We need to change the social structure

of what it is acceptable for women to say.

Do you know how cultural standards get put into place?  Our monkey brains just process what is happening around us and without even thinking about it we learn and accept what the role of everyone is.  We absorb a lot of that stuff on TV, in movies, on the internet and of course in observing the interactions around us.  We mimick each other and these roles for people just get drilled deeper and deeper into our heads.  And we never even think about it.

I was raised by a bitch.  I say this with love and someday I will share my mother and her strength with you.  But while it wasn’t always enjoyable it taught me several things.

If you don’t like something Don’t Put Up With It.

But you see that isn’t the acceptable role for women.  If you won’t put up with it, you are labeled a bitch.   Not putting up with it doesn’t fit the social role of women today.

Women are consistently reinforced in roles that are submissive and told that we are connectors, cultivators, supporters and that we make everyone FEEL better.  That is what we are told our strength is.  Go to a diversity leadership seminar – that’s what they will say.

Do you know WHY we have to create such elaborate processes for sexual harassment?  Because the ENTIRE rest of society is putting women in the role of ‘shut up and just accept it.’  Because the society has told men that its OK to treat a woman as an object to be touched or casually sexualized.  That’s their role.

Imagine if society was different.  What if the role that women fill included an immediate response of “get your hands off me and keep them off.”  or “Don’t talk like that to me again.”   Today, a man saying that does not feel incongruous.  A woman doing it is a bitch.

Imagine if women didn’t feel even slightly odd or worried about marching into HR and creating a report that could get someone fired because there was no predisposition that suggested that this was NOT the role of connector and a supporter.  What if there wasn’t even a whiff of possibility of her own culpability in just being a woman who was present at the time of the incident of her own harassment?

If we changed the acceptable role of women and men – we would stop A LOT of this Creeper behavior in its tracks.   Most of it rolls along because men get no immediate resistance.  Because women have been socialized to internally cringe, find socially acceptable ways to avoid, to wait until its many layers beyond disgusting to even consider filing a complaint.

The numberless times that women don’t even do more than half laugh and create an awkward pause when some idiot says something creepy is perpetuating the problem, teaching creepers that their ridiculous behavior is normal.  And the reason that we do that is because society has taught us to shut up and not make waves. And breaking out of a socialized role is deeply hard.  And that doesn’t even take into consideration the particular path of that woman’s life which may add even more barriers to her resistance.

Its a self perpetuating cycle.

Well, I for one, intend to just be the fucking bitch.  The rest of the world can just get used to it.  Its awkward, its uncomfortable and its unfair.  But creepers… fuck em.  I’m taking them down as I see them.  No prisoners.

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Maybe by next generation my bitchiness can be the norm.  And no one will think women are being a bitch because they don’t accept it when their boss calls them darling, their coworker asks if they plan to get laid tonight and the guy at the bar tries to give an unwanted massage.

Maybe because its normal to call a man on his creeper behavior we will have fewer creepers in the following generation.

I have a dream of no creepy.

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8 thoughts on “We need to change the social structure

  1. I don’t quite understand the logic here. You make a great point about terms for women (like “bitch”) being socially constructed concepts – so why embrace it for yourself? Here’s a thought experiment in self-determination and defying definition. Say “I am . . .(insert your real name here)”. Then follow it up with things like “I have . . .”, “I do . . .”, “I say . . .”, “I think . . .”, “I (don’t) like . . .” etc, but never “I am . . .”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose I am saying that I am going stand up and tell people I don’t like what they are doing to me.

      So society is going to call me a bitch. Place me in that role. And so be it. I’m OK with that.

      I cannot stop them from defining me that way. And I guess I’ve never felt too bad about owning the role of a bitch when I was standing on ground I felt sure of.

      You are right of course. I am enforcing the idea that standing up and saying stop is a negative role rather than a positive one by embracing the role name bitch. Saying I am a bitch just plays their hand instead of mine.

      I shall have to think on this.

      Like

  2. I’m all for change, but you will never change society. You can only change what you can control.
    No one has the right, authority, or morality to call you anything. So why accept the label?
    Don’t forget what First Lady Roosevelt said; ” no one can make you feel inferior, without your permission”.
    Screw society, define yourself.

    Like

  3. I don’t get offended by epithets. I encourage people to speak freely – even if they try to offend me.

    I am a minority but I am against outlawing or chilling free speech. Repression of expression, however disgusting or poorly articulated, always benefits the oppressor.

    Anyone who calls me a nasty name which does not accurately define me has made an error. The failure is theirs, not mine. As is their loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Harassment cannot be tolerated, yet we put the burden on the female to call foul. More senior leaders, men or women, have to step in when they hear it and correct behavior. Often, a junior female will intimidated by a senior male, using senior, junior to define roles in the company.

    As a former supervisor I have chastised or corrected behavior either publicly or privately. Sometimes the men do not realize they have crossed a boundary. Many times they do. Either way, things must be said. It cannot just wait for HR, but HR needs to be involved if unresolved or abusive.

    What troubles me more is when women are raped on campuses, in the military or anywhere. We place an even heavier burden on the victims. In the military, we should have taken the investigation outside the chain of command as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recommended. We still have the problem.

    I encourage folks to read Jimmy Carter’s book “A Call to Action,” which is a follow-on book to “Half the Sky,” by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof.

    I am of a different era, so I would suggest more directness without cursing. Yet, in some way, the person needs to tell the harasser to back off. I would also pass along a recommendation of a female colleague who traveled on business. She said she tries to never to be alone with a male colleague outside of a public setting. If the group leaves the bar, then leave the bar. Do not stay behind with a drinking male colleague. Men think too much with their penis in those cases.

    Good post, Keith

    Like

    1. I would suggest cursing if someone is comfortable doing it. Because cursing raises the attention.

      And fact that your friend has to adjust her behavior in leaving the bar is something that is VERY common and also very wrong with society.

      Women spend an inordinate amount of our attention and choices on defensive mechanisms. We should not have to live our lives in constant defense.

      You see if she decided she was enjoying herself at the bar and stayed and then some sexual assault happened – a good portion of the population would blame her for not leaving. That is wrong. No ifs, ands or buts. That is wrong. Her presence at her sexual assault does NOT require any explanation or excuse. The victim is not to blame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are correct in the blame assessment which would be unfair. In her case, she was removing the obstacle by not staying. Sometimes the best strategy is to avoid the situation. I am not saying that is right or wrong, I am only offering her practical suggestion.

        Liked by 1 person

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