I know I haven’t written a thing for ages but I felt the need to lay this one out in more than a Storify* because… does anyone actually read them? *Now in Wakelet because Storify shut down.
But here are my favourites:
- Pockets! They’re sexist. How much stuff have you broken?
- Trump, misogynists, ‘gamerg*te’, white supremacists – a weird web of misery
Anyway, to the point. We all like our insults, and sometimes we reach for things that are less than ideal. Have got into this previously here & here.
The Storify topics are just 2 examples of sexism – quite far apart on the scale as it goes – but another huge one is rumbling along, the Google memo. Cue a bunch of guys coming forward to defend him because really, female inferiority is just science, right?!?
I’m not going to get into that here as I have already and Twitter is a fiery pit of hell (also yes I read the one with the links removed, don’t @ me).
Another is how well-meaning people justifiably insulting dudes who do stuff like that only end up reinforcing their crappy views about masculinity, women, men and what makes a person great or risible.
You know how it goes; toxic masculinity is all that stuff wherein guys measure their success in life by how many women they’ve slept with (or worse, how highly they’d rate them) – they brag to their friends, maybe some of it isn’t even true – they take the piss out of other men, trying to emasculate them, by suggesting they can’t achieve this greatness, this studly glory. So, those are bad things.
Along comes a saviour to take down a scientifically-sexist bro for us all!
But wait! Alas, all is not as it seems. Now, before you jump to the comment box to tell me what a killjoy humourless harpie I am (hey, I try my best), hear me out. I get the ‘burn’. Oh look, a man defending gender stereotyping/sexism. Woman: well let’s run with that, you’re a nerd and nerds are undesirable awkward freaks who never get any sex so LOL back at you. Hilarious.
Now, pushing the tears-of-laughter-sodden tissues away for a moment, let’s break it down.
My twitter-rant goes:
This heteronormative, toxic masculinity-affirming bullshit needs to stop, guys. Don’t use ‘sex with women’ as a measure of success. Don’t.
Even if it’s “you’re crap at sexing ladies”, rather than “you can’t even get lady sex” – same deal. Don’t do that.
It’s like “your penis is tiny” or “you have no balls” and “you’re not a REAL man” – it’s their own sexist language. Don’t affirm it.
Because there are some basic problems – and again, I get it, she’s taking a stereotype and turning it around on him as an insult, I’m not missing the point – but let’s go for it anyway:
There’s this thing people do where they insult a lot of guys who are nerdy and perhaps simultaneously assholes by calling them virgins and neckbeards and fat and stuff. Regardless of accuracy, it’s not OK to reach for that. Virginity is bollox for a start, and body-shaming is just using another tool mostly used to belittle women so this shows them it’s valid. Let’s not. For that reason and more…
Some men are gay. Let’s not assume all men want to sleep with women (or vice versa but not the point here), that’s called heteronormativity.
Some people are asexual. We would do well to stop assuming everybody wants and has sex, or indeed that (men especially) prioritise it over everything else in their lives. A lot of people just get on with it. It’s a bit weird to make it the go-to thing to insult people with respect to completely unrelated stuff.
Giving people orgasms is nice, but it’s not an indicator of your worth or barometer for your respectability, talent or whatever. Nor does being able to do that, as a man, mean you are suddenly devoid of sexist bullshit attitudes. I mean, you’ve heard of PUAs, right? Plenty of guys able to get women off are, simultaneously, horrible people. Hate sex is also a thing (I’ve heard).
Plus it’s not that hard to learn some basic rules/techniques that will probably mean you’re reasonably good at bringing another person to climax (speaking with them is a good one). Being kind, worthy of trust, safe etc. is way up there, but it’s by no means necessary (or sufficient).
Most people exist somewhere on the scales between: will cum on demand/any time through to takes almost forever/never happens. That’s all normal stuff and again whether/how frequently/how fast any particular partner gets their rocks off in your vicinity is probably not a strong reflection of your overall character.
Oh and last, it’s a bit boring to reduce all of sex to orgasm/make it the most important bit. There’s even an OKCupid question, “Are orgasms the most important part of sex?” – not everyone agrees! It’s setting everyone up for a fall if we maintain this idea (if it is for you, great, you do you. Literally.); and none of this helps address the orgasm gap anyway.
To leave le petit mort for now and get back to the point – men are already taking the piss out of each other for failing to live up to their Sex Standard. It’s a masculinity parade, the one that underlies the sexist slut/stud dichotomy and homophobia, that simultaneously demands sexual availability from women while criticising us for ever enjoying or being open about it.
It’s where MRAs get this ridiculous idea that people are wolves and alpha Chads get all the women, while their lowly beta selves linger forever as ‘incels‘ (don’t make me explain this). Speaking of MRAs, remember Elliot Rodger? He literally spelled out in his ‘manifesto’ that his incel status, the fact women wouldn’t “give him sex”, was a big factor in what drove him to kill. See how that just ends up adding fuel to the misogyny fire.
We’ve all lived life without sex – most of us manage not to turn into murderers.
In using their insults ourselves, we’re just cementing their ‘truth’. We can do better.If you really see these and think “sick burn”, you’re just validating all of the above. Yes, we can laugh, but we can also not contribute and realise the issues with it, because I don’t think it helps. YMMV.
- This thread on why stuff like “well I won’t fuck nazis!” is not particularly helpful, by @Rrrrnessa
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