Ohio Principal Tries to Cover Up Gang Rape in School Auditorium

From the New York Times (via Michele):

A high school principal in Columbus, Ohio, has been fired and three assistant principals suspended without pay because they failed to notify the police last month about accusations that a 16-year-old special-education student had been sexually assaulted in the school auditorium by a group of boys, one of whom videotaped the incident, school officials said yesterday.

The principal and her assistants not only failed to report the incident but also urged the girl’s father to avoid calling the police out of concerns that reporters would become aware of the assault, according to statements given to school investigators.

The police are investigating four teenagers in connection with the incident, a spokeswoman for the Columbus police, Sherry Mercurio, said yesterday, but no charges have been filed. [...]

One of the three assistant principals, Richard Watson, said he had found the videotape and then viewed it with other administrators. Their conclusion, they told investigators, was that there had been no coercion.

From what the NBC story says, it appears that the boys may have been caught because they were showing off by playing the video for friends in math class. While the school administration may not have found any signs of coercion, the police investigators found quite a lot. From the Times:

One witness’s statement said a boy pulled the girl onto the auditorium stage, ordered her to be quiet, pushed her to her knees and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

“If you scream, I’ll have all my boys punch you,” the boy told her and then hit her in the face, causing her mouth to bleed, a student told the investigators.

The girl told a special-education teacher minutes after the incident that she had been forced to have oral sex with two boys behind a curtain on the stage while at least two others watched. She said the boys stopped only after someone arrived in the auditorium and scared them off.

The girl, who has a speech defect, “just kept saying she was scared,” the special-education teacher told the investigators.

Maybe there’s less to this story than it seems; maybe the witnesses are lying, for example. But if the witness statements are accurate, then the boys should be arrested and tried as rapists.

MaxedOutMama , aka MOM, has an interesting post regarding this story. She doesn’t think the boys will ever be punished:

I’m outraged too, but not at all surprised. For one thing, multiple boy on one girl blowjob orgies aren’t that rare any more, even in school. There is a fine line between manipulation, intimidation and outright force. Stories such as these aren’t that rare – developmentally disabled girls are often manipulated and abused in this way in school. So are emotionally vulnerable girls. Once you have kids blowing each other in the school johns in junior high, things get pretty much out of control.

I’ll give you my guess. This boys will not be convicted of any criminal charges. There will not be enough evidence; the testimony (said quietly behind closed doors) will be that the word was that this girl was known for giving blowjobs to boys. Those involved will say they thought she was consenting. Those witnessing it will agree. Not one of all the boys involved said anything to school authorities. Not one. They don’t know the difference between right and wrong, consenting and enforced acts. If they haven’t participated themselves they have all heard about such acts before.

(Link to MOM via My Whim is Law).

MOM is already mistaken about what at least one of the witnesses is saying (if the New York Times‘ account is accurate). I’m also more than a little skeptical about how common “multiple boy on one girl blowjob orgies” are – as far as I can tell, adults have always vastly exaggerated how much sex kids are having. But I worry that she’ll be proved right about the odds of any of these boys being convicted of rape.

MOM goes on to suggest that “instinct” may be responsible for this disgusting act: “Instinct in a young, roving band of teenage boys dictates imposing sexually upon a vulnerable girl…” In MOM’s view, young boys have an instinct towards gang-rape, which they need to be guided away from. I don’t think there’s much evidence to support MOM’s view, however. Have any anthropologists found that hunter-gatherer societies have a high incidence of gang rape, or if they don’t, that they spend a lot of time teaching their boys that gang-rape is wrong?

I don’t think boys have a natural instinct for gang-rape. However, I do think boys have a natural instinct to rely their peer group for validation and for their self-identity (that’s something I think MOM and I agree on). In a culture which teaches boys that masculinity is measured by “getting some,” that if they’re not a man they’re nothing, that having sex is not only normal but an entitlement, and that women don’t have much worth, it’s unsurprising that gang rapes happen. It’s even less surprising that the victim is (it seems) disabled, since the disabled are also not seen as being worth much by our society.

I doubt these boys were acting out of a desire for sexual release. I think they were acting out of a desire to show each other that they’re not scared, that they’re brave, that they’re men. From the point of view of the boys, their victim was just an object, which they used for demonstrating their masculinity to each other.

MOM then makes what seems to me to be a surprising, and out-of-place, digression:

Here’s reality. Girls can be imposed upon sexually, but once they learn the sexual game they can often whipsaw adolescent boys with it. Boys often find one-on-one sex really frightening until they’ve proved to themselves that they can do it, but no such inhibitions exist in a group. Adolescent boys are often just as emotionally vulnerable as girls. Girls have an instinct to use their own powers of sexual attraction. Nature made it so. An attractive, intelligent girl can become a superstar by her junior year in high school if she plays her cards well, especially if she is carefully and selectively sexually active. In the process she may cut an old boyfriend into emotional pieces.

No doubt some girls act just as MOM describes. But what does any of this have to do with a “developmentally disabled” girl who is dragged onto an auditorium stage, hit, and told “if you scream, I’ll have all my boys punch you”? The girl in this case wasn’t using her “powers of sexual attraction” to make herself a “superstar”; she was raped by a bunch of assholes using the power of threats and fists. To use a discussion of a girl being gang-raped as a springboard for discussing how girls are victimizers, too, is bizarre and disturbing.

There’s a lot more to MOM’s post, some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t; take a look.

UPDATE: Due to having nearly 500 responses, this thread is now closed. If you want to continue the discussion, please do so on this new thread.

This entry posted in Disabled Rights & Issues, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

482 Responses to Ohio Principal Tries to Cover Up Gang Rape in School Auditorium

  1. 401
    Ampersand says:

    Yes, you see… males aren’t allpowerful and immune to any kind of bashing either.

    You know, you’ve complained over and over – and with some justice – that people have been taking your difference-of-degrees claim and treating it as if it were an all-or-nothing claim.

    But then you pretend that the claim that men have more social power than women is a claim that men are “all powerful and immune to any kind of bashing.” No one here has being making that all-or-nothing argument.

    To me, the fact that you treat other people the way that you complain about being treated yourself, reduces your credibility.

    * * *

    Regarding medical people touching my private parts, I’ve never objected to male doctors or nurses. Or to female doctors or nurses, for that matter.

    * * *

    In general, my feeling is that someone who’s 20 usually doesn’t have the experience necessary to make sweeping judgements about the human race based purely on own observations. Heck, I’m not sure that someone who’s sixty does.

    It’s actually impossible to say which sex feels more desire; there’s no real way to measure (I don’t think blood flow through genitalia necessary tells us much about the subjective mental experience).

    Nor, frankly, can I see why it matters.

    It’s clear to me that some women and men sometimes feel like they’re exploding with desire, some feel pretty much asexual, and most people feel all that and everything between at some point or another. If there’s any area where it makes sense to say “this is about individual differences and variety, not about a men-are-like-X women-are-like-Y dichotomy,” it’s this.

  2. 402
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Proving my point about women being “more bisexual”?, “less visually focused on the male body”? etc.

    You know what? Bullshit. The reason women prefer either woman on woman porn, or get excited by all is way more simple than that. Porn has classically been made FOR men. It concentrates on the penis, on the money shot, on what the MALE fantasy is. While many women do find the male anatomy and sexual parts erotic and arousing, watching pornography that is tailored towards the male body is not going to be as effective as say, someone concentrating overwhelmingly on the female body. Ever notice in straight porn how the female is generally in quazi-worship mode of the penis, begging to give it oral sex, creating this illusion of uncontrollable sexual desire? That’s because it’s MADE to make men feel that way. While I might have a titillated response to it, simply due to enjoying sex, I’m not relating to it in the same manner that a man is. Next we move to lesbian scenes – oddly enough, in many porno’s even Lesbian scenes are tailored toward the male audience and unrealistic about female/female sex (the females lying next to each other shoulder to shoulder with dildo’s, sharing their reveling over the penis is one such common theme I refer to). In general I’ll find it much more arousing, because I’m relating a lot more to the sensations that are going on, it’s only when I see porn that is made with the idea of turning me, the FEMALE on that I’m going to consider it a slam dunk.

  3. 403
    someone says:

    Ok, now I am back again.

    Kim
    Thank you for the bold, it’s easier for me to read this way. ;)

    I am pretty sure that the films that were shown to the women in this study were picked by the scientists, and they were probably smart enough not to pick something with content that could be offensive to women.
    As for regular every day women, I did mention it in my earlier post, and it is true that there is a lack of porn that would be of interest to women.

    Ampersand

    You know, you’ve complained over and over – and with some justice – that people have been taking your difference-of-degrees claim and treating it as if it were an all-or-nothing claim.

    But then you pretend that the claim that men have more social power than women is a claim that men are “all powerful and immune to any kind of bashing.”? No one here has being making that all-or-nothing argument.

    Good point…

    Men still don’t have more social power than women though.
    Wouldn’t simple arythmetics convince you of this?

    It’s actually impossible to say which sex feels more desire; there’s no real way to measure (I don’t think blood flow through genitalia necessary tells us much about the subjective mental experience).

    Now tell me, Ampersand…
    Have you ever been with a woman that was physically attracted to you as much as you were to her?

    If there’s any area where it makes sense to say “this is about individual differences and variety, not about a men-are-like-X women-are-like-Y dichotomy,”? it’s this.

    Dichotomy…
    Dichotomy is about dividing something into two opposing parts.

    Making a generalization about commonly found differences in males and females is not the same as making a dichotomy, and it doesn’t exclude the concept of individual variety.

    On the other hand,
    “males have male privilige
    females are repressed”
    is a perfect example of a dichotomy.

  4. 404
    someone says:

    Actually, on second thought, both of those notions have a similar logical nature, since they are about describing some attributes of groups.

    So depending on how you look at it, both of them are dichotomies, or neither. (Well they way I worded it they are, but you could word it differently. ) But it doesn’t matter anyway, the content matters…

  5. 405
    someone says:

    But it’s still pretty interesting how the posters here have been instantly able to deduce that I possess this male privilege from the fact that I am male.

  6. 406
    noodles says:

    Men still don’t have more social power than women though.

    *plonk*

  7. 407
    piny says:

    Calling somebody’s analogies foolish is civil, and not a personal attack? Okay, then. What you don’t seem to understand is that the two communities and the two registers exist interspersed with each other. And these preferences are preferences _I’ve_ been oversimplifying for the purpose of argument. Both women have good chances of attraction in both situations, really–it’s just that each one receives greater social support and open approval from different people.

    If all the Greek letters are not a constant, but something that fluctuates from town to town or from neighborhood to neighborhood or even from _minute to minute as you walk down the street_, then what the hell is the point of the ranking system? How can you designate anyone an “alpha” or a “gamma,” if each person has such easy and equal access to new communities and new opportunities for romance?

