Recently on Love Island, Rosie ended up ‘taking things to the next level’ with Adam. Before it all ended in tears, she was clearly feeling a bit insecure about it and told the other girls that she’s not ashamed of what she did. It’s quite incredible that in this day and age, women still feel that they will be judged – by the man, or by society. Even more incredible is that fact that many women really believe they must wait because men and women are such different breeds that it’s in everyone’s interests that they keep a foot on the break.
Behind these behaviours is the idea is that maybe men can’t control themselves and us women need to help them help themselves – give them the chance to get to know us so that they aren’t blinded by their animalistic desire. If women don’t do this, the man will get what he ‘wants’ and then lose interest. Worse still, he assumes that she’s easy and sleeps around with loads of men and loses respect for her altogether.
I’m no feminist (see other posts) but this is one place where misogyny seems alive and kicking. Of course, women and men should be able to indulge their sexuality on equal terms. Of course, women shouldn’t have to use sex as a bargaining tool. Men who like a woman and then lose interest or respect because they had sex are dysfunctional. Their mindset is archaic, signalling that they view women as ornamental creatures to be conquered. And these same women, if they play along, are not only putting their own needs and desires second, they are learning to manipulate men. This is a completely unhealthy mode of interaction – dysfunctional on both sides.
To coin phrase popular among Love Islanders, ‘it is what it is’. We have to be realistic. If this is the state of affairs, then what can we do about it? Men and women are just people; fallible; some good, some bad. We can’t leave ourselves open to and invest in strangers and then take no responsibility for our part in that. It takes time to really know who someone is; what they’re looking for, how well they are able to relate to others and be honest; how trustworthy they are.
Women, in particular, need to be careful how much they invest early on. Love Island is actually a very good example of this. Sometimes, hopes and desires can stop us from properly reading a person’s behaviour.
But there’s something to be said for remembering what a relationship is anyway. Before we are in a proper relationship with someone, we are both cute, gentile, charming, fun. We are the best we can be to impress the other. And of course, the breaking of physical boundaries with another is thrilling. All our desire is magnified because we want to ‘possess’ our lover – we yearn and feel insecure in equal measure. Yet when this possession is actualised, the potency of desire is neutralised and there is a whole new landscape to navigate – two separate human beings who, via their commitment, are at risk of merging into one.
This is the inevitable ending place of every relationship. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing – it’s just worth bearing in mind. It is also worth remembering that if you are looking to be looked after, for status, or a pretty object to admire, you will get none of these from a relationship. It can be a tough lesson to learn, but the only person who can really look after us is ourselves. And people are not objects. They have many dimensions and needs and might even get on your nerves sometimes.
So, women. Remember, you don’t know him yet so sadly, he might have misogynistic tendencies, especially if given free reign. If you are really keen and could see yourself in a relationship with said individual, then remember what it is you’re wishing for. Don’t indulge in an idealised notion of a relationship and don’t put the weight of your imagining onto your lover. Akin to nostalgia, these are desires experienced most profoundly in their absence. And then… be free, be an equal person, and do exactly what you damn well want! If you find a good egg, you are setting great foundations for a happy future.