A couple hours ago, this post was not what it is now.
I had written this whole long thing about how I “used to” sexually objectify women and how it ruined my relationships with them. I wrote about the diminished friendships with men because I treated them as competition and not as brothers. I wanted to make it a post about figuring it out and moving past that.
But I couldn’t stand to read it as I was trying to re-edit it for the hundredth time. It was boring. It was whiny. Who wants to read whining? I don’t. It was coming from a negative place within me and I felt like shit as I read it.
“You don’t need to have it all figured out” – that’s what my brother told me when I was telling him about my dilemma. “just say what’s on your mind and stop giving a shit what other people will think“.
He was right. I was forgetting what I started writing for.
Truth be told, I hadn’t figured out how to move past this habitual sexual objectification of women. I still do it all the time. Men do it all the time. No surprise there. What else can you ask for when you grew up in the Pokemon generation? Back to that point in a second.
My original post was going to talk about the fucked up ways in which ‘attractive’ women are turned into egoic trophies while ‘ugly’ girls somehow just fall off the face of the earth. It was going to talk about how because women were trophies, then any man that got in the way of getting that trophy was competition.Then what the hell was I going to say?…. That I was past it?..
I’m not past it. I still have much work to do on this.
So I decided to have a little fun and I decided to re-examine the life lessons taught to me by one of my favorite childhood shows, Pokemon.
I come from the Pokemon generation. I was a Pokemon boy. Now I’m a Pokemon man. I grew up watching the show and idolizing the way Ash Ketchum and Co. would somehow find a way to save the world against impossible odds against the most gruesome and powerful enemies. (Side note; I am not referring to Team Rocket here. Those guys were a bunch of buffoons!)
But I stopped playing the card game (the game I’m pretty sure NO ONE knew how to play and yet everyone had the cards). I stopped watching the show. I stopped spending days on my Gameboy Color and stopped memorizing all the god damn Pokemon that existed (I could recite 1-151 faster and more eloquently than I could say the pledge of allegiance). Even still, some misogynistic life lessons have been imprinted on me and have remained with me since those good ol’ days.
“Gotta Catch ‘Em All”
That’s what Ash taught me. That’s what Professor Oak taught me. That’s what the racially unspecified Brock taught me. And that’s what the first true object of my desire Misty taught me. (Animated or not, God, I loved those jean shorts.)
Pokemon taught me to never stop until I caught them all! So what did this mean for me? What did this mean for my generation?
Could it mean never be satisfied? Could it mean never be at peace with who you are and what you’ve got?
As I grew up, the characters and terms in my mind changed but they all stayed with me and they all kept their true essence. Unconsciously, I was and still am in my Pokemon world. I was still Ash, of course. And I still had my buddies who went on adventures with me. But I no longer wanted to be a Pokemon master; now I wanted to be ‘successful‘, as vague as that term is. And the Pokemon that I was capturing were no longer animated creatures with special powers; they had become the women in my life that I had ‘conquered’. And no longer did I wear a utility belt that showed off my victories, similar to Ash’s Pokeballs, but my victories had become stories and memories that I could show off. I was able to brag about them to my friends. We could compare our conquests (‘dual it out’ in Pokemon terms) and see who came out on top.
When I came to college, I had an ambitious goal of having sex with a girl from every different major form of racial origin. Why? Because I wanted to say that I did. Because I wanted to ‘catch ’em all’.
Do I still have this goal? Do I still want to be a ‘Pokemon Master’?
I’m not sure. It seems childish and egotistical to me now but every now and again I catch myself thinking about it.
I will leave you on this final note. While I am just exercising my imagination and having fun with the concept of Pokemon and how it fits into our misogynistic society, I have no sage advice to offer the reader based on the ideas that I have just posed. I am still struggling with this mental habit of always wanting to ‘catch ’em all’. A goal that is most certainly unreasonable and bound to leave you in a state of anxiety.
So here’s to practicing some objective thought and gratitude. Without those this habit of trying to ‘catch ’em all’ will undoubtedly leave the Pokemon trainer with a perpetual feeling of emptiness and a slight tinge of Poke-Blue Balls.