Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

There are compliments and then there are compliments

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***Edited to add:  This post is intended to bring awareness to the subtle sexist subtext(say that three times fast!) that permeates society.  It is not intended to slay or skewer anyone for having questions.  This issue is complex and confusing and we are all conditioned by our cultures and subcultures. 

In the last post Professor Taboo asked the following question:

Can women please list for us hetero men 10-20 appropriate ways to verbally (and non-verbally) compliment them intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically that THEY find acceptable and uplifting? Please do not leave any of the four areas out.
Thank you! 🙂

My initial reaction to the question was…angst.  How hard can it be to compliment people without being sexist?  How hard can it be to compliment a woman without it being sexual?

My initial reaction as probably reactionary because we had just been discussing how to treat “scantily clad” women in a bar.  And then I was asked if it was sexist to wolf-whistle at a woman in a short skirt.  So when the question was asked I was viewing it in that context.   As if he were asking, “Well, if we can’t wolf-whistle, and we can’t cat-call and we can’t tell you you’re hot, just what the hell can we say?”

Turns out that’s not so much what The Professor was asking.  I think many men do want to know what is and isn’t appropriate.  Sincerely.

Many things sprang to mind when I thought about what my answer to that question is.  I didn’t come up with 15 or 20 but here are a few that immediately entered my mind:

1.)  Wow!  That’s really your color.  It brings out your eyes.

2.)  You’ve got a great sense of humor!

3.)  You’re a very interesting person!

4.) You’re intelligent.

5.) Your smile is infectious.

6.)  You’re very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

7.)  I like your work ethic.

8.) You’re so easy to talk to.

9.)  You’re a good listener.

10.)  You make the world a better place.

Some of these require that you have an actual conversation before you begin complimenting.  Some of these can be conversation starters.  ALL of these apply to any gender.

Immediately following Professor Taboo’s question Swarn Gill left a couple of comments.  These are prime examples of how to compliment a person in a way that is uplifting and positive but which carry no hint at a hidden agenda:

You are an interesting person. I’d rather just sit down and have a conversation with you!

And:

You are a much better writer than I am which is both annoying and great a the same time, but somehow just reading what you have to say has me completely agreeing but also going off in all sorts of directions.

Both of these comments made me feel really good about myself.  It let me know that I have value and that I’m appreciated as a person.  Not as a person of the female persuasion but as a person regardless of my gender.

About the wolf-whistling and cat-calling.  Just. Don’t.

This may come as a surprise but most women do not dress to attract men.  [Most] women dress for other women.  It’s a daily competition and most women would rather be complimented on their dress by other women.  It just means more.

[Most] women also dress for their own comfort.  I’ve been known to wear a dress above the knee or shorts.  I live in South Georgia.  Otherwise known as hell in the summer time.  If I wear a tank top and shorts it isn’t to attract a man.  It’s because I’m freakin’ hot.  And I don’t mean the way I look.

Wolf-whistling and cat-calling – especially from someone I’ve never met- is intimidating.  It’s presumptuous.  You might think that I’m stretching it to say that it’s not that far a hop to rape but when a man does that it shows that he’s aggressive.  It feels more about power than it does about complimenting anyone.  If a man would wolf-whistle or cat-call a woman he’s never met what else might he do given the opportunity?

When giving any sort of compliment the foremost thing should be sincerity.  Don’t say things you don’t mean.  It’s patronizing.  Think about what message the other person is going to get.  Don’t be superficial about it.  Show the person that you’ve really taken the time to notice what is important to them.

The important thing is to treat people with respect.  This is how we can address the more subtle sexism and misogyny that permeates society.

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82 thoughts on “There are compliments and then there are compliments

  1. Unless I’m mistaken, is the comment by Taboo a demand to be educated? That person is putting a lot of pressure on you to represent all women on the matter of compliments. If someone asked me to come up with a list of appropriate compliments for men, I’d have to say that not every man wants the same thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think he wanted several women to comment. Though I agree with you that not everyone wants the same thing. Which is why it’s usually better to get to know someone a little bit before trying to dole out compliments.

      What I hope I’ve conveyed in the post is that regardless of gender, just treat people like people. When the question is framed as, “Can women please list for us hetero men 10-20 appropriate ways to verbally (and non-verbally) compliment them intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically that THEY find acceptable and uplifting?” there is a subtle sexism that is underlying even that. In a professional or platonic environment there is no need for it to be gender specific. It comes across as, “That’s pretty good, for a girl.”

      Liked by 5 people

    • Also, to be fair to The Professor, I don’t think it was a demand at all. I think he’s genuinely trying to wrap his head around what sexism and misogyny really are. We are all so conditioned by our culture that the more subtle forms of it are hard to recognize and can even seem like compliments on the surface.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. While I completely appreciate using my words as examples, to be fair I don’t know what you look like and had to think of something else beside whistling. 🙂

    In my own life, what I’ve learned is that for most people, giving compliments is hard. Because it let’s the other person know what you think of them, and so in a way it’s like telling somebody that you like them, and hoping that they like you too. Of course compliments shouldn’t be given with the expectation of a return, but a lot of time we hope the sentiment is returned. Given how hard it is sometimes to give compliments, I have also noticed how hard it is for a lot of people to accept compliments. So I always appreciate people who at least politely accept compliments even if they have a hard time believing them, because sometimes you have to take into account how hard it might have been for the other person to expose themselves like that. I know this isn’t covering the type of people who wolf-whistle who are generally full of insincere compliments, but I think sometimes when we feel something towards somebody, the difficulty in getting that compliment out can cause us to end up complimenting someone in an “untactful” way. I would say that one of the things that has taught me how to compliment a woman better at least in terms of those surface aspects is to compliment them on the type of things that they deem important. When you pay attention you can see how much time they might have put into something, or you can see things on them that speak to their character more like an interesting set of earrings or unique choice of accessories. Every woman is different in the sort of individuality they want to display in what they wear or how they look. And in general to compliment someone well you have to, as you say, have a conversation with them. And I don’t mean to say that by paying attention to the things that are important to a woman that you should just pay them lip service, because if you don’t feel sincere saying it, you probably shouldn’t. One thing that I have learned to appreciate more in women is eyebrows. At first I was like, what guy cares about eyebrows, but when I thought about what attracts me to a woman, there are attractive and unattractive eyebrows. And many women also do seem to spend a lot of time on them, so why not compliment them. Again, maybe not a first line you should use after introducing yourself, but just another example of the sort of compliments that you can give that maybe show a woman that you appreciate a physical aspect of them, but also shows that you might have actually paid attention to what might be important to them.

    Personally I am shy about giving compliments of a sexual nature until I know somebody better, because when it comes to sex I would like to know there is some indication that they are attracted to me physically first. I know, not very bold. But I guess I have always found there to be a fine line between bold and narcissism. If I walk up and say, wow you look super sexy in that dress, I feel it’s sort of presumptive like “Hey now that I’ve told you how sexy I think you are, you should immediately feel sexy and turned on and thus want to have sex with me”. And I don’t know…while I think we all like to feel sexy and told we are sexy, we want to be told by someone who we generally find sexy ourselves. I always worried that “Oh that repulsive guy just said I’m sexy. Lucky me.” One might see it as a lack of confidence I suppose, but I’ve tried to be more optimistic in seeing it as me being respectful and unassuming. 🙂 It’s amazing how when there is mutual attraction how easy it actually becomes to give even compliments of a more sexual nature.

