They Don’t Make Heterosexuals Like Pamela Des Barres Any More
January 11, 2022 11:16 AM   Subscribe



 
I think she's a decent writer with a distinctive and consistent voice (at least, if you're into somewhat sordid stories about rock musicians), but, jeez, Publisher's Weekly does not agree.
posted by box at 12:11 PM on January 11


I'm happy to hear that Frank Zappa treated her well.

I can only imagine that FZ's little refrain in "Fembot in a Wet T-Shirt" from "Joe's Garage" is in homage to Pamela:

Where ya from?
Ah, the bus
Which one?
You know... the last tour
You know... Leather
Oh, you were the girl that was stuck to seat 38
posted by chavenet at 12:12 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


Her book is a HELLUVA fun and funny read. Strongly recommended!
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:30 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Frank was definitely not a "Wife Guy" -- he was pretty open about having sex with groupies on tour (he joked in an early interview about coming off tour and going to the local free clinic to get penicillin shots for him and his wife), and his daughter Moon Unit has spoken about how at least on one occasion her mother Gail (Frank's wife) was sleeping in Moon's bedroom for a few days because Frank had one of his girlfriends over for an extended stay. That said, I think Frank generally treated the women he interacted with on tour (those he slept with and those he didn't) pretty well, and he did produce an album by Pamela and her friends, Permanent Damage by the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously): "I'm In Love with the Ooh-Ooh Man"
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:42 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I can corroborate Saxon Kane's comment; I just caught up with the recent Zappa documentary made by Alex Winter, which includes excerpts of the same interview as described. There's also more current (early 2010s?) interview footage with Gail Zappa where she confirms that she knew more or less everything about Frank's infidelity.

That said, one of the key talking heads in the documentary is Mothers percussionist Ruth Underwood, who speaks about Zappa in nothing less than glowing terms throughout. She was married to Mothers keyboardist Ian Underwood, which may have insulated her from that side of Zappa, as well as from whatever dumb macho bullshit you might expect with her being the only woman in the group.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:57 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I'm with the Band by Pamela Des Barres is one of the world's great guilty pleasures, right up there with Scruples by Judith Krantz.
posted by pangolin party at 1:15 PM on January 11 [15 favorites]


There's so much fun in this article! Too bad it does the seemingly joyful subject a great disservice; the writer of the article can't think of a way to celebrate a fun woman without first (and repeatedly) being shitty about other women. Anyway - I love music and gossip and I love fun people gleefully enjoying mess, and I'm going to read the book (but probably won't read Sophie Atkinson again.)
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 1:17 PM on January 11 [13 favorites]


I have a Frank Zappa story from a friend, let me just say that her story leaves him looking pretty great. She was a teen at the time and Zappa not only didn't hit on her (unlike a few men in the room at the time) but in the brief exchange he basically told her she's too young and too smart to be hanging out with groupies. Take that for what it's worth on the internet from some anonymous person.
posted by elkevelvet at 1:19 PM on January 11 [36 favorites]


Back to the subject of Miss Pamela and her sexuality... I feel like I remember reading a LOOONG time ago (1990s?) a story about her having a threesome with Beverly D'Angelo and David Geffen, or maybe it was Cynthia Plaster-Caster? Anyway, hotchi motchi!
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:34 PM on January 11


Too bad it does the seemingly joyful subject a great disservice; the writer of the article can't think of a way to celebrate a fun woman without first (and repeatedly) being shitty about other women.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to the day that we, as a society, can look back and laugh at the days when "There's only one right way to be female and most of you are doing it wrong" was A Thing People Thought.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:06 PM on January 11 [11 favorites]


She babysat the Zappa kids, IIRC. That aside, I had no preconceived notions about Sophie Atkinson, but this

a little less performative hand-wringing over liaisons with men

really sticks in my craw. I mean, “performative”? Isn’t that another way of saying “all these Me Too ladies just want attention”? As for Miss Pamela, she seems not have been victimized by any of the horrible men in her books, and she survived a rock & roll youth, unlike many of her friends, with a lot of good stories to tell.
posted by scratch at 2:15 PM on January 11 [6 favorites]


I've never read this book, but it sounds like fun. There's something really refreshing, especially in these times, about reading or hearing someone talk about something they love with unbridled joy.
posted by lunasol at 2:19 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I loved this book and read it so much when I was a kid and now I'm trying to find it so I can reread it.
posted by markbrendanawitzmissesus at 2:41 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I don't think there needs to be any guilt in finding I'm With The Band a pleasurable read. The voice is so strong and so alive. I don't think it worked so well in Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart, but it still felt true.

But, uh, Sophie? Bud Cort was absolutely a beautiful creature in that short period of time. I'll fight you on this. I'm also not finding what's so horrible about the Captain Beefheart quote in the context of Beefheart.
posted by queensissy at 2:41 PM on January 11 [6 favorites]


I guess I totally believe that Pamela Des Barres had fun and wrote a fun book, but I also think that a lot of groupies of her era were literally children who were exploited by grown-ass men, and it maybe isn't so great to ignore that because it's not fun. And also, it's ok for some things to be fun and others to be depressing. It's a big world, and there's room for lots of different ways of discussing straight women's experiences.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:08 PM on January 11 [17 favorites]


My God, this article is hilarious, and now I want to read the book.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:34 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I sympathised so much with this review. Because seriously, Zappa can be a stand-up guy who also has an open relationship. Being promiscuous is not a moral failing, even for a heterosexual man. Actually enjoying the company of men, enjoying sex with them, is something that I only seem to share with the queer men I know (mostly bears) and women who absolutely and consciously identify as promiscuous.

I'm queer, a few years out from a long term monogamous relationship to a man, and I am finding the, yes, performative misandry exhausting. I'm not with a man because I have to be for whatever convoluted rationale. It's not disappointing that I'm with a man. I enjoy the company of the men I sleep with and I recognised that joyousness in those excerpts.

Sure I could have a little sarcastic routine about men with ADHD, or snoring, or whatever. But I'm much more likely to message a gay friend and we mutually appreciate waking up next to furry chubby boys and how damn nice it is.

Part of the performance of heterosexuality under the patriarchy is the put upon forebearance of women in relationships with men. I have never had a comfortable relationship with that and now it irks me a lot. Because I don't have to be here! I don't have to be in a relationship or fuck men! I choose to and I'm going to own that choice rather than try and pretend I am somehow agency-less in this. To reduce all of the actual issues within heteropatriarchal relationships as a kind of sitcom level disdain.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:53 PM on January 11 [53 favorites]


I'm putting in a nice word for Up the Rainbow, the complete short fiction of Susan Caspar. I've only read some of it, but her characters have a lot of gusto, and some of them are enthusiastically heterosexual women.

Fair warning: some of the stories are horror.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:23 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Speaking of literal children who were exploited by grown-ass men - the article mentions "Tippi Hedren’s 14-year-old daughter" without actually name checking her - which is probably for legal reasons but also rather appropriate
posted by mbo at 4:25 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


This article from shortly after David Bowie's death talks about the knotty issue of groupie culture and consent: What should we say about David Bowie and Lori Maddox?
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:55 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


We did it 'til we were unconcho, and it was useless anymore...
posted by Oyéah at 5:51 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


When it comes to memoirs I try to remember that there's often a gap between the character of the author in the stories written and edited for us, and real-life author and the fullness of their life. There's the product we're being sold and then there's the actual person.

I remember reading somewhere that Diane di Prima's Memoirs of a Beatnik was heavily embellished. People assumed that the book documented di Prima's exact lived experience, but in reality she understood what would titillate people and sell copies, and she was a mother with mouths to feed. People wanted erotic escapades so that's what she gave them, and it financed a quotidian life that was real but far less interesting to the buying public.

Pamela Des Barres, heterosexual, as edited and sold in 1987, might be exactly the same as Pamela Des barres, person. Or maybe she gave us the tales with which you regale strangers at a bar—the fun, endearing ones with twists and turns and a narrative arc—as opposed to the more boring or complicated things you talk about at home.

Women may have changed, but so have the stories we're allowed to tell.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:19 PM on January 11 [22 favorites]


As a trans man, it does me good to see someone unabashedly attracted to and enjoying masculinity and men. Far too often progressive women give me the impression that they think I joined the Bad Club when I transitioned, and if I'm not bad myself it's only because I'm not "really" a man.
posted by contrapositive at 6:20 PM on January 11 [26 favorites]


Interesting. My spouse is a beautiful woman and used to be the kind of teenager that was always allowed back-stage and who got to skip the line at clubs. I know that comes with all sorts of really ugly and challenging things. But, as a cis het guy, the idea that you can pretty much engage in sex with anybody on the bus just by not saying, "no," is a fascinatingly different experience from my own. Cheers! (Well, except for the times when saying, "no," wasn't enough.)
posted by eotvos at 7:16 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I love exactly this genre—very fun reviews of books on subjects (music, celebrity) I almost certainly won’t get around to reading—because they’re usually identifying something unusual and noteworthy in the book that is rarely written about in a specific way, well, or indeed at all. A really good review picks up on what is uniquely expressed that rarely otherwise gets talked about; in this case, nonfictional accounts of straight women’s desire for men.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:09 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


There's the product we're being sold and then there's the actual person.
Well, yeah, nobody has an exciting madcap life 100% of the time and who wants to hear 100 accounts of hanging up the washing? I have no doubt that every published memoir is, if not embellished, selective for good reason.

A memoir of my life that only included interesting things would hardly fill an essay, which is why there'll never be such a thing published. Some people have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have enough interesting things happen to and around them to fill a book. I guess there's a point where so much of a particular brand of interesting thing happens to someone that it ends up at least partially defining who they are.
posted by dg at 9:12 PM on January 11


the article mentions "Tippi Hedren’s 14-year-old daughter" without actually name checking her - which is probably for legal reasons

For context, Tippi Hedren's only daughter is Melanie Griffith, who is also famous. The writer may be assuming this is common knowledge? In my cultural context, it is, but that context is not universal. I'd ask what editor let that go through, but this isn't a well edited piece in general. (I doubt Gawker currently has the resources for decent editing.)

In any case, Griffith was, well, I would say exposed to many inappropriate things at a very young age. But considering one of the first hits for "Melanie Griffith" on my search engine describes her as a former "teen vixen," the public is apparently still comfortable with putting her in a gross Lolita frame. Anyway, I'm assuming it was Don Johnson who dumped the 23-year-old Des Barres for Griffith. He was 22 at the time he started "dating" Griffith, who was 14. They got married when she was still a teenager. (They were actually married twice; the second time around is when Dakota Johnson was born.) It's just odd to leave "Tippi Hedren's 14-year-old daughter" floating in the ether, as if she's not someone who also has a famous life story.

The book itself sounds fascinating, though.
posted by desert outpost at 9:32 PM on January 11 [8 favorites]


really sticks in my craw. I mean, “performative”? Isn’t that another way of saying “all these Me Too ladies just want attention”?

Eh, that isn't how I read it. I think it was more a circling back to, as geek anachronism describes it above, the "put upon forebearance of women in relationships with men." I'm no longer a very young Very Online progressive woman but when I was, it would have seemed very gauche in those spaces to describe just...uncomplicatedly enjoying sex with men. You could thoughtfully, seriously, with a lot of caveats, enjoy sex with men. You could only enjoy sex with the very BEST men, though, the ones with feminist progressive bona fides, ideally men who were NOT themselves solely hetero or cis. To just sleep with some jackass for funsies was to betray...something.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:33 PM on January 11 [14 favorites]


Bud Cort was absolutely a beautiful creature in that short period of time.

I am not going to fight with you over that. But Harold and Maude was a movie both loved and loathed. I am in the latter camp. Because that wretched soundtrack for one. Not Cat Stevens cum Yusuf Islam's finest hour, by any means.

See also Bud Cort: ‘Harold and Maude was a blessing and a curse’
posted by y2karl at 10:13 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I think she's a decent writer with a distinctive and consistent voice (at least, if you're into somewhat sordid stories about rock musicians), but, jeez, Publisher's Weekly does not agree.

She's definitely readable in I'm With the Band, but Rock Bottom (the book that PW was trashing).... Let's just say, in terms of her works, it's not the best place to start.
posted by gtrwolf at 10:36 PM on January 11


...Bud Cort... Bud Cort... Bud Cort! "Bond company stooge" right!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:03 AM on January 12 [5 favorites]


Part of the performance of heterosexuality under the patriarchy is the put upon forebearance of women in relationships with men.

I am reminded of someone (here on the Blue, I believe) pointing out that Gomez and Morticia being dizzily, vocally in love with each other was part of the subversiveness of the TV sitcom The Addams Family, because the trend among sitcoms was to make marriage look like a chore.
posted by Gelatin at 4:28 AM on January 12 [24 favorites]


He was 22 at the time he started "dating" Griffith, who was 14. They got married when she was still a teenager.

I'm old enough to remember people talking about that kind of "relationship" with slightly disapproving tones, but even more with a tone of "that lucky guy." So underaged groupies was a thing to joke about, often with an envious tinge, rather than any kind of "hmm, that guy sounds like a predator." I'm sure there were people who thought that and said it, but in my little world when I was young, I don't recall ever hearing that.

The review is great and she sounds fun.

The unintended consequence of the latter is that Pamela — who truly loves almost every man she sleeps with and hangs out with, even when they are horrible to her — crucifies a lot of rockstars and music-biz people, not by describing what they get up to in bed, but by earnestly quoting what they say.

I wonder if she was in fact much more self-aware than the quotations from the book sound, though; it is a good author who can portray a character (including themselves) so consistently.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:41 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


I know her Irl, and she’s fun. Too bad the Gawker writer didn’t interview her, but that would be work.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:49 AM on January 12 [17 favorites]


he basically told her she's too young and too smart to be hanging out with groupies

It's a shame he felt he had to insult the groupies.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 10:55 AM on January 12 [4 favorites]


But Harold and Maude was a movie both loved and loathed. I am in the latter camp. Because that wretched soundtrack for one.
Are duels allowed on metafilter?
posted by eotvos at 11:02 AM on January 12 [5 favorites]


@contrapositive
For what it's worth, queer masculinity is incredibly important (and hot!) to me and to others I know
posted by mkuhnell at 11:14 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Part of the performance of heterosexuality under the patriarchy is the put upon forebearance of women in relationships with men.

I think this is unfair to women who love the company of men and love sex with men, but do not love being in a relationship with an uneven load of domestic responsibilities. And yes, it's a choice! But like all choices, it's one that's affected by a tremendous amount of pressure and socialization pushing people to coupledom. There's not a lot of support for a chosen single life and not everyone is going to be able to find that support. It's not "performative" for women to talk about men's failures on the home front. #notallmen and all that.
posted by Mavri at 11:26 AM on January 12 [8 favorites]


W/r/t the performance of heterosexuality, the reason this review—and the 1987 book—are so interesting is because they're so rare as expressed viewpoints. Heterosexuality's performed, constantly, but as a general rule, the audience is always male. It's striking to realise just how rarely anyone gets to read or hear about the general desirability of men from the viewpoint of straight women, even though by definition they do desire men. This book is nearly 35 years old and is being reviewed as contemporary and relevant. Why? Why is Bud Cort sexy? Our culture has no answer.

We're flooded with images and stories and morality about the general desirability of women, to the point of tedium; that's the 'male gaze' we know about that elevates youth, thinness, conventional good looks, and so on; as we know, even women are forced to look at women through a lens of male desire and assumptions. It's ever-presently there and powerful and encompassing. It's so encompassing that straight masculinity in it is another story men tell about themselves; patriarchy 'knows' far more about what gay men want out of other gay men, a minority of a minority, than what straight women, the patriarchal norm, are supposed to be attracted to. The cliché that straight men have no idea what women see in them has been a sitcom staple joke because it's just a statement of fact. Even the existence of, say, the romance genre—a genre overwhelmingly written by and for women, bought and read by women—has little to say to men because men aren't meant to be part of these fantasies or this conversation. Is the female gaze of desirable masculinity a bodice-ripping Duke, a dangerous outlaw in the West, a sparkly baseball-playing vampire, a Frank Zappa rock star? Then why is Bud Cort sexy?
To see the world through Pamela’s eyes is to enter a parallel reality
I mean yes. It is quite literally a parallel reality to experience masculinity from the outside.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:58 PM on January 12 [13 favorites]


I think this is unfair to women who love the company of men and love sex with men, but do not love being in a relationship with an uneven load of domestic responsibilities.

But does the put-upon-ness only apply to the uneven load of domestic responsibilities? There is a LOT of "put-upon" dialogue surrounding sex itself. The link within the FPP to the pessimistic heterosexuality article is, I think, a little more what the writer is referencing--"oh, I find myself a heterosexual woman, this is awful, if only I were not this, but this is my sad awful fate." You see a lot of it on Twitter: "I know sexuality isn't a choice because straight women exist."

It's not politically revolutionary to be a cis het woman, obviously, and it's certainly not cool, and it does in fact mean you have to navigate a lot of shitty weird politics, and everyone's sick to death of straight men in theory so it feels weird to be WAY INTO THEM in practice. And all of that does in fact lead to a lot of hand wringing that is, yes, a little performative. I'm not saying everyone is just pretending to be conflicted about straightness. I'm just saying that conflict is something people do feel a bit obligated to front-load.

Like I'm really trying to imagine a present-day straight woman writer just unabashedly writing about fun sex with hot dopes, and what the internet would do with that. I cannot even imagine what that writing would SOUND like, and I do not think the internet would do much with it that is good.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:02 PM on January 12 [6 favorites]


Oh hahaha or this alternate interpretation of "performative," from the pessimism link:

"That these disaffiliations are 'performative' does not mean that they are insincere but rather that they are rarely accompanied by the actual abandonment of heterosexuality."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:11 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Like I'm really trying to imagine a present-day straight woman writer just unabashedly writing about fun sex with hot dopes, and what the internet would do with that. I cannot even imagine what that writing would SOUND like, and I do not think the internet would do much with it that is good.

Are you specifically talking about nonfiction?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:34 PM on January 12


It's a shame he felt he had to insult the groupies.

Frank is one of my personal heroes for several reasons, and I do believe he was a genuinely good -- if complicated -- person, but his attitudes towards women weren't always great. He wasn't a fan of the "women's lib movement" as he called it, and mocked it on several occasions, but not, I think, out of a sense of patriarchal dominance -- more of his general disdain for what he perceived as evidence of human stupidity and herd mentality, part of his cynicism after the politics of the 60s imploded. Still, he definitely did believe in Differences Between Men and Women, although to him that didn't mean inequality. The division of labor in his house was definitely gendered: he wrote music and handled the business of that, his wife took care of the kids and did whatever else she did, and he made an appearance when he wasn't lost in his work. Gail definitely "knew the deal" when it came to his infidelities -- part of the reason his first marriage broke up was his wife wouldn't put up with him sleeping around. Gail herself probably had affairs as well, but from things the kids have said, she wasn't exactly happy about it. It was more that she was so devoted to Frank that she was willing to look the other way. Moon Unit has said that her mom had some severe emotional problems, and I have no doubt Frank's extra-curricular activities had something to do with that. He once joked that groupies were akin to "human sacrifices," although from context you can tell he meant that as a compliment. But people always say that he was straightforward and honest with everyone he dealt with regardless of gender, because to him anything less was a waste of time, and I would wager that the women he slept with were both of legal age and consenting (to whatever extent that can be measured), just because I don't think he had much patience for stupid or immature people, and he had little interest in manipulating or controlling others.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:51 PM on January 12


I think this is unfair to women who love the company of men and love sex with men, but do not love being in a relationship with an uneven load of domestic responsibilities. And yes, it's a choice! But like all choices, it's one that's affected by a tremendous amount of pressure and socialization pushing people to coupledom. There's not a lot of support for a chosen single life and not everyone is going to be able to find that support. It's not "performative" for women to talk about men's failures on the home front. #notallmen and all that.

To a certain extent, as a woman currently in a relationship with a man? I didn't care if I'm being fair or not. Our reliance on these old standards are precisely part of the that structure of men's failures on the homefront. If we do not admit or understand our complicity - if we don't back the complaints about men with disavowing heterosexuality as it were - then what exactly are we doing. It's as performative as rainbow capitalism, BLM black squares, and pinkwashing. But we are meant to spend so much time on assuaging the feelings of women who benefit from it while complaining about it.

Because like it or not, it's a very white process to engage in AND it's integral to heteropatriarchal structures. It implies a lack of sexuality in women, presumes financial dependency, and intellectual/emotional lack that can only be filled by men even when they make life worse. And it won't change if we keep on doing it.

Enjoying men's company, enjoying sex with them, does not require being in an unfulfilling relationship with one of them. Uncomplicated joy in being with a man is not an acceptance of misogyny.

Also, yes, I rather suspect simply quoting these men is a rather neat way of depicting them without editorialising about their sexual proclivities.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:52 PM on January 12 [5 favorites]


I am specifically talking about nonfiction, and first-person, like this book under discussion. Not just talking about theoretical fun sex with hot dopes but her own actual real sex with hot dopes.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:22 PM on January 12


Are duels allowed on MetaFilter?

Only if I get to choose flintlock pistols and given the charge of loading them.
posted by y2karl at 10:37 PM on January 12


I'm losing track of who's who in this, but I'll be the second for whoever dissed the Cat Stevens soundtrack. I even like a lot of his stuff ... but not in Harold + Maude. It was 1971. Should've been Alice Cooper or Black Sabbath ... or perhaps something more abstratedly off-the-nose like The Carpenters.
posted by philip-random at 11:06 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Like I'm really trying to imagine a present-day straight woman writer just unabashedly writing about fun sex with hot dopes, and what the internet would do with that.

This kind of describes Paris Hilton, so I think people like that still exist, but the internet part is crappy so nobody writes about it there. Maybe in a book eventually.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:09 AM on January 13


I dunno; I guess I'm just not comfortable calling the majority of straight female writers liars when they choose to write about their own negative lived experiences in their romantic/sexual relationships. MMV.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:24 AM on January 13


I also think that it's a weird move to posit Pamela Des Barres as some kind of timeless exemplar of cool-girl womanhood, because I actually think the LA groupie scene was pretty historically specific, and it really could only have existed in the brief window between the invention of the pill and the advent of AIDS. There's a reason that having sex with tons of terrible men stopped seeming like a good hobby, and I don't think it's that women got boring.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:06 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Like I'm really trying to imagine a present-day straight woman writer just unabashedly writing about fun sex with hot dopes, and what the internet would do with that.

