6/22/15, The Weaker Sex

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is going well for you, and that life is treating you well.

I had one of those Hmmm…..moments today, when I ponder one (or several) of the mysteries of life, or the differences between men and women, or I just contemplate my life and question what I think. One of the differences between men and women that I’ve always noticed, other than the obvious ones, is that you can vent to a woman friend sometimes for hours, share what’s bothering you, and she’ll listen. She may make some suggestions, or just listen, but it’s rare for a woman to impose a solution on another woman. She may tell you how she handled a similar problem, which can be helpful, or offer her thoughts, but it’s rarely done forcefully, a woman friend will remind you of the options, but most women figure that the solution is your decision. But if you tell a man your problems, in just the same way, at the end of what you tell him, he will tell you what you should do in very definite terms. I’ve rarely known a man to be tentative about his suggestions. And most men seem to believe that you are telling him, not just to get his advice or opinion, but so that he can tell you what to do. Most men seem to feel totally frustrated if they can’t suggest a positive action, and his thoughts may be relevant, but not necessarily adapted to your style. And most men also seem to feel slighted if you don’t take their advice and put their plan into action immediately, just as he outlined it. It can create some very awkward situations, where you don’t want to hurt his feelings or insult him, but his suggestion may just not be what you want to do. Most men do not seem to ‘get’ that you may just want to whine, complain, or vent for a bit, and you’re not asking anyone else to solve your problems. It can be a real dilemma between men and woman, and I’ve been in some awkward spots myself, where I really didn’t like the male advice that was offered. I thanked them for their concern, but went on to solve the problem in a way that worked for me. This may be why a lot of women talk to other women about what’s bothering them. There are no ruffled feathers or hurt feelings if you don’t take their advice, or modify it to suit you. Men are more solution-oriented but in a very male way that doesn’t always suit us, even if their advice is full of good intentions, and male solutions. (“Just tell your kids (or husband) they can’t, or should, or have to….etc.” Good luck on that. Just ‘telling’ one’s kids, or husband, or ordering them around is rarely a viable solution for us. It takes a lot more psychology and finesse than that, in my life anyway). And I know I’ve really annoyed some male friends when I didn’t take their advice and follow it immediately, just as they outlined it to me.

I don’t consider myself a feminist, and never have, although I’ve kind of backed into the life of one. I’ve worked since I finished college early at nineteen. I have lived in a male dominated world. I’ve had a career where I’ve had to fight for what I have, and am still doing it. And I was a single mother of nine kids for a long time, and have dealt with all the situations and challenges and made all the decisions that go with it. But basically I was just doing my ‘job’ and what I had to do, at work and at home. It has never been political for me, and I love having a man in my life, and sharing my life. I don’t need to ‘run the show’, to prove a point, but I shoulder my responsibilities. I like the idea of being equal partners, but come from a generation where that was not the norm, and was married to men much older than I who expected to be ‘the boss’. But I really do expect a semblance of equality now, a give and take of ideas and responsibilities, and I balk at being told what to do—-again not out of politics, but simply because I’ve been independent for a long time, and manage decently on my own. But as Winnie the Pooh said to Piglet, “it’s so much friendlier with two”, and indeed it is. As long as one of you isn’t ‘telling’ the other what to do.

Even more annoying are the men whose advice you didn’t seek, who tell you what to do. Men you go out with, or work with, are friends with, or simply know, or barely know. It has really startled me when that happened. Notably, I had my first lunch with a man who worked in finance, and somewhere between the soup and the sandwich, he was telling me how to run my children’s lives financially, what kind of allowance to give them, when to cut them off and make them survive on their own. Maybe good financial advice, but really none of his business, and he didn’t know me well enough to have any idea how I deal with my kids, or my ideas on the subject. I saw him for a second (and last) lunch a month later, and he asked me immediately, “So did you do it?” Did I do what? I had no idea what he was talking about until he asked me if I had followed his advice about my kids’ allowances, how I doled out their money, and he wanted to know if I had made plans to cut them off. Although he was very attractive, I had no desire to see him again, and didn’t. Another male friend I’m very fond of told me and one of my woman friends that we should start charging our kids for meals from the age of 15 on. (Mine would probably have headed for MacDonald’s immediately, which they preferred to my cooking anyway.) And another man I found seriously attractive also had very definite ideas about how I should raise my kids and just how tough I should be. Interestingly none of these three men had children of their own, and I had been managing nine (without too many complaints) for several years. But they had plenty of ideas about how it should be done, and weren’t shy about saying it, and had very black and white (impractical) ideas. The last one in fact complained that I just didn’t do what he “told me to do”. Very observant of him, no, I didn’t. And I realized that I really don’t want to be told what to do.

