Bird shot dating

A lot of guys seem to look for women the same way they go hunting. They shoot with bird shot. They aim for women just because they’re women. They don’t set their sights on a specific woman. They aim for them just because they are women. There is no aiming for a specific person at all.

All women want to be wanted for themselves, as people, and not just because they have the right plumbing.

I have thought about sharing ideas for men to know how to talk to women. But then I thought I might be doing a disservice. I thought I might be making it easier for the creepy people to not seem creepy. This would then make it harder for women to avoid the creepy people.

Putting a façade on a falling down house doesn’t fix the problem. In the same way, teaching creepy men how to interact with women might be a problem. It might make it easier for creepy men to get involved with women. But perhaps the reason they are creepy is because they don’t know how to interact with women as people. Perhaps the reason they are creepy is because they don’t know how to interact with humans at all.

Perhaps by giving them some tips it might make it easier for them and for everyone else. I’m working on this. It is hard, because I’m not a guy. So I’m not sure what kind of advice they need. It is kind of like reverse-engineering a problem, or translating into a language that is not my own. But I know what creeps me out, so perhaps it is worth a try.

Anything has to be better than nothing, right? We have too many guys who feel frustrated that they don’t know how to interact with women.

First, they have to stop thinking of them as women and start thinking of them as people.

I’ll be working on this. Feel free to offer ideas.

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Women as appliances – the source of gender violence

I was walking outside at lunch last week, and a guy drove by in a car and yelled at me. It took me a bit to process it. I couldn’t believe that someone was yelling at me. What he yelled was “Your skirt is too f—–g long, b—h!”

Except he filled in the blanks. He threw his words, like trash, out of the car, and at me.

I was shocked. I felt attacked. And I was confused. My skirt is too long? That is a problem? Oh, so I should hem up all of my skirts so they show off my legs so he can see them. I get it.

Like that kind of person deserves to see any part of me.

I’m married, after all. I’m not on the market. But even before I was married I dressed modestly. It just isn’t other people’s right to treat me as an object, a thing, a body. I am a person first. By hiding my body I make people look at me instead of my body.

I’ve written quite a bit about how men objectify women who wear clothing that is revealing. I’ve written that women should think about what they wear so that they do not get unwanted attention.

But now I’m rethinking that. I was wearing an ankle-length skirt, and I got unwanted attention.

And then I remember that at work, wearing very modest clothing, I get unwanted attention. Guys hit on me and they know nothing about me. They don’t know my name other than what is on my nametag. They don’t notice that I wear a wedding band. They don’t know what I read or what my hobbies are. They know nothing about me other than I am female and they are male. They think that should be enough to ask me out.

Perhaps I’ve been going at this wrong all along. Perhaps the boy who killed women simply because (other) women wouldn’t date him is part of this problem. Perhaps all gender violence and miscommunication stems from this same root.

Some guys don’t know that women are people and not objects.

Some guys don’t know that they need to make friends with women first – and as real friends, not just as an attempt to get to date them. And by “date”, I don’t mean “have sex with”. A lot of guys get that confused.

Yes, we women have been sold the idea that our looks are more important than anything. We’ve been sexualized and objectified by the media. We’ve been sold this idea that we have to have a man if we are to be anything. But men have been sold the same message along with us. It isn’t just women who have been short-changed by this message. It is men who are missing out on knowing women as individuals, as people.

For many men, women are a means to an end. Women are girlfriends and then wives and then the mothers of their children and homemakers. Women are yet another thing they have to have in their lives.

They are appliances.

They are washing machines and stoves.

You have to have a washing machine to get your clothes clean. Sure, you could wash your clothes in the sink and hang them to dry. Or you could take them to the Laundromat if you don’t have a washing machine in your house. Or you could take them to the dry-cleaners if you don’t know how to use a washing machine.

Or you could get married and let your wife do it.

