How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

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How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by reboundstudent on Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:49 pm

It inevitably occurs at least one or two a month that, when I read any kind of dating advice, I run into that attitude of "Women can get sex way easier than men."

It inevitably makes me feel like digging a hole and dying in it.

I've known for a long time that I (and women like me) tend to be kind of invisible. On a previous dating advice forum, I was frequently the only woman who was as vehemently loud about supposedly-male-centric problems; having to cold approach, struggling to find people who are attracted to you, feeling invisible, etc. Other women had similar problems to me, but either never spoke up (except in PMs) or did so by padding their struggles in a lot more coded language (example: "I think that if I worked on feeling better about myself, I'd attract a better type of guy." Guys seemed to read that as saying she had a line of Nice Guys out the door and she was just too picky, other women seemed to read that, depending on context, as "No men want me.")

Every time it pops up, I feel sad and depressed for days. It gives strength to my jerk brain; that I'm even uglier than I originally thought, that I'm a deficient woman, that I must be really horrible that I barely got any messages when doing online dating, and have never been approached, and have only ever been asked out by one guy.

No matter how loudly I share my experience or how frequently other women speak up against these assumptions, the myth remains, and looms large. Hoping it just eventually dies or goes away doesn't seem very helpful. I know that this myth isn't truth, and yet it's spouted so often, and so vehemently, that doubt begins to creep in, and it can take a long time to re-right any kind of emotional well-being.

Do you guys have any suggestions on how to deal with, essentially, being invisible? Being a deficient woman who has never had these "universal woman" experiences? How do you deal with being shrubbery?
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by fakely mctest on Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:39 pm

I sort of like it?  It's a bit like being a spy.  It was helpful for me to reframe my own view of my own experiences.  And I do actually like hanging out on the end of a bar or sitting in a coffee shop, half reading a book and half slantwise observing the interactions of the people around me.  Sometimes I'll join in, but I don't much care what they think of my looks for good or ill.

Honestly, the feeling of NOT being seen was something of a balm insofar as I grew up in a household where being seen meant that you were about to get yelled at for something and if you were a pretty woman you were about to get told what about you wasn't up to standards (n.b., this, thankfully, only came from one parent but the dynamics were such that his voice was the Final Authority).

This is, unfortunately, something that basically every woman in society will have to grapple with eventually because a certain narrow type of youthful beauty is still widely prized above all else.  Thankfully, the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own personality, which has relatively little to do with how I look.

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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by Chickpea Sarada on Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:20 pm

It's still a work in progress, but I've been working on unlearning the idea that what those kinds of people say has a reflection on me or the women they talk about (or don't talk about).  It says more about them, showing their own lack of empathy and their distortions of reality.

These same guys tend to ignore things like context.  They don't understand why an unsolicited dick pic is not equivalent to nudes.  When I mentioned a creepy man hitting on me at a Chuck E Cheese, the guy I was telling it to did not logically interpret it as a middle-aged-to-old man creeping on a minor, but envisioned it as "shy young man wanting to get to know young woman."  Like, was Chuck E Cheese not enough of a hint?  Another man I talked to could not grasp why women would not find a certain movie poster with an almost-naked man sexy*.

If someone is so unwilling to see the world through perspectives other than their own high school movie fantasy, that's not your fault.


*It looks like the poster image didn't show. It's for the movie "Life as We Know It," for anyone interested in google imaging it.


Last edited by Chickpea Sarada on Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by reboot on Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:35 pm

I also enjoy being shrubbery because, when I am noticed, I get to avoid all the harassment and get treated like a person. Unfortunately my looks are so distinctive I cannot pull off full invisibility, but being sexually invisible has some benefits. When I was younger it bothered me more, but I am over it.
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by reboundstudent on Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:43 pm

Sorry guys I should clarify. I don't mean invisibility so much as no one notices me in real life. That actually, for the most part, is neutral-to-good.

I mean invisibility as in the invalidating of my experiences. Statements like "ALL women experience this", which calls into question me being a woman at all, since I don't experience it. Or my experiences being ignored in threads, treated as an outliner or not acknowledged at all. If that makes sense?
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by fakely mctest on Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:55 pm

reboundstudent wrote:I mean invisibility as in the invalidating of my experiences. Statements like "ALL women experience this", which calls into question me being a woman at all, since I don't experience it. Or my experiences being ignored in threads, treated as an outliner or not acknowledged at all. If that makes sense?

Oh, okay. I think that's way easier insofar as you pick your spot. Particularly in places on the internet, but also with certain people IRL, the only thing you can control is your response. So you assess the situation and the context and decide whether where you are and who you're with might be receptive to hearing a different perspective. It also depends on who else is around who might back you up. Like I am not going to change my one coworker's hidebound ideas that all men are X and all women are Y, so I'm going to avoid those conversations or excuse myself from them if they happen.

I am an expert on my lived experience and I've met enough like-minded people to be satisfied with that for the most part. I'll scrap with people occasionally (mostly IRL), but convincing someone whose opinions are that far from mine is not the hill I want to die on.

Not everyone is going to notice me or back up my opinions and I don't expect that, because an expectation like that is going to turn to bitterness very quickly if I let it get a good grip.

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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by BiSian on Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:02 pm

Well I deal with it by mocking the eraser dudes--it makes me feel better.

Honestly, it comes from a place of self-centeredness. These dudes doing the erasing are so sure that their problems are teh worstest and they can't imagine that women--who they often build up into the Other--have the exact same frustrations and problems.
For me, it helps to remember that it's clueless--BUT that I'm not getting paid to be their teacher. That is to say, I don't have to engage and try to change their minds--if I don't have the spoons/fucks/argumentative energy/whatever then it's totally ok to roll my eyes at such fuckwittery and move on to pictures of bunnies or something.
I've also found it helps to have a friend or two that I feel comfortable randomly texting with "OMG this douche on the Internet said something stupid--look at the stupid!!" Having Team You agree with you and disagree with your jerkbrain...well that helps me anyhow.

BTW, I've recently started running side conversations (in the Facebook group or with people I've connected with personally over the years) whenever we get a particularly frustrating species of WhinerDude on Prime. Helps to know that you're not alone in going "I just can't even..."
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by reboot on Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:39 pm

I tend to not care much whether people see/hear/acknowledge my opinions/experiences IRL/online. I need to just get them out there to be at peace with myself. To know I did not just sit in silence when I had the whatever in me to speak. I at least know I did not let something pass unremarked upon and that is my validation.
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by jcorozza on Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:25 am

I'm with BiSian. Even though it's frustrating to deal with, I know that most of the people who treat certain women like shrubbery are the kind of people it's not really worth knowing. And treating it like the joke that it is helps.
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by celette482 on Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:11 am

I'm with Reboot. I don't exactly expect them to say "Oh, wow, yes. you are right, other people who aren't me are also human and have full rich inner lives" I think it's ironic, because frankly that is the Number One HUGEST issue that gets in their way of solving their romantic woes, but there ya go.

I just won't let them get away with saying it without someone coming up and challenging them. What can I say, I'm a crusader at heart, tilting at windmills.
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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by Perlandra on Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:16 am

Well, I tried that tactic on a couple of the "I can't turn down sex with any woman because I won't get more chances" guys recently. One of them didn't respond, the other claimed that yep, he'd be fine with it, so everyone else should be too. Some guys would absolutely adore the scenario I mentioned, but I figured it'd send most screaming and running, and hopefully help them develop some empathy.

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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by Bumble on Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:28 pm

I can't think of an aggrieved group that truly cares about intersectionality or anyone else's problems. Everyone's chief concern seems to be for themself. The sad male virgins might be especially bad in this regard.

I know what it feels like to be invisible, though, and I personally tolerate it by slowly improving myself and deriving self esteem from my many non-sexy positive qualities and also playing a lot of computer games.

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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:12 pm

Bumble wrote:I can't think of an aggrieved group that truly cares about intersectionality or anyone else's problems. Everyone's chief concern seems to be for themself.

I'm not sure of your criteria for "concern" and I can't name a group off hand but I can name a lot of people that truly care about other people regardless of their gender/orientation, skin color etc.

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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by Bumble on Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:17 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:

I'm not sure of your criteria for "concern" and I can't name a group off hand but I can name a lot of people that truly care about other people regardless of their gender/orientation, skin color etc.

On an individual level, absolutely.

After further reflection I have to add "not giving a shit" as the most important way of coping with feeling invisible. That's the main difference between the resentful college aged me who cried himself to sleep all the time to the mostly laid back dude I am today.

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Re: How To Deal With Being Shrubbery

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:12 pm

You say "not giving a shit", I say "prioritizing". Do I care that thousands of people in Haiti subsist on literal mud pies? Of course. Its a fucking human tragedy! Do I stay up at night unable to sleep over it? No. There's a lot of fucking human tragedies in the world and I'm more useful focusing my energies on the ones I can directly effect. No amount of work or donations on my part is going to be enough to fix Haiti. It can be enough to keep a friend off the street or slip a feminist message to a bunch of SoCal carbros.

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