And more recently, a man I don’t even know, while trying to lure me into a relationship was telling me that he would tell me how to run my kids. Really?? Sayonara and happy trails to you!!! I don’t even ‘run’ my kids at this point in their lives. They run themselves, and I’m grateful when they ask for my advice, and are interested in hearing it.

I have a fairly gentle style, and am not confrontational. But I don’t think I seem incompetent, and as though I’m desperate for free advice. Besides by now I know my kids, their personalities and needs, better than any stranger, or even a friend. But it’s not just about our kids, men seem to offer a lot of unsolicited advice about our finances, our jobs, our homes and our lives, and they often seem to assume that we can’t figure it out on our own. Why is that? Women are surprisingly resilient and strong, and these days we work as hard as any man, and succeed in our chosen fields. We do our jobs, come home and manage our kids, often handle the family finances (more responsibly than our men at times). We keep track of the kids’ vaccinations, help with homework, get the dog to the vet, work until we drop, take care of aging relatives, we do an incredible number of things in a day’s time, handle endless problems, comfort our kids, answer constant emails and texts, problem solve all day long, make decisions, and our day doesn’t end until all the jobs get done. I worked until the day I gave birth with every child, and went back to work not long after. And a lawyer friend of mine just had a baby and was back in her office, and in court four days later. So why is it that we are supposedly the weaker sex? I took my kids trick or treating one year with a fever, but I couldn’t let them down for one of their favorite days of the year. And I manage to keep birthdays and important days straight. And I’m no more unusual than a lot of women who do as much as I, and more. One of my daughters has a grueling hospital job, and goes home to help her kids with their homework, and sends me emails at 3 am, after she gets everything done at home, before leaving for work again at 8 am the next day. We do a double job every day, if we work, both on the job and at home, and that is the norm today for most women, while a man has only one job to do, at the office, and nobody expects him to get the Christmas cards out on time. And somehow we do it. That doesn’t mean we never need advice, or don’t need a good suggestion from time to time. But ‘telling’ us what to do because they think we can’t figure it out really underestimates us.

I have no idea why we’re thought to be the weaker sex. I can’t change a tire, or carry a couch across the room, (although I did carry a hugely heavy chair on my head once when I had no one to help me, put my back out and was in bed for a week!!). I just think we deserve more credit than we get, for being able to do a LOT of things, and many of them well. And yes, we want advice, but not necessarily being ‘told’ what to do. Suggestions are great, and may be followed or not. But I don’t think “the weaker sex” applies to us. We’re all weak at times, but we are incredibly capable too. It would be nice to get credit for that, and all that we do, and the strength that we demonstrate every day, and the endurance. So when we complain, it would be nice if men could listen, and not solve the problem for us. I guess what I’m still seeking is more equality, and acknowledgement for all that we accomplish and tackle in a day’s time, even without free advice. It would be nice….one of these days….have a great week!!

love, Danielle

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27 Comments so far
  1. Elaine June 22, 2015 12:33 pm

    This is so true!! For awhile it seemed like my husband began every sentence with “what you need to do is…” That’s ok, I’m going to take advice from you new book, Country, and seize the day! Carpe Diem!
    Regards, Elaine

  2. Jean June 22, 2015 5:02 pm

    Wow!! This is so true..I had a very responsible job for many years .. My bro in law treats me as though I am totally incapable of anything, and I think he feels that way about all women. I am older and retired and have total independence “God help those who try to take that away from me” or tell me what anyone already knows.

  3. Asavari Sharma June 23, 2015 3:19 am

    This made me smile. Thank you. 🙂

  4. Irina June 23, 2015 10:46 am


    “I don’t consider myself a feminist” – but what do you mean? Feminist are people who believe that men and women should have equal social, political and economical rights. Are you sure you meant you don’t believe in that?

