Advertisements

Links & Sundries

Commenter Dizzy, aka SPC Snaptags, has compiled and elaborated upon the Dude Social/Sexism Fallacies we were generating in the comments the other day, and added her own:

1.3 It is acceptable for me to put a down payment on your vagina without telling you that’s what I’m doing. It’s unacceptable for you to accept my gifts but not pay the price, which I didn’t tell you about

This has happened to me, and it is not fun. There were a number of times, particularly in the Army, where a male I thought was my friend would offer to do or buy something from me. It was usually something inexpensive or unimportant. Often, it would be something like a cup of coffee. I assumed he wanted to do something nice for me as a friend; he thought I understood that, when I accepted the coffee, I owed him sex. (I wish someone would phrase it like that—I’d love to negotiate what $1.98 of sex is).

Then, at some point, when he believed he had put in enough time and money and wanted his return, he would be furious when I refused to pay. To me, there was nothing to pay; if we were entering some kind of financial relationship, I expect to be told the costs up front. Trust me, if I had realized I owed Specialist Creepbag $1.98 of my vagina, I would have bought my own goddamn coffee.

I really like what Jennifer Pastilof is doing over at The Manifest Station with her “Dear Life” series. People write advice letters, Jen matches the letter writers with authors she knows, stuff like this happens. Thoughts: 1) Letter Writer, your cold feet are trying to save you from a miserable life. Stay cold! 2) “Sometimes you have to just put yourself in motion: do the right thing until it changes you,” is a hell of a line.

Two Chicago Events are coming up:

1) April’s Awkward Meet & Geek is on April 15 at Geek Bar Beta.

2) I’m reading at That’s All She Wrote, April 19. Venue is Great Lakes Tattoo, 1148 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL.

 

Advertisements
61 comments
  1. Oort Cloud said:

    One minor but sad thing – one of the many, many shitty things about the Down Payment fallacy – is that it makes it so much harder to offer or accept the occasional genuine nice gesture, should we happen to encounter one in the wild. It’s the least of the issues around this – just another tiny nice thing we all get to have less of, thanks to craptastic Down Payment-tipe attitudes 😦

    • Also, if you ever date someone who suffers under the Down Payment fallacy, prepare to face a lot of drama if a platonic friend ever offers to pay for your meal or movie ticket when you’re broke, just for the privilege of hanging out with you (you know, as friends and non-douchebags sometimes do). When my shitty ex started isolating me from my friends, he began it all by starting fights and emotional drama over how I was “basically cheating” if a friend offered to cover my movie ticket so we could still hang out when I couldn’t afford it. If he only paid for anything out of a sense of making a Down Payment, then obviously so was anyone else, right?

    • SarahTheEntwife said:

      Yep. I was kind of stand-offish with a friend of mine the first few times I talked to him, because I had read him as fairly heavily flirting with me. No, he’s just one of those incredibly extroverted nice people who are like that with everyone. And if we weren’t thrown together through common interests anyway I would have missed out on a friend because jerks ruin it for the innocuously friendly guys.

    • monologue said:

      Yeah this can be said for every interaction is flirting too. Recently I met a chill neighbour and he was a bit forward and gave me his number on our chance first meeting. I think he picked up that I was probably gay and just wants to be friends and is new to the area, but I can’t call him in case he takes it as a signal I want to date and I open myself up to an annoying problem with someone who lives right down the street.

    • Eurekas said:

      I once had a roommate who distrusted men who opened doors for her on a first date, lest they think of it as a down payment on sex.

      Finding out more details about her first boyfriend/sexual experience made this make more sense, but it’s still baffling and terrifying and intensely sadmaking that there are so many men who think this way.

      • rmd714 said:

        I actually have the same distrust. And I never let a guy pay for the whole date for the same reason.

