Dominatrix Margaret Corvid in the New Statesman: If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end

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Post by azazel on Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:34 pm

Enail wrote:I'm rather surprised that none of you have ever heard homophobic comments that suggest that gay women are worthless, broken or failing to be proper women, or that it's "a waste" if an attractive woman is gay, asexual, disabled in a way that causes others to see them as incapable of being sexual, or celibate by choice - if a woman is not perceived, for whatever reason, as likely to have sex with men.

But perhaps you could take it from me that those messages are in fact out there, and we could return to discussing how that and other messages out there relate to the article and our reactions thereto?

I'm going to claim cultural bias here.
These kinds of claims were unspeakable in my country. Sure, I readily assume people may still have thought them, but those ideas were not spoken aloud.

I did hear the "it's such a waste" sentiment when people were talking about gay celebrities, but I always parsed it personally as the comments straight celebrities get when they become/are unavailable to certain demographics (see all the threads about how Benedicts Cumberbatch is totally wasted on his wife). Only recently I became aware of how insulting it actually sounds.

Just to repeat, I'm not trying to claim there are no messages at all, I'm just explaining that it is very possible to miss those messages that in your perspective are written in 100ft tall burning letters.

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Post by Mel on Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:44 pm

The Wisp wrote:To be honest, I had a very similar experience as sam growing up. I don't know what it was. Probably a big part of it was a nerdy elitism I had as a midteen where I very deliberately avoided anything macho or jock-like, so I wasn't exposed to much of it, and furthermore looked down upon the guys who were like that (and the girls who dated them).

What I also saw in media was male characters were non-sexual at best, and gross and comedic at worst, until they basically saved the world/won the tournament/took a noble risk/whatever. Things I could never do. Generally, in my memory, the guys who were entitled were skeevy and unattractive. Maybe we saw the same things and I (and sam) interpreted them differently?

As for the real life things you mentioned? For the most part I wasn't exposed to them nor even heard about them, save on feminist stuff on the internet. They seemed like rare occurrences to me at the time. I mean, I was socially isolated, but I wasn't living under a rock either.

Well, one, it sounds like you were aware that some men held that sentiment even when you were growing up, you just felt those men were portrayed in a negative way. That's different from not being aware that any guys feel that way. And two, the "living under a rock" comment was in reference to the idea that Sam could possibly have never seen or heard of any of that stuff by now, especially given that it's been talked about many times by many different women (and sometimes men too) on a blog and in a forum we know he frequents. I said I'm willing to believe that a guy could grow up not noticing messages like that. I just don't believe that a guy posting to this forum and in the DNL blog comments could possibly be hearing of this concept just now for the first time. Razz

azazel wrote:Yeah, guys like those that told their girlfriends they should have sex with them or they didn't love them were generally portrayed as the assholes they are in my memory.

I wasn't talking about media portrayals with that one (although sympathetic portrayals of guys doing that do exist--it's just usually more subtle), I was talking about women discussing their real experiences. Like actual women have in these forums and on the DNL blog. If it was so obvious that guys who pressure their girlfriends for sex are assholes and society generally portrayed them that way, why on earth would so many women feel guilty when pressured and often end up giving in?

azazel wrote:
The rants about "how they should just me a chance" I did hear about tho, but I'm now genuinely curious whether that's not just a normal reaction?

I've heard the same rant from men and women and everything inbetween, in romantic context and in business context, anywhere where people were dealing with rejection really. Everyone always believes they were the perfect candidate for the job/relationship, but the other party just didn't look good enough at their amazing qualities.
Curious whether other people have different experiences in their social groups.

When I hear women lamenting that they haven't had success with dating, they're generally worrying about what they're doing wrong and trying to figure out how they can change to attract more guys. I have occasionally heard a less attractive or less outgoing woman express the wish that guys would give her a chance and try to get to know her a bit. I have definitely never heard a woman rant about, say, random strangers she says "hi" to or compliments on the street/public transit/wherever not wanting to start up a conversation, or men who have given her a bit of a chance--chatted with her for a minute or two--ending the conversation and moving on, or that sort of thing. I can believe some woman has done so somewhere on the internet... but given that I've seen dozens of guys ranting about that without even going looking for it, I'm inclined to believe guys do it more often.

(I'd see getting upset that one specific person didn't give you more of a chance as something different; that's generally a case when you know the person somewhat and have ideas about what they like and how you fit that, and while it's still presumptuous it's a lot less entitled than expecting complete or relative strangers to give you their attention regardless of what they're doing or what they want.)
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Post by azazel on Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:42 pm

Mel wrote:I wasn't talking about media portrayals with that one (although sympathetic portrayals of guys doing that do exist--it's just usually more subtle), I was talking about women discussing their real experiences. Like actual women have in these forums and on the DNL blog. If it was so obvious that guys who pressure their girlfriends for sex are assholes and society generally portrayed them that way, why on earth would so many women feel guilty when pressured and often end up giving in?

I can only describe what societal messages I get, I cannot make any claims with certainty, by definition, what other people get as societal messages.
If you say "Well, you can't possible have missed X" and I have missed X, I can refute your claim with my experience and possible explanations why my experience differs from yours. I cannot, and will not, say how common it is to miss X, or how it comes that X seems to be pervasive in some cases, or in how many cases X is pervasive.

My only point I try to make it's bad to tell other people that if their experiences don't match with your expectations they must be lying and pretending the world only consists of the Glorious Nation of Eagleland.

Mel wrote:
When I hear women lamenting that they haven't had success with dating, they're generally worrying about what they're doing wrong and trying to figure out how they can change to attract more guys. I have occasionally heard a less attractive or less outgoing woman express the wish that guys would give her a chance and try to get to know her a bit. I have definitely never heard a woman rant about, say, random strangers she says "hi" to or compliments on the street/public transit/wherever not wanting to start up a conversation, or men who have given her a bit of a chance--chatted with her for a minute or two--ending the conversation and moving on, or that sort of thing. I can believe some woman has done so somewhere on the internet... but given that I've seen dozens of guys ranting about that without even going looking for it, I'm inclined to believe guys do it more often.

(I'd see getting upset that one specific person didn't give you more of a chance as something different; that's generally a case when you know the person somewhat and have ideas about what they like and how you fit that, and while it's still presumptuous it's a lot less entitled than expecting complete or relative strangers to give you their attention regardless of what they're doing or what they want.)

Three words: Fat acceptance fora.
You'll suffocate in the entitlement pretty quick there.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:43 am

LadyIkaros wrote:This, in my not so humble opinion, is a small price to pay for having options and choices in life.

I actually agree with you there. I just would like to recognize a little more openly that the disappearance of structure is also a cost, which is usually born by those who cannot handle freedom that well.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:47 am

Enail wrote:
SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:There's already quite a lot of sentiment that a woman who has no interest in giving men sexual pleasure is somehow taking away something that should rightfully be theirs.

I find that most interesting, because I never had that sentiment. All I ever learned about sexuality from early on was how men are horrible and taking and a good lover would do all for women - of course also because that would be how they would be interested in more. It wasn't until I read Foster-Wallace's brief interviews with hideous men, where, I think, a janitor explains how that's never going to make women happy because of the value disparaty it demonstrates, and that a good lover actually *must*, at times, demand things and not only give. If *we* don't think our sexuality has value, how are women supposed to believe that. But a sentiment that a blowjob were rightfully mine? I wish I'd heard of that sentiment growing up.

Okay, Sam, can you see why responding to someone saying "'Women who don't want to have sex with men are denying men what's rightfully theirs' is a common message out there" with "Wow, I wish I'd heard that sentiment," might not be a terribly appropriate thing to do in a civil conversation?

Yes, but only if whoever thinks it's inappropriate doesn't read the context I gave. I wish I had grown up as young man with a sense of sexual value. There's a fine line between entitlement and lack of limiting beliefs. By all means lets find better words for that.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:17 am

Mel wrote:Um, no, you were "merely" saying that men being angry at women for their frustration may be "justified". Last time I checked, saying something is justified is indeed saying it's fair, given that the words are synonyms. If you actually agree with me that it's not really justified/fair, how about you just say that?

I did say that. I agreed that they're unfairly only blaming one side of "the system", but I think the fact that they romantically interact with women explains that.

Mel wrote:"Creating behavioral confusion" is not socializing people to behave in certain ways. It is making people question what the ethical way to behave is (in this case, because what many feminists say is ethical contradicts the behavior many people have been socialized to perform).

To be honest, I can't really see the difference between that. It's two different set of rules, with different systems of justification that both can have/have behavioral impact.

Mel wrote:"There is no way to point out that certain types of behavior that have been socialized are problematic without creating some confusion."

Quite possibly so.

Mel wrote:Blaming the people trying to tackle problematic socialization for not finding some magical way of changing everyone's minds without confusion, or going even further and suggesting that their tackling the problem is them being "responsible for" the problematic socialized behavior (I mean, seriously, what???), is not, IMHO, justified or fair.

Well, you may accept the costs as necessary, but to deny them?

Mel wrote:This is basically like saying that people who feel frustrated because they're denying themselves things they'd enjoy to reduce their carbon footprint are justified in being angry at environmental scientists because other people are still continuing to do whatever they want as if global warming doesn't exist... despite the fact that the scientists are the ones trying to convince people it does. "How dare you try to fight for a thing I agree is important and not instantly succeed in convincing all people to completely abandon their socialization!"? Really?  scratch

I think a more appropriate metaphor would be - "You know I need to take my car to go to work, and now I can't because you made me feel bad about it. I really don't know how I could keep driving given what you tell me about the consequences of driving. I agree that driving is bad, so I support you for saying that, but in the end I don't have a job while all those who don't care about what you say have one, and that makes me angry, at the jerks who don't care, but yes, to a degree also at you environmental scientists for not really understanding or caring that people like me do need to get to their job somehow."

Is that fair?

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:26 am

eselle28 wrote:Then we disagree, as we often do. The breakups I've seen have been for a variety of reasons, but I can't think of any that have followed the pattern you describe, and I don't think that excessively catering to your partner's preferences (which I'll clarify I think is unhealthy if done more than occasionally in a non-transactional way and isn't a desirable way to behave) has to be coded as feminine. A man could very well be catering to some women's fantasies by perfectly embodying a masculine, aggressive persona at all times, even though it doesn't always suit him."

