Wednesday 26 June 2002

Mars and Venus

Insane Single Chick writes to Salon’s Cary Tennis:

I’m smart, outgoing and attractive enough that men would consider sleeping with and also dating me. I’ve had boyfriends, one-night stands, flings, love affairs, seductions, dates, etc. … but maybe John Gray is right — am I intimidating the commitment power right out of men?

I am an intensely creative and emotional person. I consider myself an individual and though I seek a companion, I don’t necessarily see myself starting a family, nor do I think women need to in order to find fulfillment. But is it true that I can “just be myself” and still find someone?

I do want to meet someone who’s attractive, successful, intelligent, and very interested in growing, experiencing and changing. Am I being unreasonable?

Conversation #755 from the IRC Quote Database:

<saboteur> sometimes i wish i didtn have a penis
<saboteur> like when i get a wood standing up
<Damien> lol sab
<saboteur> and its hard to hide
<phase5> same
<phase5> or like, when your walking down the street
<phase5> and it hangs out the bottom of your pants
<phase5> and drags on the ground
<saboteur> haha
<saboteur> yeah exactly
<k> or when you lie down and planes crash into it

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What an eclectic series of posts over the past two days and an even more intriguing set of posting times...

Posted by Marius Coomans on 26 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Um... as one who's done a _lot_ of research in gender-issues, I'd have to ask just what exactly are you trying to say here, Jonathon? Do I hear the oh-no-not-again stereotype of sugar-and-spice-and-all-things-nice vs. snips-and-snails-and-puppy-dogs'-tails?

There is a _huge_ mess out there, fuelled by a fundamental century-long change in what it is to 'be a woman', the stunning self-centredness of most feminist theory and practice, an almost total taboo against acknowledging abuse and violence _by_ women (and hence the inability of most women to distinguish between assertiveness and aggressiveness in their own behaviour), and a hell of a lot of young men (and not-so-young men) who are too punch-drunk to know how to respond in any sane way.

You and I both live in a country whose laws formally define sex-discrimination as 'discrimination against women'; which object to the portrayal of a woman's cleavage in advertising but applaud the depiction of men as dogs or as flayed skins on the floor; which permit a man to be jailed without trial on a woman's allegation alone; and for which the concept of perjury is explicitly removed in law for women alone, on the grounds that to doubt a woman's statement is to abuse her, hence doubt itself is a criminal offence. (Don't believe me on those last two points? Try reading the National Strategy on Violence Against Women sometime...)

Either men and women are equal - have equal rights _and_ equal responsibilities - or they're not, in which case it's best to stop pretending. What we have at present is a miserable half-way house, in which women have rights, men have blame, and no-one has responsibility. And this posting of yours just promotes exactly that dishonesty and misery. So why do it? Why not actually help sort out the mess instead of creating more?

So please, Jonathon, get beyond the standard sexism of 'women are good, men are bad': quite apart from what it says about yourself to yourself, you're usually a deep, perspicacious thinker, and such shallowness does not suit you at all...

Posted by Tom Graves on 26 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Hmm, I'm surprised you drew that inference, Tom. An alternative reading of the (ironically) juxtaposed quotes might draw attention to the earnest self-centeredness of the woman compared to the easygoing self-deprecating humor of the men. Or to the failure of thirty years of feminist theory to effect a truly fundamental change in men's thinking.

Posted by Jonathon Delacour on 26 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Tom, being one of the evil gender my opinion may not float but I read in this two quotes: one from a woman wanting to have a relationship (and a lot of I-I-I in the mix, which probably accounts for Jonathon's reading of self-centeredness); the second an IRC exchange between a couple of young guys making fun of themselves of the whole "my penis is so big..."

No equal rights, or women are good men are evil. At least in my read.

Jonathon, both quotes were taken out of context and your summary of women making not making a change in men's thinking because of stupid IRC comments is a bit broad - if there were deadly beasts in the chasm you jumped so blithly, you'd have been beast food.

Posted by Burningbird on 26 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Bb, what is art but the felicitous rearrangement of items taken out of context? I wasn't saying that women haven't made a change in men's thinking. Rather I was suggesting that the change may not be as profound as many women would hope. As for the beasts, I'm aware they await me not just within the chasms, but around every corner.

Posted by Jonathon Delacour on 26 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Hey Bb, there's no need for that 'one of the evil gender' comment - that's not how I see it at all - okay? (In fact, as I see it, yours and Jonathon's writings come close to an ideal of 'aware woman' and 'aware man' respectively - which is why I read your weblogs so assiduously, and why I was so disappointed at this post of Jonathon's.)

As usual, this could on for many hours and many pages - one of the frustrations of weblogs (and most modern writing) is that 'sound-bite'-sized snippets can't get to the depth each topic needs. Some quick comments, though:

- yes, lots of 'I-I-I' in the woman's post, but mostly in a self-centred way: "I'm already perfect, so why don't others do what I want?" (more than a few hints of ..."and bow to my superiority", too...)

- I've seen/observed men as considerably more likely than women to _genuinely_ commit to a relationship - i.e. to stick with it no matter what, rather than run away with the cash and the children as soon as the going gets tough

- Jonathan's juxtaposition was effectively 'sugar-and-spice' vs. 'snips-and-snails': "the meaning of the communication is the response I get"

- most feminist theory that I've read and discussed is _way_ too shallow and self-centred to be of any practical use in any real-world context. If you want to understand why "thirty years of feminist theory" hasn't "effect[ed] a fundamental change in men's thinking", quote: "people do not resist change, they resist _being_ changed", especially when it has little connection with physical/physiological/social reality, especially when it's solely for someone else's benefit, and _especially_ when the demanded change is full of blame and (self-)dishonesty. There are some excellent feminist writers out there (Nancy Friday and Helen Garner would be two of my favourites); there are an awful lot of shallow and in many cases utterly dishonest 'feminist' 'thinkers' out there; it's unfortunate (courtesy of 'squeaky wheel'?) that the latter rather than the former are the ones who get heard, and around whose inanities most gender-legislation has been built...

To give just one suggestion, take that common feminist notion of 'the patriarchy', and examine it properly _with the same deconstructionist tools_ feminist theorists are so fond of using. The gender-blame inherent in the term is a construct of misuse of the tools: the so-called 'patriarchy' is not one-way abuse but a classic _co_dependent pair, for which the proper term is 'paediarchy', or 'rule by, for and on behalf of the childish...'

Posted by Tom Graves on 27 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

I thought it was really funny. :)

Posted by susanna on 30 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

I thought it was funny too, Susanna. But the humor was wrapped around an underlying sharp edge.

Posted by Jonathon Delacour on 30 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)


Posted by dONALD on 18 August 2002 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour