The Real Reason why Women Rarely make the First Move with Love.

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*A psychological and sociological perspective on “Why Women Rarely make the First Move with Love.” In short, a rebuttal.

Firstly, this perspective is coming from someone who identifies as a heteronormative, male-bodied individual.

The topics I speak to are in reference to some of the normative traits of heterosexual dating culture. It is common practice for a man to ask a woman out; for a man to open the dialogue between himself and a woman.

Often, that man may be rejected. And what is he to do but try again (perhaps after spending some time licking his wounded heart). Is this—this trait of being the one who starts things off, and the ability to recover and move on afterward—a sign of a healthy ego?

That is not really a question one can answer, as the question itself is flawed.

First of all, what we call a “healthy ego” is a highly subjective concept. The ego, as it were, has numerous definitions. There is, in psychology alone, the psychodynamic ego, as well as the developmental ego. And do not even get me started with what the ego means in Buddhism (fun fact, there isn’t one).

So, instead of talking about healthy or unhealthy egos, let’s use clearer jargon.

As boys (who have been socialized to be heteronormative), we develop what is known as masculine identity structures. This development is part and parcel to how we will react with the world as we grow up (in essence, the ways we learn and are taught to develop our gender identities often dictate how we show up in the world). For a boy such as this, chances are they will have had either a father—or a father figure of some sort—with certain views of what it means to be “a man.”

Are they true or false? Not really. They are just what is considered normative.

Now, it is absolutely correct to say that men are expected to be decisive and outgoing (not to mention our culture has taught, for a long time, how men ought to act with women). So, from this perspective, yes, perhaps the man who starts conversations with women is in fact playing out a “healthy” version of what he was taught. Is it the best practice? That is not for me to say.

What I would like to touch on is a study in which middle school children were asked their greatest fear. By and large, the boys’ greatest fear was being embarrassed or ostracized by their peers. The girls’ greatest fear? Being physically assaulted.

This is an important point to take into account when we know that at least one in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. It is a nonstarter to say that women should know how to take care of themselves. To let a friend know where they are. To be careful who they invite into their homes. And so on and so forth.

If there were not so many instances of physical assault from men toward women, then women would not need to worry about such things. And yet, this is not the world we live in.

We also know from studies that men tend to react differently when they are around women, versus groups of other men. One study pointed out that college-aged men in fraternities more often showcased what we call hypermasculinity when around a group of their peers. What, pray tell, was it that men were so afraid of being seen as by other men? It was the fear of being seen as feminine.

It is important also to point out that common normative masculine identity structures happen to focus little on any actual definitions of what masculinity is. Too often, instead, masculinity is defined as what femininity is not. It has been said that masculine identity is not the raising up of masculinity, but rather the pushing down of femininity.

So by and large, men make the first move. And women have the comfort of saying either yes, or no. And yet, man’s only real danger in this scenario is that of emotional pain; of having to learn how to deal with rejection.

And this is not actually easy for most men, or anyone really. It hurts to be rejected—plain and simple. Yet it is a part of our lives. We will all be rejected in some way, at some point.

What we, for the most part, do not need to worry about is being physically attacked or hurt (which is not to say that it does not happen, only that there is a far smaller chance of it happening for us men). Being rejected, for the normative man, is in fact a seeming attack on these masculine identity structures we have learnt to build our personality around.

We have been led to believe that we are entitled somehow to get whatever it is we go after (often because we actually do tend to get those things). History tells us so. Our masculine figures growing up tell us so.

Sadly, this also tends to create quite a fragile phenomenon (what we call fragile masculine syndrome). We do not know how to deal with rejection (let alone being told that what we are doing is toxic). And when we are faced with the possibility that we have done something wrong (as in the case of toxic masculine practices around common dating culture), then what actually happens is that we feel as though our very identity structures are being attacked (which they are, and which I am not necessarily against the practice of).

It is no simple feat to begin deconstructing the very identities we were raised to understand ourselves through. This is an incredibly tedious journey, and one would probably benefit from having a psychotherapist to work with along the way. Interestingly, it is the direction we men are being asked to go toward more and more.

