All the Reasons Why You’re Not Giving (or Getting) a BJ Tonight

Perhaps you, like my husband, are wondering why you didn’t get a BJ last night. Or perhaps you’re wondering why you didn’t give a BJ last night.

Oh, what’s that you say? You haven’t been wondering? Instead, you were thinking about what you’ll order for lunch, or what’s happened to Chaz Bono’s career now that Caitlyn Jenner showed up, but now I’ve put this image in your head that’s playing over and over on a loop in your brain like that clip of the gazelle getting taken down by a lion that you clicked on by accident that one time? It took the arrival of a certified letter from the IRS to get those images out of your head, who knows what it will take this time!

Anyway, keeping with the long-standing tradition of revealing uncomfortable details about my sex life here on Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please, I’m letting you know I haven’t been meeting my quota in the Blow Job Department.

Slide1

As you can see, we’ve been trending down for a long while and even slipped into negative territory recently as I promised to give a blow job on a couple of occasions ( March 20th, The International Day of Happiness and then again on that night the kids slept over a friend’s house) only to renege at the last minute.

Now, if you’ve been reading Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please for, let’s say, longer than two minutes, you’ve probably already realized that I am not a woman who is averse to putting a penis in my mouth.

So why have I (mostly) stopped?

Georgia Platts, over on Broadblogs, in the post Why Do Women Stop Being Pornstars? offers one explanation. She suggests that it’s the cultural repression of female sexuality that makes us, eventually, (mostly) stop. Platts’s argument begins with the assertion that, because we’ve learned to repress our natural sexual feelings, women need a lot of stimulus in order to become sexually aroused, and this stimulation is easy to find when a relationship is fresh and new and exciting. As a relationship develops, that stimulation is harder to come by so there isn’t enough to overcome the internalized behavior to repress our sexual desire.

In all seriousness here for a moment, I hope I have captured Platts’s argument accurately, and if not, I hope she will weigh in to correct me.

OK, back to my nonsense: I read Platts’s post and I immediately thought, “Oh, this is a bunch of hooey!” I can tell you now, some days later, as I’ve been thinking about nothing but BJs as I’ve struggled to compose this post, that I’ve decided Platts’s explanation makes a lot of sense. Long time readers of this blog know that I’ve written at nauseating length about sexual desire in too many posts, and while I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly expressed my thoughts, I think I’ve just always assumed that there is probably some socio-biological explanation for desire.

Platts’s post got me thinking I may be wrong about that.

Still, I would more readily accept female sexual repression as the explanation for the lack of BJs in my marriage if it weren’t for my own experience (that’s called confirmation bias, people) that includes the following:

  1. My husband shows a corresponding decline–perhaps not as drastic, but it’s there all the same–in the frequency of other romantic activities, including (but not limited to) twiddling, canoodling, mug-wumping and East Yurkanian kissing.
  2. While I’m not discounting the experience of other women,  I never thought sex was dirty or disgusting or horrible and (here I go with another uncomfortable detail about my personal life) I remember having sexual thoughts from a pretty early age (And I do mean early. Let’s say five or six. And I had crushes on some boy or another all through elementary school). I developed this attitude toward sex even though the message I received from my mother was that sex is awful and dirty and disgusting and to be endured by women only because we want babies.

So it’s hard for me to accept that the reason I’m not having much oral lately is due to repressed sexual desire, as I don’t think I’ve ever repressed a sexual desire in my life (behavior is another story). Let me say here that I have absolutely no doubt that’s the reason for many women out there, and I don’t mean to diminish or invalidate or pathologize their experience of their own sexuality just because it isn’t identical to mine. If their sex life is causing them unhappiness, I wish them every tool in the box to correct it to their satisfaction, including working through repressed feelings.

Instead, for me, I have to think that the way I feel about blow jobs today is sort of the way I feel about Major League Lacrosse. Let me explain: last week, when my husband suggested we go see a game (or is it called a match? Hmmm. I don’t think I really care), I responded, “I think I’ll pass.”

This is a lacrosse stick. Yeah, I wasn't sure, either.

I won’t be blowing this, either.

But if he had asked me to suck his cock go to a Major League Lacrosse game back when we were dating, I would have jumped at the chance.

What has happened in the intervening dozen years? Have those feelings that Major League Lacrosse is icky and disgusting and I’d be a dirty whore if I wanted to go see a game match game re-emerged, after being held at bay for a number of years by the initial thrill and excitement of discovering there was, indeed, such a sport as Major League Lacrosse?

Have I sworn off Major League Lacrosse fellatio forever now that I’m in an old, dull relationship?

I hope not. We shall see as my marriage lurches through its second decade.

As this post winds down, I’d be remiss if I didn’t raise this issue: I have to question if establishing a standard of what Ms. Platts calls “pornstar sex” is setting just one more unattainable goal for many women, like squeezing into 24 inch waist jeans and filling out double D bra cups.

Maybe “pornstar sex” shouldn’t be the expectation (aspiration?).

Ok, so I promised to give you the reasons why you’re not giving/getting BJs. How the hell do you expect me to know? All I can tell you is why I’m not giving one tonight.

  • I’m too familiar with my husband’s penis. I already know what it’s like to give my husband a BJ. As a species, I think humans desire novelty, new experiences, and we’re curious. It’s the reason why we’ve ventured into outer space and also the reason why I blew that guy Ryan, freshman year, even though he was kind of a jerk. We needed to know what it was like to walk on the moon and also what it’s like to give a BJ to a jerk, I guess.

    A Sister of the Or Something.

    A Sister of the Or Something.

  • I’m old. Oh, God, it kills me to say it, but I’m old and those sex hormones that seemed like they would rage through my bloodstream forever now need a cane and a walker to get around. Before this is all over and I’m lying cold and dead in the ground, who knows how I’ll feel about blow jobs? I’ve always imagined myself as a surprisingly spry, and incredibly horny, 80-year old but now I may turn into one of those women who decides late in life to join a religious order, the Sisters of the Sexually Inactive (or something).

So there you have it, the latest in my ongoing series of “Posts That Will Get You To Unfollow My Blog.”

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at freeimages.comI made that crappy line chart myself.

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57 thoughts on “All the Reasons Why You’re Not Giving (or Getting) a BJ Tonight

  1. Karen says:

    Readers of this blog who follow me by email may have received a notification of this post last night. That was an error, as you may have discovered if you clicked the link.

    You know, I really don’t know what I’m doing here. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tomangel1 says:

    haha. very entertaining, and even funny were it not for the sad decline in blowjobs.

    Does your husband Blog? I’d be interested in how he is looking at how to novelise his dick – glitter perhaps? Fairy lights? Elephant ears to the side?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen says:

      Oh, is it sad? I dunno. He gets to gain weight and fart around me now, so maybe that’s the trade off?

      And he does not blog, and he probably wishes I wouldn’t. 😉

      I don’t have any answers.I think the discussion is very interesting, though.

      Like

    • Karen says:

      Ok, so I would have agreed with you until I started thinking more about the issue Broad Blogs raised.

      Here’s the thing: I believe that if I met my husband today, even at our advanced ages, with hormones declining like the stock market, I think we’d be chasing each other around the furniture instead of sharing a box of Cheez-its on the sofa while we watched a rerun of Empire (which is what we did last night).

      I don’t think it’s biology. Or, rather, I don’t think it’s just biology. There’s more to it. And it may be that there just isn’t enough energy/force in the relationship to overcome these internalized, negative feelings we have about sex.

      I’ve long wondered why desire wanes in relationships, and whether or not monogamy is a natural state for us. Maybe we’re programmed, deep inside what remains of our lizard brain, to respond to novelty, that there is some evolutionary benefit to new experiences (including new sex partners). Or maybe we internalize negative feelings about sex, so that’s why we lose desire.

      Like

      • rossmurray1 says:

        Ultimately, it may be a combination of reasons, which certainly makes sense.
        As for variety being the spice of sex-life, think about that other youthful free-for-all, rock music. I still love music (listening right now!) but say someone offered me a chance to go to live shows every night. For free! Sounds fantastic, but, errr…, can we make it once a week? Great in theory but I don’t think my body could manage it.

        Like

        • Karen says:

          Ross, stop telling me I’m old, dammit.

          There was a paragraph I edited out of the final version here, harkening back to my evolutionary biology theories, that said, “Of course we can’t sustain that fever pitch of intensity in our sexual relationships, because then the cat would never get fed.” So I think there might be something to that, and also the age thing, although it really kills me to admit it.

          Why can’t I lose my fondness for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as I get older, instead?

          Like

      • Huggy Bear says:

        who is “we”?

        I am 53 and divorced after spending nearly 17 years in a largely sexless marriage. I never stop desiring my ex wife. I had only been with three other women before her. Frankly, I could f**k her every day if she wanted.

        Instead in her late 30s she was down to once a month. Pathetic as hell…It was predictable and always damn near the same position. Right after her orgasm (usually 10 mins or less) she would become dry. Did not give a shit about me. No hour long f^%k sessions…..The whole thing just pisses me off to think about it.

        I am still a very very highly libido man. My testosterone level is over 800 and my free testosterone level is equally high. I am not into casual sex or serial dating. But, I am as horny now as I was at 23. I just need to find a 50 something or 60 something year old woman who still loves sex and loves to f$#k.

        I really get sick of being around people (especially women) my age who are flippant about sex. Who think f&&&&ing is somethin you only do when your young. Total darn turnoff..They need to go sign themselves into a nursing home in my opinion..

        I don’t know what it is…But, I say to young men every day…If you want to have a great and healthy sex life, avoid marriage like the plaque. It simply does something to women that kills their libido. I just do not understand how people can love eating rub eye steaks for 40 years but do not enjoy sex for 40 years when sex is more fun and pleasureful than a rib eye (or whatever your favorite dish might be).

        One thing I am nearly certain of is Broadblogs is WRONG. There is more to this damn story than sexual repression. The highest rate of STD growth is with single baby boomers. So, these older women are still fucking somebody!

        Btw, I don’t give a rats ass about BJs. I just love to f&&k!!

        Great blog!!

        Like

      • Huggy Bear says:

        Karen,

        “There’s more to it. And it may be that there just isn’t enough energy/force in the relationship to overcome these internalized, negative feelings we have about sex.”

        But just where did these negative (and internalized) feeling come from? Did they all of a sudden NOW appear? What about 50 years ago? This is what I don’t get. I cannot grasp this notion.

        Like

        • Karen says:

          Huggy, Huggy, Huggy—

          I understand your frustration, but I’m not in the business of explaining the world to you here on my blog. Do you really believe men and women didn’t get bored with one another fifty years ago? BroadBlogs is suggesting one explanation: the cultural repression of women’s sexuality (“Nice girls don’t like sex!”) is internalized and it takes an enormous amount of effort for some women to overcome it. I’m suggesting that might be right, but maybe there’s other stuff going on, too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Huggy Bear says:

            Well, you do not have to explain the world to me….I am sure it would be a fascinating discourse nonetheless.

            You know maybe my frustration is that I personally have never grown bored and tired of a woman..I even enjoy the company of women I am not particularly fond of. Why? Because they are women and I love being around women. I enjoy the banter and conversation. The conversations I have with women are far more stimulating than men…

            The few women I have been with (dated, sexed, etc) did not get bored with with me, except for the ex wife…The relationships with the others ended due to incompatibility, relocation, or most recent my unwillingness “to commit” and emotional unavailability.

            Yes, I will concur that the cultural repression of women’s sexuality is a factor impeding desire. But, it is but one factor. Perhaps there is other stuff…I really don’t know.

            Just trying to find my place out here, post divorce. I am not a needy ass man. I know how to cook, clean….My home is immaculate. I have done my own laundry and picked up my own dry cleaning since I was a teenager. I never looked for those things in a woman. What I desire in a woman is connectedness and sex (pleasure). But for me, these two things feed off one another. I cannot have one without the other..

            Maybe it is the connection that gets lost which causes everything else to go to hell. Just speculating.

            Anyhow, it is past my bedtime. I have two long and boring ass meetings tomorrow where I have to listen to people who love to hear themselves talk. But, really have not a damn thing to say…But, $$$$ is at stake. So, I have to behave.

            Thanks for indulging me.

            Cheers!

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Michelle at The Green Study says:

    Like you, repression has never been an issue with me, despite all the messages to the contrary. Age plays a big damned role, though, as does being a parent (no more getting it on in the kitchen). As for pornstar sex, I think it’s really messed up things for those of us who who actually enjoy ordinary sex, without all the lights and cameras. Not everything in life, including sex, has to be such a production, sparse BJs notwithstanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      I think there are a lot of reasons we can come up with to explain why desire wanes in relationships, and a lot of them sound “natural” to us. Of course, you have sex less after kids! There’s no privacy! Of course you have sex less after your career takes off! There’s no time! Of course you have sex less as you age! Declining hormones!

      It makes sense to us, just like it used to make sense that stomach ulcers are caused by stress and eating spicy food (that’s my go-to example of how science, even modern science, so often fails us. There are a zillion others, but the ulcer example is less politically/personally charged than most).

      But a lot of things we used to think as “natural” have turned out not to be natural after all. This could be one of those things.

      Like

      • Michelle at The Green Study says:

        And there’s another reason that I thought about. I’m sick to death of hearing about sex (yes, I know, I read this blog, but you make me laugh), seeing it to sell products, having every word in the English language turned into a double entendre (can I have the words “tap” and “hot” back please?). As an individual, I resent it saturating everything and being so trivialized as to seem as interesting as brushing one’s teeth. Maybe when it comes to a dick or floss, I’m going with floss – I haven’t been hearing about that nonstop.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Belladonna Took says:

          What blows me away (no pun intended, because I too am exceedingly old) is that on the one hand there’s this relentless use of sex to market everything – the constant titillation to the point of numbness … and on the other, there’s prurience, guilt, and that horrible, HORRIBLE phrase, “it’s not appropriate”. What kind of culture is this that on the one hand can sexualize damn near anything you want to sell, and on the other can suspend a 6-yer-old from kindergarten for “sexual harrassment”???

          Like

          • Karen says:

            ok, not familiar with the six-year old harasser story, but I can imagine a six-year old behaving inappropriately, and being disciplined for that behavior. I don’t know the specifics of the case. There are many reasons why a six-year old might behave inappropriately, some of those reasons could be normal and natural, and some of those reasons could set off alarms.

            And I think this “prurience, guilt” is part of being American, isn’t it? Maybe it’s part of being human, but I always remind myself, we’re a nation that was founded, in large part, by pilgrims (small P) and Puritans (capital P). IMO, sexual repression is woven into our cultural DNA.

            Lastly, sex is a powerful motivator. I still believe this, even while I can’t muster the energy for oral sex in my long-term relationship. But for selling soap, or blue jeans, or automobiles? Yeah, sex.

            Like

            • Belladonna Took says:

              Here’s the story about the six-year-old… http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/11/living/6-year-old-suspended-kissing-girl/

              I see the school has dropped the charges, but the mere idea of labeling such a young child’s behavior in such a way is … well, it’s a way more disturbing indictment of society in general, and his school in particular, than it is of the boy! Even if he’s naughty – heck, even if he’s disturbed! – he’s still six! He kissed one of his classmates who didn’t want to be kissed. Big freaking deal! Make him sit in a corner!

              And yeah … white South Africa’s origins are Calvinist rather than Puritan. The Calvinists are also a pretty grim bunch, but although we inherited a strong and rigid morality, we seem not to have acquired the level of sexual obsession that I perceive (with my foreign eyes) in America.

              Liked by 1 person

        • Huggy Bear says:

          @ Michelle,

          “I’m sick to death of hearing about sex…..”

          Maybe you need to change the channel so to speak….If you are hearing too much, then you are listening to too much of the wrong things..”

          You sound like my ex wife. The reason she was sick of hearing about sex (specifically me complaining about not getting it) was because she was no longer interested. If that is the case, that’s OK. Just be grown enough to admit it.

          I love sex. Always will. I don’t do porn, strip clubs, sex workers, or any of that crap. I know what I like in life. What I like in life I make a priority. If you don’t make it a priority, then you will never get it. Sex is a priority. I don’t need to hear anything about it. I just know I love it so…

          When it comes to a pussy or floss, I am taking the pussy every time!!! Every damn time!!

          Like

          • Karen says:

            ok, a couple of things. First, I understand, from reading your comments here and on Broadblogs, that you’re still hurting from the failure of your marriage, but not all women are your ex-wife, so we can put a stop to that right now. Second, you’re 53 and horny, ok, we get that, but you need to understand that your experience is not everyone’s experience. We all have our stories, and we all bring our experiences to the table for the discussion, and they’re all equally valid.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Michelle at The Green Study says:

            I read about any subject where the writer has a clear voice, good writing skills and a sense of humor. And I think that the kind of sex being used to sell products is pretty one-dimensional and derivative, ergo tiresome. And shit, the internet. How quickly I forget.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Allie P. says:

    You better watch out. Next thing you know you might be getting slipped the new pink lady’s libido pill (gotta love the miracles of modern medicine) and then you will have to think up a whole new argument as to why you aren’t willing to attend a World Series Lacross match.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kirizar says:

    You only want what you can’t have. As a single person of a certain age, let’s just say, it all seems like a distant dream. The having of someone to NOT have sex with, I mean. Not having sex without someone is just sad. Much better to NOT have it with someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. BroadBlogs says:

    You did get the basics of my argument correct. But repression isn’t just what mom says. You mentioned that you have repressed your behavior, even if not your desire, at points in your life. That can lead to repression, too. And I’m wondering if you grew up in some miraculous world where there was no slut-shaming? My students live in the San Francisco Bay Area — which is extremely liberal and progressive — and yet all of them have seen slut-shaming in high school and middle school. At least one was a victim who was under 24 hour surveillance to keep her from committing suicide at one point. And there are a lot of other factors that add two women being more sexually repressed than men. It’s not women’s fall. It’s society’s fault. I talk about it a bit more in these posts:

    Repression: Not What You Think It Is
    http://broadblogs.com/2014/10/27/repression-not-what-you-think-it-is/
    Sexual Desire & Sexism
    http://broadblogs.com/2012/05/07/sexual-desire-sexism/

    And if you compare our society would sex-positive societies, Women on average experienced sexuality must differently. In our society nearly half of women have signs of sexual dysfunction: low or no interest in sex, difficulty or inability climaxing, painful sex. Even women who manage to orgasm regularly often need a vibrator. This is all evidence of sexual repression. Sexual repression is an unconscious thing. You are going to be aware of it.

    Prof. Deborah Tolman decided to interview high school girls expecting to reveal their strong sex drive that was being ignored by social science. Instead she found that nearly all of them had some level of dulled sexuality. And these girls all spoke of fears that surrounded sexuality (slut-shaming, punishment from God, pregnancy, STDs, parents who didn’t talk about sex or were negative toward it, the Association of sexual assault and sex — which makes sex seem kind of scary, for instance).

    Not all of the young women were equally affected. We are all a mix of our culture, Our social interactions, and our natural born personality. (I might add that I was extremely sexually interested at five years old, Like you. And it took almost nothing to get me sexually interested. I was way less interested and sexuality by the time I was 25, When it took a great deal to get me’s actually interested. And I almost all of three press of factors available have affected me, Except for sexual assault)

    But in sex positive societies Women are easily, And easily multiply orgasmic, And they don’t need equipment.

    If our society doesn’t recognize the widespread effects of repression, then we will continue to repress women’s sexuality.

    Your lacrosse example isn’t a good parallel of sexual repression. It’s more in line with what you mentioned about your husband having a decrease in sexual desire in marriage (and he hasn’t been bombarded with all of the sexually repressive forces in our society — and men seem to be less affected by them when they do come for reasons I will discuss later in my blog). Men and women both experience a decrease in sexual desire in marriage, But women’s typically comes much sooner and is much steeper. And that decrease (due to repression or not) can be related to both men’s and women’s lack of desire to do things with their spouse that they don’t actually enjoy, whether it’s lacrosse or shopping.

    Like

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for commenting. My experience, as I related it here in this post, and as I’ve related it for five years on this blog, is different. I’m not dismissing your experience or the experience of others. I’m well aware of the phenomenon of slut-shaming, and I’m distressed that there are far too many women in this country and this world whose sexual experiences are not joyful. Not all mine have been, either, but I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of satisfying relationships.

      I can tell you I attended a famously (notoriously?) liberal college here in the Philadelphia area where I felt safe and respected as a young woman. Again, I know I was fortunate to experience early adulthood on that campus. It wasn’t some utopia, and there were assholes there just like there are assholes everywhere. If you would like to call my experience “miraculous”, I guess you can, since there’s nothing much I can do to stop you, but I think that’s a pretty disrespectful attempt at negating my reality, however.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Belladonna Took says:

      I would suggest that, while society has always condemned promiscuous behavior in girls and women, “slut shaming” is a relatively new phenomenon. I mean way back we had the good old scarlet letter, and there have always been gossips and whispers, but after the invention of the Pill and the sexual revolution I believe – based on MY experience, which clearly doesn’t match yours – that promiscuity (aka sexual freedom) became far more acceptable.

      More than 30 years ago, living in a conservative (but not American) culture, I was a single mother. Carrying around a child while not wearing a wedding ring is about as clear an indication of moral turpitude as any “A” pinned to the bib – but in fact I found most people simply accepted this evidence that I wasn’t a virgin, and a surprising number of complete strangers commented on what they perceived as my courage.

      In fact, I would suggest that girls nowadays are under a huge amount of pressure not to be virgins, and to wear revealing, sexualized clothing from a young age. Failure to conform to this norm leads to a different kind of shaming and exclusion.

      I don’t have your exposure to slut shaming, since I don’t work with young people in a large city, but I suspect that if you really analyse what’s happening in a lot of these cases, it has more to do with the pack turning on someone who isn’t part of the In group. Teen girls are vicious creatures, and always have been. Using the internet (definitely a new phenomenon) to savage someone gives them a wonderful new weapon. And yes, the fact that calling a girl a slut is an effective way to hurt her is clearly the effect of a sexually repressed/obsessed culture – but I’m willing to bet that their attack had little, if anything, to do with her sexual behavior, and everything to do with her failure to meet the approval of the Popular Girls.

      In other words, while I agree with a lot of what you said in your post (yes I did read it, and the comments), I thought that you were also somewhat missing the point.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen says:

    Thanks for commenting. You make a lot of good points. I remember clearly feeling the odd one out in my little group in high school after EVERYONE (or, at least, it seemed like) lost their virginity. And I was not bullied or tortured or a victim of the mean girls, it was just my little group who had undergone this passage into adulthood (or so I thought at the time) and I felt like I was being left behind.

    I mentioned the concept of “confirmation bias” in my post–it’s the idea that we gravitate and assume are true those theories that most reflect our own experience. Speaking for myself, I don’t believe that I am sexually repressed (I think Ms. Platts would like to argue that I am, and I’m just not even aware of it), so the idea that I’m not as interested in sex anymore has to do with sexual repression doesn’t make sense to me. To a woman who has identified as feeling asexual, I would expect sexual repression to make a lot of sense to her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Belladonna Took says:

      Everything you say makes a lot of sense to me… 🙂

      The main problem I have with talk of repression is that it assumes victimization. ALL humans suffer, because of parents/teachers/spouses/bosses who don’t understand them / don’t meet their needs, being poor or the children/spouses of workaholics, friends/peers/partners who let them down – and that’s without mentioning dentists with halitosis, the government, Monsanto or the Kardashian Evil Empire.

      The issue I have is with the idea that this makes any of us victims. Certain individuals are victimized horribly, and I don’t want to diminish what they suffer at the hands of pedophiles, bullies, abusers, or whatever … but it seems to me that when we glibly define an entire group – be it women, people of color, homosexuals, ANYONE – as de facto victims, we’re disempowering the members of that group and also making less of the real victims out there who actually need attention.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Karen says:

        No, I don’t agree. Entire groups of people are victimized daily, hourly, for the sole reason that they are part of a group that another group doesn’t like. Injustice is a thing, even if your impulse is to say to those folks, “Shut up and stop whining!” Disenfranchised groups have been silent for too long.

        I don’t see how acknowledging the reality of a a person’s experience is “disempowering.” It’s validating, and empowering, and it’s the only way to bring about change.

        Unless, of course, you’re satisfied with the status quo.

        And I get that you’re a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” sort of person but just because there are some individuals who manage to do that, against tough odds, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to remove the barriers that prevent all of us from doing that.

        And, lastly, one more comment and I’ll shut up: because I’ve only lived my own life, I don’t get to go out and tell other people that they’re not victims of injustice. If they feel that they’ve suffered, that’s enough to convince me.

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        • Belladonna Took says:

          Lol, no, not remotely a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps person” – and what you say is quite true, as far as it goes. I think you may have misunderstood where I’m coming from. I don’t mean that victimization of groups doesn’t happen. Of course racism, sexism and homophobia exist! And if a person of color, or a woman, or a homosexual objects to an act of group hatred, I am certainly not going to tell them to suck it up.

          But at the same time I feel there is a huge tendency to play the victim game. Take the start of this whole conversation – we, as women, were presumed by another woman to be the victims of sexual repression. Each of us in our different way, coming from our different backgrounds, said, “Err, no.” It didn’t happen in this case, but I’ve engaged in similar conversations in the past where the other person has said, “Yes, you are TOO a victim – you’re just not sufficiently evolved to recognize it!” at which point my eyes tend to get a little slitty and I’m likely to respond with something along the lines of “Who the hell are you calling unevolved?”

          Here’s how I see it, Karen … as an obese woman in my late 50s with a non-American accent and occasionally unAmerican views, I’ve encountered my fair share of prejudice. But that’s just … life, you know? It sucks, but then there are benefits to being who and what I am. Ultimately what I do with it is up to me. So while I’m not going to deny someone else’s personal experience, I’m also not going to let anyone else call me a victim based on their personal experience. I’m not going to excuse someone else’s bad behavior on the grounds that they were a member of a victim group. If I can inspire or influence someone, I’m going to encourage them to take responsibility for changing their individual circumstances as best they can, rather than wallowing around feeling like a helpless victim.

          That’s what I hate about the concept of victims. It’s not that it’s not true – it IS – but speaking of people that way, and thinking of ourselves that way, is so bloody disempowering. It troubles me that so often it’s the starting point of a discussion, rather than merely one of the facts under consideration.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Karen says:

            I guess I don’t understand what you mean by “play the victim game.” What does that mean? Recognizing that one has been hurt by the institutional disparities (racism, sexism, ageism) that exist in our society? Is that “playing the victim game”?

            And I understand you’ve resigned yourself to a certain position. That’s fine. I’m not going to force a placard into your hand and make you join me on a march. However, the folks that do march, and scream, and shout are the ones that will make the world better for us all, even middle aged women.

            Recognizing injustice in the world is not wallowing in self-pity.

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            • Belladonna Took says:

              I’m all for marching! I’m all for any proactive, preferably constructive effort to bring about change!

              Trying to think of examples of people who, in my opinion, “play the victim game” … I mean actual examples I’ve experienced, not memes.

              Okay … I had a business partner who was injured during the course of our business. It happened on my property so was technically my fault, so our insurance got involved. For YEARS – like five years – she drifted through life, sighing about her various medical issues, very pointedly not blaming me – “I understand, shit happens”. (In fact she was an idiot but that’s a whole other story.) At the same time, she was failing to respond to emails and calls from the insurer’s lawyers. Her doctors were unable to find anything wrong with her. I believed she genuinely was sick, though, so when we FINALLY got the matter to court and I was meeting with “my” lawyer (you know, the one the insurer appoints and pays, who assures you he’s there to represent YOU, not the insurance company) … I challenged him. I pretty much insisted that he back down and let her win. He had an ethical issue with that, but he also knew he couldn’t win the case because I was going to give my version of the truth in court. I told her exactly what questions her lawyers should ask me.

              The night before the case, she settled for about 1/10 of what she should have received, because “it was better than losing everything.” Last I heard, she was still wafting through life being sad about all the things she couldn’t do because without expensive medical care she’d never get better.

              Now THAT is someone whose entire identity is wrapped up in being a victim. I hate it, I despise it, I try very very hard to be compassionate and helpful and not too free with unsolicited advice … but it pisses me off, and – further to that – I resent every penny she gets in government aid paid for by my taxes.

              Am I starting to make any sense here? I think we agree on these issues more than you realize … I guess I just have a knee-jerk reaction to the word “victim”. Probably I should quit yapping at you and clear my thoughts and write my own post… 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • Belladonna Took says:

                One more brief comment, because of course we were talking about whether groups could be victims and I described the case of an individual who wasn’t victimized as part of a group. So … for me the issue is, what do you – as an individual – do with your life? Yes, maybe you’re part of a group that has suffered victimization – but I really do believe that makes you a member of the majority. Very few people don’t suffer in that way. So are you, personally, individually going to get proactive about changing things – or at least changing your life – or, at the very least, doing the best you can with the life you have in the circumstances you’ve been dealt? Or are you going to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, blaming your victimizers, and demanding that the world compensate you?

                Okay, I’ll be quiet now. Pondering a post…

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                • Karen says:

                  ok, my last words on this as well: I think people do stuff all the time with their lives-they scream, they shout, they march, they burn their bra, they write blog posts. I guess the feeling I get from reading your comments is that you think they should be doing something else, like sit down, shut up, and make the most of a bad situation.

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              • Karen says:

                I’m with you. I often leave these embarrassingly long posts on other blogs before I realize, “Hey! I have my own blog.”

                I understand what you’re saying about individuals who wallow in self pity and maybe that’s a little bit of what we’re talking about here. BroadBlogs promised a follow up post to discuss what to do about sexual repression, so I don’t think that’s the case here.

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