflection over the grueling events of the past 10 days. I mean no disrespect to the men out there who pulled their weight, pitched in, stood beside their women and families during the storm, and then worked alongside their women in the aftermath, you know who you are. But I suspect those who post in argument to what I write may ultimately be looking in the mirror and decide they really don’t like what they see and then lash out at this post to deflect their guilt. Bring it on…

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