The Brave & The Bold: Melinda Tankard-Reist.

I have a great respect for those who go against the grain, who are strong enough in their convictions to stand up for what they believe in regardless of the cost. No one makes positive changes in the world without making some enemies or facing some discouraging attacks.

About two years ago (or around about) I was going through a break up with a guy who I truly had hoped was ‘the one.’ For a number of reasons, I can see now that he was not — but I was in a deep grief over the way that this person cruelly broke up with me. I was in the middle of a blame game because the person couldn’t do me the justice of ever giving me a real reason and release my heart in a normal and humane way.

There were a number of things in my mind that I could chalk up to the reason as to why he left me. And of course, I put all of those things on myself. Did I do something wrong? Was I not enough for him? Did I not love him enough? Was I not beautiful enough? Did he leave me because I wasn’t sure I could conceive? Perhaps things would have been different, had I not received a message from an ex of his early in our relationship, assuring me that he was cheating on her with me, among other things, so regardless of how much I wanted to love him, there was no trust in the beginning. I began thinking about other situations that took place in my relationship with him, as well as previous circumstances in past relationships.

I myself, have always been like a dog with a bone in certain areas of my life, and I don’t relent on something that I believe firmly in. Most of that pertains to how I demand to be treated. I am a firm believer in the idea that you teach people how to treat you. More so, I will be blunt in how I expect any future men to treat me based on my past (and apparently limited) experiences with the opposite sex. I did not ever want to be objectified again, I did not want to accept any boyfriend trying to coerce me in to sex or making me feel like I’m lesser of a woman for saying no. I did not want someone to leave me if it turns out that I can’t conceive. I’m a woman there is more to me than a uterus. I never ever wanted to accept the feeling of fear of the opposite sex, or mistrust because of what they would/could expect from me based on their stupid flirts in strip bars or other. If I chose to wait til marriage to have sex again — what of it? As long as I don’t spring it on someone mid-way through a relationship, then why should I be made to feel like I’ve done something wrong? I don’t want someone to treat me like their conquest — I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than let a single person conjure up all of those feelings again. And what a lonely thought…

And wow, didn’t these thoughts bring out the crazy when I jumped back in to the dating game…

I started reading Melinda Tankard-Reist’s blog in the middle of 2010 and read her book Defiant Birth which closely related to my own situations dealing with conception, pregnancy and more. Through reading her blogs, following her on twitter and reading about her campaigns, I started to realise that I was not the only one who saw degredation and misogyny in the way most men view/treat and hold expectations of women. I always felt like I was the only one who felt puzzled by females who accept any of the above treatment from men, or worse, emotional or physical abuse. Sometimes, I actually resolved that I was just being a prude or that there was something flawed in my thinking. But no, what I want/desire can be summed up in to one basic word;

Respect.

Melinda’s books and her blogs certainly helped me let go of this dizzying and false notion that my ex boyfriend was actually the one and that despite how much I pined for him, he was not who or what I wanted to accept in my life. Thus, I was able to (despite the heartache that doesn’t simply turn off) move on and deal with things a lot better. I would say that Melinda’s work was instrumental in helping me realise I could have never provided what that ex would have wanted or expected from me. And I am just one person, I can only imagine how many young women she has influenced in positive ways, how many girls who have seen themselves in victims of the things she campaigns against; porn, emotional/physical abuse, misogyny and more.

I wanted to write this post mostly about Melinda and less about me, but I wanted to point out that what Melinda Tankard-Reist is doing, is showing girls and young women (like myself) how to respect themselves. This doesn’t mean she’s pushing any views about saving yourself til marriage (apparently that’s just me!! lol) or telling girls what to do with their bodies or trying to push any such agenda. She is showing others the society for what it is — a deeply misogynistic one that, if recognised for what it is, can be fought against.

She campaigns against advertisers, corporations and popular culture media when they overstep their boundaries and put children or women at risk. In the past week and more I have seen the most disgusting and offensive things written about her by women and men alike, some of whom are supposed to be professional peers. I find it disturbing and upsetting the way people can be, but it just cements my belief that someone who is doing a good thing will always be met with road blocks and bumps along the way. Because Melinda and other feminists like herself stand up for women, it gives me a confidence to also stand up and share my thoughts and ideas (as controversial as I’ve come to realise they apparently are!) and I am surprised by just how many other women feel the same but have been previously too scared to say much as it is taboo to tell men how we really feel when they treat us certain ways.

Melinda Tankard-Reist, regardless of any beliefs she may or may not hold (Christian or other), is doing an amazing job at keeping many children (possibly yours) safe and free of sexualisation one campaign (sometimes many) at a time, along with many of her other amazing peers who support causes and campaigns that reach out to people like me who have had a very long history with being treated less-than and inferior by other people.

These people who have been saying nasty things, trolling, bleeding hatred from their nasty words with anonymous screen-names or even bold professional ones, need to be concerned with themselves. Disagreeing with her ideas or opinions is one thing, but public slander and bullying, threats of sexual abuse (something I encountered myself via twitter) is just proving every point about degredation she has ever endeavoured to make.

I think Melinda Tankard-Reist is an amazing woman, admirable, articulate, brave and courageous for being able to stand up and fight for what she believes in and what is right. She stands up for her convictions even if it is going against the grain. She deserves to be given more credit and more respect than is currently being afforded.

