My mother kept telling me since I was 12 that all that men want is sex and that they see women only as objects of pleasure. This has scarred me for life as I could not relate freely with my father after that and I have become a radical feminist. There is a part of me that is angry with my mother for corrupting my mind at such a young age because I can see that I start out in relationships with a lot of bias and aggression and thus cannot sustain relationships. I wonder whether I will ever be able to have a mutually loving and respectful relationship with a man. I am sad and lonely. Please help.
Ans: Your mother’s perceptions of the world and of men in general – may have offered you psychological sanctuary for a while. This is to be expected. Parental sanctions, opinions and approvals are the means by which children seek out to familiarise themselves with the structures and stresses of daily living – In a society. It’s the template that a child learns to draw from in moments of uncertainty and doubt.
However, every template has an expiry date as new discoveries and leanings must inform how we process so much in this world. It is not inaccurate to assume that several men do indeed aspire to have sexual relationships with women. However, one cannot assume that is ‘all men want’ as that would be a bit of a broad-strokes generalisation that lacks any support of proof. It is also a sexist statement to make. To know about all men, one would have to meet all men and carve out a representative sample from the sample universe known as (all men).
Since it is impossible to meet every man on this planet, you’ll have to work with the limited information about men you have access to. Information your mother shared with you which may be lacking logic or accuracy. Radical feminism pits women against men. The day you realise that your gender isn’t part of a competitive sport and victory points are not being given out to either gender, you may opt to soften your stance.
It will certainly serve you well to adopt a more balanced and gender-neutral perspective since all human beings essentially try and play to their strengths and ultimately get undone due to bad habits, bad timing or if they catch their tails in the headwinds of life. The statement “men use women” or “men oppress women” can also be structured as “women allow themselves to be used” or “women submit themselves to oppression”. Which is true? There is a fragment of fact to both these statements but everything must be assessed on a case-to-case basis.
There are several facets to a person regardless of their gender. Nobody’s ever entirely good or evil as the stories may suggest. Maybe your mother’s experience of significant men in her life was unpleasant. How did this predispose her towards such a deep-seated prejudice against all men? This warrants exploration.
If you are in fact aware that your mind is corrupted, then you may choose to undo the damage she has done by giving yourself the leeway and permission to meet new men and give them a chance to be themselves around you. Let them enter your life. Every situation needs to be judged with a fresh set of eyes for it to make sense over time. Nobody becomes a certain way by default.
These things are circumstantial. A cascade of unpleasant situations can colour one’s thinking in a way that inhibits open-mindedness. Don’t let your bias consume you. Aggression is a miserable two-way street. If you don’t give people a chance to be people and you expect them to stay bound to your subjective ideas of how they should be, disappointment awaits.
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