Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy.Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the ‘bystander approach’ to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You’ve also seen him in the award winning documentary “Miss Representation.”
The idea of just avoiding a “no” is a distressingly common one. The emphasis on consent is often the idea of “No”. “No means no” we are taught, that when a woman says “stop”, we stop. That’s good. That’s incredibly important. But sometimes it’s not enough to just not get a no. You need more. It’s not just about not getting a “no”. It’s about getting a definitive “yes”.
We assume men just want to have sex as early as possible. But the truth is more complex.
It’s certainly more socially acceptable for men to value physical appearance. Case in point—male nudity at the movies. When we see male nudity on film it’s often played for laughs. While men (and women) are treated to Halle Berry’s breasts, the best we girls can get is “joke dick”—think Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Mark Wahlberg at the end of Boogie Nights. If we acknowledge that women are visual creatures then it puts more pressure on men to look good.
"More and more men are finding it difficult to be as direct, when it comes to dating and sex, as previous generations of men maybe once were,” says Chiara Atik, author of Modern Dating: A Field Guide. We all get that the rules of traditional courtship — in which men make every single advance and women demur or acquiesce — are dead, but we haven’t replaced them with a new standard operating procedure. “Everyone’s being kind of wishy-washy,” Atik says. “Women want sex, but they don’t want to be seen as forward (or worse, desperate and promiscuous). Men want sex but are intimidated, unconfident, or don’t want to be seen as domineering or piggish. We’re not sure who should be the sexual instigators, and then no one really steps up to the plate.”
Well this would certainly confirm what I’ve observed and experienced.
Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals (I am not one), to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.
Gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, that person is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.
While dealing with gaslighting isn’t a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.
And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.
Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.
It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.
Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.
These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.
When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”
That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.
No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.
They say, “I’m sorry” before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.
Interestingly, I display similar behavior, and am subsequently seen as feminine for it. Indeed, men and women alike criticize me (and in the former’s case, reject me) based on this trait.
What are your thoughts or experiences?
Let’s talk Hannibal and feminism for a second.
Specifically, let’s talk about what makes Lecter’s character so appealing to a female audience and why that makes so many people uncomfortable.
(Takes the book & movie canons into account. TW for discussion of murder, cannibalism and violence as well as mentions of sexual violence.)
Very interesting analysis. It makes a lot of sense.
It turns out the reasons men fake it are actually pretty similar to the reasons that women fake it. In their minds — and we can argue whether or not it’s productive thing to do — but in their minds, it’s actually a form of kindness. They’re kind of letting the other person know that they’ve done a good job. In this particular case in the book, this guy had trouble having an orgasm during intercourse, but it had never bothered him before. He’s felt like a stud. The problem happened when he fell in love. Once he got his feelings involved, he became concerned that she was feeling bad about her own feminine charms and skills, and so to solve that for her he started to fake it.
I’d also imagine it has something to do with the fact that many men tie their masculinity and self-esteem to their sexual performance, and would feel embarrassed if they failed to deliver. I’d like to read this book for myself to judge the claims and research.
Freudian echoes, anatomical mischaracterizations and gender stereotypes are part of the logic naturalizing the orgasm gap, but there is nothing natural about it. We know this because women who sleep with women have many more orgasms than heterosexual women, almost as many as men who sleep with women. Women also have no problem experiencing orgasm through masturbation and the same women who frequently have orgasms during masturbation report many fewer orgasms when they’re with a partner. Men are also not faster to climax than women; it takes women the same amount of time to orgasm during masturbation as it takes men, on average, to have an orgasm through intercourse: four minutes.
Instead of being driven by biology, women’s rate of orgasm relative to men is a function of social forces. For one, we often bifurcate the sexual experience in line with gender norms: men are sexual (they experience desire) and women are sexy (they inspire desire). The focus on men’s internal wants and sensations also draws our attention to his satisfaction. Thus his orgasm, but not necessarily hers, becomes a critical part of what must happen for a sexual encounter to be successful and fulfilling. This is part of why intercourse – a sexual act that is strongly correlated with orgasm for men – is the only act that almost everyone agrees counts as “real sex,” whereas activities that are more likely to produce orgasm in women are considered optional foreplay.
Meanwhile, the idea that women’s primary goal in sex is to deliver a sexy body can focus her attention on how she looks instead of how she feels. This can lead to spectating, being worried about how she looks from her partner’s perspective, which decreases the chance a woman will have an orgasm. It can also lead to active avoidance of orgasm because of worries her face or body might do something unattractive.
