It’s time to admit that I’m terrified of [redacted] men, even through second-hand contact. Sometimes, I feel like if I have to encounter another woman’s story of suffering at the hands of a [redacted] man, I will scream my way into a cave and shatter the rocks with the sound of my voice. Because the stories are far, far too similar, and even worse, they seem to be everywhere I turn. It has become one of my deepest fears that I will end up in the same situation.
I have a qualifier in mind when I use the phrase “[redacted] men” but I prefer the redacted version because I’m fairly certain that someone else who reads this and can relate would be able to use a descriptor to replace [redacted] that is different from the one I have in mind, and it would still be true, for their experience. I suppose it’s an open invitation to fill in the blanks.
Feminism has said this since forever, but I feel like reiterating it to get it off my chest: Something has really festered in the social conditioning of men. And since I have all this first- and second-hand experience with [redacted] men, I’m articulating these trends for future reference, clarity, and posterity’s sake. Every trends or illustration I list here, I have primary sources for, and, as the word “trend” implies, I have seen them displayed by [redacted] men not once, but several times. Perhaps it would be prudent to eschew the rest of my disclaimers, since they will probably be flimsy protection against whoever chooses to read this whole thing as a personal attack. (You would think I’m used to writing myself into trouble by now, but I am not.)
Trend #1: Behaving like the money they make and materials they provide make up for the presence and time they don’t give, the apologies that never leave their tongues, the personalities they lack, or the emotional support that they never bother with. I genuinely blame society for conditioning [redacted] men, especially, to believe that being “the provider” is their job and the rest of the decent human qualities are simply for the birds. Example:
A father and child have a conversation over the phone, during which the father says some things that hurt the child deeply. The child now refuses to pick up his phone calls because they know, from experience, that an apology for the hurtful things said, is not forthcoming. Sick of being ignored, the father sends a text to the child saying, “I was calling because I wanted to let you know that I finished paying the remainder of your school fees today.”
Sir, you and the child both know that was not the reason you were blowing up their phone for three hours with your eight different numbers, hoping to trick them into answering at least one of them. Ahem. I seem to be getting ahead of myself, sorry.
Trend #2: Resorting to misogyny the moment they have had enough of a particular woman, whether the woman is a stranger, intimate, or anything in between. As if it is not bad enough to blame everything that is wrong in a given moment on the one woman they are quarreling with, a [redacted] man may feel the urge to expand his aggravation to a whole group of women that have nothing to do with their problem. My dear, “You women are just sentimental” is not the reason you forgot that important date. Neither is your wife’s prolonged makeup session last Sunday the reason you are late to some important event the next Thursday afternoon. And even if “all women care about is their makeup and their hair,” it still wouldn’t excuse your own personal lateness to the Thursday afternoon event while she was there half an hour ago. Throw patriarchy away.
Trend #3: The inability or unwillingness to understand patriarchy as a systemic and dangerously ingrained phenomenon. In other words, the tendency of a man to reinterpret of any broaching of the subject of patriarchy as an attack on himself as a person.
Trend #4: Insisting they don’t need therapy, when they so often—too often—do. As if therapy, if it is ever even considered as a useful thing at all, is only for women.
Trend #5: Having no clue how to genuinely apologize. In many cases, this is closely related to Trend #1. The conscience is a thing that tends to work whether we bid it or not. Unless one has some extreme conditions, guilt is not easily ignored. But it astonishes me how it never seems to occur to some [redacted] men that they way to deal with their guilt might, in fact, be by apologizing. Instead, the guilt is addressed—sometimes, I imagine, unconsciously—through a variety of other means, including but not limited to:
- Buying stuff or paying for things they think the person they may have hurt would like. Presents may accompany apologies, but they ought not be substituted for actual apologies.
- Changing the topic after they have hurt/offended someone else, with an implicit resolution of never returning to said contentious topic/event again. Like, ever. Example:
- Pushing for the performance of an ideal relationship when the relationship feels, for the other person, anything but Example: