Skip to content

Are we too awesome for you? Is that it?

August 24, 2010

Here’s to the men that we love that we love
Here’s to the men that love us that love us
If the men that we love
Don’t love us don’t love us
Then fuck the men and here’s to us!

– A cheers from my college days…

OK I feel a little bit like I’m walking around the last couple weeks with a big stick, beating this dead horse every time I sit down to post something.

The dead horse’s name being Changing Sex Stereotypes and How Do You Deal With Boys That Can’t Deal With You. When You’re Part of The Change.

(Long name for a horse, right…)

Things that I’ve learned from this beating a dead horse discussion… (and, for the record, I am loving this discussion – I think it takes time and conversation to reach conclusions that matter…)

One: It’s time to stop with the flippin’ societal constructs about men as sexual beings defined here and women as sexual beings defined here. Enough, especially, with trying to use science (sometimes shitty science, sometimes shitty interpretation/cherry picking of science) as confirmation of those sexual stereotypes.

Break free! Be yourself! Educate each other! Talk! Discuss! Argue! Challenge! Hoorah!

But… unfortunately, that is only half the battle.

Because Two: There are some of us that get it, and a lot that don’t.

I think the “slut v. prude” argument makes clear that some women don’t get it. So it’s not just the boys. SO women need to knock off the shaming and the name-calling and stop, for fuck’s sake, being our own worst enemy and start effing supporting one another. Done and done.

But… the boys don’t get it either. On one hand, they’re afraid because things are changing – and, duh, change + insecurity = inadequacy and fear. Plus, add to that the fact that men aren’t exactly taught to deal with their emotions (this is a blog all by itself).

There’s an additional problem, however, with (I know, isn’t that enough?)what is predictable?

It’s not just that men are supposed to be the pursuer (or whatever) and that changing gender roles makes them nervous.

It’s not only that women are not supposed to be outwardly sexual – let alone being the sexual “aggressor” (for lack of a better term).

It’s also … women are also supposed to be, well, kind of crazy.

We’re supposed to be passive-aggressive, and we’re supposed to not really tell you what we’re thinking – we’re supposed to think that you’re supposed to read our minds.

We’re not supposed to understand that you’re busy. We’re supposed to expect daily phone calls/texts/e-mails.

In short, we’re supposed to be high maintenance, and just looking for a way to get you to marry us. This isn’t supposed to be easy… we’re supposed to be kind of a pain in the ass.

Yeah… kind of crazy.

Newsflash: We’re not the stereotypical woman, because we’re not any of those things, either.

Because… those stereotypes infer that we’re not really supposed to have our own lives that are important to us.

We’re not supposed to be busy, too. We’re not supposed to have more important things to do than hang out with you.

But those are things that actually are. Because part of being a feminist, is being happy in your own skin, having a life that you built yourself and that you love. Part of being an independent woman, the daughters of the feminist movement, is being yourself. Part of it is not needing a man to define that, or trying to trap one to make you happy. You can do that yourself.

We know who we are – because we defined that ourselves. We are no longer dependent on men, to ask for sex, to pursue us, to make us happy, to tell us who we are, to define our lives.

We’re not supposed to speak our minds and tell you what we want, whether that’s a date on Saturday, that you’re being stupid, or that we’d like to fuck you on the hood of your car.

We’re not high maintenance, we’re not passive-aggressive, because dear lord that just sounds tiring – and we’ve got enough going on. Who needs to behave like that?

So. In the end? We’re pretty goddamn awesome.

But you know what? Even that – is totally new, if you compare it to how women are supposed to be.

And that, my friend, adds to the anxiety.

Passive-aggressive put-a-goddamn-ring-on-my-finger isn’t great, but it’s predictable.

In addition, it makes boys feel needed, too.

This all amounts to a whole hell of a lot of anxiety for boys. Some confusion. Maybe some inadequacy, too. The sad part of all this?

It shouldn’t. This should fucking awesome for everyone.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    August 24, 2010 4:39 pm

    “We’re not high maintenance, we’re not passive-aggressive, because dear lord that just sounds tiring – and we’ve got enough going on. Who needs to behave like that?”

