A recent conversation from the comments over at Consumption and Control: The Foundation of Men’s Sexuality? deserves it’s own post.
We were just about ready to leave for dinner when I read some comments on this post and decided to reply. Here are a few ideas. However, I am not casting aspersions on anyone. Only giving an alternative view.
The strides women have made since the 70’s are amazing. It would be foolish to expect a talented woman who could be a physician, lawyer or accountant, to settle for being solely a wife and mommy———which I personally thing is a pretty noble profession in itself. Feminism has been a boon to some women who are destined to be doctors or lawyers but other women are not and may feel shortchanged through lack of talent. It’s like the old American idea of “pulling yourself up your own bootstraps” and becoming a rich. If everyone could do that, we’d be a nation of millionaires.
Yes, men are sexual beings. Our sex drive tends to be stronger than women’s, but that is the nature of the human male. You cannot change a creature’s nature. But some women have taken this opportunity to use a man’s sexuality against him. You can see this is everyday life. If a woman is kind to a child everyone smiles and says “isn’t she sweet.” If a man is kind to a child, everyone is just a little suspicious. I like children and so do some other men, but that doesn’t count; we’re still men and therefore suspect. A friend of my wife’s ( woman) who went to the University of Wisconsin attended some feminists meetings and was told that by one speaker that “every man is a potential rapist.” I think I mentioned telling a woman I knew on a first name basis that she “had sexy hair” the day she had it down long and straight. Her reaction of “that’s not appropriate” bothered me to the degree that I now don’t say anything I think can be misconstrued by a woman, but even then some women can actually hear things that aren’t said and see things that aren’t there.
Again, there was a pretty black girl in the housekeeping department of my gym. We were casually talking one day about how African Americans were all different colors. She said with a smile “I’ve got white in me.” I said “it’s not the color, it’s the girl.” She suddenly gave me a suspicious look as if I was going to bite her, and backed away slowly. She thought I was hitting on her.
I’m not the only man who feels this way. Women have acquired enormous power to accuse men of sexual misconduct———real or imagined. And with any accusation of harassment against a man by a woman, everyone——even men——tend to believe her. This has made men reticent about being friends with woman. This has also made men feel ill-used and harassed. I used to be friends with the female personal trainers at the gym. But they all think any man who’s nice to them is up to no good, so I keep my distance. Relationships between men and women have suffered because of this.
Women sometimes see or hear something and then think up a scenario to fit the situation. It puts a guy at a terrible disadvantage, when all he really wants is to be friends. In the last twenty years many women have become overly sensitive to male “harassment.” Men have taken evasive action. That’s not good for the future of boy-girl relationships.
I do not think this response to your innocent friendliness is coming from the source you think it is. Very few women get really deep in to feminism. These women are responding appropriately according to their experience, which is with men in general, not with you. They can not read your mind, so they think they are getting the familiar signals of impending unwanted sexual attention. They think this because they have seen it before, and they have learned that unless they nip it in the bud it is very hard to get that prurient interest to subside and get that guy to return to friend or acquaintance status.
As I have replied to you before, you are paying for other men’s sins.
Another point: you know when things are in balance notwhen no mistakes are made, but when just as many overestimates as underestimates are made. IOW, just as many misses to the left as to the right.
You are experiencing mistakes by women overestimating your lust, so it feels out of balance to you. You are not partaking of the interactions where women underestimate the lust, and get burned by unwanted attention, because you took no part in that. But those interactions happen, a lot.
Yeah, men get unfairly thought to be lascivious once in a while. Get. Over. It. Because that is well and truly balanced off by the huge volume of incidents where seemingly innocent interaction escalate into harassment. The women have no choice but to adjust to the environment they are in. And I doubt women were less suspicious in the olden days, they just had less freedom to show their concern — they had no real choice but to smile and be nice.
@Aabaakawad, You say that these women “can’t read my mind,” yet they THINK they can and they THINK I have evil intentions on my mind before I’ve said anything. It doesn’t seem fair for every woman to look at a guy as if he’s a “potential rapist.” Right or wrong, many men think most women are obsessed with money. Wouldn’t you be offended if I assumed you were a gold digger and acted accordingly? Because of the examples I’ve mentioned I’m careful about saying or doing anything around women. Men expect women to be weird and act in strange ways. We accept that up to a point———then we give up. That’s just one more barrier to friendship and romance.