And it makes perfect sense that we would fight such a thing (both because we have been taught that we must fight to uphold our beliefs, and also because it feels like a direct attack on the underlying person we have spent all of our lives developing).

So yes, it may be a nice thought for a man to ask that women begin taking responsibility for their own agency as equals to us. For women to ask more men out, or to take the initiative in our current dating culture. But it is not up to any man to dictate the ways in which women ought to be going about any such thing. 

It is not actually the man’s job to tell women how they should behave. What they are doing wrong. Doing so not only elicits the same behaviour that has created this concept of toxic masculinity in the first place, it also plays into what we call enlightened sexism—a term that came about when people in academia realized how most of the professors lauded and receiving acclaim in the field of feminist and gender studies had not necessarily done anything to earn such status apart from happening to be, well, men.

From this perspective, one has to wonder why I am writing this in the first place.

Change tends to begin with us. Ourselves. And it is far easier to ask a thing of someone else, rather than to ask ourselves of a thing.

If we men are unhappy with current ideas of how our normative masculine structures are being perceived, perhaps we ought to question why this phenomenon is taking hold, and not to so quickly condemn the women who are asking it of us.

~

author: Zeri Wieder

Image: @ecofolks/Instagram

Image: He's Just Not That Into You/IMDB

Editor: Naomi Boshari

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Vasumathi M Feb 22, 2019 1:45am

Thanks for writing a genuine, gentle and non passive aggressive response. Much to learn from you. I also think that these things are cultural and changes with the times. It also depends from person to person. I know women who think nothing of expressing their feelings first. I also know men who aren’t comfortable with being approached. They prefer to make the first move. In my case, back when me and my husband were friends and I knew what his feelings were, I went ahead and asked him about it. I was excited and felt comfortable enough to broach the topic. Later, he would jokingly reproach that I never gave him the chance to ask me out and do the whole proposal routine:). There are loads of shy people out there. There are outgoing and assertive ones. So it does have many other shades to it other than gender politics.

mx5er75007 Feb 19, 2019 7:54am

Thank you for the thought provoking article. I need to go back and re-read it, because I am not sure I got a clear answer to the question the title suggested. Regardless, based on the comments here, I’d like to share what is working for me, a twice divorced 54 year old man. 1) Ditch the ego – then rejection will have no place to attach and fester. (This is not an easy one. I suggest listening to tons of YES music!!) 2) Have ED. (Or purposely refuse to use it for the first few hours of lovemaking.) You would be amazed to find out what a truly incredible, attentive and generous lover you can be, when you can not always depend on Mr. Happy. There are many other ways to please. It’s actually a blessing. …which leads to 3) Allow yourself to learn and experience the satisfaction of giving, rather than receiving. Completely. As if you don’t need to be pleased and it is all about her. This applies to all things, not just physical intimacy. (Things will work out and you will be completely satisfied, but not necessarily in the way you used to expect.) 4) Be her servant-love. Chances are if you do, she will make you her King.

Katelyn Kent Feb 19, 2019 7:53am

Zeri,
The title is inappropriate because although your article is thought provolking and could arguably be “A” reason women don’t make the first move……it isn’t “THE” reason. Yours is a well known trick among on-line relationship coaches and writers. Make people notice your name and your article. Invite people to click on it even if the body of the article has little to do with the title. OK I understand. Your view has merit, but it is a bit immature and narrow in scope. One of your commenters said the answer is in biology and anatomy. That is closer to the truth. Yey Merrylake12! But as a long time relationship coach myself, the door is opened by anatomy and biology, but what is underneath — energetic frequency and something I like to call spiritual DNA. We are patterned and programmed creatures no more no less. We have each taken on our own little individual twist on that patterning from the beginning of our family lineage and we pass bits of it on in our downline. Each of us is slightly different, and some of us are much more distorted than others….meaning some of us have traveled further off course. Women are more alike and men more alike and in truth our patterning is influenced by our anatomy and biology but it isn’t just that. Those patterns, combined with biology combined with cultural and environmental influences have taught us how we should be if we are going to be successful in relationship with the opposite sex. If left to biology and if we were aware or conscious enough to understand our energetic frequencies and how they guide us, we’d get it right. But we have all of the distortions also given to us by our upline or ancestors plus cultural influences to cloud the issues. Some of us have a genetic predisposition for abuse lets say. That influences how we interact and who we are attracted to. I don’t expect you to understand all of it in one quick response, but I want you to think bigger. Think deeper. Modern culture or what we read and are taught is pc or unpc or right or wrong for the way we are supposed to act is just a series of man or woman-made judgements that serve to screw us up even further depending on the culture we come from. What is OK in the USA might be ghastly in India lets say….its meant to control- just like politics or religion…and I’m not going down either road. What I like about Elephant Journal is it encourages people to wake up or become more aware and enlightened. To notice what you notice and then notice what you notice about that. I am not saying you are completely off base here, because you aren’t. You do get it…one part of it. Now go deeper!

