On Being Straight: The Trauma That Bonds?

I would bet good money that every straight woman, at some time in her life, has asked herself, “Why do I put up with their crap?

Haystack Captive

I think I love him!

Do We Need Men?

Walking away is tempting sometimes, but something holds us back. Something more than comfort or children or poverty or all the social pressure in the world. None of these stop a determined woman.

On the intriguingly titled blog She Has The Power, I finally found analysis with some meat to it:

"This need for women to be with men begins to reveal itself as a means for surviving male violence. This becomes even more evident when you read that even men display "feminine" behaviors when they are dominated. What if women have adapted to male domination and violence by ‘sleeping with the enemy’?"

There’s definitely some truth here. Performative femininity is enfeebling and servile, which does look like grooming and ‘behaving' in an abuse framework. But She Has The Power, and others like her, are saying that we go through all the effort of learning to cook and keep up a home and navigate other people’s feelings and keep a goddam calendar…. Because men make us. By their very presence as individual men alive in the world. Whether they actually engage in any of the behaviors in question or not! But I’m skipping ahead.

Aside from being plain insulting, this rare contemplation of this subject studiously ignores the obvious. The elephant in the room is that our readiness to deal with men doesn't come simply from having to deal with men.

We have to deal with men because humanity depends on it.

Nature has made (most of) us attracted to them because survival of the species insists. Hate to break it to you, but we as individuals don’t have ultimate control over anything, even ourselves. Do you think Mr. Mantis wants to lose his head? He just can’t help himself. Life finds a way and, sometimes, that way is through you. Something I think many women understand better than most men.

The author uses the word “unnatural” several times. Labeling heterosexuality unnatural is absurd, because procreation. Because the species as a unit is driven to perpetuate itself, and many of us come with preset impulses for this. And I’m not comfortable letting men off the hook en masse by asking, "why don't we just leave?

Whatever Happened to Kinsey?

Group Thing

Okay guys, how we gonna do this?

Every so often, I find myself thinking the Kinsey scale would be really handy. Many out there in Genderland seem totally unaware of the origins of our modern popular understanding of any of this.

Alfred Kinsey developed the oldest scale to measure sexuality. He and a team of researchers conducted thousands of interviews at Indiana University, publishing their findings in 1948. Their book challenged a lot of cultural ideas at the time. It also laid the foundation for modern studies of sexuality.

Kinsey did away with that binary everyone hates, replacing it with a 7-point scale between Hetero and Homo. A person who identifies as a 3 would, theoretically, be perfectly bisexual. 

Healthline does a pretty good job of defining and describing the Kinsey Scale. Freelance writer Sian Ferguson also calls it “outdated” 3 times, while repeating how our entire modern understanding of sexuality is based on it.

Ferguson lists the scale’s shortcomings:

  • Doesn't account for differences between romantic and sexual orientation

True. Possibly because they are different things, and Kinsey left romance to psychologists.

  • Doesn't account for asexuality

Because a key rating factor was experiences subjects had, not just how they felt. Most adults have at least attempted to follow the life script, or had intense encounters, of some kind, with others.

  • Assumes that gender is binary

Gender…. or sex? More on this in a moment.

  • Many are uncomfortable identifying with (or being identified as) a number on a scale

Oh, suddenly this matters?? I have been “identified as” plenty of things recently against my wishes! If you are (almost?) entirely sexually attracted to the opposite sex, and have had/want to have relations with them and not your same sex, guess what?

On His Lap

Whatever you call it, I love you in that shirt!

-You straight!

Congrats! Get in line. How this preoccupies anyone but you, your potential partners, and your family is beyond me. I recommend birth control and separate bank accounts. Good luck!

But the Healthline article hoes the Trans row carefully, going so far as to redefine Hetero- and Homosexuality:

  • Heterosexual – You're only sexually attracted to people of a different gender to you
  • Homosexual – You're only sexually attracted to people who are the same gender as you

Having already established that gender is not “binary,” it seems that Heteros are attracted to lots of people I had no idea about! So long as they are not your gender, they qualify. 

So, wait, are Heteros the new orientation sluts? Sorry, bisexuals!

  • Bisexual: You're sexually attracted to people of two or more genders

Woah, never mind, that doesn’t even make sense! ‘Bi‘ literally means ‘two!’

….Moving right along….

Sian’s best point against Kinsey, in my opinion, is that placing bisexuality as a point between two extremes robs it of the possibility of its distinct existence as a sexuality in its own right.

Although Kinsey’s team did acknowledge it’s possible for an individual to move along the sexual continuum across their lifetime.

So, Do I Have to be Straight, Or Not?

Which brings us back to the political lesbians: “We need to start asking ourselves these questions so that we can begin to analyze our relationships with men if we ever want to have healthy ones or, further, decide not to….

“We may find that there is no good reason. That our relationships are not based on reciprocal respect, but instead based on our own terror." No good reason? That’s not even a possibility worth getting worked up about. The reason, like it or not, is self-evident. It’s the reason there are men and women in the first goddam place! Additionally, respect and terror are not the only options here. These urgent questions won’t be answered without admitting nuance into the discussion.

Beer Swiller

More elixir, wench!

Unless, of course, our verdict is predetermined: "We may find that we kid ourselves we need them or want them, but this is just covering up the inherent memory, cell memory, of our violent enslavement at the hands of men."

