Fact: women are too often judged solely on their appearance, and treated differently based on how they measure up to men’s ideas of what they should look like. This much is obvious, and I’m sure the majority of us here applaud the women who stood up and continue to stand up to this offensive treatment that reduces women to just one aspect of who they are, while ignoring their many other strengths. But—there had to be a “but”—women should acknowledge that they often do the same thing to men—not based on looks as much as on our jobs, careers, and success. Keep reading »
There are few more famous snippets of film dialogue than this exchange from the 1989 Blly Crystal and Meg Ryan classic, “When Harry Met Sally”:
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Keep reading »
“I was always daddy’s little girl. We did everything together. He was my hero. My father was always there with a hug for me; when I was little, he let me climb all over him like he was a jungle gym.
And then my body changed. I developed early; I had boobs by 11. And all of a sudden, my Dad stopped hugging me or touching me. He went overnight from being my best friend to being remote and critical.”
I read that in a student’s journal earlier this semester (quoted with permission). I’ve read and heard similar things countless times over the course of nearly 20 years teaching gender studies and doing youth ministry. Ask any family therapist who works with teen girls, and they’ll report the same thing I’ve heard: story after story of fathers withdrawing physical affection as soon as their daughters hit puberty. Keep reading »
Male masturbators can’t seem to catch a break. Despite the assumption that every guy has masturbated, is masturbating, or will masturbate, self-pleasure has been getting a bad rap for 3000 years. From Orthodox Judaism to traditional Buddhism, the religious strictures against men masturbating are ancient and enduring. (Because the spiritual authorities were so often ignorant about female masturbation, women caught a rare break. What was the point in condemning a practice many men didn’t believe existed?) Keep reading »
“You’re either gay, straight, or lying.”
I first heard that oft-repeated phrase when I was an 18-year-old freshman at UC Berkeley. I was at my first meeting of the GLBA (Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Alliance). I’d recently broken up with a girlfriend, and had been dating (and sleeping with) both men and women; I was ready to “come out” as bi and to get involved in campus activism. But as I quickly found out, though there were equal numbers of gay men and lesbians in the group, the only bisexuals were women. And while many of those women faced a certain amount of “bi-phobia,” at least the GLBA acknowledged their existence.
Bisexual men, I was told, didn’t exist: we were either cowards or liars, too scared or too dishonest to admit we were really gay. Keep reading »
I don’t think I have a small penis. I mean, I’ve stared at it all of my life. I can wrap my fingers around it, so I know it’s not of Sasquatch proportions. There are inches there, multiple inches, of love. I’d say it would make a nice cigar. I have been given the standard statement I think most women tell men who are small to average size, that I’m “just right.” Like the bowl of porridge Goldilocks most preferred. I imagine men who are prodigiously gifted are told the same thing, just to keep their ego in check. Maybe during sex, these women also say “Slower! Stop stabbing me in the guts!” I wouldn’t know. I just know that once upon a time, for a hot minute, I thought I had a huge dong. Keep reading »
It’s been over 30 years, but I still remember the day Jenny Talbot caught me staring at her boobs.
Jenny and I sat next to each other in a couple of classes. We weren’t exactly friends, but friendly; she helped me in math, I helped her in social studies. One day, Jenny and I were working together on a project, our desks and bodies facing. Though she usually wore sweaters, this spring day she wore just a V-neck T-shirt. When she bent over, I could see her breasts encased in her white, frilly bra. I was not quite 14, and in a near constant state of arousal; the sight of a bra strap was, frequently, enough to produce an erection. With Jenny distracted by her work, I had a free close-up view of the kind I’d rarely had. So I stared. Keep reading »
Before I start here, I need to explain why the distinction between the type of “work” I’m talking about here is different from the typical kind of “job” drudgery lamented in endless Dilbert comics and annoying Facebook status updates. The type of workplace referenced here is the kind that serves as a funnel for your passions, not an obstacle between you and the weekend. Keep reading »
With the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton just over two weeks away, Buckingham Palace is letting out daily updates of the impending nuptials. Few bits of news have proved as controversial as the announcement that the future king will forgo a wedding band after he’s married.That decision hasn’t been well received by the press or the public. Even those who take no interest in royalty have been drawn into a debate about the larger issue: should men wear wedding rings? Keep reading »
I don’t know that a formal survey’s been done, but I think it’s safe to say that in the eyes of most straight men in America, turbans on a women’s head aren’t hot. Neither are ostrich-feather miniskirts, utility pants, or capes. To many guys, tight, form-fitting, and revealing fashions constitute “sexy.” And isn’t that what fashion is supposed to be all about? Getting us to look at one woman rather than another?
According to Leandra Medine, young designer and creator of The Man Repeller, the answer is no. Her site (which has been the subject of worldwide buzz) celebrates fashion that “proudly obstructs the male gaze” (The New York Times) and acts (in her own words) as “sartorial contraceptives.” (Think creative use of bow ties and harem pants, and you’re just getting started.) The fashion press has embraced Medine’s “man-repelling” aesthetic. Judging from the comments on sites that cover the beauty and clothing industries, The Man Repeller is a hit with many women. Keep reading »