Most women’s lives are spent in desperate pursuit of approval and love from, and relationships with men. Women anxiously ask themselves am I slim enough, pretty enough, are my hair and nails done well enough, am I freaky enough, am I pure enough? Many females are terrified about the possibility of becoming an Old Maid, though none of us has ever seen such a person and our only point of reference is a card game.
Parents, in their unaware ignorance, often encourage these self-esteem killing games by subtly pushing their daughters to believe females are defined as women only when part of a couple. In their minds the ultimate achievement for their daughter is not acquiring the title of CEO or Dr., but the title “Mrs.”
Thus, as girls mature and change and begin to look more like adult women, the freedoms we enjoyed as children — running, getting dirty, climbing, jumping and hitting back are discouraged. Now we have to be pretty because that is what men like. We have to have a certain body size, because that is what men like. We’re told by those that claim to love us to “be nice” as we are brainwashed into believing it more important to please others than it is to please ourselves.
When we start to participate in the dating ritual, we’re warned to censure what we say to men because “you might hurt their feelings.” Girls are trained to behave in a demure, subservient fashion around males due to the fact that “men need to feel needed and respected.” Young women are asked with increasing frequency by the unenlightened: “so, do you have a boyfriend yet?” as if that makes her a better person or provides entre into a secret society.
A woman afraid of being abandoned or of not having a man like everyone expects her to has been set up. She will remain in a constant state of anxiety about losing the relationship she has, or stress incessantly about never finding one at all. Females are both subtly and overtly trained to never say “No!” to men, due to the fear that he will leave her or (horror of horrors), she will end up SINGLE!
Women are socialized to be afraid of saying the word “NO!” to men.
Is it any wonder so many women have trouble establishing and maintaining clear boundaries with men in interpersonal relationships (and often in business or social settings as well)? “No!” has been trained out of girls, and it’s very painful to see them struggle to be okay with it.
The flip side of this coin makes an even more damaging impact on society. As women have been brainwashed to never say “No!” to men, men have been concurrently socialized to discount or even ignore “No!” should a woman dare have the courage to speak up.
Along these lines, a great many men think a woman’s “No!” is nothing he needs to listen to or take seriously, but instead the beginning of a negotiation that he will ultimately win. His goal is to pressure any woman that says “No!” over and over again until she gives in and gives him what he wants.
Ben Atherton-Zeman is an outspoken advocate of women and has worked with several sexual assault prevention organizations. His excellent article Manufacturing Consent–Is it Rape? reviews tactics used by males to “manufacture” consent from females, two of which are coercion and convincing:
Most young men believe that sexual assault is wrong, but they define sexual assault as using physical force. While many reported sexual assaults involve physical force, most sexual assaults involve verbal or emotional force, manipulation, or the threat of physical force.
Coercion: Some victim/survivors are coerced into having sex or being sexual. The guy cares about the person he’s with, but cares about the sex more. Her saying “No” is ignored — he continues to ask and ask until her defenses crumble. She might even say “Yes,” just to get it over with. Her consent is therefore coerced and “manufactured” by him.
Convincing/Cajoling: The guy wants the sex to be consensual, but edits out all her responses that don’t sound like consent. He manufactures her consent by giving her a massage, kissing her, putting his arm around her — all towards the goal of “getting her to relax” and agree to become sexual. She may “consent” in the end, but usually regrets it afterwards.
Society tells us that where women are weak, dainty and passive, men are strong, rough and aggressive. Men are taught to fight for what they want, and women to give in to men. Silly men are taught by other silly men that they are entitled to get what they want from women, otherwise they have the right to berate, demean or physically harm women for not giving it to them. They feel it is their right, you see. This negative. anti-female socialization is one of the chief reasons men don’t take “No!” for an answer.
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Category: Women's Issues