  5. Jay Parfan June 23, 2015 5:52 pm

    Wow, Miss Danielle!!! I think this post is really awesomely wonderful to hear from a very hardworking, strong and good mother I had always thought you to be. Hearing these things from you now actually reminds me fondly of one of my favorite books you wrote, the one that has the title “Honour Thyself”. Definitely, I believe it would do us lots of good to always and faithfully do it to ourselves first and most of all, listen to our inner voices on what we should do and what we believe, who we are, what works for us or make us happy. I think that what the others say or think just follows, and as we have ourselves,too, so, we may indeed follow them or not. I had really enjoyed your piece, and it’s really brave of you to write these things. God bless you! 🙂

  6. Marilyn O. June 25, 2015 3:37 am

    Miss Steel,
    I think this has been your BEST post so far! Every word is so true…and I’m truly amazed by the power of your words! When you mentioned women doing so much all day long, not even letting the flu stop them, I had to think of some men I know who tend to complain constantly when they just have the sniffles, not being able to do anything else. Whereas my mom for instance (and probably most other women, too)has never ever complained when she didn’t feel well. She just keeps going. She got her job and her family and has been able to manage both all along. Nothing and nobody goes short!
    It’s really amazing to see how most grown-up men turn into small children when they catch a cold, how they want nothing else but tons of pity and attention 24/7. And of course they’re not able to do anything but rest, once they have a running nose. After all they are seriously ill and we don’t understand how bad they feel – as they say. And yet, WE are called the weaker sex?
    Totally ironic, isn’t it?


  7. Jacquelyn Williams June 25, 2015 2:31 pm

    Hi Danielle, I am such an avid fan. I just read Country in one night. Couldn’t put it down as I have done with your books. I use to own every book you written, all hard cover many first editions. In 2012 after my husband had lost his job in 2007 we had to start over. Moved to WV where we are caregivers for my 91 year old father and my husband only able to get part time job. In losing everything our home, our belongings, I miss my books and vowed to not buy more. I have but through the nook. First Sight was a gift in hard cover first edition. I had a stroke which affected my eyes in May. I cried to think I couldn’t read. My eye sight is restored and I will read all your future books and as I love hard cover thinking I will read them again when I am older. 62 is not old right? I cannot purchase all the books I had but loving that your stories intrigue me and I can’t put them down. You have made me laugh, made me cry, made me hope. Thank You for being a part of my life that brings joy.

  8. Timmy July 3, 2015 6:17 am

    Miss steel pease send me your old book i like reading your books they are very inspiring i live in south Africa

  9. sylvana victoire July 13, 2015 7:01 am

    Thank u a lot danielle steel i’m from mauritius

  10. Lynn Brooks July 13, 2015 7:11 am

    I adore you! I have been addicted to your books since I was about 14 or 15 (I’m 41 now) when I picked one up to read from my Mom’s bookshelf. I lost my Mom to cancer over 9 years ago, but every time I pick up your newest book to read, it’s like I’m reading it with her there beside me. Thank you for giving me that tradition and memories with my Mom with all of your glorious storytelling throughout the years. You touch so many with your talent, I’m just one tiny example. Hugs!

  11. Jo Ann Pendolino July 13, 2015 7:17 am

    You said it all. That’s exactly how I feel about the men that have passed through my life. I am a divorcee. Single mother of two girls, now grown. I don’t know how you did it with nine children. God bless you! Thank you for saying what I feel in words I probably wouldn’t know how to do. I love your books. I read them all the time.

  12. Lisa Brown July 13, 2015 7:37 am

    Hi Danielle,
    I have been divorced for 25 years from a very controlling man that took my identity away and never remarried after my first husband; raised 3 children on my own and saw them off to college and married with children of their own. I can say I did my best and my son is a wonderful husband and father and my daughter is a wonderful mom and wife. I have dated men that were several years younger and got along well with them. One of them always tried to tell me what to do, what to wear, how to take care of my 3 children ect. I also dated 2 men who were several years older than me. They had issues and I have become more observant and watched and listened to them. They tried to tell me what to do but I just said I am doing fine and realized I was putting them through a test. They failed miserably. One took a few months and the last, I emailed him and said ” I do not want this type of relationship anymore.” It surprised him. I haven’t dated in 10 years and recently was asked out by a man who is several years younger. I felt uneasy at first, then he said don’t think so deep we can go to nature walks, movies, just as friends and see where it goes. He is not looking for marriage or children. I can’t have anymore anyway. I decided nothing to lose and go for it. It would be nice to have someone to go places I feel afraid to go alone. We have seen each other a few times and I felt completely comfortable with him so far. My radar is always on but I did listen to him and he listened to me. He has never been married and has no children. I mention my children and grandchildren and he doesn’t give any advice, so far. It is still early stages and hoping that it will stay this way. If not that is ok too. I can make it on my own as I am able to provide for me. I did it when I was married, after divorce and still working and doing fine. I do have to say I agree with you about most men having been there too. I am hoping that there is a few out there that look at us as equal( I am not a feminist) and as long as I tell them I am not looking for advice or a solution, just an ear to listen to me, they will. I am thankful to have my self esteem back, my strength and my own identity. It is priceless and will not settle for anything less. Never go back to or think I change anyone, we can’t… only ourselves. I can do most things even if I have to google it or look on utube, I will get it done.

