I’ve been thinking about women of late, maybe always. In my teens I was surrounded by punk kids (yay The Descendents), indie kids (yay, Cursive!), emo kids (yay, Mineral!), hardcore kids (yay, Converge), post-hardcore kids (umm… Saosin?), ska kids (weee, Catch 22!), and so on and so forth. That doesn’t always mean the kids are liberal, or hippie-esque (while disliking the comparison, for some reason), but in my case, they all were. Everyone was a feminist.
I was surrounded by girls who didn’t want to have limitations based on what other people thought it meant to be female, and I loved it. I adopted feminism immediately, and still shake my head in disappointment when people reject the term because they have a terrible understanding of it.
Nearly constantly, I’m reminded of just how truly difficult it can be to be a woman in the world. From the real threat of assault and rape to every day demeaning and offensive catcalls and stares. The odd and infuriating mindset men have that girls and women exist for sex. Exist to please them/us. The assumption that every female in the world is there for us to try to sleep with and so we reduce them to such a small existence in our heads. I am sometimes asked to pretend to be a friend’s boyfriend so someone will stop hitting on her (and that doesn’t always work). I talk to my female friends and most don’t even mention it anymore. It’s so common, they don’t even bother to say “some guys whistled at me and yelled some shit as they drove by in their car.” They don’t mention when walking down the hall that some guy slapped them on the ass as he passed. It’s difficult to grasp how frequently stuff like that happens and how women are either forced to accept it as the way it is, or to be upset quite a bit of the time.
It’s also incredibly difficult, for even the most caring of guys, to take a woman’s perspective. For the most part, guys are rarely harassed and not remotely to the extent women can be. So it’s hard to put myself in her shoes. Besides, a guy’s desires are different from a woman’s anyway (in general). It makes the reality of life as a female so hard to imagine sometimes.
And it’s been made an issue by the guy who made the videos about women before killing 6 too many people in Santa Barbara. It’s good that it’s come into the spotlight even though that kid was mentally disturbed and it was more about that than women (though I won’t guess what percentage).
This is the kind of subject that when you talk to rational, decent human beings, they sarcastically say something like, “who are you trying to impress, no one here disagrees with you.” But I hardly realize I’m ranting. I do know I’m rehashing the same ideas and same anger plenty of other people have spout out before I was born. I’ve just always hated inequalities. And all of them piss me off to no end. I get hung up on them and can never let them go.
Anyway, I started this post to talk about my personal issues. I love women. I’m attracted to women. And when I see a woman walking downtown, I can’t help what my mind does. And normally I think it’s harmless fantasizing. Maybe it is, but it’s upsetting all the same. I don’t want to see women that way. And though I can take solace in the fact that I don’t treat women as objects and I don’t interact with women in hopes of sleeping with them, having those thoughts is still disappointing to me. I wish I didn’t hold my look that extra second when a girl walks by. I wish I could stop those thoughts from forming in my mind. I catch myself doing it and have to actively resist. My default is to look. To lust after a woman I know absolutely nothing about. That bothers me. And it’s something that I’ve had to learn to deal with. It’s a thought that originates underneath my conscious mind and rises to my awareness long after having been formed. It’s when I become aware that I must resist the thought. I don’t want it to shape the interaction. I want to like or hate this person as a person and not because of any other reason. I may not be completely capable of this. I’ve studied the brain enough to know how it operates underneath consciousness and the many influences we aren’t aware of. So, I don’t fool myself into thinking I’m capable of defeating how my brain works, but I do hope that by spending an extra moment to think about that desire, I can make it less powerful.
There are a million more aspects to this conversation, like the balance between embracing sexuality and openness while respecting other people’s boundaries and not being rude, but I’m afraid 1:30 in the morning is not the ideal time for contemplating them all.
I don’t suspect I’m making any difference by posting this. I don’t even suppose that I’m saying anything new. I hope I don’t come off as if I think I know anything more than other people. I was simply reflecting on my behavior.