How can i stop being sexist?

Discussion in 'Family, Friends and Relationships' started by centella, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. centella

    centella Active Member

    [Sorry if this is the wrong thread, but i'm not too sure where i can post this]

    I'm horribly sexist and it makes it hard for me to form any kind of relationship. I can't talk to guys without thinking that they're just mindless sex machines, and even when i talk to other girls i'm worried that they would just see me as a 'threat' when it comes to men.

    I can't get close to anyone. I can barely hold together a platonic relationship with anyone, never mind trying for anything deeper. It's driving me crazy, and the worst thing is that i know how stupid i'm being, and that i can't just judge everyone like this. But i can't seem to shift out of this mind set. Can anyone help me?
  2. dice

    dice Well-Known Member

    Ok I'm somewhat inexperienced with relationships but here is my advice anyway. If you do find yourself in a relationship it is important to establish some ground rules. I think if you could get everything out in the open it might help to get you to see him for who he is. Explain what you are and are not comfortable with sexually, give the guy an estimate for if/when you would like to have sex, and ask what his honest views are.
  3. marklondon

    marklondon Well-Known Member

    Firstly, it's really refreshing that you're able to be so honest about this. As a man, I very often feel surrounded by people who have bought into sexist messages about men (for example, the idea that we are all mindless sex machines). It is much easier to be sexist about men than about women these days, because there is pretty much no taboo against it, and moreover, any man who complains against it is likely to be seen as 'unmanly'.

    For me, the stereotype has come even further into view over the past 7 months, when for the first time in my life, I have felt my sex drive disappear, after my relationship of 8 years broke up. I realised that the reason is because so much of my sex drive had to do with believing I could connect with another human being on a deeper level, and this breakup has shattered my faith in that. So it just feels like sex has little point any more. But the prevailing cultural notion is that male sex drive is just a matter of uncontrollable, raging hormones, nothing at all to do with emotion or the rest of our psychology. This is rubbish--but men are not allowed to deny it, because it's considered unmanly to say that our emotions govern our sex drive.

    It's good that you know on some level that your stereotypes are false. The fact is, we are all human beings, and we are therefore all deeply flawed and conflicted creatures. Sex is only one part of our existence and only one small part of our relationships--no matter how much it gets blown out of proportion by popular discourse.

    It sounds as if you are having trouble seeing past the idea of both men and women as purely sexual things. Why not try forming relationships with people you know couldn't possibly be sexually interested or threatened by you? Gay men, old women, young children? Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but perhaps if you started with such friendships, it would be easier to begin to see the complexity in other people too.
  4. ZasuArt

    ZasuArt Well-Known Member

    Sending friendship and hugs, Debbie. I've always considered myself an extremely accepting and equality minded person, but several years ago I realized that I was struggling with sexist feelings like yours, and I was not at all happy with myself for it. In my case, I realized that a combination of trauma as a young adult and being acutely aware of (and angry about) women's still widely accepted position as second class citizens all over the world had made me cynical and un-trusting when it came to men. I'm a lesbian, so this didn't effect my love life, but it limited my view of the world and made me keep some of my best male friends at arms length for no good reason. And worst of all, it made me guilty on some level of the same small minded bigotry I've fought my entire adult life as a feminist and social activist. That realization made me think about how men are, on many levels, victims of the same patriarchal nonsense that still keeps women stuck in the trap of traditional roles and chasing a gender ideal that is nearly impossible to attain. For every woman who feels stuck with the expectation that they be responsible for all the housework and the lions share of childcare (more often than not, while holding down a job outside of the home) there is a man who longs to spend more time with his kids and focus more on domestic matters, but feels he can't because of the expectation that he focus solely on being the main breadwinner. For every woman who has been so bombarded by images of the feminine supermodel ideal that she'll always feel fat, ugly and inferior; there is a man who because of that same unrealistic ideal, feels powerless to attract and support the sort of woman he has been programmed to idealize. For every woman who is frustrated at the reality of not being considered in many power positions because of the myth that she's too soft and emotional, there is a man who lives in fear of revealing that he is a sensitive, emotional being. I don't think I'm being unrealistic when I acknowledge that it is still in many ways more difficult to be a woman in this world than to be a man. But by and large, men do not benefit from oppression of women in the way I once imagined they did. Gender stereotypes and discrimination benefits no one but the corporate masters who profit from our desperate need to live up to gender ideals and the political masters who reap the rewards of a divided voter pool. I now have much healthier, more balanced relationships with male friends and I give you all the credit in the world for recognizing your own sexism and making a commitment to change. Sending hugs and friendship...T :hug:
  5. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    I agree Zasu… you are very well spoken!

    But I don't think that life is always easier for either gender… I think it mostly depends on the individual for that one… and I've known some pretty driven women in my day-- and they make wayyyyy more than I ever have and ever will. In some countries the gender gap is pretty bad, though… but western countries are definitely closing the gap more and more every day.

    About the whole 'sex machine' thing-- I think there are a lot of guys, especially ages 19-25 (possibly younger) who don't really want to grow up and settle down right away so they fall into the whole 'I'm not a guy if I don't have sex with heaps of women' mindset and their friends can make it competitive and such… I have to admit, when I was growing up, a lot of guys really looked up to the man*****s… the only time you really get a pass from that stuff is when you're in a serious, mature relationship. But most guys are looking for a specific kind of girl for that.

    If you're really worried about it, my advice would be to look for the guy who approaches you even though he's terrified. If a guy is free and easy around you, it usually means that he's gay or he's a player… if he's terrified and doesn't approach you, then he's insecure… but if he's terrified and goes through with it, no matter how awkward it might be, as long as he doesn't give off the bad vibes, then he's probably worth talking to… well, unless he's just a failed player who will become a raging jerk the instant you sleep with him… so you have to be careful. Actually, I think a lot of the players and 'the game' people have really ruined honest male-female interaction for ever

    Wow, yeah… don't listen to me at all.
  6. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    I agree with you 100% gloomy because im one of the so called nice guys lol always been insecure and too scared to talk to girls coz of fear of rejection i guess.Sadly in my experience girls dont want guys like that,i used to watch all my sexist pig mates getting hold of all the girls and treating em like shit while i'd be thinking "why choose them,id treat you well" i used to get told "i really like you but only as a friend,sorry"Sounds like im generalising here but its true,women are attracted to bad boys,confidence,danger,the guy that no women can tame coz they might be the one!! oops let the mark bashing begin lol sorry girls but i can only go by what ive observed time and time again:(
  7. ZasuArt

    ZasuArt Well-Known Member

    Thank you! You know... I actually agree with your rebuttal, I think that it is grossly oversimplifying to say that one gender "has it easier" than the other. What I really meant to say is that while the gender gap *is* growing more and more narrow, statistically speaking, women are still not equal to men in many important categories (pay, educational advantages, ratio of males to females in executive and power positions, etc.). And when you consider the state of women's rights worldwide, it's even more clear that there is still much to be done. I'm too exhausted to distill all the numbers, so here is a great link on women's economic justice from NOW (National Organization for Women) that illustrate my some of my points: :hug:

    But again, I think that as men and women, we need to stop demonizing each other and work together to force the powerful to make change that benefits all of us.

    ---------- Post added at 09:16 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 AM ----------

    ((Mark)) For what it's worth, I actually think this phenomenon is a direct result of the corporate and political manipulation I mentioned earlier. Boys are bombarded with messages that imply that "real men" are tough and aggressive and assert their power over women. Girls are bombarded with messages that "real women" are sweet and passive and allow themselves to be dominated by men. Boys who don't dominate and manipulate girls are put down as being soft and are sometimes even harrassed as being "gay" (which is still the worst insult a bully can brand their victim). Girls who don't dumb themselves down and allow themselves to be dominated find themselves equally rejected and despised. Even though more often than not, boys and girls who refuse to bend to these stereotypes are simply smarter, more evolved and less easily manipulated. I know, as a lesbian, this probably doesn't carry a TON of weight or help your cause, but I personally really appreciate men who are sensitive beings and don't allow themselves to be suckered into all the macho bullshit. I think that there are lots of straight women out there who feel the same way, they are just a bit harder to find. :hug:
  8. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    yeah tam i know your right:) i guess its just frustrating to see so many negative examples around me and to never be the one who got the girl.Im done with relationships now but on behalf of all the nice,loyal and caring guys out there i'd appeal for any girls out there to give them a chance.Try a drama free life with a guy who wont cheat and take your self esteem away,you never know you might enjoy a life with a genuine,sincere person to love and be loved by,thanks for your comment tam x
  9. ZasuArt

