On the one hand, it’s encouraging to see liberals starting to reflect now that we’re confronted with a newer, tackier fascism. On the other hand, this is a harmful exercise when the liberal can’t get over their appeasement disease.
An ex recently told me that, among my many flaws was my belief that, physical feats aside, there is no discernible difference in the capabilities of men and women. To be fair, I considered it a flaw that he did not believe the same.
To my way of thinking, it is completely illogical for a person reared in the age of Margaret Thatcher and MC Lyte to hold on to the fallacy that — matters of anatomy notwithstanding — there is anything a man can do that a woman cannot. Show me a man’s accomplishments, and I’ll raise you a woman who did the same or close to it while “dancing backward in heels.”
Whether we want to do those things is a different matter altogether, but the ability is there. Just as the ability for men to cook, clean and care for children is there, too. Much of what we assign to gender roles is a matter of skill and instruction vs. cognitive ability. It is conditioning, which can be undone. Which should be undone if we want to have authentic relationships with one another. Relationships built on the truth of who each person is vs. who they believe they need to be to make things work.
Women are capable creatures. Have been for a very long time, though we often downplay it. Still, should the apocalypse happen tomorrow, some of us will emerge as leaders. Others will be dead weight. But the same goes for the men. Deep down we all know that truth to be self-evident.
She doesn’t elaborate on the relationship except to say that this guy is her “ex.” She doesn’t say actively espousing male superiority was a dealbreaker, she says it was a “flaw,” like not rinsing dishes before leaving stuff dry all over them. She’s going to write a bunch more stuff, but the important thing is that, in her personal life, some guy was like, “Women are inferior” and she rolled her eyes a bit and then sucked his dick, which means something degrading in the mind of a misogynist.
So why do we continue to perpetuate the idea that a man’s value in heterosexual relationships is tied to his ability to provide and protect when we know that women are perfectly capable of protecting and providing for themselves? Why have we not told men that their value lies in their willingness to act as an engaged, equal partner, promoting and supporting their own personal growth and the growth of those they love? Feminism might have expanded our idea of what a woman can do and be, but it failed to expand our definition of what it means to be a “man.” “Girl power” did not set the boys free, too. But it did make male-female relationships more nuanced than traditional roles allow for.
I see it all the time. Did it myself a time or two. We fall into our roles rooted in a different time and reality without regard for temperament or talent. Men, regardless of capabilities and opportunities, feel pressured to be breadwinners and judged if they fall short. Which is probably why, according to Pew Research findings, the more a woman out-earns her male partner the more she takes on in terms of housework and child care. Women in such situations are trying to be less “threatening,” researchers theorize. And with good cause. A recent Harvard Business Review study found conservative men become more conservative when they lose their breadwinner status. They double-down on tradition vs. working to create a dynamic that allows for a version of masculinity that does not revolve around finances and work.
Especially disheartening to me are recent findings that, while more than 90 percent of millennials supported gender equality in business and public services in 2014, 58 percent of high school seniors also believed men should be the outside “achievers” when it comes to earning a living. In 1994, only 42 percent of seniors held that belief. Theories about why that is abound — the Great Recession, work-life balance pressures — but what I take away from those stats is that by not truly addressing and demonstrating how gender equality works in a relationship, we set up the next generation to deal with this same angst, too…
Yet we still encourage women to “let a man be a man” by pretending to be less than capable. And we encourage men to pretend that the woman he is “leading” through life could not just as easily find her way on her own. There is no authenticity in that. How can you trust someone you know is lying to you? How can you respect someone who needs the lie? Acknowledged or not, the truth sets heavy on many relationships I know. It breeds a dissatisfaction I have seen only the strongest relationships survive — usually by imploding and rebuilding.
Unfortunately, the “we” she’s talking about really does refer to a gigantic number of people. Everyone who’s not a militant femi-Nazi, pretty much.
It’s not just that women sexually reward misogyny all the time, they actively punish more egalitarian behavior patterns.
Personal sexual attention from men is more important than forcing men to act right. Alright, then.
I thought it was interesting that she doesn’t talk about Bill Cosby in this context:
There was one. I came into adulthood believing in the feminism of Claire Huxtable, which deemed submission in return for protection and provision archaic. We all wanted to be the Huxtables. We all wanted that life. And we can have it — once we free men from the burden of believing their value in a relationship is financial rather than emotional.
Here she talks about her personal life, to add context.
I’m 39, single, easy on the eyes, easy to get along with and good in bed. And I can’t get laid.
How is that possible? Well, for starters, despite the fact that I use words like “laid” and reject the conventional wisdom that says female sexuality is best muted and monitored, I believe sex is metaphysical and elemental. An exchange of energies and all that. Which means casual sex in the Tinder sense doesn’t work for me. I have no desire to see disappointment on my gynecologist’s face when my Pap comes back abnormal.
I want a lover.
I’m not looking for a “boyfriend” or a “husband.” I want a lover. I want to have consistently good sex with someone I like and respect, who likes and respects me, without the trappings of domesticity. That might change. Might not. But in this moment of my life, when I’m juggling projects and co-parenting, I simply want good sex on a regular basis with a side of good conversation, the occasional out-of-bed adventure and special-occasion date.
