5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men
July 28, 2010 11:51 AM   Subscribe

 
These are all true to a greater or lesser extent, but I can't say that any of them are things that either my male friends or I spend very much thinking about, much less chafing at the profound injustice of it all.
posted by modernnomad at 11:59 AM on July 28, 2010


The patriarchy hurts men too.
posted by giraffe at 12:00 PM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


These are all true to a greater or lesser extent, but I can't say that any of them are things that either my male friends or I spend very much thinking about, much less chafing at the profound injustice of it all.

That's because you've fully bought into number 5.
posted by spicynuts at 12:01 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks for posting this!
posted by gingerbeer at 12:01 PM on July 28, 2010


She misquotes "Lightnin'" Lou Christie, so the remainder of her assertions are cast into doubt.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:02 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hasn't pointing out the harm sexism does to both genders long been a tactic of feminism? What's new here?
posted by Sangermaine at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd replace "men are supposed to always want sex" (Isn't that the point of testosterone? To give males the urge to perpetuate the species?) with "all men are expected to have some basic mechanical ability." I'll admit that I'm guilty of presuming every adult male instinctively knows how to change a tire or fix a leaky faucet.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's because you've fully bought into number 5.

Couldn't the reason be that some men don't regard their lot worth complaining about in the grand scheme of the patriarchy?

(That's the stiff upper lip, btw!)
posted by Beardman at 12:04 PM on July 28, 2010


Hasn't pointing out the harm sexism does to both genders long been a tactic of feminism? What's new here?
posted by Sangermaine at 12:03 PM on July 28 [+] [!]


The problem is there are so many people (for instance, most of my male friends and quite a few of my female friends) who completely deny that there is any problem at all with the way things are now.
posted by rebent at 12:05 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's because you've fully bought into number 5.

Not hardly. I've been 'mistaken' for gay several times, and I can't say it ever bothers me. Why should it? I'm sure this list might be relevant to some segment of the male population, but as far as my peer group goes, it's about as relevant to the 'male experience' (or an accurate portrayal thereof) as an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. (I offer this up of course as nothing more than an anecdote, not a universal truth).
posted by modernnomad at 12:06 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


My wife is taller than I am and stronger than I am.

My relief in knowing that I will never again be asked to open a stubborn pickle jar or get the suitcase off the top closet shelf is profound.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:07 PM on July 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Heffernan fallacy:
Any argument, legitimate or otherwise, that references the television sitcom "King of Queens" is immediately ruled invalid.
posted by purephase at 12:08 PM on July 28, 2010 [25 favorites]


I imagine that like any other prejudice, the amount experienced varies a lot between people, and depends a lot on the type of social environment you find yourself in.

I recognize all of these expectations in the messages I see aimed at men. Advertising, sitcoms, and so on, value these traits and devalue men who don't have them. I don't experience it personally, as a woman, but I can see the pressure being applied. I've talked to male friends who feel like they're expected to behave in ways that they think are vile (like treating women as less than men, as in the "pussywhipped" example).

And I've certainly met men who try to live up to these expectations.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:08 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


These are all true to a greater or lesser extent, but I can't say that any of them are things that either my male friends or I spend very much thinking about, much less chafing at the profound injustice of it all.

That's because you've fully bought into number 5

Well, I'm gay - and I don't think about gender roles too much. I don't think my straight friends do either. To say you avoid thinking about these things becasue you are fearful of being gay is kinda lame. I think in the big landscape of things - being a guy in our society is still much easier than being a woman.
posted by helmutdog at 12:09 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does beating your friends with sticks, but having joy in your heart and a song on your lips while you do it count as "Fight, fight fight!"?

What if your friend is a girl?

What if she'll hand you you head if you are so naive as to think she'll be easy to beat?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:10 PM on July 28, 2010


I think there's a big difference between expectations created for men by other men and enforced by men... and expectations created for women by both genders (arguably) and enforced by both genders (but largely men because men still hold more positions of power).

Most of these are not things women care about. Okay, a woman might wonder if her boyfriend's sexual interests make him gay, but only in the context of whether he's really still attracted to her. Women very rarely really care about a man's ability to beat up other men, and I definitely don't think women encourage men to ignore them. These are the expectations of guys created by other guys which generally do not have material economic impact if you ignore them to some degree or another.