I don't think it's coded as feminine, I think lack of masculine is sexually/romantically unappealing for women, that doesn't make this behavior feminine, in my understanding.

esselle28 wrote:I'd at least request that we treat this claim that men would love to give infinite understanding and catering to services to women if only women wanted it as one opinion rather than a commonly held assumption.

I don't know how common it is for other people, it is *very* common in my perception.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:37 am

Mel wrote:Well, one, it sounds like you were aware that some men held that sentiment even when you were growing up, you just felt those men were portrayed in a negative way. That's different from not being aware that any guys feel that way.

I guess. My point was that whatever was said about any such sentiment was portrayed as unmanly and morally depraved, not as a sentiment for which there is any kind of legitimacy.

Mel wrote:But surely sometime in your life you have encountered movies/TV shows/books that included a "cold fish" female character whose unwillingness to be sexually open and loving with her partner was treated as a villainous quality and the man was portrayed as a martyr if he stayed with her or heroic if he left her?

Possible. I can't remember. What do you have in mind?

Mel wrote:"Surely you have heard women talk about boyfriends pressuring them to have sex and suggesting things like "if you really loved me, you'd sleep with me/do X sexual act" and/or accusing the woman of unfairly denying them if she refused?"

Yes, but only as an example of "men are pigs". That's not a sentiment I felt was supported by anyone.

Mel wrote:Surely you have noticed the common theme that comes up in the comments on certain DNL articles where some men express anger that women won't "give them a chance" (sometimes to date them which they generally imagine including sex, sometimes simply to have sex) or choose not to have sex rather than having sex with one of the supposedly many men who'd be happy to?

I don't really understand how that amounts to a sentiment in which a blowjob is rightfully theirs (but unfairly withheld)?

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:41 am

Mel wrote:If it was so obvious that guys who pressure their girlfriends for sex are assholes and society generally portrayed them that way, why on earth would so many women feel guilty when pressured and often end up giving in?

Maybe they're afraid they'd loose the relationship irrespective of the social support for the guy's behavior?

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Post by Chickpea Sarada on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:51 am

On topic: I haven't read the entire article, but from quotes here...

http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2015/01/16/the-new-statesmans-margaret-corvid-on-the-ways-misogyny-restricts-male-sexuality/

... and the discussion that has taken place so far, I too feel the main idea sounds not quite on the mark. It has some valid points (i.e. our culture's confining ideas of what makes a man a man restricts sexual options for many men whose personalities and preferences may not fit the mold). But the idea that feminists and women should be the ones to change the system puts the responsibility for men's problems on women once more.

It also made me think that maybe if men as a whole had some more control over their own lives and identities, some of them may be less compelled to control women. And no, some women turning you-in-general down and dating someone else does not mean men have no control and women are the cause.

And somewhat off topic: I thought the fat acceptance movement was about people loving and accepting themselves despite society's obsession with thinness. You call that entitlement?
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Post by LadyLuck on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:22 am

I don't think he's trying to speak to what the fat acceptance movement's philosophy is. He's speaking more about the things people who identify with it say in the forums of specific sites. It's entirely possible that the movement in theory is about "accepting yourself" but in practice a lot of individual members are spoiled entitled shits. One could actually make similar claims about MRA stuff - in theory they're all about improving "men's issues" and have legitimate causes worth talking about, but in practice a huge chunk of MRA forums consists of entitled whining.

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Post by Guest on Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:57 am

@ChickpeaSarada: I think azazel's mainly referring to these kinds of attitudes held by some people in those groups:

Spoiler:
Dominatrix Margaret Corvid in the New Statesman: If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end - Page 3 1Xty0MF

Dominatrix Margaret Corvid in the New Statesman: If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end - Page 3 Mj7J6bH

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Post by LadyIkaros on Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:25 am

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
LadyIkaros wrote:This, in my not so humble opinion, is a small price to pay for having options and choices in life.

I actually agree with you there. I just would like to recognize a little more openly that the disappearance of structure is also a cost, which is usually born by those who cannot handle freedom that well.

Well, let's not pretend everything is formless chaos, there's lots of structure, but of course there's a cost. I'm just not going to have any sympathy for anyone who would basically strip everyone else - or, let's face, strip women, mostly - of having choices and options in life because they percieve that this would make things easier for them.
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Post by Chickpea Sarada on Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:11 am

LadyLuck wrote:I don't think he's trying to speak to what the fat acceptance movement's philosophy is. He's speaking more about the things people who identify with it say in the forums of specific sites. It's entirely possible that the movement in theory is about "accepting yourself" but in practice a lot of individual members are spoiled entitled shits. One could actually make similar claims about MRA stuff - in theory they're all about improving "men's issues" and have legitimate causes worth talking about, but in practice a huge chunk of MRA forums consists of entitled whining.

Hm.  I see.