    As per this male privilege thing…it’s something that you have by virtue of being male, period. In any given situation where sexism would have disadvantaged a woman, you are protected. It’s very difficult, of course, to boil such a complex set of interpersonal interactions down to a single ratio, but the advantage is there, and you have benefited from it. You’ve admitted to having it. You’ve conceded that porn is marketed towards you, and not to women–since you’re male, you have the privilege of personalized jerkoff material. Women, because they’re women, have a harder time finding erotic material that serves their needs.

    There are many other kinds of privilege. If you’re white, you’re protected from racism in any situation where racism would disadvantage a person of color. As an American in America, you’re protected from xenophobia in any situation where xenophobia would disadvantage a foreigner. As a straight person, you’re protected from homophobia in any situation where homophobia would disadvantage a gay person–you don’t have to worry about getting queerbashed because you’ve been kissing your lover on a park bench. As a non-transsexual, you’re protected from transphobia in any situation where transphobia would disadvantage people like me–for example, you can be pretty certain that your treating physician will have a basic understanding of your body, and will not find it disgusting.

  8. 408
    shiloh says:

    Piny said

    The strength of female desire doesn’t exist in literary or artistic tradition because”“oddly enough”“that literary and artistic tradition is overwhelmingly male and kinda sexist.

    I know one artistic area where women create for women, and males are very much in the minority – media fanfic. Men become the sex object (in the visual arts more than in the writing, IMHO). Back when fanfic was actually published, I would guess about half of it was about sex – now that it’s on the Internet I’d guess a much higher proportion is about sex. If women aren’t into sex, why is “their” artistic creation so sexually driven?

    It is, alas, often conflicted sex – many authors will only write gay or lesbian relationships because they do not believe that there can be an equal sexual relationship between men and women – but there’s plenty of sex for fun and sex for pleasure as well.

    In my experience, women are more likely to control or conceal their sexuality than men are. My friends and I in an all-female group are far more likely to get raunchy than hubby with his friends – I know this both because I can hear hubby and friends better than they think when they’re downstairs hanging out while I’m upstairs with the baby, and because early in our marriage hubby was so regularly shocked at what we’d discuss when I’d mention things to him. He and his friends may have indulged in “locker room one upmanship” in high school, but they don’t really talk about sex much as adults.

    Richard Sharpe asked

    Can someone point me to that DOJ study please. The best I can find after a quick google search is

    I haven’t checked the issue in question, but this is the DOJ one I know about:

    http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf

    someone says

    What are the signs of visual attraction that females display?

    I think you’ve missed the two most common signs of visual attraction that females display – first, their habit of whispering lustful remarks to each other as they watch guys out of the corner of their eyes. Guys perhaps assume that the giggling girls in the corner are saying things like, “Isn’t he cute?” and equally innocuous comments. Maybe yes, maybe no – depends on the girls. Just because women aren’t shouting the words out, doesn’t mean the words are that different.

    Second is their habit of getting together to watch TV or videos and whoop completely sexist comments like “Look at that ass!” “Check out those pecs!” “Do you see that bulge?” and much cruder things in the privacy of their own homes or hotel rooms. I’m not saying this is a good thing – it objectifys men, no question – but I am saying it’s a fairly common practice.

    The fact that women don’t do this sort of thing where men can see does not, in my experience, mean women don’t do this sort of thing. Of course they do. Many women are very aware that this is not the thing to do, even when they do it – there are very specific rules about doing it. For instance they will limit access to these gatherings – even to other women. Newcomers have to have demonstrated that they can be descrete, for starts. And while lust is totally accepted, in my experience anything smacking of rape is not. A recent example I saw was a woman saying “”I’d like to bend him over and make him see God!” She got grief for that. It’s been months, and she’s still getting grief for that.

    The women I’ve known won’t usually tolerate someone crossing that line, even in jest. And they are highly offended when anyone “betrays the trust” by exposing their lust to the object of their desires. That’s considered not just a betrayal of a secret, but betraying the person it’s told to – exposing them to something offensive that they’re better off not knowing. Until and unless you’re in a sexual relationship with that person, lust is best kept mostly hidden.

    I’m 45; I’ve seen this sort of behavior since I was 14, in women of all ages, with all manner of backgrounds. Women lust, but they don’t advertise it. The fact that women and men express their lust differently is to a great extent a difference of social rules, not a difference of feeling. I’ve had far more women complain to me about being horny for lack of available partners or about their partner’s lack of enthusiasm than I have had men – doesn’t prove anything; I’m a woman, so of course more women tell me that.

    I’ve also known a lot of women shocked by their loss of interest in sex when they are breastfeeding, or by their sudden, unbearable drive for sex when they hit thirty (or 25, or 45, or whatever the magic number turns out to be for them). And a number of women whose husband’s sex drive “shuts down” a few years into marriage, where the husband want to keep the marriage going without sex. Or with sex only once a month. Or twice a year.

    People’s sex drives vary by their own individuality and according to what other stresses they have in life far more, IMHO, than by gender.

  9. 409
    VK says:

    Have you ever been with a woman that was physically attracted to you as much as you were to her?

    How could you tell? Physical attraction is very much something in a person’s head, and veries hugely with mood/how well you know them/how much you’ve got on recently.
    I’ve been with men I’ve desired/wanted to sleep with more than they desired me, but I’m not sure you could put that down to just physical attraction.

    I don’t think on average women’s sex drive is higher than a man’s, or v.v. because there is simply no way of comparing them – they react to different stimuli, they cause different physical changes, and society pushes both sides to lie about their sexual experiences and feelings (I found a really fun studyy at one point showing how they are more likely to claim to have had less sexual partners if they feel it’s more likely they could be indentified as the person who had answered those questions). I think claims that men has a higher sex drive, as unprovable and _not_ self evident in our society. Compare what is average for a women now to what would have been average for a respectable women at the turn of the century. It has changed hugely, as women sexual desires have become less repressed – how can we conclude then that the limited veiw of the people we meet give us an accurate impression of relative levels of physical attraction, when in ten years time it may be self evident that men have no sexual desire due to a taboo on them having any sexual feeling?

    Interestingly during the medievil witch trial in Britain, far more women were burnt as witches because women were more prone to earthly desires (sex) and so it was easier for them to fall to temptation by the devil. This was considered an obviously true fact by the people of the time. Men were more spiritual, and unlikely to be distracted by such ungodly pleasures.

  10. 410
    Ampersand says:

    Men still don’t have more social power than women though.
    Wouldn’t simple arythmetics convince you of this?

    Hmmn. 2 plus 2 equal 4. The square of 10 divided by 2 is fifty.

    No, no, not convinced. :-P

    Seriously, do you understand that saying “wouldn’t simple arithmetic convince you of this?,” and not following this up with a demonstration of how simple math proves your point, is not actually an argument?

    Now tell me, Ampersand…
    Have you ever been with a woman that was physically attracted to you as much as you were to her?

    I can’t fully answer this question, because I lack mind-reading powers. But there have been times when women have made passes at me that I’ve turned down, so it’s not the case that women are always more attracted to having sex with me than vice versa.

    Making a generalization about commonly found differences in males and females is not the same as making a dichotomy, and it doesn’t exclude the concept of individual variety.

    Okay, that’s fair enough.

    However, I maintain that you’re arguing something that by its nature can’t be known. There’s just no means of measuring how much group x feels compares to how much group y feels. Which is why I find it an uninteresting thing to discuss.

    On the other hand,
    “males have male privilege
    females are repressed”?
    is a perfect example of a dichotomy.

    :Shrug: Neither privilege nor repression are absolute, yes-or-no characteristics; and no one is saying that there aren’t individual variations.

    As for male privilege, it might be technically more accurate to say that all men in our society are accorded male privilege; it’s something given to us by society, not something ingrown. But it’s not sexist to say “all men are accorded male privilege” any more than it’s nationalistic to say “all Americans are accorded American citizenship.”

    That list is a bunch of nonsense, Andrew, there is no male privilege actually.
    If I attempted to explain why exactly the list is nonsense, and how I could make a similar list of “female privilege”?, or any other useless list, you would just resort to personal insults and using all kinds of tricks to stall the argument.
    So I am not going to bother.

    I really hate lousy argumentation. “I could refute that nonsense, but I won’t bother because you’re such a jerk” is a prime example of lousy argumentation.

  11. 411
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Kim
    Thank you for the bold, it’s easier for me to read this way. ;)

    You’re quite welcome, I suppose, though really you should thank Amp, since it’s a bug that occurs when I use the blockquote function that he has to constantly fix. If only you understood it as well as you were able to read it, but being easy to read is a start!

    I am pretty sure that the films that were shown to the women in this study were picked by the scientists, and they were probably smart enough not to pick something with content that could be offensive to women.

    Where did ‘offensive’ enter into this? It isn’t offensive for me to watch porn developed for men, it’s just not as much of a turn on as porn developed for women – which exists less. What has this got to do with your bisexual argument, though? My point specifically was that female/female porn tends to be more acceptible to women because we’re getting the proverbial female ‘money shot’ equivalent that our brains go ‘OHHH yah, I like that!’ or ‘Oh hmmm yah that always feels good’, rather than, not relating. With two vagina’s, you’re doubling your chances of relating to the stimuli.

  12. 412
    Lauren says:

    Noodles: But please don’t tell us you are completely unaware of any style of clothing, casual or sporty or more formal, that does highlight the shape of men’s bodies.

    Obviously Someone isn’t paying attention to all the teenybopper girls who fall all over themselves at the sight of a rockstar’s stuffed crotch in tight leather pants.

    Someone: Proving my point about women being “more bisexual”?, “less visually focused on the male body”?

    Not necessarily. I like a whole lot of different kinds of eye candy. Just like a man, no?

    :Checks crotch: Nope, no penis. Maybe it’s the dirty, dirty feminism.

    Someone: My system is not wrong at all, it’s ridiculously simple.

    “Simple” can be interpreted in several ways, and I’m thinking “stupid.”

  13. 413
    someone says:

    Kim

    My point specifically was that female/female porn tends to be more acceptible to women because we’re getting the proverbial female ‘money shot’ equivalent that our brains go ‘OHHH yah, I like that!’ or ‘Oh hmmm yah that always feels good’, rather than, not relating.

    Kim, you aren’t getting it…
    Heterosexual males never look at male/male porn. Never.
    Even if itwais the only sexual material available on earth, it isn’t an option for them.
    And as these scientists have measured, the levels of sexual arousal in heterosexual males were lowest (next to nonexistent) when they were shown films with male/male couples.
    But for women this is totally different! They can and do look at female/female couples, (or at females alone, or male/female porn that focuses on the female model’s body) while still referring to themselves as heterosexual.
    This is exactly why the article said,

    Several lines of evidence suggest that, as compared with men’s, women’s sexual
    preferences may not be as strongly related to sexual arousal patterns.

    You are saying all this stuff about relating to vaginas with just proves that at least you personally are far more bisexual than the average heterosexual male as a proof of your solid heterosexuality.

    Do you understand what I am trying to say now?

    You can not call it “more bisexual” if you want, but the “thing” is still there, it exists, whatever you want to call it.
    For a heterosexual male the entire point of sex is having sex with a female, and his entire sexuality is focused on the female body.
    Female sexuality is not focused on the male body, it’s a much more fluid thing.

