Sunday, December 06, 2009

On female socialization and grimly logical conclusions

Read this post by fugitivus.

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)
it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)
it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)
it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)
it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)
it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)
it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)
it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.

Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”

Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”

Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.

Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.

Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.

And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.

...Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment.

read the rest

Also see.

Off that latter, and the "how hard this also makes dating/hooking up," which should not be the first consideration but is still a consideration, I just wanted to add:

As someone who got more or less the standard female socialization + introvert + no real incentive to go after men in any case (usually):

Fucksake, it's not like I don't fucking get how hard it is to meet people, -women-, hello. Women who "just want to be friends;" women who stand you up; women who huddle together with cliques of their friends in the bar all night, all with their backs turned outward; women who give you the runaround because they, too, have the socialization that you recognize oh so well of "never say no directly, because that would be too confrontational, and smile harder to make up for it." And yes, the mixers and such can be extremely forced feeling and dorky. I KNOW.

Yes, I sometimes talk to strangers, the ones -I- want to talk to (and who want to talk back). Yes, I don't live in a hole, thank you, and believe me, it's damn hard to drag myself out of one a lot of the time, what with the chronic depression/anxiety and shit. Yes, it's frustrating as all hell.

And somehow, I do all this -without- all of media and social/cultural expectations drumming it in that my desires -should- be catered to, that they're normal and appropriate, even necessary to grease the wheels of society.

Top that off with the het men in question continuing to pull the same bullshit on me as any other woman because no one is exempt, really, and it's not like the assholes listen to what you want anyway, and it's generally safer to -not- go "actually I'm a dyke" to such people because hey! whole new level of potential shit! and you know something? My sympathy, it is limited.


Comrade PhysioProf said...

True shit! This friend of mine posted about her daughter being subject to discipline in elementary school for being "too noisy" in the girls' room with her friends.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Comrade, I was actually paddled in school for that, believe it or not.

Also, for "passing notes". Paddled with a wooden paddle in public school. More than once.

Times sure have changed...

(But then I read this post and I think, have they really?)

V.E. said...

Exactly. Thank you for (re-)posting this.

CrackerLilo said...

Yes, yes, absolutely yes!!!! This needs to be spread all over.

I totally feel you on coming out to some obnoxious men sometimes adding an extra layer of shit, too. L'Ailee and I wear wedding and engagement rings; sometimes I flash them and just let the asshole conclude that I am marked Property of Some Almighty Important Man. It doesn't feel good, but it does help a little. As fugitivus hints, though, the best defense is to be willing to say what you feel and stick up for yourself, defenses that too often get stripped away from women.

Brown Shoes said...

Harder to hook up? Oh the poor dears, my heart bleeds for them...

Great post, belle. I pretty much agree with everything.

belledame222 said...

Hey, you! How's it going?

Unknown said...

I'd add another to her list: it is not okay to be trans while being a woman. ("faggot bitch")

Brown Shoes said...

Pretty well, actually - finally found a job in my field which seems to be pretty difficult in this city!

EthylBenzene said...

Fugitivus wins the internet. I just wish people would ~listen.~ Sigh.

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