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    • Ha! Besides it’s hard to type a whistle anyway.

      Because it let’s the other person know what you think of them, and so in a way it’s like telling somebody that you like them, and hoping that they like you too. Of course compliments shouldn’t be given with the expectation of a return, but a lot of time we hope the sentiment is returned.

      This was something I actually meant to address in the OP so I’m glad you brought it up. Many times when we give a compliment and we don’t get the reaction we are hoping to it either leaves us angry or rejected. One thing that is important about giving compliments is to know exactly why we’re giving it. Are we giving to compliment for the other person’s benefit? Or is it for some type of self-gain? So while compliments are showing a certain amount of vulnerability, unless you’re giving the compliment for self-gain we shouldn’t feel too bad about the way the other person reacts.

      It is really difficult to accept compliments. On the one hand you appreciate what is being said about you but on the other you don’t want to come across as conceited. I have always been terrible at receiving compliments, but I’m trying to learn how to accept them more graciously instead of fobbing them off as undeserved.

      Paying attention to other people and recognizing the quality of their character, their intelligence, or taking the time to find out what they are interested in is the best approach. Yes, it does involve having a conversation but it also makes the compliments much more meaningful.

      Personally I am shy about giving compliments of a sexual nature until I know somebody better, because when it comes to sex I would like to know there is some indication that they are attracted to me physically first.

      Boldness is overrated with regards to this. Commenting on someone’s sexuality you haven’t know for more than a few minutes is creepy.

      I feel it’s sort of presumptive like “Hey now that I’ve told you how sexy I think you are, you should immediately feel sexy and turned on and thus want to have sex with me”.

      This is exactly the way it comes across. Especially if the giver of the compliment reacts with any level of agitation if the feeling isn’t mutual.

      Liked by 4 people

      • A few more thoughts entered my brain that I thought might add to the conversation. There are probably women who put on the tightest most revealing thing they own, go out, and are completely happy with all sorts of cat calls, and compliments of how hot and sexy they look from men at the bar. But there are two catches here. Such a woman who is clearly just seeking the attention probably has some self-esteem issues or other emotional issues (even perhaps temporarily) that have her trying to derive pleasure from streams of surface based compliments and one-night stands. But it is also possible that a woman who valuing many aspects about herself, her sexuality being only one of them, may also choose to dress in revealing clothes, but that doesn’t mean that she is looking for the first compliment out of your mouth to be one that shows how sexy you think she is. She probably already knows. Her choice to dress that way is part of an expression of who she is, but only a part. If you are one to take the time to know her you’d see that her physical attractiveness is only one of the great things about her. The sexual revolution was supposed to give people the freedom to express their sexual selves more openly, which I think is a good thing, but we still have men assuming that if a woman where something revealing then sex must be all she wants and all she is about. Given that how you dress is only one form of expression it is also presumptive to think that is the only thing she wants to express. Men argue all the time that if she wants to be appreciated for her brains she should wear something more modest. Why should smart women have to always dress modestly? That’s ridiculous.

        In going back to the girl who dresses revealingly only to seek attention from men, I found it interesting to learn from a friend and colleague here who specializes in behavior that men who do the cat calls and creepy pickup lines are also of similar ilk. Because I asked my friend, “Why do men use those horrible pick up lines or cat calls, etc? I can never imagine some woman in a car getting honked at pulling over and just saying…oh you honked at me…that’s awesome here’s my number. Is it working some minuscule percentage of the time? So that you know 99 times they are getting slapped in the face, but that, the one time it does work…it’s “magic” and this convinces them to keep trying it? Isn’t one of the definitions of insanity trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?” What she said was that those type of men are also seeking attention. They are so desperate for attention that they don’t even care if it’s negative attention. So getting slapped in the face is literally of equal reward as the one-night stand. Despite the fact that one ends in orgasm all their experiences are empty and it’s because they simply don’t know how to give themselves any meaningful emotional satisfaction.

        As you said in a previous post men are as much a product of society as women, and so perhaps the patriarchal tendency to tell boys that they can’t show emotion, that they have to suck it up and “be a man” helps lead to this type of behavior. If as a man we are told that expressing ourselves emotionally is wrong, how do we ever learn how to satisfy ourselves emotionally in a healthy and mature way?

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        • Indeed, there are some women who do seek the attention of men in that way and I would agree that man of them have self-esteem issues. This is part of what I’m saying here, that women are taught that their value is wrapped up in what men think of them, whether they are desirable or not. I have also known many women who are completely confident in who they are and their sexuality who dress in revealing clothes, not because they are expecting any reaction from men, but because they want to feel sexy. It’s going to sound counter intuitive but those kinds of women don’t need validation of men. They look in the mirror and they like what they see.

          And no, the cat-calls and wolf-whistles and honking rarely work, if they ever work. Perhaps she has a point that they, too, are seeking some kind of validation but I have met more than a few who seem pretty confident. They do seem to have pretty fragile egos, though, in that they are easily angered if their advances are rebuffed which kind of validates what I was saying about knowing who it is you’re trying to satisfy with your “compliment”.

          I see your point about boys being taught not to show their emotions, to just “suck it up and be a man,” and I don’t think that’s helpful at all. Then again I tell myself frequently to “suck it up and put my big girl boots on and deal with life.”

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          • I don’t think it’s sounds counterintuitive that a woman who has high self-esteem might also want to feel sexy at all. But I think it might appear that way to someone else who doesn’t have very high self-esteem, because a lot of time we assume motivations are similar to what would motivate us and thus we are projecting our feelings on to them. And while agree that many women are taught that their value depends on what men think of them, but I think there are numerous reasons why we might want attention and have low self-esteem.

            I think the fragility of their ego is a good sign that attention seeking is what they are after. Everything is a show because authentic displays of what they are really feeling are not permitted. They are unlikely to use their creepy line and then smile and say thank you for rejecting me I really just needed the attention. They have to react like an indignant male. Building up a false self-confidence helps them suppress their feeling of inadequacy. We all are capable of doing it. In a survey of college students internationally they found that young people in America have the highest level of confidence in themselves compared to other developed nations, but were one of the lowest in their actual ability. The appearance of confidence doesn’t actually have to built on anything real. My point was simply that for emotionally mature and healthy adults we will modify our behavior when we don’t get what we want. If getting women in bed was their primary motivation, then they would adjust their behavior to increase the odds of that happening. Since their crude come-ons don’t work they must be being motivated by something else.

            There are definitely situations where it’s good to tell yourself to suck it up and deal with life. They key is having the freedom to explore your emotions. The freedom to feel it. I am sure you told yourself to “suck it up” after a period of wallowing, perhaps some crying. There is value to being able to freely cry about it, even if in the end it wasn’t overly “cry-worthy”. It’s never good to let emotions like sadness, anger, or fear overwhelm you too much either and so there does come a point where you might have to say to yourself “enough is enough”. But imagine crying and being yelled at “Stop being a pussy!” or “Men don’t cry suck it up!” you’d swallow it up thinking that’s how you please your father. And if you couldn’t stop crying a few more denigrating insults would be thrown your way and told to go to your room and not to come out until you were ready to be a man. Boys are told these things all the time. Feeling supported that “It’s okay to cry” is not something that a lot of boys experience. I was lucky that my parents never said those things to me, but my dad’s side of the family were very much like that. Even the females, because they also get indoctrinated into a rigid view of masculinity.

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          • What I thought might sound counter intuitive is that women who are confident and feel sexy don’t need that validation from men. They feel that way about themselves all on their own.

            I agree with you about fragile egos. I know a few men who display bravado publicly whose egos are easily bruised. So I definitely see your point about that. On the other hand I also think there are some men who think they’re just…entitled… to treat a woman any way they see fit simply by virtue of being men. But overall, yes, I would agree that our own feelings of inadequacy can lead us to some pretty lousy behavior.

            I hope it didn’t sound as though I was downplaying the way boys’ emotions are suppressed. I quite agree with you. Girls are, for the most part, allowed to cry, to be sad, and to work through their emotions whereas boys are generally expected to just “buck up”.

            Liked by 1 person

          • You know it comes from a lot of mutual respect that we are always worried that we have minimized each other’s points. Lol That is why face to face conversation is superior. I am sure our voices would make clear how much we agree with each other and our responses are really only refining what we’re already saying. But we’ll get by in this medium I’m sure. Life is more enjoyable with intelligent, kind and thoughtful people to converse with. 🙂

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          • To both Ruth and Swarn — reading your comments reminded me of these two articles by Harris O’Malley:

            “Regardless of whether any theoretical mental illness had anything to do with his rampage, it doesn’t negate the fact that he was part of a culture that promotes an incredibly toxic form of masculinity, one that encouraged and promoted his belief in his entitlement to women’s bodies and his unmistakable hatred for women as a whole.”

            http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2014/05/elliot-rodger-price-toxic-masculinity/

            “Amanda Hess’ article in Slate Magazine alerted me to a study examining just how masculinity is pitched to young men. In the most recent issue of the journal Sex Roles, psychologists from the University of Manitoba examined the prevalence of hypermasculinity – the ideology of exaggerated male traits as the epitome of masculine identity – in advertisements in popular men’s magazines including Maxim, Playboy, Game Informer, Fortune, Esquire and Wired. Hypermasculinity portrays violence and physical aggression as manly ideals; it promotes a world where all of male life is a struggle of dominance of others, where sex is a matter of power and female submission rather than one of intimacy and mutual pleasure and that any “feminine” emotions are to be repressed.”

            http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2013/03/selling-masculinity/

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          • I’m pretty sure I’ve read that first article you linked to before. Perhaps you linked to it in another place?

            The second one you quoted reminded me of Vox Day’s take on the Germanwings crash. I’m not going to link to it because I don’t want to send any business his way but this is what he had to say about it just two days after it happened:

            Why he did it, no one knows yet, but it won’t surprise me to learn that Lubritch was a deeply angry and embittered Omega male. There is a reason Omegas frighten women merely by existing; they are capable of terrible and merciless acts of self-destruction. You can see Lubritch is a small and prematurely balding young man, possibly somewhat overweight, his occupation indicates that he was more intelligent than the norm, and the uncertain smile he has on his face tends to indicate low socio-sexual rank.

            Now, obviously no one else was responsible for Lubritch’s actions if it indeed was Omega rage at work. He alone bears the blame. But it is somewhat haunting to think about how many lives might be saved each year if the sluts of the world were just a little less picky and a little more equitable in their distribution of blowjobs.

            As a 28 year-old airline pilot, Lubritch would likely have been married in a more traditionally structured society. It’s not impossible that the Germanwings deaths represent more of the indirect costs of feminism.

            Yes, ladies and gentelmen, it’s all the womenz fault.

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          • Wow..!

            I looked him up and here’s what I found on Wikipedia, lol.

            “In 2008, as Vox Day, he published The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, a nontheological book devoted to criticizing the arguments presented in various books by atheist authors Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Michel Onfray.[12]

            The book was named a 2007 Christmas recommendation by the conservative magazine, National Review.[13] Beale’s 2008 book, Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy, was nominated for an American Christian Fiction Writers award in 2009.”

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          • Yes, he sounds like a real gem. He really loves women, too! :/sarcasm

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          • I thought it was ironic that his book was recommended by the National Review. Back in Feb of 2013, Michael Walsh of the National Review stated that the repeal of the 19th Amendment was something to be devoutly wished for and had been advocating it for years.

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          • Well, of course, us women folk are far too stupid, or emotional, or irrational to vote. That should be evident since we’re not lining up to give blow jobs to just any old body who “needs” one.

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          • It really does make me wonder what happened that made him such a bitter person.

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          • Are you talking about Vox Day?

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          • He or Michael Walsh, either one.

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          • It would be interesting to know more about their history, but I do think it has more to do with the culture we live in. Margaret Daphne Hampson, a British theologian and former Christian, who earned a doctorate in modern history at Oxford, and a doctorate in theology at Harvard stated:

            “I began to see that the very raison d’etre of the Christian myth was to support men as superior over women, that it served to legitimize how men see themselves in the world. It is a brilliant, subtle, elaborate, male cultural projection, calculated to legitimize a patriarchal world and to enable men to find their way within it. We need to see it for what it is. The circumstances of that past age are propelled into the present, influencing people, not least, at a subconscious level.”

            Liked by 2 people

  3. I think instead of a man requesting that “women” tell him how they want to be complimented he should ask himself what he thinks is complimentery about wolf-whistling or cat-calling. So she has a body you find physically and sexually attractive – there is nothing wrong with that. But that’s not her problem and it can be intimidating to have a guy leering at you or expecting you to be grateful for his interest in your physical form.
    I agree with you Ruth that a compliment should always be sincere and there are far better things to compliment a man or woman on than their body. On a physical level there is nothing wrong with a man smiling at a woman, making eye contact and initiating a conversation. When a man ignores basic body language that tells you a woman is not interested and he persists in “complimenting” her sexuality that just seems weird to me. Like that famous youtube video about cat-calling where a woman is trying to walk away, looks busy, makes no eye contact and a number of men aggressively try to get a response through showing that they find her attractive. If a guy can’t read basic body language then he should really try and work on this before he attempts to date, or speak to, anybody!

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    • I think in this instance context is king. I’m pretty sure Professor Taboo was genuinely trying flesh out appropriate ways in which men might compliment women. He was also not the one who was asking about the wolf-whistling as though he thought it was a positive thing, though it was in the same conversation. I hoped I was careful not to frame his question as trying to ascertain “come-ons” for women. While I did think that at first, I really don’t think that was the intent of the question.

      Having said all that, like I said to Siriusbiznus, framing the question in that way is a bit sexist, albeit unintentionally so. This was the context of our conversation: just what is subtle sexism. The framing of his question was a prime example of what that is. I don’t think that Professor Taboo is sexist or misogynist in his views, but society has conditioned us with certain preconceptions. So instead of the question being, “What are ways I can compliment a woman that she will appreciate,” the question should really be, “What are ways I can compliment other people that they will appreciate.” Because unless there is some underlying sexual agenda gender really shouldn’t even come into it.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. it depends on context and generally when I compliment, I mean it and if any has been sexist, I can say in my own defense I never have had any ill motive

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  5. Society HAS conditioned us with certain preconceptions, and they don’t work in just one direction. “You’re a man, so you must think… (insert assumption here).” I beg to differ.

    Sexism is not a one-way street.

    Now feel free to tell me I’m missing the historical point, or ignoring the institutional nature of the problem, etc., etc. Be that as it may, until people stop assuming I think only about sex, or that I’m not in touch with my feelings, because I’m a man, my point stands. And it bothers me as much as wolf-whistles bother you.

    (That sounds way ruder than I intended, but I couldn’t think of any other way to say it…) Sorry. :o(

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    • I actually agree with you. Women are sexist, too. They do assume certain things about the male population simply because they are male(a topic I’ll likely discuss in a future post) like that they are incompetent child-nurturers, or that they’re beer guzzling, ogling sex hounds.

      Be that as it may, the historical point and institutional nature of the problem is that sexism toward women tips the scales in the societal system in favor of men – specifically white heterosexual men. So I get that having assumptions drawn about you simply because you are male is bothersome. But it doesn’t set you back for opportunities. To add to that, most men don’t feel intimidated or afraid of women who say those things. While it is annoying it isn’t threatening.

      I didn’t take what you said as rude at all. I hope that my explanation has shed some light on the differences between the two. It’s not that I think it’s alright for women to be sexist toward men in the slightest.

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    • It’s certainly not incorrect for you to feel the way you feel, but you also can’t just pretend like the historical and institutional nature of the problem is irrelevant either. If the odds are in favor of men treating women like sexual objects then is it so surprising that women might assume that about any man she meets. If 1 in 6 women have been the victim of a rape or attempted rape, those are some pretty high odds that being mistrustful can be the sensible approach. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause problems and hurt the feelings of many men who are good like you are. The problem is, that it is what it is, and the answer to making it go away is equality. And I’m not saying this is you, but rather this is something that I didn’t realize until later and life, that sure we can be mad at the women who make assumptions that we are like all the other men that have treated them like shit, but how often do we turn that same sort of feeling of being upset towards men in our lives who have those attitudes towards women. Because after all they are the reason why women are mistrustful of men’s intentions. Too often my life I have just sort of silently fake smiled in the “boy talk” and lacked the maturity and boldness to reprimand my fellow men that their language, comments, or attitudes were sexist. The fight for gender equality is a fight not only women, but also good men. But too many “good men” are passive and while we support women, we aren’t perhaps actively reprimanding the actions of men as much as we should.

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      • I’m aware of the historical and institutional aspects of the problem, which is why I mentioned them, and I hardly pretend they don’t exist. And I think that, if you consult my wife, herself a strong feminist, you’ll find my track record as an enlightened male is fairly robust.

        And I’m not blaming women. I’m blaming the male stand-ups who insist on basing their acts on the “men are pigs” motif, thereby reinforcing the image of men as sex-crazed idiots. I’m blaming ad execs who think I need a half-dressed woman to convince me that fast food tastes good, and who assume I will be convinced by that. I blame parents who make sex such a taboo subject that by the time boys become viable sexual beings, they can’t help but chase the taboo. Among others…

        But there is an extent to which women push men out of a conversation that directly involves them. If the fight, as you say, is for both women and men, this is counterproductive. A question was asked in good faith, in the interests of dialogue, and rather than accepting the question as asked, and simply answering it, issue was taken with how the question was asked. And then women wonder why men won’t join in: we’re afraid, and we don’t feel we should have to apologize for actions and attitudes we don’t share, but for which we feel we’re held responsible by simple virtue of our anatomy.

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        • Very well said! I agree!

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        • And yes, I think progress becomes faster when we all are more inclusive instead of exclusive.

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        • Thank you for clarifying your answer, Toad. I must admit that wasn’t the way I initially read it so my apologies for my misunderstanding.

          I’m definitely not trying to push men out of the conversation. In my previous two posts I conceded that men are as much a product of societal conditioning as women. Apparently my OP does not reflect what I intended it to and that was MY misunderstanding of Professor Taboo’s intent with the question because of the previous context of the conversation taking place. When he came along and asked the question, because of the flow of the conversation, I read more into it than he intended. Moreover, I have tried to be careful in my writing not to paint men as “the bad guys”.

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          • Ruth,

            I have appreciated your writing since I began reading it (which was a while ago; I don’t remember exactly when). So please don’t take anything I’ve said as a criticism of the way you say what you say. And I could have taken more time and been more selective with my words in order to make myself more clear. This just happens to be a hot-button issue of mine, and hot-button issues tend to cloud the brain. SO, my apologies to you for not taking the time to respond with more grace.

            I have a lovely wife who is convinced, by any number of outside influences, that men only want big this and skinny that, and that therefore she can’t possibly be a desirable being, to me or to anyone else, and that pisses me off so I can’t even see straight. I hate that she or any other woman is made to feel that way. I hate that ossified gender roles mean I like steak and you like pink. I grew up in a religion that made the subjection of women into a matter of dogma, and I worked around fat cat pastors who actually said things like “I won’t have a woman in MY pulpit.” These are, by the way, two of the reasons for which I’m no longer involved in institutional religion. So, the idea that I am by some blanket association held complicit in these things puts me right over the moon. Which is, again, why I reacted instead of responding. It was not directed at you, but at the situation. I did not do a good job of expressing that, and I apologize.

            Liked by 2 people

          • No worries, Toad. Thank you for your kind words. I just wanted to be perfectly clear with my intent in posting these. The last thing I want to do is alienate men from the discussion. This is most assuredly a hot-button issue for both men AND women.

            I have a lovely wife who is convinced, by any number of outside influences, that men only want big this and skinny that, and that therefore she can’t possibly be a desirable being, to me or to anyone else…

            I can so relate to this as I know many other women can. Just to be clear I do not cast all men in the same lot. My husband is much the same as you in regard to this.

            As I said to Professor Taboo over on his blog, though, men are at a bit of a disadvantage at recognizing many of the subtle sexist subtexts(I’m not talking about busy bikini-clad women selling the latest fast food burger) that exist by virtue of being, well, men. While that may be a bit hard to swallow, the fact is men – particularly white heterosexual men- do enjoy a level of privilege that shields them from knowing.

            Liked by 1 person

        • I also wanted to add that I’m aware that if someone doesn’t know what they are saying is sexist(i.e. The Professor’s question) it can hardly be held against them for saying or doing something unintentionally sexist. But if no one ever tells them that it is sexist how will they ever know? That is the entire point of this conversation.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Vance, my thoughts:

          Sexism, racism, whatever, to really qualify as an -ism, it must involve one people in power over another. As you know, men in our society hold the power. Not all of them want it or ask for it or even have it, but at large they do. I disagree that sexism goes both ways. Gender prejudice certainly does, but to be sexism, it must go from the dominant sex to the submissive, not the other way around. For me, saying that women being against men is sexism is like saying black people being against white is reverse racism. There is no such thing. Prejudice, yes. Sexism/racism, no.

          I do think that how the question is framed matters. If we are going to have honest, frank discussions, we must weigh our words carefully. We must check our privilege and be aware of the innate sexism in our words. Simply acknowledging the error and moving on in the conversation is best. However, depending on the subject, it *should* be a largely one-sided conversation.

          I have had conversations about racism with a variety of black friends and acquaintances. They have not always agreed with one another, but I make a point to never question what they tell me. I take it in and apply it to my life however I can. I do not question their experiences. I do not live in that world. Just as when I talk to women of color about sexism through the lens of race. It’s different. I must listen to learn, not much else. Listening is paramount.