Thank you, Melinda, for all that you do.

3 Things That Will Make Me Walk Away…

Look, I’m no expert on what every woman wants and I’m the first to admit that a lot of women have some seriously flawed logic and values when it comes to the ways in which they allow themselves to be treated (myself included; hey you know, it was totally a sign that he was playing hard-to-get when I received that fiery red, ‘impact’ font letter saying; RESTRAINING ORDER!!! I know how to play this game, he loves to be chased! …and so on and so forth!). Though, I think I can speak for a large part of my social circle (shut up, my Batman plushie, Carebear and Peter Pan doll do count as my social circle) when I say that a lot of men seem to also have flawed ideas of what makes a girl fall for him.

I went on a date with this guy once.

…Yep, it was just once.

It was a one-time affair not because he had an instant charm that had me vying for a roll in the hay (oh baby, please tell me more about the time you bedded 6 girls from your work place… such a turn on!)…No, it was because I was so repulsed by everything he said and did that I felt as though I needed to come home and douse my entire body in methylated spirits and scrub myself with steel wool to get rid of the hideousness that was our date.

What I’ve found is that, most guys dip in to a bag of clichés of things that they think girls want to hear or what they think are going to impress us. I have a list of three things that are an instant “see you later, sucka” alarm for me. The first is this;

“Oh, I’m not like other guys.”

Oh, excuse me while I finish laughing at your cliché like it’s the end of a He-Man, Master’s Of the Universe episode where I, indeed have the power. If you’re not like other guys, I’m not like Pinocchio and my nose is also not growing. Just what the shit does that even mean anyway? It’s such an ambiguous statement. Are you not like other guys in that, you turn in to a werewolf on a full moon a la Michael Jackson’s Thriller right after he asks that dopey, scream-y broad to ‘be his girl’? Do you have a third nipple? Are you not like other guys so much so that you’re actually not a guy? Or are you trying to just be smooth, “Oh, ha… I’m totally not going to attach myself to you like a sniper’s crosshair and take advantage of your insecurities and your longing to be loved and completely and utterly ruin your life by allowing you to find me in our bed years later with someone much younger, vibrant and clearly more beautiful than you!” Yeah right… I think if you’re purporting to be a little off-centre or more reliable than the next douche bag sitting by your side, you could prove it without using the same line that that exact douche bag just used on that unsuspecting bird 10 minutes ago. Most logical, intelligent women are on to you – after all, all those other guys have used this line on us before.

“I’ll never hurt you…I promise.” Hahahahaha. I hate thinly veiled or empty promises. I live by the rule that I should never make promises that I can’t keep. That promise has been made to me on numerous occasions… And in hindsight I laugh because even though it may have made me feel giddy at the time, it now makes me a little bashful about my naiveté. Thank goodness we live and we learn and realise how full of shit some people are. If someone ever makes this promise, prospective significant other, new friend, man in a van offering you candy – run the other way. What if you’re hanging out with this person and they accidentally step on your foot in a pair of soccer boots that they wear for general fashion? Um… ouch! Promise broken! … See, can’t trust anyone these days…And if they’re just stomping around without discrimination in a pair of ugly soccer boots, why would you want to be with them?… even though that almost never happens, but alas, I digress.

“I love you” … Alright, so maybe girls love to hear this… but one particular guy tried to tell me he was falling in love with me before we even really hung out properly and quite honestly, it made me want to bolt in the other direction. Maybe I’m cynical, but if someone tells me they love me within a few weeks of hanging out, or after they’ve taken me out a few times, alarm bells go off. I would start to doubt their sincerity and if I doubt their sincerity then I am about to start doubting the entire thing. Sometimes I balk at how quick some relationships go – and how prematurely some people start exchanging I love you’s and the pet names and future plans – oh hello, what was your name again, you see I was too busy moving my furniture in to your house to ask…

Basically most sane, personality-issue-free women want communication; a man who isn’t afraid to have conversations, either fun or serious and who will confront an issue rather than pretending everything is okay. Women also want someone who is not afraid to be affectionate without being a sleaze bag. Oh and hey, perversion or constant sexual connotations are usually taken with a lot of discomfort until you actually know her really, really well – maybe I’m a prude who is destined to live with 6 cats and a dog for being so uptight, but I don’t care. Oh and by ‘most sane, personality-issue-free women’ I think I meant, ‘most lonely, uptight, quietly insane women’ … and I think by ‘women’, I think I meant me. The secret is, most ‘women’ want to be treated like a princess which doesn’t mean one has to flash his money around and lavish her, but – with respect, honesty, compassion and understanding that usually the logical, easy-going women can very readily and easily return.

From my own observations, a lot of people allow themselves to be treated without these things, they become a fool for someone who quite frankly couldn’t give a toss about offering anything them anything in return for their unconditional love.

Essentially love is hard thing to find, if it were so easy to find, half of the world wouldn’t spend their lives searching for it. It shouldn’t be something that people just give away to someone who seems ‘good enough’ …and it is certainly too precious to be spent on someone who doesn’t return it – or the Michael Jackson posters that may or not be on the wall of most sane, personality-issue-free women’s walls.