Let’s Talk About Sex

Men.  Women.  We’re different.  And that’s okay.  In fact, I like that we’re different.  I revel in it.  The idea of an androgynous society rather makes me cringe.

So when asked if I’m a feminist, my go-to answer used to be yes.  As a pretty girl, I find life a little sticky to navigate, and it’s a sorry fact of life that being a woman, and especially being an attractive one, gives me hell sometimes.  I frequently fight the preconception that pretty women lack smarts, on top of fighting sexist men on the idea that women can’t hack it in the workplace, make inferior leaders, et al.

And I’ll admit to being a little sexist, but I’m sexist against both sexes:  I make fun of the differences between us because it’s fun to use gender stereotypes as jokes.  I never do it in a hateful manner, though, and I think that’s important.

Back on topic, though, I no longer consider myself a feminist.  Feminism seems to me to be about equality for women, and I believe we’ve achieved that.  We possess the same rights as men these days, with the exception of our military (but that’s another blog topic), so I feel that feminism has served its purpose.  We now have the option to choose what kind of people we want to be, and that’s all that matters to me.

As to traditionalism, I don’t feel that this fits me either.  I’m not knocking it for the women who want it–not by far–but I know that as a personal choice, being a homemaker would make me miserable.  Blame it on pride, but the career junkies get all the glory, and I want my own glory in life.  I also cherish the idea of shared leadership in the home.  I would hate a man who tried to keep me from being a co-leader in the household, and I couldn’t respect the man who tried to follow.  I don’t believe in a system that pushes women into any role they may not be fulfilled in.  For that matter, I don’t respect a system that does this to men, either.  There are some men who like being homemakers, and I say kudos to them.  Male nurturers are a rare breed, but the ones I have met have been damn good at it.

In short, I feel that I’m neither a feminist nor a traditionalist.  I recognize that sexism still exists, the nasty kind that keeps men from hiring women into good jobs, or that makes men say nasty things about women screwing up the areas of life that used to be male-dominated.  I realize that sexism exists on both sides that results in exclusion of the other sex.  But these will always exist, and no number of feminists are going to change the mind of the individuals.

That said, there is one area where I find myself both traditional and feminist, and that’s the area of women’s interests.  Women seem to be pushed these days to be just like men, which I find interesting because it’s really the feminists who push this mindset.  I’m sorry, but I like being a woman, and I have no desire to be just like men.  I want my own glory and a career, true, but I want to obtain it while still maintaining my feminine interests.  I find that these days, men’s interests–sports, for example–are in for everyone, while women’s interests, like fashion or shopping or romance, are largely sniggered at and looked down on, even by many women.  (Question: how many of these such women do you think are feminists?)  When’s the last time anyone sniggered at, say, science fiction novels as opposed to romance?  Nobody laughs at Underworld, but Twilight, a series written by and for women, is reviled by so many, even though so many others love it.  As an interesting tidbit, I have four friends I can think of off the top of my head–men–who read and loved the whole series.  A fifth admitted he would probably enjoy it if he had the balls to be caught reading it, and another hasn’t read the series but has seen and enjoyed all the movies (this actually boggles me; the movies really are awful).  If you think you can provide good reasons as to why Twilight is hated by so many, fill in the blank with any number of other women’s interest stories.  (Chick flicks and dramas starring women come to mind.)

I feel bad for men sometimes, though.  If they do have a lot of interest in pastimes and topics traditionally loved by women, they can be laughed out of the boys’ club and have their man card revoked.  Women don’t suffer this as badly.  We’re encouraged to enjoy men’s interests without fear of having our femininity impugned, for which I’m grateful, but I do recognize the existing double standard.

And while I’m on the subjects of feminism and double standards, I’d like to mention that I think women’s circuits at the gym, or gyms that are for women only, really irritate me.  I get why they exist:  they’re a place where insecure women can go work out without men looking at them.  But let’s reverse this for just a minute:  suppose there were a gym that excluded women.  How big of a feminist outrage would ensue if there existed such a place?  It can’t be okay for one sex and not the other.  I mean really, if you’re that worried about men watching you while you run, well, aren’t you used to having men look at you by now?  You’re a woman–they’re men.  They’re gonna look.  Big deal.

Men.  Women.  We’re different.  And that’s okay.


5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex

  1. Thinking more about this today I thought I’d mention that I read Twilight (the first book). It was written for teenage girls. It has zero appeal to me, but I can see where it would to women. I didn’t bother with the other books even though I’ve heard (from my male best friend) that they are very good. I might read them one day, but they weren’t written for me so they’re not high on the list.

    I’ve read a few romance novels. Nothing wrong with them, but I’m not their market, just like Military SciFi doesn’t typically appeal to women (though I think it would to some if they’d try it). I do, however, really enjoy a romantic subplot in just about any genre I read.

    I really enjoy romantic comedies in the film arena. I always have. I think of myself as a romantic and they appeal to me.

    I hated The Notebook. I want to finish a movie and feel happy, not damned near in tears. Ditto Atonement. Now, Pretty Woman? That’s a good movie.

    I actually read a post just a minute ago that Iinked on my blog that kind of summed up how I’ve been feeling about male/female dynamics in our society. Like his, my evidence is anecdotal, but it surprises me that while and I have lived two completely different lives we came to the same conclusions. You might find it interesting.

    • I remember your telling me this before, about Twilight, I mean. I find it interesting that even though the targeted audience for Twilight is teen females, many men really enjoy the series. In the books there is almost no action–a lot less than in the movies. It’s all mental, which usually bores men, I think.

      And I wasn’t saying you specifically sniggered at romance, it’s just something I see a lot of. The first genres to get picked on are always in the women’s interest categories, romance foremost, although, geeze, sometimes with the cheesy covers and titles I see I can almost understand why. However, I think it’s fantastic that you like romantic comedies. And Pretty Woman is one of my all-time favorite movies. I think I’ve seen it a million times.

      I feel the same way about sad movies. I refuse to ever watch a Nicholas Sparks book-turned-movie ever again. That guy has a thing for sad endings.

      I’ll read your blog soon. I have a few people I need to write, so probably tomorrow, but I’m very interested.

  2. I don’t think we’ve mostly achieved equality, bit there are some areas even outside the military that need work. I might do my own post specific to that.

    Largely, I agree with you. Feminism today has some serious issues. So do a lot of other social movements. I think this is because people want the numbers to be the same across the board before they say things are equal. They want equality of circumstance rather than equal opportunity.

    That said, feminists come in a variety of shapes and flavors. Even though I don’t fit the mold of what you think of when you hear ‘feminist,’ I am.

  3. I remember once a friend of mine set up a special gym thing ‘for manly men’. We did a set of heavy weight training exercises to build up our muscles. Too heavy for most women. It was pretty fun and I enjoyed the time a lot. At some point, a group of feminists decided to join. Because it would be sexist to refuse them, they were let in.

    They spent the session in the corner with the lightest weights doing their own exercises, loudly yelling empowering phrases “We can do it better than the men” “Let’s show them what we’re made of”. It generally destroyed the atmosphere of the exercise and the class was later closed down because people didn’t want to exercise in such an annoying atmosphere. I later found out from another friend that the feminists purposely came in to ruin the gym class. And it’s hardly the first time I’ve seen behaviour like that.

    • It’s unfortunate that that happened. I find that there is a lot of sexism coming from both sides. Sadly, I don’t think this will ever completely disappear. The only way you could have beaten out such silliness is to have kept your classes open! Eventually they would have gotten bored and gone out to find a women’s class.

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