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The concept of the muse is complex--but I understand it came from the idea that a muse is an abstraction. The human muse is usually just the vessel for that. The artist is the one who uses the human muse to create the work of art that communicates what the abstraction is saying.

The artist could be seen as the tool--the human muse is the vessel and also objectified in a way--and the "spirit" or abstract muse is the concept that is being brought into being through the process--ultimately resulting in a work of art.

That is how I see the muse/artist dynamic.

But muses are also associated with romantic feelings and relationships--which is how many female muses are described, as the lovers of the artists.

Fantasies can be brought into the discussion here--just as some dancers embody fantasies--they act them out, and they bring them into the world--fantasies aren't always bidden.

And that I think is part of the conflict we have with them--some fantasies seem destructive, especially if you are in a relationship and have fantasies about another person or the fantasy disturbs you.

There is also the issue of consent...in that we have freedom of thought and anyone can think whatever they want about anyone else. But we don't all consent to being the vessel for their thoughts--we don't all want to realize what they are thinking. We don't literally want to realize it a lot of times--which is why you don't go up to people and tell them all your thoughts about them all the time. Because they never consented to being your muse or whatever.

Sexual consent is important too because for women, even admitting that they've had any kind of erotic fantasy can be seen as some kind of consent--or women have had to worry about that.

I'm going to maybe come back to that later--I didn't drink any coffee. But the relationship between the audience, the performer or the muse, and the abstraction being expressed (epic, pornography, tragedy etc.) is about consent.

--------

I didn't read the article @Squirt Maybe I will. I know that for myself as a creative person, I feel very possessive over my own expressions.

So I've never really liked "collaboration" that much. It does produce amazing things--that's what all the films we watch are from.

But there's something deeply personal about what I want to express in my artwork, and so I don't tend to think of a muse as a collaborator.

I mean...when I drew life drawing models I did think of them as collaborators I guess, but there is something passive about the position of the model. They simply are and I am getting inspiration from them and they are allowing me to use their image to make something new.

So I guess it's collaboration, but to me it still feels that I am the one who is creating the artwork. They usually also create a type of art though--as I said, many of them are dancers--they also create art with their bodies.

They probably don't view themselves as passive vessels in the dances they perform--they are active creators as well, using their bodies as tools to express the things they want to bring into the world.

So in that way it's a collaboration--but...creators still have some autonomy. The dancer is the creator of her art--not just the person who choreographs the dance. And not the audience who also imbues it with meaning (as much as I talked about the dancer being objectified). Imo the muse is deeply personal...it's from one's own psyche and so I feel a little odd thinking of it as a collaboration.

Also--what about if the muse is unaware they are providing artistic inspiration? Artists often find inspiration from everything--could be objects in nature. Could be real people who don't even know them.

o suggest it's a collaboration when the subject isn't even present is or aware...maybe sort of true in an abstract sense like "we are all connected" but really...it feels like it dilutes the truth of what is happening.

And this is maybe where I feel I must come back to freedom of thought--because people do have freedom of thought and I think it is fine. People don't have to get consent for their thoughts.

They just can't act like there was a consensual transaction about their thoughts or inspirations when there wasn't. A man who catcalls a pole dancer when she's consensually acting out a pornographic fantasy for him is not going to be regarded the same as when a man catcalls a woman who hasn't ever indicated that she will engage in this kind of performance.

Acting like you've gotten consent for something that you haven't (that somehow you both agreed to this performance) is alarming for people too--because if you think that a random woman on the street consented to something she's got no idea of, then what else might you mistakenly believe she consented to?

So I think there's got to be this firm line between freedom of thought and...maybe collaboration.

So maybe collaboration is a good way of looking at it...at the same time an artist can also just create individual thoughts--they do not need to have an active collaboration with a person to be able to use them as a muse--though if they use their image then there's also the issue of consent there.

However, if I draw a line with a dot on it (I guess like an "i") and I say it was inspired by some guy walking down the street last week--is it really a "collaboration" even if he was the artistic inspiration? And do I have any obligation to talk to him about it or woul dhe just think I'm some weird freak and actually get weirded out by that--because we never had any "agreement" to collaborate.

