Josh made a rather big statement (to me) in his live journal.
People have a tendency to profile folks based on physical characteristics, auditory characteristics, etc. These are things that backfire a lot, because inevitably someone is offended by some of the assumptions made. Josh talks here about the traps of profiling based on gender. Two things really strike me about that, firstly how sad the post sounds. Secondly how many other people thought it sounded sad and assumed something bad happened.
Even with friends, I notice some of the same issues. We joke about how violent the guys are, about how much testosterone is in the room, and I know a lot of women at this point who are just afraid of men. Yet I seem to know so many nice men. I know enough nice guys that I want to scream when I see people they are attracted to steamroll them. Why does it normally happen? Well, because we all know how guys are.
It’s a sad state when those are the overriding assumtions going on at “Hi, how are you?” It gets downright dangerous when those become overhanging fears in terms of reputation killing within social circles. Think about the damage that is done to someone on a whole host of levels to be falsely accused of something. It doesn’t help since we see victims as having already overcome so many obstacles just to speak out.
What’s sad is that I worry that I see the other side of the coin, that in my mind women play the more sinister role. There are so many situations where I see people setting themselves up to get hurt, and in my opinion personal safety is a bit of a priority. It’s inappropriate to say that a woman is “asking for it.” This is true. It’s also inappropriate for a girl to confront her four consecutive boyfriends in one date to choose the one she wants to be with. The fact that one of the boys was killed in that situation made me really sad, because that was a story of one pretty girl causing a lot of grief.
Another story surfaced recently in Shanghai, where a young Jr. high school girl (15 years old) got pregnant. She and her mother decided they wouldn’t tell anyone, and the girl would get an abortion, if the boy would give them 12,000RMB. The result of this very sad and inappropriate bribe? The boy stabbed his girlfriend to death.
Jef had a rather long rant one evening about how nice guys get the shaft, and they turn into bitter not-so-nice guys. I often have wondered, if that’s the case, then are my friends who are married younger happier? For some reason, I don’t quite think that’s the answer either.
The problem is that we can’t get past the expectations and assumptions we have. We can’t get past that kind of profiling that we accuse law enforcement of using unfairly. Yet again, people point the finger everywhere but can’t quite take it home.
As hampshire has taught me so well to ask: so what? I’m not so sure, but I know that I have to give people the benefit of the doubt, I have to give people a chance. In my case, this happens more often for women than it does for men. This is something I sometimes fight with myself to do, but I do. It means that I meet the nicest people in some of the most unexpected places (Like my friend Zhou in Hefei, who I seriously thought was very creepy when I first met him). Still, when things turn bad, I won’t think twice before kicking someone in the crotch. It was my best karate move, and I stand by it.