The cliche of men ignoring their rambling wives on the phone isn’t just tired, it’s disrespectful to both men and women. So why is an old commercial depicting just that getting so much recent attention online?
The world of Reddit tends to draw witty, connected, a tad nerdy, and generally tasteful individuals to its tomes of forums, but from time to time, a Redditor can feel discomforted by sarcastic pockets of imposingly passionate atheists or misogynistic feminist-haters. In the case of this video, the post and its associated comments are relatively benign at face value, but represent a more intrinsic problem.
The clip features a man on the phone with his wife, who is rambling on the other end as he pretends to listen, passes the phone to another man to hold, and keeps her at bay with occasional ‘uh huh’s. It appeared on Reddit’s front page a few days ago after receiving high traffic volume, and predominantly positive feedback. The comments reflected the amused male consensus: ‘I’m right with you, man, women are babbling idiots.’ Many related to the guy in the video, shamelessly admitting that they don’t listen to a thing their wives or girlfriends say on the phone. They swapped tips on how to keep their female counterparts convinced that they were indeed listening intently, and cracked jokes about the absurd lengths of time they have gone undetected without even having the phone to their ears.
The message that this all sends is that what women say on the phone is not worth listening to, that it is without substance, and that women are only interested in having one-sided conversations. It paints a picture of a self-absorbed woman who speaks only to hear her own voice. On the flip side, it reinforces the image of the aloof male, who dismisses whatever is important to the opposite sex as frivolous. It seems to reinforce the notion that women are supposed to be chatty cathies, ignorant of their partner’s input, and that men are supposed to blow them off in turn.
Just because the woman on the line may be breathlessly going on about something “small,” whatever it is, she clearly finds it important in some capacity. For that reason alone, should her partner care to listen? If this is common behavior among women, why do you think that is? Could it be that women subconsciously know they’re not actually being heard, and revert to speaking for their own benefit? We want to hear what you think is the truth behind all this.
Juliet Kelso is a senior English major with concentrated studies in gender ideology at Bucknell University, where she is also editor of the campus newspaper. Her works have been published in Her Campus Magazine, The Bucknellian, and The Rambler. She is currently acting as marketing and editing assistant at David Fickling Books & The Phoenix Comic in Oxford, England.