  14. 414
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Someone:

    You make my head hurt. For real. I’m married to one of these heterosexual male creatures you speak of, and he’s laughing his heterosexual arse off as I read to him your statements.

    While I’m not 100% on board with all of Kinsey’s research, I’m far more inclined to agree with his ‘scale’ with regards to human sexuality, than your findings as a limitedly experienced 18 year old young man.

    Here’s the Kinsey Scale, for you to review:

    0- Exclusively heterosexual
    1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
    2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
    3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual
    4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
    5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
    6- Exclusively homosexual

    *Note: The least common scores within the Kinsey Scale are 0 and 6.

  15. 415
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Edit: Both of us, by the way, fall somewhere within the 1-2 range.

  16. 416
    someone says:

    So does your heterosexual male creature masturbate to gay porn.
    And did you ever masturbate to lesbian porn/feel strong aroused by lesbian porn and masturbated afterwards.

    Answer me straight answers “yes” or “no” to both questions.

  17. 417
    someone says:

    The goddamn study itself said the same thing that I do… what is your problem?

  18. 418
    someone says:

    Lauren

    Obviously Someone isn’t paying attention to all the teenybopper girls who fall all over themselves at the sight of a rockstar’s stuffed crotch in tight leather pants.

    I am aware of this… and what? It doesn’t disprove anything that I said.
    And of course the teenybopper girls aren’t so excited because of his crotch in tight leather pants, most of them can’t even see it.

    Now if Lauren wished to become a logical person for a second she would find out that for every tight leather pants clad rock star there is about a hundred thousand regular women that highlight their body features by using “sexy” clothes every day.

    You can’t possibly argue that wearing clothes that are designed to show off and “highlight” your body shape isn’t a primarily female domain.
    It is true.

    I am sure that even in your own garderobe you have things like: tight jeans pants, miniskirts, tube tops, belly shirts, tank tops, bikinis, and an evening dress or two.

    I have things like long pants, t-shirts, sweaters, and coats, I don’t have anything that would look “sexy” by highlighting body features and exposing skin, nor do I have any desire to wear something like that.

    So what is the point of saying all this?

  19. 419
    Aegis says:

    piny said:

    First, tell me why you thought this as a young man, and why you continue to wonder as an adult. What evidence did you have for this conclusion? Was it that women fucked around less? Was it that there was less sexual material out there that was directed towards women? Was it that women spoke less openly about jacking off and fantasizing? When you saw a young woman lusting after a hot guy, either a local or a celebrity, did it seem like romance to you, somehow unconnected to sexual attraction? Did you never talk openly with young women about sex? Did the young women you slept with seem not to enjoy it as much? Any idea why that might have been?

    “No” on pretty much all counts. Actually, it is kind of difficult to say why I thought that women had a lower sex drive. It just seemed like such a given. Here are probably a couple of the reasons:

    1. Males are supposed to make the sexual initiatives. It made sense that if the job of initiating falls on the shoulders of males, it must be because they want sex more, right? If females had the same level of sex drive, then they would have been making more sexual initiatives. Yet I didn’t see any females doing this, and I only knew of one case where a girl had asked a guy out. The madonna-whore complex did NOT seem like a strong enough explanation for the lack of female sexual proactiveness. In my subculture, the middle-class, white, California bay area, I really wasn’t seeing much of the madonna-whore complex, and it was rare for me to hear girls being called “sluts.” The “slut” stigma could have explained why females would initiate a bit less than males, but it wasn’t enough to explain why I didn’t see females being sexually proactive at all. I thought that if females really had the same level of sexual desire as males, at least a significant minority of them would be proactive. Also, I didn’t see any reason why the “slut” stigma would be applied to a girl who simply asked a guy out on a date, or told him she liked him. Hence, the notion that women had the same level of sexual desire as men, but simply hid it because they feared looking like sluts, really didn’t make any sense.

    And today, I still think that notion makes no sense. At least in my area, I don’t think the madonna-whore stigma is a strong enough deterrence to explain the lack of female proactivity. Nevertheless, there may be other explanations of the lack of female proactivity that do not rest on the idea that females have a lower sex drive or on the madonna-whore complex.

    - Perhaps the norm of males doing the initiating is so strong that females don’t initiate, even if they wouldn’t suffer any costs from doing so.

    - There isn’t enough of an incentive for females to be proactive. Even if there are benefits to females initiating things, perhaps not enough females are aware of those benefits. Females of below average attractiveness might not initiate because they feel “unworthy,” or they may assume that males won’t be interested in them. Females of above average attractiveness may feel confident enough in their ability to attract a desirable male who would do all the work for them. Perhaps for such females the perceived benefits of initiating do not balance out the effort of initiating (considering that it is a large amount of work and stress for one person to do).

    – Some females may choose to be passive because they believe it will give them more power in the relationship, and that they will be “taken for granted” if they initiate things.

    - In the eyes of some females, the worth of a man is tied to his ability to initiate things. If he can’t come in and “sweep her off her feet,” then he isn’t perceived as masculine enough. Or they may believe that the man must show interest first, to prove that he is worth her time, and not just looking for a hookup (this is a rather strange double standard: if being proactive is necessary to prove real interest, why is it only males who must prove themselves this way?). To put it into academic jargon, these females have internalized male sex roles, at least in area of sexual initiation.

    To see concrete examples of the last two, check out this blog from a student at my school who presents herself as an authority on dating advice.

    These factors I’ve listed somewhat support the idea that female lack of proactivity may not be due to lacking sexual desire in comparison to males. Can they completely explain the lack of female proactivity? I honestly don’t know.

    2. The second reason I believed that females had lower sex drive was not because I didn’t discuss the issue with female friends, but because I did. As I mentioned, I’ve suggested to some of my female friends that women really do have the same level of sexual desire as males, and they considered the idea almost laughable. And at least one of them definitely isn’t sexually repressed.

    3. The third reason was that in the past, I was completely oblivious to any kind of flirtation or signals of interest from females. This must have lead me to underestimate the female sex drive.

    I think the relative strength of the male and female sex drives is a much more complex question than is readily apparent. The male and female sex drives do not seem to work the same way, so comparing them is problematic. One reason is that female sex drive varies with the menstrual cycle, according to what I have read.

    Another reason: I have heard the hypothesis that the male sexual drive tends to work in a manner that is almost binary (on/off), while the female sex drive needs more time to “warm up.” I don’t know if this idea is true or not, but it makes sense in my experience, and based on talking with female friends. I have often had the experience where a woman didn’t seem especially attracted to me at first, but then started to act more interested in me if I flirted with her. In my case, I was attracted to her from the beginning, but the flirtation seemed to affect her more than it did me. This could be evidence that the female sex drive takes more time to “warm up,” or it could be evidence that perhaps females need more time to register a man’s attractiveness than males do to register a woman’s attractiveness.

    If either of these effects exist, they could explain why females appear to have lower sex drive than males. Yet if females take longer to “warm up”, or take longer to register a male’s attractiveness, does it justify the claim that females have lower sex drive than males? It really depends on what you define as “sex drive.”

  20. 420
    someone says:

    That is a great post Aegis.

    I agree that many females may not initiate things because they are waiting for a guy that would do it, and this is indeed the norm, so they just expect it.
    For different females there could be different reasons why they prefer not to initiate.
    Some could be afraid of being rejected.
    Some others might believe that if she openly shows interest first she will be in a disadvantage.
    Some that are looking for a boyfriend might believe that if the guy initiates then she can be sure that he is interested in her. (Which doesn’t have to be true at all.)
    Some very attractive ones might initiate rarely because they simply don’t need to.
    I brought this up before, but in a less expanded form…

    The xanga link was nice, it’s good to see that there were two cool girls that disagreed with her…

  21. 421
    Aegis says:

    Kim said:

    The dismissive attitude that has become the common theme directed at him is based on his consistent restating of his opinions, after causing a huge amount of thread drift, coupled with consistently trying to back up offensive ideas with non-existent statistics.

    My impression is that the dismissive attitudes were displayed to him before he did anything to deserve them. Then he became exactly what he was accused of being. People were too quick to read offensiveness into his initial comments in the thread (although I admit that some of his later posts were inflammatory, which is why I suggested that he cool down). If people were going to accuse him of being offensive no matter what, then why hold back?

    I think it’s important for feminists to understand the perspectives of people in general – that doesn’t mean that we are responsible for molly-coddling people who attempt to go toe-to-toe with us on issues that we have bothered to become informed and knowledgeable about.

    I don’t think that refraining from personal attacks means automatically means “molly-coddling” someone. Simply refuting someone’s arguments without personal attacks would not be what I would call “molly-coddling.”

    I know that this is likely to offend you and Someone, but based on your arguments and the stagnation, repetition and inclination towards thread drifting, I’m fairly certain that the people who have tolerated the self-preoccupation that has accompanied this drifting have given you both as much at this point as you can or will absorb.

    First, the reason for the repetition is that many posters have mischaracterized the arguments of both someone and I (or at least we feel that this is the case). Some of this mischaracterization seems malicious and intentional, some of it seems due to misunderstandings, and some of it is due to someone or I being unclear. As for thread-drifting, I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with it. In most forums I’ve been on, some degree of thread drifting has been acceptable. Based on what I have seen of this blog, thread drifting seems to happen frequently. Besides, it is hypocritical and unfair to scape-goat someone and I for the drift… plenty of other posters are equally responsible. Self-preoccupation? Plenty of posters in this thread have displayed it, and I am not sure that either someone or I are the most guilty of it (if it’s a crime).

  22. 422
    Spicy says:

    Some females may choose to be passive because they believe it will give them more power in the relationship, and that they will be “taken for granted”? if they initiate things.

    - In the eyes of some females, the worth of a man is tied to his ability to initiate things. If he can’t come in and “sweep her off her feet,”? then he isn’t perceived as masculine enough. Or they may believe that the man must show interest first, to prove that he is worth her time, and not just looking for a hookup (this is a rather strange double standard: if being proactive is necessary to prove real interest, why is it only males who must prove themselves this way?).

    There is another aspect which you have missed here – namely that in the eyes of some males their worth is tied to their ability to initiate things.

    Many (most?) men say that they love the idea of women initiating but my own experience is that this was a complete myth until my late 20′s. Prior to that, most men found it deeply discomforting (emasculating?) and were unable to deal with it without immediately assuming I must be a slut / whore.

    At least in my area, I don’t think the madonna-whore stigma is a strong enough deterrence

    Sorry – but how would you know? It’s not aimed at you so how on earth could you know how much this affects women’s behaviour? It’s so engrained and pervasive that most women don’t consciously consider how they tailor their behaviour as a consequence!

  23. 423
    Crys T says:

    from the perspective of a young man (or at least me), it seems not just apparent, but extremely, blatantly obvious that women don’t have as much sex drive as men do on average

    At the risk of being really rude, I have to say that you ought to consider that just because a woman doesn’t have a sexual response towards YOU, that doesn’t mean she has a “low sex drive” IN GENERAL.