  13. Donna Green July 13, 2015 7:43 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article above regarding “The Weaker Sex”. I totally agree with everything you said about the differences in men’s way of thinking and us women’s way of thinking and doing! I think it’s truly why God made women, because men could not fully survive without us. I love your books and have read several of them over the years. In fact, I just was at the library and bought about 7 of them that I hadn’t seen before. You tell the stories so true to life happenings! Keep up the good work and I will continue to try and get all of your books read within the next year of so. God Bless you for the wonderful stories you write.

  14. Rita July 13, 2015 7:46 am

    dear mam
    love ur books
    loved ur blog
    very true..

  15. Mae July 13, 2015 7:47 am

    I agree with you. I raised three kids by myself with a total of $150 in child support over 18 years…..yes a total of $150. And now I am raising 3 grandsons. I have found most men to be just like you have describe which is why I have remained single for the last 25 years or so. At the same time finding females who will listen is no problem….the issue is trusting that person. When a friend comes to me it is our discussion and not open to be discussed with my other friends.

    I do have to say though, depending on the female you talk to it can be very dangerous. I have seen wowen be so vicious to one another it makes me sad. So many women in today’s time thrive off of drama. Something I do not deal with well. In addition trust can be dangerous because you think you trust someone they tell someone they trust who for sure would not repeat what was said…..then they tell someone else who they trust and so on. Then your discussion with added content is spread.

    When I have someone, male or female trying to give me advice such as you describe, I politely let them know I have done this on my own over 25 years and may not have made the best decisions but I have no regrets..

    I learned many years ago to be very careful on trusting others and still today I am very careful. Everyone both male and female want to listen and show they care….and of course they all have the best advice for you. I especially like the ones who like to give you advice when they need to take their own and clean up their house before cleaning yours.

    What I have chosen to do is keep things to myself and be very, very careful who I trust. For the few I do trust I watched them for a very long time to see if they are disloyal to their other friends with me before I trust them with my personal challenges. Otherwise I don’t share nor do I allow them to try and give me advice.

    On a good positive note regarding men. I ride motorcycles with a group of about 300 ladies in Oklahoma. In this group of lady riders we occasionally allow spouses or significant others ride with us. The men who ride with us are so supportive, positive, kind and caring. They know their place and never try to take the lead on our rides. If we ask advice they are glad to help….otherwise they just enjoy seeing us ride. I actually enjoy watching them show their pride of our riding.

    I guess my thoughts are there are good and bad in both male and females. It’s just finding the right person to trust and converse with. Can’t wait to read Country soon.

  16. Linda Griffin July 13, 2015 11:04 am

    Whole heartedly agree with you and again you are my hero.
    Up to date on your novels only one complaint the reading goes way
    too fast must be because I find it hard to put your books down
    when I start them. Have them all in hardback and when I pass my
    oldest daughter will get them since she out of the 3 enjoys you
    like I do and when she gets a little older she will be able to
    sit and read like I do. My youngest will be coming to visit in a
    couple of weeks – her youngest is Keegan (12) and he is autistic –
    so I always think of you when they come. Then he goes back home
    for a week then to Ocean City for the surfers weekend that they
    give of themselves for special needs children. Love you Danielle
    don’t quit writing for awhile. Thank you

  17. Patti Durham July 13, 2015 11:04 am

    I totally agree with you, Danielle!! I don’t consider us the weaker sex, women are very strong! We also don’t like being told what to do.