This has proven more difficult to find than you might think.
I don’t understand the difference between “husband” and “lover,” as she’s defined it. WTF does a relationship with a life partner look like, in daily life? People are busy and tired and stresed out and need each other’s support. The simple things.
I really don’t understand these other relationship categories, in which that’s not the pattern of how to interact. It’s like living with a closer-than-best-friend.
Do people not expect basic companionship from boyfriends? What does she see as a husband’s role?
Why are so many people out there fucking people they can’t, like, talk to? How is the sex not expressing something antisocial?
I have a few theories on this, the foremost being that most men simply do not believe women have the ability to compartmentalize sex. We can. It is possible for us to have sex without falling deeply, stupidly in love. And those of us who really enjoy sex, who consider it a meditative exercise when done right, we definitely can compartmentalize sex.
Actually, nobody can compartmentalize sex. It’s just some life-in-denial bullshit that sexually exploitative people say. The point of sex is feelings.
It’s anathema to me that she conflates meditative sex with sex that’s emotionally cut off.
But it takes two. Despite my best efforts to communicate clearly about what I’m looking for, the men I’ve chosen as lovers start to feel some type of way. Suddenly sex is no longer enough. They think they want more — until they realize a woman who wants a lover is not going to play by the same rules as a woman looking for a more domestic arrangement.
I’ve polled my council of platonic male friends on the matter, and their consensus is it’s all about control. After a certain age, a man gets used to being pursued, especially if he’s a good catch. So the notion that a single woman, also of a certain age, is uninterested in locking him down is foreign — and intriguing. Until it becomes frustrating. And annoying. And then the bed peace we’ve created is gone.
I don’t know WTF they’re even talking about. Control? Being pursued? Yeah, all the attention is definitely bad for normal people’s character. It’s like what ancient Taoists said about fame and gain.
Basically, she’s sending crazy-making mixed signals by fucking someone passionately and then acting like they don’t matter to her.
This scenario has played out twice since I’ve been looking for a lover. Both times with men I would have sworn had player hearts of ice. We meet. We mingle. We agree that the occasional roll in the sack would be delightful. A month later, we’re fighting about who texted whom last and whether emoji count as adult communication. I’m no innocent in those bad romances. Good sex clouded my mind, made me forget why I chose whom I chose. So when they pushed with more, I went with it despite knowing that I lacked the time, energy or inclination to maintain a committed relationship. Good sex and a happy relationship aren’t synonymous. It took me two times to learn that lesson.
Actually, if you liked the person, you’d just have a relationship where moments together were rare and precious. People do long-distance relationships. People wait out their partners’ prison terms. Sailors go on cruise and soldiers go to war.
It’s an attitude problem that she has.
And she’s seeking out people with seeming “player hearts of ice.”
I used to feel a lot worse about sucking at OkCupid. After a lot of therapy, I realize that this shit is the reason people don’t write me back a lot of the time.
So I’m going on dates with men whom I like and respect who like and respect me back, a few whom I’d really like to see naked … and nothing. Great dates, lots of laughing, drinking, dancing — all the things that you might think would result in a nightcap of nookie, and I’m lucky if I get a good-night kiss.
I’ve gone back to my board of male advisers, because this is definitely not how I imagined post-divorce life. “Baby girl,” one began as he shook his head in amusement, “They’re nice guys; they are going to take it slow because they like and respect you. You’re going to have to make the move.”
Except I’m gun-shy about making moves. And to be honest, I’m not sure what move I want to make. Being direct hasn’t served me well. “No man trusts it when a woman says let’s keep it casual,” said another homeboy. Neither has going with the flow. “Men are people, too,” a third told me, “no one likes feeling used.”
My mistake in the past, I think, was to couch the conversation in seduction. I was upfront about what I was looking for — in between sexts about when and where and how. But what man is listening and processing when thinking of sex?
She doesn’t know what she wants, so she can’t explain it directly. No surprises.
I definitely don’t know how to make the move because I’m autistic. I’m just not willing to be The Guy Who Touches Women Inappropriately. I’m not willing to be used by someone “casual” or “poly” or whatever, either. It’s notable that she doesn’t see the point that she’s using people.
The alternative is to take a more formal approach: “Here’s what I’m looking for from the relationship. Text “yes” or “no” if you agree. Or should I say nothing and let ignored calls and texts set the tone?
That’s what I can’t wrap my head around: How do you keep a sexual relationship light and compartmentalized without someone feeling used in the end? Is it even possible? Is the notion of a “lover,” as in sunny afternoons spent making love and harboring little expectations beyond that, a fantasy?
I grapple with these questions. Pondering them occupies more of my time than it should. I’m 39, single, easy on the eyes, easy to get along with and good in bed. And I can’t get laid.
But she can write in the newspaper about feminism and then repeat male-victimization stuff about how boys are left behind in schools, without discussing the role of patriarchy in killing the necessary emotion regulation.