DEMONIZATION – Blaming men because women won’t approach

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I don’t spend a lot of thought on straight dating but it’s a pretty live subject in some parts of the gendersphere, so the issue comes up a lot. Commenter Daisy had this insightful bit to say:

My opinion–lots of women get upset when men approach them for the same reason I do, they would rather do the approaching themselves. But they don’t have the guts to do this or greatly fear social disapproval, so they direct this anger about this situation (their anger at themselves, and anger at the typical gender-defined social-situation wherein the men do approaching) towards men. As a young woman, I did this too. I would get furious when men approached me, all out of proportion to the situation. It was only when I moved to San Francisco and met the Samois ladies (including the infamous Pat Califia, wooo!… and hir then-paramour, Gayle Rubin) that I had this carefully explained to me.
(I was part of the Plexus newspaper staff and lived in a collective household, and one of the women was Samois, so they had MEETINGS in my HOUSE… if you think this didn’t blow my little Ohio-hayseed mind back in 1981, think again, LOL.) This was when I got to see the whole “feminist sex war” debacle up close and personal, since the first volley was when Samois was expelled from the San Francisco Women’s Building… FOR NOTHING! But I digress…
These Samois women would take the man’s side and told me, the reason you are mad is that you are angry AT YOURSELF. I knew in my heart that they were right.

This says a lot about a lot. I think a lot of the resistance you are finally seeing in men to a lot of what feminist analysis is the sense that a lot of it blames men for women’s actions, or inactions. There is a male supremacist bias that has crept into feminists analysis since the 70s. I know why this is, it is always hard to identify let alone reject the comfortable poisonous indoctrination we grow up with, but it just has to be done.

Demonization is the process of blaming someone else for your own evil, or just even your mistakes. In order to be able to say “the devil made me do it” the Devil has to exist, so you invent him. It is all about avoiding accountability and responsibility – a false freedom, an ultimately destructive bid for power.

I cured this by taking charge of the situation. A man who approached me was instantly off any list (and always has been), but I tried to be very nice about it. Not his fault. But never never never as a single woman did I sit around and “wish someone would talk to me”… I learned to be very direct. It helped that I considered it a feminist imperative. (I would like that to BECOME a feminist imperative.)
But a few years ago, I was on a feminist email list and I was pretty harshly attacked for blithely announcing “if you don’t like waiting around for a phone call, then get off your butt and approach him”–because most women are (for lack of a better word, okay) “bottoms” in a relationship and they felt that approaching a man sent the wrong message, that they were dom when they were not. I wondered if they were right, too.

Making the approach – by way of comparison here’s an observation from when it’s all men. Back when I was spending time in gay bars I almost never saw the usual approach-chat up-preen-reject pattern that I had seen earlier in straight bars. The reason was simple – lack of designated approachers. Without that designation, no one took it upon themselves to approach because by approaching you declared an interest when the other guy hadn’t yet. You were taking a risk he didn’t have to, and everyone naturally wanted to be the guy getting approached. Besides, it was flattering. The guy approaching got none of that.

So can a woman approach a man without being considered, you know, a top? If you are a top, no problem, but most women are not.

Most women are not – that is almost certainly an accurate statement of the situation as it stands. But stop and ask how many of those women had their top-ness beaten out of them by society during their gender socialization years. Gender policing is a thing.

Discuss.

Please

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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2972 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=2222">32 comments</span>

  • Are most women sexual “tops”, with a “dominant” personality?
    No. Never has been, never anywhere.
    Are fewer women dominant than would be the case if we didn’t so strongly shame and “gender” approaches, vulnerability, submission, and all of that? Undoubtedly.

    That’s my take on it.

  • I agree with Clarence. I don’t think women are so much more naturally dominant than men, and despite all of society’s attempts to beat it out of us the average man is more submissive than dominant.

  • I don’t think approaching is dominant behaviour.

    In fact in any other species the animal that _approaches_ another animal is the subordinate who wants something from a superior.

    Approaching is actually the behaviour of a social inferior; as soon as a man approaches a woman, he’s signalling his inferior status. Which may be why a good portion of game is teaching men how to approach without appearing to and why women don’t like to approach men.

