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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

What Men Want

  1. "I have a BF" is more effective than saying "I'm not interested" bc men respect other men more than my right to say no.

 #YesAllWomen is trending right now on Twitter and it tells a fascinating story.  The basic theme is that women are still not treated as equals.  Whatever exists in theory or legislation, women are still not free to be.

Elsewhere in the world, governments are trying to take away a woman's right to education, to refuse sex from their spouse - and make it easier for girls to get married off younger.

In the West, we have elected officials voting against legislation designed to curb violence against women and folk like Elliot Rodger going on murderous rampages because women wouldn't act like props for them.

Of course in Canada, we are still haunted by the memory of Marc Lepine.

Beyond this is the simple fact that women are still scrutinized in what can only be a discomfiting way, daily.  It's fascinating to watch the interplay across city streets and city buses, if you take the time to - you can see men staring at women, commenting about them, objectifying them like items on display at a buffet.

The sad truth is that sexist rants like those of Rob Ford or the insensitive comments of David Goyer aren't as rare as we might like to believe. Whether it is alpha-male, competitive culture or genetic hardwiring, there remains a pervasive social thread of women being dehumanized by men who want to see them as opportunities, not people.

Which is why the Tweet above caught my eye.

As a student of language and behaviour, I always seek to get into the headspace of a person I'm speaking with - I want to understand how their (and my) arguments resonate from their perspective, so as to communicate more effectively going forward.

I find this notion of "you're already marked, so off the market" a fascinating response.  One, the "I'm already taken" framing is brilliant, in that it draws lines and consequences.  It's good behavioural economics, appealing to the right instincts to catyalize a given response - but it shouldn't even be necessary.

I think many men would be uncomfortable with this framing, but seeing women as objects is more common than we would admit.

From this perspective, the issue is really less one of how to reduce the "reality" of women as temptation but to empower men with better self-control.

If power is really what men want, there is no power greater or more influential than that over oneself.

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