Actually, I think she might be onto something here. And not just because epigenetics is fascinating. I touched on the touchy subject of selective breeding in humans once before. Well-behaved women may not make history, but they tended to have the most children. Blame for the maddeningly involuntary capitulations and machinations we find ourselves acting out in our roles as wives and mothers doesn’t only belong to external forces. While we lack ultimate control, our actions in the moment are where our power lies.

And anyway, this implies the entire reproductive history of the human race has been one long case of Stockholm Syndrome. When did it go from simple animal reproduction to a hostage situation? When we became self-aware? When we became Homo Sapiens? I don’t see why Neanderthal women would have been so much better off!

It might have been the day women invented agriculture and men said, “Thanks for the food, we’ll be taking the wealth, too!”

She Has The Power continues, "Another factor is most male violence against women is done by men women know, not by strangers. We are inundated with threats of violence from male strangers, but the truth is stranger male violence is rare.” This frightening-sounding factoid is analogous to most driving accidents happening within 5 miles of home, simply because we use those roads most often. The people in our orbit are the ones with the most access to us! 

I believe the reason for this [inundation] is that patriarchy has a stake in keeping women terrified of the strange man out there. This terror keeps women in their place, within the confines of the nuclear family and on a societal level." This is a new angle to me, and I’m stoked to finally find some real commentary on how the macro interacts with the micro, instead of lazily smearing the system onto the individual. 

Self Inflicted

Who needs whom, exactly?

How To Even the Odds?

Lots of women buy this one, too. Too many forum threads take the familiar form of women huddled in a corner, asking each other in panicked whispers what to do. They’re so much bigger than us! They are naturally more violent! Inevitably, someone puts forward the idea of self-defense classes. But how many of us actually take any?

It’s high on my list, after the ever-growing pile of stuff the kids need. The older I get, the more convinced I am it’s something every young woman should learn. SHTP is right to say we are brainwashed to fear men. Most of them are bigger than most of us. They win at arm wrestling and sprinting. But our lower center of gravity makes us more balanced, and they will tire out before we do. 

Women’s self-defense feels like an oddly impolite thing to bring up. Don’t blame the victim! Men should learn not to rape!

Yes, absolutely they should. But here is where the brainwashing shows itself – Why is it considered “empowering” to learn pole dancing, but self-defense classes are akin to victim-blaming?

Could it be because one serves Patriarchy and the other doesn’t? We have been conditioned to ignore our one great physical advantage – What they portray as their most potent weapon,  with which they terrorize us and each other, their preoccupation and proudest possession, is actually their greatest weakness. 

Nature gave them an OFF button!

I wonder if a repressed fear of women leveraging this weakness is responsible for the common nonsense of our “feminine wiles,” their perception of us leading them around by their dicks. 

Oscar The Slob

Remember what we’re fighting over, ladies!

Misters Before Sisters?

Anyway, then SHTP pulls out her big brush, "women tend to dislike themselves and other women because they are seeing themselves as weak, stupid, petty and deserving of male punishment" Perhaps unconscious self-hatred stems from denying yourself for survival. But, in the context of Stockholm Syndrome (which, I would add, is not even an accepted concept in modern psychology!) this does seem like blaming the victim. Women hate each other because we are trained to compete for male favors. Yet another Feminist concept I had thought was settled. The one place it really is best to just put men aside is in service of Sisterhood.

"Patriarchy teaches women that men are important and women are not." The message I have spent my life studiously ignoring is that rich, beautiful women matter so much that I should do everything I can to imitate them. (Men are simply more important.) This works to activate the competition programming. Keep us jealous of other women and preoccupied with male value. Divide and conquer.

SHTP has a different take on this: "Women then see themselves and other women as weak, stupid, petty and deserving of male punishment. This is also why women tend to compete when it comes to male attention." We compete for their favors because we think we deserve punishment? This point is sort of muddled. "To be important, women must be with men thereby getting attention or importance through osmosis."

It often plays out that way. Women have been stifled for millennia, and many a Regent has ruled through her son. But I don't think most women actually believe men are intrinsically more important. Certainly, most modern Western women don’t believe this.

Some Women Are Straight

Rounding out her interesting essay, she states her thesis question, "If we take these factors out of the equation, would women want to be with men?"

Baby Slap

How do I raise you to be a decent human being?

Strange phrasing, since she was clear near the beginning that fear is the only possible motivation for this arrangement. Another piece I found goes further, insisting, “emotional or sexual attachment to men can always only be trauma-bonding, because for it not to be, men would have to not be our oppressors.” So, no little girl innocently loves her Daddy?

It’s that confusing the individual and the system problem again! The tire is not the car. It may be part of the car, it may be integral to the car. It may be forever marked by and identifiable as part of the car. But the tire is, without question, not the car.

Not the strongest metaphor, maybe, but this was silly already. This is kid’s stuff, ladies!

Besides, making lesbianism a reaction to men is insulting to lesbians.

Many of us put up with men because, on a deep level, we don’t have much choice. But if we succumb to tribalism, we fall victim to the same arrogance that allows men to behave badly. Someone has to be the adult in the room. Maybe volunteering for this is playing into the stereotypes but, dammit, this has got to end somewhere. Let it end with us.


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