    A secret: most women want/like sex A LOT. However, that doesn’t mean that we will put out for any snotty little jerk who happens to come along and think all he has to do is basically be there in order to merit getting it on with us.

  24. 424
    someone says:

    Way to take a part of Aegis’s post out of context Crys T… but anyway you see… for women it is actually true that all they have to do is to be there, and they will have guys approaching them. :)

  25. 425
    someone says:

    More about “madonna-whore complex” and areas…
    I don’t know about you Spicy, but in my area I can see little girls (8 year old or so) walking around dressed up in short belly-exposing tank tops and such.

    In fact I am tired of all kinds of people defending the oversexualization of society that is happening.
    It does no good to anyone, including these little girls themselves when they grow up.
    These girls grow up learning to view their body as some sort of a commodity, like a car or a bicycle.
    And of course many girls become neurotic and insecure, especially when they compare themselves with the more attractive girls, and attractive women they see on TV all the time.
    I don’t think that if a teenage girl grows up with people constantly staring at her half-naked body, it will do anything good to her.

    And then there is the issue of people not treating relationships seriously.

    This is because they have learned already in their childhood years that it is perfectly fine to have as many sexual partners as you want, it’s perfectly fine to cheat because “everyone does it”, it’s perfectly fine to dump someone without bothering to do something to fix the relationship, etc.

  26. 426
    Spicy says:

    Umm… maybe I’m being especially dense but I have no idea how your previous post relates to anything I’ve said?

  27. 427
    La Lubu says:

    someone: Are there any Abercrombie & Fitch stores where you live? There are literally wall-to-wall blown-up photos of lean, muscular young men on the walls. Occasionally, a few young women, but the majority emphasis is on young men. That’s their market. Perhaps young men aren’t wearing tank tops or going shirtless where you live because the climate is colder; everywhere the climate is warm young men peel off their shirts anywhere outside where young women are likely to be. There’s a park practically right behind my house; I see this ritual all the time. The young guys are out there flexing for the ladies. I’m having a really hard time believing you haven’t seen this, even if you don’t participate. When I was around your age, my female friends and I would specifically go hang out somewhere next to a roofing job; the roofers were mostly young guys, almost always extremely well built, and always shirtless. We liked looking!

    I’ve got a real problem with your assumption that eight-year-old girls are wearing halter tops because they want to attract male attention. The sexualization of prepubescent girls is something that is taking place in the eye of the pedophile watching them; it’s not something the girls are bringing on themselves. I wore halter tops when I was eight, back in the days of yore before anyone was fulminating about grade-school hootchie mamas. Back then, we just recognized that the weather was HOT!!, and halters and shorts were a good way to beat the heat. I’ve got a daughter going into kindergarten this year. Baggage like this is shit that she just doesn’t need.

    Come to think of it, the rest of us don’t need that shit either. I was an “early-developer”, and it made my life hell. My body itself? Nope. The reaction of others to my body is what made my life hell. I didn’t take pride in my body; I didn’t “show it off”. I was embarrassed, angry, and humiliated at the way I was treated just because of the size of my breasts. And it didn’t matter what I wore; I got every bit the same amount of negative and/or unwanted attention in cowl-neck sweaters that I did in tank tops. I didn’t dress to show off my body, because for once since growing breasts, I wanted me to take center-stage, not my body. I didn’t have that option, no matter what I wore or how much I tried to slouch in my seat. I dressed for the weather, and for what colors looked good on me.

    It’s a different dynamic for young men. They have a greater freedom to reveal or not reveal their bodies, without others making assumptions on their character. The young men at the park in my neighborhood can flex without anyone thinking they are “slutty” because of it. They aren’t treated like hell when their shoulders broaden and their voice gets deeper. Older women aren’t slowing down their cars and hooting and hollering at the shirtless young men walking by. Carloads of women my age aren’t driving by solitary young men and yelling, “hey babeee! How’s about sucking on my tits!” Young men can feel an ownership over their bodies and their attractiveness that young women can’t. Young men can assume that they won’t be raped, regardless of their clothing choice, and that if they are, no one will say that it was their fault. Even at my age, that’s a freedom I can still only dream about.

    And that oughta take us back to the beginning, shouldn’t it?

  28. 428
    Crys T says:

    Way to take a part of Aegis’s post out of context Crys T…

    Rubbish. If a man insists that women have lower sex drives, in the face of women themselves saying, “No pal, you’re wrong,” then that man needs a wake-up call. If you think women don’t want sex based on how they act around YOU, well, do I have to draw you a diagram?

    but anyway you see… for women it is actually true that all they have to do is to be there, and they will have guys approaching them.

    As for the idea that any woman can walk into any bar and pull without effort: oh please. Maybe if they’re actual Super Models. Otherwise, the whole thing of going after what you want applies to both sexes. The only difference is that in most places, due to societal constraints, women are forced to go about it in a subtler way.

    And as for the idea that women just sit around passively waiting for Alpha Males /rolls eyes/ to choose them, all I can say is that when women are in situations where they feel free to let their desires be known without fear of punishment for “slutty” behaviour, women can be as sexually assertive as any male. I’ve seen it In Real Life, rather than basing my opinions on figurative what-ifs and bad TV, you know? Again, at the risk of being rude, just because no women are walking up to you in bars to pick you up without your having to do anything but show up, well, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to other guys.

  29. 429
    someone says:

    Spicy, I am trying to say that “modern society” is not nearly as sexually repressive as you are picturing it, and I don’t belive that the main reason for women preferring to be passive in these matters is that they are afraid of being labelled a slut… Even the girls that actually do refer to themselves as sluts jokingly, make plenty of sexual jokes, act openly sexual, still prefer to wait for the guy to show interest first.
    I am speaking about the type of girls that demonstrate a blowjob on a bottle, make loud sexual comments, flash their boobs in public, and such. They don’t seem sexually repressed to me, but they still act “passive” most of the time.
    Why? Because this is the way things are set up.

    Maybe it is partly due to a lesser level of immediate visual attraction, Aegis puts it nicely here:

    This could be evidence that the female sex drive takes more time to “warm up,”? or it could be evidence that perhaps females need more time to register a man’s attractiveness than males do to register a woman’s attractiveness.

    Or maybe it is mostly due to strong cultural notions about dating, which are reinforced in many ways.

    But it isn’t true to say that this is almost entirely because of a fear of being called a slut. That doesn’t make sense.

    Read post 419 by Aegis, it is very nice and well-written.

  30. 430
    someone says:

    This stuff is really getting boring now…
    What do you lose by admitting that women do act less proactive?
    What do you lose by admitting that women do rely more on looks to attract someone?
    There is the whole world out there to prove this.

    You don’t have to agree with the underlying reasons for this that I am suggesting, but at least you can agree that these phenomena exist?

    Or are you trying to say that women and men rely on looks equally to attract someone, and that women and men are equally active in searching for sexual partners/relationships in a straightforward manner? (as opposed to hints)

  31. 431
    Spicy says:

    Spicy, I am trying to say that “modern society”? is not nearly as sexually repressive as you are picturing it

    There’s a difference between repression and oppression. The evidence you offer for the former – the growing sexualisation of girls (as in children, not young women) – is evidence of the latter.

    If you grow up in a culture that continually values what you look like over what you do – guess what? Lots of those subject to this (i.e. woman) will emphasise the former.

    If, however, you grow up in a culture that values you for the latter, you end up with a wardrobe such as you have described yourself owning.

    In both cases, the relationship you are trying to ‘prove’ exists between these differing wardrobes and the levels of ones sexual interest, visual attraction etc is convoluted to say the least.

    But it isn’t true to say that this is almost entirely because of a fear of being called a slut.

    Why?

    That doesn’t make sense.

    Why?

  32. 432
    someone says:

    Crys T

    Rubbish. If a man insists that women have lower sex drives, in the face of women themselves saying, “No pal, you’re wrong,”? then that man needs a wake-up call.

    Crys T, this kind of stuff is a bad argument. If you are female then you can’t make an accurate statement on how strong your sexual drive is compared to the male one, because you don’t know what it is like.
    You don’t know what a heterosexual male feels when he is looking at a sexy woman, and how much of an effect it has. (A whole lot, and it’s addictive too.)

    The only way we can compare is by judging people’s behaviour and looking for signs of “sexual drive” and “visual interest”. (These are two related but different things that you continue mixing up.)

    But even then there is too many variables involved, and it doesn’t really give much.
    I think it’s better to abandon this argument, and simply operate with observations.
    Like: “In contemporary western society, the female body is more sexualized than the male body.”

  33. 433
    someone says:

    more Crys T

    If you grow up in a culture that continually values what you look like over what you do – guess what? Lots of those subject to this (i.e. woman) will emphasise the former.

    “A culture that values what a woman looks like over what she does like” is not the same as making an observation of a phenomenon, but it is observing a phenomenon togeteher with providing an explanation for it.
    The phenomenon is “there is a stronger emphasis on clothes and looks for women”.
    Your explanation is “because they live in a culture that values their looks over what they do.”

    I think that your explanation is partly correct. An attractive (above the average level) woman will usually be more valued/recognized than an average-looking one that has some skills or knowledge (and more than an average looking man that has some skills or knowledge too).

    In both cases, the relationship you are trying to ‘prove’ exists between these differing wardrobes and the levels of ones sexual interest, visual attraction etc is convoluted to say the least.

    I didn’t bring up the wardrobe thing as an argument in the discussion of visual attraction, but rather as an argument in the discussion of the level to which male and female bodies are sexualized.

    But anyway, I think it’s better to abandon the debate about sexual drive and visual atraction, and use neutral observations instead, separating them from possible explanations.

  34. 434
    someone says:

    Interesting link related to our topic.
    Heh… A charming girl isn’t she. :)
    Must be one of those sexually repressed ones that wait for the guy to approach them because they are afraid to be thought of as a slut?

  35. 435
    piny says:

    If the experiences of _every single woman on this thread_ aren’t enough to convince you that your schema are wrong, then why is the example of a single woman enough to prove that you’re right? No one is saying that all women choose as a result of slut-bashing to stop having sex. Some women decide that sex is all they have to trade on. Nor is anyone saying that women aren’t approached more often by men. That isn’t at all counter to the idea that women aren’t allowed to admit to sexual desire. Men are allowed to be more openly sexual more often, and more sexually aggressive.

    Also, she _is_ waiting to be approached. She writes in her profile about _men_ contacting _her._ Probably because so many of them already have.

  36. 436
    piny says:

    >>Crys T, this kind of stuff is a bad argument. If you are female then you can’t make an accurate statement on how strong your sexual drive is compared to the male one, because you don’t know what it is like.
    You don’t know what a heterosexual male feels when he is looking at a sexy woman, and how much of an effect it has. (A whole lot, and it’s addictive too.)>>

    Actually, we can look at that literary and cultural tradition you were talking about several posts ago, and listen to all our male friends openly and unapologetically discussing their libidos and think, “Yeah, I feel that way, too. I did all that stuff. I stare at hot people. I have objectifying, lustful thoughts. I masturbate all the time. I own sex toys and erotica. That’s what adolescence was like for me!” All you can do is look at a relatively closeted sexuality that you can’t experience firsthand and that you’re extremely unlikely to get any intimate view of–we’ve got centuries of hetero male sexuality in writing, in addition to your testimony right here.

