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Ah the "Real Women" wars again (sigh)


creekland
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Wow. 

 

No. 

 

You've never known any irresponsible, jerky guys who always had plenty of women doting on them, making excuses for them, always being available to them?   Never known any women who enable their boyfriend's bad habits, make excuses for their bad behavior, and go running when the guy calls?

 

I'm thinking now of my old coworker Kathy, who had a boyfriend who would call her from jail every few weeks.  She'd bail him out; he'd be nice for a while, then he'd cheat on her, or otherwise mistreat her... she always made excuses and would go back to him when he wanted her.  She was a professional woman, able to support herself - she didn't need him.  But she wanted him - except when she didn't, because he treated her badly.

 

There have been others but I'll spare you the anecdotes.

 

If those guys had been refused the company of women because of their bad behavior, they might have straightened up. 

 

Seriously, you've never come across that?  You think it's impossible?  Or is it just not OK to say that some women are, in some part, to blame for bad behavior in men because they tolerate it? 

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You've never known any irresponsible, jerky guys who always had plenty of women doting on them, making excuses for them, always being available to them?   Never known any women who enable their boyfriend's bad habits, make excuses for their bad behavior, and go running when the guy calls?

 

I'm thinking now of my old coworker Kathy, who had a boyfriend who would call her from jail every few weeks.  She'd bail him out; he'd be nice for a while, then he'd cheat on her, or otherwise mistreat her... she always made excuses and would go back to him when he wanted her.  She was a professional woman, able to support herself - she didn't need him.  But she wanted him - except when she didn't, because he treated her badly.

 

There have been others but I'll spare you the anecdotes.

 

If those guys had been refused the company of women because of their bad behavior, they might have straightened up. 

 

Seriously, you've never come across that?  You think it's impossible?  Or is it just not OK to say that some women are, in some part, to blame for bad behavior in men because they tolerate it? 

 

Women like you describe do exist and are suffering from psychological issues and need help. (I can recommend the book Women who love too much by Robin Norwood.) Society and art have long propagated the dangerous notion  that a man will change if a woman just loves him enough. Think beauty and the beast. Very damaging, has cost countless women's lives - and complete nonsense.

Women are not to blame for the men's behavior.

And a woman does not have the power to change a man who does not choose to change. It's high time that myth got retired.

 

ETA: And no, it is absolutely not OK to say that women are to blame for men's bad behavior because they tolerate it. It is attitudes like this which cause women to go back to their abusers again, and again, and again... because surely it must be her fault if he beats her, right?

Edited by regentrude
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Women like you describe do exist and are suffering from psychological issues and need help. (I can recommend the book Women who love too much by Robin Norwood.) Society and art have long propagated the dangerous notion  that a man will change if a woman just loves him enough. Think beauty and the beast. Very damaging, has cost countless women's lives - and complete nonsense.

Women are not to blame for the men's behavior.

And a woman does not have the power to change a man who does not choose to change. It's high time that myth got retired.

This is quite true.  But that is not what I'm saying. 

 

I'm saying that women can decide to stop associating with men who treat them badly early on in the relationship, such as the coworker I described upthread.  Note:  I am NOT talking about battered women in long-term relationships with kids, etc.  I am talking about women who are dating guys and who could just stop dating them.  

 

People respond to incentives and rewards.  Guys who are inclined to mistreat women they date are rewarded when their bad behavior doesn't result in the woman leaving them.

 

I'll repeat:  I am talking about the early stages of a relationship, when people are dating and getting to know each other, and the woman perceives that the man isn't treating her well but she persists in dating him. Perhaps because she believes she can change him.  I'm not talking about long-term relationships where the man becomes abusive, the woman is trapped in a marriage, with kids, etc.  

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  I am NOT talking about battered women in long-term relationships with kids, etc.  I am talking about women who are dating guys and who could just stop dating them.  

 

People respond to incentives and rewards.  Guys who are inclined to mistreat women they date are rewarded when their bad behavior doesn't result in the woman leaving them.

 

I'll repeat:  I am talking about the early stages of a relationship, when people are dating and getting to know each other, and the woman perceives that the man isn't treating her well but she persists in dating him. Perhaps because she believes she can change him.  I'm not talking about long-term relationships where the man becomes abusive, the woman is trapped in a marriage, with kids, etc.  

 

But one leads directly to the other.