Meanwhile, my last boss had an office full of staff who were exclusively women. Who he did not provide health insurance for, on the grounds that "you can get it from your husbands". Who he paid poorly because we were desperate for work and would accept that, but then expected us to dress and live as though we were upper-middle-class, because surely we had a breadwinner at home who was bringing in the real money. That? Isn't something you can just ignore at the risk of being slightly socially unacceptable. That's a really very different thing entirely.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:12 PM on July 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


A lot of these are easily avoided contingent on what kind of people you choose to surround yourself with.
posted by millipede at 12:12 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


This article is pretty bad, imo. Maybe I live in a delusional 21st century where Glenn Beck cries like a baby, but I don't think these ring very true anymore. At all.

I mean I've turned down plenty of women who wanted to have sex with me. There was no confusion or "what?! but you're a ... guy!" Please.

I would put "eating meat" on such a list, though. I get peeved at those commercials that (and people who) question my sexual virility because I don't.

I don't understand #5. Men are expected to have a fear of being gay? What? Is the author purported that we will be looked down upon if we are not homophobes. I don't think it's remotely true.

Some men *do* have a genuine fear of being perceived as gay because they will be treated badly, and that's a valid fear, I think. I don't know think that's "sexist" though.

The whole thing read badly to me, or like it was written in 1978. *shrug*
posted by mrgrimm at 12:12 PM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Not a terrible article, but I'd question a couple points. For one, I strongly disagree that us dudes are expected to be able to, or willing to, physically fight. The last time I threw a punch was in the eighth grade. The last time I came even *close* to being in a fight was freshman year of college - another man at a house party was making an ass of himself, and got bounced out pretty roughly. I was in the way, and got shoved by the guy doing the bouncing. But that was an accident - the fellow apologized, and I accepted the apology. Why wouldn't I?

As for the fear straight men have for being taken for gay - eh, there's something to that. But I don't think I'd go so far as to call it a fear. Look - I'm a straight dude. I want to attract women. If I come off as gay, it's much harder to do that. So, yes, I'd be unhappy to be told that I'd dressed in a manner that looked "gay" - but not because I think there's anything wrong with that. It's just that looking (or otherwis presenting) as gay is counterproductive to my goals.

Finally, with regard to the "stiff upper lip" thing - well, yes, that's true. As a dude, I'm expected to maintain a degree of stoicism. And what's wrong with that? It's a useful tool for dealing with troubling circumstances. One could argue that it's a good idea for women, too, to keep a stiff upper lip - and I'd agree. I don't think this is a distinctively male virtue. But it *is* a virtue - and if it's one that sexism perpetuates, then this is not an evil to be cast aside with the many genuine evils that sexism brings.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 12:14 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well yeah for being obvious with pointery if you are still living in 1990, but not every male social group lives like that or cares what other men think of them. This list seems to be mostly peer pressure to act in certain ways, not stuff that affects your earnings and legal rights, etc. If you're not in that kind of social group, who cares anyway.

I don't think being mistaken for gay means anything to a lot of young men now, what with all the metrosexual eyebrow waxings and stunning lack of macho bullpoop among my nephew's friends. Maybe the author should stop catching her study samples at the rodeo?
posted by shinybaum at 12:15 PM on July 28, 2010


Speaking as a 47 year old man, I have somehow managed not to be oppressed and demeaned by these horrible blights in a quarter-century of adulthood. I mean, come on: any man who gets in fights for fear of being called a "pussy" has the emotional maturity of a 12 year old, plain and simple, as is any man who spends energy worrying if people think he's gay, thinks he should hit indiscriminately on women, etc. My general response to the author of this piece is "grow the fuck up" -- if you want to be a decent person, be decent and get on with your life, and stop whining that you're not allowed to be a bad boy because of -- what, "reverse sexism?" Sheesh. Next post, the White American's Burden?
posted by aught at 12:15 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd replace "men are supposed to always want sex" (Isn't that the point of testosterone? To give males the urge to perpetuate the species?) with "all men are expected to have some basic mechanical ability."

Good one. I can't believe how many otherwise intelligent, educated, progressive women and needed to fix something technical and said "can't you do it?"
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a man, this list is stupid.

Okay I apologize, just my fight-y male nature taking over there.

