Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cosmocking: February '13!


Red cover!  Julianne Hough!  The older I get, the less often I recognize these people!  Not quite sure how to feel about that!  She's wearing a, um, transparent plastic cropped biker jacket and satin pajama-underwear-swimsuit... I have no idea what kind of clothing that is!  "Weird Stuff Guys Google About You!"  Believe me, Cosmo, you have no idea!
"A few months ago, my friend asked me to volunteer at a homeless shelter with her--and ever since then, I've been dreaming of opening my own.  I'm so inspired!  I want to give clothing, food, and love to families who live in poverty."
Errgh.  I mean, it's nice that she has good intentions.  But maybe she could be directing those good intentions toward supporting an existing shelter instead of pulling a "I spent four whole hours there, I totally know how to start this from scratch!" Something about this makes me feel like she's not quite prepared for the reality of people who don't just need love, they need healthcare, legal aid, case management, and advocacy.  If all you've got is love, host a fundraiser and give the proceeds to someone who understands social work.
DirtyRottenFlowers.com will send your ex a bouquet of flowers--chopped up, decaying, and decapitated.
Well, you've got to admire the chutzpah of a florist who realized they could make $29 a bundle for their trash pile.
The Fake Chastity Belt 
"When I'm into someone, I don't want to ruin things by having sex with him too soon," says Liz [...] "The problem is, I usually want to have sex with him so badly that I don't trust myself not to go too far with him when we're making out."  So she squeezes herself into her grossest pair of Spanx.  "I have an extra-ugly girdle reserved for really tempting situations." 
Other women rely on things like prickly legs, a grown-out bikini line, or even just a good old-fashioned pair of granny panties. No matter your poison, they are all things we like to call fake chastity belts: preventative measures taken to ensure that no matter how tempted you are to have sex, you don't.
Oh my God.  This fucking article.  This whole fucking article.  I can't even.  I can't.  I just... I'll make a list.

1. Having sex with a guy "too soon" ruins everything. Because the last thing a guy who wants to have sex with you wants is for you to reveal that you want him just as much and then have sex with him, because then you'd both be happy, and that's, uh, terrible.

2. If you don't want to have sex with a guy, you have to go take absurd romantic-comedy measures to prevent it.  You can't just decide not to.

3. A woman with body hair or unflattering underwear is so comically unfuckable no man would want her.

4. No, wait, actually I think the idea is that the man would want you, but you'd be so ashamed by your appearance that you wouldn't let him see you even though he'd want you anyway.

5. The article then goes on to give tips about how to make your unsexiness sexy in case you decide to be sexy after all but you're still in your unsexy clothes that you put on to keep yourself from being sexy.

6. This fucking article.
Q: My guy wants to come on my face. How do I even respond? 
A: [...] If he's into dominating, try doctor-patient role-play.
I needed a breather before I got to the next reprehensible article, so here's something merely inexplicable.
Can Sex Make You Skinnier? 
Carboholism. As much as it sounds like some fake word the diet industry came up with, I can assure you, it is a very real affliction.
Yes.  The fact that you are alive and have a metabolism fueled largely by glucose is a very real affliction.

I joked once, long ago, that one of these days Cosmo was going to tell us the Krebs Cycle was unflatteringly unfeminine.  I never expected them to call my bluff.

Anyway, I had a long quote from this article typed up but it was fuck-all boring, so I'll sum up: writer goes on diet where whenever she wants to eat life-sustaining amounts of food, she does something sexual instead.  (Sometimes the "something sexual" is watching True Blood, or begging her husband to sexy-text her, which he does grudgingly.)  The diet holds up for five whole days.  But it's, y'know, totally an awesome idea that 18 million readers had to hear all about.
"I'm Marrying My Gay Best Friend!"
Spoiler: by "gay," she means "identifies as gay but attracted to some women."  Which kinda changes the whole story from "wow, you better explain why that isn't a terrible idea" to "um, good for you?"

It would be cool if Cosmo used this to discuss how fluid sexuality can be and how people can defy definitions and find happiness in unexpected ways, but they do not take it in that direction.  They take it in this one:
"Oh, my god," I gushed into the phone.  "I just met the cutest gay guy!" [...] 
Dating a gay man has its upsides. [...]  While I wouldn't call myself a slob, Dave basically organizes my whole life.  When we're out shopping, he knows when to ask "Will you really wear those shoes?" He's not just my date to weddings: He helps me pick out the perfect dress and even does my hair."
All of this is very nice, I guess, but also very "Gay man make adorable sassy little pets for straight women!  And I got to take one home!"

I'll let Brian Safi (video link) take it from here.
Go to Best Buy or a specialty audio shop, and ask someone there for a home-theater surround-sound system (warning: a really good one will cost you up to $500).  Say it authoritatively or you're going to get upsold.
I'm pretty sure you're going to get upsold no matter how authoritatively you say that.

(Later, they describe a subwoofer as "a square box that magically balances the sound.")
Touching the strippers is against the rules in clubs, although no one is going to throw a woman out for brushing a thigh or boob.  Because from a woman, that illicit touch manages to be both sexual and sweet.  Instead of doing it with a sleazy grin, like a guy might, women cheer and laugh.  An inquisitive graze resembles a high five at a sporting event between teammates.  Among the female patrons and dancers is an undeniable spirit of camaraderie, like the whole thing is so absurd, they all have to laugh.
Yeah, that's real nice.  Real poetic-like.  Keep your goddamn hands to yourself.
"In our society, the last thing a young woman wants is to be perceived as uptight, humorless, and jealous," says Hugo Schwyzer, who teaches gender studies at Pasadena City College and speaks nationally on gender issues.  "Getting a lap dance assures a man that you're none of these things."[...] 
"Women aren't turned on by male strippers, because they're always presented as a caricature," says Schwyzer.
FFFFUUUUUU....

i'm done.

159 comments:

  1. Is it just me or is Cosmo becoming a parody of itself? Good lord.

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    1. Soon, we'll find out Cosmo has been playing the long con and the whole thing has been an elaborate experiment in trolling.

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    2. Cosmo, the ultimate poe?

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  2. Fucking

    Hugo

    Schwyzer.

    Goddammit stop giving the man podiums (podia?) to speak on.

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    1. Flaw In The SystemJanuary 17, 2013 at 3:47 AM

      Cosmo Editor 1: We need an opinion of a gender expert for all our women readers!

      Cosmo Editor 2: Brilliant!

      Cosmo Editor 3: I know just the violent rapey man!

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  3. FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU....

    Who let Hugo Schwyzer into Cosmo? This is like one of those special feature episodes of an 80s Saturday morning cartoon where all the wacky villains team up against the hero at once.

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  4. Of course they quote Hugo. It all makes sense now!

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  5. Seriously, I dated a girl who shaved her legs like every other month... it's not that annoying. But, then again, if you follow Cosmo's other advice, all you have is sex appeal and if your entire relationship is based on sex appeal, then... could see the issue, I guess? Women with personalities are sexy no matter when/if/how/where they shave.

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  6. I am so glad that I am not the only disgusted by the train wreck that is Cosmo. For a magazine that is allegedly for the fun and fearless female, it is all about how to catch, lure, attack a man and force him to like you.

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  7. wat.

    I can't. I just can't. This is so much more awful (the magazine, I mean, not the Cosmocking) than I was prepared for. I'm going to go cry.

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  8. Oddly enough, I have never had my spouse turn down an offer of sex because of my unshaved legs (going on five years now!) or my ragged cheap granny underpants. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

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    1. You and me both. The only time mine complains is when my legs are at the sharp prickly stage, which I totally understand.

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    2. I am not married, but I assume that men like sex and don't really care at a certain point in a relationship if you have perfectly shaved legs or not, or are wearing granny panties or not.

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    3. Applies to women, too--I'm a dyke who can't imagine turning down sex with someone cool over body hair (presence, absence, or "shaved into a topiary"). I suppose that's something people already assume about my kind, but IME it applies equally to bi women, who face very different (sexier!) stereotypes.

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    4. Same here, I must be Doin It Rong too. I don't shave or wax anywhere. I have a droopy belly. I even do dreadful things like fart in bed. Yet somehow my darling wants sex with me, I want sex with him, and he's like "What?" at the idea of me trying to look like someone other than the person he's in love with.

