The Pedant just spent two consecutive nights here, and it was lovely – except right at the end.
He’s generally pretty feminist-thinking, except for a couple of evopsych-based generalizations I can’t seem to shake him of. One of which is that men tend to be kinda rapey. Early in our friendship/relationship, he went off on all kinds of gross tangents about how guys (as a monolith, I guess) don’t understand the concept of a woman dressing to look attractive – they see a woman who’s showing a bit of cleavage, or wearing something snug enough to discern the shape of her body, and they assume she’s asking for sex. From, you know, whoever moves in on her first. The Pedant also insists that men – as a monolith – actually find dresses and heels ridiculous-looking, and if a guy claims he likes a skirt and heels on a woman it’s only because these garments make it easier for him to do stuff to her (the skirt makes for easy access, the heels tilt her pelvis so it’s easier to stick a cock or fingers in her vagina from behind).
I…actually don’t want to live on a planet where guys see a woman in a short skirt and think “she wants me to violate her and she’s making it easy for me.” And, despite how my mom traumatized me, I actually don’t believe all men think that way. I think some guys genuinely like skirts and heels on a woman, and do not consciously think to themselves “I like these items of clothing because they make it easier for me to shove things into a woman’s vagina.” I think some guys can see a woman wearing a skimpy outfit and genuinely just appreciate that she is attractive to them without thinking she’s “asking” for anything. It bothers me deeply that The Pedant has such a pessimistic view of men, and it especially bothers me that he’ll keep going on and on about it even though I’ve told him flat out that a lot of my anxiety about leaving the house comes from the fear of men that my mom put into me.
And actually, as we were leaving my apartment today (him to go home, me to get groceries), the subject of my mom’s scarring bullshit came up for whatever reason; I said something about being afraid to leave the house sometimes because my mom basically taught me that all men are rapists. And The Pedant said “Well, she’s pretty much right” and started speechifying about [his idea of] the way men think and the urges they have. Which kind of triggered me, and after I got home from running errands, I called him on it via text:
Me: New rule: no more expounding on your All Men Are Potential Rapists theories. Like, ever.
Pedant: I’m pretty sure I covered it all today.
Me: It’s come up multiple times before, too. So it’s a running theme for you. I want to ensure that it stops. I don’t believe it’s true, anyway. AND it takes EVERYTHING that makes me agoraphobic and grinds it deeper into my brain.
Pedant: Duly noted. Also, I don’t think agoraphobia is the correct word.
[We discuss “agoraphobia” vs. “xenophobia” vs. “anthrophobia” for a while. Then:]
Me: I’ve decided to invent the word androxenophobia.
Pedant: You’re afraid of androgynous strangers? Or did you men anthroxenophobia?
Me: Think about what the prefix “andro” actually means. [Spoilers: it means “man.” And “xeno” means “stranger.” Hence, a phobia of strange men.]
Pedant: Ah. Now I follow. Although I see no reason to trust women any more or less than men.
Me: …Says the guy who thinks all men have rapist tendencies. *Facepalm.* And you’ve made fun of my hermit tendencies before. That’s what really kills me. “All men probably want to violate you. …What do you mean it’s scary for you to leave your apartment?!”
Pedant: Women are still human, and suffer from the same bloodthirst as men.
Me: Oh, dude. Don’t EVEN with this.
Pedant: It’s true. Men are just more prone to letting it run amok. Margaret Thatcher wasn’t a male, after all.
Me: Doesn’t matter Society tells women (and YOU’VE told ME) quite specifically and repeatedly that men see a woman showing skin as some kind of invitation, that men are rapists, etc. You don’t get to say those things and then turn around and wonder why I might be more cautious of strange men than strange women.
Pedant: Fair point. (The bloodthirst is a separate issue.)
Me: Precisely. And just FYI, all your rapist talk back in the day was a total red flag that made me way more hesitant to have sex with you. Because you know what group is most invested in believing that all guys are rapists? RAPISTS.
Pedant: A rapist also wouldn’t actively warn women to be on their guard, I’d imagine.
Me: Hard to say. They probably would, actually. Just not their own victims.
Pedant: What would be their hypothetical motivation?
Me: Wanting the women they care about not to come to harm. Like a dad (who assumes all men want to attack a woman showing cleavage because HE does) warning his daughter to dress in a wholesome fashion.
Pedant: I never made that association, probably because I know women who were raped by their fathers.
Me: My point is, a lot of the time when people make sweeping statements about others, they’re projecting.
Pedant: News to me…but then, I don’t pretend to think the way people do, nor understand it entirely.
Me: That’s why I’m telling you. 🙂
Pedant: [thumbs-up emoticon]
Later on – because I just can’t leave well enough alone – I resumed the conversation again and tried to argue The Pedant out of his stupid bullshit evopsych ideas (he thinks men are predisposed toward rape because it was “a valid procreation strategy” in cave man days). I won’t bother transcribing that here. Suffice it to say that I didn’t sway his opinion.
But y’know, I’m still not sure he really “gets” why it’s hypocritical to go on and on about men being creepy pervy rapey assholes and then get all incredulous when I have a hard time going places alone. “Women are just as bloodthirsty as men”? Fuck you, Pedant. The generalization I’ve heard you make over and over again about women is that they’re instinctively better at childrearing. The generalization you always make about men is that they secretly want to force their dicks inside random women. I’m sure women can be predatory and assholish just like anyone else, but you’ve never actually said this before.
And what does “bloodthirsty” even mean in this context, anyway? Are you saying that a bunch of chicks out there secretly love the idea of stabbing or punching or killing a total stranger? Because I’ve never actually heard of a woman doing that. I have heard of men raping total strangers (sometimes with punching, stabbing, or killing thrown in for good measure). Plus you just told me that you think most men want to commit rape (or would do it if they had a chance, or have to fight the urge, or…something. Actually, your hypothesis is pretty vague).
I’m trying not to let this incident overshadow an otherwise lovely visit, but it’s difficult; he just brought up so much old baggage for me. But my next post will be a recap of the rest of the visit – the good part – and that will probably cheer me up.