Sunday, February 21, 2010

Women should.

I wish more guys understood the difference between "I'm attracted to women who X" and "women should X."


I also wish guys who were attracted to women without makeup or in practical clothes didn't act like they were doing the ladies a huge favor by having those preferences. It's less work for us, but it's still a preference of yours--a guy telling me "women look great in jeans!" is still imposing his tastes. And hey, nothing wrong with liking jeans, nothing wrong with telling a woman in jeans she looks good, but it's not some great pro-woman kindness.

A guy who likes a woman in jeans is exactly the same thing as a guy who likes a woman in high heels. It's morally neutral; they're each just a guy who likes a thing. Neither is an evil oppressor unless he gets into the "women should wear jeans!" thing, but neither is a Good Samaritan lifting the weight of fashion off our shoulders, either.

9 comments:

  1. I'm glad I'm not one of 'those men.'

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  2. RobertM - And a lot of men aren't. But the ones who are, are so damn visible and so rarely questioned.

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  3. Excellent point, Holly!

    I like that you can take this in reverse, too. There's nothing wrong with liking high heels and makeup on women (or being one and liking to wear high heels and makeup) so long's you don't say women should wear them.

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  4. Paradox - Yeah. Sometimes it's hard to convey that I'm really not trying to shame men for liking women, I love it when men like women and many different types of women--I only want to shame the men who like women and are douches about it. It's not really that fine a distinction.

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  5. Women should be naked. And so should men. Not all the time, but often while in public. This is not because it necessarily makes them more attractive but because wearing clothing all the time is physically bad for you and psychologically bad for those who see you. There, I said it. OMG I is a total jerrrk LOL. :-p

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  6. There's one important difference I see between "I like women in high heels" and "I like women in jeans". Namely, that we're saturated with the message that women look hot in high heels, and sometimes it's nice to be reminded (if you're that woman in jeans) that some people have other preferences.

    Relatedly, it may take a little more self-awareness and courage to state a preference that's different from that mainstream cultural message. For example, and more dramatically, "Fat women are hot."

    Doesn't make you a big favor to womankind for having a culturally unpopular preference, sure, but it's worth something.

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  7. One of the full-throatedly "feminist" guys I knew was susceptible to this. He didn't understand why I would choose to wear high heels, (according to him, they weren't even sexy, which he decided was relevant information even though I never asked his opinion: I didn't think his shirt was sexy, but unlike him, I refrained from making this kind of observation apropos of nothing), so he would say these totally condescending things like, "You don't need to wear those." Like, really? A member of the patriarchy is deigning to grant me a reprieve from patriarchal expectations? Like I needed his permission to cast of the yoke of male oppression, or something. The fact that he felt that he was in a position to give me permission to wear the clothing he preferred was the only kind of oppression going on.

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  8. I think something like this applies also to guys who demand that a woman have an orgasm every time. Yeah, it's different from not caring if she does, and he certainly should make the effort if she wants him to, but as with anything else in sex (and any other interaction, really), the key words are "if she wants him to"; he shouldn't make it yet another bit of sex that's all about him.

    And that's how cunnilingus can be anti-feminist.

    Relatedly, it may take a little more self-awareness and courage to state a preference that's different from that mainstream cultural message. For example, and more dramatically, "Fat women are hot."

    It's just as reductionist, though. The point is that women are allowed to look like they look. There's nothing wrong with saying "I find fat women hot" (though I suspect some people are trying to be more-progressive-than-thou, as "look how I don't use the beauty standard to oppress my women!") but "fat women are hot" presents it as a demand and an instruction just as much as the opposite does.

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