It starts with the woman (often grown up with dysfunctional role models) believing she can change the guy through enough patience and love. It starts at the very beginning of the relationship - the negative traits may be part of the attraction. The woman does not walk away because that would make her the same as all the other women who had walked out on the poor guy and who are of course to blame for the problems he has (as he will readily tell her). She is resolved not to be like that. So she tolerates the crap, forgives again and again, because she has a psychological need to be the rescuer. It can go either of two ways. The guy may actually find the will to change (and often, that causes the relationship to fail), or the relationship becomes progressively more unhealthy and abusive. Or the woman see that she has a problem and seeks help.

 

Edited by regentrude
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But one leads directly to the other.

It starts with the woman (often grown up with dysfunctional role models) believing she can change the guy through enough patience and love. It starts at the very beginning of the relationship - the negative traits may be part of the attraction. The woman does not walk away because that would make her the same as all the other women who had walked out on the poor guy and who are of course to blame for the problems he has (as he will readily tell her). She is resolved not to be like that. So she tolerates the crap, forgives again and again, because she has a psychological need to be the rescuer. It can go either of two ways. The guy may actually find the will to change (and often, that causes the relationship to fail), or the relationship becomes progressively more unhealthy and abusive. Or the woman see that she has a problem and seeks help.

 

I suspect that if you and I were talking this over in person, instead of back-and-forth online, we would find we are in agreement more than in disagreement.  I am nodding a lot as I read your posts.

 

The thing is - what bothers me is - that in my experience so  many women put up with crap simply for the sake of having a boyfriend.  I saw it so many times over the years in my work environment and still do though to a lesser extent.  For whatever reason, women will start to date a guy, and know right away that he's not good, but will continue to date him, have sex and sometimes babies with him, perhaps thinking she can change him, perhaps just feeling that he is better than nothing.

 

I was single for a long time, 12 years between my divorce from an early stupid marriage (see, I was not immune) and the time I met my 2nd (current, permanent) husband.  I worked  with a lot of women.  If there was one thing I could have imparted to some of them, it would be:

 

There are worse things than being alone.

 

So many of them even knew they should have dumped the guy right off, but they did not.  Instead they became more immersed and more dependent.

 

And that is what I mean about rewarding men for bad behavior.  If a guy can be a jerk, but the girl will still come running every time he calls... she's rewarded him. 

 

And I can't help but think, what if women just stopped letting guys get away with it?  If by two weeks or months or whatever into the relationship, just dump him.  If guys got dumped enough, some of them might change.  

 

So, I think in that regard women have more power over men than they sometimes realize.

 

And again, I'm not talking about the woman who marries or gets into a long-term relationship with a man, has kids, etc., and it goes bad.  I'm talking about recognizing that the guy is bad right from the start, but hanging in there with him.

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I think if you are going to pay a lot for a billboard it ought to have a message on it that is clear to everyone (unless causing debate was the point).  Either "don't abandon your kids" or "women should stay in the kitchen and leave thinking to the men" would have worked better.  If I had a man to provide for me I would be grateful - while maintaining financial independence as much as I could and expecting gratitude for the providing I did.

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Looking at long-term human history (and many other mammals), females instinctively provide; but for males it's not clear that the instinct is there or is as strong.  Hence societies devise ways to teach / convince men that they have responsibilities to others.  I've wondered if some of the traditions now viewed as sexist were invented to get men motivated to do their share.  And are the modern replacements effective enough?

 

I think quite a lot of traditions that are now proposed as being designed to oppress women and take power/sexual expression/etc from women were in fact designed to keep them from being exploited because of their biological vulnerabilities.  Which isn't to say I think they were all nice or even respectful, but things look a lot different when you are observing from a place where it is possible to use technology to modify or control nature in a substantial way. 

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Women like you describe do exist and are suffering from psychological issues and need help. (I can recommend the book Women who love too much by Robin Norwood.) Society and art have long propagated the dangerous notion  that a man will change if a woman just loves him enough. Think beauty and the beast. Very damaging, has cost countless women's lives - and complete nonsense.

Women are not to blame for the men's behavior.

And a woman does not have the power to change a man who does not choose to change. It's high time that myth got retired.

 

ETA: And no, it is absolutely not OK to say that women are to blame for men's bad behavior because they tolerate it. It is attitudes like this which cause women to go back to their abusers again, and again, and again... because surely it must be her fault if he beats her, right?

 

I wouldn't frame this as being responsible.  More, you get what you are willing to put up with.  A bit like the idea that a country gets the leaders or journalists it deserves.  Not 100% the whole story but there is an important truth there.

 

Also - Even apart from cynical users, I don't think young men are immune to the notion of the romantic bad boy, and part of that is that women respond to it.

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