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Recently, a Ricochet member posted a humorous video skewering a common complaint women make about men. When a woman is talking to her husband about an upsetting topic, he should just listen, women say. His tendency to come up with advice to solve the problem ignores her feelings as well as the fact that she’s not looking for solutions–she just needs to vent. This complaint has become part of our culture, self-deprecatingly accepted by men and referenced as a bit of go-to humor everyone relates to. The video responds to this cultural chestnut by suggesting that this male “problem-solving” they get accused of can be a case of simply pointing out the painfully obvious. Meanwhile, the venting woman is indignant that she is not being heard.
It’s possible, however, that the cliche about women just wanting to vent has it all wrong. And the description of unwelcome input from the listener as “problem-solving” might be framed more accurately as something else. Women would actually welcome advice from men. This male-female divide may have more layers than generally assumed.