The following read aloud:
Gets under my skin some nights when I watch videos or read comments or articles where men are talking down about women as if we’re second-class citizens. Don’t get me wrong — I understand it’s no prettier running in the other direction. And that’s just it. More and more it seems many folks are intent on behaving like assholes toward one another.
Don’t agree with a woman’s sexual choices? Then openly degrade her and call her out as a “slut,” recommends Davis M. J. Aurini. Ugh. He went on to say that men should also call us out as “fat” in their efforts to restore our “virtue.” Huh. Well, lemme know how that works out for all of you. Because I’m betting on that being yet another recipe for breeding resentment possibly to the extent of hatred, and Lord knows that’s all we need right about now.
For a man to stand there and act like members of his own sex can behave in a way that members of my sex should be restricted from is pompous, arrogant blowing of hot air, and little else. While our history has shaped what humans have become, we also live in unprecedented times where technologies make so much possible, including allowing us greater control over our fertility, which then loosens up the concerns that historically women have been bound by. Do people really think women should not be exploring this new terrain and seeing for themselves what possibilities exist? Should we instead content ourselves with Old World roles and collectively close our eyes to what all is unfolding around us in this new Day and Age? What would be the point in that?
Ya see, I, as one individual out here, inherited the earth the day I was born, just as you all did. And in this journey we call life there are drivers and there are passengers. Women are not automatically relegated to the role of passengers regardless of what some people might wish. We each possess the power to pilot our own existence, to explore on our own terms, and to gain knowledge directly through trial and error. This notion that women more often should learn vicariously through others and not engage in risk-taking themselves can have the effect of actually weakening women and narrowing our worldview. And, again, what’s the good in that?
See, sometimes we have to go through hell to recognize it for what it is. This is just the way life tends to operate. Yet some folks hold onto this idea that women are better off living on a shelf where they can be protected from the evils of this world, and these people tend to shame the women who climb down and go in search for themselves for what’s real. Because, think about it: when we women exist up on a shelf or pedestal, sheltered and shut off from that which is touted as “dark” or “bad,” we’re really being rendered ignorant and dependent on what we’re told by those claiming the power to protect us. Is it any wonder how this scenario might lead to women becoming infantalized?
Yet the same men griping about this trend are helping promote it when they take the stance that women should abide by different standards than men and that those who deviate deserve to be verbally abused and harassed. Aside from deeply hurting others, it’s an effort to restrict them, to cage them in, to set boundaries for women and determine the rules of engagement women are expected to follow. Why? Because males are inherently pillars of wisdom and fountains of integrity? Not hardly.
It assumes that a man, any man, knows better than a woman does when it comes to her navigating in her own life, and that frankly is unsubstantiated bullshit. We’re all so keen to zoom in on a woman’s choices and behaviors and style of dress and habits, and to then talk trash about her, oftentimes with little more than superficial information to go on. Yet who are we out running around and getting into trouble with? Who’s right by our side, helping encourage bad situations? Men. All those wise, strong-willed men people like Aurini speak so highly of. And the mixed message is so glaringly obvious: how a woman behaves or acts is a matter of public concern, less so when those same behaviors are observed among males.
Let a man sleep with 20 women and who really cares? Yet a woman with 20 or more partners is all the rage in discussions. She’s automatically a “whore,” a “slut,” a “tramp,” a “nobody” — and all because she used her body to explore her environment with others in the search for pleasure. Well, damn. Yeah, it’s so obviously a big, bad sin when women do it. Riiiiight.
Why? If not for Judeo-Christian ethics, then why?
Look, folks, we’re all busily creating hell at this juncture, in one way, shape, or form, knowingly or unwittingly. The reality is men, aggregately, apparently are no better at maintaining hold of the reins in their own lives. Not really. Look at where we all stand today. If you ask older people, they’ll tell you that they felt swept along by the tides of changing times, a sensation that’s only grown more intense among younger generations. Are the old roles in flux and out of sorts? Yes, and that’s true for pretty much all of us. Hell, even the role of parenting is actively being undermined and redefined. Nothing has been left untouched. Yet, when it comes to women’s sexual expression and exploration, we think that should’ve been a rock left unturned? That’s not what the actions of many, many men helped encourage; in fact, quite the opposite. But now that society has sunken into deeper depravity, this looks to some to be primarily due to women’s shortcomings? Really? How convenient.
One thing Aurini said in his most recent video on women and restoring virtue is that women wish to look up to men and to receive guidance from them, and that’s true, in so far as men are worthy of respect. And realistically-speaking, how many can claim to be? On what grounds? See, there’s not much worthy of respect in general occurring at this point in time, and that’s true of both men and women and so many of the constructs humans created and then corrupted.
What is respectable in a woman? That she be sexually modest, first and foremost? So much for assessing an individual based on their personal merits then. There’s much more to the life of a woman, just as with a man, than her sexual escapades. Yet that’s all anybody seems to want to talk about. Been with 40 sexual partners? Boo, you slut! Dismissed! I don’t get how others can’t see the ridiculous tragedy in holding such a harsh and limiting attitude.