      (I won prizes for sentence construction. Not.)

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    5. They only thing I asked my SO NOT to do before sex was shave his pubic hair. I asked once, and omg the stubble stage on him is just so not doing it for me (and after shaving that, he never asked me ANYTHING about me shaving ever again.)

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  9. "Gay man make adorable sassy little pets for straight women! And I got to take one home!"

    I laughed so hard I scared the dogs. Thank you.

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  10. Huh. Am I the only one who actually likes a lot of Hugo Schwyzer's stuff? He writes some pretty cool articles on men's issues. Never read that quote before though, not a fan of it.

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    1. Are you aware that he tried to kill his ex-girlfriend?

      Specifically, he tried to kill her because she had been sexually assaulted.

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    2. I just thought he was an asshole... jesus.

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    3. Hey Cliff,

      can you please link me to the article for that thing about Schwyzer trying to kill his ex? Thanks.

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    4. Here's one of many: http://studentactivism.net/2012/01/04/paternalistic-feminism-hugo-schwyzer/

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    5. Ok, weird question about something that bothered me during the collective feminist uproar over Schwyzer: Why did everyone treat his murder-suicide attempt as primarily a murder attempt?

      I know murder-suicides are predominantly a man committing suicide and taking his partner with him, but I always interpreted murder-suicides as someone wanting to commit suicide and take their lover with them, not as someone wanting to commit murder but kill themselves as punishment. Basically, I have always thought the suicide was more important to the perpetrator's thought process.

      Basically, the rate of men killing women is about 2-4 per 100,000, while the rate of a men killing themselves is 15-20 per 100,000. Murder-suicides are a gendered crime. However, I would argue that this is not because men often want to kill women, but because men often want to kill themselves. If you want to commit suicide and take the person you are closest to with you, you are probably a man thinking of taking a woman with you.

      Even without that evidence I would argue that the motivations between suicide and murder-suicide are more similar than between murder and murder-suicide. But everyone talking about the Schwyzer episode referred to it solely as murder.

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    6. ARC - Mostly because it doesn't make any difference to the woman he tried to kill.

      (Also, I think murder-suicide is a gendered crime not because more men commit suicide, but because men are more likely to consider their partners an extension of themselves, and therefore "theirs" to take with them.)

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    7. It does affect his motivations, though-- I kept hearing "he tried to kill a woman, therefore he is a misogynist" without the corresponding "he tried to kill a man, therefore...what?" Or rather, the unsettlingly ad-hominem "He tried to murder a woman, therefore he hates women and considers them disposable, therefore feminists must collectively shun him." Ad hominem because past actions may reflect on his thoughts and motivations, but if you are talking about his mental state, leaving out the suicide seems a glaring omission.

      There were a lot of people who were complaining that he was insufficiently repentant for his actions, or didn't seem to have reflected, or just shrugged it off. That I understand and agree with, but those people weren't the ones who were loudest or the most fervent. Most people couldn't accept him because he tried to kill a woman, conflating the motivations of murder with murder-suicide. I suppose the question is this: could you accept the writings of a man who murdered or attempted to murder a man? I could, but I don't know how others would react.

      I've never read anything about the motivations of someone committing a murder-suicide in particular, and I suspect nobody really knows the reasoning behind that sort of crime. I do tend to agree with you vis a vis men being more likely to consider a woman an accessory. I will say, though, that even if that is not the case, murder-suicide would still be a gendered crime, because men commit suicide roughly 4-5x as frequently as women.

      On a final note, the perpetrator of a murder-suicide is more likely to be a man than the perpetrator of a murder. Not sure what that implies.

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    8. 1. I think you're leaving out the part where this was triggered by his ex being raped. He wasn't just depressed and killing himself and deciding that his ex should come with him (in case there's some fucking planet where that's remotely sympathetic), he was specifically trying to put her down because he felt she was too damaged to live. I think that's pretty goddamn misogynistic.

      2. YES WE SHOULD COLLECTIVELY SHUN HIM, HE TRIED TO FUCKING KILL A WOMAN FOR BEING RAPED!

      Seriously, what the fuck does it take? If feminists don't have a problem with this, what in God's fucking name can we have a problem with? If we don't stand for something as fuck-all obvious as killing women being a bad thing, what the fuck do we stand for?

      Seriously, if this isn't it, is there anything we're allowed to dislike a person for?

      3. "I suppose the question is this: could you accept the writings of a man who murdered or attempted to murder a man?"
      Well, his writings about how much he loves his fellow man? And how opposed he is to violence? After he served no time for his crime and didn't even reveal it for a large part of his writing career? Um, YEAH ACTUALLY THAT WOULD ALSO BE A PROBLEM.

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    9. 4. Like his writing is so amazing anyway. Maybe if someone was a murderer but an absolutely amazing artist of the written word they'd still be worth reading. But most of Hugo's output comes down to:

      -"Behold! Your eyes do not deceive you! A male feminist! As was foretold!"

      -"I used to be a terrible person. But I stood around feeling really bad, and that's basically like making restitution for your crimes. After you feel bad you don't need to worry about things like 'serving time for your felonies' or 'not continuing to teach at the school where you slept with your students.'"

      -"Ladies, when men tell you to do porny things in the sack, it's because we just respect you so much. Don't stand in the way of our respect now."

      -"My Boner: An Ode."

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    10. Also he LIED about his murder-suicide attempt for years, and indeed has probably never told the whole story I think. He got into feminism and saw absolutely no need to disclose his troubling history or make amends in any meaningful way, yet easily half of his pieces include condenscending lectures to young men about how they should treat women.

      Yeah, Schwyzer, I think there are actually plenty of young men who can figure out on their own that it's not the greatest idea to sleep with students or TRY TO KILL PEOPLE.

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    11. Oh shit, yeah, let me add to the canon here:

      -"Young men! You will be very tempted to exploit women in the most horrible of ways, because your manhood draws you toward such thinking! It will be very, very hard not to abuse all the women in your life, but you must try!"

      -"I know some intensely embarrassing personal details of a woman's life. Allow me to share them here without her knowledge or consent."

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    12. Also, the primary problem with murder-suicides is that the murder occurs first, and the suicide second. Switch them round and suddenly the murder becomes irrelevant.

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    13. Aside from what's already been said (and I can't believe it -had- to be said), I'm getting really sick of pseudo-intellectual people throwing around "ad hominem" to silence marginalized groups. Concluding that a man is misogynic because he tried to kill a woman is not ad hominem. Saying a misogynic man does not make a good "feminist" is not ad hominem. Why? BECAUSE THAT'S NOT WHAT AN AD HOMINEM ARGUMENT IS. An ad hominem argument is a specific kind of logical fallacy. If Schwyzer was making a claim about a totally unrelated topic and someone was claiming he had to be wrong about it because he's a misogynist, THAT would be an ad hominem argument, because the two topics are in no way related and he may know a lot more about, say, baking than feminism. You could probably also legitimately call it “ad hominem" if someone said "Schwyzer is a misogynist, therefore he's wrong about *specific statement about gender*" because even a misogynist can theoretically make a correct statement about gender, so the "therefore" would be an issue. However, I can't think of a situation where pointing that out wouldn't be nit-picky and derailing, and "Schwyzer is obviously a misogynist, therefore I'm not going to waste my time countering his argument" would, again, not be ad hominem. "He tried to murder a woman, therefore he hates women and considers them disposable, therefore feminists must collectively shun him."? So far from ad hominem it's not funny.

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    14. There's a bottom line here: It's not any better to kill your girlfriend even if you only did it so she would be with you in heaven or hell, or because you couldn't bear the thought of her going on in life without you. Doesn't matter. I don't mean that it "doesn't make it OK." I mean it doesn't make it even a little bit better.

      There's a fundamental difference between suicide and murder that you can't bridge. Suicide, no matter how misguided, tragic or heartbreaking, is the choice to end a life that you own. Murder is the choice to take a life owned by someone else and deny it to them. There's no way to tie one to the other and have the murder gain any excuse from the suicide.

