KingMidget's Ramblings

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I Have Something To Say


I interrupt my self-imposed exile from this place to say how monumentally frustrated I am by the generalizations that drive the feminist movement these days.  All men are horrible.  I get it.  We are slaves to our nature and we are irredeemable and incorrigibly pigs, abusers, harassers, and rapists.  A blogger wrote a post about a month ago that had a headline that I have now forgotten, but it basically suggested that all women must act in a certain way because of the harassment, abuse, and rape they all have experienced and that all men don’t understand why they act as a result of all that because all women don’t share how they feel and why.

Then a couple of weeks later, a young friend on FB linked to a piece written by her friend that contained similar generalizations and demonstrated an utter inability to recognize why men might do what they do.  The first example of her criticism was that she went to hang out with her boyfriend and some old friends of his, none of whom knew her and she was aghast that while they heartily greeted each other, they almost completely ignored her.  So, in her mind, this was an example of the sexism and immaturity of men.

To me, what it demonstrated was her inability to put herself in other people’s shoes.  Just maybe those young men didn’t greet her the same way they did their friends because … (1) they didn’t know her.  (2) they didn’t know how she would react to the kind of greeting they give to their male friends.  (3) they have been conditioned to understand that you never know how a woman may react.  (4) that you can’t look at them.  (5) you can’t touch them.  (6) that there are all sorts of boundaries that women have, but you never know which boundaries a particular woman has.  (7) so, to protect yourself, you simply choose to not engage with a woman you don’t know.  (8) because you don’t know and it’s just safer that way.

Shortly after I read that post, I went to a local brewery for dinner.  I went by myself.  I sat at the bar and ordered a beer and then pulled out the friend’s manuscript I was editing and got to work.  Shortly thereafter, an attractive woman sat next to me and ordered a drink and waited for a friend who was meeting her there.  This brewery has a pipe in the exposed ceiling that has condensation that collects and drips … right on the people who sit at the bar.  Something I didn’t realize until that evening.

So, attractive woman at one points leans over to me and asks me if I’m getting dripped on too and I tell her that I am and isn’t it weird and we laugh and then I don’t say another word to her because I don’t want to be “that guy.”

A few minutes later, a guy sits down on the other side.  He orders a beer and a meal.  He looks at what I’m doing.  Says, “are you a writer?” and we spend almost two hours having the best conversation I’ve had in a long time.  Because I don’t have to worry about being “that guy.”

So, tonight I logged onto FB and one of my son’s friends linked to this.  And I want to scream.  ABSOLUTELY WANT TO SCREAM.  There is something particularly gutwrenching about this, but it is so massively wrong on so many levels, I don’t know where to begin.  I am tired of being painted as a bad guy simply because I am a man — and there is no escaping that things like this video leave me with that feeling because of the complete lack of differentiation.  All men are like this.  ALL MEN.  This is what all of these things are doing.  With their never ending generalizations, never ending unwillingness to differentiate between the pigs and those of us who aren’t.  I am just so bleeping tired of the generalizations that drive feminism and every other “ism” that exists in this world.

I’m done.  Back to my self-imposed exile.

 

 

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11 responses to “I Have Something To Say

  1. Pamela Beckford December 19, 2015 at 5:16 am

    I think that women, particularly young women, look at life through the lens of their own experiences. Does that make sense? I’ve been treated poorly by the men in my own life, therefore all men treat women badly. (Not me personally, but as an example). Not saying it is right, just saying it is how many view the world. As women get older, hopefully they have more exoeriences and their worldview expands and improves. I’m not justifying broad sweeping statements, just adding that piece to the discussion.

    • kingmidget December 19, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Of course it makes sense. I get that most people look at life through the lens of their own experiences. I’m just frustrated by people’s unwillingness to switch sides, to walk a mile in the moccasins of another, to consider alternative views. And I’m seeing so much of this stuff these days from feminists and I think it just does more damage to their position than it helps. Yeah, it fires up the base and the true believers but for those who are unconvinced, making arguments based on generalizations can be stomach-turning. I’m just tired of feeling like I have a target on my forehead simply because I’m a man.

      The interesting thing about the blogger is that she acknowledged in comments to her post that she engages in “inappropriate” jokes and other behavior — which I took to mean that she engages in behavior that other women might find offensive. So, that’s another problem. Every woman, every man, every human being draws their line in a different place and it appears that these generalizing feminists believe men must know where all of those lines are. Or something like that.

      Trust me, I know that there are plenty of men who treat women horribly, but, you know, there are plenty who don’t.

  2. Kevin Brennan December 19, 2015 at 7:41 am

    I recently did a post about feminism and literature, where I went into some of the same themes. It’s frustrating to be a decent white guy and listen to vitriol that implies that I contribute to the inequality of women somehow.

    That said, though an old fart, I get the feeling that the culture has changed over the last twenty years, going backwards in some ways. So many song lyrics refer to girls in derogatory ways, and I think young women are letting themselves be treated in such a way that their self-worth is often at stake. Sexting and stuff like that.

    If I were the father of a girl, I’d probably see that video from a slightly different point of view than my own sense of unfairness. Does it go too far? Yeah, I think so. But I think it’s trying to be kind of a slap in the face that wakes people up.

    Apart from that angle, like you, I hate being lumped in with the losers who treat girls and women badly. All men aren’t a-holes. In fact, I betcha most men aren’t.

