Welcome back, it’s been a hectic exciting snow covered absence but I am returning to my blog.
I got called a sexist today. It might be true or it might not. Here comes some discussion of related topics and you can judge for yourself.
I am aware of the basic problem with isms such as sexism. Nearly surface level observations limit women from being seen as fully capable of being equivalent people in terms of the individual talent or the importance of their dreams. This happens systemically so that each male might only say one thing to each non-male but it adds up. These classes of people who have a tradition of being disrespected on surface levels get this sort of behavior all day.
It’s easy to consider how difficult this must be from the armchair of my male abode. No matter how much I commiserate, where sexism might adversely affect someone, it is probably never going to be me in that hot seat. So it is easy to say these sorts of systems suck and at the same time for me to not really know how damaging these systems are.
I’m quite convinced that most people have a tradition chip in their head which is programmed at an early age to tell us what we should or should not do. The programming process is based on instinct (the child automatically records data) and environment. Great Ape societies appear to me to be based heavily on group ritual and individuals had better determine correctly what society expects of them. None of us is free from some level of bending to the greater combined will of the group.
Also, I think that societies have come a long way to be more inclusive. There is work left but there is a lot of room for seriously specific and minority behaviors to find like minded groups leveraging the internet, cell phones, and databases. There’s more room in a way for each individual to find micro societies that share their values and concerns. The rest of the world still exists, but there is more choice for those of us starting in the first world.
I would like to think that I’m unique. When I say that, I don’t mean to say or imply that everybody is special. Everybody could be special but everybody is not necessarily special from my vantage point. Some people do get summed up rather cavalierly by me. I’m not being pompous by saying I’m different. I think it is easily observable. My tradition chip has been rewritten and many varieties of options are now permissible both by me and by people yet judged by me.
What I am is simply a person trying to actually pick what I want to do from the full list of options. I have a broad range of talents. I have a relative morality (I think we all do but some people might not think so). I’ll give some examples:
- I think monogamy is an option. Many significant others is an acceptable choice. I could care less about the genders or if sex is included in the commitment. That’s not my business really.
- I think sexual orientation isn’t even a variable worth considering. Orient however you want whenever you want. But do treat people ethically when possible.
- Rich is bullshit, poor is a cop out. Money is a means to an end and that end is a lifestyle. Jobs are also means to a lifestyle. Work and live based on your urges. Fuck stereotypes and what mom and pop might think success is. From your perspective, their perspective doesn’t matter.
- Anything non-white or non-male is exotic. I love it. I absolutely am addicted to my enjoyment of variety. I understand my culture well enough, I think, and I like to be surprised by new cultures an individual at a time.
- If you err on the side of being individual, you die all the same but you lived in a more meaningful way.
- I think having a musical instrument and not using it is better than not having the musical instrument in the first place. Give yourself room to accidentally find yourself musically. Use that as a metaphor for finding yourself in general.
I’m not idealistic in the sense that I expect the world to change for me. That includes sexism. I don’t think it goes away because there is a feedback loop. I’ve met a lot of really capable women who impressed me with their potential and yet they have “pleaser” natures. That sounds vague so I’ll try to explain. You have nice and then you have so nice that I can’t tell what she really wants to do and yet, she’s not indifferent. I consider my ex-wife to be a pleaser type that sort of fizzled herself out because pleasers are not sustainable personality types. Eventually the pleaser switches vocations or burns out somehow and becomes a husk of a woman living a shadow of a life and nobody notices. Maybe it’s not true but it’s something that I wonder when trying to figure out what is going on with systems like sexism.
I wrote about this a little in my post “Say What You Mean.” If I ask a person what they want to do, I want their individual preference. Don’t worry, I will tell you mine. I’m a motherfucking blogger, that’s what we do. But even if we compromise on a place to eat or a thing to do or a way to behave, I’d like to know the unmodified individual as well. Without that insight I can’t see if we’re truly meeting halfway or if I’m exploiting the situation or being exploited myself. So each objectified women who cares what I think will have to tell me her story and in the same way she’s overwhelmed by society cat calling her a thousand times a day, I’ll need them to inform me a hundred times a day. It’ll put me closer to being in her shoes.
In the meantime, I think this pleaser phenomenon is a broad force that infects many women. Maybe it’s nurture, but maybe just maybe it’s nature first such as instincts. It’s obviously very difficult for the women I know to turn that pleaser circuit off. I think it can be done. I think you can do it the same way I fried as much as I did of my tradition chip. I’m not quite sure how I did that exactly, but it involves a slight detachment and the use of individualistic tactics. I am emotionally detached and I search for ways to let me be myself. Nobody else is going to do that for me. If everyone acts their own way, society might change and we’ll see the true nature of things. Probably though, it won’t change much. I’m probably actually somehow following my instincts in the same way that you are following yours.
They say women are being trained to be extra pretty and extra submissive and this and that for being good wives and mothers… but more like good domesticated women. This is true but I’m not helping that happen. I very much don’t like that idea however I step aside and watch because each woman each time gets a choice at some point. At what point should I be certain to say that I know better than she does what she wants or what she needs? Don’t you see that inevitably men have to stand aside and according to Murphy’s Law we will most certainly stand aside at a moment where we should have intervened?
So I say again that if you want my support so that I won’t be an agent for sexism, you must talk to me and convince me of this because I don’t think I am. Also, if you want to be ugly (according to beauty ads), hairy, smelly, or President — all those things women have real trouble choosing these days — I will assist you as much as I can. If you want love without having to put out, telling me “No” will keep me from having sex with you without a consequence in the world assuming it even comes up in the first place. Conversely, you can be sexual for as long as you want and return to the non-sexual status at your convenience the way I look at you, whoever and whichever woman you are. But I can only coordinate as much as I am informed.
All things being equal, I think women are additionally sexier than men on average. All things being equal, if there were no consequences and I felt a particular woman was a friend of some status, I would be open to adult stuff. All things being equal, I have preferences for hairstyles, height, coloring and all that. But that’s because, hey now, I get choices. But these are not rigid demands so that I get a made-to-order consort. It’s just something that has given me positive feelings in the past. It means no more nor less than that.
I’m not going to stop thinking women are sexier. That doesn’t even make sense why I would consider that. But I will totally consider behavioral modification in general or for case by case situations so that my female friends feel welcome and respected. Sexy is not the opposite of respectable to me. Are you female and ugly and ghoulish and worried I might overlook you? Not a problem, bring the personality to bear. An indomitable spirit goes a long fucking way in my book and my friends don’t need to be Barbies. Finally, you don’t have to give a shit about my opinion. You really don’t. But when you ignore me remember you can ignore the whole rest of the world the same way.
It’s not a perfect world. It’s gonna snap back at you and try to hold you down. It even does that to me, white male that I am. But I think that there’s a lot more room for women to be individuals themselves in the present day than those women are using. And I think a lot more room would be made if more women did.
No wealthy woman ever offers to make a househusband of me for the rest of my days ever. And if one did, I might consider it. Conversely, I think this happens semi-regularly to women I know. And I say once and for all, it is a trap. It is a double trap once for being the resource dependent and once again for appearing to be a road that leads to a predictable future. The future is not predictable. Don’t fool yourself. Instead build yourself. Don’t be overwhelmed by beauty products. Find ways to grow your talents, your networks, your spirit, and your appreciation for people who totally do it different than you do. I have no idea what will happen to you, but to me that’s the only road to choose and I can’t choose it for you. You have to make that leap into uncertainty without any assurances.
I’m sorry women have had to climb so far for as much equality as they have and it’s not enough. But you’ve got to actually use it. I can’t make that last leg of progress for you. Maybe I can do it beside you but only if you tell me, individually, what you need.