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, www.lovepanky.com, 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. (http://www.lovepanky.com/women/girl-talk/revealing-clothes-in-office)
- 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. (http://www.lovepanky.com/men/guy-talk/is-it-bad-to-stare-at-a-womans-breasts)
- 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)! (http://www.lovepanky.com/women/attracting-and-dating-men/what-men-like-in-women)
- 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.
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 lovepanky.com 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.