Auntie Dote is HBI's answer to the usual, treacly, self-help advice columnists.

Disclaimer: This isn't an advice website. Yet from time to time we receive email asking for the Heartlessly Bitchy point of view. If you need serious medication, therapy or professional help, seek elsewhere. However, if you still insist on soliciting OUR advice, just remember...

YOU ASKED FOR IT.

All submissions become the property of HBI and by sending email to Auntie Dote you thereby give your permission for letters and responses (sans identifying information) to be published on the website. No emails will be answered individually.

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Ask Auntie Dote
The Auntie Dote for what ails you...

From: Millarbig

Date: January 8, 2008

 

Dear Auntie Dote,

 

I would just like your thoughts on men defending women's honour.

 

I recently heard of yet another case of a where 2 men were name calling this man's girlfriend saying she had a nice ass, etc.and the boyfriend proceeded to break one of the guy's finger and the other guy's nose. My friend (male) thought this was definitely the right action for any male in that position to take.

 

However, I just couldn't help feeling that these sort of macho displays of ownership and protective rights are somehow wrong and actually degrading to women and just perpetuate the whole idea of men seeing women as their 'goods'.

 

Unfortunately, I really was not able to articulate my thoughts very clearly, it was more of a strong feeling of 'not right', and I ended up feeling rather foolish and too politically correct.

 

I have read a lot of the rants, reports, etc. here and don't see anything about this and I would be interested to know how an HB would respond if she were in this woman's position because I think I would be insulted....but I'm not sure exactly why.

 

We think you articulated your position just fine. We agree that the whole "defending of women's honor" thing objectifies the woman, and disempowers her from defending herself. In general, we eschew violence as a primitive mechanism for solving disputes, although defending oneself (or others) against physical assault is a right we embrace.

Although the notion of guys squaring off like Rock'em, Sock'em Robots (TM) is somewhat amusing ("Aww! He knocked my block off!"), it's hard not to feel disgusted if MY personal safety is being used as pretext. It doesn't REALLY make sense that by injecting violence into a confrontation, you are making bystanders MORE safe. We might really need to quiz men who behave this way as to why they feel that confronting other men with violence over "ownership and protective rights" of a woman (as you put is so well) is an essential action. It must serve some psychological purpose to their sense of identity and well-being. We can only speculate.

I guess that would be what I recommend to you. If you wonder why people do things, ask them. Listen to their answers, and then just keep asking. Without telling people what to think, you can prod them to examine their own motives. I'm sure you'll get some interesting answers. Definitely stick by your gut feeling. The burden isn't solely on you to defend your objections to the behavior, but on them to explain the behavior. Escalating a confrontation isn't that smart, from a personal defense point of view, and it can also get you arrested for assault.

You know, I think it's fair to say that guys who are sexually taunting another man's female companion are probably aiming to irritate HIM more than her. Men understand each other. Let's face it, if some asshole drops lame lip service at ME in a club, even he knows he's likely to get an earful of rejection! Just think about it, he's not thinking to score with HER by saying, "hey, buddy, your girlfriend has a nice ass." You're right in that sense to feel that this isn't about YOU, at all.

I wonder how many men can just lean back, relax, and let a Heartless Bitch handle it? The site is FULL of one-liners (there must be thousands of them at this point). I say memorize a few, customize your own, and be ready to propel a pithy response when required. It's amazing how powerful words can be to shrivel the male ego (among other things!). I mean, we are talking about sticks and stones here.

In this case, for instance, I would have been tempted to say:

"If you boys want to play Rock'em, Sock'm Robots (TM), why don't you go to Toys'R'Us? I'M going home!"

Lesson: Men only behave this way at our sides because WE let them. Get over it ladies, he's not Humphrey Bogart. You're not Lauren Bacall. YOU have to take him home at the end of the day and live with him, so let HIM know what you consider to be respectful, civilized behavior. Knowing when and when NOT to throw the first punch speaks to basic principles of self-defense, not to mention judgment and maturity.

-A.D.

 

 


Copyright© "Auntie Dote" & Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com) 2007
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