    They’ve been told all their life their sexuality is more valuable then a man’s–for many of them it has become the most valuable asset they have–therefore they prefer to be valued by being approached.

    Of course by approaching a man positions himself as a social inferior, which women don’t ultimately feel desire for.

    What a predicament for men! (Sucks for women too, but I think the solution is more in their hands.)

  • Submission and dominance are not personal traits, they are situationally determined.The same person which cringes and crawls before a superior may be a complete tyrant to an underling. That’s why you get whole grammars of honorifics in some languages – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_honorifics – to mark these shifts in domennace from conversation to conversation.

    Appraoch cna be either submissive or dominant, but the instance Typhon is describing, supplication, puts the man in the supplicant and submissive position in the interaction. And that is why so many women and so many gay men avoid it.

  • I’ve hardly ever had the nerve to approach anyone. But approaching someone gives both the approacher – and the approachee – more control than sitting around waiting and wondering. It might help if we had some code for (need alone time), (waiting for friends), (exclusively involved), (mourning), etc.

  • Marja, I have seen the scenario you describe – a bar full of men all gazing about, never meeting each others’ eyes, all hoping someone else will make the first move. It is a rejection of any kind of control.

    But there is control and control. When the person approaching is doing it because of a social or a gender role expectations, that approach reflects control that is at least a little reduced. Those social or gender rolel expectations, that whole script, may very well gve the person approached quite a lot of control. relative to the person approaching. Veto power is a very strong form of control.

  • As for code, people used to dress specially or cut their hair very short during mourning.

    And most times there was no need ot signal why you did not want to be approached, becasue social rules prevented anyone from approaching anyone they didn’t already know or hadn’t been introduced to.

  • Tops, Bottoms, doesn’t matter. It all comes down to being lazy. Everyone will prefer the easy path to a relationship over the hard path. The most unattractive, shy, pessimistic, submissive women, the ones who all the guys pretty much ignore completely – they are the ones who end up walking up to a guy they like and actually asking him out. Because they have no other choice. Nothing else matters. Men approach women because men have no other choice and women sit on their butts because it’s far more preferable to sit around and wait.

  • My Dearest Beloveds –

    Dominance and submission; top/bottom, whatever – a specific behavior may be either depending on the details of the situation.

    In my social circle, I am well established enough that I can “top from the bottom” – remain largely or completely passive and wait for the female attention to come to me – and it does to a significant degree. Haul me out of there into a different venue or city, and I would have to bust ass to establish enough social credibility to have the same effect – or, become a must more active aggressor, which is dicey business at best.

    And that is what the Bibo Sez.

    Bless you!

  • “Top” and “Bottom” are, well, clearly inappropriate terms in this context.

    Perhaps “Initiator” and “Respondent” would be better?

  • If a woman approached me I wouldn’t assume she was dominant. Maybe, if there were 5 or 6 other things about her that suggested dominant then I might include a cold approach as another piece of evidence.

    But I don’t think that any woman should use that as a reason to not approach.

    The other thing I’ve seen is that women feel if they approach they are indicating that they want to have sex right now. I could see that being a problem for some people, especially at clubs – but you could defuse it by explicitly suggesting an actual date in a couple of days or further into the future.

  • Hmmm sometimes I type out a post only to just delete it, never to be read by anyone. My response to Daisy when she first posted this was one of my never to be posted posts. So with that in mind here it goes; the much abridged version.

    It seems to me that many times when a woman tries on the approacher and initiator role and then has a few bad experiences, that these woman blame the men for responding badly. IMO, these woman should probably instead ask themselves, “how could I do better next time.” With that said, I admit that I never hit on anyone in my life. I guess I have “no guts”. So I do not really speak from personal experience as being an approacher. As a man I have felt the pressure to approach. I just never did. And the times I was the one being approached probably does not come close to the amount of attention many women get.

    So I guess I agree with Ginko? That this is about women blaming their own shorcomings and failures on men? Or are you going more meta? As in cultural dynamics are to blame for women not approaching in the first place? Both? Neither? Anyway it’s all good. You write something, people think about it…what more could you want?

  • ” It seems to me that many times when a woman tries on the approacher and initiator role and then has a few bad experiences, that these woman blame the men for responding badly.”

    I see women do this a lot and it’s frustrating as hell. I want to ask them how many men they approached before deciding that all men respond badly to being approached. Usually about three. For comparison, I had to ask about fifty girls out before I got my first date. And it took fucking forever, because I was trying to be all feminist and get to know them as peeeeeeeeeeple first.

  • @ Shoutybloke

    They also have to realize that rejecting a person is assuming an uncomfortable aspect of agency. People feel bad and when they feel bad they project.

    Further I’ve noticed that some women don’t understand what a truly _explicit_ come-on is.

    “I hit on him! I hovered by his shoulder and flipped my hair and laughed really loudly! He didn’t respond. Men just don’t like aggressive women.”

    Alternatively guys don’t understand what’s going on because the whole thing is really new to them.

    Girl: “Do you want to go for coffee?”
    Guy: “I don’t usually drink coffee at this time of day because it keeps me up at night.”
    Girl: 🙁
    Three days pass.
    Guy: D’oh!

    And, yes, because the situation is strange, it’s automatically uncomfortable for guys so if a girl wants to be successful she has to take that into account. Ball’s in her court.

  • Girl: “Do you want to go for coffee?”
    Guy: “I don’t usually drink coffee at this time of day because it keeps me up at night.”
    Girl: 🙁
    Three days pass.
    Guy: D’oh!

    Hilarious and true… This isn’t even the guy’s fault 99% of the time. It goes more like this…

    Girl: You know what I really like? I like coffee……
    Guy: [working intently on something very important] Not now I’m busy…
    Girl: 🙁
    Three hours later
    Guy: Want to get coffee?
    Girl: No! I have a boyfriend now…

    “I hit on him! I hovered by his shoulder and flipped my hair and laughed really loudly! He didn’t respond. Men just don’t like aggressive women.”

    It’s not even worth trying. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. If I had to ask every girl who hovers by me and flips her hair out on a date, I’d shoot myself.

  • “Girl: “Do you want to go for coffee?”
    Guy: “I don’t usually drink coffee at this time of day because it keeps me up at night.”
    Girl: 🙁
    Three days pass.
    Guy: D’oh! ”

    Oh god, I can’t tell you how often I’ve realized in hindsight, sometimes months later, that some woman was attempting to hit on me like this. The worst part is when it is a woman I actually like. Oy.

    @Shoutybloke.

    I agree with you, every woman whose ever said “Oh my god, I tried hitting on men but they don’t like it so I’ve stopped trying!” how many guys she’s actually asked out… three is usually the answer. Or less.

    Frankly, and to a certain degree unfortunately, men can’t fix this one. This one is on women completely to change… and I don’t think they will for the most part. Because it doesn’t benefit them to do so, and gendersphere aside most women have probably never even thought about it. (or most men even)

  • TB said, ““I hit on him! I hovered by his shoulder and flipped my hair and laughed really loudly! He didn’t respond. Men just don’t like aggressive women.” ”

    talking about some women…not herself (the “I” makes it look a bit confusing sorry).

    By extension it also goes like this.

    Woman, “I was harrassed by a man! First he held the door open for me. Then when I was standing around, I saw him glance over at me! He tried to look friendly! ICK! MEN and their come on’s! I face constant street harassment!”

    Ignoring the fact that the man held the door open for a few people…(me I hate letting it just slam close on someone…I try and pass it off though). Ignoring the fact that the man looked friendly because she looked at him and he always looks friendly!

    Or more generally..

    Woman, “A homeless man approached me today. Ick!! He smelled bad and his teeth were gross!! Why are women subject to such harassment!!”

    Ignoring the fact that the homeless guy approaches men too.

    Anyway regarding Elevatorgate.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jAkvxI6cc-Y/TkFCN0Pg7XI/AAAAAAAAAg4/YW1M86lSnac/s1600/review3.jpg

  • dungone
    “Tops, Bottoms, doesn’t matter. It all comes down to being lazy.”

