I can remember a period in my 20s when I heard countless times “Rollo, you need to / you don’t respect women” from both women and (who I thought at the time were) men as if by saying this to me I would stop wanting to hook up with the strippers, groupies and club girls I was getting with then. In hindsight it’s interesting to see how my dalliances with less than ‘pristine’ women elicited such a shaming tactic. The 2012 Rollo knows the ‘respect’ ploy for what it is now; a social convention which attempts to disqualify a guy’s personal/sexual experiences as being less than ‘quality’ in comparison to the personally identified ‘quality’ they hope to embody.
It’s comedy of course to conflate genuine respect with a person’s character – that may sound odd at first, but I personally know (and you probably do too) some truly despicable people who I nonetheless have a respect for, if not an admiration of. Respecting one’s enemy is a hallmark of a learned Man.
From the late 80′s into the mid-90′s I didn’t give much thought to it, but I do remember thinking how odd it was that women were entitled to my respect by default. I never heard anyone, male or female, ever tell a woman that they “needed to respect men”. There was never an onus on women to respect men by default.
Now, of course I think we’d agree that men must earn respect from each other and from women. However, from a very young age boys, at least by and large, are taught never to hit a girl, watch your language, carry her books, respect HER, but there is no opposite dynamic for women. This is another socialized manifestation of hypergamy: the man must always perform for her, always qualify to her. For her, everything is fair game; kick him in the nuts if he cross the line. Obviously I’m referencing things from a traditional standpoint, but now extrapolate this into modern culture where single mothers and emasculated men cover the cultural landscape. Even in traditional Latin cultures where women tend to prefer masculine men, it’s not formally taught to them to respect men. Their respect is reserved for the men who qualify for it.
So this is my point, women don’t respect men, or rather, they don’t respect the masculine – and most certainly don’t have a default respect for it. They’re taught to be adversarial, not cooperative. Women are taught to relinquish respect, and then only begrudgingly when a man has proven his quality beyond the reach of most men. Masculinity is popularly ridiculed in western culture as it is, but to respect a man is to compete with him, to out-masculine him. Cooperation or even recognizing that the genders could be complimentary is viewed at best as antiquated, at worst, sublimation to the male imperative.
I should also add that I don’t think this dynamic is limited to the Daddy-Issues strippers or coed sluts. I’ve personally known very well standing, church going puritanical women, who’d cringe to be called a feminist, parroting back the very ideologies, practicing the behaviors and subscribing to the mindset (albeit in different context) of disrespecting the masculine. They were just as loud and just as obnoxious about it as any girl in Panama Beach, Florida on spring break.
Part of my job is to travel. I’m in Europe (Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France) generally twice a year. I can say I’ve noticed pronounced differences in demeanor among women there in contrast to American women. I live in the U.S. so I’m not going to pretend I know everything about women in different countries. Neither have I banged any woman in a foreign country, but I am a keen observer of behavior. I’m not sure it’s necessarily an ethnic issue per se, but certainly a cultural one. I’ve been to Aruba, Guatemala and Panama, and from a Latin perspective I don’t see these women as any more reserved than American women, however they have a definite masculine expectation for their Men. A Man has to live up to being a Man in Panamanian culture, that’s a baseline expectation, but respect is something different.
I think that the double standard guys will run into in pointing out “how American women are” with regard to respect is that they’ll be accused of not being Man enough to
handle respect them. You’ll get the standard “powerful women are a threat to men’s egos” line implying that women in other countries are ‘less powerful’ due to weak men preferring them. So the Catch 22 becomes a guy being dominant enough to master her as being the abuser, and the one pointing out her flaws being the whiney bitch who needs to man-up. Then we come full circle and see default respect for what it is – an element of the male Catch 22. To be considered a Man he must respect women (boys don’t respect women), but to be a Man he mustn’t be afraid to disrespect women.
And as with all no-win social conventions, it’s always best to err on the side of appearing too dominant than to accommodating.