  2. peregrinations said:

    You know, there’s an interesting flipside to 3.1 (“Every interaction with women is flirting unless proven otherwise”), too. Because flirting is the only possible reason any woman would seek to interact with a man, certain men get uncomfortable when women they’re not attracted to – especially women that fall outside the Societal Beauty Norm – talk with them. Even in professional environments, these men will refuse to talk with women attempting to network or collaborate with them. Maud forbid the woman might think he was interested in her, or worse that other people might think he was interested in her!

    Dude Social Fallacies, bad for everyone since, well, ever!

    • omj said:

      I went to University in a very conservative/traditional/religious area, where this fallacy ran rampant. There was a program at the business school that set up students with professional mentors from the area – they’d go to lunch, have meetings, job shadow, whatever. It was extremely difficult for the female students to avail themselves of this program, from what I’ve heard, because most of the business bigwigs in the area were male and they certainly couldn’t spend time with a young, potentially unattached woman, especially alone (even if it was alone in public), lest this interaction somehow secretly be a date, somehow.

      That’s just one example, but I’m sure there are plenty of ways in which this fallacy poses a real, tangible obstacle for women in professional spaces.

      • Rowan said:

        I was a technician in a theatre, and got this shit ALL THE TIME. The other techs (all male) didn’t want to hang out with me after work, or even talk to me any more than absolutely necessary, because they weren’t interested in getting into my exceedingly attractive stuffed-with-spanners-and-gaffa-tape combat trousers. It was “if we had to get a female tech, why couldn’t we get a pretty one?” Hey, wankers, I know it’s a shock to the system, but I’m here to do a job, same as you.

        It was a bloody long year.

        • Which is so infuriating and gross. I mean, I *like* having friends who are men, if they are men with whom I share common interests and enjoy conversation. But one thing that would put me off being friends is observing that a man is uninterested in being friends– or even collegial or polite– with women to whom they’re not attracted.

          • Rowan said:

            I have a lot of guy friends – used to be in a band with 4 guys and it was never a Thing. They were just my mates. I’m into rock music and superheroes, stuff like that. It just happened that I’ve found more men than women who share these interests. But then you get the “you’re only pretending to like …. to find a bloke” BS from some people. Sigh.

      • golden peanut said:

        The truly funny part is how those older, male bigwigs think it’s even conceivable that the female students were interested in them. Bigwigs, nobody thinks you are boning the student except other deluded bigwigs (and possibly your wife if you have a history of boning students).

    • Jane said:

      Well, and it’s not just dudes who have been socialized this way. I still have a very hard time with my calibration for interactions with guys, because I grew up in a very conservative area, where the slightest male-female interaction was suspect of Potential Sexing (which was probably bad, because sex is bad and makes you an emotionally broken person forever! /mom voice)

      When you have spent the larger part of your life developing mannerisms and behaviors so that you can never be accused of being “slutty” or “loose” by being overly friendly or flirty with men (and when you’ve absorbed a lot of messages that all most men want from women is sex) it’s super easy to misinterpret even the most basic of decent behavior that makes it through your weirdness shields as romantic interest.

      Even though I know have to consciously adjust my expectations (and I am much less hostile/awkward than I used to be, and so probably a recipient of more potentially bewilderingly pleasant behavior), my emotions sometimes engage incorrectly before I am able to nip it in the bud.

    • Dinosauce said:

      I agree with this, especially since I’ve experienced it and seen it in action. I’ll be out with a friend group made up of girls to meet up with somebody’s boyfriend and his friends. I’ll try to strike up a conversation with a guy and he won’t even look right at me, lest his friends think he’s into me. But they’ll be perfectly friendly to my friends with a more popular aesthetic.

    • photondancer said:

      I’ve noticed an interesting side-effect of men getting married: frequently they either become a lot more relaxed around women afterwards, or they become a lot less so, to the point of being outright rude and refusing to interact with them as you note. It’s like they’re either “Phew! now that I’ve got a woman, I can stop trying to impress you and just respond to you as a real person” or “Phew! now that I’ve got a woman, I don’t need to worry about you at all. Get lost!”.

      Not all men do it, obviously, but I’ve been surprised at how common it is.