    Yes, because that’s a tautology. It does all come down to who can get away with not initiaiting and who can’t.

    ““Top” and “Bottom” are, well, clearly inappropriate terms in this context.”

    Actually Shouty they are completely appropriate. The terms also capture so many women’s lazy and/or approach to sex.

    And thiose terms are used among gays in exactly this wide a semantic range. When someone expects others to make the first move, dithers if it falls to them to make it, expects emotional maintenance from others, “Oh you’re such a bottom!” is pretty standard.

  • I will post a link to this Oglaf strip again, as it’s very apt for this conversation. Warning – this one’s safe for work, but many Oglaf strips are very much not, so be careful when you click around if you’re not somewhere where that’s ok.

  • For myself the determining factors revolved more around my confidence which grew as I aged.

    14 -19 Oh my God I cant approach, they might reject me.
    19-29 I think I can do this, suck it up, be a man, ok that wasnt too bad.
    29-39 Well, well, I think I have a chance with the hottie at the end of the bar.
    39-48 Shotdown in flames again, next………… 😉

  • This discussion is very interesting. I don`t have time to write much now but I will suggest reading these as I find them illuminating when it comes to the mechanisms of approaching. In Zans view, which I agree with, you can approach in such an outcome independent way that you mitigate the effect of showing that you need the one you approach more than the approached needs you:

    http://www.naturalgame.com/showthread.php?t=1338

    http://www.naturalgame.com/showthread.php?t=723

    http://www.girlschase.com/content/sprezzatura-effort-and-investing

  • TB: “I hit on him! I hovered by his shoulder and flipped my hair and laughed really loudly! He didn’t respond. Men just don’t like aggressive women.”

    HAHA! I had a friend at work who told me something like this almost once a day, I swear. I finally told her that just didn’t cut it, talk to him and (yeah like you said) ask him for coffee, or (my personal favorite) tell him you won concert/movie tickets in this raffle and do you want to go? (Yes, lies, all lies.)

    It helps if you actually remember something/somebody he likes i.e. he wears t-shirts of a certain band, so it is likely that he would like to see that band (or some band in that general neighborhood)…or he mentioned Quentin Tarantino or someone and you file that away…wait for the movie to come out, then you instantly win these tickets. Or Spiderman. (Marvel has been a freaking GOLD MINE for pushy ladies, IMO.)

    My friend told me that was slutty behavior. I was really startled, since I am not necessarily talking about having sex during or directly after the damn Spiderman movie. But as gjdj said, above, there seems to be this idea that if you ask a man to see Spiderman, you must have sex with him afterwards… (Really?) I once asked a man to see “Gandhi” because I knew he admired Gandhi (yes this was a long time ago)… and believe me, there is nothing like Mahatma Gandhi and hunger strikes to douse the sex drive. LOL–but we did have an in-depth, very long conversation afterwards about personal values and all that heavy stuff, and it worked out very well in the long run. 🙂 NOT SLUTTY, at least not right away!

    Oh well. I tried. Last time I checked, this woman is still alone and complaining over it. It’s been almost a decade now. All she would have to do is ACT, but I believe its something like a ‘pride’ issue with her, even though she relies on the “that’s slutty!” defense.

  • This says a lot about a lot. I think a lot of the resistance you are finally seeing in men to a lot of what feminist analysis is the sense that a lot of it blames men for women’s actions, or inactions.
    Damn straight but good luck telling that to someone that has firmly wrapped their ideology in a safety blanket of “male privilege”, “call outs”, and “misogyny”.

    TB:
    “I hit on him! I hovered by his shoulder and flipped my hair and laughed really loudly! He didn’t respond. Men just don’t like aggressive women.”
    I’ve been wondering about this for a while. Why is it that when men aren’t responsive to women that approach no matter why he wasn’t responsive the conclusion seems to be that men don’t like or are intimidated by aggressive/strong women. Turn that around into women not being responsive to aggressive men and all of a sudden it’s because he wasn’t receptive of her turn down.

