Fact or Feminism

Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures
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MEN ARE PIGS! Sex is a conquest and romance and male chivalry is dead! Urck! I hate these female rants; they annoy me! In fact, the other day, I was talking to a friend about how men are far more wimpy and sentimental than women. Now, I don’t know how true this is, I think it’s more about the person than ‘male’ or ‘female’, but it got me to thinking about sex, romance and gender.

Question: Is there really a huge ‘gender specific’ divide when it comes to sex and matters of the heart? Girls obviously talk about boys in a derogatory way; discussing sexual triumphs or men’s sexual limitations. Don’t try to deny it woman! We’ve all had those chats about small penises, premature ejaculation, and mind-blowing orgasms (however rare). The other night, I was talking about sex in an extremely crude way with a close male friend. So instead of ridiculing derogatory language, lets talk about responsibility when it comes to sexual conduct. One might state: ‘It’s all well and good talking about sex in a jovial and crude way, but there are consequences to our actions’. The other day, I overheard a guy talking about how he would have unprotected sex. I thought to myself, I hope to god no woman is stupid enough to have sex with this idiotic man, but if they did, well, it takes ‘two to tango’ so both are responsible, and if you’re not, shame on both of you, right?! You might agree, but how many women walk around with a condom in their purse or back pocket?! It always baffles me when woman seem more embarrassed to buy condoms than men?!

Anyway, I can’t argue that some men aren’t misogynistic, or that boys don’t order strippers on ‘lad’s weekends’ away without their girlfriends knowing, but this idea that romance is dead and chivalry is lost forever is ridiculous. One of my friends was complaining that men don’t open doors for women in England (she’s from Turkey maybe this is more common there), and I’m not saying it isn’t good manners for someone to hold the door open for you. I’m just not going to expect it from a man because I’m a woman, this is only highlighting the gender divide and victimizing the woman in a small way, yes, but still this idea that a man should come to a women’s rescue is so banal. This overtly idealised image of romance is just another concept cooked up by hallmark holidays, romance novels and rom-com films. Basically, IT ISN’T REAL! Relationships are somewhat mundane and boring, day-to-day, they are also effort and hard work. This is not to say they are not rewarding, but we need to let go of this idealised view of romance. Romance is someone bringing you a cup of tea in the morning exactly the way you like it, which believe me isn’t always an easy feat if you’re a fussy tea drinker. Two of the most romantic moments in my life were from people knowing me: the first was chatting to a boyfriend on the phone when we’d just started going out; we talked for hours about everything and nothing, but he listened. This was beautiful and romantic to me; the second, was a different boyfriend who got me a small box of all caramel chocolates because he remembered that I don’t like nuts and loved caramel. It’s not the grand gestures but the little things that count; it’s about knowing some inside out: this to me is romance.

 

This being said, who’s to say that all women or men even want romance and relationships, with more marriages ending in divorce, and technology rapidly developing; physical human interaction is becoming limited. And long-distance relationships are becoming ‘fashionable’ (this discussion is for another blog). Why shouldn’t young adults be single and have fun? To this I say, there is still a stigma surrounding women who ‘sleep around’, which is a shame, and I think some women still feel this if they have a one night stand. I have had conversations with women who have slept with a random person or an ex, stating that they didn’t feel bad about themselves or used in a surprised way, like they should. As women, do we still carry this stigma around with us? I would feel more used having sex with someone I have emotional ties to and hurts me, than a stranger I have no ties to at all. Yet I do have a fundamental problem with having sex with complete strangers, and this has nothing to do with women being ‘sluts’ and men being ‘studs’. It’s more about safety, you don’t know who you’re going home with or what s/he might do. You’d be an incredibly trusting or idiotic person to invite a complete stranger back to your house and into your bed. I want to know the person, even just a little, before I have sex with them.

I’m not really sure if there’s any point to my rant, its more than I got to thinking about if we have come that far in the way we view women, women’s sexuality, and the way we view ourselves. I’m not sure I have an answer or even that I feel any clearer about it after this dialogue, but I do feel we still have a chauvinistic media (page 3 anyone?), and having a puritanical film franchise aka The Twilight Saga influencing young teenage girls; placing a weak and masochistic damsel in distress as the heroine in an unhealthy and obsessive relationship, maybe isn’t a good sign! Once again, we need to take strategic control of our sexual and romantic lives. Camille Paglia (a post-feminist thinker) attacked the image of women as ‘victims’ and insisted on the need for women to take greater responsibility for their own sexual and personal conduct. And in the words of Timothy Leary (yes, that’s right, a man) ‘women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.’ Be ambitious!

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