Odd Observations from a Skewed Perspective

Follow suit. Especially bathing suits.

What are you entitled to?

The Internet is a firestorm after the horrific acts of a disturbed man I won’t glorify by typing his name. Not only are the gun control advocates up in arms, as always, but so is everyone with a vagina that has ever had to say “no.”

The response to the #YesAllWomen movement on Twitter is astonishing, as men and women everywhere relate their feelings on the misogyny and misandry that lives in American culture. The vast feminist outpouring of support from enlightened people refusing to apologize or further perpetuate the frightening “rape culture” that runs rampant is comforting but what about the other side?

#NotAllMen are brutal, violent, or even misogynists, and I (as an owner of a functioning vagina) understand this. I also understand that the development of this counter movement has its roots firmly entrenched in the perception of power (or the lack thereof).

Socially frustrated women of the past decades wrested control of their bodies, futures, and careers and carved themselves a piece of social power pie. For many more decades before that, such a delectable pie was reserved only for the External Plumbing half of the population. In the resulting years, men have seen that pie get gobbled up as women exerted their rights to say “no” to sexual advances, social pressures, and expectations and yes to freedoms and opportunities.

Men of today now see a reversal of that power structure, whether real or perceived, it is real in its consequence. Indoctrinated as children, men are expected to be sexually and financially powerful and successful. Fear of failure, of showing their fear, of the fear itself, seed themselves within the male psyche as a result. Such emotions can often manifest in anger and violence. Which is what we, as women, fear.

Fear of violation, being overpowered and helplessness drive the #YesAllWomen movement because all women have experienced these feelings. Is it male bashing? Perhaps to some, but it is not the overall sentiment. The chief complaint is reliant upon the idea of “entitlement.”

Is a man entitled to a woman’s body? Is a man entitled to sex? Allow me to exercise this: No, and no.

Alternately, is a woman entitled to a man’s mind? Is a woman entitled to forcibly changing a man’s mind? No, and most definitely no.

What are we entitled to? Not a damn thing. Every single aspect of human existence has to be striven for, fought for, mayhaps even died for. Every breath, smile, dollar bill has to be clawed into existence. The right to a voice? To vote? Freedom? How much blood has been spilt because we were “entitled” to be free? And now that we’re “entitled” to freedom, does that not mean freedom of hands, fingers, tongues and toes? Noooope.

As a species, humanity is not even entitled life. Death, disaster and disease care not for your enlightened (or not so enlightened) thinking. Humans have yet to discover how to stop the ravages of time upon our aging bodies, so we are not entitled even a moment to waste.  We do not have that power to issue entitlement to ourselves, let alone the rest of the world.

The power struggle polarizes humanity. Men feel that power has been taken from them, and therefor must be regained in some means, whether sexually or not. Women feel that power is taken from them, and therefor must be regained in some means, whether sexually or not. Everyone wants a piece of the power pie, always perceiving the other side has the majority. The #YesAllWomen movement began the discourse with the personal stories of misogyny. #NotAllMen counters defensively but also serves to offer a voice piece for misandry, and the issues that men face, and that are just as worthy of discussion. Men do get raped, sexually harassed, and manipulated by women (#NotAllWomen do this!) and it is not acceptable. 

Perhaps, in the aftermath of the internet phenomenon, we can utilize the information to tease out the insidious nature of (not so) hidden power struggles, and begin a working evolution towards real equality. Equality that is not only in the letter of the law, but felt in the hearts and minds of the people. We all have the power to do this. And each of us has the power to read and learn, or not.

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