DISCOVER HOW SMART, STRONG & SUCCESSFUL WOMEN (THAT'S YOU!) CAN FINALLY Find Your Man

DISCOVER HOW

SMART WOMEN LIKE YOU CAN

FINALLY Find Your Man

Take this short quiz
to discover what you need to do now.

Take this short quiz now

dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
Jessica Valenti started a popular blog called Feministing in 2004. Since I’m in the dating and relationship space and try to read whatever I can about modern gender dynamics, I’ve kept up with her work and found it admirable. Some may find that hard to believe, but, in  general, feminists have far more trouble with their perceptions of me than I actually have with them. In my opinion, we share a common message: equality for women and the power to make smart, independent relationship choices.

The only way in which we differ is from our organic perspectives. I’m more likely to see and explain things from a man’s point of view than most feminists can. Similarly, although I’ve listened to  women for over 13 years and understand women better than most  men, since I have never walked a mile in your shoes, I can acknowledge that you  have a valuable perspective that I  can never obtain.

As I see it, women and men  may not always agree on everything but if we acknowledge the validity of each others’ points of view, we can at least see the full picture. Women have valid grievances with men. Men have valid grievances with women. Neither is “wrong” for their feelings. But when we refuse to acknowledge  the other side’s point of view, there’s gonna be a whole lot of shouting  and blaming (as we too often see here).

With that preamble, I want to link to Ms. Valenti’s powerful piece in the New York Times – an excerpt from her memoir “Sex Object”.

Women and men may not always agree on everything but if we acknowledge the validity of each others’ points of view, we can at least see the full picture.

I have not yet read it, and yet, based on this article, I want to give it a shout-out and endorsement. Valenti – through personal anecdote – details what it is like to be objectified by men from a young age.

It’s not hard for me to admit that I’m one of those men. I never cat called. I never harassed. I never assaulted. But did I see attractive women as body parts and objects? Absolutely. And I remind myself that I’m one of the “good ones.” Sensitive. Honest. Loyal. Communicative. Devoted to women. All of this makes my head spin, because if I’m complicit in objectification to some degree, there are a lot more men  who have taken the innocent nod towards an attractive stranger  to a sinister and abusive level.

This is what Valenti writes about so fiercely:

“When a high school teacher asked me on a date just a few days after I graduated, I wasn’t traumatized. The day that an ex-boyfriend taped a used condom to my dorm-room door, scrawling “whore” across the dry-erase board, didn’t forever damage me. When I receive a rape threat via email, my life’s trajectory does not shift. But it would be silly to believe that who I am today isn’t in part created by the distinct combination of those moments.

I grew up in Queens, taking the subway to junior high and high school. My commute became a time when it wasn’t unusual for a man to grope or flash me. It happened on at least a dozen occasions. I still find myself anxious on the subway. This is not an unreasonable response.”

When male movie characters are overprotective of their daughters as  they bring home a prom date, this is what they’re thinking about: they know their worst male impulses and have undoubtedly seen worse from other less evolved men.

I have – and never will – experience the commonplace harassment Valenti describes, but my wife has. My daughter will. And there’s nothing I can do about it, except write.

I couldn’t begin to tell you what’s to blame: testosterone, socialization, parenting, or media, but, to me, it’s imperative that  women like Valenti (and men like me) point out the weight of such aggressive sexism. It’s  not inherently sexist to admire or ask out  a woman based on her beauty alone. But to dehumanize a woman because she rejects you? To threaten her with words or worse? That’s horrifying. There’s no defense for such men.

I have – and never will – experience the commonplace harassment Valenti describes, but my wife has. My daughter will. And there’s nothing I can do about it, except write.

I can only guess that my  powerlessness is only a fraction of what it must feel like to be a sex object to leering strangers from the time you hit puberty.

Your thoughts and anecdotes below are greatly appreciated.