I feel like almost all of the guys who’ve had an unreciprocated thing for me developed it because I listened to them and was emotionally supportive, etc., but they themselves never thought to do the same for me. Which ended up with this weird situation where I knew them super well but they literally had zero idea about who I was as a person other than “listens really well and is emotionally supportive.”
Like, they didn’t know the first thing about what was important to me, my beliefs, my family, my work, how I spent my time when I wasn’t with them. Because not a single one of them wanted to know. They would just… never ask, or they’d ask politely and when I started to answer they’d show extreme disinterest and change the subject back to themselves.
But they still thought they loved me, because to them that’s all love is - being emotionally supported by someone. It did not even occur to them that the support could ever go both ways, and they were always bewildered about why I never loved them “back” - even though all they gave me to love was a person so self-obsessed that he couldn’t see me at all.
Emotional labour is so, so important to be aware of in relationships. It has to have some kind of balance, or the person performing it will just burn out. And a relationship consisting only of one person demanding and demanding and never giving back is not love. Love is not a demand. It can accept, and it can ask, but love listens, love cares about how its requests affect the beloved. Love wants to give back.
I cannot even believe my eyes. Geeks and nerds are apparently a harassed minority group that doesn’t include women? And remaking Ghostbusters (which apparently BELONGS to (white) geeks and (male) nerds and wasn’t released for a general audience and was very popular) is theft?
Women aren’t a part of geek and nerd culture?
Also this person is a father to a small girl and is pro voting Donald Trump.
People’s reactions when a woman says she isn’t interested in a man that is interested in her are absolutely terrifying and disgusting. They honestly think the man’s right to have her is more important than her lack of interest. Like, because he is interested in her he deserves to have exactly what he wants and she is supposed to just ignore her lack of connection and put her feelings aside and cave to his desires. ‘Give him a chance’ and ‘you might grow to like him’ and every other excuse in the book is just a dressed up version of ‘he wants you and your opinion and feelings don’t matter at all because your life is secondary to his’
Does anyone else fill up with dread when you realise your guy friend has a crush on you, because you’re now going to be socially obligated to provide him with additional emotional labour if you don’t want to suffer social sanctions for not fulfilling your gender’s role of managing men’s feelings?
Men who are attracted to women routinely make their crushes a problem for the women they’re aimed at. If they possess the basic understanding that they’re not entitled to a woman’s interest - which honestly can’t be assumed - they still generally feel entitled to her time and emotional labour.
They expect explanations, a chance to ask questions about her lack of interest, and perhaps even a chance to convince her to “give him a chance”. They expect to be let down in the gentlest, most complimentary way possible, to have their feelings managed every step of the way by a woman who did not ask for this interest or the job of handling it.
This is one form of male entitlement, a near-ubiquitous form of misogyny that’s so embedded it often goes unnoticed. Men, think critically about the expectations you have of a woman you’re interested in. Are you making your feelings her problem, or are you managing them on your own like a respectful adult?
No one likes to be rejected. But it’s not the job of the person rejecting you to comfort you about it or listen to heartfelt confessions they don’t want to hear. Your interest doesn’t mean they owe you. Find someone who consents to giving you that emotional labour; don’t demand it from someone you’ve trapped in an awkward situation. Let “no” be enough.
There’s this absolutely hilarious post on how men authors write women and while it’s very on-point, it forgets one detail. What happens when men have to include in their narration women who aren’t beautiful?
I’ve lost track of the number of ‘great classics’ I hurled across the room with a snarl, after the author started bemoaning the fact that their character had to interact with an ‘unattractive woman.’ Often it wasn’t even about interaction – it was enough for an unattractive woman to be in their field of view for the mental japes and the cruelty and the entitled huffiness to come out. How dare she go and be a blemish on the scenery!
Many years ago, when I was fifteen years old and I’d been spat in the face by an adult man in public, in the middle of the street (after he’d gone ‘damn, you’re ugly!’) I ran home, choking back rage and tears and buried myself in a book, to escape from all of that. I was unlucky, because several hours later I ran into a section where the author was disdainfully describing an ‘ugly woman’ and I remember just seeing black in front of my eyes. I launched the book right at the wall and let out such a howl that I scared my father half to death! It took him an hour to help me calm down and I remember asking him, through the tears, ‘is there even a place where I can ever escape all of this?’
At its most basic level, all of this emotional labour is saying to another human being “you matter. I will take my time to show you that you matter.” And maintaining that glue is something that devolves mainly onto women, 24 hours a day. It feels like most men are taught (ex- or implicitly) to do emotional work only when it gets them something they want now, whereas most women are taught to do emotional work as part of an ongoing exchange that benefits everyone.
The idea that women are taught that they need to compete with other women for a man’s attention is honestly just so strange to me and it’s so fucking backwards from the rest of the animal kingdom and goes right in the face of any common sense.
Female species usually have to invest so much time and energy into growing and supporting their offspring, including humans. There are so many male animals that do The Fucking Most to compete with other males for a female, like bright and flashy feathers, intricate mating dances, etc., because they are disposable, walking sperm carriers.
There are billions of sperm. Eggs are the scarcity, that’s why females don’t have to COMPETE in nature for a male
But male entitlement and patriarchy effectively brainwashes women into believing that they’re the disposable ones that have to compete, because they’ve also been taught that male attention is so desirable and fulfilling Men built this system to benefit themselves, so they don’t have to expend the emotional or physical energy of finding a partner. Women will do all the work for them and they get to keep their shitty egos and they get to control women by making them think they’re disposable and unimportant
I’m really unbelievably tired of (mostly male) characters being “redeemed” from their bad attitudes, bad manners,
poor treatment of other characters, etc. by the big reveal of their supposed genius.
Being intelligent (no matter how intelligent) doesn’t make a person worth more than anyone else. It doesn’t excuse any of those things. It isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for bad behavior, and having other skills (no matter what they are) doesn’t justify never prioritizing learning how to not hurt the people around them.
It’s not an excuse.
And I think this is especially important to bring up for (mostly white) male characters, because actual men outside of fiction are excused by society in the same way that narratives excuse them in fiction. As long as they’re perceived by society as being “more important” than other people (which they already are by default if they’re men, and even more so if they’re white, etc.), any inappropriate, harmful, or offensive behavior toward other people is excused.
The excuses are always that it would be “hard” for someone who is SO INCREDIBLY GIFTED to… be kind? Show compassion? Consider the effects of their actions on others and act accordingly?
Fundamentally the trope is ableist (by basing someone’s worth around their mental capacity), with undertones of classism and racism (in the same ways that IQ tests are classist and racist), and it perpetuates a narrative of male privilege and entitlement.
And by the way, if you were reading this post and thinking “Is this about [specific male character who does this]?” then the answer is yes.
Overprotective Dad getting out the shotgun when his baby girls first bf shows up at age 14 isn’t ‘cute’. Modest Dad telling his sweet precious daughter to cover up her shoulders isn’t 'sweet’. Concerned Daddy wanting to know where his baby is and who she’s with at all times isn’t 'good parenting’. Loving supportive father who gave his sweetheart a promise ring and danced with her at the chastity ball isn’t 'old fashioned but harmless’.
Fathers who think they are entitled to their daughters bodies are the scum of the earth and need to stop.
We often think of relationships as things we can - or even have to - earn.
This causes two major problems:
believing we are entitled to a relationship because we’ve “earned” it
perceiving all rejection as a failure to “earn” someone’s love, attraction, etc.
While healthy relationships do require effort, a relationship is not founded on a list of Good Things You Have Done.
Sure, if you’re a jerk people are less likely to want to be around you, and sure, if you do nice things someone might appreciate them. But it’s not automatic. Do nice things because it’s nice to do nice things. Change hurtful behaviour because it’s good to avoid hurting people. Don’t do that stuff solely because you think it will earn you something.
Relationships are not simple transactions. Even when you are hiring someone, they have the right to decide at any point that the relationship or position you’re offering isn’t right for them - and they might, even if you’ve offered all you can, even if you’ve been nice.
It’s not cut-and dried, it’s not a vending machine. You don’t put good
deeds (or money) in and get love (or sex, or friendship) out, and you don’t put bad
deeds in and get rejection out. Those are a few ingredients of many; a relationship does not automatically occur or fail in their presence.
People come to relationships with their own sets of needs and desires and abilities; and all those factors interact with the needs, desires, and abilities of the other person or people in the relationship. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it works out less well. But it’s a lot more complicated than whether or not you “earned” it.
So, let's say that you're at school and you see a guy you know. I mean, you guys talk every once in a while and he's pretty cool, but you're not like friends or anything. You just talk to him every once in a while.
What's his name?
I don't know. Frank?
Okay, fine. His name is Will. Okay?
I don't think it really suits him, but okay.
...So anyway, you're at school during lunchtime and you see Will. So, you notice Will's not eating anything. That's when you realize that Will has no lunch, no money for lunch, and no way of getting either. He's just sitting there like he normally would. He's not acting any differently and he's not asking anyone for anything. Not money, not a fry, not even a salt packet, but you know he's gotta be hungry. So, what do you do?
Do I have any money?
Yeah. You have enough for you and another meal.
Duh, I buy him lunch.
Okay, cool. So, like you said, you buy him lunch. You buy your lunch and you buy his lunch and you go over and hand it to him. And, he says, "Wow. You know, that's really nice of you, but I wasn't gonna ask anyone for lunch. I was probably just gonna wait until I got home to eat." And, then you say--
Nah, it's cool.
Exactly. You say, "Nah, it's cool. I'm just being nice. It's a gift." And, Will says, "You know, that's awesome. You're really nice, bro." And, after that, you guys start hanging out. You guys are like really good buds. You are always hanging out and laughing and just having a good time. So, you guys are friends for a few months, and it's tons of fun. Then, one day, you go up to Will and you say, "Hey, Will, you know, I've been thinking, and I kinda want that five bucks."
What five bucks?
Hold on. I'm getting there. So, Will says, "What five bucks?" To which, you reply, "Well, we've been hanging out for a long time and it's been really fun, but like, I've done a lot of really nice things for you. Like, I'm always nice to you and I always listen and do things you wanna do, so I was thinking that because I've been so nice, you should pay me back that five bucks I spent to get your lunch right before we started really hanging out."
What? Why would I--
I'm not done yet. So, then Will looks kinda hurt and he says, "But I thought you were just being nice. I thought that was just a gift." So, you say, "Whether or not it was a gift, don't you think you kinda owe me that five bucks since I've been so nice to you?" And, Will says, "No. I don't think I owe you that!" And you get mad, so you say, "Well, I think that you do, so I think you're being really shitty and stuck up about this and I feel like I've been completely wronged."
Oh, my God. That's so fucked up of me. I would never do that to Will. Will was nice. We were buds. That's way screwed.
I know, right? Hey, just wondering, have you ever heard of this fictional place called "The Friendzone?"
There’s some really fucked up logic going on when people see a massive phenomenon of women changing their bodies drastically to become more palatable to men, and then decide it must be because women are shallow.
Men Not Talking About Their Feelings is a Privilege.
Men are perfectly capable of expressing their feelings. When they want something, they let you know. When a man is angry about something, he will let you know. When a man is horny, he will let you know. When he wants to be comforted, you bet your ass he will let you know.
Men will let you know about their feelings when it benefits them to do so.
But when it comes time to talk about things they might feel guilty about? Now suddenly it’s “I’m a man and you know I am not good at talking about these types of things.” Because they can use this man card as an excuse not to talk about their own poor behavior or your wants or your needs. Now he barely needs to put any effort in to apologizing because he can expect a woman to “understand how hard it is for a man to talk about his feelings” when it comes time to address how he has been treating women.
It isn’t his own feelings he has trouble talking about. It’s women’s feelings.
Men can use this as an excuse to get women to do more of the emotional heavy lifting. They get to act stoic and hard while women are doing the emotional work to think “how can I tell him he hurt my feelings without hurting his feelings?” once again prioritizing the man in a conversation that should be about the woman. They get to act stoic and hard while women give them brownie points for the most minimal half-assed “apology”. They get to twist conversations that are supposed to be about how they treated a woman poorly in to somehow making themself a victim just because they had to have this “hard” conversation. Never mind the fact that a man would never do the same thing for you, because if you upset him, he would have no problem calling you a bitch or making you cry, but he still expects you to coddle his ego and be sweet and sugary when you’re calling him out.
When men say they can’t talk about their feelings, what they really mean is that they need their ego coddled 24/7 because they can’t handle actually considering a woman’s feelings or perspective as valid and important.
– a hello
– a goodbye
– a thank you
– an explanation
– an excuse
– a reply
– a smile
– our time
– our attention
– our emotional labor
– a second chance
– a first chance
– any consideration at all
– an open mind
– looking attractive to them
Because our safety and peace of mind are more important than male feelings.