Not putting the man in your life at the centre of your life

(127 Posts)
BasilBabyEater Sun 11-Aug-13 08:24:35

I came across this really interesting article this morning and thought I'd share

feministcurrent.com/7784/on-feminism-writing-and-doing-womanhood-wrong/

Am still thinking about it so am not going to comment but thought others might like to mull it over too.

Blistory Sun 11-Aug-13 15:10:58

I agree with her.

When I was with my ex, it was so much easier to be a feminist as I knew I had a good guy. It's only when you put yourself out there again that you realise that it's a very small percentage of men who are truly supportive of the idea of equality. Without that support, a relationship is slowly eroded away because the woman always ends up compromising. It might be over earning more, having children, child raising, supporting elderly parents, whatever but ultimately it comes down to women generally having to make sacrifices than we simply don't expect of men.

As for being at the start of a new relationship, well, I find it increasingly difficult to settle for a life with someone who simply doesn't understand equality. There are many many good men out there who think they understand, who think that they put it into practice but it's so damn difficult for them to go against everything that society expects of them. Rape culture wasn't something that I had truly considered before from a man's perspective but look at how heated conversations on here get about women shaving their legs. Women get so wound up about having it pointing out about social conditioning and we sympathise when they don't go against the grain. I've only just come to realise that men have the same difficulty. The Stubenville assault showed that there was one lone male voice pointing out to the others that what they were doing was wrong. Rape culture results in peer pressure for young boys and men to act as pricks. It's all very well condemning them for their behaviour but look at the messages that they get from living in a rape culture.

That might sound all a bit " what about the menz" but from the perspective of a single woman, you begin to realise that one of the last taboos is to recognise that the majority of men are so deeply ingrained with living in a rape culture that even the majority of the good guys are only paying lip service to equality. That even the good guys are only a misjudgement away from carrying out sexual assault or rape. If they never have their consciousness raised, why would they even think about it because it's really uncomfortable to have a mirror held up to you.

Being a feminist means it's kind of hard not to be the mirror on the first date and who wants to deal with that kind of level of self analysis ? Much easier to go for someone more compliant and so the cycle continues again.

And I'm lucky. I get to run my own business, I get to put equality into my workplace that is real and genuine but good god, the crap I take from colleagues, peers, clients etc and you realise that a huge tract of so called equality is really only lip service. A lot of people don't really get it but will go along with it for a quiet life.

It would be easier on the one hand to remain single and rely on the lovely wonderful men currently in my life for male companionship but even that is fraught with judgement. So many girlfriends have pointed out that men don't like women who are high achievers, who are the boss, who are committed to their work and all expect that secretly I would give it up in a heartbeat to be swept off my feet by the right man and that for him, I would give it all up. They don't seem to get that the right man is one who wouldn't expect that of me, nor would he ask it but I'm happy to wait for him. If he doesn't come along, I have a happy, fulfilled life in the meantime. Feminism has given me the courage to say that I expect a loving partner to add to my life, not to detract from it and if I don't find that person, then I haven't lost anything.

But if having a relationship means having to compromise or give up on feminism, it simply isn't going to happen. I don't know when or how it became that important but it is. Because women matter.

Thumbwitch Sun 11-Aug-13 15:13:58

<<applauds Blistory>>

Thumbwitch Sun 11-Aug-13 15:17:53

As an aside, this bit interested me:
They learn to be “forgettable supporting characters” to their male lead: “Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else’s,”

I recently went to see The Heat, about 2 female law enforcement officers who have to work together (Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy). It was hilarious, really enjoyed it, so did DH. But the reviews? Pretty poor. And I came away with the feeling that the reason many of the reviews were poor was because there WAS no male lead. That the women were the lead characters, in a habitually male setting - and that the reviewers somehow couldn't accommodate this in their world view so gave it poor reviews. (Of course they might have just not liked it, but I prefer my version)

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 11-Aug-13 15:58:49

The idea that it's worth putting up with all kinds of niggles or compromise or even abuse just so that you are not single is second nature to a lot of women, myself included.

I'm trying to change.

But it's scary.

I'm recently separated and realising that I don't know a single man, including friends, family and acquaintances who hasn't done something to demonstrate sexism, whether consciously or subconsciously. Not always in a deliberate way but a throwaway comment that hints at the fact that they haven't questioned our sexist/gendered culture.