          If you want to talk about the effect of living in a patriarchal society on men and boys, we can do that. There are a myriad of problems with the way we raise boys and the expectations we have of them as they age, but that does not make it sexist. The lack of power is missing. I will listen to you. I will take in your experiences of prejudice and bias. But I will not call it sexism.

          Now that I’ve said all that, allow me to say that I fully agree with your conclusions, if not the vocabulary you use.

          Liked by 3 people

  6. I think true compliments are usually gender-neutral, as you said. I also think that detail matters. Giving compliments can be a lot like telling kids they did a ‘good job’. Too little, too generic. If you want me to believe that you actually think I did something well, tell me what you like specifically.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOOOHOOOO!!! THANK YOU MADALYN for jumping in and contributing! You are now the second woman to weigh-in. 😀 😉

      But on a serious flip-side of your’s and Ruth’s, and ANY female participation….why is it important or not important that all types participate in this discussion and social issue? Hmmmmm? *grins and raises one eyebrow* 😛

      Like

      • Hehe. Glad to comment, professor. I’m not sure I know exactly what you are asking, but here is my answer nonetheless:
        It is not necessary for *everyone* to participate. I do think it is best for everyone to pay attention, especially if they are in the habit of giving out compliments. Extra especially if they are men giving out comments to women that they don’t know well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I most definitely agree with most of your reply/comment/words/meaning, and certainly agree with it in spirit! 🙂

          Because I am not a woman — and a woman’s genetic make-up is different than mine — I do not have their full perspective on many issues & situations. I’d like to know them, try to walk 10-miles in their shoes, if for no other reason than I can never be a (complete) woman. I can only gain a percentage of a woman’s experience.

          Because I am not a gay man — and a gay man’s genetic make-up is different than mine — I do not have their full perspective, etc, etc, copy/paste the above paragraph here…

          Because I am not a bisexual man — and a bisexual man’s genetic make-up is different than mine — I do not have their full perspective…etc, copy/paste applicable above paragraph meaning here…

          Because I am not a black man or woman…

          Because I am nothing other than a caucasin man…

          Because I am not a lesbian woman…

          Because I am not a bisexual woman…

          Because I am not a transexual or transgendered man or woman…

          And the list could go on and on about everyone and everything I am not…it is still very important that I’m told, that their experiences and perspective be shared, especially if I want to know it for occassions like this! And here’s a tricky part — or sad part — is that some/many don’t ask or don’t care. :/ That’s not me. Hence, for me it IS important that everyone participate, like I encourage in my classrooms, and certainly as you point out: PAY ATTENTION!!! 🙂

          Now, with all my above “Because I am not’s” isn’t it a bit of a paradox that I am expected to respect and appreciate everyone’s POV to a particular level, realistic or unrealistic, levels!? Wow, that can get daunting! So so many metaphorical languages and dialects and experiences and articulated and ill-articulated identifications! YIKES! 😮 lol

          But sometimes the issue of comprehensive equality is demanded in such a complex (convoluted?) existence! BIGGER YIKES! lol *sigh* But I want to learn and learn as much as humanly possible, but with appropriate grace and forgiveness please! 😀

          Like

          • I think you are going about this all the right way. You are trying to figure it out, though the waters are muddy. I think it would be impossible to fully value everyone’s opinion, but as you said, it is worth the effort.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you Madalyn for the affirmation; it’s genuinely appreciated. Yes, laughingly I do know that it isn’t feasible to hear/know everyone’s opinion, i.e. 7.3+ billion on the planet no matter how ideal in situations like this. HOWEVER, you nailed it; it IS worth the effort in our small worlds & small(er?) experiences! At least to understand perhaps embrace diversity, right? 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        • Grrrrr, forgot to add another point I had Madalyn…

          Everyone desires a level of recognition that they are unique and valuable within their OWN expected and portrayed identity…and WITHIN all the “Because I am…” and “Because I am not…” equation(s)…YET also want to demand or at least convey that everyone is the same and equal! WOW, what loaded minefield! I want the best mine-detector money can buy!!! 😮 LOL 😉

          Like

          • I wouldn’t say that everyone wants equality, but I take your point. It is a minefield and it is easy to misjudge what others want and desire, especially new acquaintances. To me, this is all the more reason to take time warming up to anything outside basic conversation. It may take longer to get to know someone and there will still be toes tread on, but with time comes patience and increased understanding.

            I’m that quiet introvert that abhors conflict. I have people I barely know and people I know quite well offend or hurt me without ever knowing it. Humans make flippant comments. We judge each other. I know I have done it and will continue to err in the future. Every interaction will differ, but if we take the time to get to know each other and are open to differing opinions and desires, we will all be better off. We need to tone down the assumptions more than anything else.

            Liked by 1 person

          • We need to tone down the assumptions more than anything else.

            Agreed. Yet, easier said than done when we’re in our teens, twenties, early-thirties — referring to youthful inexperience & know-it-all arrogance. Geezzz, I was once one of those 24-yr old biblical Fundies for example. :/ Yuck.

            Liked by 1 person

          • While I think everyone wants equal respect and equal rights and to be treated fairly I don’t necessarily think that everyone wants to be viewed as the same. People are different, that’s a given. The fact that they are different doesn’t imply less-than.

            Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with this. Generic compliments seem patronizing to me. I don’t care for compliments from people I’ve never met before UNLESS I know that they noticed something specific that they tell me about. I have told complete strangers that they have really pretty hair or a great smile or beautiful eyes, but I tell them specifically why I think those things.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. **Release of Liability Clause — this comment is on the fly and without an initial 12-hour to 48-hour self-examination of first thoughts & critiqued typed words, and therefore should NOT be considered purely &/or fully & intentionally offensive for being a hetero male, but for being an imperfect human being!!! 😉 😛

    Ruth and Everyone who is participating in this discussion…

    Ruth, you have been doing great work in tackling my question(s), defining my intentions and context of my question(s), and a fabulous job of engaging some of these excellent comments & subcomments! *loud applause for you!* 😀

    Everyone else, you all have had some intriguing perspective on this subject from a MALE perspective; even as “attached” or “currently married” persons. What I’m finding equally intringuing is that so far as I can tell, Ruth is the ONLY female so far involved in this post and its discussion. In time, I really hope that changes for the sake of wider perspective. Honestly, I would also LOVE to hear from all sexual-oriented people, e.g. bisexuals, SAME-sexuals, transexuals/transgendered, etc. I recognize this might not be possible, unfortunately. 🙂

    I believe I am now interested also in knowing the current relational status of commentors, i.e. Single, Attached, Indicted/Convicted, JUST KIDDING(!) 😛 Engaged, Married, Divorced, etc, of commentors (if possible/needed?) in that I DO BELIEVE that relational status can shed some/tons-of interesting light on the/MY question for Ruth’s 2 previous posts on the subject and this post… and perhaps most importantly HOW everyone has arrived to their “relational status” — if it’s not too personal. Why? Their backgrounds, good or bad, is a story that may lend some significant weight & perspective, in my curious opinion. Here’s some context & reason(s) why I’m writing my intitial comment & further question(s)…

    #1 — My 21-year old daughter is about to be married this May to her middle-school Sweetheart, and the ONLY boy/man she’s ever dated or kissed in her teens & early-20’s. If she were involved in the discussions of these 3 posts, how much or how little weight could she add…or someone like her who has seemingly had NO SEXIST or MISOGYNIST history from either point-of-view.