The same with food. Everybody needs to eat. You can cook for yourself, or you can eat out. When you eat out, you can eat fast food or you can eat at a fancy restaurant.

Or you can get married and let your wife do it.

Men have been short-changed by our society. We have told them that women are the ones who cook and clean. Women are the ones who hold the keys to these basic needs. So they have to have a woman to fulfill these basic needs.

Sex is extra.

You have to have clean clothes and you have to eat.

If we teach men how to take care of themselves, then women won’t be a means to an end.

It is all making sense now.

If a man cannot take care of himself – cannot clean his clothes, clean his house, feed himself – he will have to have someone else do this for him. This is embarrassing, and it is a slight against his manhood. Sometimes that someone else is a stranger – the dry cleaners, the fast food worker. The prostitute.

Sometimes that someone else is his wife.

One of the most powerful things you can do is to give control back to people. It is essential to teach people how to help themselves. It is vital for their souls. We must, as a society, start teaching all people how to do all the things that they need to take care of themselves. We have to cross-train everybody.

Men must learn how to cook and clean. Women must learn how to repair cars, plumbing, electricity. We both must learn each other’s tasks, and our own. No more gender division. No more “women’s work” and “men’s work”.

For our own sanity, survival, and strength, we must do this. If we all can stand on our own, imagine how much stronger we will be together? People will marry out of strength instead of weakness.

And men won’t “have” to have a woman. They won’t see women as objects but as people. They won’t see women as appliances – washers, dryers, stoves. They will be able to take care of their own human needs, so they won’t feel the sense of empty desperation that comes from feeling helpless.

The value of women – on clothing

Our value as women is based on our relationship with other people and not on our own merits as human beings. We are seen as someone’s daughter, or mother, or wife. We are sold the idea that if we don’t get married and have a family, we are nothing as human beings.

Thus, part of our value as women is based on our ability to attract men. Part of that value is set on how we dress. We are supposed to dress in a way that is seen as attractive to other people, but especially to men.

Now, if we dress in a very modest fashion we are seen as frumpy. We perhaps even seen as being lesbians. There’s very little middle ground in what is allowed for how we dress. It is either too attractive, or not attractive enough.

But the worst part is when we dress “too attractively” and a man attacks.

Part of the mark of a well-trained dog is that you can put a snack or a treat in front of it and it doesn’t lunge for it. Perhaps that is the problem. We have men who are not well-trained. We have men who if they see a woman who is attractively dressed (which she has to be in order to be a woman in our society) they will become like dogs.

They will grope her.
They will catcall her.
They will wolf-whistle to her.
They will attack her.
They will rape her.

The problem is not how women dress. The problem is how men act. The problem is that men are acting like dogs and not like human beings. In this situation, the only thing that makes men and animals different is the training.

Now, not all men act like dogs. But enough do that women have to be mindful of themselves at all times. Enough do that we have to think about what we wear and how we wear it so that we don’t “cause” a man to attack us.

If a man is exercising self-control, a woman can be wearing anything – or nothing – and he won’t attack her.

But – women are told they have to attract a man. We have to dress attractively in order to get a wedding dress. But – if we dress too attractively, it is our fault if we get raped.

All of this is wrong. All of it.

Women are people, first and foremost, and should not be told they have to get married. Women should be supported in becoming a human being first, and a wife second, if at all. Our value as members of society should not hinge on if we can marry or not.

Then, we should be allowed to dress however we want, without fear that we will get unwanted attention because of how we dress.

Let’s look at it this way –

It is not the fault of the homeowner if her house gets robbed. The fact that the door didn’t have fourteen latches on it and a home alarm doesn’t matter. It is the fault of the robber, who went to her home with the intent to break in.

The only problem is that women are encouraged to carefully landscape their yards for “curb appeal” – or “curve appeal” if you will. We are encouraged to make our houses – our bodies – look attractive and appealing. We are taught to be like the bower birds, who build a nest to attract a mate. The one with the most attractive nest gets a mate – and thus gets to pass on his genetics.