      This plus Cliff's Twitter note about "assuming that internet-feminist-knowledge of a thing means that the public knows about it is wrong" led to an interesting discussion with my wife. She informed me that she's not a feminist, just an equal person.

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    15. ARC, I'm guessing you didn't actually read Schwyzer's essay. Because it's not simply a story about how he once did a horrible, inexcusable thing, is no longer that person and has tried to make amends and never be like that again. It's a jaunty story that starts off with'my friend accidentally killed his dog, which reminds me....', and treats the incident with about as much seriousness as a middle-aged guy would talk about that time in college when they accidentally set the keg on fire. Along with his immediate assurance that the reader shouldn't worry, because the statute of limitations has passed on all that - because he imagines that the first reaction anyone would have to that story is to be concerned about him that he might actually get in trouble for admitting to having attempted to murder his girlfriend.

      Also, there's the bit about how his recounting of the story has changed over time, from suggesting that he and his girlfriend were only saved by an alert neighbor to making him the hero of the piece.

      Also ALSO, there's the greater context of his unshakeable narcissism.

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    16. I've had recurring episodes of depression for the last 15 years. I have been suicidal many times. NOT ONCE in that time would the thought of killing someone I loved not filled me with total revulsion and horror.
      The only mental health issues that could cause that are either being totally delusional (which Schwyzer was not), OR completely lacking empathy for the victim and only seeing them as an extension of self, which is narcissism.

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    17. "Ladies, when men tell you to do porny things in the sack, it's because we just respect you so much. Don't stand in the way of our respect now."

      Now, now. Let's not shortchange the man. If I recall correctly, he also wrote (in essence) "Ladies, when men tell you to do porny things in the sack, it's because your doing so heals our fragile psyches. Don't let something as minor as you not wanting to do a certain sexual act stand in the way of healing our psyches with your sexings."

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    18. In this text Schwyzer even SAYS that attempting to murder your girlfriend means you're a misogynist: http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2012-12-are-most-murder-suicides-acts-of-misogyny "What binds together all male perpetrators of murder-suicide—there are a handful of very rare cases, such as the murder of Phil Hartman, where women kill their lovers and then themselves—is the grandiose sense that another person’s life is ours to take. Belcher may have been motivated by rage and pain and traumatic brain injury, while I was driven by a bizarre sense that I was carrying out a merciful act, but in the end our assumptions were the same: We got to make the call about who lived and who died. This is what makes murder-suicide an inherently misogynist act: It’s based on a man’s assumption that a woman’s body belongs to him. That’s as true when it’s motivated by a perverse chivalry as when it’s driven by hate."

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    19. Neurite, I remember that one. My desire to not have semen squirted on my face is wrong and mean because some have fragile psyche feelings about "needing" a women to fix them through being emptied upon (and there being no other way for the fixing to occur).

      There were also some prize Jezebel comments about how women deciding whether or not they want to "swallow" based on their own feelings is across-the-board mean and thoughtless because some guy someone once knew couldn't stand being unable to dictate someone else's choice and thepossibility of a woman choosing not to.

      He felt totally and utterly rejected by a woman - who had just had his penis in her mouth - not swallowing after having said penis in said mouth and endeavouring to bringing him pleasure.

      Because that's the only logical takeaway from that entitlement-ridden anecdote.

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    20. Adding to my comment: I don't know much about this Swhwyzer guy, but if it's the case that he first brushed away the fact that it was attempted MURDER of his girlfriend and not just suicide, and then years later, after feminists have been going "it's misogynistic to try to murder your girlfriend like that" over and over again, he writes a post where he goes "this kind of act is misogynistic, I the insightful feminist will now explain to you why that's the case", it's pretty problematic.

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    21. Besides, I've read several problematic sex articles on Jezebel. Like, once they had an article about how all men love fingers up their arse even if they don't realise it themselves, so while giving the guy a blow-job you should stuff your fingers up there, and if he tenses up you should ignore it and just go on because he's TOTALLY GONNA LEARN TO LIKE IT. And they also had an article about anal, and giving lots of tips of how doing it right - so far so good - but they also wrote (don't remember the exact phrasing, but that was the message anyway) that women have an OBLIGATION to try it at least once following all their advice, and only if you do and not like it you're allowed to say no to anal from now on. It's NOT okay to simply be like "no, never tried it, but the very thought is a total turn-off for me, so I'm not gonna do it".

      So... maybe there's a trend at Jezebel's according to which people aren't allowed to have too many boundaries when it comes to sex.

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    22. Ugh, all the comments on that Role/Reboot article about "stop being mean to Hugo, he admitted that he tried to kill a woman and he even went so far as to admit it was a bad thing, now shut up and let's listen to the very important things he has to say." Like I said... WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

      And, like I said, I almost might go along with it if he had really new and groundbreaking things to say, but does he? He pretty much takes the wildly-out-there stance that men who kill women probably don't respect women very much. YOU DON'T SAY.

      Plus it's gross how he's playing this off as "well, now that's what I'm known for... I guess that makes me an expert on murder-suicide!"

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    23. According to http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/exile-in-gal-ville-how-a-male-feminist-alienated-his-supporters/252915/ (note the title: Gal-Ville? What the fucking hell, Atlantic?) he has also become a Christian and leads a Christian youth group. This is a guy who had sex with his students and tried to kill his girlfriend, and you give him a YOUTH LEADER position?

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    24. Stop it ARC - you're just trolling. Murder/suicide has been extensively studied so there's no need for the 'it's a mystery!' apologia.
      In 90% of the cases, murder-suicide between spouses follows a pattern of domestic violence. Nearly 100% of perpetrators are male. Although almost half the perpetrators of spousal murder are female, they rarely commit suicide afterwards, and they are often in response to ongoing abuse. About a quarter of spousal murders by men are followed by suicide and they are most often sparked by imminent separation, jealousy and loss. Murder-suicides are almost always premeditated; neither the murder nor suicide are accidental or spontaneous acts. The perpetrators generally follow the patterns and traits of murder, not suicide, although some researchers argue it's a unique combination. They are deeply narcissistic people, often jealous and controlling, and can't envision their family life continuing without them. There's a distinct sub-set of murder-suicides of aging caregivers falling ill and killing both themselves and their dependent spouses, but that's quite a different set of motivations at work. In all cases, the murder is something that person needs/wants to check off their to-do list and in many cases that list is created by their planned death. Even in the cases of parents killing their children during a custody dispute, it's about not wanting their spouse to 'get control' of the kids and win the dispute in their absence. So even though it might be dressed up in 'I'm taking my baby with me," it's about picking up your marbles and going home, but first making sure the game is over without you. The suicide part is largely about exiting your own life without facing the consequences of what a shitty thing you just did. Then there are the cases like the man who took his daughter on an airplane ride and crashed it into his ex-partner's mother's house, neatly killing everyone his ex ever loved. That's the revenge element and it's extremely common. So yes, killing your partner/child/whoever is an act of dehumanizing them as well as murdering them.

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  11. Cosmo does not make me cry. It might be the patriarchal male privilege talking (ha ha I'm just kidding but kind of not) but I just laugh and go on with my day.

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    1. Yeah, but Don, that's because being male, this shit isn't trying to tell you *how you should be*, and that if you do not meet these social standards, there is something Very Wrong With You.

      I mean, men do get their fair share of shit. (Wear only gray, black and white or you're gay! Feel only anger, competitiveness and arousal or you're gay! Don't like anything even REMOTELY resembling femininity (like yoghurt or scarves or bed linen or actually being responsive to female partner's emotions) or you're gay!). That 'Real Man' stuff is bullshit. But still, you can't dismiss that Cosmo is very real, very damaging and actually relied upon by some women for life advice.

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    2. how the hell are scarves feminine? I've ran into the before and I still don't get it, everybody has a neck, cold necks are not a gendered problem. and I think Art of Manliness backs me up on this: http://artofmanliness.com/2012/02/23/mans-guide-scarf/

      does wearing a scarf imply you have insufficient beard, chest, and back hair to keep yourself warm in the winter? does it imply you wear lady/hipster-like dipping necklines?

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    3. (it's the Anon above you). EXACTLY my point. Scarves are scarves. They are not feminine. They are not masculine. They are fucking SCARVES.