      • omj said:

        A guy friend of mine used to tell me, and all his other female friends, that once he got married he’d stop being our friend. He just didn’t think it was appropriate to socialize with women whatsoever once he had one for a wife. He was true to his words, too, though I guess at least in that case we all had warning. Several other guy friends just dropped off the planet after their receptions were over.

      • hummingbear said:

        As a woman who recently got married, I’ve noticed the first of those reactions in both myself and men I talk to. It’s like the wedding ring is a “get out of jail free” card, where “jail” = the threat of misinterpreting friendly conversation as flirtation. It’s a huge relief, a background-stress I didn’t really notice until I could just flash my left hand around and get rid of it. So sad it can’t be like that for everyone.

        • My mom, whose grad school program was pretty heavily male, said that she noticed after she was engaged that her male classmates were much more collegial with her at the pub after class. She said, “I’m glad I finally got to know them as human beings but sorry it took them seeing me as ‘owned’ by another man in order to make it possible.”

    • golden peanut said:

      Been there, experienced that. Declined their crappy t-shirt.

  3. omj said:

    The Toast did a retelling of The Princess and The Frog that plays on this dude fallacy and it’s (intentionally) quite upsetting – but also fascinating and really hit a note with me. Please be forewarned it’s part of their Children’s Stories Made Horrific, and they live up to that title. Nothing graphic in it at all, but it is uncomfortable and people with a sensitivity to sexual entitlement may have hard time with it.

    • Polychrome said:

      Interesting! I couldn’t really read that one (the original, I mean) to my kid, I realized — frog did her ONE favour and now he gets to sleep in her bed in perpetuity? “no backsies” backed up by her dad? yeesh.

      • Yes. I have long had a problem with The Frog Prince. Why does he even want someone who clearly doesn’t want him? I get that he needs a princess to break the spell, but being upfront about the whole thing would have been so very much better. Or if the spell wouldn’t let him do that, then at the end, when he turns into a prince, why isn’t he all, “Thanks for helping me to break the spell. I’m sorry I had to manipulate you like that to do it. I’ll be on my way now.” The idea that there’s any reason for them to stay together when she doesn’t like him and he used her makes no sense once the spell is broken.

        I also kind of hate The Lion and the Mouse. The story where the lion is going to kill the mouse, but the mouse pleads with him not to, and then later helps get the lion out of a hunter’s net by chewing through the ropes. I feel like it’s only justifiable in that the lion is an obligate carnivore. But when you try to translate it to humans, the message is something like, don’t beat up people you are stronger than, not because it’s wrong, but because they might be useful to you someday. But if you can be pretty certain that they’ll never be useful, then why not. And let’s just free the mass-murdering lion who might kill all of your family from the hunter’s net, because not killing you means you owe the lion a favor. Somehow.

      • omj said:

        We had a heavily sanitized and rewritten version in one of those readalong books that comes with a recording when I was little, and it seemed to gloss over some of the problems or play them for laughs (for example, the frog only wanted to be her best friend and play ball with her or something, and she was pointedly spoiled, and I think they parted ways in the end). Still, though, it’s a very strange story and it’s hard to come up with a moral from it other than “If you agree to spend time with someone, you MUST do it, even if one or both of you hates the arrangement deep down.”

    • Serin said:

      The actual fairy tale is pretty icky.

  4. Commander Banana said:

    I’m not sure how to word this, but I’d love to add a fallacy about friendzoning, as in “any woman who is not interested in sleeping you in friendzoning you and is therefore a terrible, bad, advantage-taking person,” because, you know, the worst thing in the world is to have a woman actually interested in being friends with you but not touching your wiener. THE HORROR.

  5. Just read the “cold feet” post and WHOAH. Sounds like she should follow her cold feet right the fucke out of there!

    • Louise said:

      I’m with you. I was dissappointed that the letter answerer didn’t hone in quickly on the scary controlling nature of the relationship with a big THIS IS NOT OK, but then I found out the letter answerer is currently in a volatile relationship herself so her radar is bound to be skewed.