Again, your advice to just “get over it” seems harsh and very much a “my way or the highway” attitude. If I were to say “get over it” when some men make suggestive remarks to you, I think you’d object———and rightly so. If most women feel this way, that may be a reason why some men react to you as they do. You simply can’t assume every man you meet is going to be a scoundrel.
Something girls need to understand: MEN HAVE FEELINGS TOO.
Waah wahh wahh waah
Please, unless these women are being harsh to you, rather than merely stopping you from communicating with them in a way THEY DO NOT WANT, it is hard for me to see the problem. They are not assuming ANYTHING. they are mere responding to you APPROPRIATELY according to their EXPERIENCE. They do not have statistical data on how YOU behave, but they have lots of data from their own lives on the behavior of MEN. Hey, if these women want limits on the way you interact with them, let them have the own chosen boundaries. Frankly, Men’s feelings are catered to constantly in this world. Suck it up.
You clearly have no appreciation for what women go through in life. You clearly do not want to understand what women go through in life.
@Aabaakawad, Perhaps you were unaware that in our codified system of justice, a person is innocent until PROVEN guilty. What you’re suggesting is certainly the antithesis of that principal. Anyone can be accused of anything by anyone. Man/woman friendships are not codified in law, but when someone figuratively slaps me in the face, I don’t care what their past history is. That’s kind of like a defense attorney trying to get an innocent verdict for a child molester on the basis that he was molested himself as a child. Do the parent of that child care if he was molested as a child? Yet if I am treated preemptively and harshly by a woman because she’s been treated badly by a men in the past, I’m expected to be understanding? If you want to call that whining, I don’t mind. I’m talking about the social graces, interpersonal relationships and the fallacy of “judging a book by its cover.”
You said “they are responding to me appropriately based on their experience with OTHER men, BUT I am NOT part of that experience history. Why should I pay for someone else’s sins? As for having no appreciation of what women go through in life, I grew up with three sister, a mother and a grandmother all in the same house. My dad was usually away on business. My sisters and I talked———a lot. For some reason, they included me in their “girl talk.” I learned a good deal from them. I am well aware of the ups and downs of being a girl, and they learned the ups and downs of being a boy———that’s what I meant when I referred to the social graces and interpersonal relationships. Until we understand each other there will never be any trust.
Someone on this thread mentioned that human males only keep themselves from aggressively molesting women because of what the French call “a thin veneer of civilization.” But isn’t that concept of civilization that instills in us the trait that raises up to a higher level than brute animals? A man in his twenties could probably overpower most any woman and have his way with her, but few do that because we have been brought up to respect and protect women. When that respect becomes the inverse catalyst for the mischief of seeing all men as potential monsters, we are in effect saying men have shed their civilization and reverted back to a primitive pre-civilized state———which evidently happened concurrently with the advent of feminism——how many of us want to say that?
This may be akin to “reclaimed memory” where psychologists found children who were molested. The children had forgotten it themselves until the psychologist “helped” them “reclaim” their memories. You may remember the infamous McMartin day care sexual abuse case from 1983. After six years of criminal trials, the most expensive criminal case in American history (costing $12 million) came to and end and all charges were dropped because of lack of proof. Psychologist have written books on what is now called “the day care sex abuse hysteria” of the 80’s. Some of the children, now grown up, have admitted they saw nothing and had lied about being abused at the suggestion of those psychologists. Others have referred to the incident as the “second American witchcraft trial.” Since then all accusation of day care child molestation have been taken with a grain of salt.
One last word and then I’ll call it quits on this problem. Isn’t there enough evil in the world naturally, without actively searching for it? Also there is the ever present danger of “the boy who cried wolf.” If we read numerous cases of sexual harassment, we either have to believe that the male population of the world has turned decidedly evil, or the accusation themselves are overblown. How long would it be before real, provable cases of accusation were looked upon skeptically? I don’t want to see that happen to legitimate cases of sexual harassment———and I don’t want to be nominated as “monster of the week” simply because I wear pants.
You are throwing in everything but the kitchen sink when really all we are talking about is women not wanting conversation to go in certain directions … and enforcing it.