    Seems to me that with the game is set no matter which side the guy is one, approaching or being approached, if it doesn’t work out its a failing on his part.

  • That goes on after you’re married, too. Men are expected to somehow ‘see’ whatever she saw in whatever was going on, and somehow, do the expected response and/or surprise her with something even better than she imagined. Ready? GO!

    My first wife was uncharacteristicly blunt. After I wasn’t taking the hint (I’m a nerd, for pete’s sake), she pretty much spelled out what she wanted. After she assured me she wasn’t having a joke at my expense, we were both able to have a mutually enjoyable relationship. Several times I had to say “Pretend I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about or what you want, and spell it out to me like you’re telling me a story about a third person.” Surprisingly, after a shocked look or two, that worked pretty well.

    She still had a therapist on speed dial. One that had the hots for her, it turns out.

    Hint – if he hasn’t hit on you, or responded in some way, he missed the announcement of your interest, or didn’t realize what you were telling him. Chances are, if he were really good at reading that kind of thing, he would have caught on to someone else’s hint already, and wouldn’t be available for yours.

  • Since fewer and fewer guys are approaching, maybe they feel
    like they would like to know that the woman is actually interested. But you better watch who you say that around.

  • it would be very nice for a woman to approach me for a change, instead of me approaching them. that is why many of us good straight guys get rejected, and many women are just too damn picky nowadays or Gay.

  • “Why don’t guys ever approach me?”

    >proceed to either shoot down anyone daring to do so as creepy or dorky
    >…or friendzone any guy they actually get along with
    >…all while fucking that aloof cad because he knew how to play you

    Gee women I have no idea why men realised you’re stuck-up and entitled to the point there’s no winning with you.
    You made your choice that the top 20% of single guys are worth fucking, when all of you are competing for those it stands to reason that most of you will be left alone at the end of your 20s.

    Or you know, maybe once in a while try fucking that guy that makes you laugh and feel great. Ah fuck it who needs a beta dork am I right women? You’re strong and independent you don’t need no stinking mamas boy that would like *some* of the pussy and adoration you willingly throw to cads you know won’t commit anyway.

  • Valentin, the point you’re making speaks to the narcissistic nature of this kind of sexuality – that it is both a reward for being the best horse, and a kind of ‘moraliser” that will turn a wild mustang into a warhorse and ploughshare that fights only for her benefit. These people can be treated in exactly the way you describe – left to fester in their own mythology. Build your own sense of purpose and internal value and you swiftly realise these women are a prize in the same way that chlamydia is a present, or the way my mate Pete is a ‘pharmacist’.

  • Women in their 20s often have a vastly overrated sense of their value and think that male 8’s are in their league when the women are only 6’s or 7’s.
    Men who date women for 5 years and don’t want to marry or cohabit for a long time just complacently settling for whom they can easily get for now. It really is the settle for the 5 now until I get a bit older and have gotten more career under my belt and more confident and then go out and find a 6 that he’d actually be happy to marry.

    All that the timing wasn’t right and so on is mostly BS. They just weren’t that into her.

    That’s the hardest lesson for women to learn, that they can get sex with men that don’t love them that much, that aren’t into them, that will even stick around for a steady supply of sex and companionship for a couple years, but these men don’t love them deeply and sure as hell never intend on marrying them (though complacently sliding into marriage or kids does often happen).

    Basically half of women are fairly hypergamous (meaning they only feel strong attraction and romantic love if they guy is of somewhat higher value or better) and these women are going to struggle because their minimum threshold is too high.

  • Welcome, Ali!

    Your first point – OKCupid ran a poll that bears you out. Average looking women rated themselves higher than average and rated average-looking men lower than average. Frankly I think it is a form of consumerism.

    “That’s the hardest lesson for women to learn, that they can get sex with men that don’t love them that much, that aren’t into them, that will even stick around for a steady supply of sex and companionship for a couple years, but these men don’t love them deeply”

    The whole system of memes around sex overrates sexual access to women. This leads women into thinking they should get more in return, like actual love, for deigning to have sex with men. That’s one reason I applaud this girls gone wild thing – it’s just a fuck and don’t try to make it more than it is.

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