In other words, we’ve created this artificial notion of what counts as “true sex” at the expense of women and, by extension, men (since one sexually unfulfilled partner can lead to a troubled relationship). Instead of obsessing over what “should” be done based on what social norms dictate, we should simply be pragmatic and do what works for both partners.
However, I think a lot more people are more avant garde about their sexual lives than they’re willing to admit. The problem is that there is this pressure to conform to a certain social norm that a lot (if not most) people privately know is untrue. It’s sad to see relationships suffer because we’re trying to appeal to some arbitrary, dated, and sexist (to men and women) notion of sex that shouldn’t matter in the bedroom anyway.
Regardless, I’ve seen men and women alike feel guilty about not being able to orgasm through traditional intercourse, even though they pull it off just fine through other means. Basically, if it’s not “real sex” it doesn’t matter that it works — it’s still upsetting to people’s pride or sense of masculinity/femininity.
I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child, coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime. I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own. I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children. Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy. If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.
When the f*** was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment? And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships? How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures? Is this where the phrase “hitting on girls” comes from? Well, here is a tip: Save the “it’s so cute when he gets hateful/physical with her because it means he loves her” asshattery for your own kids, not mine. While you’re at it, keep them away from my kids until you decide to teach them respect and boundaries.
Queen of the Couch, You Didn’t Thank Me for Punching You in the Face.
White heterosexual males are seen as a neutral default for the main protagonist across all media, from books to film to video games. Are men not capable of playing with, connecting to, and enjoying the story of characters that aren’t of their same demographic?
Women (who typically constitute a slight majority in most societies) as well as social, ethnic, and religious minorities have had to work with characters that often noting like them. I’d like to think that even a male-dominated audience would be able to enjoy a narrative or interactive experience of a character not like themselves.
So many people pretend they want something deep in a partner — intelligence, kindness, integrity, and so on. But ultimately, they only ever go for people who are attractive, well-off, “confident” (e.g. jerks), or all of the above.
Everyone is entitled to like whoever they want of course. But in that case, don’t waste my time pretending you want something qualitative when you clearly don’t. I wish people could just admit what they want and stop getting my hopes up. I wish the dating advice given to me didn’t consist of suggestions that I pretend to be something I’m not just to attract someone to me. Why should I have to resort to such disingenuous? Is this really the only way to pair up with someone? Am I really that undesirable that I must lie?
I know that evolution — and thus romantic preferences — favors those who are masculine, well-off, and attractive — all the things I’m not. I’ve accepted this fact. But it’d be easier to deal with if I wasn’t led on by these insincere standards. Then again, I’m sure most people mean well, and simply can’t help who they fall for.
Or maybe I’m just being bitter due to my own inadequacies. I’m not even really looking for anyone right now, but reflecting on the system that inevitably awaits me when I do.
Maybe. Urologists at an English hospital in 2002 measured the length of 104 men’s penises and recorded their shoe sizes, finding no statistically significant correlation between the two. The study was an instant hit, and several websites declared the penis length–shoe size myth officially debunked. The Explainer, however, isn’t entirely convinced. A 1993 study observed a relationship between shoe size and penis length, albeit a weak one. A couple of other studies documented correlations between penis length and other body measurements. Turkish researchers in 2011 found that height, weight, and body mass index values all correlated with penis size. The same year that the English study claimed to bust the shoe-size myth, Greek urologists observed a relationship between penis length and the length of one’s index finger. If the size of other body parts correlates with penis length, it would be surprising if shoe size did not. (Tall people with big hands, after all, are likely to have big feet.) Individual variation is to be expected, but this question may remain unsettled until a series of well-constructed studies reach the same conclusion. That might be a while, given the paucity of federal research dollars earmarked for penis-length studies.
The difficulty in these studies is finding an accurate, reliable method for measuring a penis. Body dimensions, in general, are subject to change. Standing up for long periods, exercise, and sitting through a trans-Atlantic flight can cause your feet to swell. Waist circumference also changes throughout the day, as does height. These variations, however, are insignificant compared with the way a penis shrinks and lengthens in response to temperature changes, physical activity, touch, and mental state. According to the aforementioned Turkish study, simply stretching out a flaccid penis changes its length by more than 30 percent.
Sometimes, it seems that the difference between flirting with someone and being a creep depends on how you look.
How is this even a thing? I’m a dude. I get it. Girls can be scary. They look just like humans, but they make Weird Things happen in your pants-area. It must be magic. They are the Gargamels to your dick’s whatever-Smurf-your-dick-is.
(Sidenote: the makers of The Smurfs…