    And for the umpteenth time, men’s bodies have just as strong an effect on women as the one you’re describing. The fact that women can’t speak about it as openly doesn’t mean the response isn’t there.

  37. 437
    Amanda says:

    Someone, you can’t extrapolate from the sexual frustration of the teenage male that women in general don’t want sex. In fact, you can’t even extrapolate that teenage girls are less horny than you. What they are is more afraid of getting called a slut.

  38. 438
    Robert says:

    And for the umpteenth time, men’s bodies have just as strong an effect on women as the one you’re describing.

    How do you know? Isn’t the whole gist of the (justified) criticism of someone that he is asserting as fact something that he does not have first-hand experience of?

    None of us can know the whole picture. Some intellectual humility seems to be called for here.

  39. 439
    Aegis says:

    Crys T said:

    At the risk of being really rude, I have to say that you ought to consider that just because a woman doesn’t have a sexual response towards YOU, that doesn’t mean she has a “low sex drive”? IN GENERAL.

    Go back and read my post 419 before you jump to such hasty conclusions.

    Spicy said:

    There is another aspect which you have missed here – namely that in the eyes of some males their worth is tied to their ability to initiate things.

    True. Perhaps a reason that females are less sexually proactive than males is because they don’t want to hurt the guy’s ego or emasculate him.

    Sorry – but how would you know? It’s not aimed at you so how on earth could you know how much this affects women’s behaviour? It’s so engrained and pervasive that most women don’t consciously consider how they tailor their behaviour as a consequence!

    It’s hard to believe that the madonna-whore complex is much of a deterrent when I virtually never hear a girl being called a “slut.” Perhaps my male friends suddenly start referring to girls as “sluts” whenever I leave the room? I am kind of suspicious of the emphasis that some posters here give to the madonna-whore complex. How do I know that they aren’t exaggerating? Or even if they aren’t, they can only know how strong the stigma is in their area, so their conclusions may not be universal.

    I think that in many subcultures in the US, the word “slut”, like the word “bitch,” has lost most of its sting over the last few decades. In some areas, like mine, the word “slut” is actually pretty rare. In other areas, the word “slut” may still be used, but it may not carry such heavy negative connotations; for instance, someone has mentioned that he has seen some young women calling each other “slut” as a term of endearment, or even calling themselves “sluts” as kind of a badge of honor. I agree that even such seemingly-”positive” use of the word “slut” is problematic, but it’s hard to argue that it is responsible for stopping such females from being initiators. Perhaps in such subcultures, some young females have to some extent succeeded in “reclaiming” the word “slut.” I don’t doubt that the slut stigma is still going strong in some subcultures, but I question the extent to which it is universally prevalent and negative.

    Even if the madonna-whore complex was so universally negative, it still wouldn’t explain why females are less proactive than males. In my area at least, it’s pretty unlikely that a woman would be considered a slut simply for asking a guy out or telling him she liked him (before he had told her he liked her). Yet it is relatively rare for young females to engage in those proactive behaviors. Obviously there is something stopping them other than fear of looking like a slut. The other explanations I gave in post #419 are much more probable and straightforward explanation of the lack of female proactivity.

  40. 440
    Amanda says:

    Aegis, your circles might have a different slang word for “slut”, but in most of the country, people are deeply interested in defining how many sex partners makes a slut. Sort of like how many licks to the center of the Tootsie Pop.

  41. 441
    Aegis says:

    I did some research what males and females find attractive. Here is what I found:

    1. Beauty is not entirely subjective. Rubenstein et al. (1999) found that infants spend more time looking at conventionally attractive faces. Langlois et al .(2000) found that some aspects of beauty are not just in the eye of the beholder.

    Of course, these studies do not mean that attractiveness is completely invariant, only that certain aspects of attractiveness are invariant.

    2. Looks form a larger portion of the sexual/physical attractiveness of females, while personality forms a larger portion of male attractiveness.
    Berry & Miller (2001) found that:

    Women’s physical attractiveness…but not their personality scores…predicted their own, their partner’s, and observers’ evaluations of interaction quality, with more attractive women experiencing better quality interactions than less attractive women. Conversely, men’s personality scores…extraversion, in particular…predicted their own and observers’ ratings of the quality of their interactions, with more extraverted men experiencing better quality interactions than less extraverted men. Men’s physical attractiveness was unrelated to any measure of interaction quality. Similarity in dyad members’ attractiveness was also unrelated to evaluations of their interactions.

    I’m not sure if others will be able to access the pdf version of the full article, so here are a couple excerpts:

    The most common alternative explanation of attractiveness effects in general…and sex differences in the value placed on attractiveness in particular…can be generally described as ”sociocultural” in nature. In contrast to the evolutionary view that these preferences reflect psychological adaptations that evolved via sexual selection, sociocultural views posit that the value placed on physical attractiveness is learned. Consensus in people’s perceptions of or responses to attractiveness is assumed to reflect exposure to similar cultural values. Thus, proponents of this perspective argue that sex differences in the interpersonal consequences of attractiveness are observed because people embrace societal beliefs about the importance of women’s attractiveness (cf. Jackson, 1992). Although learning and culture doubtless perpetuate attractiveness effects, sociocultural perspectives fail to address the important issue of the origins of these beliefs; the sociocultural explanation is essentially that the observed sex differences occur because society teaches and reinforces such sex differences; although perhaps true, this account does not provide insights into the source of societal beliefs. Recent documentation of impressive cross-cultural consensus in judgments of attractiveness (cf. Langlois et al., 2000, for a review) and the discrimination of attractiveness in very young infants (e.g., Langlois et al., 1987; Slater et al., 1998) casts further doubt on the ability of sociocultural explanations to account for attractiveness preferences (cf. Berry,2000). 3

    These results make sense to me based on experience for two reasons:

    1. They are consistent with what many females have told me. I’ve often heard stuff like “oh, I don’t care so much about looks, I just like it when a guy has this ‘air’ about him…”

    2. A couple years ago, I was very repressed and shy around women. Although I am moderately good looking, I was virtually invisible to women as anything but a friend, despite being very accomplished and admired. After I actually learned some social skills and stopped acting uptight all the time instead of whining about how girls were so “shallow” and “immature” for not wanting me, girls suddenly started paying attention to me. My looks barely changed, yet it was like the difference between night and day, and it seems to be due to the change in my outward personality.

    Note: strangely enough these results do NOT necessarily mean that women are less visual than men! It just means that if women are attracted to men visually, they are attracted to something other than looks. For instance, a man’s body language or facial expressions may form a larger aspect aspect of male attractiveness than female body language do to female attractiveness. This hypothesis would make sense, considering that (a) females have been shown to be more sensitive to body language, facial expressions, and nonverbal communication than males, and (b) body language and facial expressions convey a lot about one’s personality and charisma, and we know that those qualities are a greater determinant of male attractiveness than looks. In short, females could still be just as visual, or almost as visual as males, because although they don’t seem to place such an emphasis on looks, certain aspects of personality/charisma are registered visually.

    Also, females placing less of an emphasis on looks doesn’t mean they a lower sex drive than males. Currently, females on average are (or at least seem) less outwardly sexual, but this may be due to cultural conditioning, stigmas and repression (though the socially-constructed aspect of a phenomenon doesn’t make it any less real or changeable). Yet I don’t think it’s clear either way whether males or females are inherently more sexual than the other, or have equal sex drives; each of those hypotheses seems unsupported (which I why I prefer to remain agnostic on the subject like Ampersand and Robert).

  42. 442
    Aegis says:

    Amanda said:

    Someone, you can’t extrapolate from the sexual frustration of the teenage male that women in general don’t want sex.

    Amanda, someone has never claimed that women don’t want sex. It seems like you are intentionally misreading him.

    Amanda said:

    Aegis, your circles might have a different slang word for “slut”?, but in most of the country, people are deeply interested in defining how many sex partners makes a slut. Sort of like how many licks to the center of the Tootsie Pop.

    Good point. I have heard the word “trashy” sometimes, but even that is pretty rare. And it is usually a slur more for girls who go to drunken hookup parties. So yes, there is a bit of a stigma, but it is still not common. It mostly only applies to young women who are sexual in the specific context of the hookup scene. The meaning of the stigma seems to have drifted from “girl who is sexual” to “girl who is sexual under the influence of alcohol at parties.” And even this stigma doesn’t seem to stop many young women from having drunken hookups, so it can’t be that strong. I also agree that women who have a considerable amount of sexual partners (say: 10-15+) are more looked down on than males who do the same thing (or be considered more likely to have STDs, which is a subtler version of the stigma). But here the stigma only seems to kick in when the number of partners gets high, so it’s difficult to argue that it is much of a deterrent to women in general.

    Robert said:

    How do you know? Isn’t the whole gist of the (justified) criticism of someone that he is asserting as fact something that he does not have first-hand experience of?

    None of us can know the whole picture. Some intellectual humility seems to be called for here.

    But Robert, you forget that “intellectual humility” is a male standard of behavior that advantages the privileged in any discussion ;)

    La Lubu said:

    someone: Are there any Abercrombie & Fitch stores where you live? There are literally wall-to-wall blown-up photos of lean, muscular young men on the walls. Occasionally, a few young women, but the majority emphasis is on young men.

    Still, I think it’s pretty difficult to argue that the male body is as sexualized as the female body.

    It’s a different dynamic for young men. They have a greater freedom to reveal or not reveal their bodies, without others making assumptions on their character.

    I agree with you here. This is one of the few believable examples of “male privilege” that I have heard. The flipside is that males cannot gain as much sexual desireability from revealing their bodies as women can (see the research I cited in my previous post). A man’s sexiness doesn’t increase so dramatically as he shows more skin, while a woman’s does. That is an example of female privilege. This systems privileges AND burdens both males and females, in different ways and in different times. In some contexts, females are burdened by the extra attention that is paid to their looks. In other contexts, such as attracting a mate, females can get much more mileage out of their physical appearance than men can. In contexts where sexiness is a disadvantage, this system benefits males more; in contexts where sexiness is an advantage, this system benefits females more.

    Who has the advantage overall? In this case, it is difficult to say, because the system advantages and disadvantages both sexes on both an objective and subjective level. A woman who is taken less seriously in the professional world may be impacted objectively by encountering discrimination, and subjectively in terms of self-confidence. A man who is taken less seriously in the world of dating and relationships is impacted subjectively in terms of happiness and objectively because of greater difficulty finding a partner, and on the level of health and avoidance of stress (because close social relationships have been shown to improve health and reduce stress). Deciding which of these outcomes is worse is really like comparing apples to oranges. (Btw, Ampersand, difficult comparisons like this are why I claimed in another thread that it can be problematic to measure female and male disadvantages up against each other.)

    piny said:

    Men are allowed to be more openly sexual more often, and more sexually aggressive.