  18. Michelle July 13, 2015 12:46 pm

    I couldn’t have said this any better than you!! I think this is what I have been trying to say for years, actually. Yes I am a stay at home mom but the work I get done in one day isn’t any where near what my husband does in a day. He doesn’t think so. (I have two little one at home.) Thank God my husband doesn’t boss me around. I think he knows better. ha ha!

  19. Ruth Wagner July 13, 2015 4:29 pm

    I started to read Country, and normally I read your books in 1 or 2 days, I had to keep putting it down. I lost my husband of 32 years in April. So many of the things in your book hit a nerve. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him but he was 17 years older and Italian. He had 5 kids, the oldest 2 years younger than me. I spent the last 32 years taking care of him, always putting his needs and happiness before my own. And at one time or another, playing the role of peacekeeper. Even though your work is fiction, I feel empowered to put myself first for a change. I’m 58 years old, and I can now decide where I want to live, where I want to work and how to be selfish sometimes. selfish sometimes is a good thing. I’m still working on what the new normal is, but I believe I’ll get there. No one has the right to tell you how to raise your kids, or pretend to know what’s best for them. Life is too short to settle. Thanks again for a great book.

  20. Christina Comer July 13, 2015 6:33 pm

    I sure do agree with you. I don’t think we should be labeled as “the weaker sex” either. And I believe we still are underpaid.
    Life is treating me well! I just retired Dec. 2014 and moved from Texas back to my home town of Indianapolis,(actually a small town called Bargersville). My children, grandchildren, siblings and relatives all live in the area. (Long story)! I am so grateful to be back here again. I am so loved with many blessings!
    My third husband is terrific! He is nothing like the men you described above. I am so blessed to have him in my life. He moved from Texas to be with me here. We started our life together as “a partnership”, and after 15 years of marriage, we still feel the same way! I hope you and all your readers can meet a man like mine!
    Thank you for sharing your history and experiences. It was very interesting! I love each and everyone of your books. Some I read over and over.

  21. Joy July 13, 2015 11:00 pm

    This is a very instrumental subject I’ve consumed this morning on my arrival at the office. I couldn’t agree more. I felt like someone has spoken out for me. Incredible piece of work. Women are indeed strong.

  22. Joan Brown July 14, 2015 10:33 am

    I love your books, but I just finished reading your new book Country. I loved it, I am still crying. I am so happy at the way it ended
    You write beautifully. I am 70 years old and I have been reading your books forever. I must own over 60 hard bbacks. I am retired now so I get them at the libr. To read. I thank you for your writing.,and making my days brighter.

  23. dineo July 15, 2015 11:56 am

    I agree with that. Men would actually tell you how to solve a problem that you have while a lady might suggest solutions a d impose solutions. My ex fiance is trying to teach me how to handle my salary. Out of my life but trying to teach me how to raise our children. Its as if women cannot think and need me to think for them, while they just do what they are told to do. And if you do not do what you are told to do, you are stubborn, rebelius or simply not a wife material. Or that you want to take over from the head’s role in the family. Very interesting indeed. Regards Dineo

  24. Robert Fraczkiewicz July 24, 2015 4:25 pm

    Dear Danielle,

    I think you should have written this blog in the following way…

    Just kidding! 😉 I actually enjoyed reading it and reminding myself (for the 1000th time) of this fundamental truth about men and women. Thank you.
    A man.

  25. Susan Paddie August 27, 2015 11:25 pm

    I enjoyed this immensely, I am divorced, I was married 4 times, but you know what…..”I don’t like to be told what to do” unless you sign my paycheck, and then it must be minimal.

    It may not always be the best way to feel, but I say unless you have had
    an experience close to mine, you have no ground to stand on when telling me “what I should do or what I should have done”. To each of my ex’s you were good men, but not always right, as I am not always right, but I prefer to pay the price for that, not hear from you that you told me so.

    Happy Trails to you and Danielle you are delightful just like your books.

  26. Janet Weinberg July 14, 2017 6:21 am

    Wow, Danielle. Just posted something on Facebook last evening that in just a couple words said all this thought. P.S. I too write but for my pleasure. Thank you for writing for us. Just your equal another women who gets it. Definitely want to follow you on this subject in particular but I am sure you will come up with other that I will resonate with. As said above your equal and so proud to be.

  27. Janet Weinberg July 14, 2017 6:23 am

    Re: prior comment. Sorry for the typos and grammatical errors, my proof reader wasn’t available, lol.