Wednesday, February 6, 2013

...And so that I am fair.

...Or to be more specific:  This is the follow up post to my last post where I share a very unflattering story from my past that also demonstrates the degree to which gender socialization impacts our behavior.  Really it is two stories that are so similar it is pathological.  Or at least it was at the time anyway....hopefully I have evolved since then.

Two different schools, two different levels of education,  two different guys, and one common denominator: me.  In both situations I lost control and verbally attacked these guys in public, because I thought I could.  It takes two to tango for sure in both of these instances but my tongue cut far deeper than theirs each time.  

The first happened when I was in high school, with the same guy from the last post.  We were in a relationship and though the conversation was behind closed doors, everyone in the building could hear us.  We got into a rip roaring argument one day at school over who could remember what and the yelling began.  What I do remember is how verbally degrading I was to this poor guy.  I made a fool of myself and I humiliated him.  My dirty laundry smells as much as next persons.  

The second was in college, in a main academic building on campus with plenty of students passing by to witness it.  I do remember what I lost control over, though the gross over response is so pathetic in retrospect.   I was defending my roommate from some pranksters, but I counted this guy my dear friend at the time and I unleashed on him, publicly humiliating him...on purpose.

Like I said in the last post, I am not stupid and I am not meek.  I am however still figuring out just how much of my behavior is influenced by the media.  Take a look at some of the male archetypes in film and television.  There is the jock...tough and handsome, but no brains.  The nerd...who has plenty of brains and often money to boot, but no social savvy.  There is the predator... and I won't even go there in this post but they have neither brains nor social savvy. 

But the women around them are always there to pick up the slack where they fail, and remind them of their deficiency.  Television and film do not champion a strong, emotionally balanced, fully capable man.  No wonder young men are so angry these days.  I may not have the strength to physically usurp power, but I have almost always known how to usurp emotional power by degrading men with my words.  Ouch for the men I have victimized.  Ouch for the reality that when I bully, I hurt others and I degrade myself as well.

One last little bit... media is not the only dynamic shaping the cultural shift away from an egalitarian lifestyle, but it is a very big part of the puzzle.  Art reflects life and life reflects art... it is a symbiotic dance.  Our families shape how we behave socially and if we are modeled unhelpful depictions of adult opposite sex relationships...we will pay it forward.  So that I am clear, accountability for my behavior in relationship ultimately rests on my shoulders and in order for me to be able to face that truth I need to understand why I sometimes operate in a manner that is so disconnected from my values and morality.  With understanding comes an opportunity to change course, and to change course I have to discredit the unhelpful influences that tempt me down a path I don't want to travel.  For me it begins with awareness of the stillness that is within the truth of life around me.  Every day I want to return to stillness so I can have fresh eyes to view the world and my life.  May it be so...

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