    #2 — In my humble and sometimes imperfect opinion, a person who has experienced multiple past & current relationships, sexual, loving, romantic, or otherwise, probably(?)/always(?) has a LOT to offer with regard to Do’s and Don’ts. Is that correct or incorrect? If that is correct, is #3 also valid?

    #3 — Men and women of every type of relational status & sexual-orientation has something very valuable to contribute to this social problem and its improvement and SHOULD be seriously considered!

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Also, so far the spiritual complimenting and uplifting of a woman or man has been absent. I was hoping for commentors to offer 2-3 or more compliments THEY like giving and receiving from any gender! And while we try (in noble spirit) to REMOVE gender, in some/most cases that’s near impossible, possibly inconsiderate or rude, right??? :/

    On a final note with this particular first comment of mine, while out watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament at a bar/pub, BOY do I have a story that is SO applicable for this post and social-sexual issue! I’m saving it for here or possibly the next post on my blog… as a related angle or twist. LOL 😀

    P.S. LOVING this discussion and topic! Many many thanks everyone and special thanks to you Ruth! ❤

    Like

    • Professor, I think it may be more helpful (at least to me) if you write what you consider to be acceptable comments and who you would say them to. When I give compliments, it is usually to comment positively on someone’s actions or work. Appearance compliments are reserved for friends and family that have bought new clothing, donned new glasses, or changed their hair-that’s about it. Rarely I will compliment someone’s hair or clothing in public, but it is always in a retail situation or when someone has started a conversation with me about something else. And now that I am thinking about it, it is always other women. Never men. It isn’t worth what I’ve come to expect would happen after. Personality compliments usually come from deep conversations. I’m not quite sure what you mean by spiritual compliments. Maybe I compliment less than average, but I mean them and they are not flippant or generic.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Professor, I think it may be more helpful (at least to me) if you write what you consider to be acceptable comments and who you would say them to.

        Madalyn, I thought about doing that but decided to reserve my (in progress) list and contexts completely — allowing Ruth and this post & comments to go and develop as it all may — or to appropriately limit my list & contexts, or specific input so as to respect Ruth’s (and everyone else’s) intended general audience and general contexts. For now, it has become more clear to me that compliments given or received are COMPLETELY dependent on the Who and Where context. Am I right? Sort of right? With my past mistake with Victoria being my recent “exception,” I am quiet discerning face-to-face as to what are appropriate compliments, flattery, etc, and what isn’t appropriate, but beyond face-to-face, as I’ve amply proven, I sometimes struggle because online or phone texting, I HAVE NOT MASTERED the same awareness. Why? Part of it is because live in person I articulate and listen so much better, and I utilize body-language, tone, inflection, environment, etc, like they’re all going extinct! 😮 😛 I wouldn’t be surprised if that is because as a teacher I/we must find and excite every student’s Learning Methodology. Make sense? And see how long & intensive my comments and replies and posts can get! That’s partly due to the time & expression limitations of our written language & natural desire to be well understood and respectful/respected! It’s another reason why (in person) I am a gifted Social Studies/History teacher or Science teacher and NOT a Language Arts/Literature teacher! HAH! lol

        Regarding the rest of your comment/response Madalyn, I think I will address it down below as a new thread for everyone as well as you. Last night I had a little epiphany on this subject. Hope you don’t mind? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • For now, it has become more clear to me that compliments given or received are COMPLETELY dependent on the Who and Where context. Am I right?

          I would say this is completely accurate. Given your chosen alternative lifestyles you might be in positions to be a bit more forward and direct in those settings. Those probably are not appropriate compliments in just any setting. Even when you aren’t face to face, when you’re online or texting, you still get some of the same cues.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Apologies! Typo…left out important word in my above comment…

    I wrote: “2-3 or more compliments THEY like giving and receiving from any gender!“…should have read…

    2-3 or more compliments THEY like giving and receiving from/TO any gender! Thank you. 🙂

    Like

  9. Ruth, you’ve clearly given a lot of thought to people’s motives and social dynamics here, so thanks for helping us think these things through, too.

    BTW, apparently there’s a difference between presumptuous and presumptive. I think you probably meant the former in your post and comments. I think I’ve mixed those up before, too.

    http://grammarist.com/usage/presumptive-presumptuous/

    Looking forward to your post about the flip side. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ratamacue! Do you think presumptive and presumptuous can coexist simultaneously? 😉

      Like

    • I think most people have good intentions, even if their delivery is a bit awkward. I certainly don’t want to attribute any malevolent motives to anyone who is genuinely trying to understand the issue. There are plenty of subjects I know nothing about and I’m sure I’ve botched up my verbiage with other groups that I don’t understand well. I would hope they’d give me the opportunity to learn and grow.

      So there is a difference. You are correct and I’ve made the change in my post. Thanks for the heads up!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. “If she were involved in the discussions of these 3 posts, how much or how little weight could she add…or someone like her who has seemingly had NO SEXIST or MISOGYNIST history from either point-of-view.”

    Professor, why don’t you ask your daughter if she has experienced a history of sexism and/or misogyny. If she hasn’t I’d be stunned. I bet she has, especially since she’s been to college.

    Here’s a thought. A compliment doesn’t necessarily have to be gender neutral, but a compliment says you noticed something or attributes about the other person. A “compliment” (sorry siriusbizinus 😛 ) says a lot about the giver’s awareness and intent.

    If I’m going to compliment you — your looks would be the last thing I’d bring up.

    I would (and have) complimented you about being an excellent writer and thorough researcher on the topics you write about.

    I’ve told you that many of the topics you write about are fascinating and/or informative.

    I’ve told you that you have great taste in music.

    I’ve told you what a humanitarian you are.

    I’ve told you that I think you are a great teacher and that your students are lucky.

    I’ve told you that you are fun to talk to on the phone.

    I’ve told you what a good father you are.

    I’ve told you that I thought you were intelligent and witty.

    Can you see a pattern here?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know many that would not call misogyny/sexism by its name, but will share their experiences of it if you do not call it by its name. Perhaps she would be one of those?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Good point Madalyn. Our relationship was put on a 13-year hiadus in 2001, so it’s a work-in-progress in a heavily, normal, or lightly mined minefield that I was CERTAINLY a builder toward and now having to work through! HAH! :/ 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely! There are many women who are involved in fundamentalist religion who would not call sexism or misogyny by its name, but they have experienced it. And if you asked them specific questions, while they might not be able to articulate it in feminist terms, they could certainly describe the negative impact it’s had on them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Professor, why don’t you ask your daughter if she has experienced a history of sexism and/or misogyny. If she hasn’t I’d be stunned. I bet she has, especially since she’s been to college.

