Sunday, June 29, 2014

Women do not have "The" Power

Specifically regarding dating, or being the gate keepers of sex.  I heard today, and have heard a million times before that women are the ones with "the" power because they have the final say.  They make the decision, and are in charge.   I'm not going to be misogynistic here, but quite the opposite.  I am however, going to analyze the crap out of this statement.

The first thing to note here is that it's black and white.  False Dichotomy's are ever so dangerous, and whenever you hear one you agree with, that's when you need to pull out your critical thinking skills.   The second thing to note is that this is not a gender biased statement.  So for the purposes of being politically correct, I'm going to discuss this as the pursuer, and the pursued.  Men are not always the pursuers, and women are not always the pursued.

So who has "the" power?   I would say both.   The pursued most certainly have a lot of power when it comes to making the decision.   This can not be denied.  They have the power to say yes or no.   To say that the pursued have "the" power means that they have all the power which completely negates or disregards the power of the pursuer.   Any pursued that naively believe the power solely relies with them will be the ones that find themselves in a situation with their back against the wall.

A man made a comment the other day trying to console a young woman who was feeling the pressure of being hit on by a co-worker.  Paraphrasing, he said 'to not worry about it, and just enjoy being complimented and flirted with, because after all, she was the one in control.'  She felt uncomfortable with the compliments and flirts, and he was telling her to be comfortable with it, and be satisfied because she was in control.   The first part of this statement really pissed off a few local feminists, but the latter was mostly ignored by them.   She is the one in control, or has "the" power.  If that's true, why did he say to just let it slide?  Another comment made supporting the latter when I asked when I asked "Out of curiosity, why do women get to be in charge?  Why do men?  Why not come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement, make a deal, and act?"  An insightful woman said this:

"Ah, there it is.  I wondered when someone would throw out the "why are women in charge" bit.  ...  "In a nutshell, it's society.  In a society where men pursue women, a woman is in charge of the outcome of said pursuance.  That does not mean that women control everything, nor does it mean that every situation falls into this.  If the woman is pursuing the man, which many women do very often, the man will have control of the outcome.  But when we're talking about sex... heterosexual sex...  yes the man must be consensual, but the woman will end up in control based on anatomy."

So the man said she was in charge because she makes the decision, and that is backed up by a woman.  Both mean well, and parrot the same timeless doctrine.  That the pursued is in charge.  Yet, she was asked to let her pursuer be in charge, (By just enjoying the compliments and flirts, and doing nothing), and to be OK with it because she was the one in charge.  If ever there was a brain teaser, this one is it.

So let's talk about the power of the Pursuer?   The pursuer has most of the work, and the ability to set the stage.  The pursuer can influence events, influence people to help, and do much more.   Why?  Because a pursuer is a salesperson making a sale, and all the laws of sales apply.   This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  A great date includes getting more people involved to solely focus on the date.  The pursuer has to make a case to show the pursued that they are worth taking a chance on.   However, just like business and sales, if things are done unethically, it can get hairy.

Most pursuers will respect the pursued, and play fair.  "Hi, this is me, and this what I'm about, are you interested?" can sum up about 3 or 4 hang outs with the pursued when the pursuer is being honest and forthright.   For that matter, most flirting is harmless fun.

When the pursuers are not being honest, it can be quite interesting.  Sadly, these tactics work.  Dishonesty includes making promises that one never intends to keep.  Presenting themselves in a false light.  Trash talking, or spreading rumors about rivals to limit the choices of the pursued.   Giving the pursued "the choice".  Yes, the pursued has the power to make the choice, but when the pursuer presents the choice in such a way that the pursued can only choose in a manner the pursuer has approved.   For example, "So when do you want to go out, Friday or Saturday?"  Yes, the pursued sure has a choice there, but "no" is not mentioned as an option.   To go beyond that, let's say the pursuer destroys relationships with the pursued, and then presents him/herself as the only option if he/she does not want to be alone.   Or even worse, gives him/her the option between him/herself and someone else of a much lesser social status.   So far, just unethical manipulation, and I haven't even made it to blackmail or threats.  Unethical manipulation is usually chalked up as harassment and stalking.  But, it's not always easy to see, especially for the pursued.

Whenever anyone avoids a relationship with anyone who uses the previous paragraph's tactics, it's known as "dodging a bullet."   Sadly, when someone gets into a relationship with someone who uses these tactics, they usually get used and abused.  And most likely eventually discarded.   Manipulation like this exists, and here's the kicker.

By claiming that the pursued have "the power" or are the ones "in control", that is just another sales tactic designed to give a false sense of security.  It's a slight of hand, or a classic misdirection designed to disregard the influence of the pursued.   Or in other words, it's saying "No need to pay attention to how they are pursuing you, or what tactics they are using.  If you're not interested, you can just say no because you have all the power."     The last sentence is still true with regards to decision making, even if the pursued pays attention to how he/she is being pursued, but it's used as an excuse to not pay attention.   Assuming the pursuer has no power is quite the wrong assumption.

A boss or supervisor makes decisions based on their advisers, or employees, and budding relationships are no different.  In this case, the pursued takes advice from friends and family, but most importantly, the pursuer.   Then a decision is made.

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