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Random illuminations

I was hoping around and came across a tiny little gem hidden away within the depths of a comment section on a rather amusing remark on AVFM http://feministcurrent.com/7555/mens-rights-activistsadvocate-for-human-rights-with-rape-and-death-threats/ Actually, this whole comment sections is ripe which just plain awesome statements. I actually rambled for quite a bit when I first wrote this. But then I realized I addressed way too many topics at once. So check it out for yourself, like many comment sections, ripe with gold.

The actual article is quite pointless and substance less. Here’s a tip, unless you want to be accused of libel, I suggest you actually provide evidence for your claims.

Let me address the comment that actually sparked this particular post…

Maya Says:
April 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm
Stephanie: who has been in power for 6,000+ years? Men have. Who owns/control every institution that matters in society (the government, the military, the legal system, the media, academia, etc) and is able to mold society in their image and to their advantage? Men, as a group – especially white men.

If there are parts of the system that are less-than-stellar for men, it’s because they’ve set it up that way themselves. It’s not the fault of women or feminists.

…it’s times like these when you have these strange moments of clarity. When someone says something in just the right way, a little thought bubble appears above your head with the words; “So *that’s* what this is about?” Allow me to demonstrate mine…

“Every institution that matters…” The value of things within society are not inherent; they are given by society. Value is almost personable, since a political position has absolutely no value to me. If someone were to offer one to me, I would most likely turn it down (the other part of me accepting just to be a dick). How is the military valuable to society? By sucking up more tax spending than any other country in the world (in the US)? By furthering political posturing overseas?

If academia is controlled by men for; “their advantage”, then why are men failing at all time highs with no signs of change? Women are currently “winning” the academic “war” (so to speak); did men set it up that way? Why would men, who molded society in their image, *ever* create a system which inherently disadvantages them in meaningful ways? I understand the posturing; politicians do it all the time. You feign moral integrity from profit while positioning yourself to gain profitably gain from the issue. But you never pass laws or make judgments that have a direct negative impact on you.

And what of the things that Feminism has done in regard to removing privileges from women? Are they to blame since women are the root behind their own liberation? So any such system which disadvantages women derived from Feminism is merely the fault of Feminism yes? So when women complain that chivalry is dead; we can point the finger squarely upon the notions of women’s liberation and the idea of a self-sufficient female that requires no man’s assistance? When society complains about the lack of a strong sense of social value tied to strong families, we can point to Feminism for increasing the damages people suffer when the contract is voided by either party? Or will the blame for both men’s and women’s issues continue to fall squarely on the shoulders of men?

I believe I can cover the narrative aptly…
When men fail, it is men’s fault.
When women fail, it is men’s fault.
When women succeed, it is done despite men.
When men succeed, it is done for women.

I always find it sad when people lack the integrity to accept their own personal responsibility in either creating or maintaining a problem. So when a woman suggests my issues regarding a sense of social worth tied directly to the size of my income is a construct devised by men, why is it that it only seems to matter to women? While the economic value was created by social and economic factors determined by men, its social value is maintained by both men and women, and its personal value is solely determined by women. Can I not blame each party for the hand they have in creating said problems?

But let’s address something I just touched on earlier. Feminism is an ideological position for the gynocentrism of political, legal and social policy. In essence, Feminism works for women to the expressed benefit of women. So… how does it differ from a system derived from and for men? It doesn’t, you just aren’t the primary beneficiary of said system. And of course, that doesn’t mean the system can’t alter itself to benefit you (which is often does).

Take your racist comment as an example; “especially white Men.” If I were to build a society, would I not do so based on my personal image? My thoughts? My ideas? My dreams? Would I not do so to further the ideals that I hold? Would I not educate others the same way? To teach society that (egotistical) my way of life is better for everyone around me? And is it wrong that I personally benefit from a system which I designed for the sole purpose to benefit and further my unique perspective on the world?

Your racial and cultural bias are so obvious it’s palatable. The Chinese built a society that works for the Chinese. Are the Chinese wrong for doing so? Are the Chinese at an advantage in a Chinese society? Is a Frenchman as a distinct disadvantage in a Chinese society? Do the Chinese need to change their society to accommodate the Frenchman? Or does the Frenchman need to learn to adapt to Chinese society?

This particular brand of Feminism is what I’m going to start calling the ‘middle management crux’. You are most likely a middle class white woman. You live a pretty decent life; just like me. You’ve had ups and downs. And there are some things you’d change to better your own life given the opportunity. And you probably wouldn’t notice, potentially even care about, how those adjustments impact other people. Why would you? You’re privileged not to deal with that. Their problems are beyond your scope, and many of them probably bring it upon themselves. You just want a better position, more authority and power.

You basically want to control what you consider “valuable”. But there are things that are equally, possible more valuable to society than the power you crave.

How valuable is clothing to society? Did you know Doris Fisher is one of the founders of “The Gap”? Are her contributions not valuable to society? What about feeding society? What about providing shoes? Plumbing? Electricity? A roof over their heads?

Your value structure is one of control and influence; not one of service or support (why else would Feminism talk about the “glass ceiling” and not the “concrete floor”?). You cannot personally benefit from a support role can you? But you can benefit if you can dictate policy. One that favors you and your demographic perhaps? Then can we finally blame you for the problems in your society? Or will it still be our fault?

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Even a broken clock is correct twice a day

Just a quick note here. I have said in a few prior discussions that I am more interested in someone’s personal opinions as opposed to their self reported affiliations to specific ideologies. It’s extremely rare when I encounter someone whose views fall 100% in line with whatever ideology they profess. And as I pointed out earlier today, simply asking questions can start providing answers you might not think were possible.

The case that brought this about… http://www.reddit.com/r/Feminism/comments/1bgj2u/how_does_rfeminism_feel_about_the_male_birth/

Whenever I hear/read/see an argument along the lines of; “Feminism is against this!” or equally; “Feminists are against this!” I must question the accuracy of the statement. Because… you know… I just proved you were wrong.

I understand your statement and the frustration that spawned it; *some* Feminists are against it. Well… perhaps skeptical might be a better word… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/male-pill-can-men-be-trusted_n_1897819.html http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2008/04/sorry-ladies-male-birth-control-pill-is.html http://whatmenthinkofwomen.blogspot.com/2012/03/dr-coutinho-tells-how-feminists.html#!/2012/03/dr-coutinho-tells-how-feminists.html

And sure, it seems that *some* women want to have unilateral control over men’s reproductibility… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1328599/Vasectomy-Why-wives-tell-husbands-snip.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2249144/Vasectomies-60-decade–husbands-refuse-make-ultimate-commitment.html http://talkaboutmarriage.com/sex-marriage/58385-wife-wont-have-sex-unless-i-get-vasectomy-3.html http://www.mommyish.com/2012/04/16/i-want-my-husband-to-get-a-vasectomy-so-that-he-wont-have-kids-without-me-542/

But these things merely indicate that there is dissent amongst Feminists and Women in regards to what they want (wow… there’s a shocker). And judging the whole based on the actions or positions of a few *is* a logical fallacy. Take a chill pill (punny I know) and examine what people think on an individual level.

If someone wants complete control over your reproduction, kindly tell them to go reproduce with themselves.

An educational challenge

I had a very interesting discussion this week with someone I didn’t necessarily agree with. This is possible through many means of communication, but variably difficult depending upon a few factors; what rhetoric someone uses, their dispositions, the level of emotional investment they have into the subject, etc.

It’s something I’ve done before, and every time I’ve met with a striking amount of success. Perhaps because it relies on a strong sense of personal effort. I want to challenge others to do the same; but don’t worry, it’s quite simple.

Just ask questions.

Find someone you disagree with on something and just ask them questions. Don’t counter argue, don’t charge your responses, don’t provide contrary evidence, don’t make accusations, don’t use sarcasm. Simply ask questions, more questions and even more questions.

This provides interesting insights into the minds of others. You get to learn what they think of a subject, how they have learned about it themselves, exactly what they know about the subject, why they think the way they do, etc. It often provides additional information that would have been otherwise unavailable through debated discourse.

It also disarms potential accusations regrading your motivations and assorted commentary. After all, you’re merely asking questions right? What kind of position doesn’t appreciate questions? One you shouldn’t bother discussing anyway.

There are also many positions that intentionally misconstrue the opposing position (hello politics). So either you accept the bias given your affiliation to it, or you begin to realize that you are being lied to. Well… maybe you’re being lied to, maybe the others are being lied to.

I’ve been privy to a few confessions regarding people’s concern that if their ideological cohorts knew they were asking questions of the opposition, they would be cast out of the fold. To which I only ever had one reply… if your position actively suppresses open inquiry, why do you hold it?

I have never received an answer. Which merely begs more questions.

Indulge your curiosities. And consider sharing your results in comments. I welcome them.

Workplace deaths are not a “Mens Rights Issue”

I know the statistic; men account for 90%+ of workplace deaths. It’s one of those statistics that can’t really be argued because the raw numbers are easily accessible, are only ever disputed within a few points of each other and the results are rather self-explanatory. People die while working, and the vast majority of those deaths happen to be male. For the time being, we’re not going to touch “work” regarding military, because that’s a whole other bag of worms.

But just because those affected are predominantly male; doesn’t make it a “male” issue. Male issues, at least in my personal perspective, are things that affect men *because* they are male. Prostate cancer is a male issue, because it predominately affects males (although women can still get prostate cancer) because of our biology. Workplace deaths don’t happen because of our biology, but because of specific choices and sets of circumstances.

Do men have a right to a safe workplace? Absolutely. Do men as a demographic enter more dangerous fields of work? Absolutely. Are men as a group affected more by dangerous, hazardous and fatal workplace deaths? Absolutely. Then how is it not a MRA issue? I’m not saying MRA’s shouldn’t advocate and campaign for safer work environments, I’m simply saying it’s not your fight, and you shouldn’t co-opt it as such.

Wait wait, there’s good news here, so hold off on the pitchforks for a moment.

In my work history I’ve had the opportunity to work in a lot of different fields and environments. I was even on a safety council for a few months at one site. I can say without a doubt that companies do take it seriously, at least 90%+ of them do. Here’s a few examples…

I worked at Intel for a bit, and they were borderline anal about safety. Here’s an official stance on the matter; http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/corporate-responsibility/environmental-health-safety-policy-otellini.html …unofficially, I can tell you they were so concerned, that I was rarely allowed to work without a partner, and never without the proper paperwork and support structure. They even had rounded mirrors at every hallway intersection for the sole purpose of preventing people from walking into each other around corners.

I once had to get a band-aid for a cut (a few millimeters at most, no blood, but open enough to justify a band-aid), and a massive review was required. Safety protocols were reviewed, a report was filed, several people were contacted and multiple meetings were held. All that, for a fucking band-aid. It was an accident at best, and I maintained full responsibility of my own actions that resulted in it occurring, because they would have fired the other party otherwise.

That’s how seriously Intel takes it’s safety procedures.

Several other companies I did work for had very strict policies, including a well-known one; “lock out tag out”… http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/ …often done by at least 2 individuals; so you had two people verify the work was completely and sign off on the OK-go.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time sitting through safety meetings, trainings, videos, reviews, tests. Often having to go through them yearly, not allowed to even touch equipment until the documents were completed, my tests were passed (universally 100% rating as the only acceptable one), the work was reviewed, someone was there to inspect everything and I followed proper procedures to the letter. Often it took more time to go through all the red tape than it did to actually do the work.

These are companies from high-end electronics to your local bakeries. Multiple government programs and bodies insure ample support to anyone who ever raises a safety concern at work. Safety inspectors, fire marshals, etc. The insurance payouts, safety fines, down time; these are all costs companies want to avoid while keeping productive employees alive to do their job.

I worked with one company last year that was setting records for the longest stretch of time with no safety incidents. Then a tragedy hit and a worker died on the job. The *entire* company shut down for the day to determine what happened, how they could fix the issue and re-educate all their employees. When I say *entire*, I mean the *entire*, nation wide company. All locations; even the one’s across the country. They did not fuck around and they took care of the person’s family.

Now; there are exceptions. There are jobs out there that don’t have such stringent safety protocols. The Crabbing industry for one. And of course there’s a discussion to be had regarding safety in the workplace; Mike Rowe certainly brings up some interesting considerations in his TED talk… http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs.html

Everyone has probably had at least one moment in their life where they had to weigh potential risks against potential rewards. I know I’ve had a few and I’m currently dealing with at least one. It isn’t always a life or death situation; they just tend to get the most press for obvious reasons.

Many of workplace fatalities are avoidable. Sometimes people make mistakes; they forget procedure, they overlook something simple, they don’t double-check something. Learning from each situation helps improve things for the future employees. And yes, each one of them is a tragedy, regardless of circumstance. Someone died, and that just sucks.

Many workplace fatalities are also just a matter of pure chance. Working with unpredictable animals for one… http://news.yahoo.com/founder-worker-killed-lion-female-intern-001914140.html …among other simply random occurrences that no one could reasonably prepare for. Parts failing, things exploding, a surge, etc.

But all of these thing illustrate the point I’m attempting to make; these things do not happen *because* someone is male(or female for that matter). They happen by choice, by neglect, by random events, but not because you’re a man. It’s coincidence, correlation at best, but certainly not causation.

I simply don’t understand how framing this problem as a gendered issue is going to solve the problem. It always struck me odd when someone asks what Feminism is going about it if they are for equality. What is Feminism supposed to do about it? What are MRA’s supposed to do about it?

The obvious potential solution is one of personal choice. You make the decision regard risk VS reward; you accept the risk. So long as people are provided the appropriate information and make the decision on their own accords, I can’t see a problem in it. Insomuch that the company isn’t woefully negligent for questionable reasons. Like not providing a hard-hat to an employee because they’re cheap. By all means ream those cheap corporate bastards for neglecting your safety.

I’ve refused to do work that was unsafe and I’ve done work that was horribly unsafe (have you ever tried to separate a raging hormonal bull from a pen full of heffers?). Each time I assessed the situation and made a judgment call. Admittedly, I may have done so in haste at times and without a full concept of the entire situation. But that’s my choice. And as Mike Rowe suggests; if it prevents the work from actually getting done, what’s the point?

I’m not going to stop you from pointing out the statistic (because it’s accurate). I’m not going to stop you from working toward fixing the issue (because it’s something that should always be in discussion). I’m not even going to stop you from ranting against Feminism for not doing a damn thing about it (because it isn’t). But I will point out that the reasons these things happen goes beyond what you happen to be packing in your pants. And attributing the issue and the fix to the issue as “gendered” is a massive misappropriation of reasoning.

My suggestion; look after yourself and those around you. And preaching wonderful advice here; stop and think… not only will it help you learn, it just might save your life.

A lifetime of microaggressions from Lindy West

I dabble in various article from time to time; and often in the things I may or may not agree with. It helps maintain perspective and breeds creative outside the box thinking when you expose yourself to alternative ideas. Recently a particular writer has caught my attention, Lindy West from Jezebel. I went ahead and read some things she’s written and I could spend all day long taking about how much I disagree with her on many, many things. The life of a critic is bitter-sweet is it not?

But the one thing she does most that just makes me raise a single eyebrow in confused curiosity is commit the very sins she so rants against. Granted, we all tend to be somewhat hypocritical about things from time to time, we are only human. But she takes it to a professional level.

Case in point…

You are not qualified to be dismissive of a lifetime of microaggressions until you have personally experienced a lifetime of microaggressions.

…having experienced a lifetime of microaggressions, I’m qualified to be dismissive of them. Point of argument; *everyone* is qualified. People suffer from microaggressions more than you might realize. People have to deal with other people; how can they not?

Within the past month I have experienced a few microaggressions. Just yesterday as I was relaxing outside, a trio of young women walked past my yard expounding upon the inferiority of men and the superiority of women.

Not long before that I overheard a conversation at work regarding the “broken leg” chromosome responsible for a man’s inability to be empathetic toward his own daughter.

A woman suggested I date my own dogs merely because I wasn’t interested in her. Perhaps she felt I was microaggressing her?

And as a man, I’ve also experienced macroaggressions; which makes me qualified to dismiss those to. I’ve been clocked, smacked, slapped, spanked, assaulted, threatened all for various reasons. (Yah, I earned a few of them)

You see, I know how to tell the difference between a serious issue, a casual accident and a misunderstanding. This whole “Dongelgate” issue is really a matter of the later two at best. I’m not nearly as tech-geek as those involved, but I could understand the joke after taking 2 bloody minutes to learn about it. It was funny, and it was private.

But I’m not here today to talk about that, I’m here to talk about you; Lindy West. I’m here to show you your sins. For within your emotionally charged self-righteous vindictive effort to expose the misogyny of reactions and call people out on their bullshit, you hypocritically ignored how you committed the very offense you hate. You committed microassult, microinsult and microinvalidation. Would you like to know how?

Woman in Tech Tweets About Sexist Dudes in Tech. Dude Gets Fired. Internet Meltdown Ensues.

It’s not Woman VS Man, it’s Woman VS “dudes”. The joke wasn’t a technical reference, it was “sexist”. We’re not even dealing with men who made a joke, we’re dealing with “sexist dudes”.

by a couple of tech bros sitting behind her making some shitty sexual puns about “dongles” and “forking.”

Once again, “bros” instead of men. Followed by a misunderstanding of the joke.

Quite a few “dudes” scattered around there. Do you know what a “dude” is? One definition is a man who is obsessive about manners. Do you really think that qualifies under your interpretation of events?

Sidenote to tech dudes: GET A FUCKING GRIP.

So she can create an open dialogue, but tech “dudes” are supposed to get a grip? On what exactly?

And the issue that a lot of (white) men seem to have trouble grasping is that not everyone gets to move through the world wrapped in the comfy presumption that every space is their space.

I’m not sure how being “white” makes a difference in the grand scheme of things. Because we live in a predominately white nation? Because one person involved happens to be black?

Many men, especially after this, don’t actually get to walk around “comfortably” in the world, when at a moments notice, a private remark you make can garner this much media attention. How do you not get that?

I can only speculate, but based on my experiences in male-dominated fields (film criticism, comedy)…

Yes, “your” experiences are not “everyone’s” experiences. Nor do they resonate with men who work in female dominated fields possible feeling similar. Or men in other fields who have to constantly watch what they say.

I imagine that constant dick jokes…

You don’t have a dick. You’re not qualified to dismiss jokes about their size as a direct reflection of a mans worth to a woman. Nor do you get to infer a woman’s body as a sexual utility object when we are replaced by a battery operated toy for being better at the job.

We need men to help.

So after all those insults you still expect us to help? Would you mind helping me move my couch after I call you a raging bitch?

Forward-thinking men who work in fields traditionally hostile to women have a responsibility to be actively pro-woman in those spaces.

We can’t just do our jobs in peace? You expect us to do more? Like what? Get you a cup of coffee in the morning?

Now pick some of this shit up—it’s heavy.

It’s so nice to know that you still judge men on their ability to handle heavy loads.

Now I know you’ll probably never read this. And even if you did, you wouldn’t agree with me and probably express how I’m merely representative of “The Patriarchy” or other unfalseifiable rhetoric. All fairly par for the course really. But that would simply be another microaggression you committed against me and in turn, all men.

Or perhaps you’ll say this is just a single, among others, article and it doesn’t count against as a ‘life time of microaggressions’. But how long have we heard this? Many men are still young and have been hearing this all their lives.

Do our experiences simply not matter?

I’ll leave you with two things. First, in your own words…

…she wasn’t hostile or irrational, she wasn’t outraged over one shitty dongle joke—she was expressing an accumulated frustration at the persistent difficulty…

…words to consider anytime you ever disrespect and dismiss anything an MRA has to say.

And second, do you simply fail to realize the irony in the statement; “Men will never understand what it’s like to be judged solely on their gender!”?

Edit – Link to the article; http://jezebel.com/5991792/woman-in-tech-tweets-about-sexist-dudes-in-tech-dude-get-fired-internet-meltdown-ensues (My bad for not including this right off the bat; I have shamed myself!)

Representative VS Deterministic

There’s a common argument that equal representation will be the determining point of equality. That has never made any sense to me. The creation of the US government can somewhat explain why it simply doesn’t work from a practical standpoint (while ignoring the obvious issues surrounding a purely democratic legal structure).

