Dialogue with a lonely extrovert

RE Young guys objectifying women

I know what you’re talking about: been there, sometimes still going there. Even if I am (now) aware of how self-defeating this is.

Bear in mind, though, that it’s part of a larger framework of typical young-male-drunk-on-testosterone behaviour.

(Inadvertently) hurting oneself (emotionally) is typically accompanied by wanting to hurt others (and objectifying them is the quickest shortcut). As an objective observer, it may be obvious to you that rationality flies (when it’s not downright thrown) out the window when you’re a twenty-something-year-old man blundering (on) your way towards adulthood.

It may be that young men need to be told about this irrational behaviour leading to regrettable consequences. It may be that only a mentor-like figure can reach these young men (which may explain why families-with-problems end up creating children who carry on this ‘family tradition’). Then again, if you look at the context in which we find ourselves in, what do you see?

Whenever you turn on the TV, browse the net or interact with any media?

What’s the projected image of men and women on these screens?

What physiological response is it set to trigger?

 

So this one is directed at this lady who wrote a post about college students Objectifying Women, if I understand right, and how this is self-defeating and, emotionally speaking, self-mutilating for young guys to consider women as objects. I suppose this was triggered by hearing guys talk about women and the woman body, I assume this would’ve been a conversation going like this: I really like that chick, she has nice boobs, ass, whatever.

This comment, by the way, is premised on the idea that

as a woman, you have different hormones operating in a different balance in your brain.

You may feel that you can simulate in your own mind what it would be like to have this hormone (testosterone), running in your brain. Of course, to some degree, you can.

But you do not understand how strongly it operates in men of college student age, men in their 20s.

Having been there myself and still shaking off the catastrophic results wrecked on my body, I can tell you that it doesn’t just involve chasing girls and talking about I-don’t-know-what chick that you managed to score with. It also involves some acts, some instances of insane behaviour: I climbed buildings just to show off, maybe to get some attention, some woman’s attention, I don’t even remember. To get anybody’s attention, up to a point; I believe that as a narcissist an extrovert you can relate to that.

Testosterone in men of this age drives us insane to a degree that is hard to explain. Probably the best analogy would be getting drunk (on alcohol) and acting all weird, obnoxious and in-your-face: Gulliver in Lilliput kind of guy.

However, with the drunkard we still have the hope that he might collapse in a stupor, pass out and not be the aggressive guy that punches everybody or gropes women.

Notice that the behaviour we see here is not something we blame absolutely; I mean you blame alcohol and we hold people responsible if they hurt other people while drunk, or when these guys hurt themselves, but you (and the courts) might consider alcohol to be attenuating circumstances.

That being said, we have a different attitude towards people drunk on testosterone.

Because this is what teenagers are, what men are, when they’re 20. They’re drunk on testosterone, for a long time; it takes a huge amount of effort just NOT to act your imagined behaviour of wanting to be with I-don’t-know-what female that you find attractive.

Let’s remember that in Islam they think that this is so strong they need to cover the women; other religions as well have these taboos placed on what menstruating women can do. Let’s remember that. Why?

Because people think that the behaviour of young men high on testosterone cannot be explained rationally, and cannot be controlled rationally.

Now, is this a valid position? I don’t know. Based on my experience, I understand the need for laying down rules [although I disagree about who the rules should apply to].

I have acted so irrationally when I was in my 20s that it is embarrassing just to realize that I had no good reason (which I would be able to explain to others). I probably still act irrationally sometimes. I still get drunk to the point of almost passing out, because I’m a man, I’m Eastern European and all that.

If you hear me talk and I sound fairly rational, you might think “This guy must be smart”. I am perhaps smart now, but if you put me in a group with three other guys and everybody is like “Yeah let’s get wasted!”, I might just join; the probability is up there. Hopefully I’ll find some really good excuse not to, since my body cannot take much more alcohol; but I might do it.

Now, imagine when I rewind the tape a couple of years and everybody’s like “Yeah let’s go chase skirt, check out that chick, she has awesome boobs and she’s wearing a T-back!” or whatever. Our fantasy is fuelled every day by whatever we see on TV, or on the Internet.

It’s hard to explain this male addiction of thinking about women in an objectifying manner, which (as you say) is emotionally self-mutilating.

I do not dispute your conclusion; I’m just talking about how realistic are your expectations that young men behave rationally.

It will definitely help if we could accelerate the process by which young guys reach maturity; this is why I commend you on what you’re saying. But would these guys have the time to read? Would they have some model figure around them that would educate them into developing healthily?

Did I have a model figure around me? Umm, not so much. I had to wait for aikido to come into my life, to make me understand more about myself and about what I wanted to be like. Many of your models (those you might think of as your models) would not be your models anymore when you reach maturity.

Maybe you saw the guy that was very popular and you wanted to be like him because he seemed to have lots of girls around him.

Maybe you saw the guy who could drink I don’t know how much alcohol and you wanted to be like him.

It could be that young men need to be told as soon as they’re able to listen that the irrational behaviour they’re likely to engage in at a certain age will have some consequences later on in life. Or even immediately.

I got lucky, I got lucky many times, and I suppose that most men get lucky (to survive this period); then, of course, you have the people falling through. I didn’t crash when I was riding a motorcycle at insane speeds, wearing a T-shirt. Why? Because I was lucky; you could say it’s also reflexes; yeah, maybe. No, allow me to be truthful: I was just lucky. Pure, blind luck.

How about in terms of my emotional development, and about objectifying women?

I now realise I can have a dialogue with myself on this topic, about my relationships, with my wife, of course, with women in general, ex-girlfriends and so on. And I also thought about the relationships you have with women you see on the street, total strangers you check out perhaps. Or not.

How do you react to all this extremely cosmeticised content that has been projected at you every day about what is desirable?

What about all these secrets of looking good, the perfect body weight for a young female? You see it on TV and you wonder: Can we still ask people to be rational?

Can we still have some figure explain to young men rationally the effects of framing women in the way that they are painted on TV, on the Internet, in movies, in commercials, in posters, in music, in magazines, and even in newspapers?

The framing of women by the mass media as objects (physical objects to be desired, certain shapes to be followed, certain patterns) has been going on for so long that just to expect young men to follow somebody’s rational advice about the implications of such framing is non-realistic. So we need to improve that (i.e., to educate men), but we also need to work on the mass media.

Because as long as those are the women (images) we see every day, as long as those images are photoshopped in such a way as to trigger nearly immediate unconscious responses from a physiological point of view (hormonal responses, right?), it is not sufficient to insist on having a rational dialogue with these young people.

We need to improve the other side as well, and the other side is the Mass-Media. How do we improve it?

Should we have censorship? What kind of censorship? How much censorship? How do we define our standards?

I suppose that at this point the conversation gets too complicated and this is why you didn’t touch on it. But it was a good post, made me think about my own experience and how I survived it, and with what damage I inflicted on myself (and inflicted on others, come to think of it) in those years, and how long it took me to recover from that.

So yeah, it was a good post. I suppose that’s why I’m leaving a comment.