Thursday, February 23, 2012

Do People Really Know Why They Do Things?

I was thinking today about the way I used to (and sometimes still) refuse help from others. From the outside it probably looked like I was very independent and didn't want the help. It looked like that to me too sometimes. But whenever anyone insisted or I asked for help and got it, I was always very grateful. I realize now that it wasn't because I wanted to be independent. Why would I turn down rides, money, or food? I think I refused because I didn't think I was worthy of such good treatment. It upsets me to even think about it. I have had a problem with this ever since I was a child. I would go without when I didn't have to. It was low self-esteem. I didn't walk by myself because I wanted to be a loner. I was just too afraid to put effort into developing many friendships out of fear of rejection. Sometimes when people wanted to be my friend I was surprised and wondered "Really? Why would they want to be friends with me?"

I read some complaints by men about women wanting to be independent and not wanting a man. Maybe some of those women are like me and they do things themselves because they don't feel they deserve the help and should be strong enough to do everything. It's interesting that some men complain that they are expected to be strong when I think a lot of women are getting the same message today. That's one of the reasons why I'm rejecting the strong, independent woman label. If you're independent and strong you're called worthless to men but if you're dependent and helpless then you're called worthless to everyone. You can't win! Either way you end up feeling inadequate. I hate the pressure women get for not being feminine or masculine enough. I guess men experience the same thing.

It also makes me think about why people do certain things while dating. Some men complain when women expect them to pay for dates but some women do this so the man will feel needed. That's also why some women let men open doors, carry things, and stand up for them. They want the man to fall in love with them. But of course there are women who just use men for money with no intention of having a relationship. Other women do the exact opposite and pay for everything, refuse any help, and even financially support men. They want to show the man they are not using them and only want their company. They also want the man to fall in love with them. Some women may also do this because of feminist teachings. Different women use different methods because they have been told that one method will ensure a man's love while the opposite method will push him away. Some men are calling this being manipulative and evidence that feminism and women are trying to emasculate them.

But if you read the posts and comments of different men there are some that insist on one of these methods over the other but sometimes to such an extreme that women risk being victimized. Some men think that any woman who isn't independent is oppressing a man by expecting financial support. This is often the preference of fake supporters of feminism who really just want women to financially support them or men who have no ambition or low self-esteem. They want a woman but they don't meet their standards so they guilt the women into lowering their standards. Perhaps some of them really think it's fine to reverse traditional roles and that it's consistent with egalitarianism.

To other men, women who don't rely on men for money, protection, or guidance are ruining society and the family by rejecting the "natural order" and negating the role of men! However, some of these men also expect total submission from their wives, the right to make all decisions, and in some cases don't believe women have the right to say "no" (i.e., men can rape their wives). It's possible that some have low self-esteem issues and think that absolute control is the only way to keep a woman from leaving them. Or they might truly believe that this is the best way to have a happy relationship based on history or social stereotypes.

Some men will deny that they have these motives, they have low self-esteem, or they might not even realize these things. If men and women can recognize that members of both sexes act differently and have different preferences, for many different reasons, we can stop automatically assuming the most negative and exploitative motivations. We should stop categorizing all men or women negatively based on their behaviour or preferences and try to find out the reasoning behind these things. Men and women with the same preferences will be a better match.

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