Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Manliness and California

OK. I have stayed silent on this long enough.*

I have known too many women who have been the recipient of mistreatment, negative attention, slut-shaming, and harassment, at best; abuse, violence, and rape, at worst. This is not the result of their actions as people. This is the result of the choices of others. These choices deriving from a belief that women should bend to their will and be the object of whatever attention the others choose to give.

I have known too many 'men' who act like this because we are still raised that women are chattel and somehow become our property once we enter into any sort of a relationship. (I use 'men' in quotes simply to denote that I do believe 'manliness' is very much a concept that drives a lot of this behavior)

I am hacked off at any of the attempts I have seen to make it sound like all men are guilt-free because "it wasn't us, it was him" (check out #notallmen on Twitter). Bullshit.

It was us. We may have not pulled the trigger, but it was us who allow others to act this way. The same self-perpetuating nonsense allows white men (of which I am one) to continue to fail to realize that we ARE a privileged group. This is not a case of white guilt, male guilt, or any other guilt. This is an acknowledgement that there are differences within our society - differences in how we are treated.

I have never been singled out by a cop, a clerk, or anyone else because of my skin, my sex, my dress, or my mannerisms. I have never had to be in fear of my safety because someone had any sort of intentions, sexual or otherwise. I never had to worry about how I dressed and how that would make others perceive me other than in a business sense.

I have been guilty of ogling and making assumptions of women due to their dress and actions. I have been guilty of making advances that were unwanted. After reflection, I realized I was in the wrong. That may have been years ago and miles away, but there are still people who still may feel the effects of  my actions and words. That is where my guilt lies.

What I can do now is show others that it is not OK to let this slide.

A boy in California (yes, I will call him a boy) was turned down by girls. In response to this, he decided he had to go on a shooting spree.

I know he had issues. I know he needed help. However, despite what some pundits have proposed, he didn't need to get laid - or, interpreted in another way, none of the women in his life needed to give in to his desires and give him what he apparently felt he deserved.

If a woman says she does not want you in that way: Let. It. Go.

If she wants to be 'friends': Be. Her. Friend.

Just because you want something and you do not get it, whether a look, a word, a kiss, a feel, or more, it does not mean she is a bitch, a tease, or any of a number of worse words. She is being a person with every right to control what happens to her being. If you choose to act in a manner that forces her to unwillingly give up this control, you are the one in the wrong.

If you are preventing someone from exercising their control over themselves (or you are enabling this), you are part of the problem. You do not have the right to someones agency. You have not "put in the hours". You have not "earned it".

You only have to acknowledge that the issue may not be with them. The issue may be with you.

Either way, driving around town with a gun and bad intent is not an appropriate response.

* Although I do discuss a male-female power relationship in this post, this type of situation can be present in any type of relationship, whether straight, gay, or otherwise. In all of these relationships, believing others are less can only lead to bad things. All of this article is a poorly-written attempt to straighten out some of this view in my own head. I can't guarantee any logical clarity or simplicity of view.

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