Acting like we did would be more the violation--acting like he consented to be my muse for my "i"--it is going to disturb him more. However, I reserve the right to have freedom of thought and be able to make my "i" and still be respectful to people at a distance.

And so in this case--it's better to acknowledge that freedom of thought and artistic expression also go hand in hand.

But it's similar to how sexual objectification works as well, because you can have thoughts about anyone--it's just the line gets crossed when you start acting like they agreed to be your pole dancer and talking to them that way.
I enjoy how much detail and nuance you're adding here. I wouldn't disagree with any of that.

When we are discussing an intimate relationship of some sort, where consent and agency become more of a concern, "collaboration" rather than "imposition" would be preferred, wouldn't you think? Imposition is much more questionable, morally, even if it happens in a lot of relationships. I do recommend you read the rest of Poppers' comments, since there isn't much conflict here in what you're saying and her meaning (it's the last couple paragraphs).

I've had some of these questions before while observation drawing - about public vs private space, and how the lines blur sometimes. Like, while out and about drawing figures, I'd inevitably happen upon someone in an intimate moment who didn't really 'consent' to being observed and recorded by my pen. For instance, I saw a young woman in a park, cradling into a statue of a man that had arms outstretched. She looked very sad, a deep frown on her face, a faraway look. She remained there for long enough to draw her - yet I felt conflicted because it seemed wrong, somehow, to intrude on whatever moment she was having or be inspired by such a moment. I think there are many examples of the "observer dilemma" .... e.g. war reporters, too.

I don't really know what to make of all that, but I'm attempting to add some nuance, as well.
 

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(edit: we both posted around the same time and I wrote this before reading your response. It's just kind of important for me to say since I do care about art models and muses.)

Although I also want to say that I think the article you brought up @Squirt is important because there is a long history of artists models being mistreated.

Historically and even now society is so ashamed of nudity and so conflicted about the female body, that even in situations where artists arent' having abusive relationships with their muse/lovers, there was a lot of abuse and hardship given out to ballerinas and other models.

That's one of the reasons I admire life-drawing models so much, because they are willing to take their clothes off in this day in age where people commit suicide because others are spreading revenge porn about them over the internet b/c they exposed their breasts and a photo was taken.

So I think it's very brave of nude models and they deserve a lot of respect. And on top of that, as I said--a lot of them are creators in their own rights. They are often dancers, but they are also often artists themselves, and even the ones who aren't have taken their lives to cultivate their physical form, which is a type of creativity.

So I agree with you that they do have agency and that should be acknowledged, as well as they should also be acknowledged for their contribution to any finished work.
 

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i was born in 1965 in another country, so i am both an early inheritor of the 'silence' social ethic around rape and domestic violence, and a participant in and beneficiary of the speaking-out that has gone on for at least the last 50+ years.
the equivalent is the same with males. . . but the silent ethic remains with:

adult sexual assault from either sex. though cases involving women rarely ever go to court unless the victim was developmentally delayed. though it is somewhat easier if the assailant was male and they are lgbt in place where it legal and there is a lgbt community, they may not report it to authorities because of fear of homophobia, the same if there is not a sizable lgbt community and it still does carry some stigmas even in the lgbt community and of course, unlikely to be reported in nations where homosexuality is outlawed or there is a heavy negative bias, even if the victim was str8, as often victims are at risk of charges.

date rape from a woman. or in a nation where homosexuality is outlawed, from a man, even if said man is str8. if both are homosexual/bisexual, they may feel wary in reporting because fear of homophobia and there is a greater assumption of drug use among homosexual/bisexual men, so it may not be believed even in locations with a large gay community. If it involves drugging and kidnapping/being trapped by a man and one manages to calls emergency services, it's not uncommon for them to dismiss it as domestic situation in which the victim had too much to drink. so, it's better for them to call family/friends, if they can, and have them press authorities to act.