Back on topic, I skimmed the article.  And certain parts of it reminded me of someone's comments on the latest post on DNL Prime.  The one where he was talking about "retroactive jealousy."  It just rubbed me the wrong way in a similar way.
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Post by Mel on Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:14 am

azazel wrote:I can only describe what societal messages I get, I cannot make any claims with certainty, by definition, what other people get as societal messages.
If you say "Well, you can't possible have missed X" and I have missed X, I can refute your claim with my experience and possible explanations why my experience differs from yours. I cannot, and will not, say how common it is to miss X, or how it comes that X seems to be pervasive in some cases, or in how many cases X is pervasive.

My only point I try to make it's bad to tell other people that if their experiences don't match with your expectations they must be lying and pretending the world only consists of the Glorious Nation of Eagleland.

Azazel, as I have already stated previous to this (to Wisp, but it's not as if you couldn't have read that reply), when I made the comment you are arguing with me about, I was talking specifically to Sam. So no, when I say to Sam "You can't possibly have missed X," and you, Azazel, have missed X, your experience is not particularly relevant. I wasn't talking to or about you. I wasn't making a global statement about what all guys have experienced. I was saying that I cannot believe that Sam, given what I know about him as a specific individual--most pointedly, that I know he's read and commented on multiple articles on DNL's blog that have talked about guys having the sentiment Sam was claiming to be unaware of, giving examples of guys expressing that sentiment, and including commenters talking about encountering that sentiment--has never been exposed to this sentiment.

And in case my phrasing above wasn't reminder enough, we weren't talking about societal messages received, we were talking about a significant number of people holding a particular "sentiment" (standard definition: idea, thought, concept). I think it's pretty reasonable to believe that a person holds a certain sentiment/idea/thought if they express that sentiment/idea/thought. And I think it's pretty reasonable, if I've seen someone else talking with people expressing that sentiment on multiple occasions, to believe he should be aware that other people hold that sentiment and shouldn't talk as if this is Brand New Information to him.
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Post by Mel on Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:15 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:Um, no, you were "merely" saying that men being angry at women for their frustration may be "justified". Last time I checked, saying something is justified is indeed saying it's fair, given that the words are synonyms. If you actually agree with me that it's not really justified/fair, how about you just say that?

I did say that. I agreed that they're unfairly only blaming one side of "the system", but I think the fact that they romantically interact with women explains that.

I was referring to the comment of yours that started us on this topic, where Wisp was questioning the implied thread of logic that led to the idea that men are justified in being angry at women, and you suggested they may be in fact justified.

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:"Creating behavioral confusion" is not socializing people to behave in certain ways. It is making people question what the ethical way to behave is (in this case, because what many feminists say is ethical contradicts the behavior many people have been socialized to perform).

To be honest, I can't really see the difference between that. It's two different set of rules, with different systems of justification that both can have/have behavioral impact.

Sure, it's two different sets of rules. But I don't think most people are actually socialized to behave according to feminist rules. They are socialized to behave according to the more common currently accepted behaviors and then become confused when they encounter the idea that those socialized behaviors are wrong. I suppose you could argue that feminism is trying to resocialize people in a different direction, but that's still a lot less pervasive a thing than being socialized to think you should behave a certain way from childhood. Feminism is still a minority viewpoint in most societies on this planet, including the one you and I live in. Let's not pretend otherwise, or that it has equal sway over the population at large. (I recognize that you grew up with different messages, but there's no shortage of data showing that the majority of people still grow up believing that men are superior to women, men have a right to aggressively pursue women, etc.)

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:Blaming the people trying to tackle problematic socialization for not finding some magical way of changing everyone's minds without confusion, or going even further and suggesting that their tackling the problem is them being "responsible for" the problematic socialized behavior (I mean, seriously, what???), is not, IMHO, justified or fair.

Well, you may accept the costs as necessary, but to deny them?

Who's denying that guys feel confused? I've seen tons of articles and discussions in the last ten or more years about how guys are struggling to figure out their place in society as gender roles shift. Many of them, perhaps even most, quite sympathetic. The only thing I'm seeing people deny here is that it's fair for men to take out their frustration at the situation on and/or expect their difficulties to be fixed by women, who are a) experiencing at least as much confusion themselves, thanks, b) still struggling to catch up to many benefits in life that the average man can take for granted, and c) even if we were to follow your line of reasoning about how much any given group is responsible for the situation, are not even the ones causing this confusion, because not all women are feminists (and not all feminists are women, and even among feminists, not all of them have the same ideas of how people should behave).

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:I think a more appropriate metaphor would be - "You know I need to take my car to go to work, and now I can't because you made me feel bad about it. I really don't know how I could keep driving given what you tell me about the consequences of driving. I agree that driving is bad, so I support you for saying that, but in the end I don't have a job while all those who don't care about what you say have one, and that makes me angry, at the jerks who don't care, but yes, to a degree also at you environmental scientists for not really understanding or caring that people like me do need to get to their job somehow."

Is that fair?

No, because:

1) I've never seen these guys express it as "I'm mainly angry at the guys who continue treating women in problematic ways and/or encouraging others to do so, but also to a degree I'm angry at women too". As I stated before, and you agreed, these guys usually unfairly direct the majority if not all of their anger at women.

