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July 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 5:13 pm

Damn. I sure have been having a lot of angst over the 24ish hours since I posted those last entries. Not about the one where I divulged intimate details of my current lovelife and psychological state, but the one where I rambled on about stuff that happened years ago…

My angst has mostly come in two varieties, though:
1) What if boys I know read it and it hurts their feelings?
2) What if people think I’m being “oversensitive”?

Since I know that, for me personally, capitulating to precisely these two fears is one of the biggest ways I silence myself about gender oppression, the fact that I’m having them so intensely about that post means it was probably something worth posting.

That being said, I do think that situations like the one I described need a nuanced analysis, although I may not be the right person to give it – and that they’re a perfect illustration of some ways the patriarchal paradigm around sex, love and intimacy hurts (but doesn’t oppress) men as well as hurting and oppressing women.

After all, sixteen year old boys are really not that far off from fourteen year old boys, who really aren’t that much older than twelve year old boys, who are only barely older than ten year old boys. And one of the most heartbreaking things about patriarchy for me is watching it take sweet, creative, loving, bright, fundamentally innocent children and molding them into emotionally calcified adult men who get used as tools for the further oppression of women – including, and often especially, the women who they love most.

Part of what’s sad about that story is not simply that this boy hurt me, but that he did it because, on some level, he honestly believed that’s what love was – and by acting on that belief repeatedly with myself and other women, he ironically cut himself, and us, off from access to real loving relationships by becoming someone emotionally manipulative and untrustworthy, and by giving us more reason to fear and distrust men’s expressions of their feelings. And he did all this without really understanding what was going on. Which, in a certain way, is so much more insidious and sad than if he’d done it out of malice or a plain old power trip.

Because this person doesn’t lack redeeming qualities. Nobody does. I have faith that, deep inside, there’s still the heart of a boy who’s able to give and receive genuine love in a respectful, mutual, compassionate, creative way. But that boy is so overshadowed by the ways in which the man is not a safe person to be vulnerable around. So, in the end, there’s plenty of love to go around but so many walls between us that everyone ends up starving and fighting each other for scraps.

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