child/teen sexual assault - i.e. rape, unwanted sex or harassment from a woman unless it involves an immediate blood relative, particularly a mother - the opinion has changed some in regards to molestation or sexual assault by a man, however, it does vary by country especially where homosexuality is outlawed and it carries a greater stigma than if it was by a woman, mainly with the assumption the victim will become a sexual offender themselves, if social services are involved it is often red flagged as a possibility. so aside from the stigmas associated with being sexually assaulted as an adult male, if aware of either the public's perception or knowledge of how the system reacts to it... it serves as an additional reason not to report.

and domestic violence especially if it involves a woman because of public perceptions and reporting it often puts them at risk - potentially being arrested/detained, homeless (asked to leave the residence), and very few resources available to provide them with support. in many nations, men are taught not to hit females, this includes self defense and if they react with self defense they face an even greater likelihood of being charged with a crime or if surrounded by others, people intervening on the woman's behalf, which may include violent reactions.

in addition, if there are children involved and the woman is the primary earner or otherwise holds power in the relationship, again there are very few resources a father can turn to... very few shelters or homeless services that provide for single fathers, so in most cases like that, the father and the children will be separated... if they have no other help, such as family or friends. and it can be difficult for the father to get his children back if they are sent to the system.

in the u.s. homeless services are primarily dedicated to those with mental health issues or addiction problems and geared towards getting them on disability/welfare because someone has to pay - whether it is the state or the individual themselves. there is very little and in most locations no support services available for those that are simply homeless. save for nightly shelters through charities. this seems variable by nation but more true the further one gets away from major cities

if there's domestic violence between two men.. obviously again, not in places where homophobia is to be expected. but even in friendly areas, it's not uncommon for the reaction from authorities to treat it as if both are guilty unless one is significantly injured or the violent one is acting crazy. so, again, might be better to call a family/friend in addition to authorities.

and the self defense issue actually holds true with all of them... but especially women. it's always the argument that a healthy, able, bigger/stronger/taller/masculine-looking adult or teen male should be able to defend himself against an attack from a woman yet there would be public and in most cases, legal consequences if he ever did... especially if she is injuried in the process.

Sexual consent is important too because for women, even admitting that they've had any kind of erotic fantasy can be seen as some kind of consent--or women have had to worry about that.
and because women assume that all men want sex, anytime, anywhere, with anyone... especially when they've had one too many drinks. . . to which many don't know their limits.


but far worse if there's a group of them... they just feed into each other and push it further and further...

in situations with erotic performers as well as other staff, they are known for getting too sexually aggressive. of course, this also extends to other situations.. and beware the lad that wears a kilt anywhere near a hen party, frankly most blokes should avoid getting anywhere near a bachelorette party.... as women aren't really aware of their entitlement issues.




 

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I enjoy how much detail and nuance you're adding here. I wouldn't disagree with any of that.

When we are discussing an intimate relationship of some sort, where consent and agency become more of a concern, "collaboration" rather than "imposition" would be preferred, wouldn't you think? Imposition is much more questionable, morally, even if it happens in a lot of relationships. I do recommend you read the rest of Poppers' comments, since there isn't much conflict here in what you're saying and her meaning (it's the last couple paragraphs).

I've had some of these questions before while observation drawing - about public vs private space, and how the lines blur sometimes. Like, while out and about drawing figures, I'd inevitably happen upon someone in an intimate moment who didn't really 'consent' to being observed and recorded by my pen. For instance, I saw a young woman in a park, cradling into a statue of a man that had arms outstretched. She looked very sad, a deep frown on her face, a faraway look. She remained there for long enough to draw her - yet I felt conflicted because it seemed wrong, somehow, to intrude on whatever moment she was having or be inspired by such a moment. I think there are many examples of the "observer dilemma" .... e.g. war reporters, too.

I don't really know what to make of all that, but I'm attempting to add some nuance, as well.
lol I guess you are right about "collaboration" being better than "imposition", especially if you're in a sexual/romantic relationship with the muse. haha

And I liked reading your example. It sounds like a very moving thing to see--even the way you describe it. A woman cradling herself in the arms of an inanimate object.

I have experiences like that where I feel conflicted too. I wonder if there's a little bit of a different perspective in general for female artists, especially if they've struggled with receiving unwanted attention or feeling objectified.