      Captain, reading this made me appreciate your pith and insight. Keep writing!

  6. The “Dude Social Fallacies” post’s language reminds me of how UPSET many guys get at the way we talk about friendzoning and the “down payment” fallacy. We say, “He wants my vagina,” or “dudes just want to fuck me” and I’ve seen guys come in like “whoa whoa WHOA, that’s not it at all, we want to MAKE LOVE to you!”

    What they really mean is, “We want to fuck you and then have you manage our emotions so that we can believe you’re really happy about the whole episode and it was awesome.”

    Reminds me of a study I read once of men who buy sex (that is, johns who visit prostitutes), who said that on the whole the sex was mostly unsatisfactory because there was no emotional connection and they knew the girls were just faking it. Well gosh, I think, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

    (Then i get sad at how our society has radically underequipped men for genuine emotional intimacy, since for many men stalking, exploiting, and abusing are the only tools their childhoods hand them for getting their emotional needs met, and they have to learn everything else as a second language in adulthood.)

    • Commander Banana said:

      Yup – rape/misogynist culture, bad for everyone since the year zero!

      I think a flip side of this is “you are not allowed to decide who you want to be friends with or how you feel about me – if I decide we have a connection, then we have a connection!” I can’t tell you how many (ok, like…six, but that is a lot) guys I’ve met/dated who, when I declined further interaction, busted out the “BUT WE HAVE A CONNECTION. DON’T YOU FEEL IT? THIS CONNECTION. THIS CONNECTION THAT I’VE DECIDED WE HAVE. WE HAVE IT. YOU CAN’T LEAVE/NOT BE MY FRIEND/STOP TALKING TO ME.”

      Jesus weeping Christ on a flatbed truck full of Popsicles, the same goddamn thing happened to me tonight. I got a text from some dude I went on a couple dates with last summer out of nowhere, wanting to hang out/get a drink/will you have sex with me because you did once before you left so therefore you probably will/have to again, and when I declined, had this to say: “We get along well, I always enjoy hanging out with you. I think it’s obvious that we get along and share things in common and enjoy each other’s company so why not be friends?”

      WHY NOT INDEED, SIR. WHY NOT INDEED.

      Dude, I have your number. If at any point in the past year I was interested in seeing/hearing from you, I COULD HAVE TEXTED YOU. I DID NOT. YOU CANNOT BULLY ME INTO BELIEVING WE SHOULD BE FRIENDS.

      • letternext said:

        “you are not allowed to decide who you want to be friends with or how you feel about me – if I decide we have a connection, then we have a connection!” – urgh, yeah. this one is horrible. See also: “I’m not going to let you make a mistake you’ll regret!” on declining further interaction. Oh, what? So entitled, so scary.

        • I was talking to this guy, and I had made it explicitly clear from the moment he started talking to me that I did not want to be friends or anything. His response was “Well, sometimes you have to push past people’s boundaries to make friends.”

          OhHEEELLLLno. I told him this was entitle, gross, and creepy. He called me immature, and repeated it several times because I ignored it. Mature enough to know exactly what bullshit I’m not gonna put up with, thank you. Also I’m at least 20 years older than he was.

      • Jess said:

        Your last sentence. There are so many people I would send that too. Even right now, I have a coworker (coworker A) who another, former coworker (coworker B) doesn’t like, and coworker A cannot. let. it. go. Every time she brings it up she’s like ‘oh, I texted coworker B again and she didn’t respond, she emailed back later but that’s not the same; like I get the point, she doesn’t like me.’ Which, 1) not texting someone back but instead emailing them is not some kind of gross social faux pas or indication of hatred, and 2) you obviously DON’T get it, because this is the third time in as many weeks that you’ve brought up some (as perceived by you) failed interaction with coworker B. If you really ‘got it’ you wouldn’t keep bothering her.

        I feel like with some people it just becomes of paramount importance that other people like them and want to be their friend, and if that’s not the case there must be some ‘justification.’ Which, no, there does not. Not everyone has to like you, and why would you want to be friends with someone who obviously is not interested in the same?

