Throughout a lot of discussions on gender recently I have heard a lot of generalizations about men and women and supposedly where gender inequalities stem from. "Men want to chase many girls, men have to get used to rejection, men use power to attract women, men aren't faithful, this is all biologically engrained, etc."
I have always been a person that is very interested in having a close relationship with a girl and have a huge respect for love and think that the best way to have a relationship . I check women out but I never feel the desire to touch them randomly or be gross. The thing that men are "supposed" to want, and the thing that men are "supposed to do" isn't what I've ever really wanted. Not only that, but it isn't something that I'm suppressing, these kinds of things genuinely never crossed my mind. This confused me. I know I'm a straight male, so why does my attitude towards women not match the attitude of so many other men in this society?
On the other side I noticed what women are disliking. Too many men want them and give them compliments, so they have to suppress parts of themselves to keep men from being overbearing. Men think they need to be powerful to attract women, and its keeping women from gaining the power they deserve, and they think its ridiculous. Its what they've experienced their whole lives ever since puberty started.
Thats when it occurred to me: My puberty experience was a girls puberty experience, not a boys.
Let me back up here. No, I didn't grow breasts, get wider hips, and the whole 9 yards-- exactly the opposite in fact. I was a swimmer, and a pretty decent one coming from where I grew up. Puberty started pretty early on for me, and because I was doing such intense exercise, my physical attributes grew considerably faster than my other male classmates. My genes supplied me with a significant amount of testosterone, and therefore I shot out of nowhere when it came to my athletic achievements.
I received a lot of female attention quickly. I went from a skinny, nerdy nothing to a muscular, hairy athlete in a short period of time. Girls on my team would have ab contests between me and other guys on the team where they'd line us up and choose. One girl that I was friends with even bought me a tight t-shirt because she thought I should have something to show my abs off right through my shirt. I got to hang out with older guys all of a sudden which increased my "social rank". It was great for me, and anyone in a similar situation to me, but I obviously didn't think of the psychological and societal impacts at play.
This was at the same time that the majority of other people were learning what their changing bodies meant as well. Guys don't usually develop as fast as girls and therefore girls are taught that their physical attributes are ones that guys will pine after, and guys are taught that the physical come second to being successful, having money, and a masculine personality (something I believe should come second for both men and women), and that the physical might not come for many years or ever at all.
This was not the same experience I had. When I was surrounded by the more attractive girls, I quickly learned that a good number of them aren't very fun to be around. I didn't have to chase attractive girl after attractive girl to discover that most people in general kind of suck. When I discovered that with the decent level of attractiveness I had, all you really need to do to get a girl is not be an asshole, I made choices based on personality over physical attributes (mind you this was all subconscious at the time).
I started dating a girl that I liked and we quickly fell in love. It was amazing, and life felt like it couldn't get better. She was the first person I had sex with and it came with a deep emotional connection because we both cared about it at more than a superficial level. This is something that not many people gain an understanding for at the young age I did.
We eventually grew apart, got older, went to different colleges, etc, but the respect I had for love never went away. I was still able to get girls, but it somehow didn't feel worth it unless there was something more meaningful underlying. I would hook up with a girl but usually not take it all the way to sex because I could already tell that it wouldn't be the same as it was before. I would still go out with girls but I never learned that girls are always going to need to be chased, and that your best weapon for getting girls is over-masculinity and accumulation of resources over time. I learned more like a girl did: the other sex will chase you for your body anyway so you have to weed out the weirdos. The only difference is that I didn't have to feel gross about it because women don't actively chase guys the same way that men chase girls. What happened to me was cool; the same situation for a girl is normal.
This is why most men, who grew up being rejected by girls and being told over and over that one day they'll have the power, and money, and resources to attract women, are the biggest perpetrators of things like gender inequality and sexual misconduct. As young kids they always lost when it came to girls, and now that they may have had one or two wins, they feel like they finally got somewhere that they deserve to win all of the time.
Therefore, ONE of the ways to help fix a lot of these problems are going to come from making boys feel like they deserve to be viewed sexually from a younger age than they currently are, and for things that don't involve the accumulation of resources.
I know that everyone wouldn't get what I got out of this same experience, but now that I'm a little older it has had a humbling effect on me, which is why I feel like I can talk about it without too much cockiness (I'm sure plenty of people reading this are assuming I'm incredibly cocky haha). The truth is that I'm not that kid that gets put on a pedestal anymore. Now all I am is a guy with a humble disposition and a body more decent than your average man. I recently had to break up with another long-term girlfriend that I still love, but I don't feel the need to go out and flirt with a ton of people to make myself feel better. Other guys with big macho personalities tell me that I'm never going to find another girl because my humble disposition turns girls off, but I'm not worried, because now I know that when the right person comes along again, I'll be able to turn it on and do what I need to do to win her affection. And if I chose right, then it won't be difficult at all.