    Correct. This is another example of male privilege (although I wouldn’t use the word “allowed,” but rather “encouraged”). The flipside of this norm is that males must be sexually aggressive to do well with females, and that (attractive) females who wish to sit back and be passive can do so. Like with showing skin, the norm of males being more sexually aggressive and proactive privileges BOTH men and women in some ways, and burdens them both in other ways. How can this be? Because males and females are not homogenous.

    This system privileges sexually aggressive, assertive, extroverted males, and passive females; it punishes sexually aggressive females and passive males. Unlike the norms for showing skin, I think the norms for initiation clearly benefit females more than they benefit males. If you are a female who desires to be sexually aggressive but feels that she shouldn’t, that sucks, but at least you do have the option to be passive and wait for a guy to come to you. If you are a male who is passive, you are totally screwed, because the chances of a woman making direct advances on you, while not nonexistent, are pretty damn slim. Being a sexually aggressive female under the current system might mean not having the type of partner or relationship you might want; being a passive male under this system means not having a partner at all, unless you are very attractive or very lucky. And I think that males who are too passive are more common than females who want to be sexually aggressive.

  43. 443
    Amanda says:

    Aegis, you really aren’t in a place to tell women that we don’t tailor our behavior out of fear of getting a bad reputation. How do you know? It’s pretty much the height of sexism when men tell women what women think. Since you clearly know better than I what I think.

    I’m roundly sick of a conversation where men insist that they don’t have privilege unless they can command sex from any woman at any time.

  44. 444
    Robert says:

    I’m roundly sick of a conversation where men insist that they don’t have privilege unless they can command sex from any woman at any time.

    But he isn’t insisting that he doesn’t have privilege. He’s saying that you have privilege too.

  45. 445
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    I’m not reading that in the posts – what privileges exactly are women supposedly endowed with according to him? What am I missing here?

  46. 446
    Robert says:

    Post 442.

  47. 447
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    gain as much sexual desireability from revealing their bodies

    That’s a privilege? Gee, here all along I thought that was objectifying.

  48. 448
    mousehounde says:

    A man’s sexiness doesn’t increase so dramatically as he shows more skin, while a woman’s does. That is an example of female privilege.

    How is this a privilege?

  49. 449
    La Lubu says:

    Exactly. I’m having a hard time seeing this as a “privilege” too. More like, it’s a privilege on the part of males to be able to view The Female Body in any context, as being sexual. Males get to choose when, where, and by whom their bodies are going to be primarily seen as a sexual object. Women don’t.

    See guys, for us, this doesn’t translate well. For women, being viewed as a sex object isn’t mainly a positive experience, because most of the time it happens completely out of any context that should be considered ‘sexual’. Like, on the job, or in a job interview. For most of us, our first experiences at being viewed as a sex object were highly negative. My first experiences at being viewed as a sex object was street harassment by adult men, when I was in grade school; creepy old dudes coming on to me, an obvious child behind the boobs. I didn’t view this as a privilege, and if it happens to your daughter, you won’t view it as her privilege, either.

    When you’re talking about ‘privilege’, keep in mind that you’re talking about power dynamics. Women are not in a position of power relative to men.

    Think about what I said earlier about how you won’t find carloads of women my age following young male pedestrians around catcalling the young men to perform sexual acts on them. Think about why that is. Better yet, think about possible reasons why sexual admiration or desire from a man to a woman is often inscribed with a certain level of disrespect or contempt.

  50. 450
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Here ye, here ye! I’d like to introduce America’s New Privileged Class! That’s right folks, I’d like to Introduce ‘The Stripper!’

    No more shall we speculate on what privilege looks like, or how it works, that’s right; for a mere $20, you can view privilege up close and personal from the comfort of your own lap!

    ….Yeah, I’m just not feeling it.

  51. 451
    Aegis says:

    Amanda said:

    Aegis, you really aren’t in a place to tell women that we don’t tailor our behavior out of fear of getting a bad reputation.

    Ugh, I did my best to be balanced in my last couple posts, and I even admitted to some aspects of male privilege, yet still I am faced with hostility and blatant distortions of my words. I can totally see why someone lost his cool earlier in the thread… what incentive is there to be balanced, or to admit to male privilege and areas where feminists are right, if I am going to be demonized even when I do?

    Amanda, I never said that women didn’t tailor their behavior; in fact, I am sure that some women do. I said that in my subculture, the madonna-whore complex doesn’t seem to make as much of a difference as you say it does, and that it is not sufficient as an explanation of why females aren’t as proactive as males. I don’t need to be able to read women’s minds to know this. As I mentioned in post #419, a large subset of women doesn’t seem afraid of looking like a “slut,” because they go out to drunken parties to hook up with guys. If they were so afraid of looking like “sluts,” or their reputations were at risk, then why is this happening? As I mentioned (but you didn’t address), the “slut” stigma has some its sting and seems mainly to be applied to girls who are very sexual in the context of alcohol and partying. Also, some young women seem to be attempting to reclaim “slut” as a positive term.

    The reason that the madonna-whore complex cannot explain the lack of female proactiveness is this: there are some ways that a woman can initiate (asking a guy out, asking for his number, telling him she likes him) that would not automatically make her branded a slut, at least over here. Yet the rate at which females engage in those initiatives is still very low. Obviously, there must be something other than the slut stigma stopping them. What exactly is the problem with me pointing this out?

    It’s pretty much the height of sexism when men tell women what women think. Since you clearly know better than I what I think.

    Show where I have told women what women think. I am not contradicting what “women” think, I am contradicting what you think, and you most certainly do not speak for all women. As I have said, there are many females who don’t agree with you, and don’t behave as if the madonna-whore complex is as much of a big deal as you say it is. When you make claims like “In fact, you can’t even extrapolate that teenage girls are less horny than you. What they are is more afraid of getting called a slut.” from post #437, it is you who is saying what women think. How can you know that the reason they seem less horny is because they are afraid of getting called sluts? Can you read their minds? I can believe that the madonna-whore complex might be a big problem in your area, but it is incorrect to claim that it is the same everywhere, and arrogant for you to claim that women you don’t know have the same experience of it as you do. I don’t doubt your claims about your experience, but I do doubt whether your experience is universal.

    I’m roundly sick of a conversation where men insist that they don’t have privilege unless they can command sex from any woman at any time.

    I don’t know where you are getting that from, but it sure isn’t from me. Where have I said anything imply that?

    Amanda, your apparent hostility and insistence on misreading my posts is very alienating. If you continue doing this, I am eventually going to stop responding to you. If my posts are confusing or too long, simply ask me to clarify or summarize before reading the worst into my words.

  52. 452
    Robert says:

    So if I don’t like my male privilege, or if I find the power structures that surround and buttress those privilege uncomfortable or oppressive, or if my privilege has made me feel uncomfortable or alienated, or if my privilege caused me problems when I was young and did not know how to handle the power, or if other people gave me a hard time or ran me down because of my privilege, then it doesn’t count as privilege, right?

    Because that’s what you’re saying about YOUR privilege. So I assume that it works in reverse.

    Right?

  53. 453
    mousehounde says:

    So if I don’t like my male privilege, or if I find the power structures that surround and buttress those privilege uncomfortable or oppressive, or if my privilege has made me feel uncomfortable or alienated, or if my privilege caused me problems when I was young and did not know how to handle the power, or if other people gave me a hard time or ran me down because of my privilege, then it doesn’t count as privilege, right?

    Interesting. But it doesn’t really answer the question. How does “more skin revealed=increased sexiness” translate into a privilege for women? What is the privilege?

  54. 454
    Robert says:

    How does “more skin revealed=increased sexiness”? translate into a privilege for women? What is the privilege?

    “More skin revealed = increased sexiness” is your formulation. I am not going to try to defend Aegis’ ideas using your formulation of them.

    Which words of Aegis’, asserting female privilege, would you like me to unpack?

  55. 455
    mousehounde says:

    “More skin revealed = increased sexiness”? is your formulation.

    No, it was Aegis’.
    Aegis said:

    A man’s sexiness doesn’t increase so dramatically as he shows more skin, while a woman’s does. That is an example of female privilege.

    Post 442. I believe that is where you told Kim to look when she asked what “privileges” women were endowed with. I should have quoted it again to avoid confusion. Or perhaps this was not the statement you were referring to when you directed her to the whole post.

    My question was “How is this a privilege?”.

  56. 456
    Ampersand says:

    Some general notes:

    I’m convinced that sexist expectations and gender roles hurt both girls and boys – although the degree of harm varies a lot according to the individual, and some lucky individuals even flourish under sexist gender roles, at least for a while.

    So it’s an error to even implicitly make zero-sum assumptions – for instance, if someone points out that life often sucks in jr high school for girls, that doesn’t mean that they’re saying or implying that life is always easy for jr. high school boys. (And vice versa).

    I think that standard gender roles are – on the whole – harmful more than beneficial, and especially so for women. That doesn’t mean that some people – including some women – don’t get a lot of pleasure out of their ability to fit into standard gender role conventions. “One the whole” doesn’t mean “without any exceptions.”

    As far as jr high school and high school dating scenes go, this is a situation where it’s quite possible – and, I believe, normal – for most people of both sexes to lose out. It’s a rotten system for everyone except a very few people who, due to a lucky combination of class, personality and looks, wound up at the top of their school’s social heap. However, it’s pure “grass is greenerism” for someone to say “well, it sucks to be my sex, but the people of the other sex had it pretty good.” No, they didn’t, for the most part; the high school dating scene sucks for everyone.

    However, saying that it sucks for everyone isn’t the same thing as saying that everyone has it equally bad. Yes, it sucked to be a boy in the high school dating scene. But the fact is, boys in high school virtually never experience rape or attempted rape. That one fact alone puts the “equally bad or worse for boys” theory onto the trash heap, in my opinion.

  57. 457
    Robert says:

    What he said, and how you formulated it, are significantly different. I will be glad to unpack what Aegis said; I’m sure if I get it wrong, he’ll chime in.

    Both men and women have the option of dressing unattractively – of sending an unmistakable social signal that says “not open for business”.

    Both men and women have the option of modifying their dress “upwards” in order to change the valence of and increase the intensity of their sexual signaling. The means vary by culture and by economic strata; more skin = more sexy is highly reductive and not always right (a lot of the time it’s WHICH skin, and other times there are other factors – but in America, 2005, more skin is generally more sexy). However, the upper bound for women in terms of sexual signaling through dress is very high. The upper bound for men is modest. Men and women can both murmur, whisper, speak; only women can yell.

    The ability to yell – the ability to use a portion of the communication spectrum exclusively – is a privilege. There are doubtless many women who don’t want or use this privilege, but nonetheless it exists – just as I am privileged by the fact that I can go join the Augusta golf club, whether I want to do that or not. Women have a power that men do not; that’s privilege.

    Men have a privilege on this scale, too – we can go lower than women can and still be deemed socially acceptable in at least some contexts. I can go to the grocery store in clothing that my wife wouldn’t wear to shovel manure, and nobody will look at me twice; a woman would get stared at and judged. I have a power that women do not; that’s privilege.

