Thanks, but no thanks. Yesterday, Jezebel posted an article by resident man feminist Hugo Schwyzer (who, full disclosure, contributed to The Frisky in 2010-2011 ), exalting five ways men are fighting sexism these days. Titled “Thanks, Guys: Five Ways Men Are Fighting Sexism,” Schwyzer, who teaches women’s studies classes at Pasadena City College, notes that men are undoing sexism, really! He includes the following examples: A rant video from Jay Smooth, calling out men who were bullying videogame blogger Anita Sarkeesian; the creation of a Tumblr called MenAgainstAssholesAndMisogyny; the work of performance artist Carlos Andres Gomez, who wrote a love poem called “You Are Everything,” full of ’80s references; an article in The Atlantic calling for an end to “violent masculinity”; and the movement to end the “bro hug.” While I laud any man who recognizes his internal privilege and wants to address the social and historical oppression of women, this is not what I had in mind. Keep reading »
Hugo’s piece was originally published at the Good Men Project Magazine.
Both at the Good Men Project and at my own blog, my most popular posts in terms of page-views are invariably those that focus on one particularly controversial subject: older men and younger women. (Here’s “What Young Women Are Really Looking For From Older Men.”)
As I’ve laid out in those pieces, for a number of reasons I think we should be suspicious of age-disparate heterosexual relationships in which the male partner is substantially older than the female one, and in which the woman is still quite young (say, under 23). Put simply, the potential problems in these relationships seem to diminish based less upon the actual number of years in between the partners and more upon the age of the woman involved. I’m more concerned about an 18 year-old woman and a 30 year-old man than I am about a 30 year-old woman and a 55 year-old man, even though the latter relationship has twice the number of years separating the partners. The research of psychologists like Lynn Phillips—who has written extensively about relationships between teen girls (including those above the age of consent) and older men—bears out how damaging these relationships can be. Keep reading »
This piece originally appeared on The Frisky and The Good Men Project in February, but is being republished on both sites as the film “What’s Your Number?” hits theaters nationwide.
Judging from what I read online and hear from my students, the question of the “number” is as compelling as ever. This month, Marie Claire ran an article, “What’s Your Number?” in which five women (whose numbers ranged from zero to 100) told their stories. The March issue of Cosmopolitan Australia features the same discussion, noting that 59 percent of readers surveyed thought knowing a partner’s exact number was important, and that 33 percent of those same readers had lied about their own pasts, claiming fewer sexual partners than they’d actually had.
The more men his girlfriend has slept with, the greater number of lovers to which she can compare his skills. It’s easier to win a contest against two than against 20, he figures.
Not so long ago, my wife and I were talking to a recently-divorced friend of ours. She’s younger than we are, in her early thirties, and as far as she’s concerned, she’s never tying the knot again. Not because of an objection to the institution, but because she’s convinced that most men marry for one reason: they want to be taken care of emotionally.
“I got tired of thinking about someone else’s needs all the time,” our friend said. “I’m prepared to take care of a baby. But I don’t want my first-born to be my second child.” When she heard that, my wife turned to me and gave me a grin. She knows my history.
In three previous marriages and a handful of other long-term relationships (I haven’t been single for long since I was 16), I found myself—like so many men—taking on the parts of the “naughty boy” and the “helpless child.” Time and again, I turned wives and girlfriends into mother-figures, and the result was inevitably disastrous. Keep reading »
Last week’s discussion about guys, porn, and honesty raised a number of interesting questions. How much truth do we owe our partners about what we do when they’re not around – and how much should we share about what runs through our heads? Almost everyone agrees that outright lies are bad. But are there some questions that invite lies? Are there some questions we shouldn’t even ask? 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 »
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 »