I Believe Men Can Do Better

One of the hottest topics in the news right now is the Stubenville rape case right now. And I am *so* tired of hearing about it. Not just because I feel that justice has not been served. Not just because I feel that the victim has been completely ignored and the rapists have been given way too much sympathetic attention. But also the outrage that is coming out keeps trying to identify how we must make men pay. Ok, well sure, I agree criminal acts should be punished.

However, the thing that I don’t hear anyone saying is what I want to say here. I have plenty of male friends, colleagues and relatives. Sure I can be snarky and say “oh well we’re all animals when it comes down to it” but do I actually believe that? No. I don’t. I believe that my male counterparts are sensible, smart, considerate human beings who are capable of making good decisions. I believe that my male counterparts can find willing sex partners if they so choose. That being the case, I don’t think there is ever a time when they need to force themselves on another person. This to me is the same as assault and battery. Similar to if i decided to shove my hand up some guy’s anus that was not a willing participant. That is a criminal act. Could I find someone that might find that kinky and awesome? Probably. So why is there so much discussion about rape and victim blaming and letting guys off the hook? I’m sorry, dudes, but it is our job to teach our young people right from wrong. Just because you have a penis doesn’t mean you get to shove it into other people without consequences. Similar to just because you have muscles doesn’t mean you should beat the shit out of the little nerdy dude in the school yard.

So can someone please explain to me when men became such instinctual, animal creatures who cannot control their impulses? Because the men I know are pretty capable of making decisions good and bad and they should be prepared to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Just like all other people. I believe that men can do better. And I think if we hold them accountable they will. But I’m tired of people trying to let them off the hook. And deflecting it toward the woman. The basic point of rape is this dude did a horrible thing, he should be held accountable. Same can be said for a woman who took advantage of a man. Rape goes both ways, you know. Clearly that is less commonly discussed but I think it goes back to how we believe people should be treated. So folks, next time you think about having sex with someone and you question whether they are interested or not (or they are unconscious/cannot put together coherent sentences) that would be a no. See, not that complicated. If you cannot explicitly prove consent, don’t do it. Because honestly, why do you want to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you?

Is This Really Necessary?

So I know my friend, D, just went through this recently where she went on the pill and was horrified by the resulting aftermath. I, too, decided that maybe I would give it a shot. My reasons are different from the majority of women on the pill. I typically don’t sleep with men so I’m not really concerned about getting pregnant. However my cramps can be a nightmare and I am an emotional disaster depending on the state of my hormones. Clearly, knowing that I’m an emotional disaster depending on the state of my hormones means I should try to fuck with them by using some synthetic ones. Clearly, I’m a genius.

Well anyway, the hype is that they help a lot. That said my first week with them was far from pleasant. It involved a lot of crying. Crying of the sobbing uncontrollably variety at work. And let me tell you it’s a little hard to explain why you’re sobbing uncontrollably when there’s really no reason other than my hormones are out of whack and that pen was the wrong color. Seriously, the blue was upsetting (or something equally trivial and stupid). That said things seem to have calmed down, I’m in the middle of week 3 and I’m still a little easier to tip over to the side of crying, which is super awkward cause I’m not really a crier, but it is getting a lot better.

Though I have to think, if this were something that effected men we wouldn’t be doing experiments on our own body right now. They’d have figured something better out instead of – well just wait it out and see what happens. I mean seriously, what kind of an answer is that. I am living in my own personal version of hell and you’re telling me that I just have to wait and see if I adjust. Do I get a refund on those 3 months of my life? Cause that would be stellar too. Anyway, at least I feel vindicated about some of the times when I do know that I’m just super on edge and it’s not *just* me. I suppose in a way that makes it worth it, though I’m not entirely sure just how.

Way To Alienate People, Captain Genius-pants

Ok has anyone else seen that article that’s been making it’s way around about the guy at Wellesley? Yes, the one where he talks about how Wellesley girls are whores etc. I know Jezebel isn’t exactly somewhere that I frequent but I found this posted on my facebook news feed and was absolutely horrified. Being a women’s college graduate I can understand that it is difficult for a man to live at a women’s college. I remember my first year when one of my friends came to visit me (Daniel is generally quite the ladies man) and even he was a bit intimidated and flustered. We can be quite a fierce and intimidating group when you put us all together in one teeny location, I’ll give you that. But my dear, I really don’t think it’s a brilliant idea to call your peers whores. I mean these are the women you have to see on a daily basis, it’s just not that bright. And if your chief complaint is that you aren’t getting laid then perhaps the label “whore” is a misnomer, I believe the word you’re looking for would be “prude” (which I doubt would win you many friends either but would, at least in my opinion, be a touch more acceptable). Also I believe that you’re missing the point entirely of doing an exchange if the only purpose of this is “to get laid”. I mean I’m sure it would be a nice bonus but I believe exchange programs were instituted so that you could learn in a different environment not to pick up girls. Then again, what do I know, I’m sure had he been at Mount Holyoke I would be just another one of those “whores”.