And then there are also issues of who owns your image? That is part of this all--and comes up with discussions of revenge porn but also governs how artists should be allowed to use images of other people.

But I have those moments too--and also where I feel a bit like a creeper or a voyer or something, because lets face it--to draw something you have to sit there and stare at it for a really long time and in most situations sitting and staring and focusing so much attention on someone would creep them out. lol

But that's why it's nice to be able to talk with other artists and have groups with models, because you know what the consent is--same thing should be done with muses even when romantic/sexual relationships are involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #145 (Edited)
[On second thought I think that story was too traumatising...]
 

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in addition, if there are children involved and the woman is the primary earner or otherwise holds power in the relationship, again there are very few resources a father can turn to... very few shelters or homeless services that provide for single fathers, so in most cases like that, the father and the children will be separated... if they have no other help, such as family or friends. and it can be difficult for the father to get his children back if they are sent to the system.
So, I have a story here.

I lived in a homeless shelter for six months when I was sixteen in a major US city. Men were on the first floor, and women and children were placed on the second floor. We had separate entrances. I remember being intimidated because whenever I walked by the first floor, I'd get cat-called by men through the windows (whenever I was out anywhere in that town I was cat-called... even from across the street... ah, the dangers of being fresh off puberty). I ended up avoiding that side of the building altogether.

However, a family that included a single father with girls would be placed on the second floor (If the family included both parents, the father would stay on the first and the mother and children on the second). This made the other women in the shelter uncomfortable. While I was there, there was only one man with us. He had two daughters between ages of 7 and 10. I got into a conversation with him once. He only stayed a couple weeks (which is good that he was able to find a better accommodation quickly).

He told me he wanted to be screenwriter and asked to show me his script and storyboard to get my opinion. His story ended up being about a teenage girl that gets into a situation where she's almost date raped, but escapes. I got the strong sense that he wanted to write this story to teach his girls how to recognize red flags, set boundaries and defend themselves. He asked what I thought of the story, especially as a teenage girl. It was really interesting and he was very earnest about it. I could also tell he was very self-conscious about being on the second floor with the scrutinizing glares of the female residents, and so I tried to be as supportive as I could. It couldn't be easy to be a young father trying to raise two girls alone, with no home. I'd say out of the many people that I met there, he came off as one of the more stable individuals, which made me laugh, considering he was treated with so much suspicion. I thought it was very brave of him to approach me.

(I should probably also add that I was a bit worried, too... and paid close attention to the girls' behavior and made sure to talk to them a few times... I mean, it sucks to feel a need to be protective, but statistics are statistics and abuses against children in poverty is so damn high.)
 

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it's worse for women






I remember I tried to be encouraging/supportive to a guy that was on the verge of tears and seemed really down, asking if he was okay, and he immediately took it as an invitation for a sexual advance and tried to touch me.

Actually, that sort of response has happened almost every time I’ve tried to comfort an emotional man now that I think about it, at least with straight men. :confused:
 

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and because women assume that all men want sex, anytime, anywhere, with anyone... especially when they've had one too many drinks. . . to which many don't know their limits.

I don't think it's fair to say "women assume all men want sex."

That's generalizing women and it's also about an assumption generalizing men.

I do think women can internalize tht belief--and it's unhealthy.

It's actually extremely disturbing to me.

I'm not sure what's going on with the trauma stories right now, but I've said it before and I'll tell it in case anyone can learn from it. It's in trigger warning--it's about how I lost my virginity.

Trigger warning

 


When I lost my virginity it was without my consent--I clearly and specifically said I did not want to have sex.

Now lets just stop here...I didn't say that I didn't want to have sex because I thought "all men want sex all the time." I said it because I thought it was possible the person was going to try to have sex with me. It turns out I was right, even though they looked me in the eye and said "it's okay, we won't" less than a second before they did. That's called rape.

Later that day my female friend told me "he just thought of you as a piece of meat." She may have also said something like "all men think of women as pieces of meat."

This bothered me for a long time because I sort of generalized that in a weird way--it hurt me a lot to think someone would deny that I had a brain or any choices or whatever. So I did generalize it into this idea "men all think all women are just pieces of meat." And probably furthermore generalized it into "men must be like meat eating animals." And furthermore "maybe I am just a piece of meat--or that is my only value to 'men.""

This all happened somewhat unconsciously because it wasn't until a decade later that I allowed myself to accept that it was technically "rape."

That kind of thinking is incredibly toxic to both the individual and also to others. I suppose it's probably sexism, in some core way--that just kind of came about from unprocessed trauma.

I've spent years redefining it because I am romantic. I don't want to believe such horrible things about other people and I don't want to believe things like that about myself. If that was really true--just for selfish reasons, that means I could never have a romantic relationship with someone who thought of me as anything but "meat."

But I can see how someone could end up internalizing a sexist belief like that.

I also can say I did actually do pretty unethical things at times to men a couple times, during that time. Like once I allowed a guy with a girlfriend to come on to me and then pushed him away before he was satisfied, and when he pleaded with me not to tell his gf and I told him I wouldn't lie to her. So I think this was part of my just being nasty--I still think what he did was wrong, but I didn't really want to be with him anyway. I was just trying to "teach him a lesson" like some kind of vengeful fury. I think I was also probably kind of mad that I'd never had a romantic relationship but this guy could have one and he'd even cheat. Again--"nice girl" resentment.

Anyway--men are not all one way. Women don't benefit from thinking that...it's something that hurts women as well, and in some cases it might have been caused by a trauma in the first case.

Later on, my friend (the same female friend who said he thought of me as a piece of meat) told me one night at a party "isn't it nice to think any of these guys will have sex with you because you're attractive?"

And I thought "no." It's not nice--because at the core I am a romantic. At the core I believe in individuality. And again--the idea that all men are one way bothers me a lot.

Also...she was wrong. Some of these guys might be in relationships with women--they might be attracted but they might not choose to have sex with anyone. Some of these guys might not be attracted. Some of these guys might have other views about sex that prevent them from wanting to have sex with random strangers (honestly, I'd assume/hope most of them). Some of them might be gay.

To me, the idea that that could be a reality is like a dystopia. As if people just have a hive mind.

The other frustrating thing to me about this is that my friend who said that was actually much more smooth and able to find romantic partners than me, perhaps in part because she did generalize--hence the reality of my "nice girl" frustration. Because I'm not seductive and I'm alone...there are probably women who hold those kind of toxic views about men who are in relationships with them, while poor me I have to be all alone etc. I sound like an incel sometimes because I relate to some of their arguments...because I've been sexist (both misogynistic and misandristric, I guess).

I've spent years tearing that apart and clarifying and acknowledging that these generalizations are false, and these misunderstandings aren't reality. And I love knowing that they aren't reality even if I'm alone. Because at least I know it's possible someone out there is having the fulfilling relationship I'd wish I could have. And that makes me happy.

Not everyone is a romntic though. Not everyone values individualism that highly. There are people in this world who will hurt you, abuse you, or exploit you. There are also people in the world who won't.

And it's worthwhile to find friends who are not going to treat you like you are just meat. Not everyone wants to dismantle their own sexist beliefs and acknowledge individuals of the other gender as individuals.


@Squirt--I hope that guy was just wanting to do what he said he was. I, personally, am extremely suspicious of him from hearing your story, but I wasn't there.

The reason why I'm suspicious is not because "all men are this or that" but because when I was a teen it was quite common for male photographers to approach young girls and trick them into doing pornography.

I'm not saying ALL people who approach others to take photos or film them are trying to abuse, exploit etc. But it does happen.

I was also approached by a man who's a friend of mine--he shows his photos in slide shows. He is open and honest that he takes nude photos. He asked me in a respectful way if I wanted to and I told him no. And he accepted that and it was fine. I don't believe his photos were really even pornography--more like borderline nude photos--sort of maybe a little bit suggestive but not like being in a porn film. And I was an adult. I'm still friends with him--he did nothing wrong, in my opinion...and does nothing wrong by taking nude photos.