    Zeri Wieder Feb 19, 2019 9:25am

    Hi Katelyn,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I find myself curious about your views of non-binary gender identities, and how they might relate to your thoughts around relationship.

    The title, I believe, was chosen due to this article being a rebuttal to another recent article with a similar title.

    Best,
    Zeri

Tamara Kilmurray Feb 19, 2019 7:15am

This a well written, thought provoking article. My only “criticism” is that I wish it were titled differently. The heading does not accurately represent the depth of the content….

    Zeri Wieder Feb 19, 2019 9:18am

    Hi Tamara,

    Thank you for writing. I think the title was chosen because this article was a rebuttal to a similarly titled article recently published on here. I believe that article can be found if you click on a link in the first paragraph.

Amy Comerford Feb 18, 2019 4:20pm

I appreciate your approach and your mindful questioning. It is breath of fresh air. Sometimes taking a good hard look in the mirror and starting with ourselves is the most difficult of tasks. After reading through the comment section I want to commend your thoughtful response to some really harsh criticism. I liked the article you, the rebuttal below made me want to read more of your writing. Thank you for work.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 19, 2019 9:14am

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you so much for saying!

merrylake12 Feb 18, 2019 12:09pm

I admit that I was expecting some other ‘explanation’ to the posed. I am a woman who has always understood that the answer is in our anatomy/biology. Men are more fragile that we imagine. They are ‘put off’ by a sexually confident woman. In short (no pun intended), they can’t perform. Simple.
I’d like to comment on pedophilia as well. Not being able to perform with a sexually knowledgable grown-up woman, males go for the young, inexperienced girls who won’t know that their lovemaking sucks. Of course, this situation has created today’s ‘victimhood woman’. Even though she’s 25 or 40, she must play the young inexperienced maiden. Also, the more feminine men are becoming, the more feminine women must be.
Ridiculous!

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 12:35pm

    Hi merrylake12,

    what you’re saying makes me think of current porn trends as well. Some of the most popular genres at the moment are under-age step-daughter, step-sister, teen, etc.

    Thank you for your comment!

Christina Brister Feb 18, 2019 10:53am

I enjoyed your thoughtful article. Thank you.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 11:02am

    Thank you for writing and saying, Christina.

tactile8888 Feb 18, 2019 10:38am

You overlooked sexual (not to mention physical and emotional) violence on men. “…one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.” Source: US Sexual Violence Resource Center.

There is lots more information and ignored information on sexual assaults (rapes and not rapes) of men in the US, and, I’d imagine, in other countries as well. Non-sexual crimes (assaults, robberies, theft) also occur to both men and women, obviously.

I was walking in a parking lot late at night in Lyon France with a woman last year, and a group of men followed us. As an American, I was afraid and suggested we move from the dark empty lot. She wasn’t afraid, in the least, and wouldn’t hear of it.

When will testicular cancer get 1% of the publicity of breast cancer?
Etc…

Andy Sweet Feb 18, 2019 8:03am

I knew there was components I didn’t like reading. I walked into this one by the Headline because I really did want to know. It only leads me to more questions. It leads me to think of a song by Boston called To Be a Man. Very sensitive.

Laura Boies Feb 18, 2019 7:44am

I appreciate your thoughtful article. It is refreshing to know that there are men out there who “get it”. Thank you.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 8:23am

    Hi Laura,

    You are so welcome. Thank you for writing!

Galina Singer Feb 18, 2019 6:37am

Thank you for writing this. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness, fairness, open-mindedness, and your respectful tone.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 8:22am

    Hi Galina,
    Thank you for saying!!

Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 18, 2019 5:52am

Zeri, It’s not actually a man’s job to tell a woman how to behave? OK, then surely the same premise should be applied to women telling men how to behave, as is the current trend through pc culture and postmodern feminism. Or is that too much like real equality for you?

This is not a realistic or honest premise you are suggesting, the reality is we all have the right to ask, tell and sometimes demand how we behave towards each other. That is the foundation of any civilisation.

43% of domestic violence is committed by women against men, an essential fact that your article omits. Why?

7,500 domestic violence refuge places are provided for women in the UK and only 60 for men. These stats from the Home Office can be easily researched. Your assertion that men are in “no real danger” does not stand up even to superficial scrutiny. Why have you not bothered to research your article thoroughly?

You also claim that Buddhism asserts there is no ego, not true. The Buddhist teaching of “anatta” claims there is no autonomous self or soul. The “sense of separate self” is regarded as the illusion in Buddhism, not “the sense of self.” This is an essential distinction.

What we call the ego in the West is different to anatta. Yes the ego has levels of definition, but to lump it all into the same definition with Buddhism is lazy and misleading.

Later in the article you talk about the “agency” of women, so does the ego, autonomy and agency exist or doesn’t it? Clarify.

Gillette stocks are plummeting after their toxic masculinity commercial, it would seem many men with a “healthy ego” are not happy being portrayed as toxic, sexist mysoginists simply for approaching a woman or asking a woman to smile as the commercial illustrates.

Your views will no doubt go down very well with women that are not really interested in equality but rather in preferential treatment, and of course a minority of emasculated men. But in case you hadn’t noticed the social and political push back in Western society has begun against political correctness, post modern feminism and of course the mindlessness of deconstructionism: no genders, no judgements, no rights, no wrongs, no good, no bad, no expectations, no assumptions, no labels, no boxes, no past, no future, and so on, ad nauseum. Everything is just a social construct to dogma goes.

People, men and women, are tired of this postmodern ideology permeating our society, they don’t want to be told by the government or a razor blade manufacturer what to think, what to say with compelled speech, or how to behave, or that their gender, sex or ego doesn’t really exist.

Normative masculine structures are going nowhere, but rather they are being preserved and promoted by the moderates and conservatives among us.

Trump, as loathsome as he is, was and is a middle finger to pc culture and the new brand of feminism that relentlessly bashes men rather than seeking equality.

If we continue to habitually demonise men and masculinity then the rise of right wing, alt right and fascists will continue in our societies as the polls are proving (and yes, l can direct you to these stats) . As a black man that is the last thing l want to see, but left wing politics is offering very little in terms of credible, realistic and rational alternatives.

It’s time to promote genuine equality rather than pandering to a sense of victimhood and the tyrannical oppression by the so called patriarchy.

If we cannot then the dysfunction between men an women will continue, along with the dysfunction between right and left wing politics, as we can see being played out so attritiously in the US and UK.
Respectfully
Arun

    Andy Sweet Feb 18, 2019 7:58am

    Albeit a bit harsh, thank you

    Dane Reese Feb 18, 2019 8:01am

    I would say there is not so much a pushback in Western culture against political correctness, but rather that there is an unabashed resurgence of the misogyny, racism, and general bigotry that has always characterized society in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. I believe you are correct to associate that resurgence with the Trump presidency that is its ultimate expression and affirmation, but I would be more hesitant than you to associate myself with a movement that he represents.

    It is a familiar dynamic in power relations for the oppressor to attempt to co-opt the role of the oppressed — we see this, for example, in the alt-right’s claim of a “white genocide.” This is an attempt on the part of the oppressor to seek moral parity with the oppressed, an absurd and impossible project. It has its softer manifestation in opposition to policies of affirmative action, which is based on the theory that such policies discriminate against white males. But the dominant group is the perpetrator, not the victim, of discrimination. We also see this argument used against the LGBTQ community, where the cultural right claims that the community’s demand for equal treatment and protection really amounts to a demand for privilege. This argument is a perversion of the project of equality.

