Men Aren't To Blame Because A Woman Lacks Boundaries
Sadly, figuring out how to say no takes a little more than figuring out how to whine about the results of failing to do that.
A woman -- Avigayil Halpern -- published an article-length whine in the Yale Daily News about the results of her failure to be assertive or set boundaries:
Like many Yale students, I lead a busy life. My time is full of homework, emails and meetings. But the homework, emails and meetings I deal with are not just my own: To abuse a term, I work a "second shift" managing those things for the men in my life.
Many Yale men, by now, are familiar with the concept of "emotional labor." Male friends rarely expect me to discuss their relationships with them for hours on end, and left-leaning men I'm close with almost never talk to me about their feelings at length without ironically asking if they're a "softboy." I'm lucky not to do unreciprocated emotional work for my friends -- most Yale women can't say the same. But in all the discussion of and worry over emotional labor, men have lost sight of the "real" labor they expect women to do.
The collective hours Yale women spend managing men's lives -- doing work that, in another context, could go on a resume as administrative assistant experience -- could probably add up to taking another class. In a given week, I help men remember what the homework is and when it's due. I remind men to attend meetings they scheduled themselves, set up chairs for programs I no longer run and always get asked to take notes in meetings.
The load of these individually tiny tasks is death by a thousand cuts. There's not a good way to tell a male friend to look up the homework himself on Canvas instead of texting him back when he asks what it is. I once snapped at a man who constantly asks me what a regular meeting we had was and was told not to "go into hysterics." Who is so selfish that she will not tell a friend a simple piece of information? At this point, though, I've spent hours of my life passing on easily accessible information to this man.
If, stuck in this trap, a woman performs these tiny tasks, it becomes increasingly harder to say no. A friend describes a freshman counselor who took a language class with her in the fall of her first year who would text her every week to ask what the homework was. Over time, she says, she began to feel responsible for keeping him up to date, even explaining assignments to him.
If you're unhappy about how you're being treated, there's a simple answer: Speak up. Tell people you want to be treated differently. Each time you feel that way. Not as a general screed in the college newspaper.
Behaving differently is also extremely helpful.
And guess what: If you generally telegraph to people that you are not there for the using -- and, if need be, show them and/or tell them that's the case -- they will move on to more accommodating marks.
P.S. Bizarre attempt at creating a clever word -- "dele-guy-ting" -- for her headline and spelled slightly differently within the piece.
Oh, and I found this link tweeted as a response to the remarks by Linda Gottfredson that I posted an excerpt from on Saturday. My response, in brief, is in the tweet below.