Ask your sisters (really, ask them) what happens when conversations with strange men or faintly acquainted men start drifting to the woman’s appearance or her sexiness. Often, it escalates to actually hitting on her, rarely (but often enough) it moves into harassment. And men being men, shutting the men down after they have crossed the line into coming on to the women has it’s distinct problems, because then their pride is hurt and they feel they have to prove themselves or take revenge (yes, some men do that).
What women have figured out, and they are correct, is that life goes more smoothly if she never lets strange men get to the point where they have crossed the line.
You think, heck you are practically demanding, that women give you more conversational space because not doing so is “considering you guilty until proven innocent”.
No, your “innocence” is not the most important issue here.
No, they are not obligated to do that.
No, because they are in fact doing the right thing to protect their own tranquility. Unless they are being jerks about it, like dressing you down or some such.
Women have to be firm with men because many men just take mild resistance as a challenge.
I fully understand that you are NOT one of these troublesome men. Fine, take pride in that, and move on when a woman throws up a wall. They have their reasons, and it has nothing, in most cases, to do with feminist indoctrination.
@Aabaakawad @FriendsofJay @Brenda55 We are, in essence, having a conversation about male dominance. You FOJ want to be allowed to communicate with women without their putting you in a box that you believe you do not belong.
Men (in general) don’t realize how sexually implied daily conversation is.
“Sexy hair” tells me that my hair is reminding YOU of sex, that is your choice of words, that is the visual you gave me (and probably her). From there I would presume that you ‘see’ that girl sexually, thus, you can envision her hair being ‘sexy’, it’s all related. Whether you intended for it to be sexual, or not, does not matter. Implied meaning can be dangerous.
Many women allow men to go on and on with their (unsolicited/unwanted) dialogue because it is seen rude to shut him down.
As was stated, these men will feel rebuked, and may want revenge.
I have a term for this that I can “D*ck on the forehead* which is the insistence that men (in general) somehow wiggle a sexual overtone into conversation, regardless of the topic, when they are interested in a woman.
You may not have thought yourself interested in this particular woman, but would you have said the same thing to a man?
Would you have referred to an older woman as having ‘sexy hair’?
Would you have found that to be in appropriate or rude depending on a different gender, or age group?
No one owes anyone conversation. No matter how friendly, or well meaning.
Some discussions of sex are off limits, think of women who are very sexually modest (or taught to be).
Think of laws (or past customs) where this type of dialogue would have been seen as forward, insulting to the woman even. You may have found yourself in a duel.
It’s hard to explain to the male gender that they aren’t the cats pajamas. That not all women are seeking friendship and mates, and that all women have the right to be left alone, and spoken to in a gender nuertal manner.
NOW….with that being said, the members of this board are looking for mates, they are curious about the opposite sex. That is a given.
So THESE women are not THOSE women (in general).
Much of what certain woman find annoying (usually by those women with ample attention from men) know that what those women who wish to have attention from men don’t know what they are asking for.
It’s like making a wish..be careful of what you ask for.
Certain male/female interactions are annoying, presumptuous, disturbing and puts one on guard for further interaction.
If certain women DID have the attention of men on a regular basis they may feel the same way.
I also note that certain women, due to their social/emotional deprivation would love to have male attention (of any kind) which is where you have women selling their soul just so that they can be wanted, by a DBR or abusive man, or any man for that matter.
Will you keep it up? Will you react badly if I push back from further conversation? Will the dynamics of what we previously had turn sour, now that I have chosen to not play ‘that game’ with a man?
These are things women have to consider when men are being ‘friendly’ to them.
Are you are as friendly to men, as you are to women? I ask this of men so that they may reflect and see where their actions are subtle, possibly, subconscious efforts at gaining female approval and not just an attempt at being friendly (I understand you meant the statement to be a compliment…)
What is your definition of being friendly? What is your reference point on what is and is not appropriate and to whom?
There is the possibility that you have never been told, in plain words, what is and is not okay.
Women (in general) understand how much of male/female interaction involves tolerating/molding/ and guiding men on how to behave.
If the power dynamics of income where different,historically, would men really be as valued as they believe themselves to be?
I won’t answer that. I will say there is a conversation about the changing perception of what it means to be male.
There is a conversation about women becoming the more powerful gender. If that happens then women will be free to pick, choose or decline males (in general) which you see through women’s rights and there no longer needing to be the presence of a man (economics/social/legal required presence) in order for a woman to exist in society.
Hope that makes sense. I think you are all awesome…