This is a blog post in response to a blog post by Gretchen Kelly on Huffington Post.
Men don’t know? About many of the things you describe? Maybe so, but sexism is not a one way street.
I’m probably going to be skewered and set ablaze on the front lawn for my following comments, but so be it. I’m not going to say I deny or that any of the situations described by Gretchen Kelly aren’t real, because I very much believe they are. I am also in no way excusing the behavior of the men described in the text because I have witnessed such behavior firsthand. But I will also say this, men are not the only ill-behaved gender out there, and there are many women just as lewd as any man.
She says the de-escalation technique is learned at a very young age, and I don’t doubt that, because the formation of male behavior also begins very young.
The worst part is that bad behavior is far too often rewarded and made the prime example of how to reach goals, and yes, females play a role in this as well. The term “nice guys finish last” didn’t fall out of thin air because in far too many cases it’s the absolute truth.
I know because I have lived it.
Unfortunately, the attraction between male and female (we’ll leave gays out of this equation at this juncture since they have a whole separate set of hurdles to overcome.) is something built into us by nature, but how the process is cultivated is entirely up to us. Like so many other things, we observe the examples we see around us and watch closely how they succeed or fail. Even if success is attached to a bad example we are tempted to follow that path in the hope of our goal. We can be told repeatedly that path is a bad one to tread, but when we continue to witness success by others those values are called into question.
We’ve probably all read books, watched television shows or movies on the subject of young love, first love, or simply exploring those emotions. We also know happy endings are most often orchestrated by the writer because unhappy endings as a rule don’t sell. But the truth is these rituals of young interaction are rooted in fact, and the ugliness of it all is shined over in the name of entertainment.
Let’s get down to raw elements. I can’t count how many times I was told in my youth things like, “If you want somebody, you have to go after them.”
Then a classic female statement such as, “Of course I’m going to say no the first time you ask. You don’t think I’m that easy do you?”
We aren’t talking about a proposition for sex, I’m simply talking about a date. But it gets better. If young women are taught de-escalation, it certainly wasn’t in the realm of personal insults.
Such as, “Why would I go out with a guy like you? There’s nothing exciting about you, for God sake you’re as polite as my fucking English teacher. Nobody wants to date a pussy like that.”
If women are taught de-escalation at such a young age, why on Earth to they persist in chasing the worst male examples possible? It certainly isn’t because the guys bully every last one of them into dating. I’ve seen this situation play out more times than I can count, and not just in youth but in full blown adult life. I’m sorry but oldest saying in the world of “If you play with fire you’ll likely get burned” applies here, so women are not always the victims.
Let’s get one thing straight before this goes any further. Rape is a brutal crime of revenge, hatred, and sadistic punishment. Any way you slice it, when rape takes place it is a violation where one person has popped their cork and stepped way over the line. You can be mad at someone for all manner of behavior, but nothing justifies that kind of outcome.
That being said, there are a huge number of women that exercise and use their sex to their advantage at every turn. I have personally seen women who screw their boss on purpose just to gain favor. I even had a female supervisor who despite being married with a child, openly admitted she kept a boyfriend at work because it made things go smoother.
Are all women like this? Absolutely not. Are all men as valueless and crass as Gretchen Kelly describes? I don’t think so. Is it a man’s world where women are at a disadvantage? In many cases I believe that is true because the culture in this country was formed that way. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been so many years before women even had the right to vote.
The bottom line is men are taught by many different sources how to deal with the opposite sex, and in too many cases those examples are not the best ones, but they are too often reinforced by the few who stand out.
Our society has often made heroes out of rule breakers and women have been contributors to those instances as well. For every list of poor behavior by men you don’t have to look far to find a female counterpart. I’m not excusing the men by any means. I watched behavior between my own parents that I would have stopped as a child if I thought I could.
I believe Gretchen Kelly is right. Men don’t know, because we are taught very differently, and yes, maybe young women should speak out much more often than they do. If they did, maybe the behavior of the few might be thwarted and a different example set.
Maybe then, the nice guys won’t finish last, and in the long run maybe there will be a lot more of the men you think there should be. Chivalry didn’t die, it got laughed at until it became a joke.
There are still men who have standards, but they don’t wear shining armor or ride white horses. That’s only in Disney movies.