Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some Things I’ve Figured Out About Women

      Before we start, if you’re one of these people that think feminists are ruining the country, or you think any criticism of men is “man bashing” take your whiny ass to some Kid Rock post about how wonderful ‘Murica is and leave me alone.  This isn’t for you and it will just upset and confuse you and fill you with nervous rage. 
      First off, the main thing I’ve figured out about women is that there are many reasons why it sucks to be a woman.  Women have to deal with shit men never have to and wouldn’t put up with for a second.  I’m not talking about the internal plumbing and childbirth, but men wouldn’t be able to deal with any of that for one second.  I’m talking about having to live in a man’s world.
      Women are condescended to by men (and even other women) on a daily basis.  They are viewed as second-class citizens in our society in many regards.  For instance, they get paid less than men for doing the same job, and apparently society is fine with this.  Men in congress routinely vote down any measure to level the playing field.  Think about that, it is legal to pay women less than men to perform the same job, and if a woman wants a career, she just has to accept that.  Women have to prove themselves capable over and over in a way men never have to.
     Women are treated like morons, they are ignored or marginalized by salesmen, mechanics, contractors, or by anyone that assumes that they are silly girls that don’t know anything about manly things like turning wrenches or hanging drywall.  Men are dismissive about women’s intelligence or feelings, and they think this way because everything in our culture reinforces it.  Nearly every TV show or movie portrays women as crazy, irrational or victims, be it comedy, drama or fantasy. 
     When a man wants to insult another man, it is usually by referring to them as a woman or feminine.  Men view female attributes as bad and use them to insult other men.  Take the term ‘Chickflick”  It’s a derogatory term for movies that have thoughtful plots that deal with emotions or mental conflict or relationships.  Those just happen to be the types of movies that are critically lauded and win awards, but that doesn’t seem to enter into it.  Men’s movies, on the other hand, seem to involve lots of explosions and glorify violence, but no one sees that as a problem.        
      Speaking of pop culture, women have to live with the burden of trying to live up to some unattainable, unnatural image of what they should be.  It was bad enough that for years the expectation was that they should somehow look like a tiny percentage of genetic freaks that formed our idea of what beauty is supposed to be, but now Photoshop is running rampant and the image of perfection isn’t even humanly attainable.  Imagine living with the feeling that you are inferior looking and always will be, no matter what you do.  There are millions of women living with that everyday, millions of little girls growing up with that belief. 
     Men are fine with this, though.  For the most part, men are much more insecure than women and like that women are beaten down at every turn.  They are afraid of women, and they realize that women hold all the cards, and they do what men do: try to control them and make them feel bad about who they are. 
      Men have been messing up women’s lives since time began.  I’m going to try to explain this as best I can, so if you are a man reading this and you don’t already know it, pay attention.  It’s very important.
     As a man, you are almost always physically bigger and stronger than women.  This is intimidating, and you have to be conscious of it.  You have to realize that there are many situations and a lot of your actions that can be perceived as threatening.  That perception is there because many of you have done horrible, violent, unspeakable things to women.  I know this.  I have had many women friends over the years, and I go out of my way to make them comfortable and not be creepy, and as such they tell me a lot of things that they don’t tell other guys.  You should try it and you will learn some invaluable lessons.
      It breaks my heart knowing some of the things that have happened to some of the women I know.  It is sickening and appalling, and it has to end.  The stories about rape and violence, the physical, verbal and mental abuse, even the shitty condescension and dismissive attitude I mentioned earlier, all take their toll.  So many things people do to each other can make them feel like objects or less than human, and no one even realizes that they are doing it most of the time.  Most of these things are done by men to women, constantly.  Trust me, if you ever heard the shit your girlfriend or wife, or sister or mother has gone through at one point or another it would fill you with rage and disgust.  Well, it would if you were in touch with your feelings and gave a shit about anyone else.  Most men don’t fit that criteria. 
      So a lot of women go on, living everyday with shit that would drive you or I crazy.  Women are strong.  There are a lot of women that have strength that dwarfs that of men, but they think nothing of it.  Again, men are fine with that.  Make them deal with all the shit and keep them thinking it’s normal, or worse yet, their fault.  There isn’t a lot of stuff out there making women feel good about themselves, and while the brave princess in a Disney cartoon is a good start, it doesn’t help that it’s a children’s cartoon and the real world is full of negative, disparaging garbage bombarding women everyday. 
     Unfortunately, I also know some women that are very broken by some of the truly horrendous shit men have done to them.  There are plenty of broken men too, I realize that it doesn’t apply to just women.  That’s another big part of the problem.  Men and women have a lot in common, but for some reason the same things that affect us both are perceived as very different.  They say women are emotional, but I’m a man and I can tell you that my male friends, as well as myself, are very emotional.  Women and men just have different ways of handling it.  Men tend to either ignore it or lash out at the things that they think are upsetting them.  Women sometimes internalize it.   Sometimes they blame themselves and saddle themselves with guilt, but that’s not so strange.  That what society tells them to do. 
      Women are made to feel bad about their feelings.  They are made to be ashamed of their sexual desires and even if they enjoy sex.  They are labeled whores or sluts if they sleep with someone or stranger yet, even if they turn someone down.  God forbid they become pregnant.  Women are sexual beings just like us, but again, men want to control that.  Men feel entitled, and if they are rebuffed they instantly turn petty and nasty.  Look at how women are treated online.  There are billions of examples of women being attacked verbally in forums and comment sections, usually with sexually violent language and imagery.  If men were threatened with rape(which is a very real and scary possibility for women) every time they expressed their opinion they would make laws and rules to get it stopped immediately.  
      Meanwhile, most rapes go unreported in this country.  I personally know of dozens of women in my life that have been raped and in none of the cases has the rapist every been punished.  Women are taught to feel ashamed, and while there are many that overcome this and don’t put up with it, there are so many more that never had that chance.  Sadly, these poor souls are further shamed for not putting the guy in jail, but it’s not their fault.  Forget about if they never received the tools and self worth to deal with it.  There are many instances where they tried and were rebuffed at every turn.  Dismissive cops, attorneys and judges, even parents or partners.  They are left with no recourse, and feeling shame and guilt for something that is not their fault. 
      Don’t even bring up the idea that some woman deserved it because of the way they were dressed or if they were drunk or in some certain situation.  Nothing justifies rape.  Nothing.  I can come upon a hundred scantily clad drunk or unconscious women and the thought of raping them would never cross my mind.  There is no situation that justifies it.  If you have any kind of upbringing you are taught not to force yourself on someone or take advantage of them if they are drunk.  If you do that you are taking something from someone that they may never get back, you are inflicting scars and pain on them that will last forever, and possibly ruining any chance they have of happiness. 
     But men continue to blunder through life oblivious. 
     One of the things I have figured out about women is that they don’t want you to solve their problems.  This is a pretty common thing, it is mentioned time and time again, but men still don’t get it.  I understand that men want to help, it is ingrained in them.  If a women tells you her problems, that’s all she wants.  If she wants you to help, she will ask you.  Men will try to help anyway, which usually consists of telling them what to do in a tone of voice that implies they are an idiot and that they are making it way too complicated.  As people, we usually have the perception that our way is right and everyone else is wrong, and that’s how are brains are wired by evolution, but it doesn’t mean we can’t overcome it. 
     If a man interrupted another man that was venting to tell them how to fix his problem, and did it in a tone that implied that they were an idiot, those two men would probably come to blows.  You wouldn’t put up with being disrespected like that and have your manhood questioned, so why do you think it’s okay to do it to women?  If a women tells a man they aren’t looking for a savior when they are getting lectured on how to fix their problem , chances are that their feelings will be dismissed as silly or in extreme cases might get a punch in the face. 
     Again, women are not afforded the same respect as a man in the same situation. 
     Women are currently fighting for respect, but they are demonized by the forces that want to keep them down.  It’s disgusting.  It’s also nothing new.  Throughout history, women have been kept down and their rights trampled on.  Not ancient history, either.
       Think about this.  The 19th amendment ensuring women the right to vote was ratified in 1920.  That means that there is a good chance when your grandmother was born she was born in a country that didn’t guarantee her the right to vote when she grew up.
      The whole point is, even if you don’t somehow relate to women in general as equals, even if you can’t get it through your head that your wife or girlfriend is your equal and demands respect … you have a mother.  She is a women, and she has feelings and dreams and desires, she is sexual and she is her own person, with her own mind and her own needs.  It may make you uncomfortable to see your mother in those terms, but she is a person, not just your own personal caretaker.  She doesn’t live only to serve you, or exist in the sole capacity as your mom, forgoing who she is.  Also, you wouldn’t let anyone hurt her, or mistreat her, or make her feel like shit for just being who she is, so why do it to any women?
     I have learned most of these things the hard way, but I’m learning.  I have to undo a lot of things and unlearn a lot of ideas that are just wrong.  I know women aren’t perfect either, nor would I expect them to be.  There is a big difference, though.  The times I’ve been hurt by a woman have not come near to the damage that men inflict on women.  I have been hurt, but usually it’s by a woman that has been so damaged by what men have done to them.  They usually are hurting themselves more that they are hurting me.  They were broken, and punishing themselves for things that aren’t their fault and things that they may never be able to move past.  Their self worth is gone, they are at a point where they hate themselves and I feel so bad for them. 
     Nothing a woman has done to me has ever taken away who I am at my core.  Nothing a woman has done to me has shattered me forever, ruined my life and my ability to love or trust someone ever again.  I heard a comedian mention something to the effect  that men will tell a story about a woman they dated or met and it always starts with “You’re not gonna believe this crazy thing that happened” and women’s stories about men start with “I don’t know, should I call the police…?”
     It’s so simple.  If you think you love a woman, but you want to change her, then you don’t love her.  If the thing that first attracted you to her, the thing that made her exciting and special, now makes you feel insecure and like you want to smother it because you’re afraid it will attract someone else and you’ll lose her … well, let her go.  You’re the one that’s not ready for a real relationship, not her.  The minute you try to control someone you love, you have let your own insecurities overshadow that love.  You are in love with an image, and image that doesn’t even exist, and until men get past these insecurities and fears we are never going to see women as equals, as people.
     It is still a man’s world, and I don’t see that as something to be proud of.  I see that as an indictment.  

© David Ferraris 2015

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