This morning I read an entry in Facebook which started an exchange about how women and men see the interaction between the genders so differently as to suggest that rather than simply different genders males and females of the human race are almost different species.
And of course I’d see it that way because I’m a man, based on what the feminist writer is saying about how women perceive men.
Her first point is that women spend much of their lives de-escalating the emotional temperature of interactions with men, because they perceive the actions and behavior of men through a lens informed by a lifetime of gender based abuse, assault and rape. So whether or not a man is acting aggressively towards a woman, at any given moment, she is anticipating that the interaction could very well turn into an assault or rape or at least abuse and doing everything she can do to turn down the temperature so that doesn’t happen, on this specific occasion.
So even with men who have never acted offensively in any abusive way, women are accustomed to automatically assuming that they have to behave in a manner that won’t escalate behavior into violence or other abuse, simply because it has happened so often in the past that there is an automatic assumption of risk based on real world observation.
Almost without regard to how various women process their previous experience of male/female interactions, the threatening nature of these transactions has an effect on how women perceive male intentions and actions.
According to these observation, then, it suggests that men should simply shut up and not express any opinions on any subject. And if they find themselves attracted to a given woman, they should probably keep it to themselves.
Well maybe not so much. What it does say is that men need to be extremely sensitive to how their communications are likely to be viewed by women, whether by strangers or even intimates. It says that expressing affection or attraction has to be done in a way that is not threatening to a woman, and doesn’t demean her or make her feel cornered.
It the article isn’t an overstatement of how women feel about men, in general, then I fear for the human race. Half the race is terrified of the other. And the other half has no idea how to behave so as to not further terrify the other. Neither side seems to be able to communicate with each other without being threatened or misrepresented, or being seen as a monster, simply because of gender.
This hardly amounts to gender equality. Unless by gender equality we mean that both genders are totally fucked.