(Day 9 of 30 in 30)
You know what thing I hate to see RTed on the Twitter almost more than anything?
“Maybe more men would stand up and be men if women would sit down and be ladies.”
Or whatever that trite, patriarchal trope is.
I hope you know that every time you RT that or anything of the sort, an adorable, chubby little cherub has its wings savagely ripped from its body and is tossed down from heaven into a pool of acid by its big toe.
I won’t bother breaking down the actual saying and its so-steeped-in-patriarchy-it-hurts wording. I won’t waste time explaining all the reasons why anything that involves me “sitting down” so that I might be considered “a lady” by some as-yet unidentified, presumed authority on the subject (who also presumably has a penis) is likely not something I’m interested in doing. Nor will I even begin to entertain heteronormative standards or the politicization of gender roles, as I believe any discussion of the sort will go over most heads. Instead I will say this, as I have said hundreds of times and will continue to yell until I am blue in the face;
Do the right thing because it is THE RIGHT THING. Not because of how someone might react to it. But simply because it is THE RIGHT THING.
If “being a man” in whatever iteration, by whatever definition, is important to you, then BE THAT. DO THAT. Be that man you desire to be because it is your desire, because you feel convicted about it, because you feel it is the right thing to do. And any shortcomings that you may experience in becoming or being that man? Accept them as your own failures. Don’t blame them on the supposed inability of a woman to “let you be a man.”
But even the “sit down and shut up so men can be men” thing is old. The newest thing is, “chivalry is dead because women killed it.”
Oh my God, the bullshit. It strangles me.
You mean to tell me you were so wishy washy in your chivalrous ways that a stranger not saying thank you for you opening a door was enough to make you stop doing it? Or a woman hollering about how independent she is and how she “don’t need you to do anything for her” suddenly sucked all the chivalry clean from your body? (If I had the patience I’d delve into how no man wants an evolved, independent woman until it’s time to discuss picking up the tab, but today is not the day for that.) You mean to tell me all it took for you to decide to not be chivalrous anymore was the manner in which some woman or a group of women reacted to it?
Or was it, as I suspect, that IT’S NOT WHO YOU ARE IN THE FIRST PLACE. But rather an act you wear like a costume to get a certain reward; a pretty woman’s number, another date, a pat on the southern head. And when that hasn’t worked out for you, when, God forbid, a woman dare not positively reinforce you doing just the bare minimum of common human decency, you decided women killed chivalry.
The truth of the matter is, if this is who you were at your core, and not a behavior you were willing to exhibit so long as it gets you a favorable outcome, no amount of doors held open without thank yous or I-am-woman-hear-me-roars could take it from you. Instead, you fake it ‘til you make it and then blame women when you can no longer manage the disguise.
I don’t accept this.
Therein lies the root of every piece of bullshit disguised as “advice” being dream sold to women across the Internet and in newspapers and magazines every single day; somehow our failings are all fault. We are too much or too little or too big or too small or too loud or too smart or too conscious or too something. But then also, our predilection for being “too” is the reason for YOUR bad behavior. Your failures are our fault. And no one gives even a parcel of a fuck about personal responsibility. Everything is, if women would just _____ then men would ______. Everything is our fault. It’s our fault you cheat because we’re not sexy/skinny/whorey enough. It’s our fault you rape because we left the house in shorts/a dress/any article of clothing deemed slutty. It’s our fault you hit because we talk back and we provoke. Our fault you leave your children because we shouldn’t have given away the milk for free and maybe if we just didn’t nag you so much. Our fault you date outside your race and lie and tell us on the street to smile and grope us in the public places and that you don’t let women off elevators first or walk on the outside on the sidewalk.
The simple fact of the matter is this; if you predicate your behavior based on someone else’s response, you’ve already lost. Hard. Spectacularly.
This goes for everything.
Maybe this is me being too optimistic. Maybe I am giving (heterosexual) men more credit than they deserve. Maybe you really are baseless, craven creatures incapable of monogamy or controlling your sexual urges, prone to violent outbursts of jealousy and possession and incapable of emotion. Maybe. But I don’t buy it.
I think that’s a bullshit excuse some jackass hell bent on excusing and projecting his bad behavior has peddled, that other people bought because the package was all shiny and, ‘cuz, SCIENCE! And because it’s easy. You aren’t responsible for what you say and do. Those damn women are!
It just kills me that so many of you are buying into it.
Either way, y’all gotta stop killing the heavenly cherubs out here. Pretty soon they will be the only ones still opening doors.