Saturday, June 10, 2017

On Not Knowing and Not Owning

I've been listening to music lately while doing semi-mindless tasks, and so just recently heard the Kenny Loggins version of the song "You Don't Know Me," which was written by Ray Charles:

You think you know me well.
Well, you don't know me.
No you don't know the one
Who dreams of you at night;
And longs to kiss your lips
And longs to hold you tight
Oh I'm just a friend.
That's all I've ever been.
Cause you don't know me.
A day or so later, it popped into my head (as songs have a habit of doing) but this time when I heard the main lyric, my brain changed one word, so it became "You Don't Own Me." Which is, of course, a different song, sung by Lesley, Gore, a woman:
You don't own me
I'm not just one of your many toys
You don't own me
Don't say I can't go with other boys

And don't tell me what to do
Don't tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don't put me on display 'cause
You don't own me.
And this near-similar but so dissimilar set of song titles reminded me of that Margaret Atwood quote:
"Why do men feel threatened by women?" I asked a male friend of mine. So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. "I mean," I said, "men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power." "They're afraid women will laugh at them," he said. "Undercut their world view." Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, "Why do women feel threatened by men?" "They're afraid of being killed," they said.
Ray and Kenny are afraid to show themselves to the woman in question, and so never know her (or vice versa), though they long to kiss her lips, etc. And this makes for big sad. Meanwhile, Lesley is afraid her boyfriend will try to own her and control her behavior, making her an extension of the image he projects to the world... symptoms of an abuser, if I'm not mistaken.

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