Men love women in theory, but in practice, it’s not so clear
A couple of years ago, I ran a little experiment at an event aimed at talking to men and women about the dangers of street harassment. Using real-life stories collected from women I knew I gave out scenarios in which women and girls were streets harassed, followed, or even assaulted by men for no other reason than walking down the street. After each scenario, I would ask the guys in the room to let me know what could have been done to avoid the situation altogether.
It was a simple exercise with a simple goal. For the people in the room to see the role they or their fellow males play in terrorizing women. Unfortunately, that’s not the conclusion the room came to. In literally every scenario, they placed the blame solely at the feet of the women. The most shocking example was a story a friend shared from when she was in Junior High. While walking home from school with some friends, a stranger pulled up next to them and tried to pull her into his car. When she and her friends resisted, he followed and then chased them for several blocks. When they screamed for help, no one responded. After a couple of minutes, the assailant gave up and drove away. When challenged with what could have been done differently, one of the gentlemen in the room asked what the girls were wearing, and why they were walking home by themselves.
I left that event frustrated and confused. How could a group of men who claim to love and value women, be so ready to blame them for the trauma that we (men) had caused? Then it dawned on me, every man I know talks about his love and appreciation of women. But outside of his mother, is that real? Honestly, I don’t think so.
Similar to the way the average white person relates to black and brown people, men have an aggressively problematic relationship with women. We love them in theory, but not in practice. Do men love fucking women? Yes. Looking at them? Absolutely, dating and even marrying women? Sure. But when it comes to acknowledging their humanity and seeing them for more than just an object, things get fuzzy.
That’s why one out of six women will be a victim of attempted or completed raped in their lifetime. it’s why, white women get paid 80 cents on every dollar a man makes, black women get 65 cents and Latina women get 59, it’s why the number one killer of black women between the ages of 15–24 is murder, usually from their spouses (usually black men), it’s why we still demonize women for having their periods, why it used to be considered impossible for a husband to rape his wife, and why Fabolous could have a police report saying he knocked out his partners two front teeth, along with a video of him wielding a knife at her while threatening to kill her father and brother, but an entire group of people still need “proof” before they believe her. It’s why R-Kelly is now more known for sleeping with under age girls, and having sex slaves, but still sells out shows. What kind of love is that?
All of those reasons, and a whole lot more is proof that the love we say we have for women is bullshit. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to throw every man but myself under the bus. I’m forced to look in the mirror and question my love as well. My “love” for women has not always been sincere, and it’s almost never been healthy. I grew up thinking that women were made for three roles, sexual objects, cooks/house servants, and emotional punching bags. I didn’t think about the women in my life as people, I didn’t think about what they wanted, who they were or how things made them feel. But I did fuck them, I expected them to serve me hand and foot, and I used them to purge all of my trauma. Women are raised to love us in spite of ourselves, and us? We grow up to destroy them for it. So yeah, we hate women. Maybe it’s time to admit it.