    When we seek to live in equanimity and mutual respect with a community that differs from our own, it is not enough to seek a tit-for-tat parity. Rather, we must be cognizant of histories of oppression and violence, and the vulnerabilities and distrust that those histories bring into our present relations.

      Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 18, 2019 9:45am

      I do not associate myself with Trump and the movement he represents. Read my comments again carefully.

      Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 18, 2019 10:22am

      Many women voted for Trump along with men. Some of his strongest supporters are women, Sarah Sanders and Kelly Anne Conway for example, so simply branding them all as bigots, misogynists and racists is short sighted and a typical mistake. Name calling first and then seeking constructive dialogue tends not to work, as we can see in the political arena at present.

      The left love to call anyone that disagrees with them horrible names – as a starting point. They still haven’t figured out that it’s a tactic that is seriously backfiring.

      I have no love for right wing politics I am simply pointing out that left wing politics, unable to moderate itself, has caused a vicious backlash.

      Jodi Guenter Feb 19, 2019 10:00am

      Well put, thank you.

    Patrick Burns Feb 18, 2019 8:32am

    It’s an ambitious article on our current sexual dilemmas. I think it could use a careful edit to weed out some some of the fashionable self -loathing men have bought into. Spelling errors also lose cred in an opinion piece.

    I look forward to a more clearsighted version of this piece.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 8:38am

    Hi Arun,

    Have you heard of internalised oppression?

    Blessings,
    Zeri

      Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 18, 2019 9:41am

      As I suspected, unable to answer any of the questions I pose.

      Arun Eden-Lewis Feb 18, 2019 10:56am

      Zeri,
      internalised oppression? Yes I see where you’re coming from. Well, you’ve made to first step in recognising it in yourself, I guess the next step to forgive yourself for the centuries long oppression of women and pretty much every non white race on the planet. I can only speak personally, but I’ve forgiven you and your race a long time ago.
      Arun

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 12:30pm

    Hiii Arun,

    

No, I believe the main argument for why it is different is because men have historically been the perpetrators. When a marginalized group speaks up, it is not the same thing as when the oppressive class continues oppressing. I suppose this is the argument for reverse-racism/reverse-sexism. With the idea being that racism and sexism came about through the oppressor oppressing, which, in turn, makes it impossible for the oppressed to oppress the oppressor. Does that make sense to you? Men cannot experience sexism, because it was a concept created by men toward women. Likewise, white men cannot experience racism, because it was a concept created by white men to oppress people of colour. 

Your statistic is too broad to be relevant for this discussion, I’m afraid. We aren’t taking into account all of the things under the umbrella of “domestic violence.” Nor are we looking at bidirectional intimate partner violence. Not to mention all of these studies we have to go off of are self-reports. I recommend you read the wiki page on “domestic violence against men.” Here are a few bits:
    “A 2013 review examined studies from five continents and the correlation between a country’s level of gender inequality and rates of domestic violence. The authors found that when partner abuse is defined broadly to include emotional abuse, any kind of hitting, and who hits first, partner abuse is relatively even. They also stated if one examines who is physically harmed and how seriously, expresses more fear, and experiences subsequent psychological problems, domestic violence is significantly gendered toward women as victims.” (Esquivel-Santovena, Esteban Eugenio; Lambert, Teri; Hamel, John (January 2013). “Partner abuse worldwide” (PDF). Partner Abuse. 4 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1891/1946-6560.4.1.e14.)
    

“As both Fiebert and Archer point out, although the numerical tally of physical acts in these studies has found similar rates of IPV amongst men and women, and high rates of bidirectionality, there is general agreement amongst researchers that male violence is a more serious phenomenon, primarily, but not exclusively, because male violence tends to inflict more psychological and physical damage than female violence. Male violence produces injury at roughly six times the rate of female violence. Women are also more likely to be killed by their male partners than the reverse (according to the US Department of Justice, 84% of spousal murder victims are female), and women in general are more likely to be killed by their spouses than all other types of assailants combined.”