Maybe real feminist men exist, but I am yet to meet one.

So I have 3 choices:

1. Remain single.

2. Get a decent guy and 'educate' him/compromise and hope he gets it.

3. Get a guy and put up with anything (i.e. be his supporting woman)

It is only now I am a bit older, wiser, financially ok and have a child that I can contemplate number 1.

I appreciate some women are stronger and if I ever have a dd I hope to raise her to be the 'leading man' hmm in her own life from the beginning.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 16:05:58

I would say this was obvious surely? You arent supposed to change for a man, and decent men like you just as you are.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 11-Aug-13 16:16:10

Yeah well that's the idea petey but for a lot of people if they didn't change themselves and compromise, just waited for a decent man, then they may never have a relationship, get married or have children. That may not be the end of the world to everyone, but when you've been socialised to believe that a husband and kids is everything, it's hard to go against the grain and stay completely true to yourself.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 16:19:07

I suppose it depends on who you will settle for. I have never changed for a man and never will. I know lots of men that arent sexist though.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 11-Aug-13 16:25:53

Lucky you.

I don't.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 16:29:00

There are lots out there

Darkesteyes Sun 11-Aug-13 17:19:28

Ive discovered a few male feminists on Twitter. But physically in RL ....nowhere to be seen.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 17:38:54

I think if a person has high self esteem and standards then it attracts a higher calibre of partner.

Fancies40Winks Sun 11-Aug-13 17:45:17

I must say, I made my ex-girlfriend the centre of my life, and tried to change myself far more for her, than I feel I've ever had to do for my husband. My husband is a top bloke that fully supports my career decisions etc, and literally wiped up my blood after I miscarried our baby. My ex-gf, as lovely as she was, was too insecure to fully support me when she perceived me as being more successful than her. So it's hard to judge if this is a feminist issue or a confidence issue, in my experience.

AnyOldFucker Sun 11-Aug-13 17:46:59

Petey, you are dangerously close to blaming women for "choosing" a bad partner

Did you realise that ?

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 17:49:32

Not choosing a bad partner but the higher your self esteem you wouldnt put up with any bad behaviour from the start or as soon as you are aware of it. There are plenty of men who do their fair share, support all a womans decisions be in the home or in their career and are there for them throughout everything.

You cant always help who you get with but you can only get treated how you allow yourself to be.

AnyOldFucker Sun 11-Aug-13 17:51:33

Petey, comments like yours are one reason why many women from all sorts of backgrounds hide the fact they are in abusive relationships

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 17:54:27

Why do you say that? I have had friends in those types of relationships before. One was hit by her boyfriend her parents said I know she can be hard work but you cant hit her and that was all they said to himhmm Through talking to her and making her realise she didnt have to put up with such poor treatment she left him and said she never would of done that before as just thought she had to change.

Blistory Sun 11-Aug-13 17:55:30

Petty, you don't get it, do you ?

It's not just about the bad and abusive relationships. The most wonderfully supportive partner can still be a sexist twunt without meaning to be. Because very few of us recognise or call out all the everyday low levels of sexism, either because we don't see it ourselves or we get fed us being called humourless harpies.

Blistory Sun 11-Aug-13 17:56:00

Sorry, that should of course have been Petey.

AnyOldFucker Sun 11-Aug-13 17:57:53

This isn't the space to educate you about the reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. Certainly making sweeping statements like you have done is more likely to put someone off seeking help as they fear they would be judged for putting up with it.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 11-Aug-13 17:58:21

You're right in that's the way it should be petey

We should all have high self esteem and never settle for second best.

But that's not reality for most women.

And that's kind the whole point of the article and this thread.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 17:58:38

I cant say dh has ever said or done anything thats sexist in the slightest. I cant say my dad has either, and I would call anyone out on anything I believed to be sexist.

AnyOldFucker Sun 11-Aug-13 18:00:32

Good for you, petey. I do too. Lots of women don't, or more to the point can't

Do you blame them for that ? It sounds like it.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 11-Aug-13 18:01:46

You are incredibly lucky, but I wouldn't imagine many women are in the same position.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 18:03:06

I dont blame them. I was originally commenting to the above comments that there are only 3 options. be single, compromise/hope to educate him or be a supporting woman. They are far from the only options.

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