by Johan Clarke
A post came across my tumblr dash the other day (yes, I am an avid tumblr person) that made me stop and think for a second. The text said, “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” I didn’t really understand it at first, mainly because I had no idea how someone “awakens a woman’s love.” Does that mean flirting? Am I not allowed to flirt with women in a harmless, consenual manner?
The reason this took me aback so much was because something like this happened to me when I was in high school. One of my close friends from school developed a crush on me. I in no way intended her to develop this crush. I treated her as a friend and was nice to her in a friendly manner and she misconstrued my intentions. I wanted to be her friend and she wanted more. Once I realized this, I told her that I was not interested in being in a romantic relationship with her. Things got kind of awkward and our friendship kind of fell to the wayside. I found out later that she had blamed me for making me fall in love with her, which made no sense to me. Am I not allowed to be charming and nice? Am I not allowed to be friendly?
I don’t think I’m a coward because I didn’t want to pursue a romantic involvement with my friend. I may have unintentionally awakened this woman’s love or whatever that means, but I don’t understand how that makes me at fault or makes me into a coward. Is there some sort of social obligation that if a woman is attracted to me I must therefore be into her as well? Do I not get a say in this?
I don’t believe in “men’s rights”. People who genuinely believe in the “matriarchy” don’t really understand what oppresion is and are oftentimes sexist and ignorant. I also wouldn’t say this is the female equivalent of the “Nice Guy Syndrome” because that has a completely different context with years of oppresion and patriarchy behind it, but at the same time I think this quote creates an unfair assumption.
I don’t know, maybe there are guys out there who force women into falling in love with them, and in that case that’s a truly terrible thing to do because emotional manipulation is disgusting on all fronts. But to me the idea of a man forcing a woman to fall in love with him sounds ridiculous and enforces gender stereotypes. This quote makes it seem that women are overly emotional and are too prone to fall in love with men. It also assumes that men are loveless, emotionless robots and if they are not attracted to all women, then there is something wrong with them.
To me, this is the part of the patriarchy than negatively affects men. This claims that if a girl falls in love with you, then you must be in love with her as well. If you’re not attracted to this woman, well then there must be something wrong with you and maybe something off with your sexuality. It questions the man’s sexuality and claims a heteronormative idea that men must be really into women at all times or else they may be, God forbid, a homosexual.
Maybe I’m reading too far into it. Maybe there are men out there that are emotionally manipulative and those men are cowards for not owning up to that fact. But it’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay if someone doesn’t like you. Rejection is something to feel sad about. But once you feel angry and blame the other person for rejecting you, regardless of gender, then you create an unfair assumption on the other party that that person has no right to recieve.