What would male sexual visibility look like to you?

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Post by eselle28 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:00 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I don't really agree with framing it as a problem with people acknowledging male sexuality, though, mainly because that expects the majority of people who don't have these problems to take responsibility for them anyway. Encouraging that as part of a cultural shift over several generations may be part of a long term solution, but it's not going to help much right now.

I partially agree with this, but I would say that to the extent "people who don't have these problems" includes women, they do have an incentive to advocate for more and more generally accepted portrayals of their sexual and romantic desires. As I've alluded to a few times previously, I actually think this benefits the people to whom those materials are aimed rather than those whose gender is being portrayed in them, so women have reason to want more of this. On the other hand, I'm not sure if this will actually benefit men who want to feel less invisible as much as may be anticipated.

What would help in the short term is a way to either notice signals of appreciation/attention that are already happening (if in fact they are) or encourage one's "audience" to be more overt/explicit/visible about it.

I do think there are additional obstacles tied to race, orientation, and certain physical attributes: some men don't "count" as men just like some women don't "count" as women, to a depressing ratio of people. But learning to notice when other people notice seems like a decent general-case short term solution, no?

This seems like a narrow, practical approach to the problem. I'll try to think of some resources this evening, but in general, I would say that men might benefit from finding a not-too-toxic source of dating advice aimed at women and trying to sort out what there might work for them from things that are uncomfortable or gendered. These advice books generally also have advice about things like not coming off as promiscuous that will probably need to be filtered out, but that sort of traditional advice generally does go into the topics of how to attract people's eyes in a positive way, how to notice if someone's looking at you, and ways to signal appreciation that someone's showing interest and encourage them to continue it. (This came up on the thread on this on the old forums, but I'll note ahead of time that many of these suggestions assume neurotypicality and rely strongly on the ability to interpret and project neurotypical body language. They may not be helpful for everyone.)
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:24 pm

eselle28 wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:I don't really agree with framing it as a problem with people acknowledging male sexuality, though, mainly because that expects the majority of people who don't have these problems to take responsibility for them anyway. Encouraging that as part of a cultural shift over several generations may be part of a long term solution, but it's not going to help much right now.

I partially agree with this, but I would say that to the extent "people who don't have these problems" includes women, they do have an incentive to advocate for more and more generally accepted portrayals of their sexual and romantic desires. As I've alluded to a few times previously, I actually think this benefits the people to whom those materials are aimed rather than those whose gender is being portrayed in them, so women have reason to want more of this. On the other hand, I'm not sure if this will actually benefit men who want to feel less invisible as much as may be anticipated.

Well, to the extent that women who already find themselves getting approached with sufficient frequency by people they're attracted to aren't really losing out much under the current framework, they don't have much incentive to raise the volume on their displays of attraction/interest or go to great lengths to make a woman who approaches seem like less of an outlier.

eselle28 wrote:This seems like a narrow, practical approach to the problem. I'll try to think of some resources this evening, but in general, I would say that men might benefit from finding a not-too-toxic source of dating advice aimed at women and trying to sort out what there might work for them from things that are uncomfortable or gendered. These advice books generally also have advice about things like not coming off as promiscuous that will probably need to be filtered out, but that sort of traditional advice generally does go into the topics of how to attract people's eyes in a positive way, how to notice if someone's looking at you, and ways to signal appreciation that someone's showing interest and encourage them to continue it. (This came up on the thread on this on the old forums, but I'll note ahead of time that many of these suggestions assume neurotypicality and rely strongly on the ability to interpret and project neurotypical body language. They may not be helpful for everyone.)

I am curious why you mentioned that men should filter out advice on not coming off as promiscuous. Because men are supposed to be promiscuous anyway? Or is it like a "be feminine, but not too feminine" kind of thing?

Agreed on the Neurotypical Privilege and able-ism elements of this, but I don't see much of a way around that at this point, any more than I can think of a decent short-term solution that would make this sort of thing matter for people who actually are invisible.

Because, if you'll pardon me for letting my Jerkbrain pipe up for a moment, "Women (and non-straight guys) seem to be noticing the men they like just fine," but men who truly aren't liked might not have any signals to pick up on even if they put in this work. Anti-Jerkbrain says it's still going to be worth taking the chance, for most people.
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Post by reboot on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:27 pm

I think the filtering out the promiscuity advice is because it is targeted at making sure women do not come off as Slutty McSlutterson and play "hard to get" which is a steaming pile of horse dung for any gender.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:32 pm

If advice sources that include that sort of thing count as "not too toxic", dating advice for women is in as sorry a state as dating advice for men.

Ugh, this build of society is dumb. When's the next content patch?

