Overheard on CNN.com: Revisiting battlegrounds of the sexes
Many commenters this week have been talking about gender-related issues. Can men and women find common ground?
July 26th, 2012
08:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Revisiting battlegrounds of the sexes

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The war of the sexes is still up for grabs. But are there really battles to be fought? Can men and women reach a truce? Here are a few different areas where readers haggled out their views.

1. Strength of friendships

A story about a group of men who are friends and take pictures of themselves together every five years - for 30 years - has gotten a very positive response from readers, who told us about their own friends and their favorite photos. One thing we noticed was several people discussing which gender is better at being friends. You be the judge.

Five guys take same photo for 30 years

Many readers said they think men have the edge with friends.

Stolat: "Finally CNN, a feel-good story that doesn't make me want to support xenocide on the opposite sex. Good read. I agree, women are less successful in placing priority on friendships."

But some are envious of women's good times.

boarddog: "My wife is in her mid-40s and is still close friends with three of her friends from high school. (They all still live in the same town). My friends have changed with time. (I moved away from the home town in my early 20s). I now have just a couple of "close" friends, but I think we'll all be in each other's lives from here out. Sometimes I wish I had those long time friends like my wife ..."

A woman on a different thread was less optimistic.

ImIrish: "We are b--es often, jealousy is a problem, and women don't forget. If guys have problem with each other, they get it out, and that's it. Women hang onto stuff forever (again, sadly, I am including myself). I do have a very dear friend that I grew up with (we were 1 1/2 when we met!), but she lives out-of-state, has a busy life, so we mostly keep in touch by e-mail. I love her to death, but I wish we were geographically closer. Sometimes, I feel very alone and sad. My husband is great, but talking to another woman is different."

This person wondered how the response to the story would have differed if the group were female instead of male. 

adoto: "Indeed, this is a great testimony to enduring friendships. Keeping a circle of five good friends isn't easy, but what a great support system for each other. On another note, if this were five women friends, I'm sure there would be many ignorant comments from posters about their physical appearance. It is nice to see that people can appreciate the men in these pictures and their enduring friendship, and not make denigrating comments about their physical appearance. Maybe someday, men will grant women more respect.

If you have some kind of photo-taking tradition like these men, please share images of your ritual on CNN iReport.

2. Heroism and bravery

William J. Bennett wrote an opinion article about the actions of three men who died while trying to save females in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting. Readers talked about the genders' varying attitudes toward such acts.

Aurora heroes: Three who gave their lives

This most-liked comments on the story were part of a thread about the heroism of women during the shooting.

Brational2: "I feel it necessary to point out that several women also risked their lives to save people and that a 13-year-old girl risked hers to save a 6-year-old child. All of them are equally honorable, and the code that governed their conduct does not live between their legs."

Michael Porter: "Reading your statement makes me mad that there isn't a 'dislike' button. Why can't you feminists just give these three men their article? Geez ..."

Bobby Fernandez: "You'd have a point if women dove on their boyfriends in any proportionate number. Women have an innate instinct to protect the young while men have an innate instinct to protect women. All the modern feminist drivel in the world can not extinguish that urge."

This reader had kind words for the men featured in the story.

kmsmaine: "I feel it necessary to point out to you that there was a story on CNN a couple of days ago about a woman saving her friend during this massacre. So maybe you should keep up with the coverage of this a little better. These men gave their lives for the women they loved, and you are worried about sexual equality? I think these men pointed out very clearly the regard they felt for the women in their lives, they gave their own to save them. These men need to be honored and remembered, not have people use their stories as a way to protest equality.

As a female, mother, and wife, I would be honored to have had any of these men by my side. I am a woman, and I would throw myself in front of a bullet for my children and my husband, but I know for a fact my husband is physically stronger than me and no matter how much I struggled to protect him, he would push me to the ground and risk hurting me to keep me from getting killed and take the bullet himself. As equal as us ladies would like to be to men, there is no way we can be, nor can they be, equal to us. It's not a matter of who's better. These men died saving someone else, their deaths need to be honored because they died like heroes. No one is belittling those who risked their lives and survived or saying that there wasn't any women their that saved anyone, because there was and they have reported on it and they will probably report on it more. So get your feminist panties out of a twist and have some compassion."

Several commenters referred to a particular portion of the article about the men.

"They believed, to put it simply, in a code of honor," Bennett wrote. "They put the lives of the women before their own, an old fashioned notion to be sure, but certainly an honorable one (if you have any doubt, ask the survivors). Their instincts were to protect, not run away."

This reader took issue with the idea that men have a "code" to follow in regards to saving women versus saving lives.

bigtimecynic: "I dislike this definition of 'code of honor.' As a man myself, I would risk my life to save my brother, my son, my father. I fail to see how their possession of a Y chromosome would make my conduct any less honorable. What drove these men in Colorado to heroism was independent of gender. The only necessary ingredients were love and bravery."

3. Romantic rejection

A CNN Geek Out opinion article about fandom at San Diego Comic-Con started a viral discussion about many aspects of geek culture. A rebuttal article appeared in defense of lady geeks, and several tweets and comments were compiled.

Readers take issue with 'booth babes,' she-geek stereotypes

From all of that discussion, one sad comment from a male reader stood out.

Hal: "I think a lot of you are missing the pain of being a geek, especially in high school. Cute girls hug you to (get you excited and) then laugh at you; ask you out only to send their friends to tease you that she hasn't shown up yet ... We get to know the type and later in life, when we meet one of them, we avoid them at all costs. And we recognize them a mile away. Girl geeks, in contrast, at least have dates in high school. And yes, we're bitter. We know that one day when the Sun/DR-Dos case is settled, Melinda Gates will dump Bill Gates and laugh at him. That's the way it is. And it keeps our therapists employed."

Several jilted ladies posted emotional responses, saying they struggled as well.

Mary: "Girl-geeks have dates in high school? Oh please."

justaperson: "I was a girl geek in high school and hung out with other geeks. I don't see these guys talking about girls who rejected them talking about geek girls though. If anything I felt overlooked by the geek boys I liked because they were too busy obsessing over why cheerleaders didn't want to date them."

4. Fidelity, or the lack thereof

Married and otherwise attached people face their own challenges. Shanon Cook wrote about a “shocking article on TheAwl.com” detailing the gross decadence of some Brooklynite moms. Readers dished about their shenanigans, and there were plenty of “somebody done somebody wrong” stories to go around.

Moms gone wild: '40-year-old reversion'

Some of our readers said there is a double standard in regards to the genders and their fidelity.

LV1316: "Man cheats: He's a pig with no morals.
Woman cheats: She was confused and exploring her inner self.
This is garbage. If you can't make a commitment, don't get married."

citizenUSA: "Sounds very sociably acceptable, for women over 40. I love how casual the writer makes this degrading attitude appear. If it were a man, we know how he'd be chastised."

But plenty of women disagreed with the Brooklyn mommies.

springsgranny: "This is a case of women all too worried about themselves and not about the commitments they made to their husbands and children. Nothing but selfish! It's called life, and there are times when it sucks, but you live through it and you learn to enjoy the good times even more. I was married 46 years before my husband was taken by a brain tumor. Were all 46 years blissful? No, but we had three great sons and, overall, a wonderful life. You and your marriage become stronger if you work through your problems. Anything worthwhile is worth working at."

This man had a rather sad story.

KawiMan: "Amen. Marriage is work. You reap what you sow ... Unfortunately, my wife of 18 years found a co-worker more exciting and left me for him. Both sets of my grandparents stayed married until death. They were wonderful examples for me and are my heroes. Unfortunately, in many of today's couples marriages, it's a paper ring that is disposed of when life gets a little tough. I'm done with relationships. No more broken hearts for me. My cats and motorcycles never let me down."

One commenter talked about cheating he did many years ago, and later gave up.

CaliJoe777: "It's pretty sad. I know when I was cheating I felt horrible and still feel bad about doing it to those poor nice gals that were dating me. It was immature behavior. I was rebounding at the time from a bad relationship, but never felt good about it. Can't imagine doing it now with kids in the mix ... or going out drinking and coking nightly. I am in my early 40s ..."

Some ladies just need to get out once in a while.

AGoodwin: "I have to admit that I probably get out more now than before children. I probably go out once a month with my girlfriends – many of whom are single. With two children - one of which has a disability (epilepsy) - there are times when I just need a BREAK. I need to talk about something other than seizures, finances, whiney kids, etc. Very thankful that my husband is supportive of this and would never cheat. I just need to dance ... LOL :)"

Why bother?

myopinionz1: "Monogamy was a man-made rule forced upon us by religion, to prevent men from killing each other. Why do you feel excited by other women or men? Because that is the natural state of things ... to procreate and mix DNA."

Or are women the new men?

matttwithonet: "Wow, today's culture is fascinating. Men don't want to grow up, and women want to act like the type of men that influenced feminism in the first place. Who's left to care about kids? I can't wait to see what the next generation of screw-ups grow in to. And no, well-informed reader, I'm not talking about YOU."

How can men and women find common ground? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Ravinder

    good post

    October 9, 2012 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. SomeGimp

    On fidelity – Marriage and monogamy was a gift men gave to women, if they dont want it, I'm not going to cry about it. I don't know how easy it will be to provide a stable home for my kids, but I guess it is more important that women go work for some big heartless corporation than to serve her loving husband and children.

    On bravery and heroism – Men are 98% of combat deaths and are required to sign the draft to get the 'right' to vote. It is dishonorable that women would complain of inequality while getting the right to vote for free.

    July 30, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gig

    as for the heroism, only men do those things, only men would care, women aren;t that strong and they expect a man to protect them, u ppl have watched too much g.i. jane, that is so unrealistic. men are sacrificers and providers, not women.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Remmy

    Men define their relationships through what they physically share with one another. Women define their relationships through they emtionally share with one another. Neither is better.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • evolved one

      Excuse me? Generalizing a bit here? Not all women are emotional creatures nor are all men big He Men machos....why promote these tired old stereotypes? Both genders are equally capable of forming (or not) lasting bonds with other humans.

      July 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |