Why Does Dating Men Make Me Feel Like Shit?
Emma Lindsay

Well for starters, it goes both ways. I don’t feel nearly as ‘ashamed’ about my income and home as when I bring a girl over. I never felt shame about my clothes until I started getting feedback from women. Getting pointed out that I have small hands was one of the more traumatizing moments of my life.

Secondly, being assessed as relatively attractive or unattractive is an animal thing, throughout mammals and many other species. Evolutionarily, there are people who are just flat out more physically attractive. You can be disappointed at how attractive or unattractive you are, but you need to accept it, and then it has no power over you. That you don’t — the gap between where acceptance ends and consciousness of the patriarchy begins — is the breeding ground for the shame.

Because with shame (and any emotion, frankly), our experience of it is really just a series of triggers and reactions, directly related to old wounds. A guy could try to ‘shame’ you, sit there and call you fat, for example, but if you have self-love, distinct memories of a loving father, etc., that comment will glance right off. However when someone doesn’t have that sense of self, anything can be triggering — “Please pass the stevia” can be super triggering, and feel very shaming, but it’s really your own stuff that’s being brought up, your own history with men and male culture, and whatever that male represents to you. Women don’t have that power over you possibly because you don’t have that history with them. Maybe had your mom been super anorexic and food-shaming, things would be different. Or maybe she was that way, and you’ve spent your life learning how not to be affected by it.

But let’s be clear — women are full of sexual shame too, whether inside or outside of a lesbian relationship, it’s a thing, and it’s draining to be around. It sucks to have to tiptoe, it sucks that women really don’t understand, in 2017, that we’re attracted to all different kinds of women, regardless of whether or not we’re in love, and that that never goes away. Both sexes are full of shame, and it’s a thing because our culture slut-shames little girls throughout their lives, and cock/body/money shames men throughout theirs. It’s cultural, and needs to stop. But it can only happen if we work together…

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