What the actual fuck?
Yeah, my thoughts exactly.
This article articulates well this point about how sexual harassment affects how women express themselves.
For myself, during my teen years, these things happened:
I babysat for a family down the road from me. I lived in a rural area and this was the only family I knew of with children I could babysit. I started sitting for them when I was 13 and their children were 1 and 3. I really liked the mom but the father was an ass of a man - an Amway salesman and the sort to always be about to break big on something meantime he was being supported by his wife and they lived in a trailer on his father in law’s property. One night, I think I was 14?, they returned from their event and he seemed more drunk than usual. He took me home, which was just down the street - actually a walkable distances for me. He typically drove me home. That night he claimed he had to run some kind of errand and went out onto the main road. He drove at least 7 or 8 extra miles. I think we never did actually stop on whatever errand he claimed to be on. It quickly became clear that there was no reason for us to be here other than I was strapped into his car and he wanted to capture me. He finally brought me home where he tried to get me to stay in the car with him. I bolted out of there. I still remember the relief of unbuckling the seat belt and freeing myself from the car. Of course I continued to babysit for them. They needed me and I needed them. For some reason it never repeated. Maybe the wife started taking me home? I remember how confusing it was because I was so young and had never had someone make a pass at me, much less a grown man whose children I cared for.
Another small incident, relatively. I worked at a fast food place in the summers when I was 16 and 17. There was this one assistant manager who was always trying to pull me onto his lap and making little comments here and there. I didn’t work with him that much because of scheduling. There was another teen who was super charismatic. He had sweet talked the other assistant manager into hiring all his friends. (I think he was supplying her with pot). Eric was his name. He and I had clear chemistry but he had a real goth, scary girlfriend so I stayed away. Plus I was seriously dating someone that summer. But he and I had a lot fun working together. One day the jerky male manager assigned Eric and me to clean out the big walk in refrigerator. There was something really weird about it. He kept sneaking in like he was hoping to catch us making out. Meantime, we were going through containers of old hard boiled eggs and generally knee deep in nasty old food. It was about as far from sexy as you can imagine. Eric and I were joking about what was going on. We both saw the dude was a creeper and up to something. It was really only because of Eric that I felt okay; the walk in fridge was in an isolated area in the basement. It would have been easy to trap me there.
I agree but would add that it’s an ability. The skill is in identifying it, compartmentalizing (for me anyway) and finally identifying, communicating appropriate responses where applicable.
Empathy can be crippling without somehow learning what’s going on with it. I have to use every tool in my tiny toolbox to stay functional, especially as I now seek out that kind of trouble.
I like to imagine that there are tons of assholes out there who feel empathy for others, which seems most likely to me, and, simply don’t know what to do with it, and ended up effectively turning it off to some degree or another. Except if an inherent ability, it isn’t necessarily possible to do that without fucking up the circuitry, and the repression wreaks all sorts of havoc within as well as erecting the apparent barriers for those trying to communicate with them.
Given how menfolk are instructed by segments of our society to do just this, not particular to empathy, just loosely described “feelings”, I figure it is a major component of the problem.
This, with very little modification, can possibly describe the nature of the difficulty shared by non-neurotypical and those trying to communicate with them. I could say my son is a shining example of evidence that non-neurotypical, at least in relation to ASD, in no way means lacking in empathy. But I’d first hold up someone known, like Temple Grandin, as an example of that.
I’m not diagnosed, but there is too much of me in my son, or too much of my son in me, for me to conclude I’m not on the spectrum somewhere. And I was raised in Texas in the 70’s & 80’s, so I sort of got a double whammy of STFU with regards to expression of these related sorts.
It didn’t take in the end, but I absolutely feel alien in how I am regarded by many men, and what I feel of their feelings is consistent with all this.
It’s a world of pain we all inhabit, and successful male engineers who register as non-nuerotypical too would know that is what they are missing out on, but for my part the depth of experience of others is far more enriching than any box no matter how comfortable and stable…and self affirming.
It’d be no wonder they think that they find plug and play solutions to problems with other humans.
It’s too bad that probably the only real solution to the question posed by this thread would need applying over multiple generations. And that from the outset there’ll be hosts of assholes insisting that boys not be taught to think and feel like girls…when all that’d be actually happening is that boys would be allowed to feel and express naturally and with acceptance.
Everything until then amounts to “This one wierd trick allowed me to disrupt male speech domination!”
Not to say progress isn’t being made, it’s just so grindingly slow.
But, something to look forward to, my own boys teaching their boys how not to be like me will probably show me much of what I’ve missed as well as some of the things I already know I should and try to do better.
I shared the personal stories above to show the kinds of unsettling things that happen to teenage girls. No one tells you that when you start sprouting boobs this will happen. I went from being someone no one much noticed to being trapped with adult men in odd situations. Who could I have told about these things? What would they have done if I’d spoken up? Physically, they had trapped me. What would have happened if I had said, “I don’t like this. What you are doing is creepy?” They would simply lie and state they were being a good guy, at best. At worst, physically overtaken me. So, I learned to be quiet and not fight back.