      • monologue said:

        Yeah this happens to me a lot in the form of ‘this interaction is going well, what do you mean you want to leave/dont want to do physical thing?’ I guess from their side the interaction is going well bc I’m being polite while figuring out how best to politely end the interaction in order to avoid the possibility of violence. But I wish a polite, “I need to get going” or whatever was met with an ok more often instead of more coercion.

        • Exactly! They’re happy as long as you’re available as their designated Feelings Holder or even Shiny Mirror to reflect their feels. Never mind that you’re a complete person and might want something else, that’s just ludicrous.

    • I remember a guy creeping on me while I was out dancing once. He was not taking “no please go away” for an answer, so I got meaner. Finally, exasperated, he said to me “You’re never gonna get a man to take care of you with an attitude like that!” Ohh boy did I let him have it. Because I’m sure when you were putting your unwanted hands all over my ass, you were thinking “GEE I would love to take care of this woman and her child forever!”

  7. The Cold Feet letter makes me so sad. I’m divorced, for similar “low-level” reasons as that LW is concerned with (which makes it really hard to leave–“at least he doesn’t x” is a strong gaslighter). I didn’t have cold feet before the wedding, but immediately afterwards I seriously regretted changing my name. I didn’t recognize that for the sign it was until much later.
    Unfortunately, life can have a sick sense of humor, and one major reason I’m the more-or-less put-together, confident person I am right now is because I went through that quiet hell. I hope that LW can use this moment as the lesson it can be and become a stronger person from it. Cancelling or delaying a wedding is expensive and humiliating, but so is divorce.

    • ona555 said:

      I know. I read that and, well, I might be projecting a bit because I went through with my own cold feet wedding and sorely regretted it, but I just wanted to tell her to run. Dude who doesn’t respect your feelings, your needs, your perspectives, or your personal time before marriage = dude who respects those things even less once he’s got you in a legally binding contract. Having someone think you’re sexy sometimes but act like you don’t matter the rest of the time isn’t a solid foundation for a long term commitment. Run, cold feet. Run like the frikkin’ wind. It’s not your family or friends who would have to live with this guy and possibly have kids with him, it’s you.

    • golden peanut said:

      The answer made me sad. “Increasingly complicated”? No, it was pretty simple, he gaslights the letter writer, and he has unhealthy and abusive ways of dealing with conflict. Time to leave.

  8. icewindgale said:

    A ray of hope on a supremely depressing topic, related to the first link: the gay/trans panic defense is NOT legal in California any longer as of 2014; see Assembly Bill No. 2501.

    • Commander Banana said:

      THANK YOU.
      49 to go.

  9. allya said:

    I can’t help laughing about this. As an actual sex worker, I’d just like to say that with a client, I’d be wanting at least a hundred dollars just for the twenty minutes it takes to drink the cup of coffee. So if a man really does want to treat your relationship as transactional, he’s probably already in debt to you.

  10. While SPC’s list is well-intentioned, it uses a lot of sweeping generalizations of its own. I believe we can’t become equal by getting back at men. Attacking them is just as bad as them attacking us. There were lots of qualifying statements throughout her list, but none saying “No, this doesn’t apply to ALL men.”

    I just feel like the list could be a powerful tool if it didn’t have such a condescending tone to its intended audience. Few people learn that way.

    • ona555 said:

      So what you’re basically saying is that women need to make more of an effort to be caretakers of men’s feelings if we want to get across to them certain points such as the fact that it isn’t actually women’s job to be designated caretakers of men’s feelings.

      • ona555 said:

        And also you are saying that even if we talk amongst ourselves about the effects of DSF’s on our lives, we’d best be careful to frame it as nicely as possible on the off chance that a guy will hear us and get hurtfeels.

