As I write this , Joe Biden is being eviscerated for being “touchy, feely”. Joe Biden is a politician, it is very unlikely that he is squeaky clean. Joe Biden is a man with feminine qualities. He does authentically believe and embody human connection. When we are in neutral, we can see that he does have a knack for truly connecting. Something that is sorely needed in our American culture. If there is a person to be the center of this discussion, I am relieved it is Joe Biden.
“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.” - Joe Biden
I am a woman who has experienced sexual harassment and discrimination in and out of the workplace. I have been creeped out by both men and women attempting to hug me. I have been creeped out by both men and women who stand too close to me. I have also been creeped out by both men and women who sneak in to hold my hand. Yet, when it’s a man, applying the label of unacceptable behavior or harassment seems natural. When it is a woman, brushing it off because women tend to be “touchy feely” with each other, seems more natural.
Side note: I have noticed that people naturally leap to the above assumptions. When they find out that the perpetrator is gay, it becomes a masculine vs feminine scale. For example, when it’s a masculine-dominant person, applying the label of unacceptable behavior or harassment seems natural. When it is a feminine-dominate person, brushing it off because “touchy feely” is a feminine quality seems more natural.
Double standards. It is a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups. Sounds a lot like the place we are trying to escape…the current pattern of exclusion!
What happens when men behave like women behave towards other women?
There is a clear difference between men that are creepy and intent on taking advantage, and men that want to connect through a feminine avenue. I have been downright confused by men that are comfortable using feminine ways to communicate and connect. I have been equally confused by women behaving “manly”. In most cases, I rely on my intuition to inform me. Looking back, it’s an even toss up between abusive or narcissistic intentions, and those that were merely an expression of comfort with masculine or feminine behaviors.
Boundaries are those intuitive indicators. They let us know that our personal space is being compromised and to take appropriate action. Before setting boundaries, it is a good idea to know and be confident in who you are. Then, you can set balanced boundaries with an appropriate level of clarity and purpose. Boundaries that are equal and which everyone can understand and therefore respect.
With boundaries come responsibility. The responsibility to listen to our intuition and either notify the over-zealous person to back up or move away for our own safety. When we ignore these intuitive indicators, we find ourselves in trouble. The “boundary-pusher” does deserve a huge chunk of the blame. As does the “boundary-owner," who now with the benefit of hindsight, can see that things may have turned out differently had they listened to their intuition.
Knowing the difference between boundaries and barriers is critical in connecting with other humans, in a way that is respectful of personal space.
Barrier-Builders live in fear. Continually focused on preparing for the worst to happen. Barriers are purposely designed to isolate and keep people out. They are alienating and severe all ties to connection. There is only one person in this community — the lonely barrier builder. This crippling fear is the result of scales tipped all the way over to the feminine, with little to no masculine to counter-balance.
Dividing the masculine and the feminine is a centuries old strategy that successfully deflects attention off manipulative autocrats. Too busy fighting amongst ourselves, we are oblivious to our freedom being quietly stripped away.
Before we unwittingly outlaw connection to one another, we, the “boundary-owners” are responsible for acknowledging our part in the problem and gently uniting to be a part of a balanced resolution. This is possible. Collectively, we have THE voting and purchase power. If we want to change the pattern of double standards, we can collectively connect and empower the discussion of balance.
The resolution is not in repeating the “exclusivity” pattern that got us into this pickle. An enormous amount of time, energy, lives and sanity has empowered the compromise of now. How has the past prepared us to make a difference — to create a new pattern? What does it mean to be feminine? What does it mean to be masculine? What is balance?
While we think about what those questions and what they mean to us, let’s open by connecting in neutrality, and talk about what is acceptable and equal, in our multi-faceted society. Use your voice, illuminate your ideas to redefine social norms that are inclusive, equal, and practical.