As the type of man that would click on Alter-net articles and read three thousand word essays on gender politics, this list has no meaning in my life. Or anyone I know well. It may have bearing on the stereotypical version of a mouth breathing man.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


It seems like these prejudices are mainly experienced by men who hang out with douchebags.
posted by cmoj at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


I definitely agree that there are sexist structures that have a negative impact on men, though I'm not sure that list is it. Alimony, for example, bothers me - it's based on the sexist principle that a women is meant to be kept by a man, and therefore if a man "disposes" of a woman he has to make sure she is still "taken care of" until a new man comes along to pick up the bill. Where there are no children, and where the wife has her own income, alimony strikes me as a ludicrous throwback.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Having said that, as the mother of a 12 yr old boy I do wish more parents of 12 yr old girls would point out to them that grabbing boys junk (in fun or as a come on) is unacceptable.
posted by shinybaum at 12:17 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


>And what's wrong with that?

Because it extends beyond just keeping it together in general, and into situations where you should or want to express your emotions, but feel pressure not to. While it's bad to break down at the drop of a hat, it's also bad to try and maintain a front at all times even when not appropriate or desired.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]



I'd like to refavorite Grobstein's comment from a year ago in a similar discussion, because I couldn't possibly favorite it hard enough.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


jeez, i'm writing like a six-year-old in this thread ... so let's continue

A vast majority of (generally healthy and virile) men do "always want sex." (I'll admit to that cliche.) They just don't want to do it with you. Do not take it personally.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think my straight friends do either. To say you avoid thinking about these things becasue you are fearful of being gay is kinda lame

Whoops..I totally fucked up that joke. I thought Number 5 was the Stiff Upper Lip. My bad!
posted by spicynuts at 12:19 PM on July 28, 2010


She misquotes "Lightnin'" Lou Christie confuses 'feminism' with 'equality', so the remainder of her assertions are cast into doubt.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:21 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just my social circle, but all of these things only affected me as a teen and early 20-something.

By the time you're in your late 20's (or grown up, whenever that is) they all become pretty minor issues. Society doesn't punish me in *any* way because I avoid fisticuffs and adore my wife and kids. Stiff upper lip? Sure, it's pretty stiff in public, but I don't think it's any stiffer than the adult women I know, either. Gay? I wear pink and drive a Miata and haven't gotten shit for either so far.

Compared to the crap that women put up with for their entire lives, that starts with fucking "JUICY!" panties being pushed on them before puberty and continues through their entire reproductive/working lives? I think I'll stick with my penis, thanks.
posted by pjaust at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


This 'piece' from a content farm sharecropper is value-dead.
posted by nj_subgenius at 12:23 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


There's some wisdom in this list, I think. But then there's this:

Lots of men, for instance, feel pressured to date fashionably thin women... Like dating a fat chick... means they're not high enough on the primate status ladder to acquire a high-status mate.

Well, yes. Mate selection is about status, to a great extent. That's true for everyone, not just men. Beautiful and smart and successful does not date ugly and stupid and dead-end.

This one in particular, but actually several of these... these are biologically-driven. Maybe culture can change to deemphasize them, and maybe it should. But acting as though our culture just sort of made up these tropes out of whole cloth isn't doing anyone any favors.
posted by gurple at 12:23 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Straight men who are afraid of being seen as gay are missing one of life's great pleasures -- leaving people wondering what the fuck you are. We must all try to maintain a little mystery, darlings.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:24 PM on July 28, 2010 [28 favorites]


She misquotes "Lightnin'" Lou Christie and confuses 'feminism' with 'equality', so the remainder of her assertions are cast into doubt.

FTFU
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:29 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not sure "be expected to laugh at seeing guys getting slapped in the face by women or having their testicles impacted with something with more mass than a feather" falls under the first category or if it deserves one of its own. Seriously, watch TV for a while or a light-hearted film sometime, begin counting nut-thumps. It's crazy.

And, yeah, the expectation that I am as desperate for sex, any sex, as starving dogs are for any scraps someone will deign to drop from the table, it's weird. If I don't just jump at it like Indiana Jones leaping for the opposite cliff edge I get the "What's wrong with you?" reaction. I'm not sure why I react so nastily whenever that gets pulled on me, but it rankles. Slobberingly grateful for this fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that's not me.
posted by adipocere at 12:31 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Straight men who are afraid of being seen as gay are missing one of life's great pleasures -- leaving people wondering what the fuck you are. We must all try to maintain a little mystery, darlings.

This IS one of life's great pleasures. Call me weird, but I've secretly always got a kick out of hearing the rumors about how I was "probably gay."
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:31 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Straight men who are afraid of being seen as gay are missing one of life's great pleasures -- leaving people wondering what the fuck you are.
Nthing that.