      However. The particular brand of highly advertised masculinity I refer to does not agree.

      Observe.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuNuhUnbBpQ

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    4. I think the "scarves are not manly" comes from people who do not live in col climates. It is my observation that only people who live in warm climates give a fuck what they or anyone else looks like in a scarf.

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    5. "Yeah, but Don, that's because being male, this shit isn't trying to tell you *how you should be*, and that if you do not meet these social standards, there is something Very Wrong With You. "

      Yeah, I understand. That' the male privilege I was (not) kidding around about up there, yes? I was perhaps clumsy, but that was my point; I was struck by the fact that the people this is aimed at can be reduced to tears by it, and a little uncomfortable with how entertaining I find it (the content, not the tears.) This stuff is funny to me, but . . . they're not actually kidding around.

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    6. I love reading Cliff's "Cosmocking" articles because I find them hilarious but it's often easy to forget that while I'm howling with laughter about this shit, it can be really damaging (both physically and emotionally) to someone who takes it seriously. There's probably a lot of similar nonsense in "men's" magazines (though I have no illusion that it's to the degree seen in Cosmo and I know that women bear the brunt of media distortions regarding health, beauty, sexuality, self-esteem, and on and on and on), but I tend to avoid those, too.

      I can't say I've ever met anyone in "the real world" who I would think actually reads any of this bullshit for anything other than entertainment or mockery (and the staff at Cosmo and their ilk may not be writing it seriously at all, either). The truth, though, is that such misinformation is so pervasive that a little bit of it is almost certainly getting into all of our heads on some level, and that is rather terrifying now that I think about it.

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    7. Seconding Brock. I'm a lady, and despite this I laugh rather than cry at Cosmockings. Still, some weird shit probably trickles in, and more in some people than in others. I don't think playing stupid games rather than honestly talking to the person you're dating is as rare as one might wish, for instance. And weird ideas about beauty, health, self-esteem and so on are really widespread in society, it's not just Cosmo.

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  12. "The fact that you are alive and have a metabolism fueled largely by glucose is a very real affliction." IDK, I think addiction-like response to carbs is a very real thing for some people, but women's magazines always manage to make it sound like your desire to eat food is all in your head. "Each serving of food should be the size of a playing card, so if you're hungry for more than that, try drinking some water or calling a friend!" I don't think I've ever eaten a meal with quantities of food as small as those the women's magazines recommend. Great strategy, since giving out this advice ensures women will "fail" their diets, & need a fresh batch of diet "tips" next month.

    "When we're out shopping, he knows when to ask 'Will you really wear those shoes?' He's not just my date to weddings: He helps me pick out the perfect dress and even does my hair." My boyfriend does most of those things, & he's straight.

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    1. Funny, my boyfriend's queer and has zero interest in shoes or clothing beyond a vague awareness that you're not allowed to go to work without pants on.

      Delete
    2. I'm a not-particularly-feminine, straight-trending bisexual lady. It is odd how some people will interpret that - a former roommate decided to challenge all the dudes in my house to the "gallon challenge", and graciously invited me too. I said no, and he asked why - wasn't I a tough chick, not all girly and prissy? Apparently, one must either be a delicate, wilting flower who looks down her impeccably powdered nose at anything like dirt or hard work, or one must be a hard-drinkin', stunt-pullin' dudebro. No room for deciding that some feminine things are dumb, some masculine things are dumb, and I'd rather go read a book.

      Delete
    3. LOL Cliff, I hope Rowdy's awareness re: trousers and work isn't _too_ vague! That could be embarrassin'. ;)

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    4. Anonymous @ 9:02

      As a butch gay-leaning bisexual lady, I totally understand. I'm struggling a lot with feeling like I need to be TOTALLY DUDELY and MASCULINE and TOUGH in order to affirm my queer identity when in fact canonical constructions of gender are all limiting and silly.

      Delete
  13. Just on the other video, I remember Will and Grace being fairly terrible. Jack never got to kiss anyone despite being the "Gay Slut", and Will only made out with another guy in the last season. Meanwhile, Karen and Grace snogged all the time.

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    1. And this is one of the (few) reasons I love Ryan Murphy shows (Glee and the New Normal) plenty of healthy showing of gay male sexuality.

      Delete
  14. Female customers should not feel like they can touch female dancers. I don't give a fuck about this idea of comradarie. Female customers are often rude and disrespectful, and playing the game of percentages, they're more often likely to sexually assault or harass a dancer.

    If a guy can't touch, neither can a woman.

    That is just not cool.

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    1. Seconded, although it has a been a long time since I was out giving lapdances, the rules weren't somehow different for female customers - if you're supposed to sit on your hands in that club, just sit on your hands. Don't try those obnoxious "oh if I'm [another woman, cute, shelling out a lot of money tonight, know the bartender] she isn't going to mind if I just LIGHTLY touch" stunts. Obviously, rules are different at different clubs, I've worked places where touching breasts is fine, other places where the lap dance doesn't actually take place on the lap and is just in front of the patron. At best, ask "hey, can I touch?" and if yes she'll direct you.

      But the 'advice' here really grates on me because it reflects this hateful idea that strippers aren't people that you would normally check if it okay to touch (or ignore stated rules that it isn't), especially intimately, because hey if they're walking around in their underwear or less, that means you know better, right?
      and the "they're not going to throw you out" part is so annoying, because of course not, they make much more money from you if you stay and drink than if they enforce rules. You walk a delicate line between satisfying a customer and not getting blamed for "letting" customers break the rules in those situations, especially when the customer KNOWS this and purposefully tries to push the rules. ARGH.

      Delete
    2. To be fair, I don't think it's really a "strippers aren't people" thing. In Cosmo's world it's a grave faux pas to ever verbally negotiate a sexual situation.

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    3. Err. I missed initially that it was Schwyzer who said that, which does put it in a somewhat more disturbing light, I admit. :/

      Delete
    4. The times I've gone with groups of women to strip bars (we used to joke about Lesbian Field Trips), we were welcomed precisely BECAUSE we behaved respectfully - tipped well, were polite, and kept our goddamn hands to ourselves.

      @Anonymous Troll, it's that gosh, strippers are already taking money to do sexythings, so they clearly don't have any boundaries. You know, like people do.

      Delete
  15. I'm going to defend the only defensible thing in these... interesting quotes. Your (Cliff's) reaction to having sex with someone you have feelings for and who turns out not to reciprocate is "This sucks, but at least I got laid". Lots of people feel differently - they're only happy with sex if it means what they hope it means and not just "we were both horny", they feel vulnerable when having sex and that makes rejection much more painful, their feelings change a lot with sex and they don't want that to happen too soon. So it makes sense for many people to avoid sex early on even if they'd really enjoy it.

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    1. I agree with this point. Also, even if I do enjoy getting laid, if I'm having sex with a man especially and he acts like he's won something, that makes me feel dirty. (If he just turns out not to like me but doesn't act like he won some sort of game, I come out of it all right with the "that sucks but I got laid" attitude. But if he acts like he's all that and I'm dirty, that does somehow make me feel dirty, and I like to avoid that if possible, so that's often a reason to delay sex until I can find out what kind of guy I'm with.) On another note, I often forgo shaving my legs, first of all because fuck it, I don't feel like it, and second of all because if a guy is turned off and judgmental by the fact I haven't shaved anything, then I'd like to know that immediately because I probably don't want to fuck him, and especially date him. Just thoughts:)

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    2. Agreed. If I don't know a person well enough to know the way they view sex, even if I wouldn't mind having sex with them and I know they make me horny and that they feel the same, I would much rather wait until I know for sure precisely how meaningful it would be to them. It sounds like this could be solved with simple communication beforehand, but I've been lied to in the heat of the moment before. I'd rather be given the opportunity to talk about it in a non-sexual context.

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    3. Also! There are other reasons not to have sex with a guy "too soon" - reasons that actually have nothing to do with what he thinks or feels.

      I've had times where I didn't want to be naked with a guy yet (for any of a variety of reasons) but I let my libido get carried away and had sex with him anyway. And then once my arousal was sated and I could think clearly again it was like "Oh god. Now I have to get up and put clothes on while this dude watches. I did not think this through."

      I've also had times when I felt a guy might be relationship material (and I was in a headspace where I wanted to be in a relationship with someone) but I let the sexual side of the equation get ahead of the getting-to-know-each-other side, and somehow that permanently threw the balance off and instead of dating we ended up being more-or-less friends-with-benefits. Fine, I can't prove that any of those guys would've turned into anything if I'd held off on the sex, but my gut tells me at least a couple of them would have. And I'm not saying these dudes decided I was a slut and wrote me off as girlfriend material; I'm simply saying that once we had sex, it was so compelling that we ended up doing that all the time instead of talking - and then it was somehow impossible to get the talking part back. Weird but true.

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    4. It's interesting that you guys found some plausible takes on this. I merely remembered some old friends from high school who were "good girls", and who thought you should wait approximately three months before you had sex with the guy you dated. Not because that's how long it took for you to feel comfortable about having sex with him - their feelings sort of didn't enter the equation at all - but because sex sooner than that would make him regard you as a slut and as a result break up afterwards (but waiting longer would make him regard you as a weird prude and break up for that reason). And that's just SO SAD.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, I kind of saw it the way Dvärghundspossen does - that it wasn't about waiting for you to be comfortable or about avoiding pain from casual sex, it was about the idea that a guy will dump you if he thinks you put out too soon.

      I appreciate hearing these other perspectives, though. Still don't think granny panties are the way to make it happen...

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    6. I read this as Cosmo actually advocating something responsible - i.e., don't have sex with someone if you don't feel emotionally ready for it - but advocating it from a troubling position, and advocating techniques to accomplish it that also have troubling implications.

      Cosmo is basically recommending using behavioral modification techniques on yourself: putting yourself in a position where you'll avoid doing something "in the heat of the moment" that you might regret later. And that's great.

      But the implication that you should do this to avoid having a guy dump you because you put out too soon (in other words, he got was he was after so he lost interest in you) is really troubling. It feeds the stereotype that men are only interested in sex, so women have to deny it to them in order to keep them around long enough to develop a "real" relationship.

      I'm also unhappy about the implication that unshaven legs and granny panties are so unsexy and unfeminine that a woman should be absolutely terrified of letting a date see her comfy undies or unshaven legs. Because he might be turned off by them, and dump you, and then you'd never get to that magical place where your date doesn't see you as nothing more than a potential fuck...

      This ties into the notion that Cosmo likes to perpetuate that women should never let on to men that they fart and burp and pee and shit and have, y'know, actual working bodies.

      So I'm totally on board with someone saying to themselves "I'm going to do (or not do) this thing so that I won't be tempted to do something I'm not actually ready to do." It's the way Cosmo goes about instructing women to do this, and the reasons they give for a woman wanting to do this, that I find problematic.

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    7. Although I'm fairly certain Cosmo meant it the way Cliff interpreted it, I do sometimes find myself in a similar situation. Not of avoiding sex I want because the other person will think horrible things about me, but of moving faster to a level of intimacy I don't want yet because I have trouble saying 'no' to people.

      But in that kind of situation, granny panties or unshaved legs don't really help. Nor do surgical stitches or a lack of non-expired condoms *ahem*. Those kinds of deterrents still require you to be the person saying no, and having the willpower to back it up. If (for whatever reason) you don't want to have sex with someone yet, and don't trust yourself not to, the best strategy is public-places-only.

      Delete
    8. As usual, this Cosmo problem could be solved by the forbidden technique of Using Words. At sometime during the date, one could say something like, "I think you're really attractive but I'm not ready for sex just yet." At that point someone worth dating will understand and not push for unwanted sex.

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    9. ehh, that can work but can still fail because you both can be tempted. I've got a friend with whom I occasionally try to work side-by-side with so we can keep each other from getting distracted on the internet. Sometimes we still get distracted.

      I was in a long-term relationship where we both felt that our cuddling turned to sexual activity too frequently. This wasn't because we didn't talk to each other but rather because in the course of cuddling, we both became aroused and both wanted to have sexytimes at that particular time but as a general pattern kinda displeased that we didn't have a lot of pure cuddling. We didn't exactly find a good solution to this if I recall. Constraining your future action is hard.

      Delete
  16. "In our society, the last thing a young woman wants is to be perceived as uptight, humorless, and jealous ... Getting a lap dance assures a man that you're none of these things."

    And of course the young woman's feelings about this lap dance don't enter into it at all. Maybe she doesn't particularly want to get (or give) one but is going along with it because what's the matter, baby, are you uptight? How can Schwyzer not notice this?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Isn't that pretty much how Schwyzer thinks anyway?

      Delete
    2. I guess? Apart from hearing about his checkered past, the only other thing about him I've read is some essay talking about how it feels so good for guys to come on a woman's face because it makes them feel like she's accepting of their sperm. Which also didn't really consider the woman's feelings, so it does seem like a pattern for him.

      This sort of thing bothers me a lot because while I know slut-shaming is alive and well, I think that in more left-leaning/progressive circles there's strong pressure for women to prove that they're not "prudish" or "uptight" (prude-shaming? virgin-shaming?). I've always worried about being called frigid or a prude, and I can't imagine someone wanting to reclaim those terms.

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    3. This ties in with the idea that women are SUPPOSED to be at least a little bit bi, because being straight means you're uptight. I mean, I'm bi, and for various reasons it was hard for me coming out of the closet (fifteen years ago... Gosh, I'm old), so I'm all for bisexuality being completely accepted. BUT it shouldn't be fucking MANDATORY. Just recently I was talking with another woman about what we were attracted to and so on, and she was sort of apologetic about only finding men attractive. There's nothing wrong with being straight! There's nothing wrong at all with being completely "meh" about all women, and having zero interest in doing sexy stuff with them! It's completely normal and fine!

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    4. frilled_shark, you might be interested in "The Ethical Prude". It's an essay that examines the phenomenon of compulsory sexuality (as distinct from compulsory sex) and how it interacts with sex moralism.

      It's at http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/the-ethical-prude-imagining-an-authentic-sex-negative-feminism/

      It's possible that I found it via an earlier Pervocracy post, I don't remember :)

      Delete
    5. Richard - Yeah, I did link to that essay--as an example of terrible feminist writing.

      I am all kinds of down with "sex-positivity means respecting people's decisions to not have sex and to not find things sexy." That's a necessary part.

      But the essay is just "all sex is always bad because we live in a patriarchy," and come the fuck on. That's not accepting people who don't have sex, that's just trying to convince people that her ideology trumps their personal experience.

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    6. I think I've read that essay before, and was pretty meh about it. It felt like it was participating in the age-old practice of elevating one's own sexual practices by putting down other people's, something which I'm trying to leave behind.

      Also, the writer's use of neologisms (re-membering, be-coming) gives me bad flashbacks to Mary Daly, who also loved those.

      Delete
  17. Wait! Fucken Schwyzer really got quoted in motherfucken Cosmo as an authority on the internal mental states of young women???? I don't even what the fucken shitte augh!

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  18. As a woman who has never shaved her legs, I read "prickly legs" and thought they must be talking about wearing itchy tights or something.

    Q: My guy wants to come on my face. How do I even respond?

    A: [...] If he's into dominating, try doctor-patient role-play.

    I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW ONE FOLLOWS FROM THE OTHER. Surely the answers are either
    a) If you're not into that, say you're not into that
    b) If you are into that, say you're into that
    or c) Suggest other parts of your body that you are okay with getting jizzed on

    like, how does roleplay solve the issue at all? I don't want semen in my eyes no matter what I'm pretending to be, yo.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. My response would be "Goodbye, don't let the door hit you on the way out."

      Delete
    2. I stared at that for a good ten minutes before deciding that Cosmo must mean that this reader should re-enact the Metalocalypse episode where Murderface accidentally comes on his doctor.

      Alternately, I guess it could mean "If he wants to come on your face and you're not into it, compromise by doing something else he might find exciting," but... like I said, I spent over ten minutes thinking about this.

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    3. The context, which explains sort of but... no, really doesn't explain, is that you should figure out why he wants to come on your face and then offer some alternative activity that satisfies that need rather than face-coming. That's not necessarily a bad idea, but the "if that need is dominance, clearly you need him to dominate you in this one weirdly specific way" is still way out of left field.

      First Anon - That makes me kind of sad, because my response would be "sure!", at least if I knew and trusted the guy well enough to know he wasn't going to read weird "saying yes means you don't respect yourself so I shouldn't respect you" stuff into it. But if my partner is cool about it, I'm totally up for it. And a guy doesn't know if he's with you or me until he asks.

      You're free to show someone the door for any reason, 'course, but I'm uncomfortable with the implication that he should have known better than to even ask.

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    4. But the implication that the hypothetical man should know better than to even ask about ejaculating on his partner's face is typical of Cosmo. Because that (according to Cosmo) is apparently nasty and disgusting, and only men want to do that...

      On the other hand, Cosmo tends to send some really mixed messages regarding certain sexual activities. They're A-okay with a woman "playfully" hitting a man just to see if he maybe likes a little BDSM (Cosmo's definition of BDSM, that is), but for other activities - especially when it's the man who is interested in that activity - Cosmo's reaction is "oh noes, that's nasty and disgusting! Deflect! Deflect!" or "Run away!"

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    5. Okay, I was getting the impression (before Cliff clarified) that the doctor roleplay meant the boyfriend being a doctor who was explaining why this "treatment" was necessary. Because being ordered around by a possibly abusive doctor is totally light and funny and would never trigger anyone.

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    6. First Anon and Cliff -
      There are certain things that I don't even bear being asked for. Mostly because the question would trigger my PTSD.
      But I tell my partners up front that I don't want them even to ask for *specific sex act*.
      And I'm fine with them asking for anything I didn't tell them not to ask for.

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    7. Cliff-

      Yeah, I guess I usually connect doctor/patient roleplay with medical fetish rather than domination, but that's admittedly my own short sightedness. If I was in an otherwise loving and stable relationship, my response would be to honestly consider it, but likely come down on the side of "is coming on my chest instead okay?" But I'm forgetting that women of Cosmo never do things because they're turned on.

      Delete
    8. Yes. Exactly. WTF? Doctor role-play? How did you input 'come on your face' and find 'doctor role-play' the list of associated ideas?

      Delete
  19. I don't think there is anything so unflattering that it would cause me to reject sexual advances from someone I was otherwise into. On the other hand, there is nothing so arousing or enticing that it would lead me to "have sex with" someone who was saying no, so I guess I'm not Cosmo's idea of a man.

    And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "gay man" mean something ... different from "tidy man who likes hairdressing and fashion"?

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    1. Mr Ostropoler,
      I apologize for the off-topic comment, but I just meandered through Pervocracy backlogs and your comments are consistently wonderful. You say decent things without asking for cookies, you call out shitty things, and just overall you remind me that misandry is wrong - not (just) morally wrong, but factually so. You remind me that being an ally to people I have priviledge over is not just something to strive toward, it's something that's possible to achieve, so if I'm not being a real ally the fault is my own and I need to shape up.

      Thank you.

      Delete
    2. Hershele: My thoughts exactly on the "gay man" issue.

      Like... uh, I may be wrong here, but I thought part of the whole gay-man gig was an attraction to other men. Not that men can't be into both men and women - and even still identify as gay, I could totally see that (I imagine the term "homoflexible" applies). Buuuut.... it just seems like a gay-identified man would eventually be unhappy staying married to a woman. Especially one who treats him like a sassy soul sistah.

      Of course, now that I think about it, that's assuming a monogamous marriage. I suppose a homoflexible man could be in a polyamorous marriage with a woman and everyone could be happy.

      Then again - that would be REALLY progressive for Cosmo. O_o

      Delete
    3. Without even reading the Cosmo, merely what Cliff says about it, it seems to me that the problem with the article is some kind of patronising "oh he's so gay and adoorable! He likes shoes and hairstyles!" view, not that he identified as gay and then married a woman.

      I mean, suppose he identified as gay because he usually just went for guys, then he fell in love with this girl, for various reasons thought she was the love of his life, and that a monogamous marriage with her was the right thing to do. In that case, it's not really anyone else's business to say that "that can't possibly work unless they're poly". I mean, if they do live happily ever after... stranger things have totally happened.

      Delete
    4. On the issue on whether gay guys can like the ladies, there's this comic strip.
      (I gotta say, if you're gonna read the archives of that strip - which I recommend - then you'll find that the author has an interesting combination of very cool, nearly-cool, and "wait, what the fuck?" views.)
      But yeah, I'm friends with a woman who is in a long-term relationship with a man and currently not with any women, who identifies as a lesbian (or at least, did for a significant time after the relationship started. I've not enquired for a while and ought not to speak for her identity).

      Delete
    5. Another good example is Erika Moen, who is happily married to a man and continued to identify as a lesbian for quite a while. That's because she is almost exclusively attracted to women, and the *one guy* who was the exception just so happens to be the person she found happiness with and married - so "bisexual" did not feel like a fitting label to her. She has since adopted "queer" as an identity that works for her, but she mulled the issue over quite a bit, including in her comics.

      Delete
    6. I just remembered an interview with Swedish song writer Alexander Bard, who's always identified as gay, where he said that he in fact regularly sleeps with and have relationships with women as well as men... but he identifies as gay because he's been so involved in the struggle for gay rights. Or something like that. Just goes to show that people can have all kinds of reasons for identifying as this or that.

      Btw, that would be an interesting article to read: Why different people choose to identify as this or that.

      And another interesting article to read: People who have been exclusively attracted to gender A, and then suddenly meet the love of their life and zie's of gender B, and their world is all shaken up.

      Both would be better ideas for articles than "I married this guy who's so funny because he knows about shoes and hair and stuff!".

      Delete
  20. Gawd, did "do something sexual" actually include any masturbation? Would that be too self-actualized for Cosmo? *cry*

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    1. Nope!

      Cosmo does talk positively about masturbation from time to time, but in this article it was all about her husband and "True Blood."

      Delete
  21. Holy damn, this installment just made me really sad.

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  22. How in the name of fuck did they decide to quote Hugo Schwyzer on the issue of how female strippers feel about being touched by women? Just, what even.

    I have never been to a strip club (SO UPTIGHT) but Imma go out on a limb and say that strippers, much like baristas, college professors and civil engineers, prefer to do their job without women deciding "oh I'm so nonthreatening and cute, I can definitely grope this person without asking and face no consequences for it!"

    However I do have to admit - I'm in a long distance relationship and I don't shave my legs when I'm not visiting my boyfriend or vice versa, except in weather where I'm actually going to run around bare-legged. Not that it keeps me from cheating because OMG HIDEOUS LEGS, but I associate shaving my legs before heading out on the town with going on the prawl - it just feels wrong to do if I'm not trying to get laid. Going out with unshaved legs just reinforces to me that I'm there to have fun with friends and dance, not looking for sex.

    I don't know if that last thing is a reasonable take on the "chastity belt" article or if my thinking is completely warped!

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    1. You know, I'm a guy, never went to a strip club. Oh so uptight! I do BDSM play parties and I've had my share of threesomes and one night stands, but I guess since degrading women wasn't part of the fun, I'm really just a fuddy duddy.

      (Note: not that strippers or other sex workers are being degraded by what they do, but I'm pretty sure that for a lot of men the belief that they are is what makes it interesting in the first place.)

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    2. From what I recall of strippers posting on the Customers Suck community over on LJ, many of them start cringing as soon as women come in, because many women are doing the "LOOK AT HOW UNREPRESSED I AM, TEEHEE" thing so hard that they...grope the strippers and don't tip and mock the acts and are generally unpleasant for the dancers trying to make a living without having some drunk anyone-of-any-gender pawing at them in the process. So there's that.

      Delete
    3. I suspect this was Cosmo trying to extrapolate from "hey, this is just like making out with your straight friends in front of the guys, PLUS, you get to be the Cool Chick who doesn't mind going to strip bars!"

      Delete
  23. I've tried the 'Not shaving legs to avoid sex that I might want but is probably a bad idea' thing.

    Doesn't work.

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  24. The stuff Schwyzer says is so appalling. Why do I have to prove to someone that I'm not "uptight, humorless and jealous" in the first place? If I get a lap dance (from a male or female stripper), it's going to be because I want a lap dance, not because I need to prove something to someone.

    That's the kind of mindset that leads to saying "yes" when what you really want to say is "no".

    Also, saying women aren't turned on by male strippers is ridiculous. If women weren't turned on by male strippers, the only male strippers would be for male audiences.

    This guy is an "expert" on gender studies?!

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  25. That gay-best-friend story is just *so weird*.

    Although I guess I might sham-marry a best-friend to stop them having to leave the country. There are probably other reasons you might want to marry someone you weren't actually in a relationship with too.

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    1. I thought the story was that her friend, who's usually attracted to men, actually fell in love with her, and then they married for perfectly normal love-related reasons, only an extra bonus is that he knows about shoes and hair and stuff.

      Delete
    2. Thinking that further it could lead Cosmo to give advice to women how to trick your - at the outset - gay fashion assistant into loving you. Or Cosmo will teach us indicative points about who is actually gay and will not convert to straight marriage and who is on the fringe to come back to where he belongs.

      Delete
    3. Dvärghundspossen - Yeah, although they played up the "he's my fashionable little gay buddy!" angle pretty hard in the article. Maybe just because "I was friends with a guy and now I'm marrying him" sort of lacks a hook.

      Anon - It really is the most-mainstream-palatable gay narrative imaginable, isn't it? You've got the already nonthreatening character of the friendly, feminine, fashionable gay man, and then you cap it off by making him marry a woman anyway! Talk about not rocking the boat...

      Delete
  26. You left out the worst part of the "big underwear and body hair as chastity belt" article. The part at the end where they decide that ugly underwear isn't a big horrible dealbreaker, but pubic hair is. They quote a guy who calls it "wookiee hair" and says if he saw any, he's assume the woman wasn't sexual. Because shaving your vag is now standard, apparently.

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    1. Why would you want to make that the standard, Cosmo? Depilatories aren't safe there, hot wax is too painful to even contemplate, and that is the most horrible area to have to deal with the 2-days-post-shave itching.

      That, and I'm not really comfortable with shaving myself there. I have this weird thing where I begin to wonder if I really am an adult, or if it's all a crazy dream and Mom's going to wake me up to take me to middle school. Shaving just makes that weird feeling happen more often for me, and creates the horrible mental image of oh my god I'm actually a little girl and that means my boyfriend is having sex with children ew ew ew I'm dating a pedophile even though, intellectually, I know that's not really the case.

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    2. "Why would you want to make that the standard, Cosmo? Depilatories aren't safe there, hot wax is too painful "

      Because the 70% of their magazine comprised of adverts is itself largely comprised of shaving/waxing/bleaching/sterilising/napalming crap at a 3,000% markup. Why would they care about women when there's money to be made brutalising their bodies?

      Delete
    3. I will be happy to oblige any guy turned off by my wookie crotch by not fucking him, ever.

      Delete
    4. @goth-is-not-emo: Your body, your call.
      For me, hot wax isn't too painful to contemplate - I've found intimate waxing less painful than eyebrow threading (I've stopped doing the latter). And (again, for me) waxing is an enjoyable personal choice that I make and a private statement about ownership over my own body. Because, in a world where there are voices from one direction saying "thou must be forever hairless!" and from another saying "ew, why you wanna look like a little girl and deny your womanhood? You fail at feminism!" [interjection: I don't perceive your comment above as being patrol-y in that way], I choose for myself when I bother to get waxed and when I choose to let it grow.

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    5. I just trim it down, because I like how neat it looks. The thought of my hand slipping while attempting to shave or wax makes me wince.

      Delete
    6. Heh. I had the experience of seeing a much older woman's ladybits when I was quite young and easily startled, and now I see ladybaldness as too old rather than too young. Either way, it makes me mildly sad that my nice healthy looking bits aren't appreciated in their natural state.

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    7. Can I ask that we refrain from responding to one judgement with another? I used to think shaved pussies would creep me out until I went down on a woman who liked to shave. Firstly, an adult vulva is NOT like a child's and shaving sure as hell shows it. Secondly, the sensation is awesome. Lastly, omg yes the re-growth is hell but there's a 24 hour period of wanting to fuck nonstop. And now that we've broken up, I'm dating a non-trimmer and it's all ooh soft, soaking explorations. With all this wonderfulness in the world of vulva, let's please not judge how we each choose to celebrate it.

      Delete
    8. I'm not judging any of you, shaved or not shaved. But I'm JUDGING THE HELL OUT OF the anonymous guy in the Cosmo article who said if he saw a woman with an unshaved pussy, he'd assume she wasn't sexual.

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    9. "For me, hot wax isn't too painful to contemplate - I've found intimate waxing less painful than eyebrow threading (I've stopped doing the latter)."

      That's... amazing. I wonder if there is some huge variation in the number of nerve endings different people have down there. Because for me, eyebrow threading is mildly stingy but the ONE time I tried waxing my pubes, my reaction was more like "OH MY GOD PAIN PAIN PAIN DO THEY DO THIS IN GUANTANAMO HOW THE HELL IS THIS LEGAL BREAKING MY FOOT HURT LESS AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!" And this was at a salon specially recommended for being gentle.

      I'm not trying to be judgey - heck, if it didn't hurt I might do it myself occasionally, I'm just astonished that anyone can have such a mild reaction.

      Delete
  27. Adding another perspective to the chastity belt thing -- while I've never had a "oh god I will ensure I'm gross to avoid having sex", I've definitely had the thought "I will not move these make-outs to the (more comfortable) bed, because I will have a really hard time keeping my pants on if we make it to the bed, and I don't want to have sex yet." In that case, not having sex had to do with the fact that I hadn't talked with my primary yet, with a little side of I hadn't really fully thought it out for myself. It was definitely something that required a fair degree of self-control, as the person I was making out with was incredibly fucking hot and I was ridiculously turned on and horny.

    Also, I kind of like lurking in the 'no sex but hot makeouts' stage for a long time. It's fun in an almost masochistic way, and means that you can get some incredibly creatively great makeouts.

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    1. Also, I kind of like lurking in the 'no sex but hot makeouts' stage for a long time. It's fun in an almost masochistic way, and means that you can get some incredibly creatively great makeouts.

      OMG THIS X A BILLION. :D

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    2. Yes! Stretching things out is like sweet torture for me. If Cosmo touched upon this as a possible reason for taking things slow rather than creating anxiety-inducing scenarios where you shouldn't have sex before X number of dates because slut, I would like them more. But it seems like unhappiness and worry are their bread and butter.

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  28. I have a female friend whose fiance is somewhere between asexual and homosexual, as far as my understanding of the situation goes. That's the joy of polyamory for them. They get to keep their emotional, life-partner connection, and they're both good with the other getting sexual desires met elsewhere. If only Cosmo could cover something a little more like that. >.<

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  29. What I think you actually need to focus on here, Cliff, is that whoever this lady on the cover is, they didn't distort her neck. She's wearing completely inexplicable clothing, yes, but her neck looks like a human neck. And her boobs look like they might not have been resized to standard Cosmo cover standards.

    The content is crap, but the cover girl looks like a human.

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    1. They did something weird with her chin, though. It's casting a huge shadow but nothing else is. It's possible that it's hovering about two inches in front of a neck stump.

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    2. I have never thought this blog had any duty to present an utterly fair and balanced portrait of Things Cosmo May Have Accidentally Done Not So Wrongly As Usual For Once.

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    3. I don't think they've done anything with her chin. She's simply lit by a big strong lamp that's placed right in front of her. You can see a shadow under her hand as well, and on her hair behind her ear.

      Seriously, people commenting on these covers seem determined to find weird photoshop in them even when there aren't any.

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    4. Haha, I just commented on it because it seems like every other cover for the past year has had somebody whose neck is so photoshopped beyond belief, so that this one has a neck with a plausible size and placement was surprising. I guess they couldn't make HER any odder looking than making her way those clothes, though. What the actual fuck is that outfit supposed to be? I don't UNDERSTAND.

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  30. (And then I would probably be considered "uptight" and "humourless"...)