It’s Complicated Facebook…

So my friend, Deidre (of Decoybetty) was writing about the phenomenon of “relationship status” in a guest post she recently did called You’re A Lot More Than Your Relationship Status and I have to agree with her. I am constantly flabbergasted at all the people who define themselves as single, in a relationship, it’s complicated or whatever. We’re only in our 20’s, whether I’m dating someone or not really doesn’t define me.

If you want to know if I’m single or taken, you should ask because that’s not who I am. If you ask me who I am, I’d still say I’m a renegade physicist even though I haven’t done physics in years. I’d say that I’m a confused 26-year old grad student trying to figure out her consulting gig the best she can and get to where she wants to go on that crazy corporate ladder. I’d say I have a very serious relationship with Grey’s Anatomy and that I could dance all night long. I’d say that I have a penchant for wearing ties but I’ve recently discovered that wearing dresses and fitted clothing is awesome since I’ve worked really hard to get in shape. I’d also say that I love soccer even though I think I suck at it and that I’ll keep going to ballroom classes until I can some day afford to compete (at least as an amateur). I’d say that I’ve had my heart broken but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love and fairy tales and happily ever after. I’d say that I believe the best in people and am constantly disappointed when I get let down but I never learn that lesson and I like myself for always giving people the benefit of the doubt. I’d say that I am thoughtful and a fierce friend which are the characteristics that I value most in my friends too.

Here’s the thing, none of what I’ve described above has anything to do with whether I’m in a relationship or not. And perhaps I am a little more fierce about some bits more than others because of the fact that I very recently got my heart broken but I don’t define myself as single. I just happen to not be dating anyone, it is not a defining characteristic of my personality or even remotely who I am. In fact even when I was dating I never thought of myself as being not single. It’s just not something that I identify with. I am my own person and I would hope my partner would be as well. Perhaps when we’ve spent half our lives together I may start to consider my relationship as a defining characteristic of myself but at the moment I think my friends and my family have far more influence on who I am today than anyone I have ever dated has.

I mean I’d say I’m a feminist because I grew up with extremely strong matriarchs in my family and going to a women’s college just ingrained that further in me. I’m a cross-culture kid and I often forget this because at 26 it’s pretty much just who I am and I don’t even think about it anymore. The person I am today is made up of the environment I was brought up in, which was the huge sprawling metropolis of Houston, Texas. It’s in the Bengali that my family speaks at home and the way we flip in and out of this weird mixture between Bengali and English; as if everyone speaks both even though we live in the US. It’s in the conversations with my friends where I talk about how marriage is a “patriarchal construct” and this is “normal” because we went to a women’s college.

Quite frankly the excuse that society puts so much pressure on this is a cop out to me because aren’t we a part of society? I mean I don’t believe that who I do or do not date is really anyone’s business but my own. If I want you to know I’ll tell you, trust me. It’s pretty similar to how I feel about people asking whether I date girls or boys. If I wanted you to know, I’d tell you. I mean I don’t understand why people have this desire to be defined by whether they are in a relationship or not. Actually that’s pretty similar to how I felt in college about everyone making a big deal of coming out. I mean yes I understand it can be an empowering experience and all but there is so much more to who I am than who I date. At this point in my life I define who I am and no one else. Sure there are people who have touched my life and changed me but I’d say that my friends who I’ve known for 8+ years have probably had a more significant impact than any relationship I’ve been in.

I hear so often how we hate how the world views people who are single as if there is a stigma attached. Well, folks, we are part of society, it’s up to us to change it. If you don’t want your relationship status to be a defining characteristic then don’t let it be. I don’t talk about mine. I rarely ever have. I mean recently I was with someone long enough where I did start talking about things in we’s but I’m not there anymore and I’m ok with that. Am I going to let it define who I am? No, certainly not.

So do you like physics? Have you ever watched the sunrise over a river? Can you quote “the little prince”? Do you love 80’s music? Can you two-step (cause I might just fall in love with you in that case)? Who are you? Because I’m sure it’s more than just “single” or “in a relationship” or “married” or “it’s complicated”. At least I certainly hope so.

A Memo To Men

I’m going to take a page out of Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo’s “He’s Just Not That Into You” because after a recent night out it made me think that women are not the only ones that need to get the memo. In fact, I’d rather take the female approach and have someone stress out and wait for a phone call from me than to persistently pursue me when I’m not interested. Not all of these scenarios listed are ones that are applicable to my present life, but a few did just come up in the last week. And all of them are things that I have not only personally experienced but also have discussed with several of my friends and we all agree are incredibly annoying to deal with.