    • kingmidget December 19, 2015 at 8:00 am

      I pretty much agree with everything you say. It’s a challenging issue and you’re right, there is certainly a valuable point to be made with the video. I just wish the people who create these things and write on the subject would do more than pay lip service to the idea that many men are not monsters — and most of the feminism stuff I’m seeing these days can’t even do that.

    • kingmidget December 19, 2015 at 8:14 am

      I agree with everything you say. I see the value in the video. I just wish the people who create these things and write in support of feminism could see the damage they do to their own position when they fail to differentiate.

      A somewhat comparable analogy — while I appreciate the statistics and point behind it calling a movement Black Lives Matter instead of Lives Matter just continues to foster and feed the divide. In the conversation I had with the guy at the bar, who is black, he argued that taking Black out of the movement’s name minimizes the statistics and the message. While I get that, my issue is … Do these movements and isms want to have the most powerful and pure message or do they actually want to accomplish something that is real and lasting. Continuing to divide and point fingers instead of working with our similarities will never accomplish the latter.

      • Kevin Brennan December 19, 2015 at 6:27 pm

        Well, I think of it like this. Were you hearing anything about “Lives Matter” before the “Black Lives Matter” movement?

        No. You weren’t. Neither was I.

        The point of these things is to start something, and in that sense I understand where they’re coming from.

      • kingmidget December 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm

        I don’t question that the movement has brought attention to something that was sorely in need of attention. I just think the message would be so much more powerful if it was about all people who are victimized by abusive cops.

  3. cinthiaritchie December 19, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I get what you’re saying. I do. And I feel for all of the nice and decent guys of this world. Generalizations suck. Yet sometimes (as Hegl said–or at least I think it was Hegel) the pendulum has to swing one way before it can swing the other. So in order for woman to obtain more equal rights and, especially, more equal treatment as people with brains, not just bodies, things need to be overemphasized and over-generalized and overstated, and what difference does it make who states or says them? And just because a young woman admits to making offensive jokes doesn’t mean she also doesn’t have something worthy to say about how she’s been treated or how she feels women are treated, etc.

    You’re a man, so you don’t know, and can’t know, the way women have to police their own movements and responses, how we can’t simply walk down a dark street at night without having to assess every man we pass, looking for an escape route in case it turns dangerous. Men don’t normally have to worry about passing a woman on a dark and deserted street. They can walk alone at night. So yeah, that’s a huge difference and a huge inequality.

    You said in the comments that you don’t want to have a target on your head simply because you’re a man. But the thing is, in certain situations, a woman has a target on her head simply because she’s a woman. That’s how our current world works. And it sucks, sucks, sucks.

    If you don’t want to be “that guy,” well then, the next time you hear men make crappy comments about women or their bodies or what they’re wearing, etc., speak up. Tell them that it’s not cool. Don’t be that guy and also, don’t allow other “that guys” to pollute this world with their crappy attitudes and behaviors.

    Sorry this is so long. But as a woman who has seen both the worst and the best of men, I can say that this world has a long, long way to go in terms of attitudes about how women are viewed by society, by men and by ourselves. So if a young woman wants to post a video about her opinions and experiences, that’s her right. In some countries, in many countries, women don’t have such rights, such luxuries. So hooray for this young woman, and bless her heart for having the ability and incentive to speak out.

    • kingmidget December 20, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I don’t think I say anywhere that any of these women don’t have the right to write or post what they want to. But I also have the right to disagree or to suggest there is a better way. As for the women who admits to enjoying “inappropriate” jokes — my point wasn’t to suggest then that she shouldn’t get to write what she wrote, but to suggest that the blurred lines of “appropriate” behavior can make it difficult for people to know where to stop. And, as a result, it’s difficult for us stupid, abusive men to know what we can and cannot do.

      To suggest that, as a man, I’m incapable of knowing how women “have to police” their own movements and responses is, I’m sorry, but completely ridiculous. To suggest I don’t know the fear of walking down a dark street or the need to assess the strangers I walk past. To suggest that I’m incapable of the empathy and understanding to know what a woman may go through simply because I’m not a woman is to take away from me human qualities that exist within me and many other men. This is exactly the point the blogger was making and I find it disgusting for women to believe that NO MAN is capable of understanding. That is what she said and that is what you are saying here. Seriously, I find it insulting and completely minimizing the possibility that men are anything other than the slobs and pigs feminists keep portraying us all as.

      You’re right … there are a lot of circumstances in which women are targeted and feminist writers have responded to that by turning the gun around and targeting ALL MEN. Imagine the power of the message if the gun and target were removed from the equation and feminists instead reached out a hand.

    • kingmidget December 20, 2015 at 7:07 am

      I live in a decent neighborhood, but still there are some dangers that lurk. There have been a number of break-ins recently, a number of cars vandalized, packages stolen off of porches, and rumors about groups of teens walking or driving around looking for opportunities. So, when I go for a run in my neighborhood, where I should feel safe but I don’t, every single time, I play out in my head the scenario of one of those packs of teenagers accosting me. That’s the primary thought I have while I go for a run in my neighborhood. The what if of being a victim of a crime. Every single time. I change my routines … sometimes stopping for a run in a better neighborhood on my way to work — less convenient but safer. When I’m in my neighborhood, though, I’m hypervigilant though. But, no, I don’t know anything about that, do I?

      Maybe the problem isn’t that men don’t understand women, but that women have a false sense of what men go through.

  4. Pingback: It’s A New Year | KingMidget's Ramblings

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