Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guys and Gals

I follow some pretty feminist-y tumblrs and they often post things on women's issues on a regular basis. I also see what's been going on in the media with #YesAllWomen and #BringBackOurGirls. And then there was the pregnant woman who was stoned to death in Sudan for marrying a Christian man. And all the other gender-related acts of violence against women that arise on a continuing ongoing basis -like the 16 year old girl that was recently discovered as having been raped since she was 6 by her all 5 of her brothers for 10 years. 

Then there's the posts on Facebook assessing the media itself and its over-sexification of women in magazines, ads, movies, videos, and every other outlet known to man.

I've attempted to make commentary from time to time and repost things but I either get complaints from people who then call me a "feminist" / "over exaggerating" or nobody reads/cares. But I saw a post today that I really wanted to comment on. It was a repost of a blog article someone made on why some men don't realize that they are aggressively approaching women.

In the article, the writer mentioned watching a female fri3nd being hit on by a man and the woman say, "No thanks, I'm actually married and he's here." When the friend talked with the woman watching her response the woman stated, "I thought he was creepy. My husband being around wasn't actually the main reason I wasn't interested in him, but it seemed instinctually safer to mention him than just say I wasn't interested."

With the recent stabbings from guys who "snapped because women kept turning them down for sex", it is kind of a safer assumption (as the article points out) that a woman defer to another strong male to defend her right to decline another man's advances than it is to simply state her own autonomy and preference.

This clicked with me because shortly after I had a flashback to a similar situation I had when I was 23. I befriended a 50-something year old man (most of my friends are older than me -men included -for some reason). The man asked me out to the movies and I was a little apprehensive because I thought he might consider it a date and I REAAALLLLLLYYYYY wanted to make sure things stayed in the friend zone. I was not interested in him in any way and I also was afraid to be alone with him. I was mostly trying to be a supportive friend over the phone from a distance and occasionally in person in public spaces.

When we were at the movie theater waiting for the movie to start I remember he asked me, "So do you have a boyfriend?" In the moment I remember think, Well I'm very interested in another guy that might be interested in me, but we're not dating. But what I told him was, "Yah I have a new boyfriend. We haven't been dating very long but we've been friends for a while." I was afraid that if I was single he might then ask me out or express interest in that way and I wouldn't know what to do and I didn't want to hurt his feelings by telling him I wasn't interested in him that way.

I'm generally very skeptical of guys who want to hangout with me one-on-one "as friends". At least initially until I get the vibe of familiarity and know the guy isn't "a risk". I actually told a guy I became friends with that when he first asked me to go hiking with him out in the woods in a place I'd never been before I invited my sister to come along because I was afraid he might be a serial killer or something and I wanted to be on the safe side. I told him that in a joking way -but it was actually pretty true. I've seen may too many episodes of CSI... and Hannibal... and Unsolved Mysteries... and the news.

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