      Victoria, given that we’ve talked extensively about her and our relationship, or limited relationship due to the 2001 divorce then her being moved over 300-miles away, you can fairly-accurately imagine why in those infrequent opportunities (relative to her age) I have tip-toed about that subject with her. Yet, as her biological father I am frequently struggling with how much of a right I have to approach it and really wrestle with it — because obviously it’s an important social issue — while still respecting her teen & 20-yr old lifestyle choices and hence show a little respect for her Mom’s and step-Dad’s rearing! Go figure, huh? 😉

      Nevertheless, to answer your question directly, how well & beneficial would that extensive conversation be for her when our lives & experiences could not be ANYMORE opposite and different! 😮 Sadly, my daughter has been brought up in an ultra-conservative Christian ivory tower — duh, she’s NEVER dated any other boy in her young 21-yr old life! Now, she may never know just how extensive this social issue really is unless she and her fiance/husband come out of their isolated ivory tower & community and into the real world! :/ But ya know, perhaps she and her “community” feel they never have to? After all, as they teach & preach “be in the world but not OF the world.” Her Mom & maternal grandparents have taught her that about her Dad by default: I am a non-believer and advocate of no organized religions, & then worse, a Christian traitor! Also, as a general rule, I really struggle to not dislike (despise?) people who want to be reclusive, elitist(?), isolated literally from all society, and not be an integral collabrative part of this fragile, beautiful, imperfect life and world! 😦

      A “compliment” (sorry siriusbizinus 😛 ) says a lot about the giver’s awareness and intent.

      YES! Very nicely stated Victoria! However, given my personality, I like (require? lol) a lot of forgiveness and patience, especially when excited and temporarily slipping into my Stephen Colbert-ish ego-mania. 😉

      I realize by listing those very kind compliments (thank you! ❤ ) you're giving examples of what I asked for, for the benefit of everyone here — or me(?); yikes! I like it for the sake of the group & discussion here! But I wasn't wanting it personally; but nonetheless, recognize and accept your kind words within this necessary discussion here.

      Can you see a pattern here?

      Indeed. Now if I may, as I want to answer Madalyn above and you here, I want to expound on what you both have shared down below in a new thread. In advance, thank you.

      Like

  11. Swarn Gill wrote:

    “If I walk up and say, wow you look super sexy in that dress, I feel it’s sort of presumptive like “Hey now that I’ve told you how sexy I think you are, you should immediately feel sexy and turned on and thus want to have sex with me”. And I don’t know…while I think we all like to feel sexy and told we are sexy, we want to be told by someone who we generally find sexy ourselves. I always worried that “Oh that repulsive guy just said I’m sexy. Lucky me.” One might see it as a lack of confidence I suppose, but I’ve tried to be more optimistic in seeing it as me being respectful and unassuming.”

    Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ruth and anyone else here, I have some questions that I FEEL are relevant (very relevant?) to this subject and discussion perhaps offering wider perspective…

    Are there pros and cons to Genius Societies? Why?

    Are there pros and cons to Homeless Battered-Abused Shelters? Why?

    Are there pros and cons to specific Religious Institutions? Why?

    Are there pros and cons to Nudist Colonies? Why?

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Are ANY of the for groups above more/less important than the others???? 🙂

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    • Can you explain the relevance to this? The reason I’m asking is because there will always be different segments of society that choose to segregate themselves for various reasons. That may not always be a bad thing. People do tend to form communities and societies around those with whom they have a common bond, as in any of your examples above. I do think that there are pros and cons to each of those groups you mentioned. But the relevance to this subject would be more in terms of whether or not a group is oppressed or marginalized. So I don’t think that the comparison between Genius Societies and, say, homeless battered-abused shelters is apples to apples. Does that make any sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      • First, I must compliment you Ruth on the obvious thought & consideration you gave to your good answer. For whatever it’s worth, I’m impressed and appreciative! Thank you.

        The relevance to your post is the context of when & where to give compliments, or support, or to defend the integrity of the four groups for their overall benefits toward a healthy thriving society-civilization. That might be the pros, as you hint; they all serve a good purpose. But I WAS hoping the cons would also be elaborated upon. How can these four groups become unhealthy for a population? One way they can become UNhealthy is by restricting membership, or flat-out refusing entrance based purely upon prejudices…perhaps not giving new discoveries, or ground-breaking successful methodologies any chance whatsoever.

        Apples to apples? No, indeed the four groups/societies each have their special different purposes for the WHOLE of the community. Which leads perfectly into my bigger point:

        In the Art of Human Engagement & Deeper Experience, these four groups represent literal examples of not only community needs & benefits, but also four metaphorical examples needed & beneficial in us…our personalities.

        Genius Societies = Mental growth & sharpness
        Homeless-Battered-Abused Shelters = Emotional support & recovery
        Religious/Spiritual Institutions = Spiritual health & growth
        Nudist Colonies = Acceptance, Empowering, & Revitalization of our natural physical/sexual well-being

        All four of them have very special, very important parts to play in the overall health of individuals who contribute to the overall health of the community! 😀

        Thank you Ruth for replying. I suspect you’ll now have much more to say. 😉 LOL

        Like

    • Are there pros and cons to Genius Societies? Why?

      Pros – Like-minded individuals have the opportunity to collaborate and have camaraderie.
      Cons – I think it might be kind of difficult not to develop a sense of self-importance and superiority. I’m not a member of this group(shocker, I know) so it’s hard for me to say if that is true or not. It just seems like that could be a problem.

      Are there pros and cons to Homeless Battered-Abused Shelters? Why?

      Pros-Obviously homeless and battered-abused shelters are necessary. It is important/necessary for those who find themselves in any of those situations to find support and safety.

      Cons – It is possible to become too dependent on the support and safety provided by others. I’ve also found in my own life and situation(though I never went to a battered women’s shelter) that lingering too long in a negative environment can become detrimental. While these types of institutions shouldn’t be negative many times they become negative. We need crutches sometimes. But crutches are meant to help in the healing process so that one day we can walk on our own. Too often these become wheelchairs for the paralyzed.

      Are there pros and cons to specific Religious Institutions? Why?

      Pros – Religious Institutions provide stability, community, a familial atmosphere, and a moral/ethical framework for living, and a sense of belonging.

      Cons – [Many]Religious Institutions build all of the above on a falsehood. Not only that, but it sets up a framework for [in most cases] a patriarchal society. That sense of belonging, community, and familial atmosphere go right out the window if one begins to question the basis upon which the religion is built. It becomes an exclusive club.

      Are there pros and cons to Nudist Colonies? Why?

      Pros – The family that gets naked together stays together? 😛 Jokes aside, as I understand it nudist colonies are not about sex, they are about becoming comfortable in one’s own skin. In that sense I can see where they would be valuable tools in learning about oneself.

      Cons – I can see where it could become fertile ground for jealousy and strife among other things. I can see where a focus might become sex(I’m well aware that might not be a con for some people *fingers pointed at you, Taboo*), or comparisons between bodies and actually do the exact opposite of what is intended.

      I haven’t had much experience with any of these groups except Religious Institutions but I can see where in ANY group there is the need to guard against exclusivity, marginalization, and discrimination.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Again, I have to commend you Ruth on the obvious thought you put in to these/your answers. As is usually the case with WordPress, blogs, social-media, etc, many subjects (important or trivial) lose popularity & interest over time and/or viewer’s & reader’s lives become ever busy. So I can’t help but feel this topic, the wrestling with various dialogues & viewpoints, are all left UNDONE, incomplete. 😦 I/we didn’t get anywhere near enough feedback on appropriate compliments from more women, but MORE CRITICALLY from various men here.

        Nevertheless, these last 3-4 posts, comments, discussion, have been very beneficial for me… and I thank you for that. ❤

        Regarding these pros and cons of the four different groups/societies specificallly, you mention some great benefits & warnings for all four. I will leave it as be — it's a good stopping point. I will also note, however, that I am not going to fall into the trap again of trying to REBALANCE the discussions, emphasis, or benefits & drawbacks, of focusing too much attention on one or two groups/societies while not giving the others their equal fair due. One subject gets passed-by way too often as if it were the red-headed step-child! That bothers me!

