An apology and many, many thoughts
Sorry I haven't posted this weekend. In all honesty, this election has turned mine into a one-track mind. My realistic approach has been severely compromised by participating in the national breath-holding that this election has become. The House of Mouse is so riled up that we actually freaked out when Green Bay won today, not because anyone gives a high holy shit about the Packers, but because we had heard a certain legend. I don't have much to add on the whole subject of the election, so I've bowed out.
That being said, my obsession with gender, sex, etc. has not gone unheeded. Tonight we went to the Dwarves show, a huge event considering the brillance of their new album. As is usual with hard core punk shows, the lonely guy contingent was out in spades. Usually this goes without mention, but tonight was slightly different, mostly because the band that opened for them was a an-girl local band the Applicators who are well-liked and most welcome for those of us in the audience who needed an old-fashioned rocking out. They were great and had fabulous Halloween costumes, coming dressed all at the characters from Kill Bill. During the show we had a blast, but right as they left stage the yearnings of the lonely boy crowd was so thick you had to cut throw it to move.
(Warning: The rest of this post will deal in explicit sexual terms.)
I observed that it's a shame that more women were not comfortable in the punk scene, which is the direct cause of the lonely boy syndrome. This caused my boyfriend to go off. His points were utterly valid and astute and gosh durnnit I'm proud of him. He said it's common sense to note that if women are on stage, then the women in the audience will feel more welcome, more open and therefore they are more likely to come to shows. (This veered off into a long discussion about which I shan't bore you with details.)
The thing that amused me out of the whole discussion was the conclusion--female emancipation benefits men. And since I had a recent encounter with my right wing enemies on this very subject, I was ready to make some connections.
Yesterday we watched a documentary on Trio about the effects of the push for abstinence going on in schools our tax dollars, or at least the citizens of Lubbock, pay for. It's a must-see for anyone concerned about the crap that passes for sex ed in our schools, but it was a real lightening rod for me as well. (Watch it if you have a chance--it makes explicable our inexplicably stupid attitudes.) When I attended school in the Bible Belt, we suffered from some misinformation. But I was truly unaware of how the virginity pledges work--the parental pressure, the social acceptance for taking one, and most importantly being given a ring on your wedding finger, which grants the chastity vow an equivalence to marriage.
I told my mother about all this in breathless tones, and she laughed and told me that my very own cousin had taken such a pledge at the age of 12. I shook my head--I won't lie--I was angry. This girl's older sister had a child out of wedlock at 19 and just recently another at 21 that she didn't want (Jesus forbids abortion, etc. and bullshit like that). When the elder sister first fell pregnant I asked her if she used anything--she did--but she used it badly out of miseducation. In the right world, we wouldn't scold girls for having normal feelings. In the right world, we wouldn't get girls to sign contracts they will almost surely ignore eventually but leave them uneducated on how to protect themselves. I heard my cousin took the pledge at 12 and I just banged my head against the steering wheel and said I hope she's not pregnant at 17.
All this points to reason #1, the most obvious reason, that female emancipation makes men's lives better. Women start emancipation by taking hold of their reproductive potential. Men often resent and fight this, but those who do are only hurting themselves. Women who lose guilt over sex are usually handle the contraception well and make the whole thing a delight.
#2 follows that naturally. It's easy to pick on the lonely guys who hang out at shows. Most of them are good looking, at least decent, and should have no problems with women. So what's the problem? Well, the ugly sexism of the scene cripples the situation. A lot of men are in fact crippled by overly high expectations, but most men I know are crippled by the approach/rejection system.
Not saying that's women's fault, as much as Mens News would have us believe otherwise. But women are pretty much on guard at all times, out of completely reasonable fear. For instance, tonight my boyfriend ducked into a bathroom for a quick pee and in the meantime a creepy dude approached me and challenged me for having a too-thoughtful expression on my face. (I was considering the importance of shock value against what I would consider genuine musical talent--I refuse to apologize for organizing debates in my head.) Safety-minded, I cruelly blew him off and walked away.
I have a boyfriend, but before I did I met many a guy with high expectations--women should be perfect, sweet and somehow independent minded. Female emancipation would relieve guys of the need to find the "perfect" girlfriend and they could get on with their lives.
# 3 is the grossly sexual part that I think should be obvious but is clearly not. (You've been warned.) Women clearly have sexual stamina and power, and probably desire, that puts men's to shame. Women have been shamed and degraded for so long that this basic biological fact gets lost, but anyone who spends a decent amount of time bothering to learn about these things will notice the vast gap between the myth that women are indifferent to sex and the reality that women have a far more voracious appetite than men pretty quickly.
Watching that documentary, the basic fear of women's voracious sexuality was evident. They interviewed a couple that waited until marriage, and prior to the marriage they were forced to go through a long series of marriage counseling exercises through the church. (I think this is a good idea in theory, but every couple I know who did this divorced anway, so I think there's a flaw or two or a dozen.) And part of the counseling was about men and women's sexual differences, and it was very Mars and Venus basic stuff--men pop off quickly, women take longer to arouse.
The problems that came from this ill-informed model of human sexuality were immediately apparent. The groom obviously loved his bride deeply and desired great sexual satisfaction for her. But he had never been told that a woman is properly satisfied by bringing her to orgasm one after another for a good time before even getting yours. That's the sort of basic information that gets left behind in all the "sex is an loving act in a marriage" talk.
It's also the the information that people who consider themselves hip or bohemian or whatever miss, though. That much is apparent viewing the row of lonely guys at show who gaze longingly.
It's no secret that lots of men who fancy themselves hipsters stick to pretty retrograde ideas of the gender roles. But the veneer of hip shields them from the criticism that is aimed at the super-Christians, and unfairly. Smart men know that they can cultivate the best relationships, or at least the best sex, with independent women. And it's not hard--just avoid the three fallacies I described. Print it out on a card or something if you have memory problems, but here they are boiled down.
* Women's emancipation means that birth control is a right, not a luxury. Men are now permitted to inquire in their partner's method and pursue their own. More importantly, now that women view child-bearing as a choice, men can, too. Generally men and women work together to decide when or if children will be born--of course there are abuses, but for the first time in history, men and women work as partners to make this decision.
*Part of truly assisting in women's emancipation is fully embracing the notion that women have as much agency as men, even when it comes to sex. I have learned this lesson from men more than women, be that as it may. Women have things to be afraid of; don't try to humiliate them for this. But more important than any other thing--women are flawed humans, just like your friends. Don't expect "love" to make things work. Romantic love was invented to make women more congenial to subservience, and has no place in modern life.
*The best favor you can do for yourself and your sex life, be you male or female, is accept the obvious--women have bigger appetites and are more insatiatiable. Consider the fact that contrary to biological fact we tend to think of women as the sex that cares for sex less. Realize how powerful sexism is that it distracts us from something that is right under our nose but we don't notice because of our prejudice. To my mind, once you can shake off the prejudice that women are less sexual than men, a prejudice that is the exact opposite of the truth, you'll be more open to shaking off other prejudices.
Of course, I'm a librul optimist, and so my hopes for improvement of humankind are pipe dreams.
Still, I'm right.