This Is Why Women Keep Receipts: How Society Perpetually Undermines A Woman's Ability To Share Her Truth
So while I can't remember what specific episode it was, if you are also a listener of the podcast that I co-host called Real Talk Love Therapy, then I'm sure you have heard the common argument that my male co-host and I have gotten into over women keeping receipts
If you're not familiar, I'll give you a brief run down. My male co-host believes (or at one point believed) that women loved to keep receipts on every detail in a relationship with a man. I argued that women do not love to keep receipts, but often feel an intense pressure to have to maintain receipts when it comes to their relationships with men (whether romantic or not) because of the lack of accountability some men will hold themselves to when it comes to admitting certain things they have promised, done, or said.
Now here's the thing; it is extremely difficult for anyone to hold themselves accountable to the potentially problematic behaviors or words that they might say and do, especially when in their mind they weren't intending to come off as problematic. But here's the real talk -- just because you do not intend to be problematic doesn't mean that you can't be.
We ALL, regardless of class, race, gender, and other identity categories, have the potential within us to be problematic. I don't care how woke you are. I don't care if you would have voted for Obama for a third term. I don't care if you tweet #BlackLivesMatter every other tweet, or that you posted the Colin Kaepernick ad on your Instagram. Everyone has the capability of being problematic at some point in their life.
We have all been indoctrinated with the toxic, classist, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic rhetoric of the patriarchy. So to believe that you would never have the capability to exhibit problematic traits or to say problematic beliefs after having grown up in this system, in my eyes, is ridiculous.
However, what can make it quite toxic when men specifically refuse to hold themselves accountable for their problematic actions/beliefs, is the fact that we have been raised in a patriarchal society that will always value and find truth in a man's account of events before a woman’s (although race definitely plays an active role here, and can alter this statement depending on the race of the accuser/accused).
So even just the slightest downplay of a certain problematic behavior or thing said in the name of self-preservation, while understandable, has significantly negative and extensive repercussions that completely undermined the way in which we as a society trust a woman’s account of events.
We live in a society where a woman would need to maintain every single little piece of evidence in a given interaction with a man in order to have her side of a story believed should anything go wrong. As we have so clearly seen with the Kavanaugh hearings, one of the biggest critiques about Dr. Ford's account is that she doesn't have enough receipts. Despite mentioning these allegations in therapy many years before Kavanaugh's nomination, doing a polygraph test that turned out positive, and welcoming an FBI investigation into the matter, Dr.Ford still doesn't have enough receipts.
Because, unfortunately, there are no amount of receipts that will ever be enough to go against a man's word; there are no amount of receipts of problematic actions and behaviors that will ever be enough to go against the promise of a so-called “good man’s” future.
So no, women don't “love” to keep receipts. I asked my male co-host to imagine how much more women would be able to accomplish in life if they didn't have to keep receipts; if all of that mental bandwidth that is used to keep track of the truth is energy that they could put into their craft. In the immortal words of sistah auntie queen Maxine, women are ready to reclaim their time from receipt keeping, but they also understand the negative repercussions that come from not keeping track of the truth, especially in dealings with men.
In this day and age, keeping receipts, as far as women are concerned, is now a method of survival. And even then, as we've seen in the case of Brock Turner, having enough receipts doesn't even guarantee that you’ll get the justice that you deserve. In many cases, those same receipts are misconstrued and weaponized against women.
She was too drunk so she clearly wanted it to happen.
Her skirt was too short so she clearly wanted it to happen.
She was out too late at night so she clearly wanted it to happen.
She was alone so she clearly wanted it to happen.
And I bet you that if any of the male republican senators had not relinquished their right to ask Dr. Ford questions during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, someone most likely would have asked her to think about what she was wearing during the night in question.
Women may seem to keep receipts more than men do, but the real problem is the fact that men have never seemed to stop and ask why; that they instead have chosen to make women feel like they are “insane,” “crazy,” and “insecure” for trying to keep track of the truth in a world that belittles their thoughts/feelings/experiences everyday.
We are done being told that we need to “relax,” and have a little more trust. What we need are more men to stand in the truth of their actions; to acknowledge the real potential that they hold to do and say potentially problematic things to women. We need more men to understand that women see how they have been socialized to treat women and their opinions as less than; that we don't consider them to be monsters for having done or said something problematic in their past, especially when it was socially acceptable to do so.
However, what makes women angry, in my opinion, is not only the blatant dismissal of a man’s potential to be problematic, or the haste at which people will go to discredit women, but it is also the unbelievable lengths that both men and women will go to over glorify a man’s past good deeds as if the presence of one good apple in a bag of apples means that no bad apples have the potential to exist in the bag.
So if men really want women to stop keeping receipts so badly, I hope that this also means that they (and everyone else in society) are ready and willing to acknowledge the times in which they have done something problematic or have gone back on their word, and are willing to be held accountable. I think many men feel fear at being held accountable because of the extremist methods in which the public are now holding them accountable.
However, I feel like this fear completely ignores the historical build up of women not being believed for many years. When accusations are only taken seriously or action is only taken after being brought forth through extremism, then this only validates and encourages the behavior; this makes women feel like extremism is the only way to be heard or have justice.
In my eyes, the best way to diminish the extremism is for more men to listen, acknowledge, be humble, and aim to do better; for more men to remember that their words/actions are not representative of who they are, but how they were socialized to be.
As Brene Brown highlights in her book, Daring Greatly, we are all working to remember that it is not about people being problematic more so than it is about people being socialized to do and say problematic things. So just as men need to work on acknowledging the times in which they have the potential to be problematic, I would also say that, as a society, we also need to work on allowing people the ability to redeem and rehabilitate themselves from their problematic past. (Although if you read last week's article, then I'm sure you know that the weaponization of one's past is typically an issue for women more so than for men).
While it is uncomfortable for one to fully stand in the truth of their actions, this is the action that truly defines the monsters from men.