  58. 458
    Ampersand says:

    By the way, since we’re approaching 500 posts on this thread, it’s long past time for me to start a new thread (and thus show some mercy for folks with slower connections). If anyone has a suggestion for the title or topic of the new thread, I’d appreciate hearing it. :-)

  59. 459
    Robert says:

    “Oh Christ, Now ROBERT Has To Open His God-Damn Mouth, This Thread Will NEVER DIE”

  60. 460
    Robert says:

    OK, here’s a serious one.

    What is female power?

    Feminism is one response to the power imbalance that favors men, right? OK, but it is a power imbalance. We don’t have a hyperpower situation, where men have everything and women nothing; if we did, then men wouldn’t need all these tools of oppression and defended privileges and all the rest; we’d just scratch ourselves and demand beer from the nearest female before we headed out to mate with the latest crop of nubile virgins.

    I can think of two contributing factors to the distance, whatever its exact magnitude, between that scenario and the reality we live in: individual male neutrality or benevolence, and female power.

    Talking about individual male benevolence might be fun, but talking about the nature of female power might be more productive. It’d certainly result in more listening silence, at least from this male; I got nothing but questions.

  61. 461
    mousehounde says:

    What he said, and how you formulated it, are significantly different

    No, it isn’t.
    I said: How does “more skin revealed=increased sexiness”? translate into a privilege for women?
    Ageas’ said:A man’s sexiness doesn’t increase so dramatically as he shows more skin, while a woman’s does. That is an example of female privilege.
    So, what Aegis said was that the more more skin a woman shows, the more increased her sexiness and that is a female privilege. How is that different?

  62. 462
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Robert;

    I think part of what you seem to be missing is that under your theory, and Aegis’s, a woman has to dress a specific way to either divert or garner attention, wanted or not. You’ve point blank stated that men, on the other hand, can dress as they will and be free of most judgement that would fall on the shoulders of a woman.

    That’s -not- privilege. That’s responsibility, and unwarranted responsibility at that – a woman is responsible for wearing clothing subject to the scrutiny and approval of others to assure being treated with respect, whereas a man is free from that particular ‘privilege’.

    Also, what is this ‘women can yell’ privilege. I don’t at all get that one, perhaps because in my own home yelling (in anger) is frowned upon by both myself and my spouse in our partnership, and we both own up to and apologise for those times when we do.

  63. 463
    Aegis says:

    Beauty definitely causes women to have sexual power. First, I will define what I mean by “sexual power:”
    Sexual power is the characteristic that allows you to (a) attract mates sexually, (b) instill admiration/awe into mates, (b) have greater choice over ones potential mates, and the attractiveness of those mates, (c ) expend less effort and energy into the process of attracting a mate, and (d) gain tangible material benefits because of your sexuality. More choice + less effort + more material benefits = more power. There are probably a few other dimensions to it that I haven’t figured out yet.

    An important relative of sexual power is the degree to which you feel sexually attractive. This variable is partially determined by sexual power, but it is moderated by your self-image, which is why beautiful people can often feel unnattractive. Sexual power does not necessarily have anything to do with the respect you receive, your level of self-esteem, the social or economic power you have, or your success in finding or having relationships (because relationships depend on platonic attraction / emotional connection in addition to sexual attraction). Yet sexual power can heavily influence all of those factors, both positively and negatively. The influence is simply moderated by other variables such as your reputation, your personality, etc…

    Why does beauty translate into “sexual power” for women? For several reasons:

    1. Beauty gives women the power to attract mates. As the study I linked to showed, physical attractiveness is a major component of female sexual attractiveness to males. Beauty gives a woman more choices in potential mates, and the choice of more attractive mates, and this is power.

    2. Beauty gives women the ability to cause admiration, awe, and shock in men. In other words, beauty gives women power not only to sexually attract men, but to influence male emotions also (in high amounts, even to the point of being able to intimidate and cow some men). This is power, regardless of whether males treat females positively or negatively in response to it.

    3. Beauty gives women the option to do less work in courtship than males do, due to current social norms that prescribe male initiation. This is power. Women have the choice to be passive or proactive (at least in some contexts); men need to be much more attractive before the choice of being passive becomes realistic, and this choice is power. Note: I am not saying that women don’t do any of the work in initial courtship, only that they don’t have to do as much. I am also not saying that women do less work in relationships (because relationships require skills other than attracting someone), only that they have less work in attracting a mate. Neither am I saying that being beautiful doesn’t take work, only that most of the work can be done in advance at the store and in front of the mirror, so it’s not actually done during the courtship itself. (If I could buy some kind of cream that would make me witty and charismatic all day, I would.)

    4. Beauty gives (some) women the ability to receive tangible material benefits such as unreciprocated favors, gifts, or dinners/meals from males. Love poems too. This is partly due to the anachronistic, sexist construction of romance. But having people willing to do shit for you just for the privilege of basking in your hotness is power, even if you consider such behavior unecessary and patronizing.

    These four are always power for females on an objective level, because have more/better/easier choices is always power (although they can have consequences that are disadvantageous to females). Here are a couple ways that beauty often causes women to have power:

    1. The admiration males feel for beautiful women can easily translate into adoration, especially due to current cultural scripts. Yet the admiration can turn into denigration, if the woman is perceived to dress/act in a slutty manner. Beauty can also cause a woman to be perceived as more intelligent (because physically attractive people are perceived as more intelligent in general), OR to be perceived as less intelligent, depending on the context.

    2. Beautiful women have the opportunity to see themselves as more sexually attractive, because they are treated as more sexually attractive. Yet this effect can be canceled out by low self-esteem. Beautiful women are less likely to grow up socially isolated, because they will get more attention during their formative years. Yet the type of attention they get, competition with other females means that they won’t necessarily develop self-esteem simply from being beautiful.

    Beauty is a tradeoff. Being beautiful may disadvantage women in some ways, but it gives them a lot of power in other ways. To ignore either of these facets of beauty is one-sided. Feminists often seem to ignore the advantages that beauty gives females, and cast female beauty standards simply as oppression. Anti-feminists often ignore the strain that female beauty standards cause women, and see beauty standards as evidence of female narcissism and manipulativeness of men. Both perspectives are one-sided and ignore the bigger picture.

    P.S. Possible issue with this post: Perhaps it is misleading for me to call what I am talking about “sexual power.” Maybe Warren Farrell’s term “beauty power” is more clear. For instance, “sexual power” sounds like it would include things like having quality sex with a partner who gives you orgasms. Females are less likely to experience orgasm in the current culture, so is that an area where females have less sexual power, or is it something else entirely? Perhaps “orgasm power?” Wait… that sounds like it means something else ;)

  64. 464
    Aegis says:

    Kim said:
    That’s a privilege? Gee, here all along I thought that was objectifying.

    It is objectifying. (We will save the debate about what exactly “objectification” is for another time.) It is also a source of privilege. The two are not contradictory at all, because as Ampersand has explained, gender roles are not a zero-sum game. Social norms can be double-edged swords: just because they are objectifying, discriminatory, or damaging to one’s health or self-esteem, it doesn’t mean that they can’t grant privilege in other areas (although whether the advantages and disadvantages balance each other out is a totally different question). The MRA-ish claim that men are oppressed by “having” to earn more money seems just like the feminist claim that women are oppressed from “having” to be beautiful: both of those claims are half true, but they leave out the other half of the bigger picture.

    Understanding the disadvantages that a certain social system grants in one area should not lead us to ignore the way that system also grants certain advantages in another area. Obviously, the pressure on women to be beautiful, and the pressure on men to earn money are both disadvantages. But because of that pressure on men, they often succeed in earning more money, granting them economic power (although this power require sacrifices in other areas). Those poor men, being forced into having all that financial power! Likewise, the pressure on women to be beautiful may result in them improving their beauty, and consequently gaining sexual power over males. Of course, female sexual power does not always translate into respect from males, and it often comes at a price of other types of power.

    La Lubu said:
    More like, it’s a privilege on the part of males to be able to view The Female Body in any context, as being sexual.

    Correct. At the same time, it can also be a disadvantage that we males often have to feel longing for females bodies, or be distracted by them, in contexts where we don’t want to. I’m not saying that the advantages or the disadvantages exactly balance each other out, but this issue clearly cuts both ways.

    Males get to choose when, where, and by whom their bodies are going to be primarily seen as a sexual object. Women don’t.

    I agree that women don’t don’t always have this choice. Men don’t always have this choice either. If a guy is a shy, repressed, “nerd” who stutters or lacks social skills, most women are going to perceive him as asexual no matter what the hell he does with his body. He doesn’t have a choice of how he is perceived either.

    For women, being viewed as a sex object isn’t mainly a positive experience, because most of the time it happens completely out of any context that should be considered ‘sexual’. Like, on the job, or in a job interview. For most of us, our first experiences at being viewed as a sex object were highly negative.

    In post #442, I granted that the tendency for women to be seen as sexual could undermine them in the professional world. My main point was that this tendency also gives women advantages in other areas.

    Surely being viewed sexually can often be a very positive experience for females! Isn’t it nice for an attractive woman to have a guy she really likes become totally smitten with her? Isn’t it nice for her to be able to wait for a guy to approach her, and then let him do most of the work when he does approach?

    And some of my first experiences not being viewed as sexual were negative. I felt competely unnattractive to women until I was age 18, and this had horrible effects on my self-esteem and ability to interact with women. I also remember one time when a friend of mine who went to middle school with me told me only half-jokingly that she would like to marry me some day… just so she could sit in my big house and look at my artwork. I don’t think she would have been interested in dating me in a million years, but apparently I was good for earning money to buy a big house and adorning the walls of said house with paintings. Imagine how you would feel if a guy told you that he would like to marry you simply for your looks.

    I am not saying that a guy who encounters comments like this and feels unnattractive necessarily has things as bad as a woman who gets catcalls and creepy older suitors all the time, just as I am not saying that a man never being seen as sexual in the business world has as much advantage as an attractive women who can easily attract men. Those comparisons are difficult to make.

    La Lubu said:
    Better yet, think about possible reasons why sexual admiration or desire from a man to a woman is often inscribed with a certain level of disrespect or contempt.

    True. It can also be inscribed with adoration, as I explained in my previous post.

  65. 465
    Aegis says:

    Ampersand said:
    So it’s an error to even implicitly make zero-sum assumptions – for instance, if someone points out that life often sucks in jr high school for girls, that doesn’t mean that they’re saying or implying that life is always easy for jr. high school boys. (And vice versa).

    That’s exactly what I was getting at. Also, saying that X is an advantage in some areas doesn’t mean that X cannot be a disadvantage in other areas, and vice versa. This is because are multiple ways in which something can be an advantage or a disadvantage.

    Ampersand said:
    However, saying that it sucks for everyone isn’t the same thing as saying that everyone has it equally bad. Yes, it sucked to be a boy in the high school dating scene. But the fact is, boys in high school virtually never experience rape or attempted rape. That one fact alone puts the “equally bad or worse for boys”? theory onto the trash heap, in my opinion.