    Well, for example the people desperately clinching to the bars of their cage… some even try to invent bars where there’s none, where they see wide openings to the cruel world, with the help of science, religion, morality, tradition, you name it. This may explain why they have only 10 percents of their brain left for usual tasks (I refer to the famous Einstein’s quote).
    I think it is not only very frustrating, but also time and resources consuming. It seems to me like a restraint to the evolution of humanity.
    If we look for the guilty party, however, we find that it’s nobody’s and everybody’s, fault at the same time; nobody’s, because that’s how they were raised, both by their parents and the environment they grew into, and everybody’s, well, we all can make choices, at every moment. The important thing being having the right informations, to make enlightened choices.
    We probably all are part culprit and part victim, although at different proportions. Also, we may be male, female, or anything else, but we are all part woman and part man, at different proportions. Let’s solve it into being human. I totally agree with you: It begins with ourselves to break free, educate each other, talk, discuss, argue… it’s difficult however to educate someone who doesn’t want to change, and even more when that someone knows you’re trying to educate them and see it like you’re trying to “cram it down their throat” (this expression I read in comments somewhere (about prop 8) is frightening ! Anyway, one see the world as one is). The good way is to bring people to question themselves, and it’s delicate business…
    I’d really like (and am working on it) to free myself from my actual life to become the artist I was becoming. I’m a musician, my mind is full of songs, and I think art is a great way to give ideas to the world. Plus, so much years of intensive and passionate practice to end up programming websites is a sign that somewhere, I didn’t take the right way… you know what I now find funny ? I gave up my life as a musician because I thought it was responsible for me feeling I was a woman, because of all the BS we’re trying to discuss and understand right now. Well, that’s my own path to enlightenment 🙂 .

    About your question, I’d answer yes. You’re awesome. In a very good way.

    • Sarah permalink
      August 24, 2010 4:46 pm

      Ok, the number eight followed with a parenthesis makes a smiley with sunglasses. Good to know. Anyway, my point is about a comment I read about prop 8. Sorry.

    • August 31, 2010 10:04 am

      I really like what you have to say about these things in proportions, that the world is not black and white. There is no stark distinction between culprit or victim, between this person’s fault or this environment’s forcing, between man and woman.

      I agree – we live in a world of gray, where we are shaped by a multitude of influences, where we make our own decisions, because of and in spite of those influences. We judge one another, question one another, blame one another… but in the end, we are all human. We are all at fault, in our own way, yet we all have valid excuses at this time or another.

      The point is to realize no one is right, all the time, and no one is entirely wrong. The point is to realize what our excuses are, but not hide behind them to avoid change. It is frustrating when we come up against people who forget this, when we forget to open our eyes to something new, to listen to another opinion, to trend in someone else’s shoes. Those “clinging to the bars of their cage”. Because these people can become an influence in our lives, if we allow them to be. We can try to argue, to challenge, to discuss, to reflect, until we realize it is a one-sided discussion… and then we have to move the fuck on.

  2. August 25, 2010 3:58 am

    Hey, it’s not a dead horse, it is the pinata of truth! Full of delightful consciousness raising happy-making candy! Or something. I don’t know, metaphors, I have them, they don’t always make sense.

    Oh lawsey, this comment is stupid long. The post I should writing on my own blog, I capriciously leave as a comment, because I am rebellious like that! Apologies and salutations.

    But I think that in terms of woman on woman violence, and the behavior that we code as mouse, or traditional feminine husband baiting, we really have to get under its skin and see the structures upon which it is predicated.

    A lot of what Sarah said above (Hi Sarah! you are awesome sauce on toast BTW!) and also- I think that part of traditional femininity is, ha ha ha guess what, who-woulda-thunk-it, willingness to do invisible emotional labor for het-boys.

    All of the stuff you mention, the overt manipulativeness, the dangling of impossible to fathom emotional and sexual cues? I think that it really allows men to achieve what they want and need emotionally, which is often as not, stable relationships, a nest, perchance a baby or three, maybe even a big ass white wedding, sweeping romance, blabitty blah blah you know what I’m talking about.

    Things that are explicitly coded as feminine. Touchy feely things that are not part of the traditional masculine identity. Men, they must be roped into it! Because if not, if they want that stuff? They might have to, you know actually do some emotional fuckingw ork instead of a few stock gestures, and acknowledge that they share lots of things with women, and then…well the whole fucking system with it’s attendant privileges and entitlements just falls right apart hey?

    Also, women who eschew feminism in favor of traditional femininity are showing a willingness to have no boundaries in order to join the boys club. It may look like they have a bunch of boundaries (in re the manipulation), but the implicit assumption is that once they have made a show of doing all kinds of emotional labor for their chosen dude-bro and they get a ring on it, there are no more boundaries. It’s all doormats, xanax, infedelity and seeing your spouse as a fucking alien. It’s a very economic, transactional model of sex and love, and so fucking depressing.

    What do we actually do about all this crap?

    Having incredibly strong but somewhat flexible boundaries helps. There is a really profound power in being willing and able to walk away. From anyone.