So. I guess I would probably argue that what I’m saying does still stand up to scrutiny. 

Now, I’m not sure why you felt the need to question my comment on the buddhist ego. Seems a touch silly to me. Either way, I assure you that, having grown up a Buddhist myself, I will stand by my original assertion. And I do not believe I lump it into the same definition as the “Western” ego. Although I do happen to disagree that they are different. But anywho. 

What I do mention is that I was not going to discuss the “ego.” And instead use terms like, “normative masculine identity structures.” And, just as they exist (in the relative sense, anyway), so too do feminine identity structures. They just happen to develop far less precariously, for some reason. 

You asked me if the ego, autonomy, and agency exist. Again, from a relative standpoint, sure. If you like.

    Arun, you seemed to take quite a bit of offense at those two bits from the commercial. Do you ask a lot of women to smile more, because they will look prettier? 
I would probably agree with your sentiment, that a toxic, sexist misogynist would probably not like being portrayed as such. This is actually, like, the thesis of my article. That men do not know how to deal with being accused of these practices. Hence the fragility and precariousness.

    Your next two paragraphs, “Your views will no doubt,” and “People, men and women,” I just, I won’t be responding to those two paragraphs. I hope in time you might come to see what it is you are saying. I find it doubtful, but I still carry that hope. From a contemplative standpoint, anything is possible… 

Again, Arun, with your “new brand of feminism” and your “postmodern feminist agenda.” Even your use of “pc culture.” The only people I have ever met that use “pc” to describe anything, are usually those who are missing the point entirely. There is no secret, magical group of feminists who are relentlessly bashing men rather than seeking equality. As I wrote to you in the comments of your article, emasculation is a subjective experience, as gender identity is a social construct (which I suppose you might not agree with, if you don’t think social constructionism is a thing…). Feminism is not emasculating men. It actually cannot. With such fragile identity constructs (feel free to research precarious manhood theory. I’m warning you though, it’s not hard science. So you might want to stick with, I don’t know, the efficacy of penicillin or something? I think there’s pretty hard science on that), it is actually US that are doing the emasculating.

    I absolutely agree that this is where a lot of the alt right, right wing, fascist stuff is coming from (And as a first-generation Jew, whose father and extended family were tortured and murdered by the fascists). But, Arun, this habitual demonising of men and masculinity is as non-existent as the Buddhist ego (:-p). It is in the mindscape of these men because, like the fascists of their time, they are the lowest of the classes. They feel they have been overlooked and oppressed. But these feelings have not come from the social justice, or feminist movements. They have come from the systemic belief that we can all attain the same status as the rich and famous. So why haven’t we? Argh, it’s those dang liberals.
    We all want someone to blame. And no one wants to look toward the systematised oppressive forces that have been made up to create these very scenarios (these are usually concepts, not people).

    Do you honestly not believe in the concept of patriarchy, Arun? As a black man, you have never felt that you were oppressed by – by and large – white men? This was the only reason I brought up internalised oppression. And I hope I did not offend you when I did so. But, I can honestly not see many ways in which people of colour have NOT been affected by white men (which is not actually an attack on all white men. This seems to be a serious issue that a lot of men cannot get their minds around. It is about the systemic construct that is patriarchy, not the systematic demonisation of all men…). 



    Yours,
    
Zeri

Vanessa Boehm Feb 17, 2019 12:45pm

What a healing and hopeful thing it is to have a man share this thoughtful and genuine response. Thank you for this, Zeri <3

    Zeri Wieder Feb 18, 2019 8:15am

    Hi Vanessa,

    Thank you so very much for saying. I read an article of yours on here some time ago, which I loved.

