Tell Me Who Your Friends Are

Even today, in 2012, the guy is supposed to be in charge. I see it in every heterosexual relationship I know, the acquiescence of the female. When I observe people being coupled, I see too many compromises that I don’t know that I could make or would want to make.

It’s very annoying when people turn their own shitty lives into some sort of an indictment against the universe. If you choose to surround yourself with sexist losers, that is your problem. I, for instance, cannot think of a single couple I know where “the guy is in charge.”

Every couple I count among my friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances is based on a fair partnership between loving and respectful equals. I made a choice not to be surrounded by idiots. Make that choice, too, or stop whining already. At the very least, try to realize that you are promoting the very sexism you seem to bemoan by granting your friendship and company to sexist freaks. That makes you one of those very sexist freaks.

Obviously, sexists exist. But if every single person you know is a sexist, the  you are in no way better.

Why do I have to be annoyed by arrant idiots so early in the morning?

33 thoughts on “Tell Me Who Your Friends Are

  1. You’re great. Not perfect ’cause no one is. I tend to like the: “Dime de qué presumes y te diré de lo que careces”. Humility does help sometimes to put up with own imperfections and keep growing.
    Arrant idiots do, sometimes, provide some perspectives to think about.

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  2. Such remarks have their usefulness. I was also surprised by it, and wondered who the writer’s friends were; but I also thought about my own relationship and realized that there are times when I don’t stand up for myself as I would wish to (and as my husband would wish me to), because of early default training taking over. Sometimes being a feminist is an on-going internal struggle with childhood conditioning. So I suppose there might be people in whom that conditioning is strong enough that they feel they can’t risk having a relationship in which it might take over, like an alcoholic not taking the first drink. This is, however, a generous reading, and I really don’t like that “supposed to be” of the first line you quote. Believing that is a far cry from believing in equality and continuing to question and counter one’s own reactions.

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    1. Dame Eleanor Hull: “Sometimes being a feminist is an on-going internal struggle with childhood conditioning.”

      —————

      This is how it was for me. And sometimes you don’t realize what you need to work on in yourself, because everybody keeps telling you the opposite. People have some very cliched ideas about those who end up victimized or dis-empowered in situations. I can tell you for sure that had I followed the strategies implanted in my psyche by my childhood conditioning AND YET REMAINED IN MY CULTURE OF ORIGIN, I would not have walked into a minefield — at least one I had no chance of recognizing.

      My problems were related to the incongruity of my childhood conditioning with the culture I had migrated into.

      And people kept telling me, “You just need to stand up to bullies.” Certainly I was already doing this in an extremely forceful way, but I had no conception of the invisible transactions I was making within my environment, which were based more on Feudalistic principles (as a superior power, you watch my back — and I’ll bring in the goods), than capitalist, individualistic notions of how to survive and make one’s way.

      Anyway, I’ve solved my problems largely. My relationship with Mike is devoid of sexism. I’m sure most people would not be able to imagine how fine it is, since most people seem unable to imagine a non-sexist relationship.

      Also I have found work — but not enough — with Feudalistic dynamics.

      I can change myself a bit, but not entirely, as you can tell.

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  3. I think I get what they’re trying to say, but if “every heterosexual relationship” they know is like that, I’m a bit disturbed. Almost none of the heterosexual relationships I know are like that. Not because the culture has changed all that much, but because I choose my friends very carefully.

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  4. I agree, but since we’re trying to come up with ways that this situation could arise:
    I’m only 25, and from up north originally. And it happens that most of my up-north friends aren’t even in committed relationships. However, the people I see the most, the folks I work with, a lot of them are in committed relationships, and more of them are the relationship described in this quote. So, it could be that we pick our friends carefully, but the people we see around us on a daily basis might not be our carefully chosen friends. Also, sadly, my one friend who is in a committed relationship (and is getting married soon), likes to play the part of the woman who needs her man to take care of organizing life for her.

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  5. My parents’ relationship certainly wasn’t like that. Even back in the 50s when they got married, it was possible for people to treat each other like equals.

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    1. Of course! Normal people always existed. My great-grandparents who were born, respectively, in 1903 and 1906 had a relationship of complete equality. I cannot even begin to imagine my great-grandma Mary being subservient to anybody.

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  6. And going to the link I see it’s a quote from an American actress. The lives of Hollywood actors aren’t quite like those of people not in the business. Social and psychic dysfunction seems to play a larger part in their lives and I wouldn’t go about making their pronouncements any kind of creed to follow.

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  7. Well, I know a lot of people I am not friends with, and like a lot of people I disagree with, and I live in what is said to be the 9th most conservative metro area in the USA, and almost everyone believes in patriarchal religions, so yes, I observe many relationships daily where the guy is in charge. I was even at a meeting where we voted to hire someone to the tenure track because she was qualified but also, it was said, to “reward” her [sic – those were not my words, but they were said] for having left another job to follow her husband to the only job he had gotten. (Actually, I think this has happened more than once in my presence.)

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    1. ” I was even at a meeting where we voted to hire someone to the tenure track because she was qualified but also, it was said, to “reward” her [sic – those were not my words, but they were said] for having left another job to follow her husband to the only job he had gotten.”

      – I have no doubt that people who said this thought they were being very progressive. 😦

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      1. Well, number of years do not count for what’s important. There are people who at their 70s have young, warm hearts, whereas others at 25 appear to have cold and liveless ones. So, you’re OK.

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    1. “Breasts and females, there’s a subject we could talk about for a long, long time. How our place in the world and our sense of self is shaped by the size, shape, tone and texture of our breasts. ”

      – Sweet Jesus. What a weird person. Very offensive to women, too. Just imagine a man saying the same thing. Yet when a woman doe sit, it’s perfectly OK.

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        1. “even though her main problem is the fact that she loves to be with macho losers”

          – That’s a problem of personal psychology. I also used to like men who were wrong for me but I don’t blame anybody for that.

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  8. 70s, I mean 1970s, where there was still unreconstructed, obvious sexism in the workplace and because of feminist consciousness it was also normal to contest it loudly when it reared its head. In the 70s and even into the 80s, that comment about “rewarding” someone for becoming a trailing spouse would have been commented upon. Now, excuses would be made, as in the 50s and early 60s, and it would not be considered polite or “productive” to raise the issue.

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    1. “In the 70s and even into the 80s, that comment about “rewarding” someone for becoming a trailing spouse would have been commented upon.”

      – How sad that these better times have ended. 😦

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  9. The post reminds me of this:

    …Bad behavior tends to be tolerated only by people who are expecting you to tolerate theirs.

    If you are engaged in selfish behavior, you will eventually find yourself surrounded only by other selfish people. This shift is gradual and oft times not noticed by the individual. Once you start down this road, it becomes a matter of degrees – who is more selfish. […] The best thing you can do is to get these kind of individuals out of your life. If you look around and recognize this behavior in ALL of your friends, then it is time to sit down and do a critical reassessment of your own behavior.

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