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Seeing some folks I follow circulating a point that's worth drawing a bit of attention to. One of the oldest canards in low-denominator comedy is that women are inscrutable and men can't understand them. There's a reason for this and it ain't funny.
422 replies and sub-replies as of Nov 12 2017

By the time a man reaches adulthood he has probably heard that women constantly say one thing and mean another, and that they are impossible to understand, at least a thousand times. To some extent he probably believes this to be true.
And to a degree it is. Women VERY frequently say one thing and mean another, display expressions or reactions that don't jibe with their feelings, and so on. But it's actually really easy to decode once you understand why it happens. It is survival behavior.
While some men choose to become skilled dissemblers, men are not -required- to learn very much subterfuge at all-- looking calm while you'd like to strangle your boss is the biggie. Women face a completely different situation.
Women spend their lives surrounded by people who are, on average, bigger than they are, socially privileged over them, both more inclined to immediate anger (testosterone is a hell of a thing) AND more socially encouraged to express it, and best of all? Cherry on top?
Some of these dudes around them are extremely dangerous, others are not, and most of the time it is impossible to tell the two apart on sight, or even from extended contact. Often the only way to find out is to say or do something that might make a man blow up and see if he does.
This is not a great way of finding out what kind of guy a woman is dealing with for the same reason we don't use pogo sticks to test for buried land mines. It's often the only one available, though. So, VERY SENSIBLY, women will generally just opt not to run the test.
What that means is smiling at a man's flirting in a closed or isolated space, or laughing at an uncomfortable joke because the room is full of men and all of them are laughing.
Men are not only -not- required to learn dissembling, they -are- taught to seek affirmation of self-worth from women. They take these reactions at face value because they very much want to. And this can build uncomfortable or dangerous cycles and relationships.
Lemme be real clear on this point: Women do this because the way our society is currently set up, they have absolutely no better option available to them. They quite rightly value their safety over offering legibility to people who might seriously hurt or even kill them.
So while this may be frustrating to guys, it is not on women to behave differently as long as the social baseline for masculine behavior is a toxic stew of lionized violence and anger. They're gonna smile and laugh as long as a huge % of men present a serious potential threat.
But let's say that you weren't raised by fucking spiders and your reaction to this isn't annoyance but instead serious concern, because you DON'T want to freak women out but now you realize you might have been reading "oh god go away" as "yes chat me up more in this elevator."
A few simple tells that you're doing something that's putting a woman's hackles up, which will follow outward affirmative signals: She leaves the area; she changes the subject; she moves herself or the two of you toward other people, esp. other women; she doesn't flirt/joke back;
or, her rejoinder doesn't match what you put out there-- a compliment, for example, eliciting "Thanks" or "haha" rather than a return compliment. All of these have a good chance of translating to "you are overstepping my boundaries but I don't feel safe saying so."
There's a good chance that when you spot this, your first instinct is going to be to say something like "Am I making you uncomfortable?" or "Did I say something wrong?" That's what a good dude would ask, right? Welllll it's not the worst response but it's not a good one, either.
Those questions have a very good chance of getting back a response calculated to calm you down rather than an honest answer, because you have STILL offered no real indication you won't blow up when rebuffed. You see, those are also questions an irritated dude would ask.
It puts the woman on the spot and makes her pull off an immediate calculation-- is this guy actually concerned or is he feeling offended because he realized that wasn't a real laugh? Am I in more danger now, or less?
If you are in doubt it's usually best to back off, provide some breathing room, and then once the situation has a low threat index (non-confined space, potentially supportive people nearby), boot up honesty.exe:
"Hey, if the jokes about clown dicks are over the line, please let me know and I'll cut that out." Not just interrogation about her real feelings, but proactive information about the reaction that an honest response will provoke from you.
That's not some kind of cheat-code to human interaction, mind. People are complicated as fuck and women don't come off an assembly line at a factory.
But it's generally a better base-line set of guidelines for social navigation than either taking everything at face value or assuming the female mind was forged from the same inscrutable mystic bullshit as Harry Potter's wand.
Oh and this should go without saying but if you put forward the promise that you're not going to blow up, for the love of fuck, STICK TO IT. Offering a guy candor is an act of trust, be worthy of it.
tl;dr: Women have simple needs (safety) and live in a more dangerous world than men, which requires more precautions to maintain safety than most dudes have to worry about. Mocking them or getting mad at them for exercising basic safety precautions is an asshole move.
Understand the world you're part of, practice empathy for people who got dealt a different hand in the game of life than you did, and don't be an asshole, the world has too many of those already. It's not that hard once you know what you're doing. The End.
Guys need to realize they a) shouldn't expect any woman to validate them or have any such duty b) shouldn't expect validation from women (or any other group of people specifically) to have some sort of mystical value and c) work against the structures that perpetuate this.
Fantastic thread btw.
Will you men still allow hetero intact males who call themselves women into our showers and changing areas? Men get to decide that, you know. Women & girls are powerless.
This is the kind of rare Twitter gold the world needs more of. TY
May copious blessings upon blessings swamp you until you are awash with the goodness & kindness you have shown here with your thread! Thank you! ✌
When I was 16 my asst manager used to follow me, isolate me, kiss me, etc. I found a guy working there that made the AM nervous & stayed by him sometimes(no other women). Be the guy women can run to even if they don't tell you why.
thank you for articulating this so well ❤️ I hope many many dudes read this and shape the fuck up
Thanks for the kind words. And I hope so too. It's the only way we eventually hand our kids or grandkids a world with something better than patriarchal hellscape to live in.
This is great! We are constantly having to change our behavior based on a mans behavior. It's exhausting and happens to all of us. Every. Day. I didn't even realize this was a survival instinct until I was in my 30s.
That's an amazing thread. Thank you.
Great thread. A lot of men also rarely stop to consider the setting of an interaction. Everybody has a vested interest in being an agreeable with co-workers. So always be skeptical of work "connections" being anything more than convenience - which isn't bad, just professional.
My other issue is this outlook that winning her favor is some kind of game, because it always directly implies that we're objects to be won if they try hard enough. Like were just waiting for a man to come along and woo us, regardless of chemistry.
We're not people, were trophies to prove his romantic abilities.
MEN are Russian Roulette for women and children.
Thank you so much for this thread. I want every man in the world to read it.
Thank you for this thread! I've been nodding along.
As a white male this is a huge eye opener. I was never really aware of how much we, as men, are conditioned by society and other men, to behave in a manner that's in-fact dangerous for women. Over the years I've learned this and it's changed my views dramatically.
Thank you for writing this. We really aren't that hard to understand, as you've proven. No man has an excuse anymore. Thank you.
That's a hell of a lot to think about. Thanks for YOUR candor.
I think most of us don't ever feel safe in public or with men we aren't *really* familiar with. We always have heightened alertness constantly appraising and reappraising the situation. Always calculating. It's exhausting and men have no idea.
Sometimes I try and imagine what it must be like not to have gender based fear responses. I can't really do it. The fucked up part is the heightened alertness hasn't saved me.
the Like button seems inappropriate so I offer the :( of solidarity instead.
I appreciate it and thanks for letting me vent cause the response to all of these outings has been some serious bullshit.
Thank u for saying so eloquently what I have been trying to say 4 years. &I’m with you 💯 Sofia I’m 44 years old & never felt safe in my life time until 2 1/2 yrs ago when I met my hubby. 2this day he is the only man I feel 💯 safe with. Let that sink in! This includes male fam 2
I'm with you. I'm the same way with my partner's dad. He's the only one I trust and that includes my male relatives. It's a fucked up world.
Yes it certainly is, but it is my hope that with all of the very public scrutiny that we build momentum in changing the future so the next generation of little girls can grow up with her mind on enjoying life rather than her mind stuck in hyperventilate survival mode!
Add the constant gaslighting on top of all of it. We get trapped in this horrific limbo where we're both too vigilant (distrusting/fearing men) and not vigilant enough (having been harassed and assaulted starting from the age of *6* up until most recently a couple months ago).
And get this! I don't even fuck with men and I'm basically a shut in recovering from some shit. My contact with men is like 0 but I still got grabbed by two separate men in one day shortly after dying my hair a couple months back.
Right there with you.
I can, recently hatched trans girl here. I've always had social anxiety, but the extent to which I've got specifically gender-based apprehensions now is something that kind of blindsided me. When you're now part of a group of people that can often receive violence just for
existing in a public space the threat posed by those people that are naturally more prone to violence, hormonally sure, but even more so due to social conditioning, is really unnerving.
Ugh I'm sorry you have to deal with this. It's a lot. If you ever need to vent I'm around. 💕 PS - I love the description "newly hatched" - it's awesome.
Thanks! 💞 I work from home so I've got it better than many, I only ever have to go out like 2 or 3 times a month, and even then I'm not visibly trans if I'm not trying to be, so the big thing is less an active threat, & more a newfound awareness of the fact such threats exist.
The ability to be innocuous and invisible in most public spaces is one of the key aspects of privilege white dudes have. And yeah ^_^ we like to have some fun with our terminology.
It might have. Our vigilance doesn't always save us, but it often does.
Oh it definitely has but it's never enough... :\
No. It never is. And it never ends. I'm in my 50s and still have to be protective, aware and vigilant. For some reason, I thought I'd be able to relax by now. But no.
Just the parking lots *alone* (even in suburbia - especially fall-spring, in the north.
meanwhile the #1 most statistically likely person to kill a woman is the man with whom she is most familiar--spouse/bf/ex
Technically yes but we we're not short on stories about men killing women they've just met for rejecting them. It's not common but how rare does it have to be to bet your life on it? Cis men are a minefield.
i wasn't trying to deny your original point at all! in fact trying to point out that even familiarity isn't a guarantee
That's fair. I'm just grumpy. No offense taken or meant. :P
As a wispy gay bottom - yeah, I've got *some* idea (though it will never be as systemic as what happens to women).
I work remotely and have lost all patience for trying to placate men. When I go to a department store or an unfamiliar grocery store and am surrounded by men, pushy, loud men with overbearing large vehicles, I get very angry, and once home and safe, exhausted.
I prefer to get stoned before going out these days. Keeps me level. Granted I think I'm a severe case. :\
That's rough. :(
Yeah. Had an old man, large, well over a foot taller than I am, commenting on what I was putting in my cart. Went to another checkout, was in a rage all the way home.
Ugh that's so gross. You have every right to be upset.
You should give seminars.
Chivalry = recognizing your own power & privilege, and protecting people instead of preying on them.
I so appreciate this detailed and nuanced breakdown. I relate 100% to everything you've said.
Q: a female colleague tried to sabotage me. If I talk to her alone & offer cooperation, do you mean she'll lie and suckerpunch me? Thanks
Good thread. But it's more sinister than that. Women do not perform these calculations consciously. They are CONDITIONED to defer to men & avoid conflict. They are trained by violent and threatening behaviour by men. They r often traumatised by past experiences with violent men.
I could hug you right now
Thank you. That makes so much sense and yes to everything you said. ❤️
This one tweet is just good advice in general.
Nice thread. Just a question. What should I ask when I feel like I did or said something wrong ? I mean, no matter who's in front of me, I'll always ask "Did I say something wrong ?" because I really am worried about how the person in front of me is feeling. (Bad english, sorry)
I'm not trying to be rude or anything, I'm asking because I think that's important and I need to "improve" myself so people don't feel bad around me. Well, I'm very shy so I'm not going to talk to random people anyway, but we never know what could happen one day.
I really need u in my corner right now in a Facebook thread where a man is trying to blame women for going along with sexual harassment. Please help lol
Good thread, Ham Ham.
We may know this subconsciously, which would explain our love of female characters that are badasses or one of the boys.
Thank you so much for this thread. I feel like other marginalized groups also have similar but not exactly the same survival tactic as an option. Thanks.
I sometimes purposefully change/give a secondary subject the conversation can escape to if the person I am interacting with does not like the one I'm currently pushing. I've actually confused the hell out of people doing this wrong, but I've gotten better at it.
This is an amazing thread.
Wow. Fantastic and astute. Thank you.
Thank you so much for putting this eloquently into words. The exhaustion we feel from dealing with all this bullshit is very real. The number of situations I've been in, even with familiar men, where the rule of "smile and nod" has applied is terrifying and hasn't always worked.
Another thing I use to distance myself from someone who's pursuing something with me I'm not into is to say "I'm really tired, maybe we'll talk later." 90% of the time that translates to "you are not a thing with which I want to deal right now."
Dude, you just explained my whole reality to me. If only you explained it to me fifteen years ago I'd have made some better life choices. But anyway, thank you. Everything here 🎯
90% of homicides are made against men, dont know if your claim is accurate.
but this doesnt change the fact that being men is more dangerous, does it? Men livr 7 years less...
Are you just counting death as danger?
well, it seems a major metric.
So heart attacks, strokes, all the cancer bringing your toll up means you guys are in more danger than us. Where does murder fall on your "metric"?
it’ because 90% of murder victims are men. i think you need more evidence that being women is more dangerous.
Good thing what you think will never matter. "NUH-UH We're in more danger because we keep murdering ourselves hurr durr" is my new favourite argument for pity I ever heard.
I am a man and I’ve never killed anyone, sorry
The very fact that you don't comprehend any danger other than death is enviable. It's also pretty impressively dumb. I looked up your stat. It's wrong.
Expanded Homicide Data
(no description)
I do comprehend, I just showed one very important kind of danger.
Hmmm... of all of the tweets in thread, this one has a rotty smell
Otherwise, thanks for this thread. Well done.
Was going to suggest that reciprocal interest is a better indicator than polite acceptance but then I remembered that, when forced to interact with strange men, getting them to talk about themselves is a tactic I have used to fend off their invasive questions. So that's out too.
I tend to take everything at face value at all times. Lying is a difficult issue with me.
But why can't you just give me the cheat code?! All my life I have been promised that there is a magic spell to work on women.
Or you could, you know, just go away and leave her alone. Pursuing candor is still an unwanted pursuit. Let her initiate any further contact.
yep, my response to this is always instinctively "no, it's fine" even when it's not.
These 280 Tweets are too long. Sorry.
Then, maybe don’t read them? 🤷🏻‍♀️
Just saying it will take time to adjust to Tweet threads with 280 Tweets. There was impact/magic to the 140 limit. 🤗
Most women will reply, "oh no, you're good - no worries..."
I'm just here casually crying at how much truth there is in this thread
I quite often say thank you to compliments & mean it rather than complimenting back, not sure that’s always a tell. But another one is - guys, if you make a jokey remark & we don’t take it well, don’t say ‘you should take it as a compliment’ because that just makes things worse.
There’s a very simple solution for this: assume every woman finds you creepy and treat them entirely professionally. It’s worked for me. I think. I’ve heard no serious complaints, anyway.
Just treat women as humans.
LOL me too. Try to see the more vulnerable ones as dogs, then. Dogs are people imo ☺
I don’t think women would like unsolicited ear scratches and belly rubs. :V
Yes okay maybe porcupines, then. They make good pals but are not amenable to being patted 😂
Okay this entire thread is great but the term "raised by spiders" is transcendent
Thank you. Was furious yesterday at a man telling us why SHOULD be speaking up as otherwise it's our fault. He had idea what it's like when we do, ugh... And obviously wasn't listening.
Lots of men pretending like this is brand new information and their actions around other men were never ever framed around a potential threat of violence. To even imagine living that as constantly as women do is overwhelming
Be independent and own yourself. Quit trading safety (and self respect) for freedom. Empowerment is taken, not given.
That is one huge part of the problem there btw: the fact that men are taught to constantly NEED this affirmation, especially with regard to sex:
Thread: 1/ I've been going through #antifeminism & #MRA blogs and SO MUCH OF THIS IS ABOUT SEX. The problem:
Preach. And don't forget the rage some men express when women do *not* validate them.
Let's poke it with a stick! - Doctor Who Um, no. *applause*
I'd forgotten that I use to test men. I'd never even got as far figuring out why consciously. No point liking a guy unless you know what he's like when he's cross. But chances are, once you get him there he's not going to like you.
Testosterone doesn’t actually make people aggressive (in double-blind tests it made participants more collaborative) but the rest of your point is really good.
You say Testosterone is a "hell of a thing' but you also say men are capable of controlling their rage "not strangling the boss" which makes me wonder if it's really testosterone or just men being taught that women are punching bags.
As a trans guy who punched a hole in his wall 20 years before starting T, I can tell you lack of immediate anger is not a hormonal difference but an aspect of survival behavior
Stop propagating the myth the precense of tesosterone is what turns people into monsters. Its TERF logic, harmful to trans men on HRT, and removes culpability fron cis men who ARE evil and abusive. Its not the hormone. Its the man.
I think I read the same study. I wonder if men who are physically weak also learn to dissemble like this.
Different scenarios and power dynamics but as a physically vulnerable male (through disability) this bit in particular struck a chord with me.
Calm face is terrified face when you’re not allowed to be terrified. Laughing is what you do when you’re not allowed to yell or scream or cry. Silencing is an act that perverts joy and tranquility, making those emotions suspect as well.
I’ve loved your last two threads including this one. I also think the perspective that saying one thing and doing another is part of being human. We change minds, communicate poorly, are super emotional, often illogical, etc.
Thanks! 100% absolutely agree. I do these off-the-cuff threads because I've watched friends get into gargantuan trouble not understanding stuff like this, because dismantling toxic culture takes hands-on how-to documents, and because of my ever-faithful companion, insomnia.
this is what should be taught in sex Ed
like women being polite to comedian Louis CK ... which he interpreted as admiration (his excuse for sexual behavior in front of them). Can be hard for women to hit on right strategy with some predators
At my first job I was told people said I was too cold/didn’t smile enough. So I started being more polite and smiling some and IMMEDIATELY I started getting hit on more, by guys who insisted I was in to them because I was polite and smiled at them.
#MeToo Some men don't realise that a smile may be politeness not an invitation.
Especially at work like. I was 19, I was definitely not hitting on married men twice my age lol. I was just trying to keep my first job.
Not even sure if its conscious or reflex towards potential mates. Biology says men seeking fun, woman long term connection. Biology isn't culture but it may influence people. Wait till you're older & men won't see you. Older women are invisible
This is a truly excellent book about that I think pretty much everyone should read:…
More importantly, they do it demonstrably more frequently than men do. Acknowledging differences in behavioural tendencies is the begining of the ability do examine them.
And this is why I VERY RARELY say one thing and mean another. If I say I’m not mad, I mean I’m not mad. I hate playing that game and I won’t do it.
This is actually being rather nice/giving the benefit of the doubt. I've been 'chastised' countless times for not finding their joke funny or seeming flattered by their attention, suggesting men, esp.of a certain age,simply feel it's our duty and their right to say what they want
I've rarely experienced this with men my own age though.
Great thread! A lot of things I never considered, will start taking it into account in future interactions.
This is such an interesting topic I've been seeing today. Sometimes I think I'm broken as a woman, because I can't dissemble like others can. But maybe being very physically strong/aggressive for a woman meant I didn't develop this as well. Maybe it's a trade off?
(Don't get me wrong, I've still lied to a man to get him to stop sexually/physically hurting me. But just trying to understand these instincts.)
it probably just means you were socialized a bit differently than other girls, you certainly aren't a broken women. Also, a natural reaction, I think. You are physically stronger, so you fear less for your physical wellbeing than a "weaker" woman.
A woman should live however the hell suits her, so I'd never say broken, just uncommon. Hiding your feelings as a survival reflex being a super-common female experience *sucks*. The sooner women don't routinely need to develop that skill for personal safety, the better.
I once received a Valentine's Day card saying: I like you, but you scare me.
I was considering this...Stereotype? Of the "loudmouth" larger woman. And I think some predatory men have a reflexive hostility toward a woman they Couldnt easily overpower. As a smaller gal, I've rarely had the angry interactions experienced by average or + sized friends.
It's so complex. I work in a predominantly male, STEM environment. I am the most outspoken feminist in my office. & yet the dude who gives my female coworkers the most sexist blowback will aggressively defend me.
I can't figure it out. Why is he like that with them? Why isn't he like that with me? But then, why did the one guy who did creepy sexual harassment things to me not do it to any of the other women?
Not broken at all. I am one of those who imitates the 'aggressive' body language, I'm loud, strong, and I throw down verbally with the guys I work with in my male dominated field. It's another kind of dissembling, only more akin to being a chameleon.
I still get the predatory behavior directed at me, but I tend to be accepted as 'one of the guys' a lot, which leads to the uncomfortable/scary situations of calling out their misogyny when it happens, because I'm considered "safe" and "Not like other girls".
Did you, like me, go through a phase where you really thought you were not like other girls? I had to unlearn a shit-ton of patriarchal "tomboy" bullshit.
Yes. It took me to my mid 20s to admit that it was ok to enjoy things like sewing. I still don't wear makeup but I do awesome face painting
Its an ongoing process and like all forms of internalized misogyny, I don't think it will ever be completely purged. But I'm trying.
Yes. This. Takes a lifetime
I've always liked makeup and always looked feminine. So I played into the "not like other girls" bullshit double. Used male interest when it suited, used other stereotypical "male" interests to see myself as better. It took a long time to unpack.
Honestly, this is how my worst sexual abuse situation got me. He played into my "you're a badass hot tomboy" self image. And in the end I let someone hurt me so I wouldn't look weak.
Same, but my assumed stereotype was "badass gamer chick". My ex husband abused me mentally and emotionally.
He tried to get a hold of my finances, and I know it would have turned physical. And I almost stayed because I thought it was my fault.
I'm glad you got out.
Thanks. I didn't look like a "victim". Few believed me. I was an active duty sailor who could verbally curbstomp others. Leaving was hard.
sorry for stalking yr thread. also i too was, albeit extra feminine, the "i'm one of the boys" girl (to an extent I still am bec i'm working in a male dominated industry) just wanted to say i'm glad you guys got out of shitty situations and are safe now.
No problem at all. I'm surprised, yet happy that this conversation came about. This sort of thing should be brought into the light even more and I feel like that is starting to happen. The momentum is great.
My situation was a one-time thing with a "friend." My heart to TeJay for getting out of an abusive relationship.
And I'm glad you found this thread to stalk. ❤️ I'm glad we (women) can find ways to support each other.
My sympathy. Mine was a one time event. Spousal abuse is such an awful abuse of trust
Very well said
I wish I could make everyone I know read your thread. Chock full of juicy truthiness.
I want to print this out and hand it to every man in my life
It is an eye opener, I just hope that women are stronger than you are suggesting and that the men you have described are in the minority.
Women are, by and large, strong as fuck. Having to deal with this stuff *daily* wears you down though. And it's a majority of men. Most of the men you know. Even the "good ones".
re: strength of women: Truth in every word. re: most men: Yep. Shit, I'm 36 and I only started getting a handle on how these dynamics work in the last few years. Cultural masculinity fucks dudes up on an "evangelical cult upbringing" level and it's mostly invisible to them.
It's a really good example of why patriarchy hurts everyone and feminism is (should be) for everyone as well. And I'm with @Vorvayne When I am being *optimistic* it's maybe 50/50 (potentially) scary vs. (known) safe.
Patriarchy grants its benefits to men, absolutely true. It does so at the price of shaping them into the means by which it propagates and is enforced, which is incredibly damaging to men. Which is not “oh the poor men” but naming and describing the >
process by which it works. Resisting that, making the world safer for women and NB means men self-examining to understand that process and how it affects them and their thoughts and actions.
And part of what makes it insidious is that it is invisible to a lot of men, so they do harm and contribute to this environment even when they are acting in what they fully believe is good faith - and the ones that are actively predatory know this and count on it for cover.
And, of course, that’s not an excuse for those men who are unintentionally causing harm - it’s call for them to realize what they are doing and working to fix it.
When will men let women & girls have our right to privacy and safety from males in changing areas & showers again? When can we have female sports again? Or female colleges? Should we ask nicely or fight like we did before? I'm exhausted now
Notorious TERFs are not welcome in my mentions.
Thank you. Also thank you for the thread.
I'm gonna go back and unlike every comment I liked. The word TERF is used to gaslight women's legitimate fears of male violence. And a man who thinks he has the right to be in a woman's space bc he likes to impersonate one is a danger to women. Get a clue.
If you don't want to be called a TERF stop excluding trans women from your feminism, that's all you need to do 💜
I don't give a fuck what delusional bullying men call me. The only women are women. Not makes impersonating females. The end. Have a nice day.
Okay then well TERF you are and TERF you remain! Have a nice day, TERF! 💜
Thanks, idiot.
Funny how men who exclude or ignore female pronouns are never attacked or called names. Its almost like this is the same old misogyny its always been
*males. I also don't give a damn about their sad little handmaidens calling me TERF either. I actually like the term. Those who use it let me know they are delusional misogynists. And I like knowing who I'm dealing with.
Okay darling. Bye bye and I hope I never see you again!
I hope you learn basic biology and stop your woman hating idiocy.
And I'm not your darling you belittling misogynist.
A trans identified male is a male ... Women's Liberation is for *all* females in our world ... including those who transition to masculinity ...
Excellent thread, disappointing use of a hate term :(
A slur against the same people he pretends to support in the thread.
Yes. It's really interesting that a chap with a lot of insight in one area could be so blind, and actually even add to the idea that women should allow men to transgress their boundaries.
If people were more honest about their cognitive dissonance I think revisionism as it is happening today would NOT be happening today. Not surprised somebody's cognitive dissonance produces this sort of thing.
I'll rephrase, then: bigots are not welcome in my mentions.
how do you reconcile this thread w support 4 affirmation model that stops women challenging men in their space?
I don’t want a ghetto for women’s achievements. I want social safety. Stop with the dog whistle.
Pardon? Women's sports are a GHETTO ?
What... this isn't even a thing. No one is letting men in women's bathrooms?? What are you exhausted by??
And what are MUSLIM AND HASIDIC JEWISH WOMEN supposed to do now? Stay home?
Male rapists are incarcerated in women's prisons. This is just one of many incidents.
men dissemble the fuck out life tho. You'll see that if you look.
It is. I didn’t realize until recently what a jack wagon I could come across as. I now work hard to not come across as “that guy”.
Often times by just being quiet. A good way to be at times.
Around 2009 I decided to stop smiling when I said no. So a guy would hit on me, I’d politely decline, but nerves always made me smile. Mixed message. So I stopped smiling. It was unbelievably hard! Blew my mind how that response was so deeply programmed.
I was about to say exactly this. Women's "weakness" is the same as the "weakness" of someone nursing a healing bullet wound.
And even if it weren't a majority, the odds are still not good.
As someone who dates women, we/they aren’t that hard to read. Most cishet men put no effort into reading basic body language & tone. Sometimes the words & other info don’t match for the reasons the OP said. But paying actual attention to the other person will often tell you a lot
We label as "good ones" people we get along with, often without really knowing them. So we are surprised when shit comes out, when we don't actually have any evidence that the person is a "good guy". Also socially adept people are better manipulators, so...
Women are strong precisely because of what is being suggested. We deploy strategy & tactics on the fly in hostile landscapes constantly, while pursuing our own ambitions. Villains are modeled after us, because subterfuge. If your takeaway is "women are weak" you missed the point.
It isn't about strength, it's about safety. An ex-boxer once hit on me and when I asked him to stop, he threw a chair and threatened to break my jaw. I escaped only because I screamed for help and another guy grabbed him. That's what happens when women are "strong".
Women are strong. They're just not always privileged or believed.
Are women strong? Stronger than men who cant control their emotions enough NOT to shoot masses of women and children? Yes, we are.
What's been described isn't weakness
It's strategy, that can then be used to discredit the strategist as simply cunning/dishonest for the sake of it.
Neither of those hopes means a damn thing. Women shouldn't need to be strong because of what WE do to them. And we haven't succeeded until it's NO men, not just a minority.
1. Women are stronger because we have to be 2. No, the men are not in the minority. You missed the point of the whole thread. This is our default setting on how to treat all men - just in case.
So, in your opinion, all women behave like this because a majority of men are a threat?
You seem to have a problem with comprehension. I said. all woman ASSUME all men are a threat until we know better. What is so hard to understand here? Unless you are one of those men and don't like being called out on it.
Short answer - YES. ALL women do this because MOST men are a threat
How many guns have to fire at you before you learn to just assume they’re all loaded and treat them accordingly? Or are you smart enough to start with the knowledge that they may be loaded, you can’t tell by looking, and must be handled carefully.
trying 2explain 2jack he missed the point he blocked me, so guess he’d be 1 of those men that we shouldn’t be afraid will react badly 2women telling them they’re not comfortable with this or that. He can’t handle a ya telling him he’s wrong on twitter. Ty jack 4 proving the point
Many women behave like this because men do not come equipped with "safe" or "not safe" indicator lights. It doesn't matter what the proportion of genuine threats is - half, 10%, 1%, 0.01% - what matters is that it's not obvious which is which.
I’ve been bitten by a dog. Once. In my face. I love dogs but I will never not be nervous when a strange one approaches me now.
No. Not a majority, but the ones who are don't wear signs, so we have to assume you are all threats until proven otherwise. Then sometimes you surprise us after years of knowing you. Fun! 😡
I'm sorry? you think going out into the world every day and treating men like human beings and trusting you enough to talk to you EVER doesn't indicate strength and dedication?
I don't know a single woman or femme who hasn't been raped, harassed, stalked, or abused by men - men, in the PLURAL - she had to be in proximity to, and they will still work with and have social relationships with men.
if the ability to suffer a lifetime of prolonged disregard and abuse from men and boys and still give you the benefit of the doubt long enough to withdraw WITHOUT OFFENDING YOU doesn't suggest "strength," I can't even imagine what your basis for comparison is.
it certainly suggests a level of self-control, fairmindedness, and conditional trust in your basic humanity that is so next level you can't even parse it.
oh wait, yes I can imagine what your basis for comparison is: you think strength is not worrying about something in the first place, as if everyday dehumanisation not directed at you not bothering you to the extent that you *doubt it exists* somehow indicates personal merit.
I'm sorry,Jack, you'd be mistaken.Example,in a car with 3 other women going to sorority sister's wedding. Of 4 women,3 had been raped-one with knives after physical & left for dead at 16, 1 had been sexually assaulted 3 times,once at 9 by a known pedophile acquaintance of parents
The OP is suggesting that women are incredibly strong for dealing with this on a daily (yes, daily) basis for decades of our lives. And no, the men described here are not in the minority.
(1) You seem to be operating on a very limited definition of strength. (2) Don't hope. Be who you should be, which means looking out for others, listening to them, and standing up to those who don't. That's worth more than hope.
... your takeaway here is that women are weak? Did you respond to the wrong thread?
"Stronger?" What part of "enacting a strategy with the highest probably of not getting raped, beaten, or killed" makes a woman "not strong?"
Stronger? What do you mean by that? I’m a 25 year MMA fighter with ingrained skills, high aggression and a fine understanding of my legal rights. I perform ALL these calculations, DAILY.
You’ve missed the point jack. Such an obnoxious response.
These men don't have to be in the minority. If even 1:10 ratio, it means we've encountered HUNDREDS by age 40.
1 in 10 means we really can't tell which of you guys is safe & which isn't. Even 1:25 means we're gonna get burned.
Excuse m, but she is describing a STRONG woman, having to deal with this very real💩on a daily basis. It takes more mental and emotional strength than you can imagine and no the men described here are most definitely in the majority not the minority
Mentally --sure. Physically in comparison to men on average--not so much. I've had men chase me down and hurl insults because I politely demured to go out and told them I had a boyfriend -- it's scary.
It's not about being weak. @HoldenShearer isn't suggesting anything of the sort. And it's not outlier behavior. More men than you can imagine are guilty of this pattern. Don't just "hope" he's wrong. He's not.
What part of 'survival behavior' is confusing to you?
It isn't lack of emotional strength that would cause a woman to dissemble in many of these situation. It's getting away from a situation where the threat of physical intimidation is ramping up and a woman is feeling cornered. It is very common.
How do you read a thread about the survival behavior we've developed under threat of death and your takeaway is 'women aren't strong'??
sorry to burst your bubble, but it's NOT a minority of men. It's also telling that you see women's reactions as weakness.
What the fuck is wrong with you
You miss the point. It’s not about women being “stronger.”
One of the leading causes of death for women is murder by the men closest to them. So there are too many men who pose a threat. Even if they aren't all dangerous.
Correct, it's a way for men not to take women seriously, but I always make sure my words are clear. ✌
Thank you for this.
Like, like, a thousand times like! I hope my Facebook “bros” will read it.
You have explained this beautifully 💯. Thank you.
This was really helpful for me as a white woman who's accidently committed harmful microagressions to people of color. Thank you.
Fantastic thread. Timely for a lot of discussions I'm having with male friends having crises of "oh no, have I been an accidental creep? How to avoid??"
This whole thread is gold
An “out” for “misreading”.
thank you. That is exactly right. And the smaller the woman, often the more vulnerable she feels and the more easily bullied. Can I say it generally sucks being a woman?
I really don’t think it matters too much. As a larger-framed yet shy young woman I think a lot of men bullied me for that very reason; they got off on “dominating” a bigger, stronger woman. It made me a target
I had to learn to make myself seem less threatening, more weak to avoid the worst behavior, just as this thread discusses. I had to hide myself
Thanks for the advice, I'll have to remember them
Great thread. Also: want to understand a woman’s response? Look at what’s around, where are you? Elevator? Crowded conference with all men? What’s the context? Do I have an escape route if the nervous smile & nod wasn’t the right thing?
the escape route is so important. are you at her work, and she can't actually get away from you or be rude to you without getting fired?
Are her eyes keeping track of where your hands are? Does she repeatedly look at the space that is between you? When she smiles, does it reach her eyes or do only her lips move? Does she make herself smaller and slouch?
Very well said and insightful. One point: When you’re looking for signs of discomfort, keep in mind life has taught some of us to practically invisibly shrink away. Visibly moving can mean worse treatment. Astral projection’s hard to spot. Sad, but true.
This is so true. Flinching, taking a step back, looking away (unless it's "coy"), even crossing our arms across our body can set someone with anger issues off. They're LOOKING for a sign, we know it, so we nod, smile, even reach out sometimes to keep things calm.
Yep. My natural posture is arms and legs crossed, and I definitely have had men comment derisively about how I look too closed off or unfriendly.
I have to actively remind myself sometimes *when* it's okay to engage, look someone in the eye, respond naturally, etc. Default has always been freezing up, looking elsewhere, removing any and all facial expression. :(
This. 🙏🏾
I am the queen of astral projection.
Just wasted some time arguing with some essentialists on this very point. “Men r simple/women complex.”
And I pointed out that women might find men simple because they spend so much time trying to read men—women will seem more complex.
Women grow up learning to understand men because it's essential to living in a male-dominated world. For men, understanding women is useful but optional.
and as male protagonists are the norm in media women get a lot more practice empathizing outside their experience.
Whereas men build models of how they *think* women should behave, and channel their natural aggressiveness and defense instincts into preserving them at all costs. I understand how frustrating that must be.
* "imagine" is more appropriate than "understand"
I know you meant well with your thread. But you've just handed the nuclear codes to the worst of men.
Pffft. The worst of men don’t need this thread. They know, instinctively, how to spot a target, isolate her and predict how she’ll behave. They get plenty of opportunities to hone their skills, too.
But it may give the less-bad men an opening to stop affording the predators so much cover. "Less space for them, more space for us" is worth doing even if it doesn't immediately solve the whole problem.
16 is the average age for one's initial experience of sexual intercourse in the US. The "less-bad men" have all the space in the world already.
Are you kidding? They have always had the nuclear codes.
This is such a great thread. Thank you for writing it!
very well articulated, thank you!!
Thank you so much for this thread. It comes at a time when I really needed words for what I'd been feeling.
While I agree with the general messege, there is one thing I take issue with, and that is you portraying "most men" as being aggressive and dangerous. I don't know what circles you've been in, but I can count on my fingers how many men I know who fit that description.
By and large, 9/10 men I know aren't the ones to blow up or become aggressive towards anyone, woman or man. You have a great thread, but for the love of pete don't make men out to be monsters with a hairtrigger temper who would "hurt or even kill" you at the slightest provocation
That's all I ask. Don't demonize men and make them out to be something they're not. They're humans, with faults, and those faults vary. Some have hairtrigger tempers, others are vain, and some extremely shy. But being someone who would start throwing punches if you reject them?
That is a very small minority.
It's not the punches I'm calculating for. It's the constant, wearing gameplay, lack of clear, consensual communication, the voids of information, the absences, the unpredictability. It's how observant I have to be to know where I stand.
so you personally know up to 10 men who are abusive or predatory, plus all of the men who tolerate and accept that behaviour from them.
and that seems normal and okay? you didn't specify how many hands, so let's call it 5. you don't know how many other men might be predators who just haven't done it to you or your friends, but the ones who tolerate the behaviour are excellent candidates.
that is a staggering number of men you know who are confirmed or strongly potential predators.
and that's just in your social circles, which may have structures built in that discourage that kind of behaviour, structures which do not exist in various professions and hobbies.
The same argument could be used against HoldenShearer, that it is just "in her social circles" that she (I assume) meets such men. My point is not to say that such men don't exist, but simply that (from my experiences) they are a vast minority.
And for that reason I take issue with the insinuation that "all" or "most" men are such predators, as you put it. I would like men to be perceived as humans rather than monsters who might attack at little to no provocation. Nothing less, nothing more.
Holden is not speaking of a single social circle, as you can see by reading the affirmative, grateful responses from a hugely diverse group of women and femmes across cultural and international borders.
We tend to follow people whom we agree and have a like mind with. This is just a hypothesis, but my guess would be that most of Holden's followers are similar to her, and therefore go in similar circles (even if not the very same).
Regardless, the way I see it, Holden writes what she does based upon her own experiences, which likely happened within her own social circles, or at the very least in the environment she moves around in. As such, her words, claims, and arguments are based upon her experiences in
her own social circles. Regardless, it's late here and I'll be heading to bed. Thanks for the insightful talk. Have a good night!
bog-standard cis het white dude actually lol
yeah, that was my understanding as well, so I was wondering where they were going with this.
I know two, actually. Both of whom are arrogant pricks. And I've met and known quite a few men in my (admittedly not-very-long) life.
And I just want to stress that this doesn't mean I approve of such behavior, in case that wasn't clear. They are a minority, and should stay that way (or disappear entirely, but that is sadly only wishful thinking). I am not, for the record, friends with them.
how do you know they're predators, if I may ask?
Based upon the way they talk about, and to, women, coupled with a staggering amount of arrogance and unhealthy self-confidence, as well as violent tempers and some amount of megalomania.
so you think that predators self-identify in such basic ways, and aren't fathers, husbands, brothers, boyfriends, uncles, coworkers, bosses, and random strangers who don't have the basic wit to wait until there aren't as many witnesses?
you must not think very highly of women's intellect OR you must buy into some very nasty ideas about victim a if you think survivors of gendered violence just need to pay attention to which men literally can't shut up about hating women for a hot minute.
are you potentially a target for sexualized or predatory violence from men? I won't ask if you have been cos I'm not a monster and that's your business, I won't assume either way.
Mmm, it's not really the percentage that matters, it's the unknowability of it. If you have a giant bowl of brown M&Ms and you know at least some of them are actually rabbit turds, what % does that need to be before you're hesitant to reach in for a snack? Guessing way under 50%.
The percentage doesn't matter, no. But that wasn't really my point. My point is that you seem to think that Men, as a rule, are aggressive and violent, and that's just not true. I can understand the caution you explain because some men like that exists, but that is no excuse
to claim that all (or a majority) of men are like that.
It's more that men grow up in a society that condones and even encourages them to be aggressive and violent. Anger is not a stigmatized emotion for men. And even if it's only one in 30 or 50 that will blow up, that's still not wonderful odds at a convention with 2K+ dudes around.
I wouldn't say that our society encourages such aggression or violence, nor that anger is for men only. However, the former may simply because where you and I live are two different places. Nevertheless, I understand what you're saying and get your point.
But, as I said to HAYbears, s'getting late here and I'll be going to bed. Thank you, too, for the talk. I hope you avoid the people you're talking about and that people do take what you've written to heart. Know I will remember. In return, plz remember that kind men also exist :)
How many women over how many decades need to repeat this same point before men stop doubting our lives experiences? This dynamic is nothing new. Women have been talking about this for ages.
I'm not doubting anything. What women have gone through is true, no matter what. But those transgressions against them were not committed by every male on the planet, nor is every man the kind of person who would do something like that. That's my point. Short and simple.
This is the same logic used to say don't let Muslims into America because you never know which are terrorists. Literally the exact same example I've seen several time.
Really? Bleagh, never using that comparison again then.
I dunno, there's no real good way to say "some X are bad, therefore it makes sense that people are afraid of X" which is sort of your point.
The first part of that statement is always true for any X but the second part has been used to do some pretty horrific stuff.
Ooooh! What a fabulous (and stomach curdling) analogy!
To some of us it feels like we've been digging in this bowl for decades, and still have yet to find one whole genuine m&m. The very BEST men I know and love- Dad, grandfather, brother in law, say things DAILY that show they are still actually rabbit turds.
I never liked the poison M&M analogy very much. Your Rabbit Turd M&M analogy is much better. You COULD inspect them all of them and break them apart and look at them but that's now how you're expected to deal with M&M's by society.
I’ve seen right-wingers use this analogy with Muslims lol
Count yourself lucky. You're definitely in the minority.
Great advice. I'll make sure to remember it. Thank you.
Female intuition is our survival kit, the universe knew we'd need it. I have raised two strong daughters, I have encouraged them to stand up where I was unable to. Now I watch them struggle to fit into this male world
Thank you for this. It highlights failings of mine in the past & hopefully will help me relate to my female friends better. 😌
I was JUST thinking about this. Thank you for voicing it
cc: @Shakestweetz @leahmcelrath Thought of you ladies...if you haven't already seen this...
Thank you for this. 💜
This is fantastic, thank you for verbalising what I never could!
Growing up I just could not understand what men meant by "I dont understand women", I always thought to myself, why is that something that your bragging about, I dont have that difficulty.
Socialization is honestly the biggest culprit for This type of shit. I grew up alongside my best bud who was a boy & watched how he was told one thing & I another based off of our genders...& then how that deal affects the brain come adulthood
Not to mention we were both moleated/raped by his older half sister as toddlers
I grew up in a very aggressive household. We all have anger issues, but it's my brother who acts out aggressively and me and my sister who are afraid to cause a blowout. Socialization is huge
Yup b/c even tho women are socialized to be more liberal with their feelings,we are then shamed for being too emotional or a bitch & men are taught to force down their emotions so when they to surface,it's an explosion, they dont have the skills to cope
They then continue to bury it or lash out at those around them & if they have a trauma that's been triggered (that of course was never dealt w/. Wouldn't want to be called a pussy right?) It's even worse for them & thise around them & if you add out
Thank you for this - great thread.
Also ignorance is bliss to too toooooo many when it comes to actually discovering if women actually do act as such & keep in mind the crap we were socialized to believe about men will be an obstacle course - but we can do it...together!!!
I was not even aware of this but reading this I realise I did exactly that a lot of times subconsciously. Even with guys I know and like.
Aren't they from Venus or somewhere?
It's hard to navigate the safe space between speaking out on what's important to the business and not setting them off to Defcon10. And laughing off their special c word, c sorry Kate.
Also in animations- the women have little sense of humour and have to be sassy and angry with 'the menfolk'.
Grow up with a violent male parent and you earn a Phd in how to avoid interactions w toxic males---very quickly. On the bright side, it makes you treasure the *balanced* males you meet (and marry) so very much.
Wow...this is making me wonder “Does anyone know how to TALK to anyone?! Do I know how to talk to anyone anymore?!” It’s like you have to deconstruct all you have learned socially and relearn communication and rethink how we see each other.
That is 💯 what needs to be done. People with social power need to actively empathize with the marginalized.
I’ve only recently began to realise how much women fear men generally. Although I’ve always been acute of the fucked up power balance, I’ve never really explored the emotional follow-through to that. So thank you for the clarification. It makes sense to me.
This...this is genuinely eye opening. I hope I've never intimidated a woman before. I know my intentions are good but my internal ideals aren't on display. I don't know that fear and I hope I haven't ever helped propogate it. I have some thinking to do.
You probably have but you know better now and can start changing. That's the most important part.
All very true! Verdi has a Count who rapes women sing "La donna e mobile." Much applies word4word 2 oppressed groups generally.
So when people tell girls to invite men when they go out at night, this can prove almost more dangerous than just bringing a bunch of girls
For instance, my friend went to a bar and this dude started hitting on her and she was doing the "pretend I'm okay with it while dancing far enough away thing" while making the "come save me" eyes to her guy friend but he totally thought I was cool and didn't try to save her
Her friend had no idea she was feeling really uncomfortable, & the guy who she brought to protect her couldn't understand she needed help. It wasn't his fault but it makes me wonder how much safer she might have been if she had gone out with a bunch of girls instead of one dude
Pls I beg you, feel free to kick my ass, because of how ignorant I am (I mean it), and this might be the dumbest question of the century but: How about a save "word" or "signal"? So that the guy you bring along actually understands what is happening? (I am a guy btw.)
I have experienced this exact same thing with a clueless male friend. The night did not end well for me, and I try not to blame him, but...
I love this whole conversation. Thank you for starting it. I RT it so that others can benefit. If we keep saying these truths, together, expanding & supporting our voices, we will change the future. Here's some of my words that match well with yours.…. And,
From: #MeToo To: You
  (This is not my typical style of writing, here on my health and wellness site. As I often write and say: We cannot treat ourselves as separate parts and pieces and expect Wholebeing Wellness…
Jenna. Thank you for sharing this great thread with me.
💛💫 And thank you for sharing your writings with me. If we vulnerably speak in our common experiences & amplify our collective voice, the world can change. I do believe this.
EVERYONE is inscrutable. We just project, fabricate, and pretend otherwise.
Word! Over here in Germany we have this dipshit "comedian" Mario Barth, whose entire repertoire revolves around women being some sort of half-brained cutesy aliens. Complete with merchandise and shit. Guy fills entire arenas.
It stands to note that he is also on record claiming the protests against Trump were fabrications by a leftist media cabal. It's kinda stunning how predictable it all is.
Impressive...extremely perceptive. Thanks, just hope the people who need to read this do.
This. Is beautiful. Thank you for posting this.
hey, I thought about your tweet while reading this. FWIW, I do think you're a good person genuinely perplexed by some behavior. Hope this is read with appreciation. 😊
This all makes sense until you see women prefer to date guys who have a "bad guy" image as opposed to gentlemen.
does it change anything to break this down to "most people are inscrutable" + "men pursue women more often than vice versa"?
Good thread. Thanks.
I just gotta say, I used to ride with that joke until I got into a relationship and my ex would often ask if I’m “sure” I’m not mad (in that phase where you’re trying to hold down the anger) and it gets to a point where I do start to get angry.
And also, based on my experience, guys sort of do this too (but not to save themselves, rather, they have this mindset that they have to always keep their emotions in check so when asked if they’re fine, they say they don’t want to talk about it).
(To be clear I am just sharing my experiences and is in no way trying to start a debate.)