Tuesday, 19 October 2010

I love you and other demands


Listening to song lyrics from the 1960s onwards, there are some prevalent themes. In the case of male singers, when they talk about attraction for a woman it has often been on these lines:

I love you (and you must love me back)
I need you (and I expect you to run to me)
I want you (and that's all that matters)
You are my everything (I'm unrealistically besotted)
I've built my life around you (I'm dangerously obsessional)


In some songs the message is a little more sophisticated:

You don't understand me (but I will make you see things my way)
I am in pain (and only my pain should be considered)
My whole life is in your hands (don't hurt me with a refusal)
I can make you happy (because I am a man who has made so many other women happy)
I can give you all the loving you need (I'm such a good lover)
I'll be so kind (despite my past record of thoughtless cruelty)
We can be in love forever (trust me: my old faithless, philandering life is past)


Often a certain amount of flattery is tried:

You are so gorgeous (and I think you are a dizzy airhead who will believe me)
You are so gorgeous (and I expect you to drop your life and be my slave)
You are so gorgeous (and having pressed that button, you will respond in all the ways I want)
You are so gorgeous (and I've made your love juices flow for me already, haven't I?)
You are so gorgeous (but don't insult me by taking no notice)


And sometimes reality is offered:

I like spending money on you (so I'm buying you; don't forget it)
I'll give you such a good time (but we must do the things that I want to do)
It'll be two sweethearts together (you'll have no life except the one I allow you)
We can both still be free (meaning I can be, but you can't)
I'm just a jealous guy (and I'll knock you about if you so much as look at another man)
You let me down (I abused and controlled you - so what?)
You're stupid (I can't stand any woman being cleverer than me)
You're out of line (I don't like your thinking for yourself)
You wear it well (but your looks are fading)


If a woman is singing, the lyrics have often expressed a reaction to disappointment, broken promises, betrayal, and neglect. A lament on a torn heart. A defiant assertion of future independence. An acknowlegement that a woman is forever vulnerable to a man who makes her feel special, and will fall for it all again.

What's the point of this post? I'm thinking about life in the future. The days when a man could sit down, take his ease, and curtly tell any passing woman to make him a cup of tea may be gone, but the days of being rudely assessed for bedworthiness are surely not. Being eyed up like a prize cow is a consequence of transitioning successfully. Being treated like a dimbo, and not being taken seriously is another. I believe that not far below the surface, not far below that child-friendly, homemaking, emotion-sensitive, twenty-first century male exterior lurks a caveman mentality that says 'I'm stronger than you - do as you're told' and basically sees women as chattels. It's taken a back seat for decades in Western culture, but is simply dormant. And all trans girls that look, sound and behave like ordinary women have to contend with it.

I'm no feminist. But I'm going to be on my guard. Well, that's the intention. I bet I'll just be another confused victim who falls for a bit of smooth talking.

There are upsides, however. Think of the sinking Titanic, or sinking Queen Mary II for that matter. Lifeboats. Women and children first? All for it.

3 comments:

  1. Most of them should be culled, how many do we need for the heavy lifting jobs? I am happy to set the exam paper.

    Nice post.

    Caroline xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, especially from someone who is not a feminist. (I would've thought you were from this blog, if you hadn't said so near the end.)

    As for me, I know the mentality oh too well. I've been witness to the way men talk the second a woman walks out of the room. Little did they know that the one they were trying to trade fantasies of what they'd like to do to such a woman, was a woman herself!

    I'm glad I'm not attracted to men. I'm doubly glad that I'm spoken for. Men: Can't live with em... can't live with em!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've read a post similar to this before. You are right. A man once told me how surprised he was that he'd had an itelligent conversation with me (I'm blonde you know).

    There are some nice men around, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs first...

    ReplyDelete

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