So anyway, here, have some photos from today's "working on projects" day with Thea:
The Victorian Goths are TAKING BACK THE TOP HATS.
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I am currently going through a rough breakup from a 3 years relationship with a man that I loved and completely devoted my life to.
On my first weekend outing as the “third wheel” with my group of couples friends.. this was left in my hotel room by my housekeeper.
She has no idea what how much of an impact she just made on me. She has giving me more strength to get through this.
Deuce of Gears
A cog in the machine. Pawn of powers beyond your control.
I don’t want to see a single comment under this post saying “This is just guys being guys. This is normal. It’s fine,” or ANY VARIATION on that theme. This was not OK. None of it is excusable. Lots of men are not like this. If it’s your idea of what it is to be a man, it shouldn’t be.
#notallmen—are you sure?
I first started thinking back over my past behaviour after reading a comment thread on Pharyngula about #NotAllMen. Of course what men really meant by this hashtag was “not me“. They were more concerned about clearing their own reputation than listening to women about the problem. Most of the Pharyngula thread was about how this hashtag was an irrelevant distraction from women’s reports of sexual harassment, which it is. But one commenter had a different spin. “Can I really say I’ve never harassed a woman?” they mused (I’m paraphrasing from memory). “Never? Not even when I was drunk? Not even when I was a teenager? Not even unintentionally made a woman feel uncomfortable by staring or touching?”
When I first started writing this post, my intention was to make the point that even regular, ‘good’ guys can be harassers. Now I’ve written down 12 of my worst moments, I doubt I’m the best person to make this point. I’m sure (at least I hope) lots of men have read this and gone “Jeeeeeez, I would never do that.” My behaviour went a long way from what most people consider acceptable.
Still: It’s true, there are predators. There are manipulators and those who consciously choose to hurt women. But there are nowhere near enough of them to account for the near-universal experiences of women being harassed and assaulted. Some of the assaults are being done by regular guys. Check it isn’t you.
When women tell the world that they have been assaulted, they are met with a chorus of disbelief.
You’re just doing it for attention.
If it’s true, why haven’t you told the police?
If it’s true, why aren’t you naming names? [If they don’t]
Why are you trying to ruin this man’s life? [If they do]
That’s not harassment, it’s just a compliment.
Did you do anything to encourage him?
On and on, a sea of disbelief, or of silence, or doing nothing, or worse, of attacking her for having said anything. Meanwhile I come out and say “Hey world, I did some shocking things but I’m not doing them anymore!” and the response has been largely to hail my brilliance. I did start my Facebook post with “I’m scared to post this”, which might be seen as encouraging the “So brave!” reactions. Still, it seems that there are people who are ready to shower men with praise for doing the bare minimum. The women speaking about their assaults are brave. I am (assuming you believe me about having learned and changed) at best an ex-scumbag. Don’t give me a cookie.
The first thing we could learn from the response to my post is that we can make the world better just by supporting victims of assault and harassment the same way we apparently support (reformed) abusers.
Everything on my list is inexcusable. But I still think it’s worth investigating why I did what I did. It wasn’t because I got physical or emotional pleasure from it. I didn’t really enjoy any of those encounters. And that’s not because of casual sex: I’ve since had lovely, mutually satisfying sex that we both knew wasn’t leading to a long-term relationship.
Everything I described in that post happened more than eight years ago. Back then, I was having sex to prove to myself that I could. Real men want a lot of sex, and it’s a measure of your masculinity how successful you are in getting that sex. I was trying to prove to myself that I was a man. It is pathetic, but it is true.
We need to change our ideas about what it is to be a man.
First and most obviously, if you commit sexual assault or harass women, this makes you a worse man.
Being ‘dominant’ makes you a bully, not a better man.
Your manliness is not determined by the amount of sex you have.