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  • Writer's pictureHailo

Decentering Men Doesn't Mean u h8 Them

One of the funniest things to happen to me last year was someone commenting that my videos made them hate men less. I think the internet and the girlbloggy corners of it have a super interesting way of romanticizing misandry.

I think when you write about centering womanhood and agency people assume that you hate men. I don’t. I would say that I enjoy men. But I think it’s so important to push back at our cultural conditioning that they have to be at the center of our Universe.

I know I’ve pulled back a bit from writing about dating, so instead, here are a few choice encounters from this year, with men :

  1. The old man in my building who seems harmless but won’t stop asking what unit I live in. He didn’t heckle me in a way that made me uncomfortable until I straightened my hair once. This guy who works at a shop on my street and is always reading yelled at him to stop once. The other day, I was walking home and he was sitting outside as he does. “What apartment?” he said. “What apartment?” Usually I’d laugh or shrug. He already knows, from when I’d first moved in and was still a little greener. But this time I laughed and said “No.” And it felt so good to simply say no.

  2. At this one party, I ran into a director I messaged and emailed as a senior in college trying to get an internship (I studied screenwriting). He responded to my DMs, but ghosted me at the inbox. “You never emailed me back,” I said to him, two years later, at the party. He apologized. Then, he took my Instagram. For some reason, this made me a little sad.

  3. Two men at the show my band recently played at were sending stolen glances and cute little looks. They both told me (separately) that they liked my coat. One was much more shy than the other. The other told me that my coat made me “look like I had answers.”

  4. I was recently at a literary event and was talking across the table with this British man. About how a breakup more or less brought us both to New York. Completely unprompted, he said, quite privately to me “Don’t you feel in control?” I thought this was so funny. Such an odd but appropriate thing to say.

Because I do. Not all of these encounters are bad. Or good. I just found them memorable and interesting and indicative of a new version of myself. A version that asks myself what I think and feel and want and actually listens, instead of doing that weird thing where you step into the male mind to understand what it wants of you first.

Not all male attention is net good. If you’re ever doing anything for the sole purpose of male attention (no judgement … we’ve all been there and it is quite literally the way society is set up) then you want to turn inwards and ask yourself 1) why? 2) what would you rather be doing? Tell the creepy old man no. Say it with a smile if that makes it easier. You can probably create more opportunities for yourself than some vaguely successful man will offer you through an Instagram DM. And perhaps you do have the answers. How do you want to dole out your attention? Your gaze?

All you have to do to feel in control is allow yourself to accept the fact that you are.

Enjoy men. Enjoy women. Enjoy people.

But most most most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Happy Playgirl Spring




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