Tim Lieder (marlowe1) wrote,

the #yesallwomen tag and general stuff

Before the spree killing a friend posted a link to one of those terrible Douchebags are Awesome sites entitled "The Moment I Saw Women for what they Really are" (it's on the site Return of the Kings - I wouldn't recommend finding it) and I made an offhand comment about how nice it felt to read that and realize that I'm not quite on that level of awfulness. The article was all about taking the blue pill and how his bitch girlfriend ruined his birthday party by inviting the neighbors and how ow he told her to fuck off and then she did but that got him mad because she wouldn't return his phone calls when he finally wanted to talk - I forget the details - he was awful and the comments were full of guys pissing and moaning about ex-girlfriends.

Someone said that it was good to hear that I wasn't like that, but it's hardly a ringing endorsement. I was more talking about my own self-hatred and how I remember doing shitty and stupid things that how little I feel that I have to offer in a relationship. It's a constant white noise of incrimination that mixes me up and keeps telling me that I deserve to be alone for the rest of my life. I meant to say that reading those guys makes me think of how I am not that bad; not that I'm some paradigm of decency and honesty. Or whatever.

The #yesallwomen tag is important because it helps to focus on the kinds of entitlement that comes with the cultural standards where sexual harassment are cool. I am both and individual and a product of my culture. Even though a cultural trope like the romantic comedy in general or Revenge of the Nerds in particular is partially to blame and even though getting raised by a single mother who never got her bipolar condition treated normalized a lot of shitty behavior for me (and also meant that I was automatically attracted to drama and not interested in asking out my sweet and supportive female friends - the ones that I could have had decent relationships with - because their mental health and rationality made them seem boring), I have acted in ways that support rape culture, minimized stalking and carried an attitude of entitlement.

More than once I have been "just friends" with a woman who was "out of my league" in hopes that she would come around. I did not bitch about being in the "friendzone" but I might as well have. I would eventually take it too far with gifts and long rambling emails. I would call many times when she didn't seem to be there and I would "just show up" where she was on campus. I didn't tell myself that I was "wearing her down" but my lies to self were more insidious - mainly that I actually wanted to be her friend and only her friend when really I wanted the relationship that she had rejected.

I have acted like a stalker. I did fuck off when told in no uncertain terms to fuck off - maybe leaving an answering machine message a few months later - but that kind of behavior is unacceptable and it wasn't until I met a real stalker that I saw just how dangerous it was to minimize that kind of behavior.

I would be at clubs during the great "booty dance" craze. I would see other guys dry humping women and I would wonder if I should do the same. I think I even did once or twice. The worst part is watching this and thinking "so is that cool here? Am I missing out if I don't do what that douchebag is doing? Seems like the woman that he's dry humping is into it - or at least not moving away..."

A major reason why I paused to reflect on this behavior (beyond trying to be shomer negia for a few years because Judaism) was because I met one of my friends at CONvergence when she was 16 and my most pressing thought was "damn, I hope that she had a good con free from harassment" - or something along those lines. Knowing that if I was still in my 20s the thought would have been "damn, I wish I could hit on her" only made that weird paternalistic attitude stronger. And it should not be like that. I shouldn't be thinking that women should be able to have good times at conventions free from creepy dudes licking them or groping them from behind because I feel protective of one 16-year old girl that I just met (she's in her 20s now and I rather hope that she doesn't read this and realize that I am talking about her) but because that should be the baseline for convention going experience. That whole "he was a total asshole but then he had a daughter and decided to be Mr. White Knight" trope is ridiculous and even a variation of "I felt protective of a teenage girl" is pretty fucking horrible.

I have confused "bad at flirting" with sexual harassment. Not in the case of Rene Walling but before that.

I have asked women out, gotten rejected and then cursed them out for the rejection.

I suppose I could say that I'm not like that anymore, but what the hell do I know? As recently as five years ago I was trying to be "just friends" with a woman who was alternately friendly and rejecting and while she was confusing (it was not like the Onion article Woman Confusingly Tells Area Man She's Not Interested in Him - although I have been that clueless) it was very obvious that she wasn't interested in me that way. I also think that it played into my self-loathing since it was easier to have a miserable non-relationship with a woman who wasn't interested than actually step foot into the confusing world of dating.

I make efforts not to be that person anymore. I know there are worse men out there. I know that not all men do these things, but I also know that I was encouraged by the general culture to behave in this manner. Doesn't make me innocent - far from it - but it does make me cognizant of a wealth of misogyny in society that has affected me and that I have perpetrated.
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