Towards the end of my article on slut-shaming a little while back, I finished off with a critique of the sort of so-called Sex Positive people who champion female sexuality (let me reiterate here that it is a good thing and I have no problem with this) but do not and will not do so for men. Some mainstream and feminist media that considers itself Sex Positive still seemingly has an aversion to male sexuality in all its forms. It is portrayed in one of two ways:
- Perverse (usually if he is forward about his needs but is conventionally unattractive)
Though men do get slut-shamed (please see the other article for a more thorough discussion) for having too much, and virgin shamed for having too little, there is a strange dichotomy between what is expected of men and how we condemn them for acting on what is expected. Women are increasingly likely to be applauded for having a healthy attitude to sex, thanks to TV shows like Sex and the City (if this was not true there wouldn’t even be a sex positive movement) yet male sexuality is seen always through the lens of Porkies and American Pie.
We used to use the word “creep” or “weirdo” to apply to any man who approaches a woman where he who won’t take “no” for answer – a perfectly reasonable word to use in that instance – yet in the last few years there seems to have been a sea change. These days, many women seem to use it in application to any man who approaches her that she is not interested in, no matter how polite or friendly he is, no matter what he says or does and even if he does go away when refused… it is as though he should automatically know before he has even approached her whether she will be interested in him. Perhaps if women approached men more often instead of hiding behind tradition and expecting “a man to be a man” (while happily discarding so many other dynamics of traditional relationships) we might all find what we want in relationships a lot more often – but that’s the subject for another post.
I’m posting this video again with this quite because I think it is quite succinct.
“The same group of people who claimed all the glory for the sexual revolution of the 1960s are trying as hard as they can to repress men’s sexuality – to shame men into only having feelings that women give them permission to have.”
Male sexuality is regarded with a lot of suspicion, particularly with men who are not conventionally attractive. It is as though short, balding and overweight men should keep their desires to themselves to avoid creeping out women who don’t like to think that said short, balding overweight men actually have sexual desires. Men who are into BDSM and other such “non vanilla” sexual preferences (as per the story in the article I just linked to) are often seen as objects of ridicule, even in the world after the publication of 50 Shades of Grey.
Of course there is the Stud vs Slut double standard, I am not denying that, even though I argue in the article on slut-shaming that the younger generation is increasingly seeing any promiscuity as a bad thing regardless of gender, but the “creep” mentality is used cart blanche to dismiss all male sexuality and there is no female equivalent of that. While pushing men to be sexually domineering, we are also condemned for dong what society expects of us. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
The piece seems to have stirred both MRAs and Feminists – and both once again completely missed the point. I won’t link to the sites because I don’t want to give voices to reactionary media but generally both were once again so near, yet so far. There is however, a fantastic look at the phenomena at Feminist Critics, including a quick summary of an experiment of a woman living as a man for 18 months and attempting the “initiator” role who came up against shocking results. The book was published some time ago. If anybody has read it, I would like your input.
The only way for a guy to guarantee that he won’t be called ‘creepy’ is to suppress entirely his sexuality, just like a woman can escape being called a slut by suppressing hers