Showing posts with label sex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sex. Show all posts

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Love Cleavage (Who Cares)

A couple of days ago, I saw this story about a "creepy subreddit" that encourages members to upload pictures of women showing cleavage (in fact, any "sexy" photo will do) onto a special Facebook page designed for the viewing pleasure of...  well, I guess anyone on Facebook who loves to see a suggestion of breasts.  (I assume this isn't an "I Love Toe Cleavage" page, although God knows that would draw its own audience.) 

There are ground rules: The pictures must already have been posted by the subject (a Facebook user herself), the woman must be over eighteen, and the woman must not be named (as though that will somehow protect her identity these days). 

The pages (there are actually more than one) have met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response.

Disgusting, isn't it?  My first response was: One more way to punish women for being on the internet. 

But what if the tables were turned?  What if some intrepid person (woman or man) was inspired to obtain pictures of attractive male Facebook users for the same purpose?  Hell, for all I know, someone already has (but I'm not willing to waste an hour looking for them). 

I had to admit that didn't bother me nearly so much, and I had to ask myself, Why not? 

There is plenty of evidence that American women have taken to "objectifying" men in record numbers.  Just read Jezebel or any number of popular women's magazines.  Recall the kerfuffle over Jon Hamm's candid "crotch shots" last year?  I have every reason to believe he found that experience just as humiliating and invasive as some Jane Doe who has already posed for and posted the pictures herself. 

I'm not saying that "objectifying" people of any gender is behavior to be proud of.  But we have to acknowledge it seems hard-wired in the human brain to do so.  Obviously, both men and women enjoy looking at pictures of good-looking men and women in various states of deshabille.  (And kittens. And babies. And food.)  And we especially savor images we're not "supposed to" see. 

The underlying "revenge" element in "I Love Cleavage" or similar Facebook pages is quite unpleasant, like watered-down versions of Hunter Moore's Is Anyone Up.  There is an unescapable sense that these young women are being "shamed" for their sexuality.  Again, I ask, Why? I assume the young women posted their own "sexy" images as a celebration of their beauty, or out of vanity, or a desire to be desired -- all, BTW, perfectly valid, healthy, and natural reasons in my opinion.  So the idea that these pictures have "shaming potential" is merely a demonstration of how fucked up puritanical Americans are (even / especially American "feminists").

I'm not saying that Facebook shouldn't address this issue with a change of policy.  If enough fuss is raised, it probably will.  After all, Facebook is the domain of adolescents (of all ages), whom we hypocritically claim to "protect." 

If there is one thing I've learned in the last few months, it's that none of us have completely comprehended the power of social media to showcase the most base of human behavior.  

Although I'm not ever going to find my mug (or boobs decollatage) on an "I Love Cleavage" Facebook page, I will just add that I'm sorry I ever joined Facebook.  Of course, now that I'm on, I can't get off.  And I'll bet a lot of my friends feel the same way.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Internet as a Weapon of Misogynists

This article in Salon caught my attention today, for obvious reasons:  "Women who have a tendency to exhibit feminist notions on the Internet are especially victims of this [doxxing and humiliation].  Anti-feminism and the doxxing movement are interrelated.  There's a notion of wanting to harm women who speak out or take up too much space, women who don't know their place on the Internet.  As Adam Savage says, 'The Internet hates women'."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Involuntary Celibacy and Me; or TMI

One of the themes of the manosphere is that "sex" is a commodity that women control and men will go to any lengths to obtain.  Women use "sex" to manipulate men and get them to do their bidding, or else cruelly deny men whom they capriciously deem unworthy.  Men, on the other hand, require sex to be fully masculine.  It is their biological imperative to pollinate every fresh flower they see; it is to attract potential hotties that they are driven to labor, to achieve, to acquire.  For example, according to at least one "incel" (see previous post), JFK did not become a senator and then a president in order to please his striving father, or even to fulfill his own ambition for power; he was driven by his innate need for nooky.

It strikes me that both men and women share a tendency to blame the other gender for their own base impulses or thwarted desires.  One thing that women don't generally do, however, is feel "entitled" to the sexual services of men.

Now, I know the Angry Guys will say that is because women, just by virtue of having vaginas, can have all the sex they could wish for.  But that isn't exactly true.  Sure, even a flabby old crone like me knows of at least one notoriously seedy bar in my area where I could find a fuck buddy in ten minutes flat (make that five if I were buying).  I could find a partner for most of these incel guys at the same place, if they would just ratchet down adjust their expectations of what it is they believe they "deserve" -- just a mite.

I know a lot of women who are lonely and horny, who spend many nights yearning and burning, writhing alone in their beds, listening to vintage Sarah McLachlan and gnashing their teeth.  I know how that feels:  I have been one of them myself.

I have had several periods of "involuntary celibacy".  One of these periods lasted nearly five years, which, by anyone's reckoning, is a long dry spell.  It followed a seven year relationship with a man who had finally put me out of my misery broken up with me by announcing on the phone he was marrying someone else.  I was devastated, alternately in denial (spinning fantasies of winning him back) and suicidal (cuz that would show him).  It was a period of extreme depression and social isolation punctuated with bursts of manic, impulsive activity:  I moved several times, started and abandoned three different jobs. 

I had gained a lot of weight, and was living in rural Colorado, where I hardly ever met anyone, much less any eligible bachelors.  Still, I was a young lady with a high libido.  This was in the late eighties, the burgeoning era of internet dating, and I was among the first to try to hook up that way.  There were long, passionate e-mail exchanges with a bipolar lad in Canada and a slightly demented elderly gentleman in California, but to no avail.   

This was back when I still identified myself as straight, although even if I had realized I was in fact "hetero-flexible," I doubt it would have improved my plight.  Looking back, eighty percent of the problem was that I was functioning under a dark cloud of depression, practically exuding desperation, and obviously needed therapy (which I eventually got) even more than a roll in the hay.

This was also the period that I discovered pornography erotica and mail order, uhm, marital aids.  So it wasn't a complete waste...

A friend who was in similar straits used to joke that if she could order a man like a pizza, she would have tipped generously.  We joked about taking up horseback riding, about telephone poles, about the gnawing hunger to be taken, to be well and truly fucked, to be royally rogered while we thrust our noses into some random stranger's hairy armpit and inhaled his musky pheromones. 

We were, to put it bluntly, mad with unrequited lust.

I even thought about hiring a male prostitute.  (This was, after all, the decade book-ended by "American Gigolo" and "My Own Private Idaho", so the concept of men commodifying their sexuality had become a thing.)  I had no idea how to procure one, however, especially in my dusty little town snuggled high in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Even if I had stumbled upon Richard Gere (or even better, Brad Pitt) in some cowboy bar, I couldn't yet un-bundle my desire for sex from my desire to be desired.  And I don't think these angry male "incels" or frustrated PUAs are much different.  Whether male or female, we look to sex with a partner to provide confirmation of our own desirability. 

I broke my five year record as soon as I had moved to a larger city and found a career that (at least temporarily) I enjoyed and which put me in contact with a broader array of like-minded people.  In fact, I proceeded to make up for lost time by having a string of casual encounters colorful off-color adventures that I immortalized in another blog.  

Now I am an old(ish) woman.  My circumstances and needs are quite different.  I haven't had penetrative sex for a number of years, and I don't miss it.  Yet I can still remember the pain and frustration of my own days of involuntary celibacy, and sympathize with those men (and women) who rail against it.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Message to Incels

A commenter on Manboobz shared a link to a documentary called "Shy Boys," in which the director, Sara Gardephe, interviews several "Incels" (involuntary celibates).  Because Incels tend to be ready "converts" to Game, I watched it with interest.

The fact that most of the young men describe themselves as "ugly" is really striking to me because, really, none of them are.  In fact, I thought the long-haired dude was quite pretty in a rock star way.  Yet they blame their lack of success with women primarily on an imaginary defect in their own physical appearance.  Of course, girls do that too, and to such a degree that we hardly notice.  I don't remember boys being so self-critical in the past, however.  I am sad to see men starting to share women's neuroses about their looks.  Body dysmorphia is a form of equality I don't welcome.

As for their disgust of female genitalia, it reminded me of Victorian art critic John Ruskin, famously unable to consummate his marriage because he was so horrified by the sight of his beautiful bride's genitals.   

Somehow I cannot judge these boys too harshly.  Truth be told, I've never been enamored with the sight of my own bits, and recall how unpleasant I found it when a Nurse Practitioner insisted I examine my own cervix with the aid of a mirror, speculum, and flashlight.  Working in an abortion clinic, I saw hundreds of vulvas, of course, and I gradually lost my revulsion to my own.  So my first Rx for these troubled lads is more exposure to real women and less porn.  

I cannot even be too hard on the way the Incels in the documentary refer to "fat girls" as scraping the bottom of the barrel in the sexual marketplace.  They are simply parroting what the entire culture is teaching us, so why should we expect them to challenge the standards of the day?  It takes self-confidence to buck the system.  I refused to date fat boys when I was an undergrad even though (or because) I weighed 170# myself.  Being discriminated against did not make me compassionate or tolerant -- the opposite, in fact. 

Was I so different from these guys at the same age?  As a teenager, I would go six weeks without speaking to anyone.  I was so shy that some days I simply couldn't muster the courage to go to school, instead whiling away the hours sitting alone in parks or aimlessly riding buses.  One day, when I was about seventeen, I realized "This won't do," and started to force myself out into the world.  But it took many more years before I overcame my almost crippling shyness, and I only managed to do so by acts of will, challenging myself with activities that caused me the greatest degree of manageable anxiety.  

I finally figured out that my self-consciousness was basically egocentrism.   I found that the more I attended to another person, the less "shy" I was.  Perhaps it was this realization that drew me towards work where I had to perform service for others.  In a professional role, I could finally let go of myself.

I still remind myself, when I feel the old social awkwardness and anxiety creeping up, to focus, focus on the other person.  Ask questions.  Then listen.  Reflect on what he/she is saying.  Get over yourself!

Ironically, "game" is probably the worst way for these fellows to overcome their issues.  I wish I could share this with Incels.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sperm Jacking; or, Learn to Love Latex

Roosh has repeated categorically that he will not have children with an American woman, while in the next breath he glorifies "raw dogging" as many women as possible, including women he frankly detests.  A few months ago, I felt compelled to remind his impressionable young male readers that unprotected sex was likely to lead to unplanned fatherhood.  I figured Roosh would delete the commentin fact, that comment may have led to his blocking my IPO.

Back when I worked at an abortion clinic, I would sometimes ask young girls (15-16 year olds, typically) why they hadn't used contraception, and the answer was usually to the effect, "I didn't want a baby, so I didn't think I could get pregnant."  This kind of magical thinking is a part of the adolescent's natural egocentrism, of course, which often leads to lamentable consequences.  Some adolescents are exceedingly responsible about their behavior, but we can't expect that most will be, and it's not their "fault" when they're not.

By the time a person is in his early twenties, the prefrontal cortex has had a chance to develop and get connected with the rest of the brain.  That's why "21" is a reasonable age at which to grant legal adulthood.  Unfortunately, our pesky sexual impulses continue to override common sense for a long time to come.  It may take years of experience to understand that "something that feels so good" may not, in fact, "be so right."

The Misogynists talk a lot about "sperm jacking," whereby devious women trick unwitting men into impregnating them, thereby guaranteeing the mother the right to suck her victim dry of child support for the following eighteen years. Unlike most of the manosphere fodder, it's not a baseless fear.  It does happen.

Late last night, as I was leaving the athletic club I've recently joined, I was waylaid by a young fellow working the front desk.  (Part of becoming a fat old lady is that everyone under 30 now perceives me as a maternal figure, which is kind of touching but also kind of annoying.)

While I was trying to browse the pool schedule, the kid launched into a story about his personal travails with his "baby mama."  In the span of twenty minutes I learned all this:  He had once been a happy chap with a promising career as a Red Bull sales representative. Apparently Red Bull has aphrodisiac qualities I was hitherto unaware of:  Every day, flocks of pretty girls laid siege to his cart, demanding free samples.  To his surprise (and mine), there are Red Bull groupies.  As a result, the poor guy had more pussy than he knew what to do with.  And all of this went to his head (and nether regions).

One lass came back for more than the Red Bull.  She told him she was a 22 year old university student on the pill; as it turned out, she was an 18 year old high school dropout who had decided to have a baby.  Six weeks later, he learned he was going to be a father.  And that's when the nightmare began.  Because allowing for hyperbole, even if only half of what he related to me was true, she (and her parents) sounded like absolutely terrible people.

The kid didn't want this pregnancy and he wasn't consulted, but he was willing to "man up" and take responsibility.  Over the past two years, his efforts to establish a relationship with the child have been thwarted, yet he has grown emotionally attached to the child, and would like to be a good parent.  He and his parents have already poured $18,000 into the legal system in an effort to gain more access.

He was practically in tears last night because he had just learned his son had been taken to the ER with a dislocated elbow.  My eyebrows shot up:  How did that happen?  Well, the child had been trying to play with his mom's laptop, so mom had picked him up by one arm and swung him away from it. "Poor little guy!" the young man fretted.  "I hope you're documenting everything," I said.

I also said, "I hope things get better.  Don't give up.  Your son needs you in his life."  I was trying to say all the right things, but what I really wanted was to quit listening to this saga.  It was harshing my post-workout mellow.  I also resented hearing this kind of story right now; when I am so furious with the MRM, the last thing I want to entertain is the notion that men do have some legitimate grievances, and Father's Rights are definitely an area where changes are called for.

Obviously, forcing anyone into parenthood is unethical, to say the least.  As a woman, I know that being pregnant against one's will is like being pushed on to a train you can't get off of.  Desperate women will risk death to jump off that train.  Knowing this as I do, how can I not feel some measure of sympathy for guys secretly giving their pregnant girlfriends abortifacients?  It is unfair.

Biology is unfair in general.  The legal system is sometimes unfair to men.  It sucks, but that's the way it is. Meanwhile, as Annie Sprinkle says, "Learn to love latex!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Being Outrageous

If anything characterizes The Way We Live Now, it is the cult of celebrity.  It seems like almost everyone wants to be famous.  We crave recognition so badly that many of us don't care what it takes: better notoriety than anonymity.  And because we live in a day of unparallelled opportunities to self-publish and self-promote, people often have to scream to be heard above the din of competing sources of input.  One way to stand out above the fray is to be Outrageous.  

One recent commenter on Manboobz alluded to this as a way of explaining the "manosphere."   For the most part, it's an internet phenomenon, which has linked various and numerous unhappy and disenfranchised white men.  Unable to form a coherent platform, they have united behind a common enemy, which they call "feminism" but which really is femininity in general (including, as we have recently seen, female children and transsexual women).  Much has already been written about this elsewhere, and much more eloquently than I could.

 Members of the manosphere post, for the most part, anonymously.  They have to, because to openly espouse the views they claim to hold would be to commit social and professional suicide.  

A handful of leaders do identify themselves (Roosh V aka Daryush Valizadeh, Paul Elam, Matt Forney aka Ferdinand Bardemu), and a few have had their true identities made known against their will (Roissy "Heartiste" and the guy who went by "violentacrez").  Of course, any semblance of a "normal" life is over for them: they are now officially and irrevocably married to their online personae.  In some ways, they have paid the ultimate price for their narcissism (or "martyrdom" as their acolytes might frame it).   

Yet in order to maintain readership, they must keep producing more of what their readers want, which is ever more outrageous material.  The "outrage" comes from the overtly hateful nature of their ideas, the hateful expression of these ideas, and sometimes from a potent and disturbing stew of fantasy, entitlement, resentment, and violent retribution.  In other words: hate porn.

Then there are people like JudgyBitch, who is torn between the demands of her compulsive exhibitionism and the need to protect her personal life.  From what I have seen, exhibitionism usually trumps prudence in these cases.  Hence, she uses pseudonyms, but "vlogs" on YouTube; being recognized and outed is but a matter of months.  And that is not a threat, since I have neither the means nor the interest in doxing her.  It is simply a prediction and perhaps a warning.  We may enjoy the anonymity of the internet, but we are foolish indeed if we think that it is guaranteed.

Personally, I'm not sure the threat of exposure is an entirely bad thing.  Perhaps it's a reflection of my age, but I don't hold anonymity to be sacrosanct.  The internet is not the confessional.  A blog is is not your analyst's couch.  Writing about, or for, other people affects them. Words can be as influential and powerful as actions, and they should be treated as such.  People should be held accountable for what they say.  Free speech is not free of consequences.

Right now the Internet is The Wild West and anything goes, so naturally it is a fertile ground for the worst of people and the worst kinds of people, but in time I am confident we will develop some respect for its power; we will demand and adopt standards of behavior and responsibility.  Meanwhile, we are left with vigilante groups like Anonymous, which is perhaps better -- or perhaps worse -- than no moral order whatsoever.

At the same time -- and getting back to the title of this post -- I do understand the merciless thirst for recognition, and how blogging plays to that.  That's because I understand The Quest for Immortality and The Denial of DeathWhat's more human and existentially poignant than to counter the inevitability of death by howling in protest?  Of course, ranting and raging avails us little -- often makes everything worse in fact -- but it makes us feel powerful, and distracts us from the unbearable knowledge that all of this -- and all of us -- will be dust in a hundred years.   

As one hostile commenter unkindly and needlessly pointed out, I have a very "obscure" blog.  Indeed, I'm thrilled if five people look at it a day.  I'm pleasantly puzzled by the number of visitors I do get. I'm not trying to make a name for myself here, much less a profit. I'm just practicing my writing skills, and I find it more motivating to write for an audience (even if it's only an imaginary, potential audience).  

Like Hansel and Gretl, I've littered my blog with so many crumbs that it would be fairly easy to figure out who I am, if anyone cared (and I am very, very sure that no one does).  And not that it matters because it really, really doesn't, in part because I am not only old, but also (like my heroine Jane Eyre) plain and poor and obscure and have no family or reputation to protect.  Also, when I write critically about the New Misogynists, I only write what I would say to their faces, given the opportunity.  I would be happy to meet with Roosh V or Janet Bloomfield in person and tell them what I think. Hell, I'd buy the first round!

However, a few years ago, I had a very different blog.  It was a kind of confessional, recounting with humor and some salacious detail a year spent pursuing casual encounters on craigslist.  (Frankly, I was more than a little inspired by A Round Heeled Woman by Jane Juska.)  Well, as you know, Sex Sells, even sexual escapades as weird and pathetic as I was often describing in my crazy little blog.  

As my readership took off, I found that more and more I was living my life in service to my blog.  Consequently, I was engaging in behaviors that were increasingly humiliating and risky (both to my physical and emotional well being) just to have something to regale "my readers" with over their morning coffee.  It got a little out of hand.  Sometimes I said and did things I didn't really believe in or feel good about, just for the "copy."  Inevitably, I got more than a little burned out.  And, as fun as it was to shock and delight a lot of random strangers in cyberspace, I had to let it go.  (Also, I happened to meet someone I loved, thereby putting the final kabosh on pursuing or reporting what I might call "My Slutty, SluttyYear.") 

This experience gives me a little personal insight into -- and real sympathy for -- why and how a phenomenon like JudgyBitch is born.  I imagine she's been bored and flailing about for something beyond family responsibilities to give her life meaning and purpose.  Maybe she's always been the kind of gal with plenty of outrageous opinions, the kinds of opinions that are offered more for shock value than real insight ("the life of the party" so to speak), and now she's found a way to get a lot more attention for them.  The validation comes from making people gasp (Oh no she didn't!) rather than making them reflect or engage in honest debate.  She's found a forum where she is made to feel exceptional ("A woman in a man's world") and is accorded special recognition and privilege as such.  As she is egged on, she goes farther and farther out on the limb, she exposes more and more, her position becomes more and more tenuous, she seems more and more deluded...  But that attention!  That masculine attention!  It is as addictive as crack, and she just can't stop.