2) Being able to earn money is necessary for survival in our society. If you can't get to a job, you will have no money for food or shelter and die of starvation or exposure. (Simplifying the situation greatly, but in essence.) The human body can survive without sex.

3) People who try to counter men's dating/sexual socialization generally are also giving them alternatives. They're not saying, "This way of finding sexual partners is bad, the end," they're saying, "This way of getting sexual partners is bad, so try X, Y, or Z." I'd say this shows an understanding and caring that guys want to (not need, see point 2) find partners. If guys are unwilling to try X, Y, or Z, or are unhappy because doing X, Y, or Z seems harder than doing what they were doing before, that's no reason to assume the people who suggested it don't care what happens to them. It's also unfair for them to assume that the reason they're getting rejected is because they're doing X, Y, or Z. A lot of sexually frustrated guys, from what they say, weren't having much/any success with women doing things the traditional way either, which suggests the problem isn't that they've been denied an approach that would have gotten them what they wanted, but that there's some other personal issue getting in their way.

In other words, a more "fair" metaphor for the actual scenario I usually see would be, "I can't feel okay about driving, but I don't like any of the workplaces close enough for me to walk to, and I would rather not spend my money on a bike, and public transit takes longer than I'd like, so clearly the only way I can get a job is if I drive and you're making it impossible for me to work" and/or "None of the jobs I applied for when I was driving accepted me, and now I can't get any of the jobs I've applied for in walking or biking distance, but if you hadn't made me feel guilty about driving I'm sure I'd have a job by now, so it's your fault I don't."

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:But surely sometime in your life you have encountered movies/TV shows/books that included a "cold fish" female character whose unwillingness to be sexually open and loving with her partner was treated as a villainous quality and the man was portrayed as a martyr if he stayed with her or heroic if he left her?

Possible. I can't remember. What do you have in mind?

A couple recent examples off the top of my head: Midnight in Paris (fiance is portrayed as chilly and detached, main character ends up pursuing another woman and this is portrayed as totally okay and justified even though he hasn't bothered to end things with his fiance first--you later find out the fiance has cheated on him, but the main character doesn't know this when he decides to cheat on her and her infidelity is treated a horrible thing, unlike his), which got great reviews and earned more in the box office than any other Woody Allen movie; Glee (at the beginning of the first season the main male character has a girlfriend who's the president of the celibacy club, his attraction to and getting romantic with another female character who is open about being interested in sex is portrayed as a good thing, even though, again, he's doing this while still in a relationship with the first girl--interestingly enough, there is additional retroactive justification given by a later reveal that she cheated him, as with MiP, but also as with MiP, he and the audience don't know this when he's first stepping out), which I don't think I need to state the popularity of.

See also, in a similar vein but with different "victory" outcome, the many many female characters whose refusal to get romantically/sexually involved with a male main character is portrayed as symptomatic of some negative quality (rigidity/prejudice/general emotional distance or lack of compassion/etc.) and coming to accept those advances is portrayed as positive character growth: Mary in Downton Abbey, Katniss in The Hunger Games, Cordelia and then Anya on Buffy, just to name a few across genres.

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:"Surely you have heard women talk about boyfriends pressuring them to have sex and suggesting things like "if you really loved me, you'd sleep with me/do X sexual act" and/or accusing the woman of unfairly denying them if she refused?"

Yes, but only as an example of "men are pigs". That's not a sentiment I felt was supported by anyone.

I wouldn't have thought I needed to say this, but obviously it is supported by the many guys who continue to do it and feel justified in doing it and to some extent by the many women who don't immediately break up with these guys because they see it, at least at the time, as normal/justifiable behavior, not being a "pig". (Not to mention the many other people who will say things like, "Well she shouldn't have done X if she wasn't willing to sleep with him," and "a guy can only wait so long/guys have needs" and so on.)

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:Surely you have noticed the common theme that comes up in the comments on certain DNL articles where some men express anger that women won't "give them a chance" (sometimes to date them which they generally imagine including sex, sometimes simply to have sex) or choose not to have sex rather than having sex with one of the supposedly many men who'd be happy to?

I don't really understand how that amounts to a sentiment in which a blowjob is rightfully theirs (but unfairly withheld)?

You're the only one who brought up this idea about rightful blowjobs. The sentiment enail stated and we were discussing was women who aren't willing to give men "any sexual pleasure". Refusing to give a guy a chance to convince her she wants to sleep with him or being too "picky" to submit to advances is refusing to even consider giving sexual pleasure of any sort; getting upset that women do this indicates the person thinks it's wrong (i.e., contrary to what would be "rightful").

Anyway, didn't you recently make a resolution to stop treating your experiences as more factual and correct than everyone else's? Multiple women here are telling you that they see these sentiments commonly expressed. Even if you weren't exposed to this much, please do as enail suggested, take our word for it that this is a thing that exists, and let the conversation move forward.
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Post by Enail on Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:26 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:
SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:There's already quite a lot of sentiment that a woman who has no interest in giving men sexual pleasure is somehow taking away something that should rightfully be theirs.

