There are so many kinds of awful men -
One can’t avoid them all. She often said
She’d never make the same mistake again;
She always made a new mistake instead.
The chinless type who made her feel ill-bred;
The practised charmer, less than charming when
He talked about the wife and kids and fled -
There are so many kinds of awful men.
The half-crazed hippy, deeply into Zen,
Whose cryptic homilies she came to dread;
The fervent youth who worshipped Tony Benn -
‘One can’t avoid them all,’she often said.
The ageing banker, rich and overfed,
Who held forth on the dollar and then yen -
Though there were many more mistakes ahead,
She’d never make the same mistake again.
The budding poet, scribbling in his den
Odes not to her but to his pussy, Fred;
The drunk who fell asleep at nine or ten -
She always made a new mistake instead.
And so the gambler was at least unwed
And didn’t preach or sneer or wield a pen
Or hoard his wealth or take the Scotch to bed.
She’d lived and learned and lived and learned but then
There are so many kinds
poem by Wendy Cope, b. 1945
Under patriarchy, expectations of monogamy and compulsory heterosexuality mean women are conditioned from childhood to be on the lookout (or compulsively searching) for “the one,” her “soulmate,” or Mr. Right. This is a fantasy induced by a combination of Disney princesses, white dresses and storybook weddings, as well as social and cultural influences, public discourse, mass media and celebrity culture. What this means is that many of us are so eager to get married, and so conditioned to be the damsel in distress or unconditionally self-sacrificing for “love,” we often overlook some basic things that illustrate how, far from being a prince or knight come to rescue you, your intimate partner may be in fact dangerous to your sense of self, your individual identity and your independent thought. You do not need rescuing, and no one should make you feel that you do. If any man in your life exhibits the below behaviours, he is at worst an abuser or at best an emotional/financial drain; you are better off without him. In particular, don’t marry him. He is so not worth it. See also: How to Leave a Bad Relationship.
12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him
- He interrupts what you are doing to demand his dinner. He demands his dinner. He seems to think his dinner is your priority/responsibility.
- He interrupts what you are doing to demand anything.
- He expects things from you he wouldn’t do for you, and doesn’t do himself – e.g. washing his clothes, caring for his children, paying for or “helping” him with his large bills/expenses. He does not share equally in what would be the tasks of a marriage.
- His “affection” is always aggressive and only manifests when he wants something. He withholds attention, and if he does give it, he expects/requires you to respond positively to his advances. Sisters of Resistance place coercion on the spectrum of sexual harassment, assault and rape. In our experience coercion is common and we call it when we see it. (In the case of rape, help is available. International Resources)
- He cuts you off from your friends and family. Tactics may include: judging your friends and relatives, telling you who he likes and doesn’t like, or who you are allowed to see and when, if at all. (See: Narcissist Abuser).
- He has cheated on you. Or when you got together, he was cheating on someone else.
- He doesn’t have a life. (See: Peter Pan Man)
- He puts you down, ridicules, or degrades you. This wears away at your self-confidence while keeping you trying harder to win his love. He may say he is just joking, but that shit ain’t funny. (Men have sayings that relate directly to this one: “Treat her mean, keep her keen” UK / “You treat a girl like dirt, she’ll stick to you like mud “ USA) (See: Narcissist Abuser).
- He is always negative/moaning/feeling sorry for himself. He expects you to carry this emotional burden.
- He only speaks badly of his exes and past relationships, painting them always as being in the wrong. He accepts no responsibility for the ending of past relationships and breakups. (He probably doesn’t accept much responsibility anyway.)
- If he already has kids, and he has not raised them well, why would you (possibly) want to make more with him?
- If things have only gotten worse since you moved in together, why get married and make that shit permanent? Continue reading
To assist you in identifying and resisting dominant and unequal power relationships in your life, we’ve compiled a list of common phrases people in historically dominant roles have been conditioned to and may use to try to silence oppressed others, particularly when they perceive their dominance to be challenged.
The quotations below were used by men against women and are thus patriarchal; however, one could expect to find similar strategic dismissals and silencing of the accounts and concerns of people of color, working class and poor people, queer and LGBTQI people, young people, fat people, disabled people, and other marginalized folks in the discourses of those who discriminate against them. The simultaneous and intersecting nature of oppression is also considered here.
These strategies, and others we may have missed, can be found in any order, but from our experiences attempts to silence us commonly go something like this:
Question your knowledge/judgment
Delegitimize your response
Enforce dominant point of view
Shut down debate or conversation
A number of SoR articles, including Sexism is Driving Me Mad, Letter to Male Activists, and a response to it were recently published by Black Iris Press in the 4th issue of the Affinity Zine, centred on the topic of patriarchy. We thank Black Iris for including our work and are happy to share the links.
From the Black Iris blog: This is the fourth issue of Affinity, exploring the importance of challenging patriarchy in our struggle against the dominant culture. Many thanks to the contributors. The pdf can be found here.
Please be warned, this zine includes descriptions of sexual and physical abuse.
Hot off the presses.
Coz we are serious about bringing down patriarchy.