This if for the men. Particularly the straight men.
Guys, we really don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. We just don’t. They deal with a lot more than we know. More than we can even comprehend.
If you don’t believe me (and I totally understand why you wouldn’t), try reading this article start to finish with an open mind:
So, let’s say you agree with me that we (as men) can’t understand the hardships of being a woman. What can we do about it?
- Listen – The author of the above article says this multiple times. And she’s right. Men need to actively listen to women and not dismiss them when they say things that sound unbelievable to us. We don’t get the right to say what is believable about what they’re saying since we can’t fathom what it’s like to be a woman.
- Exercise Self Control.
What is self-control and how do we exercise it?
The brain is like a muscle in some ways. It can be trained to do what we want to an extent. That’s called learning.
If you can’t speak Spanish and you want to, you learn Spanish. You train your brain to do something new. Easy enough, right?
Well, the bad behaviors that men tend to exhibit come from a place of letting our instincts dictate our actions.
Long ago, our ancestors acted and though much more like wild animals than modern day humans. Rape was commonplace. Women did not have to give consent for sex. Our ancestors reacted off their carnal desires.
Our modern brains still have a lot of wiring that resembles our brains from thousands and even millions of years ago. So, we still experience overwhelming sexual desire around women (assuming your straight of course). The difference is that we also have a cerebrum. That’s the part of our brain involved with higher thinking.
You use this part of your brain hopefully all the time. For example, if you see some food that you really want that part of your brain is the part that allows you to choose to pay for it or ignore it rather than just take it. And you may think that stealing food isn’t a huge temptation for you. That’s probably because you’ve trained your brain your whole life that way.
It’s a learned behavior that your parents or Sesame Street or someone taught you when you were young. And you’ve trained that part of your brain to the point where you never think about it anymore.
We have the same ability when it comes to women. You may find yourself tempted to hit on a girl even after she’s made it clear that she’s not interested. You may feel the urge to call a woman a name that objectifies her or touch a woman who’s not given the okay to do so. These temptations are real. And here’s the kicker, they’re okay to have. They’re just not okay to act on.
But if you never trained yourself to ignore these temptations then the ‘muscle’ to do so is weak. And this doesn’t speak anything to your overall intelligence. You may be super smart and still have not worked this part of your brain out. In much the same way that someone who’s got really strong legs doesn’t necessarily have strong shoulders.
So, how do we retrain our brains? I’m not expert, but a good start would be to consciously force ourselves to look at every woman (all of them) as we would a close friend, a family member or a spouse. Not in the sense that we treat them like we know them, but think about them as someone we want to protect. Someone we care about. Someone we want to not have to deal with sexist comments and unwanted sexual attention.
Train your brain to see every woman as a person that you want to not upset. Ask yourself before you interact with a woman what your motives are? What is your mindset? Do you see her as a sex object to gratify your instincts or do you see her as a person with feelings?
This probably won’t be easy at first. If you’ve never worked out a muscle before, it can be painful, exhausting and frustrating. So, why would you do it?
Well, I can’t promise it will make you richer. I can’t promise that you will see any direct rewards for the effort you put in. I doubt women are going to verbally thank you just for acting like a decent person around them. But I can say that it will help the human race as a whole. It will help by putting more positive interactions into the universe.
Essentially, I’m asking you to do the following:
- Admit that there’s a problem and you might be a part of it
- Listen with an open mind to women who tell tale of horrible sounding interactions with men.
- Fight your natural instincts to sexualize someone outside of a consensual situation.
- Treat all women like human beings that you care about.
- Do this for purely altruistic reasons.
To be fair, I understand something that I honestly believe women don’t understand about men: our instincts are freaking powerful. That’s no excuse to act on them. But I just want you to know that I’m fully aware of how difficult it is to do what I’m suggesting. And I struggle with it too. But we gotta make our best effort.
Men, I know we can do this. Let’s make the world a better place.