    I can’t disagree with you here: rape completely skews the scales.

    By the way, since we’re approaching 500 posts on this thread, it’s long past time for me to start a new thread (and thus show some mercy for folks with slower connections). If anyone has a suggestion for the title or topic of the new thread, I’d appreciate hearing it. :-)

    Oh no, I think my last couple posts just prolonged the thread. If it would make sense to move my post #463 to the new thread when you make it, that might be a good idea. I don’t about a title, because I am not sure which points in this thread you will be focusing on. How about: ” ‘Rape culture?’ What ‘rape culture?’ “, “Incurable skepticism about rape culture”, ” ‘Rape culture,’ gender privilege, and sexual attraction”, “Young adult males strike back” ? On second thoughts, it’s probably better if you don’t use any of those…

  66. 466
    someone says:

    Oh my god…

    Will this thread ever die??

    Ropert vomits out

    How do you know? Isn’t the whole gist of the (justified) criticism of someone that he is asserting as fact something that he does not have first-hand experience of?

    Yes, thank you Robert, because I totally didn’t mention “separation of observations from explanations” in my post 433.

    Thank you Amanda for saying this little gem

    Someone, you can’t extrapolate from the sexual frustration of the teenage male that women in general don’t want sex. In fact, you can’t even extrapolate that teenage girls are less horny than you. What they are is more afraid of getting called a slut.

    After all the observations and possible explanations that me and Aegis provided.

    Thank you piny for totally twisting my words around

    Also, she _is_ waiting to be approached. She writes in her profile about _men_ contacting _her._ Probably because so many of them already have.

    Yes, this is totally not the same thing that I said in my post 434.

    And thank you piny for being so wise to be able to make this logical judgement

    And for the umpteenth time, men’s bodies have just as strong an effect on women as the one you’re describing.

    As if I didn’t mention several times, that just like you say I can’t judge female sexual drive and visual atrraction because I am not female, you can’t judge male sexual drive and visual attraction because you are not male.
    It works both ways piny, damn it!!

    The fact that women can’t speak about it as openly doesn’t mean the response isn’t there.

    Yes, that is a nice “fact” there, not separating observations from explanations.

    This thread sucks.

  67. 467
    someone says:

    By Ropert I mean Robert.

  68. 468
    noodles says:

    If anyone has a suggestion for the title or topic of the new thread, I’d appreciate hearing it. :-)

    Amp, how about:

    “The history of rock’n’roll through tight pants” (cheers Lauren!)

    I have a list ready, just in case ;)

    … Ropert vomits out …

    Far from me to suggest how poster ‘Someone’ should address other people but he has been doing this sort of thing all through the thread, not to mention he just kept on repeating his claims without supporting them only to complain they’ve been misread, and arrogantly ignored any responses that he can’t fit in his formulas… how long does it take for the troll-detector here to activate?

  69. 469
    Ampersand says:

    I have to agree with Noodles, Someone.

    You’ve been treated pretty harshly in this thread, and because of that I’ve given you a lot of latitude – more latitude than I give most posters. I totally acknowlege that you’re not the only rude one here.

    But in the last couple of days you’ve been dishing out much more disrespect than you’ve been taking in, and even if people address you respectfully you still treat them with contempt.

    Either return to the reasonably polite style you were using in your first day or two on “Alas,” or stop posting here. Your choice.

    If you want to discuss this with me, don’t derail the thread; email me to discuss it.

  70. 470
    noodles says:

    This thread sucks.

    Nice, see, that’s the sign of someone who is only honestly interested in discussion.

    Well if this thread sucks, you can definitely congratulate yourself on that achievement, someone.

    Funnily enough, and only as a means of offering an amusing anecdote, last night I was watching a repeat of this brilliant (and very very surreal and disturbing) documentary that I hadn’t caught first time around, called Texas Teenage Virgins. One of the teenagers interviewed, a 17-year-old male who’d taken the pledge, was talking about his own difficulties in sticking to it. The interviewer (a woman) asked him if he thought it was easier for girls to stick to abstinence, and he laughed and replied something like, ‘oh noo, the idea that girls want less sex is a lie, believe me, I don’t know why they seem to have more control but they get just as horny, they want it just as much as we do, only we show it more! ‘

    There you go, just an anecdote mind you, only one voice like any other, but if even a 17-year-old from Luppock, Texas, where in the words of the teenage inhabitants there’s nothing to do except golf, bowling, shopping malls and youth church groups, has copped on to that little well-kept secret, maybe there’s still hope for the teenage troll here?

  71. 471
    noodles says:

    Thanks Ampersand… I don’t actually agree he’s been treated rudely, or rather, I see the responses to him that could be seen as rude as the minimum he could expect when he started dropping his self-evident truths about female sexuality and refused any sort of discussion about them with actual real females. I understand you have to act as the impartial moderator :) but as a partial participant who happens to be female I think it’s only natural the women posters felt a little ticked off by his attitude and ridiculous assertions. I really didn’t see much of a switch between polite and impolite there, I think it was arrogant and ham-fisted from the start. But as I said, I’m partial here…!

  72. 472
    noodles says:

    sorry, that was Lubbock, not Luppock (the local accent tricked me!)

  73. 473
    Aegis says:

    someone:
    You obviously got badly mistreating throughout this thread, yet I think it was a mistake for you to respond in kind.

  74. 474
    La Lubu says:

    Aegis, being viewed sexually can be a positive experience for females. However, I would argue that most women have experienced being viewed sexually as either equally positive and negative, or more negative than positive. Why? Because we don’t get to keep being viewed sexually within its context, in other words, our perceived sexual persona is elbowing into all the nonsexual areas of our lives.

    Like the professional world, for example. No matter how neutral our dress or behavior, the mere fact that we are Female, with a Female Body, brings sexuality into the equation as work. For women, this often translates into reduced opportunities at work. Potential mentors shy away from us because they don’t want to be tagged by the inevitable sexual rumors. Higher-ups don’t want to believe that women are on the job to work rather than find a husband. The Mommy Track is real. Even when we’re not mommies. How attractive we are or aren’t can translate into what work opportunities we are given, or aren’t. I once had a foreman on the job walk me around to all the journeymen already there, asking the guys if it was ok if I worked with them—he didn’t want to make anybody’s wife mad. Out of thirteen journeymen on the job, all said they’d work with me, that it was cool. But only two of them thought the whole idea of singling me out like that, for that reason, was complete bullshit. Only two other journeymen on the job thought it should have been irrelevant whether anyone’s wife got mad. The other guys thought it was nice of him to ask!

    Now, I could give scads of examples; I could easily run Amp’s bandwidth into the ground giving examples. And yes, my examples would probably be more ‘extreme’ than average, because of the nature of my work and the lack of a critical mass of women on the job. I still think it is relevant though, because of what Robert said about dress; on my job, neither gender dresses “sexy”. We dress for safety. My usual uniform is bib overalls, work boots, and t-shirt. If the weather is cool, a flannel shirt and a heavy Carharrt jacket. If cold, long underwear and more layers. I never wear makeup on the job (and rarely off the job, too), but if it’s windy or cold, I’ll wear chapstick. In other words, I look like the guys under my hardhat. By sending no sexual signals, it would stand to reason that my sexuality would be taken out of the picture, no? But that hasn’t been the case, for me or for other women in my Local. Even on the job, where it is completely irrelevant, our sexuality enters the picture without our desire, without our consent. This translates into no promotions, no opportunities to run jobs, which means less weight on the resume over the course of a career. It also means being first on the layoff list. I don’t view a lower yearly income, less money in the 401k, and a lower pension statement as privileges.

    I also think it is interesting that when talking about the power dynamics of being viewed through a sexual lens, that several of the men here immediately thought of the dynamics of dating, where not only the context is proper, but where both parties can been seen as being on equal footing. I can’t speak for the other women here, but I immediately flashed on all the times I was viewed through that lens where the context was improper, if not highly so, and where there is no way I was on an equal footing with the other party; where there was a definite, tangible power imbalance.

  75. 475
    someone says:

    Uhuh… you are mixing up sexual appeal with all kinds of other gender differences that might result in problems with your job.

  76. 476
    Q Grrl says:

    “I am getting the feeling that some people here (like Q Grrl) view any male poster who is not pro-feminist as the Patriarchy Incarnate. ”

    Absolutely.

    That’s been my point all along.

  77. 477
    La Lubu says:

    No, I’m not. Why do you think the foreman walked me around the job asking the men if it was ok if I worked with them, because he didn’t want to get anyone in trouble with their wife?

    And what other gender differences are there that might result in problems with my job? I’ve already proven over the course of almost seventeen years that I can do all the aspects of my job, so don’t give me the old “well, maybe they just don’t think you’re strong enough” canard. Seeing is believing. I’ve already crossed that hurdle, many, many years ago. That was an easy one.

  78. 478
    piny says:

    >>As if I didn’t mention several times, that just like you say I can’t judge female sexual drive and visual atrraction because I am not female, you can’t judge male sexual drive and visual attraction because you are not male.
    It works both ways piny, damn it!!

    The fact that women can’t speak about it as openly doesn’t mean the response isn’t there.

    Yes, that is a nice “fact”? there, not separating observations from explanations.

    This thread sucks.
    >>

    Well, arguably, as someone on testosterone, I get to see what it’s like to be endocrinologically male. I also have much greater access to the private conversations of men. You’ve never lived as or been perceived as a woman; I live as and am perceived as male.

    Expecting you to speculate sensibly about all that is unreasonable.

    But, no, it’ s not the same, like I said. First of all, I didn’t say that women have the same response _as men_. I said that they have the same response _as that which you described men having_. I’m using your words–you know, listening to you and giving you the benefit of the doubt as a reliable narrator of your own experience–to form my impressions of male sexuality. I also get to use centuries of relatively open discussion of male sexuality.

    You, OTOH, are not listening to what I and the other female-bodied people have been saying. You are also hindered by social mores. You can only access a history that has ruthlessly punished desire and sexual acting-out in women, and a tradition that has seen female sexuality only as the passive counterpart to male desire. You said it yourself in an earlier post: there’s no literary tradition of female desire, no “homme fatale.” Women, unlike men, have not been allowed to write about their sex drives.

    And I am _not_ conflating observation with explanation; I’m pointing out that it’s very difficult to observe something when it’s been stifled for so long, and when it is considered a private matter not to be exposed to outsiders like you. Women do speak about desire to other women, just not so much to eighteen-year-old straight men.

  79. 479
    ginmar says:

    So…Amp, didn’t you say you’d make a new thread? This is getting really hard to pull up. I have to delete words from the title and so forth. Pretty please?

    ATTENTION!

    ATTENTION!

    ATTENTION!

    RESPONSE FROM AMP

    (IMPORTANT, EVERYONE PLEASE READ):

    Ask and you will recieve! I’ve set up a new thread for continuing this discussion.

    This thread is now closed.

    If you want to continue the discussion, please do so on this new thread.

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