Men Are Naturally Attracted To Unnatural Women

Ask a guy why he looks at porn and he’s likely to say that men are just naturally attracted to women. But the women in porn don’t look too natural.

Actually, women in fashion magazines and billboards don’t look too natural, either.

Women and men both learn to admire a feminine ideal that ends up frustrating both men and women.

Most women have to starve themselves to be ideally skinny. Many models are so thin that they have stopped menstruating. Isn’t the natural instinct to stay alive and well?

And how about fake breasts? If men are naturally drawn to breasts, why do so many women go under the knife and mutilate themselves so that men – and society – will find them attractive?

Then there’s the preference for blondes. Few women past puberty are true blondes. But unnaturally bleached hair is the top color of choice, both for men and for women who want to look beautiful. Well, at least peroxide doesn’t require enormous amounts of money or risk much bodily harm.

So models go through all their pain and suffering, but it’s not quite enough. Next, the malnourished, plastic-chested, bleached out images go to be photoshopped and airbrushed to look even more fake than they already are. 

So women try in vain to match ridiculous notions of beauty. Then get depressed because nothing they do seems to work.

But the models don’t look like “themselves,” either!

At the same time, male students have told me that all this hurts them, too. “What’s wrong with me?” they wonder. “Why can’t I get women who look like THAT?”

Well, those “picture perfect” women don’t actually exist.

So women can never achieve the ideal. And men can never have the ideal woman.

Meanwhile, men are left feeling “naturally” attracted to something that isn’t natural.

Georgia Platts

“Whore”: The W-word?

Do women see the word “whore” the same as African Americans see the “N-word”?

At Wednesday’s California gubernatorial debate, Tom Brokaw suggested the two were equivalent, asking Gov. Jerry Brown why he had not expressed outrage at his aide’s suggestion they brand Meg Whitman with the term for catering to law enforcement in exchange for an endorsement. 

Brown retorted, “I don’t agree with that comparison,” and added a weak apology. 

He went on to ask why Whitman wasn’t outraged that her campaign chair had once called Congress “whores” for similar dealings with public employee unions. Whitman strangely called that “a completely different thing.” 

Now Salon columnist, Joan Walsh, has asked: Is “whore” the N-word for women?  

The fact that no one says “the W-word” to avoid saying “whore” suggests that people don’t find it quite so offensive.

But then, our society is more offended by racism than sexism: People are more upset by racist than sexist jokes.  And few complain about calling women ho’s in rap music because they don’t want to sound racist. But sexist is fine.

Maybe it’s not as offensive. But maybe it should be.

Georgia Platts

Gays and Women with Boyfriends Shouldn’t Teach (It Limits Freedom!): The Gospel of Jim DeMint

South Carolina Senator, Jim DeMint, was quoted in the Spartanberg newspaper saying that no one who is openly gay should be teaching in the classroom. And neither should unmarried women who are sleeping with their boyfriends.

Apparently hetero men can sleep with whomever they wish and keep their jobs. Good thing, or a lot of his Congressional colleagues would be out of work.

Then he continued, “(When I said that) no one came to my defense. But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”

Huh?

How does denying jobs to gays and women with boyfriends increase their freedom and limit government intrusion in their lives? How does this increase their freedom of religion?

So whose freedom is he talking about?

DeMint actually wants to limit the freedoms of the less powerful members of society — women and gays — in order to increase the freedom of more powerful members of southern society: conservative Christians who don’t want the burden of interacting with anyone who doesn’t share some of their views.

But these good Christians seem to have forgotten the golden rule. To paraphrase Jesus: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. And what about the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor?

Georgia Platts

October is Gay and Lesbian History Month

 

Ever Wanted To Be A Woman? What Men Say

Every quarter I ask my women students if any of them had been tomboys when they were little. Many hands enthusiastically shoot into the air. The women often have fond memories of their time climbing trees and digging in the dirt.

Then I ask men students if any of them had been sissies. The class bursts out laughing. One hand might sheepishly creep up.

One man claimed the question was unfair since the word “sissy” is stigmatized but “tomboy” is not.

Actually, there isn’t a non-stigmatizing word for a boy who acts like a girl. And there’s a reason for that. Any boy who acts like a girl takes himself down to a lower status. He becomes demeaned.

A girl who acts like a boy, on the other hand, doesn’t harm her social standing. At least not until she gets older and the behavior takes on lesbian overtones.

Another student thought I was exaggerating the problem. For his term paper he asked men and women on campus whether they had been tomboys or sissies, and whether they had ever thought about being the opposite sex.

When he asked women if they had ever wanted to be a man, or wondered what it would be like, many said they had. When he asked about being tomboys when they were little, they often reminisced on that happy time.

But when he asked men whether they had ever wanted to be a woman, or been curious about what it might be like, stunned reactions were the rule: “What!? Are you serious?” When he asked if they had been sissies when they were young, men turned an angry eye and asked, “Are you looking for trouble?”

He’s lucky to have finished his research and still be alive and in one piece.

This is just one of many examples of how we “gender rank” men above women in our society.

What difference does it make?

Ranking men above women affects many areas of life. It affects what men and women think they deserve – with men thinking they deserve more, and women feeling they deserve less. This isn’t necessarily conscious, but we can see the results: Women tend to give men more power in relationships and men tend to expect greater power; women are less likely to ask for a raise; men take up more space; the list goes on. It’s all about empowerment and disempowerment.

As we shall see, gender ranking also affects sexuality in various problematic ways, ranging from slut-shaming to sexual abuse.

Stay tuned.

Georgia Platts

DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?

Responses to my post asking why women like sex less than men included:

  • Says who?
  • I think it’s the opposite – I think women like it more
  • I don’t think anyone can know who likes sex better

Or as one reader put it, “The overwhelming majority of men and women get their attitudes and desires for sex primarily through the natural, healthy desire to have sex… Women are equal to men and thus capable of every form of behavior that men engage in.”

To which I respond: no and yes (in that order).

Women are certainly capable of enjoying sex immensely. In some societies women are highly orgasmic and inclined to engage in sex with great frequency, as with Tahitians and American Indians before contact with Europeans.

But highly orgasmic women in America? Not so much – at least not by comparison.

Of course women are capable of having great sex. But the extent to which they actually do depends on factors other than just what nature brings them. Repression plays a role, and so do sexual objectification and male dominance (all will be explored later).

Do women like sex less? Consider this research on sexuality in America:

On the orgasm front three-quarters of men say they “always” have an orgasm, but just 30% of women do. One quarter of women don’t usually have orgasms. In the casual sex of hook-ups the rate is lower, especially for women. Sociologist Michael Kimmel (Guyland) surveyed college students on their most recent hookup. Only 44% of the men reported having an orgasm, and only 19% of the women did.

The more orgasmic a person is, the more they report enjoying sex. Not surprisingly, women report liking sex less than men do. A Chicago University study found that men have more interest in sex at all ages. And an ABC News Primetime Live survey found that 83% of men “enjoy sex a great deal,” while only 59% of women do. That same study found that while 70% of men think about sex every day, only 34% of women do.  

Women also experience more sexual dysfunction than men. A report from the Archives of Internal Medicine showed more than one quarter of young women feeling weak sexual desire. While research at the University of Chicago found that 32% of women (but only 15 -17% of men) have low libidos. Not surprisingly, 40% of men say they would like to have more sex than they do now, but only 28% of women feel the same way.

For more evidence of gender difference in sexual interest, see my post: Sex Research: It Doesn’t Fit Me, It Must Be Wrong

I wonder if men ever sit around confiding to friends that sex ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve listened to these kinds of conversations with many groups of women, yet it’s hard to imagine men doing the same thing.

The difference in the male and female experience is due mostly to cultural forces. The difference in the female experience between modern Americans and ancient Tahitians is entirely due to culture.

Yet many people think our society has no negative effects on women’s sexuality.

Maybe that’s why we don’t do anything to create change.

Georgia Platts

Why Don’t Women Like Sex As Much As Men?

What’s the difference between a slut and a bitch? If you are an American university student you probably know the punch line:

“A bitch has sex with everyone but me.”

How do men view women’s sexuality? And how does this affect their relationships with women?

Many men get their sex education from two primary sources: friends and porn. And their friends learn a lot from porn, too. These are the men who seem to see women as bitches or sluts.

So how are women portrayed on the pornography front?

Women meet strangers and become immediately aroused, sexual activity quickly ensues, and they come swiftly to orgasm. And by the way, women love threesomes and orgies. Really, the more the merrier!

In porn women’s sexuality looks more like men’s than women’s.

Pornography leads single men to believe that other men are getting an awful lot of sex. And they wonder why they aren’t. “Why do babes (aka sluts) have sex with everyone but me? Those bitches!”

In the U.S. women’s sexuality is far different from how it is portrayed in porn. Typically, women are much more interested in romance and relationship than in casual intercourse. And while some women love sex (sometimes more than their partners) surveys show that they typically enjoy sex less than men do, and want far fewer partners.

Biology does not seem to be the main reason for the difference. While the male brain does seem to be designed for greater interest in sex, women and men have matched up far more evenly in other times and places.