She’s just not that into you if…

  • she hasn’t called you back and you’ve called more than once.
  • you texted her more than once and have gotten no response.
  • you met her when she was out with someone else and she’s not calling you back.
  • she told you she is seeing someone.
  • she’s busy every time you want to go out.
  • she calls/chats online all the time but can’t make time to see you in person.
  • she goes home with you but doesn’t give you her phone number in the morning. (Yes, girls do this, too).
  • she won’t say yes when you ask her to marry you and you’ve asked multiple times.
  • she doesn’t want you to meet her friends.

I know girls can play hard to get. It’s true, we all do it at some point but seriously, stop calling. If we like you, I promise we’ll call you back. Yes, persistence can be a good thing. But calling every day when we aren’t responding back is just annoying.

Also as a good feminist, if I like someone, I don’t need you to ask me out. Yes it is always nice to have someone else ask you out because that whole pressure of rejection is taken away from you but honestly, not necessary. If I’m really interested, I’ll ask you out (which I realize may not be true for all women but I promise they will drop enough leading hints for you to get it). I have more faith in both men and women than both Greg and Liz, if you really like the person it doesn’t matter who asks whom out, you’ll be fine in the long run.

And let’s face it, we don’t need some arcane rules to tell us how we should be dating. In fact, we don’t need people to tell us how to “snag that girl/guy of your dreams”. Use some common sense. Treat the person you want to date the way you’d like to be treated, I think that’s a good cardinal rule. For example:

  • Would you want someone to call you every day for a week if you weren’t interested?
    No. Then don’t do it to someone else!
  • Would you want someone to ignore you and talk to their friends that happened to pass by when you’re on a date with them?
    No. Then don’t do it to someone else!

It’s amazing what a little common sense can do in the dating arena. Now if all you’re looking to do is hook up then obviously none of these things matter. But I promise calling every day will just make you look pathetic. Don’t do it. No one wants to sleep with someone whose desperate.

Is There A New First Lady Of Politics

Well Kirsten Gillibrand does seem to be making quite an impression. In fact I believe she has been in the New York Times every day since this past Saturday when I first read this piece on her. I know that there has been much skepticism amongst the Democrats of New York but considering the NY political scene isn’t exactly the kindest world I have to say I am impressed with her from what I have heard. She seems to be a woman of many talents and I respect that.

Quite frankly even being poster-child for the NRA doesn’t bother me because she actually has valid reasons behind it, perhaps not reasons I agree with or viewpoints that I care for but I appreciate that she can justify them. I also like that she’s ambitious and spunky and at ease in the city and the country. That’s a great thing to have in a Senator. I have high hopes for the new Junior Senator from New York. And I’m excited about what she may be able to accomplish. It’s great to have another woman fill Hillary’s shoes, an accomplished woman at that who has earned her way into the seat and did not have it handed to her as it would have to Caroline Kennedy. Not that Caroline Kennedy isn’t smart but really I don’t see how her credentials could have stood. I’m glad to have a woman who actually has made a concerted effort to work her way into such a position.

Faltering Feminism

Yesterday I read this beautiful article by Susan Faludi, who I know can be extreme at times but this was really worth reading. It is called Second-Place Citizens and is an Op-Ed in the New York Times. I recommend reading it because it actually gives some really good insight into why there are so many women that have gotten so upset over the Democratic primaries. I, for one, am part of those women who feel like our voices are not being heard and who fear for feminism. In fact, today at work two of my coworkers were talking about Hillary’s speech at the DNC last night and I knew that one of them had not heard it and was just speaking with the same vitriol that we’ve been hearing in the media for months now. The best part is when I bring that up they can’t speak because obviously the things they have to say are inappropriate for work. It is so frustrating to continue to live in a misogynistic country and yet have everyone in denial about it. The worst part is that *so* many women today choose to ignore this and therefore men are not held accountable. When will we learn that the battle for equal rights is not over? In fact it’s not even close.
Sadly it is people like those that I work with who make me consider voting for Ralph Nader yet again, there is a man whose values I can stand behind. Who lives up to what he believes in. Who is not a part of the political machine. Despite what Barack Obama touts he has been an extremely successful politician working within the framework of the Democratic party’s politics. If it weren’t for Hillary’s call to vote for Obama, I wouldn’t give this a second thought, my vote would be for Nader. But if she can so gracefully step down and give such a beautiful speech I will consider the Democratic nominee. I am far from blindly accepting because on principle I surely do not approve misogyny or the dog-whistle tactic that Obama used in the primaries but she made a good point about whether I really want another Republican in the White House for another 4 years. It’s a tough call, the future of the country or continued misogyny. More than likely I suppose I will side with continued misogyny but it is severely disappointing to have to make that choice.