Sunday, April 4, 2010

Women Men and Accountability

Quick quiz!
Do young women hold young men (and/or older men) accountable?
This is not a researched blog post. This is a personal experience blog post with a wee-bit of background knowledge about privilege.

If a man does something that inconveniences or troubles a woman, is she likely to say so and to express to him how he has made her feel or the impact his actions have had upon her, even in less dramatic, more "minute" cases? Will other people, not directly involved, allow for that kind of an interaction? Today, my experience has been NOOOOOOOOOOO. To all of the above.

And... hey.  Lets talk about emotions. I have often said that we don't allow men to be emotional. I think that can often be true. Instead, however, it is entirely acceptable to allow a male to be angry. This is a healthy male emotion: "RAWR I am angry! I'm going to make cross faces, talk with a raised voice and close doors and drawers with a bit more force than is technically necessary!" I recognize an issue here. I think it's worth talking about. But right now, I want to talk about why the deuce it is we do not allow women to be ANGRY!

If a woman is angry, it is cause for general unease and discomfort, something to be ratified as soon as possible.
My experience has been that if I am sad and/or emotional in some other way, I can be ignored, seen but not really seen... It is alright for me to be "upset" so long as I am demure, wallowing in my emotions and generally not bothering anyone else. HOWEVER if I am angry - particularly AT a male OH NO!  Not only is my reaction not really acceptable, but it needs to be changed as quickly as possible, so as to prevent some sort of a problem.

How do we react if, in the same exact circumstance, a male is angry. "Oh well, he's upset. Give him his space to work it out and be angry." HE is allowed to be angry! Because his anger is acceptable.
Worse, in a way, women do tend to recognize that men face social pressures to not be emotional. So, if a man happens to expose some sort of emotion, regardless of how many times that very man has ignored her emotional "outbursts" she will take him by the hand, treat him carefully, attentively. Little do we realize that we are falling into this cycle where we allow men to express emotion and anger to us as women, and do not require that they allow us to express our own anger and emotion. Additionally, I would suggest that often women do not allow other women to express anger to one another.

I will not apologize for the abruptness and seeming randomness of this blog post, ladies and gentlemen, because I AM ANGRY - and it IS acceptable. That being said, I hope I can write a more thoughtful blog post about this later, because I feel it is an important aspect of relationships between men and women, men and men and women and women. Happy Easter.

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