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  31. You're awesome. And Hugo is Jezebel's biggest constant fail. Ugh.

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  32. "Touching the strippers is against the rules in clubs, although no one is going to throw a woman out for brushing a thigh or boob." You probably will, in fact, be thrown out for this because it's actually illegal.

    I mean there's Cosmo advice, and then there's Cosmo "you should break the law!" advice. Next they're going to say, "No one minds if a woman who's under 21 has a shot!"

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    1. Um, have you ever worked at a strip club? I also find it hilarious that you used the 21 example because yes, women (especially attractive women) are not carded nearly as much as men. Club owners turn a blind eye to underage women doing shots on the regular.

      Delete
    2. In my social circle it's accepted as fact that strippers won't usually kick out women for touching them.

      And I've known women who talk/brag about going to strip clubs specifically to flirt with/grope the dancers in order to turn their boyfriend on...which I'm betting the strippers allow because it ends up making them more money.

      But I've never gone to a female strip club myself so this information is very much anecdotal.

      Delete
  33. Oh my god...I thought about Hugo Schwyzer with the "My boyfriend wants to come on my face" question (because off his awful Jezebel piece), and then suddenly there he was. Ick.

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  34. Have to say, this seems like exactly something that...guy would say. I stopped reading him after the first article I actually read, a thing on condom use and fetishizing bareback, where he blames low condom use on that and not the fact that for many women, condoms are really fucking uncomfortable. Like, he calls himself a feminist, but then he doesn't even listen to what we have to say.
    Also, he's really fucking creepy. Liking a tweet saying something about the poster not liking you? Ugh.

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    1. I've heard multiple people with penises complain about condoms being uncomfortable, but never any people with vaginas (unless they were allergic to the materials the condom was made out of). Different condom brands come in different sizes and thicknesses, so it's worth trying a number of different brands if people with penises find condoms uncomfortable. As for people with vaginas, I guess lubricants might be useful, along with checking whether they're allergic to the material of the condoms their using? And there's always the option of internal condoms if they aren't a fan of external condoms.

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  35. Maybe I (gay guy) just have awesome friends, but I never gave the "straight girl treats gay guy as fashion accessory" thing much thought until it happened to me at a party.

    Me: *confesses interest in furniture*
    Girl I had met four minutes ago: OMG! You should totally be my gay BFF and we can go furniture shopping together!!
    Me: Okay! Let's go to IKEA.
    Girl: IKEA? Ugh! No, we totally have to go antiquing, it'll be fabulous!
    Me: ... *deadpan* o/~ Disappointing gay best frieeeend. o/~

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    1. That's creepy. "You're not allowed to like furniture that I don't like! Gay people are supposed to have impeccable taste, and that means MY taste!!"

      I wish more folks would treat gay people as, well, people. It would make life less irritating all around.

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    2. Ugh. Doesn't that girl realise IKEA is totally fabulous???

      Delete
    3. It's been years since I saw it, but there's a great bit in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous where Eddy pisses off a gay man by dragging him round town for days trying to be FABULOUS DARLING. He finally snaps and says something like "look, I don't want to do any of this shit. Stop it. Just because I'm gay, doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be boring."

      I don't know why, but I always found that bit oddly inspiring.

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    4. Reminds me of my favorite Quentin Crisp quote:

      "Nothing could be more ridiculous than to say, as some critics have, that I am anti-homosexual simply because I do not embrace every twitty gay fad that comes along. I think that a lifetime of listening to disco music is a high price to pay for one’s sexual preference."

      Delete
  36. I am so, so tempted to just send a letter to the editor asking why a woman shouldn't just Use Her Words to tell the man she's dating (that she presumably trusts) when she's ready to have sex. I know that there's no way I would get any kind of reasonable answer, but I get a mad case of the evil cackles just thinking about the spaghetti logic they'd use to justify her trying to magic him into knowing what she wants.

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  37. I feel really sad right now. This issue of Cosmo makes me sad. I think I'll go out and take a nice long walk in the warm sunlight. Maybe buy some cookies? Hugo Schwyzer is the worst.

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  38. Q: My guy wants to come on my face. How do I even respond?

    ...Hang on, I'll field this one, Cosmo. The right answer is: 'think about whether you want to do it or not, and if you don't then tell him you don't want to. If you do, then tell him you do want to! But be sure not to get it in your eyes, because that stings like hell!'

    As to the actual answer... WHERE THE HELL DOES THIS COSMO WRITER GO TO THE DOCTOR :O :O :O I know that's only an exert but I just can't imagine anything written around that little snippet that could make it ok.

    Also, fuck this prevailing cultural idea that women should get lap dances just to show men they are not prudes.

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  39. Meh. I completely agree on the rest, but disagree with you on your first point- it would be nice if the world and all men would see it that way ("the fact that she slept with me doesn't mean I will lose interest in her"), but it's not. Your point of view on this is idealistic, not realistic.

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    1. "Hmm, interesting, but have you considered the status quo? It's shitty, but it's... going on! And that's what really matters. It's going on. That must mean something."

      Delete
    2. The point is not that all men see it that way. The point is that there are at least some men who see it that way. And given that there are men who will not disrespect a woman just because the two of them had sex* before some arbitrary "waiting period", why on Earth would people want to be with the ones who do?

      *I am intentionally phrasing it that way, instead of "because she had sex with him" or (worse) "because she allowed him to have sex with her", to emphasize that if they had sex on the first date or whenever counts as "too early", this is something both of them did, together. Not something she did, or permitted him to do. He was as much a part of it as she was, and if he then takes that as a reason to disrespect her, losing the chance of seriously dating him strikes me as no big loss. Especially because there are alternatives. I assure you, there are plenty of men who are not disrespectful asshats, so even if there are also disrespectful asshats, why worry about pleasing them?

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    3. Seconding Neurite. Some men think like that, some men don't, but why would you want to be with the ones who do?

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    4. Thirding Neurite. Generally, dating one such fellow in a lifetime is more than enough. If a person decides to stop respecting you because of something both of you consented to do, then that person is generally goign to have all sorts of other attitude problems. Not worth it.

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    5. If a man does lose interest after having sex, it would seem to indicate he was never looking for a lasting relationship in the first place. I suppose there's a non-zero chance that a woman might be able change his mind by dragging the process out until he gets to knew her better, but it seems like a huge waste of effort for a long shot.

      Delete
  40. I think Schwyzer is like a real life version of a character in a bromedy movie (american pie style), where some college kid decides it'll be an easy way to "score chicks" if he takes women's studies as his major. Then he suddenly finds college is over, and now he has to just keep on going with the career of his choice, despite not really understanding it at all.

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    1. Really? I keep seeing him as being more like Johnny Bravo--completely clueless and demeaning towards women, but too stupid and scummy to ever realize that he is.

      Delete
  41. I'm not sure which stripper thread to add to, so I'm just putting this on it's own, but there's this really weird pervasive idea in our culture that if the offender isn't attracted to you, it must be okay. Like here's an article I was reading a bit ago on the good men project (I know they've gone darkside, but there's still some interesting stuff there): http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/gay-mens-sexism-and-womens-bodies/ that's basically about how gay men get away with misogynistic behaviours that we would judge the hell out of straight men for.

    Also, "Just because I'm gay, doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be boring." is my new favorite sentence. I'm totally using that next time someone expects me to be made of rainbow glitter.

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  42. UGHHHHHHH can i just say it was only a matter of time before cosmo got around to souring hugo fucking schwyzer? because, OF COURSE they would. because he is so profoundly un-feminist while posing as such that i have to laugh to keep from crying. gross. cosmo, i wish i could say i thought you had higher standards.

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  43. I am so confused by so many things, but I have to ask, why do I see this everywhere that women can't be attracted to male strippers? I've seen a lot of reasons, either that they're caricatures or that they're not dominant enough, but what about the women who actually, you know, like male strippers? Or for the second argument, women who like submissive men?

    Beyond that, can people not just say what they want in a relationship? Why all the secrecy and tricks and everything else? If you actually want to be in a long term relationship with someone (or even a short term one), you should be able to have a conversation about sex beyond "I can't because I wore the wrong underwear."

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