FRAGILE MASTERNESS | How women put themselves down so as not to intimidate men

“One evening I met a friend of a friend of mine whom I met on a cane and she was mega smart and very funny. That’s why I met her, basically. She told me to drink another day, we met and I realized that the girl start fooling around with me. We started talking about movies because she worked in that world, and I knew she was in control of a thousand, and I see her starting to act like she has no idea. I was very confused by this and I asked her directly if anything had happened to her, which I knew from my friend that she knew about it, and she told me that she had done it before. not to impose too much on the boys“. This is the testimony of Pablo, a 30-year-old man, who realized what we women, consciously or unconsciously, took as our own: making ourselves small so as not to scare men.

Looking and being smarter, more successful, and physically stronger than the men we share a relationship with hurts those women who want to be in heterosexual relationships. Journalist Mona Chollet has already warned in her essay Rethink love. How patriarchy sabotages heterosexual relationships (Paidos), about how the “social position” of the woman spoiled his “sexual position”. In this sense, the 26-year-old producer of successful radio programs tells EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA how, on her first few dates with peers who knew what she was doing, she “downplayed” her conversations when she talked about everyday tasks. “I don’t want to seem scared and say that I know this or that famous person,” she says, because I didn’t want to show that I was an “important” person and that they “felt threatened in that way.” though she understands that the fact of interacting with famous people on a daily basis is irrelevant and that he doesn’t want “to feel like I’m just my job or what defines me.”

“I think I’m very good at my job, but I think a security demonstration might hurt me. It’s just a feeling, maybe it’s not true, but we already know about the fragile masculinity of the guys, ”he assures. It is this fragile masculinity that makes us appear fragile to women is one of the issues he addresses in his doctoral dissertation. The sociology of Beatrice Ranea in her book disarm masculinity (Waterfall Books). “Masculinity is supported by many fictions, and one of them is security. Although they appear strong and self-assured, it is in fact an identity that is constantly being tested: they must systematically demonstrate that they are masculine enough. as soon as some element appears that will shake this idea, which is very fragile, they can become insecure about their masculinity,” Ranea explains.

In her essay, she referred to a vanished tweet related to a statement from a young radio producer: “For every woman with impostor syndrome, there are three men with messianic delusions.“. Or with “hysteria syndrome, which we usually call it,” Ranea points out. Normative masculinity or hegemonic masculinity is built around the idea of ​​”recognition, importance to others, what others see, what you know, and that they recognize you as the voice of authority.”

For this reason, men tend to be built on self-confidence compared to the women they We are raised with insecurity and low self-esteem.. The confidence they display, says Ranea, allows them to speak in public space, “even if they are not the same experts as women in certain topics, but they can establish themselves as such.” This was very well explained by Rebecca Solnit when she conceptualized justificationV men explain things to me (Captain Swing). And even with all the difficulties women face in trying to speak their minds on issues in which we are experts, if we fail, we will be punished more severely than they are.

Greater Success Means Fewer Dates and More Divorces

To evaluate encounters between heterosexual couples, four university researchers set up various 14-night speed dates among 392 graduates. In a 2006 study, they analyzed the results of how many men did and did not repeat with these women and why. They confirmed that they value their attractiveness 20% more than their intelligence. The ambition of a woman did not attract them either. if they thought it was superior to their own. The high social position of a woman in many cases excludes the existence of a sexual or affective position with the man she chooses.

Pretending that we are who we are not, that we know less and that we are less able to “accommodate to male desires” so that they “continue to be on top,” says Beatriz Ranea, can be done consciously or not. In a scene from the third season sex in new yorkMiranda Hobbs, a prestigious lawyer, attends the conference speed dating in the bar. On some of these short dates, the men stop paying attention to her when they find out what she does for a living. Tired of having to be invisible, she tells her next companion that she is a flight attendant.. And so they begin a short relationship that ends when she realizes that he is also not a doctor, as he claimed.

This attitude, conscious or not, is not innate. In fact, even transgender people who self-identify as women find themselves adopting these behaviors. Judith Huanuiks, researcher and PhD, recently published book Young womanexpressed in a conversation with EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA that she hated herself when at some meetings she reduced the level of study and knowledge”so as not to jeopardize the dominant position of the man, because otherwise he will feel threatened and will no longer want to flirt with me due to self-doubt“It’s something that a lot of women have and what I did, even though I wasn’t taught that I had to do it that way,” commented this trans activist, surprised at how “gender roles are so strong” that when at a much lower cost to learn than most women “to master perfectly what social gender language is.”

Successful women pay a tribute that isn’t collected in money: elected politicians whose relationships divorced more than those who weren’t elected, a Swedish study found. It was different with their male counterparts. Mona Chollet also refers to the one known as “Curse of Oscar”. Researchers at the University of Toronto analyzed the marriages of 751 actors nominated for Best Actor and Actress in Oscar editions from 1936 to 2010. The relationship of the performers awarded the statuette lasted an average of 4.3 years; those that do not, 9.5 years. On the other hand, the winning actors had a more even life whether they won an award or not: 11.9 years and 12.5 years, respectively. So, Bette Davis, Halle Berry, Hillary Swank, Sandra Bullock or Kate Winslet after some time after gratitude, they broke up.

Petite physique: the cases of Lady Dee, Carla Bruni and Charlene

Chollet recalls how in 2014 Newsline Twitter in France was filled with memes mocking the cover paris match, in which Carla Bruni, 1.75 meters tall, hugged herself and rested her head on the shoulder of her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, 1.66 meters tall, so that it seemed that he was taller. For the picture Sarkozy had to move up a notch. This was not the only time the publication played with perspective. He’s already done it, placing a model on the former French president’s lap or immortalizing a walk on the beach that made her look shorter because she tilted her head.

And she was not the only wife who physically decreased in size. Lady Di was demoted before Carlos of England and Charlene of Monaco, she too was only a few inches shorter than His Highness Alberto. These positions “suggest fragility or submission” towards their partners, argues Mona Chollet.

American feminist Katherine McKinnon argues that “masculine and feminine are created through the eroticization of dominance and submission”, and from here “a gender difference is built.” Men tend to prefer them thinner and shorter so that they take up as little space as possibleMona Chollet says. Beatrice Ranea states that “getting out of the gender binary dichotomy is not an easy task and will help to destabilize the hierarchy a little, especially if we destroy relationships that are established on the basis of equality.” And thus the notion that men are beautiful when they are strong and women when they are weak is destroyed.

The fact that women value themselves and men don’t disappear is proof that this relationship and the woman means something.”

Beatrice Ranea, author of Disarm the Masculine

In the case of heterosexual relationships, going against the norm “is a test for men,” says Ranea. “The fact that women value themselves in relationships and that men don’t disappear, don’t feel intimidated, is proof that these relationships mean something and the woman means something.” Here, a woman becomes a whole, not someone who depends on her relationship with others and this is defined by her as a woman, a prostitute, a wife, etc.

“If they feel intimidated, if a woman has to shrink in order for the relationship to move forward, it’s actually a sustainable relationship that’s about injustice, hierarchy, inequality and the inability to be yourself. Now this feminism is even further away main stream and society at the time of change This is the moment when women stop belittling themselves and get rid of the impostor syndrome.“, declares this doctor of sociology, who calls “to stop acting for the sake of satisfying the male gaze and seeking male confirmation.”

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