There is sadly a truism about dating in this over-connected world. There is always a seeming level of disconnect between the types of communication that are available to us. Someone you might enjoy the company of in person can become someone entirely different when texting or emailing.
Plus, we women have to make a risk assessment any time we physically meet someone we’ve only just met on the Internet. It’s actually something we have to do any time we’re out with someone – even someone we may have known for a while.
Men complain that we don’t trust them. That we assume the worst of them before they’ve even gotten a chance.
As girls, we’re taught that men and boys only want one thing — to have sex with us. So before we’ve even started dating, we’re already set up to be afraid — whether it is on a conscious level or not. Then, we’re taught to dress in a certain way, act in a certain way or any of hundreds of other little criticisms about our behavior that eventually mean that if a man or boy actually attacks us sexuality, we are already set up to believe that the problem is with us, that we somehow provoked the attack by how we dressed or how we acted. Rarely, until more recently, was it ever stated clearly in many public discussions that perhaps the rapist is the problem, not us.
I thought long and hard about whether or not to link to the article I’m focusing on in this post. I’m not interested in adding to the popularity of his posts, so I won’t be directly linking to it. On the other hand, if you really want to read the article, search for washing machine, the Pill and Breitbart, and you will find it.
This unashamedly gay Republican is part of what is considered the alt-right. These are the fringe of the conservative side of the spectrum. They are kind of fringe for the Right as the radFems (this includes many feminists who consider ANY penis-in-vagina sex is ALWAYS rape, and essentially want to eliminate men as a whole. Sadly, many of them are anti-transgender as well) are as fringe for the Left.
I’ve looked at some of his articles, as well as what Breitbart.com stands for. When I first came across his article, I was absolutely convinced that it was a satire website such as the Onion or the Daily Currant. The article was just too far-fetched to be someone’s real opinion, I felt.
According to him, if we got rid of washing machines and the Pill, women in this country would go “back” to being happy.
His complaint about the washing machine was that it “effectively freed up half the human species to enter the workforce. His issue with the Pill is that it is “used to lower a woman’s estrogen levels and reduce the likelihood of her becoming pregnant.”
Heading in a different direction for a while. There is a reason that I often link to the definition of certain words I use. That reason is that I want what I am saying to be understood.
Sometimes, words can be confused even if someone has the definition for it. There is the strict, literal definition of the word (called the denotation of the word). But, there is also the connotation of the word which is the varied cultural overtones, social implications and emotional resonances with which certain words can be associated.
For example, the word “patriarchy” can have completely divergent connotations while it still retains the denotation. For some, it is a buzz word that has become an immediate trigger for ignoring any information associated with it. For others, it is an easy way to describe the cultural tendency to give men (particularly white men) the power and control.
Particularly when we are attempting to persuade someone, we tend to use what is called “loaded language.” This is the intentional use of a word with a strong emotional connotation in order to subtly change the listener’s (or reader’s, if it is written) opinion.
As stated by the writer of the article linked above, this is not about Trump or his supposed “locker room talk.”
For me, this is about what we are teaching our children. I have given up hope that we can teach a certain percentage of the adult male population that “rape culture” is a real, provable thing.
We teach our children that males can get away with behavior that females are not permitted. That even though certain behaviors are clearly negative and thereby considered “wrong” in our society, males will be excused for that “wrong” behavior.
I do understand the reasoning the authority figures give for excusing such behaviors. They don’t want to “destroy a young man’s life” for a “simple mistake.” They want to give him a “chance” because it was “just bad decision-making.”
The problem with that is that we are ignoring the victim of this young man’s behaviors. We are telling the victim(s) that they are not excused for their “simple mistake” of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We vilify them for their own “bad decision-making.” And it doesn’t matter if that victim is male or female.
I promised myself that I would no longer get into any discussions about politics. And, guess what? This is NOT about politics.
It’s about making sure my body is MINE — and not owned by some random man who thinks he owns any woman’s body whenever he wants it.
Like this woman, I have been “touched” by a man against my own will. And, I spent a good portion of my life actually believing I had NOT been a victim of sexual assault. Why? I’m glad you asked that question.
The answer, however, is probably something you don’t want to hear.
Unwanted sexual touching has been normalized in our culture for pretty much not only during the entire history of our nation, but was previously normalized in the cultures that spawned our nation.
This isn’t about politics. It isn’t about who is better or worse. It isn’t even about ideologies.
It’s about us……and what kind of a world we want the next generations to live in.
The woman who wrote this is 27 years old. She IS the next generation to someone like me. If I had had a child at age 20, she would be this woman’s age right now.
She, like many of us, has experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault — but she, like me, has been one of the lucky ones. One of the ones who somehow lucked out that their responses got the men (oh, how I cringe to say that……because they aren’t men……they’re spoiled rotten assholes who have been told all of their lives that this kind of thing is OK to do to a female) to back off or protected themselves just enough to not get raped.
Out of 630 words in this transcript, of which probably 10% are identifying assorted speakers, there are exactly FIVE (count them … 5!) so-called “crude” words. That leaves 79% of the transcript that is simply sexually assaultive speech.
What is clear, however, is that both Trump and Billy Bush (and an unknown number of other people) are very clearly speaking of AT MINIMUM(and only if we are trying to excuse the behavior)sexual harassment. For many women, including myself, it goes further than that into the exact same attitude of every single man who has ever sexually assaulted us.
This isn’t about us having been triggered by some unintentional and innocent comment.
These are clearly the words of a man who is fully aware that he is speaking of half of the human race as easily-controlled sperm receptacles and baby-making factories.
“But…but…it’s just locker room talk!” men scream.
I’m proud that other male Americans involved in professional sports who are standing up and speaking out to deny this exact excuse. This is exactly the same attitude of those who say “boys will be boys!”
As a follow-up to yesterday’s “give a fuck” post, there is something else that the discussion didn’t cover.
One of the things that comes with being an outspoken, strong-willed woman is being called things like a “battle-axe.” But the one that bothers me the most is when I am told that I am some sort of “wanna-be man.”
Really? Since when is showing strength, control and not being afraid of confronting something head-on somehow trying to “be a man?”
It is also something that other strong women, and yes I am including Secretary Clinton in that listing, are often accused of. That somehow being a woman means that we should ONLY be special little snowflakes or worse “damsels in a dress.”
I was rewatching What Women Want today. Yes, I know the photo is from Pretty Woman, but it inspires the post a bit more than the Mel Gibson movie.
In fact, in many ways, the character that Richard Gere plays in many of his movies is far more of an ideal for me than Mel Gibson. Not necessarily as Billy Flynn (from Chicago as that character is a stereotypical “player” in business and everywhere else), but many of his characters such as John Clark (Shall We Dance), Ike Graham (Runaway Bride — once he stops being the cynical asshole, of course), Edward Lewis (Pretty Woman, of course) and Zack Mayo (An Officer and a Gentleman).
Thing is, guys, the real problem here is not that it is somehow “impossible” for you to know what the women in your life want. The real problem is that you are looking for a “universal remote” for all women.
Now, the other reality is that our heteronormative culture (which objectifies women) teaches most males that women are fairly interchangeable. That somehow we all want the same exact thing, and we’re all cookie-cutter copies of each other. And sadly, many women buy into this thought as well and attempt to use peer pressure on other women to conform.
For a large portion of my life, I have considered rejection to be an absolute horror. The therapists I’ve seen over the years have all at some time during our time together asked me why I have in the past given those who reject me tears and days worth of self-flagellation, even if the person was truly only a blip on life’s radar.
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