Dear people who identify as heterosexual males that also date women,
Are you familiar with male privilege? It’s kind of like white privilege, but for a specific gender. And guess what, you, male, are on the receiving end. Some of you may be surprised by this because you think on the spectrum of Trump to “woke” that you lean towards inclusion and non-gender ideology, perhaps even a female ally. You have sisters, you do yoga, you participate in brunch. But the reality is, we are combating multiple variables, gender roles in society, learned behavior in families, in school, in work, that creates and perpetuates this behavior. Besides media, cultural and cognitive biases, hell, even Disney storylines that we all grew up with.
It seems I took the red pill and I can’t ignore male entitlement anymore. That paired with the many conversations with female friends pointing out the same male behavior patterns. In this modern 2020 pandemic, inclusion, diversity, openness shift, this behavior is outright passe and antiquated. And you know what, we, women, are frustrated. That said, I've outlined some friendly suggestions to help improve your wokeness and become more conscious of others you're engaging with.
1. Communication Bias
This is an important area where males, in general, can improve. Imagine a conversation like a ping pong match, it could be friendly, both hitting the ball to either side of the court in a casual manner, participating, listening, give and take, with the level of equal effort. But when a topic comes up that you may disagree, or feel strongly about, you don't have to spike the ball. An alternative is to ask more questions about why the person feels that way. What I'm saying is:
A) You're not always right.
B) Women aren't always wrong because of their tone or rapport.
C) Stop being so damn aggressive. You don't have to try to control or be right, how about trying to understand the other person.
I bet you don't think this song is about you. This socio-linguistic researcher disagrees, here they write an article on The Power Of Talk in Harvard Business Review that highlights the differences in male and female conversation styles.
...we learn ways of speaking as children growing up, especially from peers, and children tend to play with other children of the same sex. The research of sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists observing American children at play has shown that, although both girls and boys find ways of creating rapport and negotiating status, girls tend to learn conversational rituals that focus on the rapport dimension of relationships whereas boys tend to learn rituals that focus on the status dimension.
2. It's not about you. Be better listeners and ask more questions.
Did you know it's proven men tend to be more narcissists than women? "Men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power."
Knowing the communication bias is there, gender roles we inherit by society, and that personalities lean towards narcissism, how about practice listening more closely with more intent.
I found this consistent and so curious, why is it that rarely do I meet a guy who asks me a lot of questions.
Want to get a woman to like you? Ask her more questions about herself! More questions which in turn can lead to deeper and more fulfilling connections, at the very least you'll know sooner if the person is a fit or not.
To be more heart minded (and vibe higher):
3. Have more gratitude. I've witness this isn't just a gender thing but also a cultural bias thing as well, where some cultures practice this more innately than others.
Acknowledging the effort and thoughtfulness another person puts in goes a long way to bridging a bond. So say thank you and mean it.
4. Give more compliments. I cannot express this enough, who doesn't like to hear one sometimes?
5. Practice empathy & kindness. Practice putting yourself in other people's hearts, can you imagine what their experience is like?
6. Use more emotional intelligence when in conflict. Its inevitable to come across conflict at times and shutting down emotionally isn't fun, especially being on the receiver end. I'm all about making space to process but in a conflict, also being considerate of the other person is important as well. Attachment theory classifies three ways of how people respond in relationships based on their caregivers or parents as children. Secure attached, having caregivers or parents who were emotionally healthy and taught the child how to self soothe and trust love. Insecure attached is when the child had an inconsistent caregiver who gave love but also took it away without understanding why therefore associating anxiety to love. Avoidant attachment had caregivers who depended on the child too much, therefore associating love with codependency and taking away the child's own autonomy. They are likely to emotionally shut down when it comes to experiencing conflict and surprise, surprise, men tend to be the more avoidant attachment.
Now, I'm not saying all you men are selfish, emotionally defunct humans, but let's say society has influenced in a way where it's taught you to be more heart closed, to not lead with your heart but more with your mind.
Recognize you've lived with your own gender privilege, like putting less energy in building relationships, being seen, getting the promotion, or need to constantly defend yourself. We can toss it up to wiring, gender roles, and the list goes on, but now that we recognize this, I think a connection with one's heart is something worth practicing and seeing how this will change your experience in world and relationships.
Hopefully, these new practices lead to deeper expansion, connections not only with your partner, potential partner, female friends, expanded males, but even yourself.
With love and gratitude,
A concerned woman.
If you want more info, I also wrote this piece about why men are afraid of powerful women.