        Further, the points that SPC is highlighting, the Dude Social Fallacies, those are things that many guys do which are not only fallacies but are often abusive behaviors founded in a sense of entitlement and the expectation that whatever men do, no matter what, women have to respond nicely. Because if we’re nice about it, guys don’t have to listen (see: ignoring the soft no). And if we get curt, guess what, then guys also don’t have to listen (see: you don’t get to defend your boundaries. see also: “shrill/feminatzi/hysterical/crazy.”) There is literally no way to say “These behaviors are totally unacceptable” nicely enough that every single guy who engages in those behaviors will both accept we mean what we say and we’ve said it nicely enough that they can deign to listen. Men who are put off by tone are also frequently men who are put off by the mere act of women out loud acknowledging the reality of what we deal with on the daily rather than staying shut about it. Even when (and sometimes especially when) we’re not including them in the conversation, but are talking to each other.

    • W.T. said:

      Wow, an actual, almost word-for-word “not all men!” I’ve spotted plenty in the wild, but they generally don’t appear in this kind of environment! I wonder if they’re breeding.

      Joking aside, one, what ona555 said. You can’t put the responsibility for ending sexism on women– that’s the responsibility of the people that perpetuate sexism, and to do that they have to be open to understanding and changing the harmful parts of their behavior, and to do THAT sometimes involves actually taking in and processing the angry, condescending, disrespectful feelings of the people they’ve been oppressing. (Because women are ENTITLED TO THOSE FEELINGS, towards men individually AND men as a whole group. They are.) Two, who said that men were the “intended audience” for the Dude Social Fallacies? The DSFs happened in the spur of a moment as a exercise in women venting frustration– they weren’t actually intended to be some ~~~educational~~~ list of “How Not to be an Asshole” for men. Three, even if they were? In my opinion it’s actually good not to qualify these kinds of things with “not all men,” because if you do, that gives people the leeway to go “oh, well, I’m not like that, so that doesn’t apply to ME.” No, I want them to sit back and think about whether it DOES apply to them or not.

      • Myrin said:

        Very true! I’d also say that there are very few people who actually mean all men/white people/other oppressing group when they say “all men/white people etc.” and it baffles me how that isn’t more obvious to these whiny guys (because really, what are the odds that someone hasn’t met at least a couple of decent people from the mentioned demographic? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but it seems much more likely to not be the case). Secondly, even if I mean ALL men when I say that, so what? Are you feeling bad about that? Well, not really my problem, is it? And ultimately, it mostly doesn’t even have an impact on the guy in question, like, great, now he thinks I think all men are horrible – he doesn’t think so, so he could actually just disregard my opinion, but somehow the Must Convince / Must Have Woman Say What I Want Factor seems to outweigh that.

      • Commander Banana said:

        THANK you – I saw this comment and starting responding to it earlier and realized I needed to back away slowly because my Rage Beam was about to engage.

        Katydimple, your phrase “attacking them is just as bad as them attacking us” is kind of unintentionally hilarious. Not hilarious haha, but hilarious, I have to laugh because otherwise I’ll weep/explode in rage balls. Personally, I don’t think a list of DSFs on the Internet is as harmful as the toxic stew we swim through every day, and the very real acts of violence, bodily violence, enacted on women every day, countless examples of which can be found by simply opening a newspaper, turning on the TV, or reading blogs like this. Pretending the two are comparable is ridiculous. I’m hoping this is just really poor wording/thoughtlessness on your part.

        Either way, #NotAllMen, whatever. Happy now?

        • W.T. said:

          Thank YOU for addressing the “just as bad” comment– I was just rattling off what first came to mind, but yeah, seriously! Pointing out ways that men often perpetuate women’s oppression without using the nicest possible language is JUST AS BAD as said oppression itself??? R E A L L Y.

      • omj said:

        I really wish there was some way to change the collective default setting such that people would only think someone means “literally every single person in this group without exception” when they actually say “literally every single person in this group without exception.”

    • hummingbear said:

      I think it’s interesting that AFAIK nobody interpreted Geek Social Fallacies as a criticism of all geeks everywhere. Just a “look out for these behaviors which happen to be common in these social groups.” Yet, when men are criticized in exactly the same format, cue the defensive NotAllMen.