What makes a man worthy of respect? The fact that he has a job, or perhaps a high-paying job? So proving yourself to be a skilled corporate whore is all that’s needed to qualify as respectable? Ah. Seems we fall in the same trap here too where men’s worth is gauged according to their income-generating potential, first and foremost. And that’s basically saying the fatness of the wallet determines the value of the man, which I consider to be utter rubbish. These are completely misguided and narrow-minded ways of judging one another based on shallow, self-serving motives, and what else?
How simple-minded are we? Is this really the best we can do with these complex brains of ours? Better to avoid thinking too deeply or taking time to know people; quicker and easier to leap to rash, oftentimes unwarranted, conclusions that allow us to stereotype and then categorically dismiss one another. You’re either “one of the decent women” who helps support the men who promote these double-standards, or you’re a whore and you’re the problem. Right? Sheesh.
Ya know, I’m not saying this in defense of all of my lifestyle choices, because I’m well-aware some of what I’ve been involved in left scars on my psyche (and perhaps others’ psyches also). In fact, my experiences have led me to be very critical of this porn-celebrating, youth-obsessed, sex-everywhere, exploitative, uncompassionate culture as well. Its pitfalls are clear to me, and I wouldn’t want other gals to have experienced much of what still bothers me. BUT, it is my life and I’ve actively lived it, and I’m learning a good bit along the way. In a sense, it’s all been worth it for the lessons it’s taught and the problems it’s illuminated in myself and others and wider society.
Without having grabbed the bull by the horns and directed my own life, who would I be now? Probably a lot more scared of what’s out there. Life experiences provide us with new perspectives, some of which we’d never sufficiently grasp if all we had to go on were stories told to us by others.
One lesson I picked up along the way and consider valuable came through reckoning with who I am and what I am capable of. It’s very easy, very tempting, to stand in judgment of others—those people over there—while masking our own sins and closeted depravity, but I’ve grown quite familiar with my “darkside” over time. And who’s to say that knowledge isn’t valuable in the sort of world we’re forced to contend with today? We live in the land of corruption, and yet should avoid exploring our own potential for being corrupted? The thing is that we’re corrupted simply by being born in these crazy times, whether we care to acknowledge it or not. And I think the people chomping at the bit to spew insults at others are those with shadow sides they’re unwilling to take a long, hard look at. Because if they did, they’d realize their own hypocrisy runs deep, as is common, and if they have a well-developed conscience wouldn’t that make it difficult to keep casting stones like that? But people’d prefer not to broadcast who they really are; they’d rather take the heat off themselves by redirecting it onto others.
That’s what irritates me about many feminists and MRA-types alike: they both seem all about refocusing attention on the other sex so as to deflect attention from not only their own sex but most especially their own selves. People don’t care to admit where they are part of the problem, no. Much better to talk about her and him and all those others over there, far removed from me, right? Why? What’s so scary about recognizing in them some of what resides also in you? What is it about a woman’s sexual exploration that is so intimidating to some people that they advocate verbal slamming and ostracism for those who don’t conform to their ideals? And are the ideals they profess in alignment with the actions they carry out in day-to-day life? How often do you figure the two jibe? I’d bet not as frequently as people would have each other believe.
A man who admits to behaving as an opportunist who manipulates women to satiate himself, yet turns around and condemns women for our “whorish” stupidity, is no man worth respecting. He’s every bit responsible for helping create the problems, but he’s willing to accept none of the responsibility.
I know I’m part of the problem and have no trouble admitting it. The soul-searching involved in that inquiry follows me around day-to-day and I cannot (or am currently unwilling to) escape it. Because I want to know where I fit into this, what harm my actions and choices have caused to both others and myself, how pain pays forward and suffering tends to beget more suffering, how sadistic and masochistic symbiosis pans out and is very frequently confused with genuine love, how sexuality can be wielded to do harm just as it can bring people together to form bonds, how selfish interests compete with social obligations, how putting a price tag on what we consider sacred winds up diminishing what we value, etc. These are all inquiries I’ve actively taken up time with over the last decade, though nowadays I turn my focus more toward reflecting and reading the works of others who aid in breaking it all down in new ways. In short, to me this feels like a worthwhile endeavor whether others understand and/or condone it or not. And why ought I, for one, be socially mistreated any more than I’ve been already on account of this?
If all it took was name-calling and ostracism to force us all to conform, I’d have changed my ways a long time ago. Instead I’ve had to grow more accustomed to the insults and abuse, though it’s proven quite alienating and in recent years induces social anxiety. But yet I carry on doing what I do, because it’s not about all of you and your wishes and whims. People are fickle — one minute they claim to want this and the next that. It’s impossible to keep up with and cater to, so why even sign up for that hoop-jumping contest? Can’t please everybody. Can’t even please most people, and honestly, why would anyone want to? Sounds like a recipe for a schizoid, heavily repressed existence, and where’s the fun in that?
I’m only here for a relatively short while, and I’d prefer not to spend much more time lamenting my inability (blame stubborn unwillingness) to live up to everybody else’s foolishly unrealistic fantasies. I went my own way, for better or worse, and ultimately don’t regret it.