But if we are too attractive – we get attacked. So it is our fault. We can’t win.

Time to stop playing the game.

Gender violence and gender harmony

This is about gender violence, specifically it is about violence against women performed by men. Yes I know that there are women who attack men. Yes, there are women who attack women, and men who attack men. This is not about that.

This is about the fact that there are way more women who are being attacked by men just because they are women. Just because they are seen as lesser. I speak about what I know. You always have to write from what you know and what you experience.

Simply being a woman is seen as lesser. We are seen as the weaker sex. We are not encouraged to do anything that is rough-and-tumble. We are not encouraged to do anything outside of our proscribed gender roles. When a woman does anything that is seen as traditionally masculine she is seen as is as butch. When a man does anything that is seen as feminine he is seen as effeminate and is considered to be weaker.

This is a shame. It is not fair for men to not be allowed to be who they are. It is not fair for women to not be allowed to be who they are. There is nothing specific about our genders that make us better able to wash dishes or better able to pay bills. There is nothing specific about our genders that make it logical that one is supposed to be nurturing and caring and the other one is supposed to be hard and aggressive.

Everyone can take care of the house and everyone can take care of the children. It is important that everyone knows everyone’s roles. The role has nothing to do with gender but with ability. And ability comes from education, not gender.

It is important that young boys learn how to cook and darn their own socks. It is important that women know how to balance a checkbook and how to do house and car repairs. It is important that everybody learns how to take care of themselves completely and fully.

If we only know half of our tasks that we are half people.

Perhaps this is why women and men think they have to get married. They think they have to have someone else to take care of them instead of being able to take care of themselves. Imagine how strong marriages would be if both people are independent and strong, so both together make something even stronger.

This is the source of healing. This is the source of peace. We have to stop being women and men. We have to start being people.

Suppressed pain – rethinking domestic assault.

When I slipped a disc in my back, I was in extreme pain for a while. Then I got used to it. When I went to the chiropractor the next day, he tested my blood pressure while I was sitting and when I was standing. It was not different, and it was supposed to be. He told me that was a sign of stress caused by the pain. I wasn’t hurting much, but I did feel a little weird. I now know that feeling was from suppressed pain.

I hear that if you are going to boil a live lobster, it is kindest to do it slowly. Put the lobster in the pot and raise the heat gradually until it just goes to sleep. This is less traumatic than putting it in a boiling pot.

Bad smells become normal after a while. Constant loud sounds do too. After a while you can get used to anything, even if it is dangerous for you.

I’ve been a lobster for a long time. I’ve been in pain for a long time. I’ve been around bad smells and loud noises for longer than is healthy. I’d gotten used to it.

I’m not talking about these things in the literal sense.

I have been the victim of a culture that puts women last. I have been the victim of a culture that tells me and every other woman that our value derives from how we look, how we act, and how we related to men. I have been a victim of abuse from family and boyfriends and strangers. People I thought I could trust have harmed me, with the full approval of a society that says if a woman is harmed, she must have done something to deserve it.

As if men can’t control themselves.
As if men are basically animals.

I didn’t even realize I had been raped by a boyfriend until recently. I thought it was my fault, a misunderstanding. We were dating, but we hadn’t had sex. We’d talked about it, but we hadn’t agreed to it. We were kissing each other and fooling around one minute, and then he had entered me the next.

I thought it was my fault. I shouldn’t have led him on. I shouldn’t have let the situation get that far advanced. Right? That is what I’ve been told by our society.

And now I know. Sex without the consent of both people is rape. Even if both people are dating. Even if both have had sex with each other before.

Every single time it must be clearly mutual, or it is rape.

And it isn’t the woman’s fault. That is the definition of codependency. Nobody is responsible for another person’s feelings or actions. They are. A woman didn’t “make” a man do anything. He chose to. This is true for rape and domestic assault.