    Not in the ultimatum or threat sense, but in the ever-present, from the very fucking start sense. In the, “if you cannot respect me, if you cannot be an adult, if you cannot treat me with love and kindness and parity and equality, I am gone. Like, forever,” sense.

    Making this explicit in a gentle way at the beginning of relationships and friendships saves me a lot of drama and heartache. It took me some time to learn it, and to unlearn the guilt of actually standing up for myself.

    When I hear anyone slut shaming, or prude shaming, I tilt my head, open my eyes wide and ask them “why does x’s sexytimes or lack thereof matter to you again?” as though they are making the weirdest statement ever. Like if someone yelled “dog nose cheese tooters!” during sex. That is the face I make at them. The gaffed cod expression they usually get is priceless. Because you know, unless they are being cheated on by x, their only interest is stupid and prurient. And they probably know it, deep down.

    Ah anecdata… In my dating days I ran the gamut from openly feminist to hiding my thoughts in order to score a pass into the boys club. So, you know, slack. We all need some. But now I think that having open negotiations with the person who you want a relationship with is important. If they aren’t willing to openly negotiate the boundaries and terms of the relationship, its a sign that they want to keep way too much power, and make you (emotionally) labor like a fucking serf, relentlessly analyzing their every action or non-action like a god damned CIA agent. Oy.Vey.

    As I look at my very best friendships, and my relationship with Mr. Lee Hales now, I see two things. One is that I was extremely open about my feminism as a defining part of my identity, in the sense that I would call your ass out on sexist shit, and that I cultivated a meta-awareness of the boundaries and health of the relationship out in the fucking sunshine, in conversation.

    So I guess, in summation of this insanely long response from doom?

    Boys that want girls who will manipulate them into doing what they wanted to do but are too constrained to just outright fucking ask for in the first place are worse than useless. Consider them a bullet dodged.

    Girls who want those boys and are willing to abuse themselves to get patriarchal validation? We can’t really save them. All we can do is recognize it for what it is, not consider it competition, and be gentle to them, even as they make us want to polish the hatchet. Compliments, laughter, and kindness are the best medicine, IMHO.

    Feminists who want sex, and perhaps love? Ask for what you want. Demand that your NSA hookups, fuck buddies, lovers etc etc do so too.

    If you didn’t ask for it, don’t expect it. If you ask for it and they don’t do it, well, decide for yourself whether or not they are worth the toleration, and have a point of no return, where you are willing to just get off the merry go round. Be willing to cry about it, be willing to be crushed, and be willing to be there for your feminist friends, up to and including the point where they need to hear “Why are you doing his emotional labor, woman? Put down the shovel. Walk. Away. Take care of yourself. Seriously.”

    I think we need to move away from spontaneous acts of psychic-seeming love and romance as our gold standard, because that is just childish. That is wanting to be a child, where everything you want and need appears by magic or tantrum. We are grown ass adults, and we need to ask, and be asked, and then do it or, or not, with a respectful emotional rationale.

    And slack. Because things will not be perfect, or always easy, but lots of fun can be had, and like you said, it can be great for everybody.

    • August 31, 2010 10:18 am

      The pinata of truth! Yes!


      Nail on head, as far as women doing “emotional labor” for the boys. Ties nicely into Sarah’s comments re: men are not allowed to have emotions. It all comes back around: we are all human, we all have our own sex drives, our own wants and needs. However, in society, men can only want this (no commitment) and women this (a ring). If men are to want women-y things (commitment) that goes against society/they’re not supposed to have emotions any way hence women learn to do that for them, hence “snare” them into a relationship.

      If you don’t play that game? Boys have to own their emotions and what they want. They have to be explicit about it – not only because you’re not about to do that emotional labor, but also because you’re actually saying “hey, buddy, this is what I want. Not your typical female here. So… what do you want? I actually care about that.” Yikes. How scary – especially if, as Sarah points out, you’ve never been even allowed to experience your emotions, let alone express them. You’re also not allowed to want some things that, hey, you might actually want.

      Plus – add to it the fact that here’s a female that wants some sex. Woah. Now that is some scary ass shit. Better to just cut and run.

      As for everything else you said – yes. The end result is you cannot change people who don’t want to be changed. You cannot explain things they aren’t ready to hear. If the “cages” of soceity-defined gender roles and the dramatic game that goes along with that is all someone can handle, dodge the bullet. Don’t paint a target on your forehead.

      Be real about who you are, about what you want – but be flexible when appropriate. Develop relationships (I like that we’re talking intimate and friendships – totally agree there are some overlap based on the discussion here) that are open and based on real feeling and real understanding of one another. Period.

      Oh man – can I just say this has been SUCH a great discussion. Yowza. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: