From rape language to relationship language: Stage I to Stage II
Just as schools introduce students to Stage II technology by teaching computer language, schools must now introduce Stage II communication by teaching relationship language – teaching males and females to take responsibility for their verbal and nonverbal cues (including dress and makeup), what they attract, and how to change these cues to attract a better relationship. Let’s look at how this might have prevented the date rape portrayed in the film Thelma and Louise.
Thelma wants to connect with a guy. So Stage II relationship language training would have her make a decision about the type of guy she wants and the type of experience she wants to have with him. We find out in the film that while she definitely doesn’t want to have her noes ignored, she is definitely open to having intercourse. So if she wants a reasonably sensitive but exciting lover, she might start by trying to find him at a supermarket squeezing cantaloupes rather than at a bar squeezing women.
Nevertheless, even in a bar, relationship language training would teach Thelma to look around for a man who was listening to a woman, not ignoring women’s noes. And if she didn’t find such a man, to leave the bar (or stay, but just drink).
If she spotted such a man. Stage II relationship language training resocializes Thelma to approach the man, start a conversation, and use her body language in such a way as to let him know she wasn’t a game player or teaser. How? For example, by buying him a drink and asking him to dance. This communicates to him that she makes decisions. If he can’t handle it, she weeds him out – why get involved with a man who can’t handle a secure woman?
Contrast this to what Thelma actually did. She got drunk and approached no one. Instead she ultimately danced, kissed and necked with the one man whom she and Louise had rejected about seven times – including louise blowing smoke in his face and telling him to get lost. She selected from the worst possible environment the worst possible man – the only man who had proven he couldn’t and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Then, when she joins him in a dark parking lot and he persists after she says no to intercourse, we viewers are left with the image that men – as a group – are insensitive rapists. Rather than showing Thelma and Louise use relationship language training to control their own lives, they are portrayed as feminist heroines for their willingness to murder and commit suicide. To me this is both anti-male and anti-female. To me it is more empowering to give women the tools to control their own lives rather than applaud them for killing men and committing suicide.
The most important pan of Stage II relationship language training is the training to take initiatives and therefore have "original choice power” rather than "veto power" – the more typical female power. But if a woman is still vetoing, she will at least learn to understand the subliminal messages different vetoes send. For example, when a man asks a woman for a drink and she says no, then he risks rejection a second time and she says no again, but the third time she says yes, we have the beginning of their relationship language: the message she sends is that he must risk rejection three times before her no becomes a yes. If this language remains consistent between them, why should it change just prior to intercourse?
Relationship language training must also teach men to understand that (1) women who take initiatives are much less likely to be victims and blamers than women who do not initiate, (2) women who initiate are billing to take responsibility and risk rejection, and (3) these women are therefore the most likely to empathize with men since they share the male e*perience.
Boys must also be taught their investment in change. Which is considerate: most guys would love a woman to ask him out, caress his body, and pick up the check Reinforcing men’s addiction to women’s bodies and then depriving men of what they are addicted to only makes men feel less than equal to women. (Could that be why feminists are not suggesting a role reversal?)
Boys must learn that constantly risking rejection forces them to cut off their feelings. Parents mast support programs to resocialize our daughters to share that responsibility with our sons Which means parents must resocialize themselves so their children have good role models.
If we want to reduce rape, our laws need to require high school and college courses in gender transition and understanding the other sex Genderu’ise, the human race is in its adolescence. It is in an awkward transition between Stage I and Stage II. And as in the normal male-female adolescence, the females have matured and the males still have pimples.
Resocialization requires teacher training to train the more mature female students to ask out the boys via in-class role playing and follow-up discussions. And to train the boys to appreciate what the less attractive girls have to offer, thus reducing boys’ addiction to beauty and increasing boys’ interest in girls’ substance. In brief, we would train teachers to do role-reversal exercises so that even if the old roles remain, at least both sexes have learned to walk a mile in the other sex’s moccasins.
If we give driving violators the option of retaking driver training, we can give first-time dating violators the option of taking courses on relationship training – courses they never had When we resocialize women to share responsibility to risk the entire gamut of 150 risks of rejection (from eye contact to intercourse) as often as men do, we will be minimizing the male anger and powerlessness that lead to date rape and the female anger and powerlessness that lead to false accusations, they are the Пір sides of the same coin.
Stage II relationship language training must teach both sexes to say yes to sex and both sexes to say no. (Men have less permission to say no than women do: we don’t question a woman’s femininity when she doesn’t want to be sexual; we do wonder about a man when he doesn’t want to be sexual We don’t make her a sexual deviant; we do make him a sexual deviant.) Men will learn the importance of ‘no’’ to the degree that women learn to ask men who might not be interested in them.
There are no easy answers, but the answers we do develop cannot emerge from feminism-in-isolation but from both sexes helping each other reweave the tapestry that has been passed from one generation to the next over the centuries for purposes that were functional then but dysfunctional now.