Intuition in Susan Jacoby's Unfair Game

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"Few of us have vitality enough to make any of our instincts imperious."-George Bernard Shaw. I believe Shaw was correct in saying you have to make an effort to listen to your intuitions. These days, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to guarding your life, but people can take this a little too far by letting their own naïve, discriminating, and generalized ideas develop negatively in their heads. Race and gender are the singled out subjects that we let influence our culture's freedoms because of media, family and friend's twisted views, or a bad experience.
In Susan Jacoby's story Unfair Game, she encounters a man at a bar and a man with a wife on a flight to San Antonio. After describing each meeting, she ends up complaining about her disgust for men. Obviously, it's not right how some of the men treat her, but her generalizations about men are soon disproved. When the last man in her story asks her to join him for a drink, she denies him; he takes it very graciously and leaves.
This woman allows her own ego and insecurities cloud her judgement. She says no to every man she meets and doesn't seem the least bit flattered that the men notice her. She doesn't even have the slightest clue how hard it is for a person to ask another person out. She fails to distinguish between the slime balls she meets and the genuine guys.
Jacoby's reactions lean toward the extreme of women that have valid reasons to keep mace in their purses. Jacoby got hit on by men, but there are men in the world who assault, abuse, or rape women. Jacoby seems to be overreacting to her mild experiences with men. She closes herself off to any type of advancement though all the experiences she described made the men seem pretty harmless in comparison to what was possible.
At the start of the story, her friend as well shrugs off the same man at the bar as Jacoby. An educated guess would be that the two friends probably discuss their distaste for men in depth, only encouraging their skewed views on all men. Women with Jacoby's perspective seem very narcissistic and apprehensive.
You'd think the most receptive audience of this piece would be female, but if a woman took some of my points into consideration suggesting that most men do not deserve Jacoby's style of treatment or rejection, they would find that generalizing the idea that all men are pigs is sexist.

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The most ridiculous thing about this story is even if the men had changed the way they approached Jacoby, it still wouldn't have mattered according to her reaction to the last man.
Men these days carry many burdens that females will never understand. The notion that they must be macho and unemotional tends to carry from adolescence to late adulthood. In the story, How Boys Become Men by Jon Katz, he first describes a scene where physical toughness is shown by a boy hitting his friend with a heavy bag and showing no pain.
Including withstanding pain, Katz reviews all boys' "Code of Conduct" where some rules say to never rat or to never admit fear. Katz writes of his own experience involving a confrontation with another boy over a carton milk of chocolate milk. The author ended up with bruises and a bloody lip, which was the result of keeping the "Code of Conduct".
Katz says that all men are the products of when they followed the "codes" as boys. He gives reasons why men act the way they do by becoming unemotional, not admitting to fears or weakness, and being as independent as possible. From what I have been told and what I observe in men, these are the exact issues.
Young boys continue on with these rules, trying to show that they are developing into tough, indestructible men. But by following those rules, they are doing only the opposite by becoming emotionally weak which soon will take a toll on their mental then physical strength. To the contrary of what men think, asking for help doesn't make you weak but it actually gives you true confidence, not fake confidence. Lately, society has become lenient and is now comfortable with the more emotional man. As gender roles widen and overlap, men and women both have the benefit of more choices.
Race is another mental barrier people self-create to limit their freedom. Brent Staples, author of Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space, describes how one night he was walking through a park and then was noticed by a rich, white female. The woman soon began to run away from the author in fear of the possibilities she was imagining. Staples was disturbed by how this woman reacted to his presence, trying to rationalize how he could have been seen as this monstrous man that she had somehow seen.
Soon Staples had moved to New York, a place he describes as having a worse stigma against blacks than Chicago. He then gives a comprehensive portrayal of the "thugs" in the area he grew up in and how he remained uninvolved. He describes the mind frame of the guys who thrive on the power to intimidate others and where they ended up.
Staples is upset at the fact that black men were labeled as criminals, a title that only some have deserved. He makes a valid point that women are "particularly vulnerable to street violence and young black males are overtly represented among perpetrators of that violence." When women walk the dark streets alone, they should become defensive like the first woman Staples came across. The only problem is that they mistakenly generalize that the only kind of person that would think of harming them would be black.
If you take a minute to watch the news, you will see that there is an array of races that are criminals. It is wrong and unethical to make the assumption that only one race is responsible for all crimes committed. If you watch almost any kind of prison or criminal justice show, you will usually see a black male playing the guilty criminal. I know this is not just a coincidence, but a statement created by the media.
You can tell that Staples was stereotyped by his race was because when he later began to wear business suits like "most white men" and whistle classical music on the street, some people were still tense in his presence. Knowing this, black men could change their personality, appearance, and intelligence level but to some people, they would continue to be labeled as criminals.
George Bernard Shaw simply states that individuals only limit themselves as to what is possible for them to do or not do. This is done by stereotyping people of certain races or gender; whether this means criticizing men because of their advances, boys having to become something they are not in order to be accepted, or black males being labeled as criminals. Society, the media, and occurrences all play a role in an individual's view on what limits them. So if you have the tendency to assume, you know what that makes you.


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