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August 11, 2020

STFU: 7 Ways the Patriarchy Gaslights Women.


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You’ve got a little feist in you, I see. You’ll probably like “Yes, I am Single. No, I’m Not Available.”

And maybe also this one: I’m 40, Single, Childless & I F*cking Choose Myself.

And this one, too: I Will Always be a Difficult Woman.

In case you missed it, I am a man.

I’ve been told that the patriarchy is certainly not my arena to have an opinion about, but I beg to differ.

As I watched my two little girls move from being toddlers to preschoolers, I’ve been conscious of the way society tries to socialize females—and yeah, none of it is any good.

With regard to the times I’ve been caught in the wrong place where there is so-called “locker room talk,” I’ve always had that uncomfortable feeling of being a spy in the enemy’s territory. The times when I just did not have the energy to make a socially conscious stand, my only defense has been to just not smile along to the gregarious misogyny.

This, however, comes with a price. It’s hard not to be disappointed in myself.

After the incident with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Yoho outside the Capitol steps on July 20th, the argument of “Hey, I have a wife and a few daughters,” lost any validity it may have once had. So when I mention that fact, I don’t do so in defense of my patriarchal privilege, but as a way to explain my need to observe this obvious gaslighting that I have witnessed for my entire life.

But hey, most men are totally okay with women—except, of course:

Women Who Like Sex

It is common knowledge that when confronted with the number of sex partners they have had in the past, most women feel compelled to decrease the actual number, just as most men inflate their actual numbers. This does not, however, put them on equal footing. Women generally don’t tell the truth to men because of the pressure the patriarchy puts on females to be pure. Men lie because they make themselves insecure. Notice how it’s always men who are causing all the lying? I have.

Women Who Don’t Like Sex

Gosh, the only thing worse than a woman who likes to have sex is a woman who doesn’t. A “frigid” wife is something with which men have struggled for generations, and I am sure has nothing at all to do with the fact that men usually become emotionally disconnected from their mates over time.

I’ll be fair: both sexes fall victim to this if they’re not mindful. It’s usually just men, however, who are scratching their head wondering where all the lovemaking went. It’s sort of the equivalent of sitting in the house playing video games all throughout the summer and expecting a bounty of food in your garden at harvest time. Never going to happen.

Women Who Have Children

The internet is chock-full of articles exploring the many challenges of dating women with children. The titles alone are pretty horrendous: “Is it worth it to date a woman with kids?” and “12 Cons of Dating a Woman with Kids,” to name just a couple. Somehow, in the patriarchal world of dating, women with children are not that desirable—but neither are…

Women Who Don’t Have Children

Of course I am speaking in anecdotal terms, but most people have no qualms about asking women when they plan on procreating somewhere between the time the caterers are handing out the prime rib and chicken cordon bleu and the coffee and cake.

This is always annoying enough for women, but many times I have heard that the answer of “I’m not having kids” can feel confrontational. Let’s face it, even for the freest of spirits, confrontation at a wedding ceremony is a drag. As I said, I offer no empirical research to back up my claims, but I’m sure we can all agree that this attitude exists. Just ask any woman with a wedding band.

Women Who Get Abortions

You may have noticed that Republicans have been actively trying to do anything to make abortions more difficult and more restrictive at every turn. The one thread that runs through most of the states pushing these Draconian measures is the paltry percentage of women who serve on their legislatures. The math is right there. These are male-run organizations trying to pass laws on what women can and can not do. Notice any incongruencies?

Women Who Don’t Work

Well obviously, no man has any room for a woman without a serious work ethic. This is never anything that is overtly spoken of, but the pressure does exist. Most women I have spoken to, who have found themselves caught up in the frustrating world of needing assistance in the United States, know that this is a bit more than implied. Most of the time, it is difficult for a woman to get through the conversation without, at least, some mention of “bootstraps.”

Women Who Work Too Much

Of course, the only thing more reprehensible than a woman who doesn’t pull her own weight in the workforce is a woman who pulls too much weight. The idea of a woman out there for 50 hours a week trying to get ahead—especially when their children are home fending for themselves—is beyond reproach.

If a pattern is beginning to emerge, you are probably paying attention.

There was a time I walked into an airport and I noticed a 50-foot replica of Tucker Carlson’s head up on a screen, pulled back in feigned confusion asking, “The Patriarchy? What does that even mean?”

I have an answer for you, Tucker. It means one gender has decided that another gender would be fine as long as they don’t turn left. Or right. Or go up. Or go down. Or sleep. Or wake up. Or do this. Or do that. Or…

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