I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea in my head that I simply must get up and write down. This is one such time. I was woken up early Wednesday morning after dreaming about a conversation with someone in the wake of the Isla Vista shootings. The person I was speaking to said this to me in my dream:
“But that guy did have a point about how so many women choose to be with jerks who abuse and mistreat them and pass over nice guys to do it. I don’t understand why they do that.”
Gee, I dunno, maybe it’s because we bombard women from the earliest age with messages of inadequacy. Maybe it’s because we take supermodels whose bodies are already unattainable for the overwhelming majority of girls, then airbrush them to make them even more unattainable, sending the message that even Kate Upton or Giselle Bundchen isn’t good enough, that no woman could ever possibly be good enough. Because if we don’t keep them insecure, mind you, they won’t feel the need to buy a neverending series of products that promise to make it all better. We have to break them in order to give them the cure, which is of course the right kind of fashion or cosmetics or perfume or self-help books or a myriad of other products that are sold on the basis of the insecurity we install in them from the day they’re born. And this provides the ground into which manipulative men can later plant the seed of “you’ll never find anyone else if you leave me” and other such ideas. And we wonder why those messages are effective.
Maybe it’s because so many women are abused physically or sexually, either as children or adults, often leaving them with a load of guilt and shame to carry around on top of the insecurity and inadequacy that we saddle them with. We tell them that their only purpose is sexual, that they are only worthy insofar as men find them attractive. We demand that they have sex with us, then we demean them as sluts and whores if they have sex with anyone else.
Yes, women often do get with and stay with jerks, sometimes terribly abusive ones. No one has to tell me that. I have seen it up close and very personal, believe me, and it has caused me extraordinary pain watching people I care about do it. But if that fact makes you get angry at women in general rather than trying to understand the psychological and societal roots of it all, you’re part of the problem and not the solution — no matter how nice a guy you might be.