I’ve realized men fear me
This is not about men being intimidated by me, by my wealth (or lack thereof) nor because of my strength or because I’m bossy or successful. I have none of those attributes. I don’t even interact with men in a sexual manner (most of the time). The men that know me, that are close to my circles of friendships fear me because for the last of my adult years I’ve been consistently limiting their behavior.
Let me explain, I’m a feminist, I’ve been since I was sixteen, and even before that, I came from a background where we had more knowledge of feminism than the average. I’m extremely aware of what consensus means and what is absolutely unacceptable. I (and the friends that surround me) have a zero-tolerance policy. This has meant that on more than one occasion the privileges of the men that socialize with me and my friends have been taken away.
Some examples are: friends being banned because of sexual aggression (and I don’t mean a full on rape, I mean doing something she didn’t want and not being able to respect the limits, whatever they are). Men losing their jobs because they have abused their power position to create uncomfortable situations for their students and performed sexual harassment by touching them. Mean losing possibilities of sexual interactions because it’s been made public that they don’t take women into consideration.
Obviously, men don’t really fear me. They fear the fact that someone (obviously the circles that support, protect, and love me) is taking away things they did without taking into consideration were problematic.
And here is where being a feminist sucks: if you are doing it right, then you are being problematic and it’s a very uncomfortable task.
I wish I had enough going to protest, buying the coolest “I’m a feminist” t-shirt, and not shaving. But to me, politics is what keeps me going, and politics it’s not just who you vote, that’s a small small part of the equation. Politics is the work you do on the daily basis with your community to push to create space where there can be lives worth being lived. And those are only good lives, with sufficient resources and the lack of abuse and oppression.
I used to think we would achieve a truly feminist world by convincing men. I mean sure, women can empower themselves and blablabla, but unless the opresser stops opressing, the victim still suffers. She will suffer less if she’s more connected and held by other victims, but her condition the victim, the dangers she faces on a daily won’t disappear without the oppressor disappearing.
Convincing men truly felt like the only way of giving birth to a feminist world. But damn were we naive. If you are men (like if you are white) giving up your privileges sucks, you are now allowed to get away with way less, you start being punished by things that were accepted before and honestly (besides social pressure and moral compass, for some) why would you give up that much?
This is where fear comes into place. Let me illustrate: months ago I was in a party, drunk as hell, and started to make out with a guy. I proposed to go somewhere quiet. And he insisted on making sure I really wanted to go have sex. In a sense it bothered me, to me it was obvious I was into it, but then I remembered the number of times where men haven’t asked, and I’ve ended up to put their pleasure before mine and because “I didn’t want to make them feel bad or lose their time” I had sex without me wanting. And to me giving in and accepting it when you don’t want it, it's not consent nor does it make it okay.
This guy only asked me a gazillion times because he knew that if he was doing something I didn’t want the next day he would face brutal consequences if I had felt abused in some way. Because I have that power because my community gives it to me and the women that are part of it. Because we have created a bubble where our word has an immense impact on men. It can mean they losing their social circle, it can mean isolation which is one of the most horrible ways of punishment and one of the oldest. In our little slice of the world, if you want to be a part of us you have to suck it up and correct your dynamics.
Am I glad? I’d rather it wasn’t like this. I’d love that men understood what we were asking and changed more easily. But I think this is an in-between. At the beginning of my friend’s and my sexual relationships we were abused on a daily, our boundaries weren’t respected and our pleasure took second place. And we weren’t even aware that this was problematic. I hope to get to a place where these situations are not even an option, where they become unsexy, undesirable, and completely out of place. But until we get there, men can either have the desire to change and work on their privilege or they might as well get scared to do something slightly out of place so we can all get to a place where sex and relationships are not abusive by any means.
If you are a man, please let this sink in before you comment to defend yourself and tell me what a b*tch I am. 💕