These incidents are not isolated to me. I would hazard most every woman here can relate these kind of borderline things happening to her when she was a teen. Things that were not quite rape or molestation, but the threat, the hint.
Many years later when I volunteered on a listening hotline, one of the things I learned that would happen is that men would call in looking for young women to talk to so they can masturbate. They know the rules of listening hotlines, so they pretend to talk about their feelings, but they are really talking about a fantasy. I actually listened in on one of these calls (I was training a new listener) that went all the way to, uh, shall we say completion, and it was pretty damn funny because the guy had a thing for Tipper Gore (this was in Washington, DC). But I digress. Anyhow, during training I was taught to recognize the behavior and to call people out on it when it was happening. Literally, I would say, “Are you masturbating right now?” and pretty much immediately they would hang up. It was fantastic to learn that men would usually back down when called on their bullshit, because I had so gotten used to submitting that I had never considered the option of using my words to fight back.
Of course, I was completely safe to practice fighting back to creepy men as the location of the hotline room was a sacred secret. A few times people had managed to navigate through the training program to learn the location of the space, though, and a few, very rare times, people called who would scare me right to my core so that no matter how safe the location was, I still did not feel safe.
This I really feel. I’m not in the same situation, but I’m definitely in a position of raising children in the hopes that they can do better than I did at feeling their feelings. At some point I was kind of scared of having kids because when I thought of what I would say to my young self if I had a time machine, all I could think of was, “Life is pain, sorry about that.”
Anyway, I’m working things through with my older daughter. I think I’m doing better than I would have guessed I would. My top priority is to give her permission to feel upset so that she doesn’t feel like she needs to argue for being upset, and can be happy without feeling like it undermines her upset-ness to adults who don’t take her seriously.
But like you said, it’s a generational thing. We can fight our personal battles with individuals who bully us, but hundreds of posts in we all know what we knew from the start - there is not magic bullet to change someone else’s behaviour (or even our own, for that matter).
Listening hotlines are rough work. It’s weird to think I can start sentences with, “The random masturbators and the death threats weren’t so bad, but…”
I loved it. I had not been raised with an emotional skills, but was at a point in my life where I was realizing how important they were to learn. The training program was a complete course in how to navigate people emotionally. How to not get sucked into their drama. How to engage with them without agreeing with them. How to take my own pulse so I knew when it was time to disconnect because I was so angry or so overwhelmed could no longer be of service to them. And it was fantastic to get so many chances to try these skills out with strangers, some of whom were such an extreme test of my confidence. I’d love to do it again but it would be tough to do the time commitment right now and juggle it with my family life.
She frames leaving the job she prepared for in the film industry as a win. She was molested in front of the entire film crew (“it was just a joke!”), the asshole ends up getting an Oscar, and she leaves her job. winning!
Man, some wimmin can’t take a joke, AMIRITE! /s
Jesus, that’s such BS. I’m sorry this happened to her. No one deserves that treatment.
I think it’s quite common in the film industry. It’s why I didn’t go into television production despite volunteering for three years doing that in college. The more I started researching the toxic environment, the less I was interested in pursuing a career that really excited me for its creativity and challenges. The few professional shoots I attended were very much a boy’s club.
So this is the type of thing that somehow we need to find a way to fight, to get allies for, to get people who will call bullshit and make the assholes who pick on women the losers in this game, not the winners. So women can rise up to the top sometimes and broadcast their voices.
We’re trying the same with our daughter. I figure that since a lot of abuse happens at the hand of people already considered trusted authority figures, teaching ‘stranger danger’ is not a whole lot of use. We only expect the respect that we give her, and “because I don’t want to” is a valid reason for not doing something - we won’t force her to do anything and pretend this is legitimate because we’re her parents, although we will reason with her. She has to respect others and take them into consideration, and we will rarely have to break our ‘no coercion’ rule in order to keep her safe or when there’s really no other option, but this has not been the disaster that some would have predicted and it is possible to reason with a strong-willed three year old. FWIW, she is very mature for her age and is a favourite of the kindergarten teachers - she is not considered spoiled.
Also, she will happily talk with adults and expects them to listen and respect her opinion. It’s early days, but we’re hoping this will give her tools to face the world.
Have you guys seen what’s happening with GenCon? For the first time, the featured speakers are more than 50% women. Naturally, dudes are super butthurt about this.
I think earlier we’ve mentioned that study that says men think a group comprised of more than 30% women is in fact dominated by them. What happens when we’re actually a majority?
But maybe groups that are more than 30% women are dominated by them because men are delicate flowers who are easily cowed.
ETA: Does anyone else, when watching politics, regularly think, “Men are just too emotional to be trusted with positions of power”?
Substitute “Humans” and yes.
Hopefully the g8rs have a collective brain aneurysm and die…?
You say that like it’s a bad thing. I like all the matriarchies I interact with!
This topic was automatically closed after 343 days. New replies are no longer allowed.