Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 Things I Hate About Misogyny*

You know I couldn't possibly pass up an article entitled "10 Traits Men Look for in a Girlfriend". That's like asking my dog to walk away from a steak just sitting there on the table, unattended. So, let's review the inevitable misogyny. (I wrote this before looking at the article. Don't worry, I'm not psychic, these things are always misogynistic.)

Apparently, they saw me coming. I can't copy and paste the text, so I'll have to just print it out and retype it. (How dedicated am I?)

1. She has a life of her own and it's pretty good to boot.

Okay, that's not bad. Maybe I'm wrong about this.

2. She never makes the first move.

Oh, dating articles, you never fail to disappoint.

This issue has been debated to death, and there is no true consensus. But Daily says that she strongly believes women should never, ever pursue a man. Instead, she suggests waiting for the man to initiate and plan dates. Her reasoning: If the woman is always the one calling, she will never know if he is really interested in her or if it's just convenient for him. She may find herself questioning the relationship every step of the way. Men simply aren't programmed to think like that and are therefore better suited to the chase, Daily says.

So . . . I'm supposed to have a "pretty good" life without you and sit around waiting for you to call and you to decide when we go out. Okay then. Also, false dichotomy. There is a lot of room between "she always calls" and "he always calls". How about both parties call and both parties set up dates? Why should the man have all the power in this dynamic? Oh, right, because men are hunters and women are gatherers and evo psych blahblahblah.

Bullshit. I bet any guy trying to start a relationship with a woman who only ever calls back has to wonder how interested she is in being with him. Men are not from Mars, women are not from Venus. Call him. Initiate. If it doesn't work for him, go find a man who isn't stuck in a misogynistic mindset.

3. She is Sexy without being Trampy.

Oh. my. Odin. I am the keeper of the male sex drive and I must manage it with the finesse of a . . . I don't even know what. I must ensure my shirts are low, but not too low, my skirts are high, but not too high, my clothes are not too tight but not too loose, my makeup just sultry enough and not . . . You know, I have other things to do with my time. I dress like I dress. If you don't like it, too bad. I am not responsible for anyone else's sexuality, I barely have time to deal with my own.

This means something different at the beginning of the relationship than it does down the road. In the beginning of courtship, a woman should refrain from making any comments that are overtly sexual. She also flirts by using nonsexual touch like placing her hand on his forearm or even the knee, but only briefly. When the relationship gets more serious, and presumably more intimate, sexual touch and public displays of affection are more appropriate. At this point, it's okay to play footsie under the table.

So, at first, I must pretend that I've never heard of sex, but touch, but only on the arm or the knee- briefly- and then I have to whore it up. *sigh* This is just exhausting.

4. She waits to have sex.

Yes, they invoke oxytocin. I guess because it sounds all sciency. See women? We're fucking stupid. We're at the mercy of our hormones. Orgasms cause the release of oxytocin and once that happens, you can't help but love the guy you fucked. And then he'll run away because guys hate commitment. Can't even stand it. You know, except for every guy who asks a woman to marry him. *sigh* Really, this is just exhausting to try to keep up with.

5 and 6 are obvious and stupid, so 7:
7. She never turns on the pressure.
Oh, right. Are you ready to get married and have a family? Don't even bring that up, he'll run away so fast, he'll leave a sonic boom in his wake. You must trick men into marriage. You cannot ever be honest about anything, ever.

Men have a distinct aversion to any sort of pressure.

Really? Like pressure at work, pressure at school, pressure at sporting events?

8. She does not take crap from anyone.

Really? Like always waiting for him to call, like never ever discussing the future to avoid stressing out her delicate flower? this is contradictory, Daily! You are asking me to take crap and then telling me to never take crap? Which is it?! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!

9. A good woman always chooses a good man.

This is a trait men want? That's not a trait, that's an axiom. An axiom that defines the goodness of a woman by the goodness of the men she chooses to date. Nice.

10. She knows that love is the biggest part of the dating equation.

Glad we cleared that up! Is there any way to write an article about dating that doesn't sink into the depths of misogyny?

*See, I changed one word, and now it's my title. Cleverness!


  1. "His best wingman"?

    I always thought my wingman was there to help me pick up women. Not that I would have a problem with that if it was her thing, but just maybe people should think about what slang terminology means before trying to appropriate it.

  2. Glad we cleared that up! Is there any way to write an article about dating that doesn't sink into the depths of misogyny?

    Dammit. Now I'm gonna have to start writing that dating book.

    Do you know how much time I do not have for that project? Do you?


    Actually, I too am attempting to write a novel. Come, join me, join me in staying up till 3am to find the perfect word! Join me in questioning POV and motivations and meaningful names!

  4. You say that like I haven't been doing it already...

    Actually, it's kinda fascinating doing a re-write of a book originally intended for a Christian audience. The book starts with the main character doing something that's objectively a total jackass move. But it's okay in the original, since the entire point was to put him in a place to meet Jayzus.

    Now I find myself having to say, "Wow, that's a total jackass move. He's probably going to have to deal with the fallout at some point..." It's really a fascinating way to have to re-imagine characters, as there's a domino effect. The person who I set up as the bad guy in the first (who was, I note with some consternation, a woman and in to whom I put a lot of stereotypically bad woman traits) is now not the bad guy and I find myself sympathizing with her and what was done.

    At this point I don't even know how the book is going to turn out. And I've already written it once...

  5. My mother used to tell me that if your characters don't occasionally turn to you and say, "C'mon, why the hell would I be doing/saying/thinking that?!" you're not writing correctly.

    I'm beginning to see her point.

  6. Is there any way to write an article about dating that doesn't sink into the depths of misogyny?

    I'd like to rise to that challenge:

    Look, forget about anyone who tries to give you "simple steps" (be they be ten or fifty in number) to finding or maintaining the perfect relationship. If you're looking for a relationship that's so easy, drop out of the dating scene and get a dog instead.

    Finding and/or building a romantic relationship -- or any other interpersonal relationship, for that matter -- is hard word and involves more than a little trial and error. It involves developing and practicing good communication skills. It involves in identifying, maintaining, and respecting boundaries. it involves understanding and stating your needs and simultaneously listening to and respecting the other person's needs. It involves negotiating and compromise.

    And it involves more than a little luck. Let's face it. Both you and the person you're dating can be doing everything right, making a good faith effort, and still not have things work out. Maybe there's just no chemistry. Or maybe your individual needs are just too different. It happens to the best of people. Your best bet in those cases is to cherish the memories you've built together, and move on, hopefully carrying with you the many lessons you learned in the process. Maybe the next relationship will work out. Maybe it won't. Like I said, relationships are hard work. They also take a little luck at times.

  7. How do we get Jarred a book deal? Also, can we just ship him to every high school in the country to give that talk?

  8. Bollocks to that nonsense. I’ve only recently met a girl online, and it’s actually thanks to her being assertive and, if I may say so, extremely sexually open and downright kinky that I even got to know her in the first place, much less became attracted to her. (I’d gush, but I won’t, for everyone’s sake.)

    Women who are open about their sexuality, who don’t hide it, and who get all the enjoyment they want and aren’t ashamed of it, even if it leads to society in general labeling them as “sluts” (as if that were a bad thing?) are actually a terrific turn-on for me, personally. And I think I can safely assert that the same is true for a large number of guys. Rather than showing weakness or dependence or such nonsense, it means they are confident, know what they like and how to get it. That’s just wonderful to me.

    I mean, girls who just sit back and let everything happen to them like ragdolls, without ever showing any independence or assertiveness … where’s the fun or interest in that?

    (PS – When sites prevent selecting and copying, just hit Ctrl+U (assuming you’re using Firefox with default keyboard shortcuts) to open up the page source. Then a quick Ctrl+F search for the text in question, and voilà, copy to your heart’s leisure. (I seriously wonder what the point is in even coding such easily bypassed copy-protections in the first place.))

  9. Hopefully, this won't be seen as rude, but I did up a list like this that I think avoids the misogyny:

  10. Why would you cover a blank article? I don't understand... oh. Oh, my brain is doing that self-defense thing again, isn't it? Dammit, it needs to let me know when it does that.

    Okay, if I focus I'm sure I can make it stop... focus... focus... foooocccuuuuu- D'RA GORRORERA FHGATN UL'SADDATH KHURL S'RRATGH - oh hey I can read it now.

    3. She is Sexy without being Trampy.

    I ain't Goldilocks and women ain't bears. BTW: I hate the modern retelling of that fairy tale. What's this "then she ran away" bullshit? Goldilocks is supposed to be savagely eaten for being spoilt and not caring about other people property, dammit! There should be blood!

    7. She never turns on the pressure.

    Yeah, that causes explosive decompression when she turns it off again. Boom. Wait, what were we talking about?

    9. A good woman always chooses a good man.

    Oh hey, that's the first decent headdesk I've had in a while. I've missed you, forehead bruise.

    10. She knows that love is the biggest part of the dating equation.

    (x+a)^n=∑_(k=0)^n▒〖(n¦k) x^k a^(n-k) 〗where n = Love? Oh no wait, that's binomial theorem. My mistake.

  11. I've always thought it a sign of good writing (or possibly multiple personality disorder) when your characters are telling you what they should be doing next, rather than the other way around.

    I once, as an exercise, gave three of my characters the knowledge that they were fictional, and 'observed' the resulting conversation. After the initial shock (they took it well, all things considered), they proceeded to get existential. They came up with a theory of mind, wherein the aspects of their personality I, as an author, share with them are actually personifications (and are thus accurate representations) of my own mind, and are thus more 'real' than the aspects not derived from my personality but extrapolated from the behaviors of others. So character A believes himself to be the personification of the cynical and pessimistic part of my mind, with his leadership abilities and courage being empathetic constructs tacked on to make him more likable. Character B, meanwhile, thinks herself the personification of my introverted and shy tendencies and my perchance for logical but abstract thought, and Character C the personification of my social abilities and emotions, with recklessness and a failure to think things though added later.

    I don't know if any of that makes sense, but it was what they came up with at the time. I think my characters are more philosophical than me: I'd have burned the world. So... yeah. Anyway, once they'd thought it over I wiped their memory and put them back into their canonical storyline. Playing god is fun.

    In case it's not been made clear before this, my mind is a really really weird place.

  12. The biggest problem with lists like these is that there's this false "one-size-fits-all" mentality. It doesn't work. Like - ok, I'm sure there ARE some women who are insecure enough that they need to be constantly pursued, and some men who "don't think that way," who don't mind doing all of the pursuing. However, I personally know many women who like the feeling of being the wooer rather than the wooed, and I know a few men who would feel hurt and insecure (not to mention frustrated as hell) if their girlfriends never made the first move.

    Or the "dress sexy, not trampy" bit. Ok, yeah, people - men and women - want to date people they find attractive. That's so obvious it shouldn't even be worth mentioning. But one guy's version of "sexy" vs. "trampy" may be completely different from another guy's, so why not just wear what YOU think makes you look good, and you'll attract guys who like women who look like you?

    I'm just saying, if you significantly change who you are or how you act for a relationship, you're going to end up dating the wrong person, and you will not be happy. Instead of trying to be "what men look for," why not just look for a man who likes women like you?


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