The senate has an even number of seats, Congress does not. Where the populations differ in extremes, more votes are given to greater populated areas; considering that they serve more of the population. But regardless of these two differences, there are still a limited number of seats; about 535. The rough current US population is about 314 million or so. That means that a single representative is supposed to account for about 586,916 people.

Do we see the problem yet?

Let me ask you a different way. How many demographics exist in the US? Call me crazy and terrible at math, but I’m fairly certain it exceeds 535. A few hundred nationalities, several political positions, a few sex/gender based identifications, your height/weight, the color of your hair, etc.

Where is the rep for the short black homosexual midgets? The atypical tall Latino hipster democrat? The overweight transsexual libertarian with purple hair? Make it a game; how many demographics can you come up with? You really expect to gauge equality based on representative numbers?

I’ll let you in on a little secret coming from a white guy (bring on the hate); I don’t have two shits to give about my representatives. They’re all conniving politicians interested in lining their pockets and placating the voters to further their own goals. And you think, laughably at best, that swapping them out with a few vagina card-carrying members of society is going to change the status-quo? You really think that they will suddenly give a shit about you? If you do, I have a bridge I can sell you.

You see, I don’t benefit from their policies. Nor do they need to share your specific demographic in order to provide you benefit. If you lobby them (throw money at them), you can get whatever policy you want in place, so long as you work the system correctly. And if you replace some white dude with some black chick; nothing is really going to change for me. I’ll continue to go about my business attempting to ignore the horrendous bullshit that comes out of both their mouths as they pander for my vote. What’s going to change for you? Will you suddenly get a tax break? Will you get a promotion? I doubt it.

At best, what may happen is government funding is shifted a little bit. You may or may not benefit, or you benefits might not change at all.

Did racism suddenly disappear when Obama took office? A black man is the most powerful (arguably) man in the US; but that didn’t really change anything did it? So what is going to happen when 535 women take office? Their menstrual cycles will sink up? Men will get shit on for some twisted sense of justice? Laws will be enacted that don’t actually do anything? I could imagine an “equal pay” law that will shatter our economic system. Not because I’m against it (or the fact one doesn’t already exist), but because of how I can imagine they’ll choose to implement and enforce it.

The field I’m in is harshly competitive and we are mostly men. Are we unwelcoming to women? Most of the industry would jump at the chance to higher a competent female. There just aren’t many. I worked with one who was insanely unprofessional. Without getting into to many specifics; she blatantly disobeyed instruction and was constantly antagonistic. I also recently threw away an applicant that was also completely unprofessional, who I found out after the fact was female. But on the flip side I have also worked with some women capable of some stellar work and I would hire in a heart beat. To be fair, there are even more men I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole do to their work ethics and quality of output.

There have been quite a few campaigns to get more women interested in the industry, including scholarships (worth more than any I was ever eligible for). Sadly it didn’t make a dent in the numbers. So is my industry unfair to women? Or do women just not really care to enter it all that much?

I think people in general just confuse the difference between the numbers being representative VS being deterministic.

Here’s an example of a deterministic number; 41mpgs. That’s 41 miles per gallon. That is going to determine what your fuel budget is and what your vehicle can do (usually at best case scenario).

Here’s an example of a representative number; 6 feet. It represents how tall you are. I know, everyone wants to be 6ft+, but sadly the average is lower. Except for you freakishly tall Dutch.

Even statistics are merely representative, because they can only be determined after the fact. It’s statistics; which means probability. Probability is not definite.

That magical 50% number doesn’t mean equality. It merely means that for some strange reason there’s an equal amount of representation. But representation doesn’t equal interest, and it doesn’t equal success. Plenty of people are interested in becoming pro-athletes, but few meet with success. Many people are successfully going broke, that doesn’t mean they’re all interested in it. Nor does a single, high-profile, widely desired, specific set of representation determine the mark when we can consider all things equal.

Things will be equal when both genders are been shat upon equally by both genders. We have a long way to go.