I will be posting an ongoing series (interspersed with other topics) to discuss these questions, among others:

  • How do men and women experience sex differently?
  • What affects sexual experience and why do American women typically enjoy sex less than men?
  • How do differences and misunderstandings affect relationships between women and men?
  • What are the benefits and costs of the so-called male and female ways of sexuality?
  • What can women learn from men and what can men learn from women?

To understand all this, we’ll need to explore things you might not expect, like how objectification can dampen a woman’s sexual experience, even as it heightens a man’s. Or, we still rank men above women in our society, and this ends up diminishing women’s sexual interest in ways that are not immediately obvious – though they should be.

Meanwhile, men, if you’re not getting a lot of sex, don’t take it personally. And don’t take it out on women.

Georgia Platts

Sources:

Michael Kimmel. Guyland. Harper. 2008

Pamela Paul. Pornified. Holt. 2005

Popular posts on BroadBlogs:

Readers Discuss: Are Women Polygamous?

http://broadblogs.com/2010/08/23/are-women-polygamous-or-monogamous-a-discussion/

Did Slut-Shaming Kill Phoebe Prince?

http://broadblogs.com/2010/07/22/did-slut-shaming-kill-phoebe-prince/

The Burqa and Individual Rights: It’s Complicated

“Burqa bans” are arising throughout Europe, with France voting their approval this past Tuesday. But many are concerned that the prohibitions limit the individual rights of Muslims.

It’s complicated.

First, the garment itself limits individual rights – women’s. Second, to what extent is the burqa wearer exercising actual choice? Finally, is a ban the best way to go?

Let’s start with the question of women’s choice.

When a society’s way of seeing becomes our own – even when it harms us – the belief is “internalized.” My interest in this phenomenon was sparked by my upbringing. In the early years of the feminist movement women from my church were bused to various conventions to vote down things like equal pay for equal work. I spent afternoons listening to women in my church talk about keeping battered women’s shelters from opening. They were against women receiving priesthood authority, and they were for male leadership in the home.

I didn’t understand why they worked so hard to disempower themselves, their daughters, and other women. But people don’t tend to question the taken-for-granted notions of their culture. It’s simply what you do.  So choice disappears.

The same phenomenon arises in other settings. Saudi women say they don’t want to vote or drive. Many 19th Century American women didn’t want the vote, either. In North Africa women defend the genital mutilations that kill and cripple them.

Burqas limit women’s autonomy and power. Yet some women voluntarily don them, keeping with their culture.

Burqas – or niqabs (face coverings) – prevent wearers from gaining driver’s licenses when they are strictly worn, since identity can’t be confirmed via picture ID. When a city or village lacks public transportation it is hard to get around without a car. That makes it tough to get a job.

Even with transportation it’s not easy finding work in a facemask. The mask seems dehumanizing and eerie, as does the subjugation it represents.

But ethnocentrism is thought weightier than sexism. “Isms” that affect men seem more important than those that affect women – even when women are harmed, as when a female German judge denied a Muslim woman’s appeal for divorce, claiming that being beaten was part of her culture. 

Did women have equal power to create the cultures that harm them?

Some women do resist, but feel pressured, as one of my Muslim students told me when we discussed the matter of covering.

But bans may not be the best way to deal with burqas or niqabs. Bans can backfire since people cling more tightly to their groups when they feel persecuted. As restrictions go into effect more women might actually embrace the burqas that limit them.

A better way may lie in creating conversation so that different cultures can consider a variety of perspectives. I am sure that Westerners and Muslims can learn from each other and our different ways of seeing.

Georgia Platts

The Burqa: Limiting Women’s Power and Autonomy

With the French voting on the “burqa ban” next week, I’m republishing my first post from BroadBlogs, originally published July 20, 2010

As European countries step up to ban the burqa, many protesters don’t understand that the burqa is neither a religious requirement nor a simple cultural costume. The burqa is about limiting women’s autonomy and power.

The Koran only asks women to be modest and to veil their breasts (24:30 31).

If the burqa is not a religious requirement, how did it arise? Let’s take a look at how covering affects women in the countries in which it is law, which points to its intent.

In Saudi Arabia women cannot drive because they cannot get a driver’s license (no face picture for identity purposes).

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican recently declared that women should give breast milk to their male drivers so that they can symbolically become their sons. Not sure that this means breastfeeding, which would neither enhance modesty nor separate the sexes. But it would keep non-lactating women from driving. (Or could they feed their drivers formula?) Women who cannot afford drivers are pretty much doomed to stay close to home.

Reflecting their lack of power, Saudi women make up only 5% of the workforce. Maybe it’s hard to get to work? This low number reflects a social norm that women’s place is in the home, leaving the larger society largely safe from their influence.

In Afghanistan, women political candidates cannot speak or give speeches face-to-face in mixed company. If there is enough money for campaign posters, a burqa amidst men’s faces would certainly stand out, I suppose. Meanwhile, the bulk of Taliban-style culture is designed to limit women’s power, whether keeping them from venturing outside the house or keeping them from education and work.

The Burqa is not a fashion statement. It is not a religious requirement, so it cannot be defended on grounds of religious rights. It is not really about morality. Why should free societies support the lack of freedom and power that the burqa was intended to create?

Georgia Platts

Rape Victims Condemned and Dismissed: Then and Now

In 1970 Jerry Plotkin and three others gang raped an acquaintance. Plotkin pleaded not guilty: He was a sexual libertine; he did what he wanted without limits. Through innuendo he implied that his victim was a libertine, too. Proof: she’d had sex without marriage.

The jury acquitted: A woman who’d had sex outside of wedlock could not be raped.

A rape victim condemned, her suffering dismissed.

Turning back 20 years earlier, an article from the 1952-53 Yale Law Journal explained why rape was illegal: “Women’s power to withhold or grant sexual access is an important bargaining weapon… it fosters, and is in turn bolstered by, a masculine pride in the exclusive possession of the sexual object… whose value is enhanced by sole ownership.”

The victim’s pain dismissed.

Discounting rape reaches far into history – at least when women are prey. In the Old Testament (Judges 19:22-29) we find depraved men pounding at the door of a Levite’s home, demanding a male guest be turned out to be raped. The Levite refuses, sending out his virgin daughter and his guest’s concubine, instead:

23 No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don’t do such a disgraceful thing.

25: So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. 27 When her master got up in the morning … 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer.   

No distress arises as the concubine’s “husband” turns her out to be raped or finds her dead. If anyone has been harmed it is him, his property defiled.

If you think we’re past these attitudes, think again.

A lack of compassion continues in the Middle East. Instead of nurturing a victim through her trauma, she faces an honor killing as punishment for the sin of being attacked.  

In today’s India, female rape victims can be subjected to a “finger exam” to see if her hymen is intact, or whether her vagina is “narrow” or “roomy.” A focus on virginity leaves her suffering of no import.

In the U.S., things are better. But problems remain. Helena Lazaro was raped at knifepoint at a car wash. She has spent 13 years trying to get her case properly investigated. But her attacker remains loose while authorities fail to test her rape kit.  Currently, 180,000 rape kits are left untested nationwide, creating more rape victims.

Meanwhile, too many women are blamed for a crime that is committed against them.

Rape victims undergo depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Many become sexually dysfunctional.

Rape is the crime women most fear outside of murder. But you wouldn’t know it by the way victims are ignored and condemned.

Georgia Platts

Source:

Susan Griffin. “Politics: 1971.” The Power of Consciousness. HarperCollins. 1979

Did Women Create Burqa Culture?

The upcoming French vote on the burqa ban has got me thinking. Did women have equal power to create the burqa? And who benefits from this garment?

Some charge that rejecting the burqa comes from fear of the other, or ethnocentrism. I’m in sync with cultural relativism, so long as no one is being hurt. But buqas and “burqa cultures” don’t give women equal power. And women certainly did not have equal sway in creating the customs of these societies.

Think about the laws that exist in places where women are required to cover up in burqas or niqabs (facemasks) or various other veilings.

Is it likely that women decided that men could easily demand a divorce, but women could get one only with difficulty?

Is it likely that women created the notion that sharing a husband with other women might be nice?

Did women create the idea that an adulterous man be punished by burial up to his waist before being stoned, while a woman must be buried to her breasts – and one who escapes, escapes the stoning?

In these cultures, when a woman is raped it is her fault. She obviously let some hair fall from her covering, or she allowed an ankle to show. Everyone knows that no man could resist such things. Did women decide that women, and not men, are responsible for men’s sexuality?

Did women originate the notion that after rape, the victim must be killed to restore the family honor?

Did women clamor for a burqa that limits their power and autonomy – keeping them from driving and getting jobs that are far from home? Did women design this garment that prevents small pleasures like seeing clearly or feeling the sun and the wind?

And who benefits?

Men benefit from easily obtaining a divorce, but not allowing their wives the same privilege. Men benefit from the sexual variety of having many wives, while women are left to share one man. Men benefit by more easily escaping a stoning. And men can rape with impunity since women fear reporting sexual assault, lest their families kill them. Men gain power when women are incapable of getting jobs and income. How much easier is it to beat women for the infraction of straying outside the home, or letting a wrist show, when they are black and blue blobs, and not human beings?

It is common to make accusations of ethnocentrism when one culture rejects the practices of another. Often the fears are valid.

But if a powerful group creates a culture that benefits themselves to the detriment of others, the critique is not about ethnocentrism. It is about human rights.

Georgia Platts