    ZasuArt Well-Known Member

    If you weren't 4000 miles away, I would totally set you up with one of my straight girlfriends! Sweet, smart, sensive guy... killer taste in music... what's not to like? And if she came back to me with that "He's just too nice" bullshit, I'd give them the extended, melt-your-mind lecture version of my comments below until they came to their senses! lol... Hugs and Friendship...T :hug:
  10. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    haha thanks again tam:hug:
  11. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    I'm not sure that women are always drawn to the 'bad' boys so much as the bad boys always tend to be confident and fun and women like that… well, everyone likes that. I think they'd probably prefer a 'good' person who is also fun and confident… but sometimes good people aren't fun or confident, or they don't know any good people who are fun and confident. Most girls in their early 20s don't want to spend every weekend staying home and talking to their sensitive friend about his ocean of problems or the horrible state of society or video games or whatever it is that 'nice' guys like to talk about.

    When you're 20-24, everyone is more likely to look for transient thrills and the people who can adapt to that mindset are the ones who have the most 'fun', but later on when people realize they're getting old and tired and can't do it anymore, their priorities change and they start looking for people who can provide them with a stable life. And finally, if they don't settle for the first person that fits that description around the age of 26/27, they lose their sense of urgency and worry about things like what kind of person would probably make the BEST father or the BEST partner for them, specifically… or if they could actually live with that person for an extended period and not go completely insane, or drive that other person insane-- so yeah, that happens around the age of 30, I think. When I hit that point, I kind of realized that I'm not easy to live with and I don't have so much patience for other people, so that's probably a good reason to not get involved with anyone… so yeah, my point is that people are always changing and it's not really fair to say that all women fall for the bad guys or all jerks will always get laid or whatever. And anyway if you're a good guy it should mean that you don't want to just get laid and so you should be disgusted by anyone who thinks like that and try to find yourself a nice girl, not some questionable woman who's probably just letting herself get into a relationship like that so that she can tell herself she was 'tricked' instead of admitting that she just wanted some casual sex like everyone else.

    I think there are also reasons why I haven't had so many relationships and many of them are related to my own insecurity and lack of confidence as opposed to women preferring other types of guys. Some women DO prefer my 'type'-- the problem is that I always end up blowing it because of insecurities and just generally not having patience for others.

    But based on these experiences, I also think that a lot of the time when someone blames women or blames men, they're just projecting their own insecurities about things… they don't feel like they can provide what they think a person wants/needs, so they blame that person, even though they don't really know and haven't tried to look for someone who wants something else… I think sometimes people fall for the wrong person simply because they've never known any alternative.

    And given enough rejection, a lot of 'good' people can become bitter, so that means that not only are they not fun and not confident, but they're also bitter… which is probably even worse than being perma-friend-zoned by every girl you've ever met, because at least then you're probably not creeping them out.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
  12. gripster

    gripster Member

    What an interesting thread, makes you wonder with so much common sense flying around why we are here are in the first place? Do you not have to take into account emotion? I am not sure I can be as eloquent as you guys but if you fall for someone and they are hurting you intentionally or otherwise, you nearly always fail to behave logically.

    I am single, my fault I am sure but I have had long and short term relationships, casual and serious, I am just about to bail out on another, your view that you are sexist about guys is just your view and you are entitled to it, if someone can't convince you otherwise then you are probably right. The fact that you can openly state it and question it seems to me that you are perfectly capable of reason. Men and women are different, like attracts like and opposites attract, nonsensical idioms?

    Somewhere along the line of evolution all this helped us become a dominant species ( I use dominant rather than successful in order to remain on the politically correct side of the fence) but it doesn't fit in well with our ability to communicate. Somewhere between or perhaps at either end of all consuming unconditional love and casual gratuitous sex is a great relationship. Trying to find a partner at the same point as you on that scale is the hardest bit.

    I think blaming stereotypical advertising role models etc is a copout, I know it doesn't seem that way when your hormones are kicking off and the desire to reproduce is strong and it seems like people are behaving like clones, but try reading some old books (Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, Chaucer or even the Greeks) we have always behaved this way.

    But most of all try Richard Bach who wrote in his book Illusions about the Saviours Manual - 'everything in this book may be wrong'.

    Get out there, keep meeting people, hopefully you will find someone that is right for you, and you are definately not sexist.