How Extreme Need Leads to Male Entitlement
Men become entitled not because we give them too much, but because we give them too little
I’ve been pondering — how do men become entitled? It is relevant to my interests, because I would like to avoid dating men with too much entitlement.
Let’s get down to it.
What makes a person become entitled?
They only care about their own needs. They do not/cannot care about anyone else’s needs. Other people’s needs are irrelevant to them. Only their own needs mattered.
I love this definition, because it’s a definition that fits well with my experience of sexual violence. The sexual things that were done to me that felt traumatic were traumatic because I was with someone ignoring my needs. When I go do the doctor and she gives me a pap smear, it’s not traumatic. But, when a friend shoved his fingers in my vagina when I was drunk, it was traumatic. A big part of that trauma was the experience of someone I cared about, someone who I thought cared about me, be willing to cause me pain for his pleasure. In fact, male willingness to cause me pain for their own pleasure, gratification or ego is *the* central theme of sexual violence against me, and a big part of what I’m working on right now personally. The complexity of this is enough to merit it’s own piece, but not today.
Today, I am more concerned with the question how do men get to the point that they are willing to cause women pain for personal gratification? Again, I turn to Chan’s answer that explained entitlement more generally:
Let’s imagine you are stuck in a bus and your bladder is at capacity. You really really REALLY need to go to toilet. But you can’t, because this bus has no toilet. But you seriously, really, need to pee.
Hold that thought for a second. Now answer this question :
How do you feel?
I’m sure you feel a very definite need to pee. You might even feel the need to curse a bit to express your urgency.
But if someone were standing there, blocking your entry to the toilet, would you shove them aside?
Yes, more likely now than ever.
And there you have it. You are now entitled. You feel entitled to do anything to anyone to give yourself the relief of emptying your bladder.
But you are not normally an entitled person. What has changed now?
What has changed is that your extreme need to urinate has made you concerned with only ONE thing — your NEED to pee. And that sole concern has wiped out any consideration for anyone else’s needs. Everyone else is now irrelevant compared to your overwhelming need to relieve yourself.
And, that answer seems to fit with my experience. The men who sexually trespass against me are nearly always men who are unhappy or at a difficult point in their life. They are nearly always men who experience social isolation more generally. They are also nearly always men not actively dating any other women.
So when I’m out on a date, and I’m trying to find someone who isn’t going to do bad things for me, the #1 thing I look for is are they more generally satisfied in life? Do they have friends? Are they happy in their job? Have they had any recent tragedies? In my experience, people who are generally happy in their lives do not assault people. Unhappy people assault people.
And then, second of all, what is the specific need that drives men to rape? I think there are a few — shame about masculinity or success is one. Long pent up sexual desire, I’m sure, is one but not as strong a one as you might suspect (especially in the age of porn and strip clubs.)
But, the usual one I see is just straight up loneliness.
For various reasons, men are more prone to particular types of social isolation than women are. Men have a harder time making friends after college, as described in The Lonely American:
Historically, men have had wider social networks then women, but their social networks emerge from their activities in the world. Women are more likely to see social connections as a part of life that requires initiative and active attention. Men tend to make friends early in life in circumstances that throw people together, such as school or the military, and to see their circle of friends get smaller over time as individuals drop away. Women tend to make new friends throughout their adult lives.
And, while women on average usually report more loneliness than men, single men report vastly higher levels of loneliness than single women. So, single men are generally less happy with their single state than single women. However, I think this article from HufPo has the most important piece to the puzzle:
Drawing on decades of research, Thomas Joiner weaves a neglected story about how the manly pursuit of status, power, wealth and autonomy leads to great rewards in work and play but at the expense of loving, caring friendships. This is laid out beautifully in his book to be released this week titled, Lonely at the Top: The High Costs of Men’s Success.
Personal strivings are the central projects that people think about, plan for, and allocate time and energy toward. Strivings provide information about what a person wants as well as the type of person they wish to be. Men disproportionally strive for wealth, success and power compared to women. Women tend to have a different instruction manual for life, putting a premium on nurturing and befriending other people. This doesn’t mean that the average woman is unconcerned about success and status, but that this is less likely to be done without checking in on friendships to ensure they attain their highest potential.
Male entitlement, to some degree, is correlated with delegating men to the non social functions in our society. In the business world they’re occupied with wealth, in the science world they’re occupied with research, in the army they’re occupied with fighting, and in gang-filled neighborhoods they’re also occupied with fighting (or protecting.) Very rarely are men charged with maintaining social connections. Women are the soccer moms, the church organizers, and the volunteers. Women remember the birthdays and throw the office parties (usually.) Women are socially molded to learn how to keep groups of people together. Men can learn this, but it’s like women who are good at science: less common, and not expected.
Women have suffered from being shut out of the professional realm, but men have also suffered from being shut out of the social realm. And, they haven’t been given the tools to fix it, and it’s sometimes seen as humiliating to try to even get these tools. Go to therapy? Learn about feelings? What is this, a fucking hippie commune?
However, fucking a lot of bitches seems like a non humiliating way to solve the problem of loneliness. The only problem is, if you go into dating women lonely as hell, you’re going to be like that guy who really needs to pee on the bus. You’re going to charge through everyone else on your way to get what you need. Ultimately, solving rape culture will be about solving male loneliness without relying on women for social organization or sexual companionship. It will be about men learning to do things like comfort each other with platonic touch. If that sounds fucking weird to you, that’s how deep rape culture goes. We’ve set it up so that, for a straight man, only a woman is capable of soothing him with her touch. Think of the burden this puts on women. Think of how much harder this makes it for men to get what they need, especially when many women (like yours truly) are so traumatized with their own absorption of rape culture they’re not available for touch.
And, yes, this whole touch thing sounds vaguely sexual but only because as a society we diminish the value of non-sexual touch (I’ve discussed this topic before.) When we set the masculine role so men spend the bulk of their energy on non-social projects, of course they will get lonely. When they get lonely, if we make it so that non-sexual touch or touching other men is shameful, of course women are going to get raped. And, the supposed superiority of the male role only functions to make it so people don’t complain about it. Women complained about not working because working is seen as a socially respectable thing to do. Men don’t complain that they never get to plan the work parties because planning work parties is not seen as a respectable thing to do. It’s seen as a frivolous extra. A lot of socialization is seen as a frivolous extra, but it’s not. It’s the best part of life.
We shut men out of the best part of life, then wonder why they blow things up. Please, if you’re a man, figure out ways of dealing with male loneliness — your own, and others’. It will fix a lot of broken shit.