Friday: Covert Contracts With Sexist Men

Most men are sexist either consciously or subconsciously. If you’re turned off, good. Go read a book and come back when you’re ready for unfiltered honesty. If you’re still with me, let’s keep going, shall we? Considering the fact that most men grow up in a patriarchal world, modeling their behavior from sexist fathers or receiving messages from their mothers and family that reinforce sexist behavior and beliefs, it’s hard to make it to adulthood without some sexist beliefs.

Women also come of age beneath heavy patriarchal conditioning with desires, expectations and attraction shaped immensely by social messages. While I’m blessed to have women in my life who thoroughly interrogate our sexist world (it’s just as likely this blessing is fueled by impatience, I might add), it’s an unfortunate truth that most women don’t.

Dating (as a heterosexual woman) and clinging tightly to patriarchal beliefs whether consciously or unconsciously, is a recipe for disaster since sexist cover contracts are established. When these contracts, which do sometimes have apparent short term benefits for women, make unappealing demands, women find themselves quagmired by the myriad of small decisions and perceptions that have ultimately contributed to their position.

How do women cope with these covert contracts and expectations? Resentment is certainly one way, but certainly there’s another way that doesn’t involve tearing away at ourselves from within. It won’t hurt (much) to hold men accountable for their behavior. When you recognize a covert contract, some aspect of your relationship that exists solely because of your sex, rather than holding onto resentment, isn’t it much easier to draw this out and bring it to the foreground? Speak about your experience and don’t allow a fear of being "assertive” press you into submission.

We are much better off finding out if we can bring our issues to the table early on rather than stuffing our feelings until we feel too emotionally involved to tell a man to get his act together.