A purely biological dynamic wouldn’t need to be enforced by males calling other males fags and pussys if they don’t behave masculinely enough or shaming them in other ways for doing something they want to do (like wear a dress to school) if it doesn’t fit into hegemonic masculinity. I’ve just cited to you above in an article written by and for men about some of the roles that women are forced into, although there are plenty more. Men and women do have differences but the differences between individuals is greater than that. Some guys are lumberjacks and some are ballet dancers. Some women are homemakers and some are race car drivers — and everything in between for both genders. Why can’t we have a world where everyone gets to be who they actually are without being told that it’s wrong and subsequently punished?

And yes, absolutely everyone is attracted to confidence, but that’s not the same as cockiness or entitlement. I’m sorry if you don’t see the difference between the two. Perhaps that was a part of your issue in younger life, and I don’t mean that in a snotty way. If you thought that to be attractive to women you had to be a swaggering, big-man-on-campus kind of guy and that just wasn’t you, then it would probably feel very hopeless and restricting, but again that’s the ManBox in play. I’ve already told you that I was attracted to nerdy Roger because he had a quiet confidence that meant that he knew who he was and what he had to offer a girl like me. Same thing with my husband, the former band geek. Confidence means knowing and liking yourself and exuding that. It doesn’t mean acting like some macho meathead… heaven forbid!

Sexual harassment is about power, using sex as a weapon. It’s about the dominantion jousting that men do to maintain their place in the patriarchal hierarchy, wherein they seek to one-up anyone who is considered weaker — women, but also weaker and less traditionally masculine men as well. It’s a way to keep women in their place by making them feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. It’s not about mistakenly expressing interest in someone who turns out to not be interested in you. If you don’t care whether or not someone reciprocates your interest, and just want to take what you feel entitled to, that’s an entirely different thing.

I’m completely sure that none of this is going to sway you at all however, because you live in a painful prison and although you hold the keys to leaving it, you’d rather stay and be bitter and justified in your bitterness. We could go round and round like this for a couple of more hours and never get anywhere, so I’m done. Take care.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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