I find that most interesting, because I never had that sentiment. All I ever learned about sexuality from early on was how men are horrible and taking and a good lover would do all for women - of course also because that would be how they would be interested in more. It wasn't until I read Foster-Wallace's brief interviews with hideous men, where, I think, a janitor explains how that's never going to make women happy because of the value disparaty it demonstrates, and that a good lover actually *must*, at times, demand things and not only give. If *we* don't think our sexuality has value, how are women supposed to believe that. But a sentiment that a blowjob were rightfully mine? I wish I'd heard of that sentiment growing up.

Okay, Sam, can you see why responding to someone saying "'Women who don't want to have sex with men are denying men what's rightfully theirs' is a common message out there" with "Wow, I wish I'd heard that sentiment," might not be a terribly appropriate thing to do in a civil conversation?

Yes, but only if whoever thinks it's inappropriate doesn't read the context I gave. I wish I had grown up as young man with a sense of sexual value. There's a fine line between entitlement and lack of limiting beliefs. By all means lets find better words for that.

Hm. I...feel like you are reading what I've written so strongly through a lens of your particular topic of interest that you aren't actually reading what I have written.  

I wrote "Women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs."  It sounds like you are reading something like "Men rightfully should receive sexual pleasure from women (women who are voluntarily having sex with them, presumably, if I assume the least problematic interpretation I can of what you're saying)."  

Can you see the difference between those two statements? The difference is extremely important to my comment, and, I think, to the comments of several other people.
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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:57 pm

Mel wrote:I suppose you could argue that feminism is trying to resocialize people in a different direction, but that's still a lot less pervasive a thing than being socialized to think you should behave a certain way from childhood. Feminism is still a minority viewpoint in most societies on this planet, including the one you and I live in. Let's not pretend otherwise, or that it has equal sway over the population at large. (I recognize that you grew up with different messages, but there's no shortage of data showing that the majority of people still grow up believing that men are superior to women, men have a right to aggressively pursue women, etc.)

Well, I think whether feminism is a minority or majority viewpoint probably depends on one's definition thereof. I'd really love to see credible data that suggests the majority of people in the West grow up believing that men are superior to women (except at throwing, I suppose). I would agree that there is a more commonly present understanding of male dominance in mating/dating, which is why the attempted resocialisation by feminism is creating problems for people, up to making it impossible to function.

Mel wrote:Who's denying that guys feel confused? I've seen tons of articles and discussions in the last ten or more years about how guys are struggling to figure out their place in society as gender roles shift. Many of them, perhaps even most, quite sympathetic.

I guess we just have different definitions of "quite sympathetic".

Mel wrote:The only thing I'm seeing people deny here is that it's fair for men to take out their frustration at the situation on and/or expect their difficulties to be fixed by women, who are a) experiencing at least as much confusion themselves, thanks, b) still struggling to catch up to many benefits in life that the average man can take for granted, and c) even if we were to follow your line of reasoning about how much any given group is responsible for the situation, are not even the ones causing this confusion, because not all women are feminists (and not all feminists are women, and even among feminists, not all of them have the same ideas of how people should behave).

Well, again, agreed, that's not fair at all.

Mel wrote:1) I've never seen these guys express it as "I'm mainly angry at the guys who continue treating women in problematic ways and/or encouraging others to do so, but also to a degree I'm angry at women too". As I stated before, and you agreed, these guys usually unfairly direct the majority if not all of their anger at women.

You've never seen these guys be angry at supposed "jerks" that women decide to have sex with because they (can) perform the required script?

Mel wrote:2) Being able to earn money is necessary for survival in our society. If you can't get to a job, you will have no money for food or shelter and die of starvation or exposure. (Simplifying the situation greatly, but in essence.) The human body can survive without sex.

Whatever the health effects of lack of sex, by all means let's find an example on the same Maslow level.

Mel wrote:3) People who try to counter men's dating/sexual socialization generally are also giving them alternatives. They're not saying, "This way of finding sexual partners is bad, the end," they're saying, "This way of getting sexual partners is bad, so try X, Y, or Z." I'd say this shows an understanding and caring that guys want to (not need, see point 2) find partners. If guys are unwilling to try X, Y, or Z, or are unhappy because doing X, Y, or Z seems harder than doing what they were doing before, that's no reason to assume the people who suggested it don't care what happens to them.

Well, this is probably a perspective problem again. I don't really see a lot of understanding in that respect, I don't really see a lot of "how to be project masculinity in a way feminists approve of, I see a lot of "yeah, sorry, it may suck for you, but really, hang in there, you're a good guy, but don't become a nice guy."

Mel wrote:It's also unfair for them to assume that the reason they're getting rejected is because they're doing X, Y, or Z. A lot of sexually frustrated guys, from what they say, weren't having much/any success with women doing things the traditional way either, which suggests the problem isn't that they've been denied an approach that would have gotten them what they wanted, but that there's some other personal issue getting in their way.

Sure. Likely. But there likely still is an interfering structual aspect that I don't think is sufficiently recognized.