ETA: I was imagining the "don't seem too promiscuous" thing might be useful in the sense that it makes signs of interest feel more focused on the individual (which is usually flattering) and less on the "you have genitalia; allow me to make use of them" (which is usually not). But if it's coming from a place of "you don't want people to think you're some kind of slut," ....ew. Ew ew.
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:44 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Well, to the extent that women who already find themselves getting approached with sufficient frequency by people they're attracted to aren't really losing out much under the current framework, they don't have much incentive to raise the volume on their displays of attraction/interest or go to great lengths to make a woman who approaches seem like less of an outlier.

Certainly agreed. I just wanted to clarify that this general topic of "invisibility" has a few strands to it, not all of which directly relate to dating, and that incentives are going to vary depending on the topic. On this one, I think you're right that the most practical thing men who want to be approached more can do is to work on recognizing signals.

eselle28 wrote:
I am curious why you mentioned that men should filter out advice on not coming off as promiscuous. Because men are supposed to be promiscuous anyway? Or is it like a "be feminine, but not too feminine" kind of thing?

Not really either of those things. It's advice that's given to women to play into a particular set of stereotypes (in this case, a sort of sexy but chaste girl who's fun enough to date but respectable enough to marry). That persona rests on a number of gendered assumptions, to the extent that I don't think it would appeal to either women who enjoy traditional gender roles or those who reject them to some degree. There will be some other things in dating advice pointed at straight women that won't transfer over into general dating skills as well.

Agreed on the Neurotypical Privilege and able-ism elements of this, but I don't see much of a way around that at this point, any more than I can think of a decent short-term solution that would make this sort of thing matter for people who actually are invisible.

Because, if you'll pardon me for letting my Jerkbrain pipe up for a moment, "Women (and non-straight guys) seem to be noticing the men they like just fine," but men who truly aren't liked might not have any signals to pick up on even if they put in this work. Anti-Jerkbrain says it's still going to be worth taking the chance, for most people.

I just wanted to acknowledge it. I'd also agree both that there are some men who aren't currently getting any such signals and some men who may never be very good at attracting them, and that it's worth it for many men to learn a bit about this aspect of dating anyway.
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:48 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Well, to the extent that women who already find themselves getting approached with sufficient frequency by people they're attracted to aren't really losing out much under the current framework, they don't have much incentive to raise the volume on their displays of attraction/interest or go to great lengths to make a woman who approaches seem like less of an outlier.

Certainly agreed. I just wanted to clarify that this general topic of "invisibility" has a few strands to it, not all of which directly relate to dating, and that incentives are going to vary depending on the topic. On this one, I think you're right that the most practical thing men who want to be approached more can do is to work on recognizing signals.

eselle28 wrote:
I am curious why you mentioned that men should filter out advice on not coming off as promiscuous. Because men are supposed to be promiscuous anyway? Or is it like a "be feminine, but not too feminine" kind of thing?

Not really either of those things. It's advice that's given to women to play into a particular set of stereotypes (in this case, a sort of sexy but chaste girl who's fun enough to date but respectable enough to marry). That persona rests on a number of gendered assumptions, to the extent that I don't think it would appeal to either women who enjoy traditional gender roles or those who reject them to some degree. There will be some other things in dating advice pointed at straight women that won't transfer over into general dating skills as well.

Agreed on the Neurotypical Privilege and able-ism elements of this, but I don't see much of a way around that at this point, any more than I can think of a decent short-term solution that would make this sort of thing matter for people who actually are invisible.

Because, if you'll pardon me for letting my Jerkbrain pipe up for a moment, "Women (and non-straight guys) seem to be noticing the men they like just fine," but men who truly aren't liked might not have any signals to pick up on even if they put in this work. Anti-Jerkbrain says it's still going to be worth taking the chance, for most people.

I just wanted to acknowledge it. I'd also agree both that there are some men who aren't currently getting any such signals and some men who may never be very good at attracting them, and that it's worth it for many men to learn a bit about this aspect of dating anyway.

nearly_takuan wrote:If advice sources that include that sort of thing count as "not too toxic", dating advice for women is in as sorry a state as dating advice for men.

Ugh, this build of society is dumb. When's the next content patch?

ETA: I was imagining the "don't seem too promiscuous" thing might be useful in the sense that it makes signs of interest feel more focused on the individual (which is usually flattering) and less on the "you have genitalia; allow me to make use of them" (which is usually not). But if it's coming from a place of "you don't want people to think you're some kind of slut," ....ew. Ew ew.

It's at least as bad (there are a non-zero number of women who read Dr. Nerdlove partially to reverse the advice for themselves, and there's a reason for that), and I'm going to acknowledge up front that the kind of materials that will have the best advice on this sort of passive flirting are the ones that are most likely to contain unpleasant, regressive stereotypes. More progressive advice to women tends to veer more toward encouraging them to be more proactive about seeking dates by asking men out or at least starting conversations with them, which makes sense if you think about it, since those are the dating styles that challenge cultural assumptions.

In terms of making the person you're interested in feel like an individual rather than a sex object, I'd say that's absolutely a positive thing, but I think the best advice from that is probably contained in less-toxic dating advice for men.
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