It is kind of amazing the way people hold onto these ideas that if they haven’t had first person experience with things, it either doesn’t exist, or anything to do with it has been greatly exaggerated. I see examples of this nearly every day. It’s weird how people have stopped accepting a reality that truly exists simply because it hasn’t affected them.
I deal with this often, particularly with one friend, who, for all intents and purposes, lives a pretty male oriented life. He will discuss a situation and I will respond with something like, “Wow! That person is a danger to others!” He’ll ask how, and I then explain how these things directly negatively impact women in a large scale. Almost every time, he responds with, “Well, I knew it was something I didn’t want to be exposed to, and I’ve somewhat heard about that, but didn’t realise just how bad it was.” It happened just this week with a conversation about incels. He had just joined a group and was confused by their behavioral and words and I immediately said, “That’s the start of becoming an incel. They just haven’t gotten to the blaming women for their inability to have sex over realizing they have shitty behaviours and personal traits they need to fix.” Yesterday, he sent me an image sent in that group of two women with the caption stating that women control sex and that the viewer would never be worthy of it, and said, “I was wrong. You were right.”
The sad part was, he had to have it proven correct for me to be correct. Meanwhile as a woman, I *have* to be aware of all the behavioral and personal traits of men that are dangerous, harmful, and potentially deadly. But my friend, who is male, gets to live blissfully ignorant of these things because they don’t have the potential to negatively impact him. For me, it has become a part of who I am, because I am a woman. I can’t just shrug off a toxic behavior of men and think, “Wow…that sucks.” and move on with my life. It becomes another thing I need to be aware of when dealing with men to avoid the negative effects of that behavior.
Even today, a discussion was started about how people will complain and ask for a discount if they pull a bottle of soda out of a cooler and the bottle isn’t ice cold. A male said, “In all my years of cashiering, that’s never happened to me.” He, of course, never mentioned how many years that was. I replied that I had and my son had, which made me realise, my son is young, and I’m a woman, two types of people other people feel they can bully to get what they want. The man who replied was older and honestly, pretty scary looking. It’s not a wonder that had never happened to him. But that didn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It absolutely does.
This is why I listen to people. Because I haven’t had their experiences. I don’t discredit something just because my experience has been different. If I don’t directly ask, I often try to find out why they had their experiences and why I didn’t. I try to find out what creates that situation, so that I, at least, make sure I don’t recreate that myself inadvertently. My goal isn’t to deny their experiences, but to make sure I don’t replicate it to them or anyone else.
Americans seriously lack the ability to listen and help other people’s existence be less fraught with horrible interactions and behaviours. I know a lot of what I post here are rants about people’s behaviours elsewhere. A large part of that is because I am so tired of living in a world with, blind, self absorbed people who need help and perspective. I also hate having to be the educator for people who don’t feel at all obligated to learn these things for themselves unless they are introduced to it by someone it does affect, and no other reason.
My friend had heard about incels before, but had never bothered to learn how dangerous they can be because it literally will never affect him.
We need to quit being so wilfully disaffected by things that only affect some people that don’t include ourselves. The experience of life is more than just what we experience.