Mel wrote:In other words, a more "fair" metaphor for the actual scenario I usually see would be, "I can't feel okay about driving, but I don't like any of the workplaces close enough for me to walk to, and I would rather not spend my money on a bike, and public transit takes longer than I'd like, so clearly the only way I can get a job is if I drive and you're making it impossible for me to work"

Ok, taking the line of "you don't want to work harder"/"this is just losing privilege" line of thinking - and there probably is some of that - at what point would you consider being also angry at environmental scientists fair? I mean we only have one life, at some point, one has to think of oneself, too.

Mel wrote:A couple recent examples off the top of my head: Midnight in Paris (fiance is portrayed as chilly and detached, main character ends up pursuing another woman and this is portrayed as totally okay and justified even though he hasn't bothered to end things with his fiance first--you later find out the fiance has cheated on him, but the main character doesn't know this when he decides to cheat on her and her infidelity is treated a horrible thing, unlike his), which got great reviews and earned more in the box office than any other Woody Allen movie;

OK, seen that, didn't think there was any such message in there.

Mel wrote:Glee (at the beginning of the first season the main male character has a girlfriend who's the president of the celibacy club, his attraction to and getting romantic with another female character who is open about being interested in sex is portrayed as a good thing, even though, again, he's doing this while still in a relationship with the first girl--interestingly enough, there is additional retroactive justification given by a later reveal that she cheated him, as with MiP, but also as with MiP, he and the audience don't know this when he's first stepping out), which I don't think I need to state the popularity of.

Actually, I've seen a couple of Glee episode a couple of years ago. The only thing I remember I took away was how the main character - the football dude who also sings - is actually demonstrating the challenges of modern masculinity, by deciding to not be either/or. I guess we tend to perceive different things.

Mel wrote:See also, in a similar vein but with different "victory" outcome, the many many female characters whose refusal to get romantically/sexually involved with a male main character is portrayed as symptomatic of some negative quality (rigidity/prejudice/general emotional distance or lack of compassion/etc.) and coming to accept those advances is portrayed as positive character growth: Mary in Downton Abbey, Katniss in The Hunger Games, Cordelia and then Anya on Buffy, just to name a few across genres.

Haven't seen any of these, so, probably, but I can't add anything.

Mel wrote:I wouldn't have thought I needed to say this, but obviously it is supported by the many guys who continue to do it and feel justified in doing it and to some extent by the many women who don't immediately break up with these guys because they see it, at least at the time, as normal/justifiable behavior, not being a "pig". (Not to mention the many other people who will say things like, "Well she shouldn't have done X if she wasn't willing to sleep with him," and "a guy can only wait so long/guys have needs" and so on.)

Well yes, this whole "male weakness" thing. Again, I *never* perceived this as something being particularly supported socially, accepted to a degree, I suppose. But it is part of "men are pigs", men can't control themselves, male sexuality is latently sociopathic.

Mel wrote:You're the only one who brought up this idea about rightful blowjobs. The sentiment enail stated and we were discussing was women who aren't willing to give men "any sexual pleasure".

And a blowjob is not an example thereof?

Mel wrote:Refusing to give a guy a chance to convince her she wants to sleep with him or being too "picky" to submit to advances is refusing to even consider giving sexual pleasure of any sort; getting upset that women do this indicates the person thinks it's wrong (i.e., contrary to what would be "rightful").

Why, people can be upset at being rejected for whatever reason without believing they had a right to anything sexual at all?

Mel wrote:Anyway, didn't you recently make a resolution to stop treating your experiences as more factual and correct than everyone else's? Multiple women here are telling you that they see these sentiments commonly expressed. Even if you weren't exposed to this much, please do as enail suggested, take our word for it that this is a thing that exists, and let the conversation move forward.

I do believe you. At the same time, please also believe my experience, when I'm saying that I'm not seeing these things as prevalent, or interpret them differently than you do.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:10 pm

Enail wrote:
SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:
SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:There's already quite a lot of sentiment that a woman who has no interest in giving men sexual pleasure is somehow taking away something that should rightfully be theirs.

I find that most interesting, because I never had that sentiment. All I ever learned about sexuality from early on was how men are horrible and taking and a good lover would do all for women - of course also because that would be how they would be interested in more. It wasn't until I read Foster-Wallace's brief interviews with hideous men, where, I think, a janitor explains how that's never going to make women happy because of the value disparaty it demonstrates, and that a good lover actually *must*, at times, demand things and not only give. If *we* don't think our sexuality has value, how are women supposed to believe that. But a sentiment that a blowjob were rightfully mine? I wish I'd heard of that sentiment growing up.

Okay, Sam, can you see why responding to someone saying "'Women who don't want to have sex with men are denying men what's rightfully theirs' is a common message out there" with "Wow, I wish I'd heard that sentiment," might not be a terribly appropriate thing to do in a civil conversation?

Yes, but only if whoever thinks it's inappropriate doesn't read the context I gave. I wish I had grown up as young man with a sense of sexual value. There's a fine line between entitlement and lack of limiting beliefs. By all means lets find better words for that.

Hm. I...feel like you are reading what I've written so strongly through a lens of your particular topic of interest that you aren't actually reading what I have written.  

I wrote "Women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs."  It sounds like you are reading something like "Men rightfully should receive sexual pleasure from women (women who are voluntarily having sex with them, presumably, if I assume the least problematic interpretation I can of what you're saying)."  

