Don't get me started on men. Sometimes I'm like: who needs 'em? But yesterday I could NOT get the top off a bottle of apple juice and then I couldn't open a stupid jar of salsa, so I freaked out and yelled, "Will somebody just marry me before we starve to death?!"
Understand men, I'm generalizing here because I actually know several great men, WONDERFUL men, by the way, who would never dream of being this type of jerk, I've weeded and weeded out my friends until I feel comfortable with the men in my life, but the honest truth is: You Evolved Few are rarities. .
(I won't even start right now on the bigger problem of, you know, the belief that the responsibility of not being raped or violated falls on the woman, in our fucked-up society where the first question asked of a victim is: what were you wearing? And the fact that girls are taught from a young age that if a boy bullies you, hurts you, pinches you, shoves you, pulls your hair, ridicules you, it's because he likes you. Got all my early boyfriends that way...started dating them after what was basically assault. It took almost my entire adult life until this point to understand that I AM NOT A POSSESSION, and to stop allowing myself to be treated that way. But the world doesn't look kindly on a woman who thinks like that. Feminist. Man-Hater. Bitch. Slut. Prude. Ugly Whore. Cock Tease. Just a few of the names you get called if you dare to resist unsolicited advances. I was once stalked by a guy who I sat near in an airport waiting to board a flight. I made small talk with him to pass the time but minutes later had to go hide in a bathroom when he started to get pushy, causing me to nearly miss my flight. Such relief I felt when I was finally safe, winging away from him, only to find later that he had unobtrusively flipped open my luggage tag, copied down my address and phone number and continued his unwelcome attention for months afterward. He was furious at me, saying that I had been flirting with him, smiling at him. I was terrified. Margaret Atwood says it best: Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them.)
Anyway, to give you a lighter example of THE THING, (one of a million - familiar as breathing for most women) my sister was at a wedding, chatting with a (male) guest who happened to be standing near her. Partway through their animated conversation, one of her children ran over and asked for something. At that point, the man became annoyed and told her she ought to have held up the hand with her wedding ring at the BEGINNING their chat. Totally implying that she was leading him on. Teasing him. Because? Because… she was "asking for it" by speaking to him in the first place? Because… by being friendly, you're looking to hook up? Because… if you laugh, it's a come on? Many men out there would be nodding their heads in agreement, reading this. If some cute, little blond is speaking, smiling or giggling, she owes you, right? What other reason would she have to even open her pretty mouth? WRONG. (If you believe that smiling = flirting = sex, take a good look at yourself and know that even if you think you're a good guy/not a rapist/not a creeper, you are in actually still part of THE THING. It seems to be a very blurred line between what you think and what the "bad guys" think. So, not only are woman scared of men in general, they are usually disrespected and treated as chattel. What century IS this?!) These are the types of conversations we have on a daily basis, confirming something we'd long suspected: that the average adult male will only bother with a woman if he thinks she's available to him sexually. Otherwise, he feels she's wasting his time. I assume most women have felt the pressure to be at least slightly flirty while conversing with guys in order to be considered worth speaking to, or even to not be harmed. We have been conditioned to believe we do NOT exist as friends or equal human beings worthy of respect without that hint of I-might-sleep-with-you. To be included/listened to/bothered with/respected, we are usually forced to play by these testosterone driven rules.
An article in Cosmo that I scanned, standing in a supermarket checkout line recently, recommended that during job interviews your future employer would be focused on your mouth while you're speaking, so make sure your lips look moist and kissable. MOIST AND KISSABLE?! Why the hell would that have anything to do with how well you might be able to do your job? But we do it anyway, because we know we haven't got a chance otherwise.
It's sick and sad and really, really screwed up and I stopped doing this, oh, right about three or four years ago when I decided self-respect and setting a good example for my sons was more important to me than pleasing others. This realization dove-tailed with ending my abusive marriage. (I just deleted a very personal paragraph here because, although relevant, was also just tacky venting.)
Anyhow, the point is: we girls have to trade sex appeal to gain rights that men have AUTOMATICALLY. I didn't have much of a social life as a single gal because many people I would have enjoyed spending time with dropped me like a hot coal when it became clear that I wasn't interested in having sex with them. As soon as I didn't "belong" to another man, I was considered fair game and if a dude was in the friend-zone, they were angry, nasty, name-calling beasts. Giving me the message loud and clear that I was simply not worth it to them as a friend or human being, just as a piece of ass. Pardon my French throughout this post. But that's what it feels like. Really uncool. I want to take this opportunity to thank my few, but cherished, terrific male friends who always let me know that my friendship alone was enough (without needing me to tack on that little extra Somethin' Somethin' that makes me hate myself.) Thanks for valuing me as a PERSON, thanks for realizing that women are as smart and worth talking to as your other buddies. Thanks for having a normal, healthy relationship with me, where you weren't always angling or insinuating. Perhaps you should start a course to teach other dudes that the word 'Feminism' doesn't mean Angry-Bitches-Are-Trying-To-Take-Over-OUR-World'. May my own sons follow your lead and not continue to carry this archaic form of discrimination through yet another generation. Kudos, Good Guys. And please come open my salsa.