On being complicated
A google search for the words Women and Complicated turns up over 10 million hits. The phrase “What do women want?” turns up 80 million.
This obviously doesn’t prove anything. It’s just what I turned up when looking for articles to refute when talking about how “complicated’ women really aren’t. The idea that women are complicated and hard to understand has so permeated our culture that for me to simply find ONE article to discuss was sortof a moot point.
And what does being “Complicated” even mean?
This came up over the weekend in a conversation with a good friend. We were discussing our relationships and she essentially said that she doesn’t expect her fiance to understand her choices because “Women are so complicated.”
And hearing her say this my brain just screamed “COP OUT.” Saying women are complicated for her meant “I don’t have to explain myself.” And for her fiance saying she’s complicated probably means “I don’t have to bother trying to understand.”
The idea that women are too complicated to bother understanding is a socialized idea that is easy to buy into because it makes life easier for both men and women. It is both a result of male privilege and a learned behavior that allows women to get away with “complicated” behavior without having to justify themselves.
I don’t actually think women are all that incomprehensible. (And neither are men so simple and straightforward.) Saying that women are complicated and men don’t know what they want is just an easy way for them to not have to actually listen. If there is no chance that a man could ever possibly understand then he is off the hook, he doesn’t even have to try.
Nor, conversely, do women have to bother explaining themselves. Since women “never know what they want” they have no responsibility to understand their own motivations and communicate them to their partners. Men could just never possibly understand, so why even bother.
So essentially the argument that women are “complicated” (whatever the fuck that means) and men are “simple” and therefore could never understand is a gigantic sucking hole that eliminates communication in relationships. It gives both parties an easy out, no one has to try to understand and no one has to try to explain.
I can’t imagine how hard this could be if half of the partnership doesn’t buy into it, and the other individual really wants to understand or explain but the other person is just not interested in engaging.
Now all of this is not to say that people aren’t complex and don’t occasionally behave in ways that are difficult for others to understand. But that’s just the thing, PEOPLE are complex. Just as often as I do or say something that Mr. I finds baffling, he will do something that leaves me rolling my eyes. We all occasionally find the actions of others to be incomprehensible, but that isn’t because of our gender, it is because we are ALL complex individuals with our own priorities, interests and communication styles.
Attributing the confusing actions of a significant other, friend or relative to their gender is the easy way out, it gives us a ready made excuse not to try to understand why that individual is behaving the way they are. They are doing it because of the shape of their genitalia, DUH, not because they are a complex interesting person with motives that are not always immediately apparent to everyone.