        For me, doing that is like being a Mom/Dad having four of your own precious children and focusing & loving one, two, or three of them MORE than another. Parents do it all the time! Of course, there are times/days when circumstances dictate (temporarily!) a little more for one or two, BUT overall through all four’s childhood & adolescence, the attention & love reaches homeostasis… or IMHO should reach homeostasis. 🙂

        Many thanks Ruth for a most enlightening 3-4 posts & critical discussions! It all needs MUCH MORE popularity and exploring and examinging, that’s for damn sure! 😉

        P.S. Did you see I posted the latest/last post over on my blog? 😀

        Like

        • Sorry, TYPO…”Parents do it all the time!” should have read…

          “Parents balance and rebalance all the time!” 🙂

          Like

        • I’ve gotten really busy, myself, so I haven’t had the time/energy to devote to the discussion I would’ve liked. The thing is there are SO many worthy topics and discussions, SO many blogs and posts, that it’s hard to get around to it all. Unfortunately that means when a post gets more than a day or two old people have moved on. The only way to keep the topic fresh is to create a new post.

          I don’t want to dwell on this topic forever. So I have one more post lined up that I think will conclude my engagement on it.

          Balance in life is important, of course. But I think that perhaps our ideas of what that means are something completely different. For me there are areas of my life and my personality that I like to keep private and just for me and my significant other. That doesn’t mean I don’t place equal significance or importance on it. That may seem limiting or counter intuitive to someone who wants to place equal public emphasis on all those aspects but such is life. To each his/her own.

          P.S. No, I didn’t see that you’d posted again. I’ll check it out.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I completely get it Ruth! Yes, in reality there are several other priorities above blogging that we must ALL take care of — please don’t misunderstand my concession as a dig. You’ve been doing a FANTASTIC job with this subject and your posts/comments! You are to be applauded! Don’t feel pressured to be involved over in my “more public” — HAH, with Password Protections, LOL — taboo discussion topics! 😛

            Privacy in certain matters? Oh hell yes. That is exactly why — due to (ultra?) conservative social & occupational risks — I must blog under an alias and on specific subjects use Password Protection! Bwahahaha!

            Another minor reason why I enjoy the taboo subjects, explore them, examine their mechanics and utilization or their unnecessary oppression, is that I find FEW men, perhaps most men, DON’T publically discuss them or flat-out IGNORE them! And they do that at THEIR romantic, sensual, deeper-connecting DETRIMENT. 🙂

            Many many thanks again Ruth for all the great posts & discussions! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

        • I agree with all the pros and cons both you and Ruth listed. I used to be bothered by groups that choose members based on what I perceived as artificial characteristics. I’ve come to accept it, and even participate to some degree, but I still see them as highly problematic.

          Honestly, I think it is a catch-22. On the one hand, groups like these exist to fill needs (emotional, physical, intellectual, etc.). Yet, by being exclusive, they cut off the majority of society, thereby isolating themselves and creating the need for ever more exclusive groups. On the other hand, society is not inclusive. The reason these groups exist is because the members’ needs are not being filled by society. So these groups can’t stop existing until society is fully inclusive, yet their existence contributes to the ongoing exclusion.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Oh my, my Madalyn…are you speaking my language! Love it! 😀

            …by being exclusive, they cut off the majority of society, thereby isolating themselves and creating the need for ever more exclusive groups.

            That is EXACTLY why I try to make my alternative lifestyles more known and more inclusive, within appropriate soial circumstances of course and not smash-mouth. It can get real tricky sometimes. LOL

            The reason these groups exist is because the members’ needs are not being filled by society. So these groups can’t stop existing until society is fully inclusive, yet their existence contributes to the ongoing exclusion.

            So then Madalyn, what is the answer toward an inclusive society??? Silence? Increased fear of the unknown? I wager that YOU probably can infer why S.S.C. BDSM is an “underground” art form, especially in Texas. I certainly don’t wish my lifestyles exclusive. I wish the alternative lifestyles were as common as people simply sharing in passing what vehicles they drive and why! 😈 😉

            Like

          • The reason these groups exist is because the members’ needs are not being filled by society. So these groups can’t stop existing until society is fully inclusive, yet their existence contributes to the ongoing exclusion.

            It is a catch-22. I’m not a genius and never will be. I have a friend that is and while he enjoys hanging out with us regular people we’re not as intellectually stimulating as his genius friends. In fact he needs a society like a genius society because he’s slightly socially inept. Oh, don’t get me wrong he’s pretty cool but he doesn’t exactly pick up on normal social cues(think Sheldon Cooper). So, yes he’s included, but I think it’s also okay for him to have a separate place to get some of what he needs. He’s also big into gaming. So he’s a part of the gaming community. I couldn’t care less about gaming and don’t even want to be included in that.

            There are also Cos-Play communities that exist. Perhaps it should be normal for people to walk around dressed in latex but I just can’t see that happening. And just thinking about, say, nudist colonies: how can mainstream society be more inclusive to nudists? Should it be socially acceptable for people to walk around with no clothes on? Maybe, but I’m just not seeing that happen…like…ever. That’s not a condemnation of nudist colonies or Cos-Play participants. It’s just that I don’t know what it would mean for society to be all-inclusive. What would that look like?

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  13. Pingback: Introduction: Harmful or Helpful? | Professor Taboo

  14. Hey ho Ruth. You know me, cut to the chase.

    I only have one answer. Quit the comments on my appearance. Just. Don’t. Go. There. I do not need your validation, and quite frankly my dear, I don’t care.

    Let me reiterate Madalyn and Victoria. Yup, compliment my writing, my accounting, my management skills, if you so wish.

    If you want to have sex with me, just ask. I’ll say yes or no. But don’t mess about telling me a load of garbage.

    I also thought this 30 years ago, I might add.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A little direct approach never hurt anybody. Okay. I get it that you don’t like comments about your personal appearance. Do you think that’s a subjective thing, though? You, personally, don’t appreciate it but is that a personal thing.

      I certainly agree with Madalyn and Victoria that I much more appreciate being complimented on my skills and achievements than my personal appearance BUT for some people (men and women) some features of their appearance might be an achievement(i.e. significant weight loss). I rarely comment on anyone’s personal appearance but if I notice that someone has lost weight I’ll tell them they look great. I know what a struggle that is because I’ve been there.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I do hate that emphasis on weight loss at times as in “Wow, you look amazing, have you lost weight?” can sometimes sound like, “Wow, you really looked fat before but I didn’t want to say.” I know nobody really means it to be anything but a compliment but there is sometimes an emphasis that skinny = good. Although, if someone’s lost weight and they have that healthy glow about them you can often get when you start exercising or feeling better about yourself I think that can be really nice to point out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s exactly what I mean! No, skinny does not equal healthy. But when you’ve worked quite hard to get healthy it is a boost when another recognizes the hard work.

      I quite agree with you about the emphasis being on the “skinniness”. I think that when someone has worked hard to become healthy(and weight loss is a part of that) telling someone you noticed is complimenting them on the hard work they undertook to get there.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Just an everyday in a sexist life | Clouds moving in

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