I find it weird that the guy in your story would think he could teach teen girls to avoid rape like that--I mean, it would be just as cautious to avoid him in my opinion.

It sucks that you sometimes have to be suspicious--but I think it's better to accept (for myself) that I don't really know someone or what they will do until a certain...loooooong...amount of time.
 

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I remember I tried to be encouraging/supportive to a guy that was on the verge of tears and seemed really down, asking if he was okay, and he immediately took it as an invitation for a sexual advance and tried to touch me.

Actually, that sort of response has happened almost every time I’ve tried to comfort an emotional man now that I think about it, at least with straight men. :confused:
most guys have experiences of being taken advantaged by a woman they felt sorry for, too... by viewing their kindness as weakness.
 

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most guys have experiences of being taken advantaged by a woman they felt sorry for, too... by viewing their kindness as weakness.
That’s true, and to me a separate issue.

I was explaining that calousness or some prejudice against men being emotional isn’t the only reason why a woman might not want to try to comfort a guy who is crying, especially a stranger. I definitely learned I needed to consider how my intentions might be interpreted, and whether or not I want to take that risk. Even so, I still have trouble ignoring it or walking away if someone is looking for support and not getting it anywhere - so it gets frustrating to have to be so freaking careful just by virtue of being female, apparently.
 

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I don't think it's fair to say "women assume all men want sex."

That's generalizing women and it's also about an assumption generalizing men.
I thought about adding most or some but since others are being fast and loose with their generalizations, I thought why not join the fun.


trauma
 

I've been assaulted by both males and females. . . and we could also throw related issues with the medical establishment in there, too. all of which within society has a stigma on virtually every aspect of me. my sexuality (which within the lgbt community has a history of separating themselves from and in turn, isolating people who have experienced sexual trauma, and of course, that it makes one suspect in the rest of society, too... prompting many to believe it's only a symptom of trauma or health conditions.), my values, how I've engaged this conversation, being introverted, etc - and when some know that, often there is little of myself they see as me - they won't even allow me to own my failures or successes... nearly everything becomes associated with it.

but what it does shape is akin to this:

alex kingston - boudica warrior queen (2003) at t=2822

because empathy from others is generally lacking as this thread has already largely shown.
 

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Like I said earlier, turning everything into a contest gets nowhere... especially if we think empathy is important.
it's not a contest in regards to that.

it is a fact.

and important if we are to believe empathy is important.

you want to play it down because every man you've pitied has made sexual advances yet when I say most men have been taken advantaged of by showing kindness what do you really think it means... you want to justify your biases and deny theirs?

some men have paid that price with their lives, their livelihood, with scars both physical and deeper still. you say it is different - it is relative - sexual advances, murder, abuse, theft, and so on... are their tears, fears, really so different from yours?

so, I call bs.

you say make a plea about not making it a contest because you'd rather be in the dark and believe what you believe - the comforts of not knowing, not needing to know, not needing to care. yes, that's an assumption on my part.

this has always been a contest about who has the monopoly on pain, on who's pain is valued more... to all the generalizations to be made of the sexes
 

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it's funny of those that say they don't want to get in the head of a rapist yet see the world as rape.. . every corner a danger, every person suspect, imagining all the ways it might happen.
 

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I don't think it's fair to say "women assume all men want sex."

That's generalizing women and it's also about an assumption generalizing men.

I do think women can internalize tht belief--and it's unhealthy.

It's actually extremely disturbing to me.

I'm not sure what's going on with the trauma stories right now, but I've said it before and I'll tell it in case anyone can learn from it. It's in trigger warning--it's about how I lost my virginity.

Trigger warning

 


When I lost my virginity it was without my consent--I clearly and specifically said I did not want to have sex.

Now lets just stop here...I didn't say that I didn't want to have sex because I thought "all men want sex all the time." I said it because I thought it was possible the person was going to try to have sex with me. It turns out I was right, even though they looked me in the eye and said "it's okay, we won't" less than a second before they did. That's called rape.

Later that day my female friend told me "he just thought of you as a piece of meat." She may have also said something like "all men think of women as pieces of meat."

This bothered me for a long time because I sort of generalized that in a weird way--it hurt me a lot to think someone would deny that I had a brain or any choices or whatever. So I did generalize it into this idea "men all think all women are just pieces of meat." And probably furthermore generalized it into "men must be like meat eating animals." And furthermore "maybe I am just a piece of meat--or that is my only value to 'men.""

This all happened somewhat unconsciously because it wasn't until a decade later that I allowed myself to accept that it was technically "rape."

That kind of thinking is incredibly toxic to both the individual and also to others. I suppose it's probably sexism, in some core way--that just kind of came about from unprocessed trauma.

I've spent years redefining it because I am romantic. I don't want to believe such horrible things about other people and I don't want to believe things like that about myself. If that was really true--just for selfish reasons, that means I could never have a romantic relationship with someone who thought of me as anything but "meat."

But I can see how someone could end up internalizing a sexist belief like that.

I also can say I did actually do pretty unethical things at times to men a couple times, during that time. Like once I allowed a guy with a girlfriend to come on to me and then pushed him away before he was satisfied, and when he pleaded with me not to tell his gf and I told him I wouldn't lie to her. So I think this was part of my just being nasty--I still think what he did was wrong, but I didn't really want to be with him anyway. I was just trying to "teach him a lesson" like some kind of vengeful fury. I think I was also probably kind of mad that I'd never had a romantic relationship but this guy could have one and he'd even cheat. Again--"nice girl" resentment.

Anyway--men are not all one way. Women don't benefit from thinking that...it's something that hurts women as well, and in some cases it might have been caused by a trauma in the first case.

Later on, my friend (the same female friend who said he thought of me as a piece of meat) told me one night at a party "isn't it nice to think any of these guys will have sex with you because you're attractive?"

And I thought "no." It's not nice--because at the core I am a romantic. At the core I believe in individuality. And again--the idea that all men are one way bothers me a lot.

Also...she was wrong. Some of these guys might be in relationships with women--they might be attracted but they might not choose to have sex with anyone. Some of these guys might not be attracted. Some of these guys might have other views about sex that prevent them from wanting to have sex with random strangers (honestly, I'd assume/hope most of them). Some of them might be gay.

To me, the idea that that could be a reality is like a dystopia. As if people just have a hive mind.

The other frustrating thing to me about this is that my friend who said that was actually much more smooth and able to find romantic partners than me, perhaps in part because she did generalize--hence the reality of my "nice girl" frustration. Because I'm not seductive and I'm alone...there are probably women who hold those kind of toxic views about men who are in relationships with them, while poor me I have to be all alone etc. I sound like an incel sometimes because I relate to some of their arguments...because I've been sexist (both misogynistic and misandristric, I guess).

I've spent years tearing that apart and clarifying and acknowledging that these generalizations are false, and these misunderstandings aren't reality. And I love knowing that they aren't reality even if I'm alone. Because at least I know it's possible someone out there is having the fulfilling relationship I'd wish I could have. And that makes me happy.

Not everyone is a romntic though. Not everyone values individualism that highly. There are people in this world who will hurt you, abuse you, or exploit you. There are also people in the world who won't.

And it's worthwhile to find friends who are not going to treat you like you are just meat. Not everyone wants to dismantle their own sexist beliefs and acknowledge individuals of the other gender as individuals.


@Squirt--I hope that guy was just wanting to do what he said he was. I, personally, am extremely suspicious of him from hearing your story, but I wasn't there.

The reason why I'm suspicious is not because "all men are this or that" but because when I was a teen it was quite common for male photographers to approach young girls and trick them into doing pornography.

I'm not saying ALL people who approach others to take photos or film them are trying to abuse, exploit etc. But it does happen.

I was also approached by a man who's a friend of mine--he shows his photos in slide shows. He is open and honest that he takes nude photos. He asked me in a respectful way if I wanted to and I told him no. And he accepted that and it was fine. I don't believe his photos were really even pornography--more like borderline nude photos--sort of maybe a little bit suggestive but not like being in a porn film. And I was an adult. I'm still friends with him--he did nothing wrong, in my opinion...and does nothing wrong by taking nude photos.

I find it weird that the guy in your story would think he could teach teen girls to avoid rape like that--I mean, it would be just as cautious to avoid him in my opinion.

It sucks that you sometimes have to be suspicious--but I think it's better to accept (for myself) that I don't really know someone or what they will do until a certain...loooooong...amount of time.
Well, I acknowledge I will never know for sure. I can only do the best I can wherever I am at. I try to hold onto all possibilities, to have contingencies.

Not being able to protect people in bad situations has haunted me for most of my life because I’ve seen so much of it first hand, and often seemed to be able to dodge abuse where others could not. Was it luck? Was it me? Was it them? I end up thinking about that a lot.

Staring down my stepfather at eight years old in his moments of drunken wrath - all 300 lbs of him - was a lesson in overcoming fear. That is where I learned that being small and vulnerable can have an advantage. He knew, and I knew, that if he ever hit me he was going straight to jail. So he would beat holes in the wall instead. I can see how some might come to this realization of their position and use it nefariously - but for me, I just wanted to be safe and keep others safe. Even for him, I had compassion, because so much of his feelings I could empathize with - he was an artist and would draw eagles chained to the ground, screaming with fury. I used to copy all his beautiful drawings, mesmerized by the desire for freedom, knowing that anger behind it, and I could recognize we’re complicated and flawed and can frighten one another, and still care about one another.

So, whenever I can, I always want to give someone a chance.
 

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it's not a contest in regards to that.

it is a fact.

and important if we are to believe empathy is important.

you want to play it down because every man you've pitied has made sexual advances yet when I say most men have been taken advantaged of by showing kindness what do you really think it means... you want to justify your biases and deny theirs?

some men have paid that price with their lives, their livelihood, with scars both physical and deeper still. you say it is different - it is relative - sexual advances, murder, abuse, theft, and so on... are their tears, fears, really so different from yours?

so, I call bs.

you say make a plea about not making it a contest because you'd rather be in the dark and believe what you believe - the comforts of not knowing, not needing to know, not needing to care. yes, that's an assumption on my part.

this has always been a contest about who has the monopoly on pain, on who's pain is valued more... to all the generalizations to be made of the sexes
Bringing up men’s struggles with feeling taken advantage of after I related why I would hesitate to comfort a man I didn’t know seemed like you were trying to deny my experience, not that I was denying anyone elses...

I also think it is weird that you call it pity. Would you call it that if I were talking about comforting a woman?

Edit: also, I didn’t say every man. There are notable exceptions. It has happened enough to make me wary, though.
 

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it's funny of those that say they don't want to get in the head of a rapist yet see the world as rape.. . every corner a danger, every person suspect, imagining all the ways it might happen.
I've been raped once. I've been sexually assaulted twice (but was able to fight off the person). One of them almost raped me after I headbutted them--because I wasn't strong enough to get out from under them. I've been exposed to in public three times at least--the first time when I was a child). I've been near-miss harassed in public at least twice.

And I'm not going through the entire laundry list of these incidents right now....there may be more that I haven't bothered to recall.

So yeah--I get it. No one likes to be mistrusted.

I don't like to be mistrusted either.

But if you're going to get pissed at women who see the world as threatening, who consider that there could be someone who is trying to harm them...and if you don't know that person you don't really know what their intentions are...

If you are going to get pissed at that, I hope you never tell anyone to try to keep themselves safe from sexual assault.

All I've ever done is try to learn from the past and avoid making the same mistakes. I'm not a mind reader. I tend to be trusting and I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt more than others. This is possibly one reason why I've had so many negative incidences.

Anyway--All I want to say is that if you're going to try to tell people like me not to be suspicious of strangers before you get to know them. Don't try to tell us to avoid sexual assault. You're essentially telling me I should go out there and trust men, and if they rape me oh well...not to big a deal right? Just keep doing the same exact thing but don't offend anyone by mistrusting them as a stranger!

Perhaps I misunderstood your meaning here--but I am really frustrated and irritated by this kind of expectation.
 
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