Can you see the difference between those two statements? The difference is extremely important to my comment, and, I think, to the comments of several other people.

Well, again, there's a fine line between entitlement and limiting beliefs. I think your issue is - and rightly so - with entitlement. Sexual pleasure can only be given and not rightfully owned. My concern is not with the logic, which I agree with. At the same time, I was never really exposed to the idea of "it's rightfully mine", quite the contrary. I didn't even get the feeling that my sexuality was *worthy* of female desire, was something that women could possibly want. So, from my point of view, my touch was always less valuable than female touch. Certainly it was nothing that I ever considered "rightfully mine".

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Post by Caffeinated on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:36 pm

Bit of a tangent here. This discussion is an interesting illustration for me about how much louder cultural messages seem when we perceive them as being about ourselves/people like us/groups we identify with. And conversely, how much harder it can be to hear cultural messages that are toward/about people in other groups.
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Post by Enail on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:56 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:
I wrote "Women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs."  It sounds like you are reading something like "Men rightfully should receive sexual pleasure from women (women who are voluntarily having sex with them, presumably, if I assume the least problematic interpretation I can of what you're saying)."  

Can you see the difference between those two statements? The difference is extremely important to my comment, and, I think, to the comments of several other people.

Well, again, there's a fine line between entitlement and limiting beliefs. I think your issue is - and rightly so - with entitlement. Sexual pleasure can only be given and not rightfully owned. My concern is not with the logic, which I agree with. At the same time, I was never really exposed to the idea of "it's rightfully mine", quite the contrary. I didn't even get the feeling that my sexuality was *worthy* of female desire, was something that women could possibly want. So, from my point of view, my touch was always less valuable than female touch. Certainly it was nothing that I ever considered "rightfully mine".

No. Alright, let's try this. Imagine you're a lesbian. What is that first message saying to you? What are people who believe that first message, "women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs," suggesting about your sexuality?

EDIT: Actually, no, I think that's a level of empathetc leap that I don't think is likely to go terribly well, and it's almost beside the point (leaving it there so as not to confuse anyone who read the original version). So please disregard that and let's go with this: I understand that you feel harmed by the message that your sexuality is unworthy of female desire. However, I find it deeply disturbing that you feel that a healthy or useful counteraction to that would be the message that you are entitled to female desire, and doubly disturbing that you think a message that all women - individual people - are doing something wrong if they are not providing men with the desire to which they are entitled, would be a good thing for anyone to hear. And I'm not really sure how it's possible to have a productive discussion with you if that is your first and only reaction to others expressing concern with that message. What else is there to say?
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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:17 pm

Enail wrote:No. Alright, let's try this. Imagine you're a lesbian. What is that first message saying to you? What are people who believe that first message, "women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs," suggesting about your sexuality?

I honestly don't understand what you're trying to tell me. I fell in love with a lesbian woman once, and while I was truly sad she was not interested in men in general and me in particular, I never thought her sexual orientation meant she was denying me or any other guy anything that was "rightfully ours".

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Post by Enail on Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:23 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Enail wrote:No. Alright, let's try this. Imagine you're a lesbian. What is that first message saying to you? What are people who believe that first message, "women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs," suggesting about your sexuality?

I honestly don't understand what you're trying to tell me. I fell in love with a lesbian woman once, and while I was truly sad she was not interested in men in general and me in particular, I never thought her sexual orientation meant she was denying me or any other guy anything that was "rightfully ours".

But that is what that message is saying - it's irrelevant whether or not you believe it (and I do believe you don't), you saying "women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs" would be a good message for men who don't feel their sexuality is valued to hear, is saying that you think they should hear the message that lesbians (and asexual women and women who choose to be celibate for reasons of their own and women who aren't feeling it right now...) are denying men things that are rightfully theirs.

It's a shitty, deeply harmful message that has a negative impact on a great many women, and responding to "I'm concerned that this article is just affirming that shitty message" with "I would like to hear that message more," is not a great way to show good faith or respect for the people you are talking to.
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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:40 pm

Enail wrote:But that is what that message is saying - it's irrelevant whether or not you believe it (and I do believe you don't), you saying "women who don't want to give men sexual pleasure are denying them what's rightfully theirs" would be a good message for men who don't feel their sexuality is valued to hear, is saying that you think they should hear the message that lesbians (and asexual women and women who choose to be celibate for reasons of their own and women who aren't feeling it right now...) are denying men things that are rightfully theirs.

Again, please consider the context of me saying "I whish I'd heard that message when I grew up". The main point there is *I*, not everyone. Also, I already said, by all means, let's find better words to convey to guys like my teen self that we are sexually worthy, to get rid of the self-denying limiting beliefs, without making that harder for others, like the specific wording and general entitlement you're objecting to.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:52 pm

Caffeinated wrote:Bit of a tangent here. This discussion is an interesting illustration for me about how much louder cultural messages seem when we perceive them as being about ourselves/people like us/groups we identify with. And conversely, how much harder it can be to hear cultural messages that are toward/about people in other groups.

Very true.

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