Sunday, January 13, 2013

Man Pebbles...

I was once told by an English professor that my writing "oozes with voice", interestingly enough the concept of voice beyond the literary sense is important to me.  Due to my personality, and my writing style, I can sense that more rant compositions combined with pointed commentary are on the way.

For example, I am a strong proponent of women's rights, sexual liberation, and gender equality.  I also have a general fascination and respect for human sexuality.  Having worked with individuals across the human sexuality continuum from men who have committed sex offenses to middle-aged women in the early stages of menopause, to college freshmen just entering the playing field, I have a rather broad and liberal view on sexuality.  My work, and personal convictions, also reinforce and highlight my concerns regarding the current state of sexuality in the United States and the problems people face regarding sexual expression, gender identity, and sexual violence.  Of particular concern is the fact that any stereotyped behavior or propagated myths about any of the topics automatically results in a reinforced counter stereotypes; think Newton's Third for social motion instead of physical motion.  These are complex and complicated topics, and there are people working to address the issues involved.  However, it is disconcerting and somewhat infuriating to see the lack of progress being made in general society.  Most recently, my disgust has been evoked by the writings on a website a friend sent me to with only one sentence: "Try not to get grey matter on your keyboard when your head explodes."  The website,, is the absolute epitome of why things are so completely fucked up as far as sexuality, gender identity, and sexual violence are concerned.

To be fair, I attempted to peruse the site with my broad, liberal mind and attitude.  Initially, it worked; I was impressed by the range of topics and some of the frank dialogue presented.  Then I entered the "Women" section of the site: unfathomably sexist, dated, and intellectually bereft, not to mention nauseatingly hetero-normative.  Some basic problematic elements: all pink design, referring to women as "girls", the seeming inability to use anything other than trite euphemisms for body parts ("man pebbles", seriously?!), the incessant and insipid tone of "men are strong, women are weak but devious enough to get what they need through the use of their bodies."  Given the sparse comments, I can only hope that indicates a minuscule readership.  This is what I learned reading through the site:
  • Women only wear "revealing clothes" to attract the attention of men, not because as a human being we deserve respect regardless of what we are wearing and should not be inhibited in our dress because it might "turn a guy on."  Yes, some women do dress in as little as possible to attract the attention of others, this does not mean, however, that people have the right to generalize that assumption to all women in all situations.  How has it become acceptable to assume that a woman in a revealing outfit is asking for attention, and as a result men in particular get a free pass for being disrespectful because of their "primal urges"?  The opposite reaction to this is that men who do not act disrespectfully in such situations are not normal, or real men, but most people don't overtly think about that counter.  (
  • It's more acceptable to stare at a woman's breasts if you are in her "league", or are attractive.  If you aren't though, don't think about it.  Women should only ever accept and encourage attention from good looking men, never from homely guys, and never from other women.  Also, all women love shopping!  All of us!  As a result we have tight fitting clothes because we love shopping, and we can't help ourselves from trying to attract attention.  Oh, and men totally can't control themselves, like, everrr! so, you can just expect them to stare, and as a woman you totally have to learn to get over it.  Best of all, looking at boobs can cause you to live 5 years longer!  Science proved it, and "medical experts"!!!!!  But even though they just provided all of these tips on how to oogle a woman with some respect, you should really only oogle boobs that are attached to women in movies and tv shows.  Duh. (
  • Women always have to be happy and/or cheerful, look attractive, be flirty, and only be independent when men aren't around (because "...Men absolutely love a woman who asks for help...), once you're in a committed relationships though, you can expect your guy to be a lazy slob who doesn't want to help you a bit (and that's ok)!  (
  • Intelligent women are cold, snobby, and arrogant.  Eww.  Women need to let men feel powerful to be appreciated and loved, which means you really need to at least pretend to be dumb part of the time, or stop pretending to be smart as the case may be.  Apparently, dumb girls, ooops "less aware girls" are more attractive because they let men feel more control, listen in rapt fascination because, golly, men are so smart and fascinating and everything they say is so important (so hot!), and dumb girls are easier to manipulate-- a key factor to a happy relationship.  Intelligent women, however, practically crush a man's fragile ego on sight and are inherently emasculating (especially when they make more money then a guy, 'cause seriously, a man's value is totally in his cock and his wallet, and men can't handle competition).  Luckily, women like me need not fear!  As an intelligent woman, I can be "normal" and have a "normal conversation" with a guy to gain his affection by not talking about myself only him and his interests (which is actually called being "fun"), and refraining from talking about deep subjects like "politics and drama" (I wonder if this includes checking to see if he can spell potato correctly?).  Let's not forget the main point of the article: "And to be the girl that your man would desire and want, learn to mix a bit of dumb and smart. As long as you earn his love, respect and appreciation for the person you are, you’ll always have a perfectly happy relationship."  Basically, remember your place as a simpering dolt with a nice rack, a smile plastered on your face, and an inability to do things independently.
I plan on reviewing some of the writing form the 'Men" section in the future.  A brief glance has confirmed that it's full of chauvinistic, idealized, power inequity supporting drivel such as Do Girls Like Shy Guys Who Don't Make a Bold Move? ummm, no, because shy guys are weak and have nothing to offer women, geez.  How to Hookup with A Girl and Makeout with Her: find a friend you like, pretend to get drunk with her and then have sex, nothing could be easier!

Information is a vital component to healthy expressions of sexuality, and an exchange of ideas is a good thing.  Despite this, to try and shroud healthy sexuality in unbalanced, poorly informed, pop advice under the guise of "Better Love and Relationships" is irresponsible and highly damaging.  Perspectives such as create a warped sense of connection, reinforce unacceptable patterns of violence toward women in relationships (a man's "need" for power and a woman's duty to submit or be punished), and skews what gender labels and identifications mean. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Congratulations Are Not in Order

"I hate children."  Making that statement out loud is one of the quickest ways to send people into a tizzy.  Sometimes the response is funny, most of the time it's annoying.  "How can you not like children?" "Oh, you don't mean that."  "When you have one of your own, you'll feel differently."  Really?  What in the statement, "I hate children" would lead you to believe there is a child anywhere in my future?  And, yes, I can mean that, and I suppose it isn't necessarily the children I hate exclusively, but more so parenting and baby culture.     

Why do we congratulate people for getting pregnant and having a baby?  Tradition, compulsion, good will, stupidity, desperation...?  There is often considerable doting that happens when a pregnancy or birth is announced.  I understand wanting to wish people well and support them in their endeavors; however, when it comes to birthing and parenting culture I think a line has been crossed.

Why I am loath to congratulate people on the birth, or soon-to-be birth, of their child:
  1. The idea that people need to be reinforced and praised for propagating the human race is outdated, puzzling, and ridiculous.  Pregnancy often results by choice, and it is a very natural process in most instances.  It takes no special skill or knowledge to have basic sex, which is actually somewhat concerning if your primary reason for having a child is to help build a strong future for humans.  Sex as a biological function is essentially nature's adult version of a shape sorter; easy, as long as you aren't trying to put the square peg in the round hole.  To compound this, natural selection is being thwarted all over the place with more advanced technology and medicine.  The fittest genes are no longer the only ones surviving.
  2. You could be the worst parent in the history of parenting, or at least a bad parent.  Granted raising children is a big commitment, and undoubtedly a difficult task but the likelihood you are going to be a good parent vs. a bad parent is probably pretty evenly split.  So, congratulating you would be like saying, "Hey, nice job on permanently damaging your kid.  Thanks for keeping me in business."  That seems a bit self-serving, don't you think?
  3. Your child could be the next Justin Beiber.  Enough said.
  4. Choosing not to have children is an equally valid choice, and yet, when one dares utter the phrase "I'm not interested in having children" a bombardment of admonishments, disbelief, and ignorance follows.  No one ever says, "Congratulations on having responsible sexual encounters and not adding to the already overcrowded population of Earth." or "Congratulations on not forcing a child into this world without the proper financial, emotional, and psychological support needed to help them grow."    
I actually don't mind children that much.  At times, I even enjoy having them around.  I don't, however, want my own.  No congratulations, please.