This kind of describes Paris Hilton, so I think people like that still exist…


Women bragging about sleeping with dumb-sexy straight guys is absolutely a staple of contemporary hip hop, reality dating shows, YouTuber culture, etc., so as a trope it is utterly thriving. It is mainly in progressive spaces that it’s treated as something akin to crossing a picket line.
posted by ducky l'orange at 12:24 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I dunno; I guess I'm just not comfortable calling the majority of straight female writers liars when they choose to write about their own negative lived experiences in their romantic/sexual relationships. MMV.

To be clear I don't think anyone is lying; I think women who are writing about their negative experiences with men are being honest. I just think that there DO EXIST progressive women who are having fun, positive sexytimes with cishet dudes, but they just don't feel like that's something they should generally be writing about, in the face of the reality that men are trash. I think these people exist because I'm one of them. (But not a writer.)

And maybe that's a shame, because it'd be fun to read. Or maybe it's fine, because like I said, everyone is sick to death of cishet shit at least in theory and maybe we just have to shut the fuck up indefinitely about it in practice.

(Majority of women published in medium-to-large venues /= majority of women in the world. Like, for the most part it's not even a representative sample, even with the internet leveling things somewhat.)

Yeah I do agree that in music there's a little more of it, which makes sense given that women in music are now enjoying a few more of the same sexual freedoms that men in music have long enjoyed (hopefully with less of the exploitation and assault on all sides but srsly, who knows). Cannot profess any familiarity whatsoever with youtube culture or reality TV, but there's probably a lot to unpack about it. Maybe this whole business is really just a matter of cultural/class markers.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:33 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I don't disbelieve women who have difficult times with men. It's systemic! It's extremely common! But there is a difference between discussing emotional labour, coercive control, baseline misogyny, and the "ew boys" and "ugh men" and "male tears" and "I am sad because I am straight". The latter is "boys will be boys" relabeled for liberal ideals - the former is identification of issues, and often methods of dealing with them.

I find the most uncomplicated joy in male sexuality to be found in gay male communities (esp bears), porn artists and creators (written or art or irl), and very very scarce elsewhere. Because when it is accompanied by "dick is abundant and low value" or "himbos"* or "hit it and leave" it's as...hm, I don't know how to phrase it but the same kind of exploitative thing we have done before just reskinned. And sure that is fine and useful in limited quantities. It doesn't change much.

Actual joy and fun? Thin on the ground and often presented defensively - either "look I am transgressing these ideals while also enjoying sex with a man!" or going full tradwife style.

Does some of this come from the orgasm gap and general misogynist nature of society? Yeah. But complaining about being straight and having a boyfriend and sleeping with men isn't addressing any of that, and when it's done at those men you are dating? Enforces that damn status quo! Says "you don't even have to try and if you do you'll still fail".
posted by geek anachronism at 3:28 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


It’s almost entirely a matter of cultural/class markers. Outside of educated progressive spaces like Metafilter, cishet sexuality remains fairly popular.
posted by ducky l'orange at 4:12 PM on January 13


It isn't that it is popular, we know it's still the majority and some of us are rather aware of homophobia. It is that even in the most explicitly heteropatriarchal environments a female enjoyment of the male in a sexual context is verboten (do your duty) and highly restrictive (husband only), and in less overtly restrictive ones - including my own working class one - it's still a kind of dismissive and defensive enjoyment, at best. It's "what would he do without me" and jokes about lack of sexual prowess, or infantilising the whole thing and obscuring the animal joy of fucking men.

Participating in heterosexuality is not the topic, it's the expressive joy in it that acknowledges that not all of these men are good or 'worthy' but they're certainly fun.

(Which also does not mean women who participate in that cishet lifestyle don't find the joy, they may not express it and often layer it with weird amounts of cynical sarcasm which might be funny online but watching a brown man of my acquaintance get weirdly negged as a 'bit of rough' by a frankly surprising amount of nice middle class white ladies has been eye opening for the failure mode of sarcastic weary heterosexuality)
posted by geek anachronism at 7:44 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


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