I am having a bad day and need some advice...
I just drew a line in the sand with a close friend on the wrong side of it. And I mean WRONG. Not incorrect, but wrong, as in bad, not right and to be avoided. A male friend that I have been like an older sister to, for years, just brazenly confessed via text that he watched a violent pornographic video last night in which a bound woman was repeatedly shot with an airsoft gun, leaving bloody welts and then gang raped. And he “ came hard and made a mess
What. The. ****?
We have discussed at length my feelings on sexual violence (that it’s a disgusting violation of another being), the negativity of the porn industry and its victimization of women. Hell, I am not shy discussing the current events with the outing of sexual predators in the media, effects of toxic masculinity and struggles with gender equality.
I asked him why he told me this, and how did he think I would react (which was open disgust).
Because we talked about airsoft guns yesterday. (read: he wanted to)
He knew I would be disgusted.
Well **** that. It’s not my job to teach him how to be a better human being. This isn’t the first straw but the last. For years I have been reasonably voicing my objection to him using the word gay to insult something, or faggot as a derogatory term. He has sat through many of my “lectures” as he calls them about how the words we use are important, how harmful they are, and to be aware of what he is communicating. I have challenged him to be more aware of what is going on in the world and the oppression of women and POC. We have discussed at length the immediate violent reaction many men, him included, have to a woman’s perceived rejection. All this time I thought that I was helping to do what his parents didn’t- be the voice of reason, equality and challenge our misogynistic culture that helped shape him. Apparently I was wrong.
At what point do you give up on a person? At what point are they beyond redemption? Sure he stopped calling people “fags” in my presence, and he would never call ME a “dumb bitch” for rejecting a dude, but that’s not really growth from realization is it? He slightly modified his surface behavior to avoid me nagging him, but at his core, he is unaffected. This more than anything is what I find so upsetting. He doesn't see, he doesn't care. I cannot make him see or care. I tried and failed.
How is it I am swimming in the pain of failure because I could not “fix” him? Rationally I know that it’s not my failure, but I can’t help but think of the future women he is going to hate and call “bitch” because they reject him. The women he will objectify or cat call, or heaven forbid the woman who says NO, which he ignores. I feel responsible for them, like it is them I have failed because I could not change this young man’s thinking.
What I am asking myself:
Is ending our friendship the right thing to do?
Should I use this as a “teaching” moment to again discuss my feminist perspective?
I know I can “take it” - the continued misogyny he displays- but should I have to?
Even if my presence in his life would be a good influence and help him one day “see”- should I have to?