Expecting Expectations

There’s an argument about unfair social expectations that unfairly pigeon hole people into unfair roles… unfairly. I sense an underlying theme in there somewhere…

What confuses me about the argument of expectation is people’s inability to determine who is expecting and why they are. Kind of an odd thing to talk about without examples; so let’s come up with a few of them…

My boss expects me to do my job. Indeed, quite unfair isn’t it? Why doesn’t he simply give me the money so I can go do what I want? Perhaps not so much a social expectation though is it? Even though in order to be social I need to finance my lifestyle. Eh, maybe we can find something else to work with.

My land lord expects me to pay rent. Completely unfair if you ask me; why does having my own space require a rent check every month? Even when I finally own, I’ll owe property taxes to the government. Whatever happened to the American dream where you carve out a little space to call your own *without* someone claiming ownership of it and demanding you pay for it? Fine, another understanding financial expectation with social elements; how else will I entertain guests?

Not quite social enough though…

My local police force expects me to obey the laws. Sure, it’s somewhat understandable, I have to live in a society with a bunch of people I don’t like; but are all the laws always just? Or do they all apply to me personally? How can one be social without adhering to the common law that allows us to work in perfect harmony toge… OK, just tolerate one another long enough to be civil.

Not purely social though is it?

A business person will expect a firm hand shake to seal a deal; at least before it’s put in writing. Speaking of business, there are a lot of expectations in other cultures for proper business etiquette that seem downright strange to use Western Folk. In turn, Eastern folk don’t understand how our corporate world works… as if we even do.

Are we starting to see a pattern here? Expectations aren’t always bad things. They have more to do with common courtesy and identifiable patterns of basic human interaction than they do oppression *as some might claim).

If I seriously mouth off to someone, I expect to get retaliation to some degree or another.

If I ask someone out, I expect to pay for the date, since I am the initiator.

If I bend over backwards for someone, I expect at least some recognition of my efforts.

If I call someone, I expect them to call me back.

These are all very basic expectations. Am I oppressing anyone? Do people who expect certain things from me merely do so on a instinctively oppressive level? Or do they do so because it makes social sense?

Now at this point one could chime in with the caveat that it’s merely the consequences of violating certain expectations that’s the problem. That’s where the oppression comes in. With that I would respond; “Are you an idiot?”

Social protocol comes with consequences for violating said protocol. If I sneeze, the social expectation is to say something along the lines of ‘bless you’; otherwise you’ll be considered rude. Rude is on the low scale, jail time on the high scale. How are any of these oppressive? I admit to being rude *all the time*; but you won’t hear me say I’m being oppressed.

You don’t have to follow social protocols; you just have to accept that by challenging them, you’ll likely not get the response you want. This has nothing to do with society, but everything to do with your ego. You can do the mature thing at that point, and not give a shit what other people think. Or you can do the egotistical thing; and bitch about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love bitching about things as much as the next person; but I’m not going to campaign for social change because people aren’t universally celebrating my disregard for social protocol. I also don’t call my parents oppressive because they have certain expectations about me.

In life, you’re expected to do a lot of things, be a lot of different ways and generally get through it just like everyone else. This doesn’t make you a victim; it makes you a member of society.

Luckily society is multi-faceted, so you can hop on all sorts of radical bandwagons to fight the status-quo, and in doing so ironically may develop your own status-quo. Then others can start their own anti-you campaigns for being douche bags or dirty hipsters or promoting weight gain, or whatever the hell else.

Expectations only matter to those that decree them, or those who feel bound by them. No one else really cares; and you’re continued failure to realize that amuses and frustrates me. Do you really think I give a shit if you wear a dress or a pair of pants? Or what color you dye your hair? Or what music you listen to? Do you really think other people actually care that much about it?

Some people do, but that’s only when you find yourself at their mercy given your own choices. Parents, coworkers, bosses, police officers, lovers, etc. You don’t have to put up with it if you don’t want to; you just might have to find another job, a new lover, a different house, etc.

When it comes to those crazy things like men and women and their subsequent expectations, and any notions about them creating conflict; let’s just remember that each gender expects something different from their own and from the opposing/complimentary gender. Men don’t expect the same thing from me that women do; and you certainly can’t tell me what’s worse for me.

And of course, don’t ever think that you don’t contribute with your own set of expectations on others. We all have them, and yours are just as oppressive as the next.