    • Wolfey said:

      I don’t understand a lot of the antagonism here, particularly since no one is trolling. It’s possible to disagree strongly with Katydimple without jumping down [his/her/hir/appropriate pronoun] throat for making an unpopular comment. Palpable contempt and condemnation makes it so much harder to have a conversation.

      I also have issues with the “not all men” phrase, but to be honest I’d say the same thing to geeks if I were talking to a bunch of them about the Geek Fallacies. In my experience it’s a pretty standard disclaimer when you are addressing a group directly with sweeping criticisms. It’s worth exploring where the particular antagonism (that I share) towards “but not alllll men” comes from.

      I think Katydimple *does* have a good point here –> “I just feel like the list could be a powerful tool if it didn’t have such a condescending tone to its intended audience. Few people learn that way.”

      I get so frustrated and angry when I have to explain relatively simple feminism or “women’s perspective” or “check your dude assumptions” to my friends or my loving, eager-to-learn boyfriend. It’s exhausting, it doesn’t make me feel good, it’s not fair, and it makes me sad that the world didn’t teach these good people this stuff earlier. BUT! To be constantly angry or sarcastic or frustrated or condescending in these conversations would be wasting my effort because the message wouldn’t get home most of the time. People don’t respond well to frequent sarcasm, anger, condescension, or meanness.

      Don’t get me wrong, frustration and anger DEFINITELY have important roles. It’s necessary at times to show how all this crap affects me personally so that the toll isn’t merely hypothetical to the people I try to teach, but it’s also important to be patient and help them work through to the right conclusions on their own. Yelling at them to learn the tenets of How to Be Better 101 isn’t going to bring on the eureka moments.

      People get defensive–it just happens, no matter who you are or how open you try to be. I’d like to think I’m fairly well-read and socially aware, but as a cis-white-financially stable woman there’s a ton of stuff still to learn. The best I can do is continue trying to open my mind and heart to be better, which is hard enough to begin with and can be nearly insurmountable in the face of hellfire and brimstone. A constant barrage either makes me paralyzingly afraid of causing offense or turns me off entirely to the kind of people I want to learn from (the key to world peace could be encoded in a System of the Down song, but I’d miss out because that shit is just too emotionally exhausting to keep listening to). Either way, growth stagnates.

      When I get mind-blowingly angry and just want to start shouting, I try to remember that my conversation partner can walk away at any time–the same way I can. If we want someone to come to a conversation about beliefs with an open mind and heart, it’s counter-productive to arrive armed to the hilt, wearing spiked armor. Keeping the conversation-space safe is what makes improvement possible.

      To be clear here, I draw a distinction between strong constructive, discussion-promoting criticism and angry or contemptuous condemnation. It’s very possible to vehemently disagree without torpedoing someone’s involvement in a discussion.

  11. Ugh my husband pulls a 2.3.1 and it drives me nuts. I said I didn’t want anything for my birthday. I already bought myself something nice. I really mean it!

    And I’m pretty sure he does it because he’s does the “I know I said I didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day but you didn’t even get me a card (that I will promptly throw away or lose under the bed, but still!)”

  12. Fishmongers' daughters said:

    “Sometimes you have to just put yourself in motion: do the right thing until it changes you.”

    Huh. I actually kind of hate that line. It’s almost exactly what I told myself when I got married. I’ve had a LOT of trauma in my childhood, and dated a lot of No Good Very Bad Men. Then I met, dated, and married this man who seemed so much different – he loved me so much and seemed to give so much. I told myself, “If I were a whole human and not a damaged one, this is the kind of man I would choose, instead of choosing Very Bad Men who are just like my father. So I should ignore my feelings that something is not right about this and stay with this guy until his unconditional love and acceptance finally convince me of my inherent worthiness of it, and then my doubts will disappear.”

    As it turns out, this guy was just a different type of abuser. (The Mr. Sensitive, to use Lundy Bancroft’s language.) He was every bit as manipulating and controlling as every other guy I’d been with – he just did it with a Puppy Dog face instead of an Alpha Dog face.

    “Do the right thing till it changes you” is predicated on the assumption that Current You knows less than Future You but still somehow knows what the Right Thing looks like, even if that Right Thing is getting married when you’re having serious doubts. I dunno about that.

    • Yeah. If you don’t want to be the thing that it will change you into, is it still the right thing? How can it be?

      I stayed in a relationship that was slowly shrinking me by paring off all the bits that made my husband feel insecure, piece by piece, and I did it because staying was “the right thing”, because he’d suffered a brain injury and was disabled, and leaving your disabled partner is The Wrong Thing. The thing doing the right thing changed me into was not someone I wanted to be, and it took me a long time to dig myself out of that hole after he died.

  13. duaecat said:

    “1.3 It is acceptable for me to put a down payment on your vagina without telling you that’s what I’m doing. It’s unacceptable for you to accept my gifts but not pay the price, which I didn’t tell you about” And “3.1 Every interaction with women is flirting unless proven otherwise.”
    I had a sad example of that when I was younger. I had been LARPing with one group, went to another group’s event and popped onto the forum with a quick “Hey, fun event.”
    I got a flood of PMs from guys basically all “Hello beautiful, want to meet for coffee?”
    So I did a post as a follow up “I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression so I’m going to get this out in the open right away. I’m a lesbian, I have a girlfriend, I’m not interested in meeting guys and honestly getting a lot of come-ons from guys is very intimidating for me so please respect that.”

    The sad thing was the group that jumped down my throat over that the hardest was the women, shaming me for being so full of myself and delusional that I’d think the guys were actually hitting on me when they were just being friendly.

    I never went back to that group. It quickly taught me that if something did happen, no one there would believe me about it.

  14. Alicija Lopez said:

    I find all this confusing and don’t relate to a lot of it. My situation is that I’ve been divorced for a few years and am gearing up to getting back into dating; I don’t remember all this being complicated when I was younger. I’ve been trying to think about it. I can think of times when men have bought me drinks … not so much coffee as cocktails … and were surely hoping I’d have sex with them. My not wishing to do so didn’t seem connected with any idea that the money spent was an “investment” though. Saying thanks for the drink and “no thanks” was all quite easy enough.
    There was a time in my life when I knew certain men who had no respect for women whatsoever, and they also never used to buy them drinks or pay for anything. Ever. In fact those particular men seemed to want to exploit me financially if anything, albeit in trivial ways.
    As it goes, I’ve had the most problems with this issue with a woman. Things came to a point where she reckoned she had “given me a lot” and “got nothing in return”. In fact the situation had long been one where I was saying a lot of soft no’s and my acceptance of a few among her deluge of invitations became more and more grudging, as I became more and more uncomfortable with certain things about her. Certainly her unsolicited advice and attempts to “help” me “because she cared so much” figured large there, as well as her boundary pushing. I was actually doing a slow fade when she sent me an irate email accusing me of “being unable to notice acts of kindness”. She always maintained that her “love” me was “spiritual” and “not so much sexual” but there was a lot of gaslighting going on there. Never had anything like that from a man I have to say.

    • Commander Banana said:

      Thanks for the derail. Your story is 100% not relevant to this topic.

      • Alicija Lopez said:

        I thought the topic was “down payments on vaginas”. If the fact that the closest I have ever come to feeling that that was going on is as described above is “irrelevant”, so be it.

      • photondancer said:

        It’s not a derail, it’s a development. Your dismissiveness is unwarranted and frankly rather nasty. Are you really so frightened by someone recounting a time when a woman behaved badly, just because the discussion started off talking about men doing so?

        The core idea behind the DSF, especially the down payment one, is a sense of entitlement. Anyone can have a sense of entitlement but they tend to be reinforced in different demographics in different ways. Men, as the DSF is attempting to capture, tend to be reinforced to feel entitled to sex. Women, as occurred in Alicija’s case, tend to feel entitled to social interaction/intimacy. I’ve run into both.

%d bloggers like this: