Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Real Men.

Today is Valentine's Day, yes, but I am not blogging about love.  I'm actually choosing to write about a certain post I recently saw that has got me frustrated and I felt the need to comment on.

"Real men don't beat women, they beat the men that do."

Let me take a moment to breathe deep  before I continue.

The first half of this statement, I have absolutely no problem with. I mean, come on, I'm a girl, of course I'm not going to say that men should beat me.  The second half is the portion that I have an issue with, as well as the overall message.

First I will address the second half of the statement.  I highly disagree.  I understand that as men, it is wired into their head that showing aggression is manly.  I think most women would agree with me that they don't want a seemingly sissy boy who cannot defend himself.  Girls want a protector, a defender, someone who will keep them safe.  But I feel like this image is where guys get confused.  Let me start by saying that as a girl who used to be physically abused by significant others, the last thing that I like in a guy is one who uses violence to deal with situations.  I feel that when a guys first instinct is to throw a punch to deal with a situation, how am I supposed to believe that if he got angry at me that would not be his first instinct with dealing with it?  Also, I think that guys are mislead because when they hear the words defender and protector, they feel like fighting is part of the deal.  I disagree again.  When a girl feels she wants a defender and a protector, I think it tends to conjure images of a guy that if his friends are mocking her, he will step up and say something (not throwing punches), and a guy who will comfort a girl when something is wrong.  I personally find that a guy who is a defender and protector will do these types of things: Someone who when I'm in an uncomfortable or awkward situation will put his arm around me, or hold my hand to put me at ease. Someone who will stand up for me when people talk poorly about me.  Someone who will hold me when I've woken up from a nightmare.  Someone who will help aid me when I have problems.  That to me is a defender and protector.  I feel like a guy who starts fights with guys at a bar or on the street, actually puts me in more harm, because there is a chance that a punch will get thrown and accidentally hit me (this has actually happened to me), or angry words will be said that hurt me, etc.  I understand that at times, physical fights are unavoidable, but I feel that a lot of guys will throw them in the situation because their testosterone starts pumping and I don't admire that quality.

Let me next move onto the statement as a whole.  I feel like guys who live by this statement are obviously the ones who were raised that hitting a girl is wrong.  I don't think they necessarily understand why it is wrong.  Personally I feel that the whole idea behind hitting a girl being wrong is that most girls are weaker and have no way of appropriately defending themselves when the situation occurs.  It also reinforces typical archetypes of in older times when the men was dominant and the woman was submissive and did whatever the man requested of her.  Times have changed, women are becoming stronger mentally and are taking control of their lives, and slowly gaining momentum to stop being considered the weaker sex and finding more equal grounds.  However, because of our size and stature, especially how society expects us to look, it is still hard for us to stand up and defend ourselves against a man when he is getting physical.  So I feel like the idea that hitting a woman is wrong comes from the fact that it is not a fair fight.  But there is also more to it.  When a guy hits a girl, it comes as a shock to most of them.  Because society frowns upon it, the girl wonders what has occurred to make the man violate such an iron-clad idea.  Often the girl begins to blame herself, feeling that she has done something so wrong that she deserved it.  It also comes as quite a shock because girls are not used to dealing with their emotions in physical ways.  I'll admit, at times, I go into my room and punch a pillow or throw things, exerting my anger in a physical manner, but most of the time that is not a girls go-to response.  Girls deal with anger by talking, or crying, or thinking the situation through, which are not really physical acts.  So when a guy approaches a girl and is dealing with his anger in a physical manner, it is hard for the girl to really understand where it is coming from, or how to deal with it.  Does she hit the guy back, and possibly encourage even more vicious physical violence? Even when a girl tries to deal with the situation by talking, which is something she's more comfortable with, the guy does not respond.  Finally, most girls, once the violence happens, shut down, and assume the submissive role automatically, doing whatever they can to make the man happy in defense and trying to ensure that the violence doesn't happen again.

So, now that I've broken down in sense, why I feel like the entire idea has been created, I want to say a little about my opinions about guys with this apparent value system that hitting a girl is wrong.  First off let me say that the majority of the guys I've been in relationships with who have openly told me, "I was raised that hitting girls is wrong" has ended up using physical violence against me, and I am not the type of girl that thinks that it was my fault.  Yes, perhaps in some situations, I said something that triggered their anger, but I still do not feel it was right of the guy to resort to physical violence, and therefore, I was not wrong in the situation.
Now let me move on to the type of guys who feel the need to broadcast that they think hitting a girl is wrong.  No offense guys, but I don't particularly like you.  I feel that people should live their value systems and yes while I think it is important to show pride in it, I don't think that any guy should feel the need to advertise that is his value system because I feel that is something that every guy should value.  I feel like every guy in the world, especially America, should believe that it is wrong to hit a girl, so if a guy feels the need to advertisement it's almost like he's saying that not all guys are like that (yes, I agree that not all guys are like that, and yes, I agree that it's unfortunate).  But it should be standard, and therefore I'm not going to proud of you because you have this viewpoint.  I'm not going to be proud of a guy because he's breathing, because well, I certainly hope you're breathing.  This is just where I stand.

Now here's where I'm going to get some blood pumping and some testosterone flowing for my male readers.  Let me just tell you that yes, I have been physically abused, and in fact, I still talk to some of the guys that physically abused me in the past.  This seems to be entirely controversial to people, especially those who advertise that they are against it.  Let me explain.  When these people consistently became physically violent with me, I removed myself from the relationship.  Continuing friendships with them is always based on the fact that, I do not put myself in compromising positions with them where they would possibly get angry enough to do so again. But I do believe in second chances.  I actually firmly believe that the first boyfriend I dated who was physically violent with me has actually grown from the experience, and it helps that I was friends with him after.  Because he got to see the effects that his behavior towards me and how it has effected every relationship I have had since as well as my self esteem.  Since he has seen these results, he has openly told me that because he saw what it did to me he does not want to do it again.  Now, he is in a healthy relationship and I do not feel like he would resort to violence when encountering a problem with her.

Here is my rationale for having issues with these guys who proclaim to the world that they are against hitting women.  First of all, I feel like they want to get the reassurance and support from others that it is right.  Second, I don't always feel like they understand why they feel that way, except for the reason that they were taught to feel that way.  I once had an argument with a guy who kept proclaiming he was against it and I tried to tell him that he didn't need to tell me because I had an idea of how wrong it was.  He kept arguing saying, "but no, I really understand, it's really wrong, I was raised never to hit a woman."  I told him to shut up.  Honestly, as a girl who has been hit, I know the feelings it triggers, I understand the complexes it has given me, the low self esteem, the flinching when someone moves too fast, the flinching when someone goes to touch my face, it makes you distrusting, it makes you avoid any confrontation with your significant other and thereby, you don't always deal with your issues in the relationship for fear of a fight, and instead the relationship crumbles and falls apart for seemingly no reason.  I don't think it's right for any guy to try and tell me that he knows better than me how wrong it is, unless perhaps he has seen the result of physical violence on a woman he was close to, and even then, he cannot read her mind, he does not feel what he feels, so his interpretation still doesn't necessarily hit the mark.  So, I guess, my issue with guys like this is that most of them speak so mindlessly, and don't really think about their real reasons behind it.  I wish that instead of saying they would never hit a woman because they were raised not to, they investigated exactly why they wouldn't do so, why they personally think it is wrong.  I think if a guy came to the conclusion that dealing with his anger by fighting is wrong, he would be taking a step forward.  There are other physical manifestations of anger to value instead of starting a fight.

The last thing I would like to say is, I do not want anyone reading my blog to think that I am completely against every guy standing up and saying he is against hitting a woman.  I am all for those guys who stand up for a cause, fighting domestic abuse in certain events or just for their own liking.  My issue is with what the guy truly believes.  I feel like a lot of men mindlessly act like they are gentlemen because that's how they were taught to be and don't examine why they want to be that way.  They think, mom taught me to do this, girls like when I do this, so I'll do this.  They don't necessarily think about why their mom raised them that way, or why girls like it, or why they like to do it.  Things mean more when there is thought put behind them.  You can buy a girl flowers because you think it's expected, or you can buy her favorite flowers to show that you were listening to her when she said what they were, or because you want to make her smile because you think she has a beautiful smile, or because you know she's been having a bad day and you want to cheer her up and show you were thinking of her.  The thought behind your actions matters.  I'm not saying I hope that when a guy examines his reasons behind hitting a girl, he realizes that he doesn't have any and starts hitting women, I mean that would be silly.  I just hope that guys really think about the reason behind what they do, and I feel like if they resolve that hitting a girl is wrong, they should realize that dealing with most situations with physical violence is wrong in general.  It's not healthy, it doesn't particularly solve anything, it just makes the guy feel better for some bizarre reason.  You don't have to be a sissy, but I believe that Real Men, Real GENTLEMEN, don't hit anyone, unless in self-defense.  There is a reason why the word gentlemen starts with the word GENTLE.

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