Nicole Cameron Feb 17, 2019 7:33am

Zeri, thank you so much for your rebuttal. And thank you for being the kind of man who “gets it.” I could go paragraph by paragraph and highlight all the ways you made me feel heard and understood as a woman, but that would take forever so just know that I appreciate your perspective and what we, as men and women, can learn from your clear, measured, and informed response.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 17, 2019 9:12am

    Nicole, thank you ever so much for saying.
    And please know that your writing me, likewise, makes me feel heard; it is always a bit of a crap-shoot when I go against the grain, as it were. So thank you.

dianasenzig Feb 16, 2019 8:59pm

Thank you for asking the deeper questions and not settling on pointing the finger. I felt particularly moved when you wrote “It is not actually the man’s job to tell women how they should behave. What they are doing wrong. Doing so not only elicits the same behaviour that has created this concept of toxic masculinity in the first place, it also plays into what we call enlightened sexism”. This is a theme that is so difficult to address from the positionality of a woman, and refreshing to know that it is being recognized.

    Zeri Wieder Feb 17, 2019 9:06am

    Hi Diana, thank you so much for your kind words.
    I absolutely agree, and think if I am to use my privilege as a man for anything, it should be in direct response to other men. Lest I continue the current cycle. Perhaps man-splaining is a practice best saved for men with other men ?
    I also think you will appreciate that I consider it a form of compassion, rather than idiot-compassion.

Dane Reese Feb 16, 2019 5:21pm

“I want to walk after dark in the park.
Men are afraid that women will laugh at them.
I want to walk after dark in the park.
Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

–Courtney Barnett

Dane Reese Feb 16, 2019 5:19pm

“It is not actually the man’s job to tell women how they should behave. What they are doing wrong.”

THANK YOU!

    Katelyn Kent Feb 19, 2019 7:51am

    Zeri,
    The title is inappropriate because although your article is thought provolking and could arguably be “A” reason women don’t make the first move……it isn’t “THE” reason. Yours is a well known trick among on-line relationship coaches and writers. Make people notice your name and your article. Invite people to click on it even if the body of the article has little to do with the title. OK I understand. Your view has merit, but it is a bit immature and narrow in scope. One of your commenters said the answer is in biology and anatomy. That is closer to the truth. Yey Merrylake12! But as a long time relationship coach myself, the door is opened by anatomy and biology, but what is underneath — energetic frequency and something I like to call spiritual DNA. We are patterned and programmed creatures no more no less. We have each taken on our own little individual twist on that patterning from the beginning of our family lineage and we pass bits of it on in our downline. Each of us is slightly different, and some of us are much more distorted than others….meaning some of us have traveled further off course. Women are more alike and men more alike and in truth our patterning is influenced by our anatomy and biology but it isn’t just that. Those patterns, combined with biology combined with cultural and environmental influences have taught us how we should be if we are going to be successful in relationship with the opposite sex. If left to biology and if we were aware or conscious enough to understand our energetic frequencies and how they guide us, we’d get it right. But we have all of the distortions also given to us by our upline or ancestors plus cultural influences to cloud the issues. Some of us have a genetic predisposition for abuse lets say. That influences how we interact and who we are attracted to. I don’t expect you to understand all of it in one quick response, but I want you to think bigger. Think deeper. Modern culture or what we read and are taught is pc or unpc or right or wrong for the way we are supposed to act is just a series of man or woman-made judgements that serve to screw us up even further depending on the culture we come from. What is OK in the USA might be ghastly in India lets say….its meant to control- just like politics or religion…and I’m not going down either road. What I like about Elephant Journal is it encourages people to wake up or become more aware and enlightened. To notice what you notice and then notice what you notice about that. I am not saying you are completely off base here, because you aren’t. You do get it…one part of it. Now go deeper!

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Zeri Wieder

Zeri Wieder writes about relationships, psychology, and spirituality through the lens of personal stories and fiction. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Possibly a good deal of what you will find in these pages will be bad advice. This can be no worse than many other treatises on psychology, or on spirituality, for that matter. Take what works for you, and leave the rest behind. What does speak to you, change it; make it your own. Create your own concept of the world. For this is all we really can do. We go through this life, chalk full of how others think things work, how others taught us what is what. We go along with the herd just a touch too often. We live in a universe of projections; ours and others’.

But, we create our own universes, if given the chance. Question what you are told, especially when it comes from any professional in their field (take a Buddhist psychologist, for instance). No one really knows what is what. That’s okay.