Sunday, June 1, 2014

Are Women Prizes to be Won?

            The chase – one of the most exciting parts of dating. Smiling whenever you receive a text or phone call, looking forward to and being equally nervous about the first date, trying to figure out how interested the other person is. It’s exciting, and sometimes very disappointing, but it’s part of our dating culture. It’s what we’ve been taught since birth: guy pursues girls, wins her over by wooing and courting, and then guy gets girl.

            In a society that’s becoming more and more feminist and gender-equality friendly, this idea of the pursuit might seem misogynistic. As my favorite Disney princess Jasmine said, “I am not a prize to be won.” Yet it still feels that men (not all men) try to win women and treat them as prizes. 

            In Arthur Chu’s article, “Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds,” he explains this concept from a nerdy guy’s perspective. He says that nerds (not all) want women who are “out of their league.” Either the really hot girl, or the one who seems unattainable and would never notice him. They try to obtain these girls and then complain about how snobbish the girl is if they don’t succeed. He says that he knows too many men who just want to get laid and will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve this goal, such as stalking, giving unsolicited gifts and attention, and straight out harassing women.

            Chu feels that this kind of entitlement and misogyny is what reinforces rape culture. Men want something and feel that they are entitled to it, so they either get what they want by force or are resentful if they don’t. Chu knows not all men are like this, but he is giving a general example based on too many incidents that have occurred. He explains what he thinks will help men who don’t get what they want: “None of us nerdy frustrated guys need to get laid. When I was an asshole with rants full of self-pity and entitlement, getting laid would not have helped me.” He finishes this thought by saying that men who have this mentality need to grow up.

            But pursuing a girl isn’t always about getting laid for men, even if that is some expectation along the way. The article “Why Do Men Like a Chase?” explains that the primary reason men chase women is for their own ego. Men are competitive, and if they are able to win over a great girl, it’s a huge boost in their ego. He feels better about himself and feels like he has more worth if a girl who he finds worthy accepts him, and even better yet, wants him as much as he wants her. This is an understandable feeling, and I think a lot of women feel like they have more worth if a man puts a lot of effort into pursuing her.

            Though men and women may complain about the pursuing game, I think Erik Washman states it perfectly in “How to Pursue a Woman’s Heart” – “Let’s start with the assumption that the ideal romantic situation is one in which a man pursues the heart of woman… Before all the sparks and butterflies cloud our vision, let’s get a handle on the following: (a) what we want (b) how far we’re willing to go to get it, and (c) being prepared for the consequences.

            He said it’s good for both men and women to make lists to figure out exactly what you want. As soon as you discover your partner is not who you want, you should end it early on. Putting effort into a relationship, whether new or ongoing, is extremely important for both people. During the pursuit, a man may feel like he is making all the effort. I think it’s important for women to meet a man halfway, and if someone else isn’t putting as much effort as you, then maybe you should consider finding someone else who will. Washman adds that when you’re a man trying to go the distance to pursue a girl, it should come from your heart and be because you want to do those things for her, not because you are obligated to. He says, “If you feel as though you are being taken advantage of, then your heart is not in it. You are no longer pursuing her; you’re just trying to make an impression.”

            Lastly, the most important part of dating is how you deal with rejection. No one likes rejection, but it’s something that every single person at some time faces. Though it is difficult to deal with, especially if you feel like all you’ve known is rejection, it could be possible you’ve been looking in the wrong places, or maybe need to learn more about how much you are worth (which is most likely more than you think).

            Washman’s advice to men is, “If a woman turns down a date without suggesting an alternative plan, then she is not interested. You need to let it go at that. Pursuing her will get you nowhere... She’s not interested.” To women, he says, “If you are not interested in getting to know a man, then come right out with it. Early on. If you are interested in being pursued, then don’t make it too easy. A woman’s heart is truly something to be won. If a man is worthy of you, then he will be prepared to go the distance.”

            If a woman is not interested in you, odds are that nothing you do can change that, and you shouldn’t blame her for that. If she is unsure of what she wants, then by all means, go ahead and take a risk with her. But if she has at any point rejected you or made her lack of interest clear, then have the dignity to walk away and find someone else who appreciates your efforts and likes you for who you are. It may not be easy, but at least she’ll have more respect for you, and more importantly, you can have respect for yourself.

            Women as sex objects are not prizes to be won. Women as people shouldn’t be won either. But a woman’s heart is the best prize to win when done right. As Washman puts it, “Romantic pursuit is not about who calls whom. It’s not about sending flowers. It’s about a man showing a woman that he is ready to face the challenges to win her heart.”


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