Guest post: There’s this thing you might have heard of called “socialization”

Originally a comment by Samantha Vimes on For no reason at all.

There are some uninformed people speaking up this time.

Listen, guys: there’s this thing you might have heard of called “socialization”. It’s where people form opinions, values, and behaviors based on what the people who came before them and live around them think, do or say. It’s the reason why so many people have a low opinion of women. It’s not that women are, in general, so bad at life that we deserve to be mocked and scorned. It’s that when you were boys, the men around you taught you to deride women. She’s angry? Must be that time of the month; it cannot be thought that he did something genuinely wrong and is being told about a legitimate grievance. She’s asking if you want to eat? She must be a fucking passive-aggressive manipulator– it can’t be that eating is a social thing and she thinks it would be more polite of her to wait a while if you aren’t ready to eat with her now. You had an argument and she expects an apology, even though *she* apologized? It must be that she is actually crazy, not that her socialization taught her that all arguments end with both people apologizing to each other to show the relationship is more important than the topic of disagreement, so she swallowed her pride and apologized even though she was right, and now you’re just sitting there, smug, thinking you “won”, when she was just trying to show you how much she cares.

Look, men and women are socialized differently, and the way to deal with that is to open up more lines of communication and talk about why things aren’t working smoothly if both people just act the way they were taught to act.

For instance, “spread for me” is a horribly sexist sounding phrase to a woman’s ears, because it reduces your lovers to passively granting access to sex, rather than reflecting enthusiastic consent and partnership. It also sounds objectifying.

Furthermore, demanding that a woman “ask you” for things is demeaning. These are not the days where a man must provide for a woman. We can buy our own food. She doesn’t need your permission to eat. She just wants your fucking company, so don’t pretend like it’s a huge favor you’re granting. Do you want to eat or not? If she asks and you aren’t hungry, how about saying how long you think it will be before you are ready to eat? (My husband is diabetic. Sometimes we actually can’t eat at the same time, and sometimes I get low blood sugar – more likely to make me cranky than PMS ever would – because I wait too long for him… but I’ve learned to grab a snack, I just want to know what size snack to get.)

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