If a boundary is violated – whether it is being smacked around or raped – it doesn’t matter who does it. It is still an attack, and it is still the fault of the person who did the attack. The victim is not ever to blame.

We have to change our mindsets. We have to start thinking of violence between people who are supposed to be in a loving relationship as simply the same as violence between strangers.

She is someone

There is a billboard campaign going on nationwide, trying to make porn addicts and johns think about who they are using. It uses the line “She’s somebody’s daughter”, with a picture of a woman. In Nashville, the billboard is appropriately over the Hustler store.

somebody

I really liked this campaign to start with. I especially like the idea that it is over a store that sells pornography and “adult” clothing. I liked the idea that it tries to get porn addicts to understand that this woman is part of the community, that she is connected. It tries to generate compassion by subtly reminding them – she could be your daughter, your sister. How would you like it if someone treated your daughter or sister the way you are treating other women?

This kind of thinking has been used to try to deter rapists too. Pornography and rape aren’t far removed. Both need a warped kind of thinking, where the perpetrator objectifies women until they stop being people.

Now I realize something deeper. It is saying that a woman has value only in her relation to someone else. She is someone’s daughter, or sister, or wife. While that is a good start, it isn’t enough. Let’s strip it away to the core.

She is someone.

All to herself, all on her own, she is someone.

She has value on her own as a person. Her relationship to other people, especially other men, does not create her value. She is a human being, not an object, not a thing.

Torn. Thoughts on #Yesallwomen

I’m really torn about the #Yesallwomen tag. It is starting to sound like an airing of grievances. I have my own list, trust me. I thought about posting it. But how will this heal us? Men and women are both feeling alienated and misunderstood and threatened. What can we do to teach boundaries and compassion and respect? How do we build a bridge? What can we as a community, as a culture, do to stop the psychic pain that causes these outbursts of random violence?

This isn’t about gun control.

It would be stupid to think that banning guns will do any good. The cat is already out of the bag. If we ban guns, then only the “bad guys” will have guns. That isn’t safer. That is actually more dangerous. I’m not saying everybody needs to have a gun either. I’m saying that it is too late to even talk about gun control. In the last two examples of mass murder a knife was used. It isn’t about guns. It is about violence. What pushes someone to the point that they kill?

We need people control. We need self respect, and respect for others. We need for everybody to learn how to establish and enforce and respect boundaries in themselves and in others.

This isn’t about mental illness either.

Involuntarily committing people just because they are odd or different is a very dangerous idea. There are reasons why people have to present a clear example of being a danger to themselves or others before they are involuntarily committed. It is to prevent someone being essentially imprisoned without cause.

If we committed every person who was different, fully half the population would be in a mental institution. Who would get to decide what is “normal”? Who would be in charge? If you vote differently, don’t make enough money, go to the “wrong” church or no church at all – you are different. In you go. Sure, the idea of committing all the “crazy” people seems like a good idea, until you are the “crazy” one, according to someone else’s standards. You haven’t done anything wrong, but they think you might.

See how this sounds?

Speaking from the perspective as someone who has voluntarily committed herself twice, mental hospitals aren’t a great idea. A mental institution is not a place to learn how to be healthy. It is not a place where you are taught good coping skills and how to deal with the “real world.”

It is more like a holding cell. It is a place where you get medicated to the point of being a zombie. Of course people stop taking their medications when they get out. They don’t see the point of them. They make them feel terrible. The medications often make it harder to be a human being, not easier.

It would be better if mental hospitals taught people how to prepare healthy food for themselves, how to choose an exercise routine they can stick with, and how to interact with other people in a healthy way. If you can’t handle life before, you certainly can’t handle it when you are on drugs that make your thinking processes fuzzy. It is better to teach people how to be people first.

We need to rethink everything.

We have failed our boys. We have failed our girls. We have failed as a culture. These no longer random acts of violence have taught us this.

How do we change? What can we do to heal this rift?