Also, the amusement that comes when you're talking to a female friend, and their over-testosterone'd boyfriend decides he has to start dropping casual signals about HOW INCREDIBLY MANLY he is. Yes, yes, you bench press your BMW while jogging up and down a mountain every morning before day-trading. Bravo! Can I finish my coffee?
posted by verb at 12:32 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Women very rarely really care about a man's ability to beat up other men

Ability? Perhaps not. But willingness? I've definitely heard women say that they want a guy who will fight for them, or describing a guy who backed away from a fight to 'defend her honor' as a bad thing. Not women I'd necessarily want to date, that's for sure, and by no means a majority of women. But it's a very real thing that some women want men to be willing to engage in violence on their behalf.

I think in the big landscape of things - being a guy in our society is still much easier than being a woman.

That things are worse for one group does not inviolate the point that they might also be bad in different ways for another group.

In addition, the problems faced by men mirror, in many ways, the problems faced by women. Men are not supposed to have emotions; this is the flip side of "Women are supposed to always be incredibly empathic." Women are supposed to be hyper-maternal - have you seen media depictions of fathers without their female partners on hand? Men are widely depicted as being basically incapable of successful parenting, unable to prepare a simple meal, needing female support for every aspect of fatherhood other than those explicitly linked to male roles, like playing catch. A man out in public with a child will receive comments like "oh, giving mom a break?" And don't get me started on the stigma that a stay-at-home father still has.

A male-female binary means that if something is "True of men," we tend to combine that with "The opposite must be true of women." You can't create a world where women can do anything without simultaneously creating a world where men can do anything, and you have to address both problems at some point.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:33 PM on July 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


I think the article is crap, because as mrgrimm says it doesn't seem to really address the modern stereotypes and often contradictory expectations placed upon men.

However, I can't help but chuckle cynically that a thread about the expectations or stereotypes placed upon men will likely:
a) disregard male experiences as unimportant or not the norm anyway
b) suggest it's not that bad, so what do men have to complain about?
c) just get deleted since it's just chatfilter and not worth having a whole thread about this

I think the linked article misses many of the ones I see, and chafe at, although the "Don't show emotion/feel emotion" is definitely a big one in any such list. Some I could think of off the top of my head:

a) Men are expected to be strong, athletic, in great shape, terrifically groomed and dressed. However, you can't have any standards in a woman, because that would be sexist and objectifying women.

b) Women should earn the same as a man for the same job. However, in the end, the man should always have a job, while a woman has the option to not work and be provided for. I don't agree with this, but an insanely high number of men and women seem to believe it.

c) A man who has no job, or is not making enough to buy expensive things for himself and his woman, is basically a loser.

d) Female masturbation and sexual exploration is beautiful and mysterious and clitoral revelations workshops and drawers full of toys, oh my. Male masturbation is ugly and gross and icky and the sign of being the kind of loser who can't get laid and you only can use your hand anyway so you should feel ashamed of your sexuality you disgusting male pig. A fleshlight or realdoll is gross; a Hitachi magic wand or a rabbit are awesome and go girl!

e) A man has to be confident, aggressive, assertive, and know what he wants- unless the woman he fancies isn't attracted to him in which case he's creepy and gross and has no boundaries. A man ALWAYS needs to make the first move, but has to be a mindreader so he doesn't risk offending anyone.

f) It's a man's place to put himself in harms way or make sacrifices especially physical ones (in fights, in wars, in disasters or burning buildings). Any man who doesn't do so is weak and cowardly. However, this should not be construed as implying women are the 'weaker' sex.

g) A man should notice the attempts you make to beautify yourself or he's gay/rude, but he can't notice the attempts you make to beautify yourself because then he's objectifying you.

h) In a relationship, a woman can pout to get what she wants like a petulant child, or withhold sex or affection, or even hit/punch/slap a man and he should just take it. The inverse is not true and is frowned upon or outright illegal.

i) A man has to be smart enough to be interesting, but dumb enough to be easily manipulated. Jokes about men being dumb, stupid, thoughtless, mindless are all a-okay to many people. The inverse is not true and is frowned upon.

j) All men benefit from the patriarchy and are living high on the hog. No men are at the bottom of the scrap heap. No men get shit on in their lives, or the short end of the stick, or make unrewarded sacrifices, because that is not the narrative we wish to believe.
posted by hincandenza at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [118 favorites]


Somehow I've survived for over 45 years with all these horrible burdens of being a straight man. I don't know how I did it.
posted by octothorpe at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't understand #5. Men are expected to have a fear of being gay? What? Is the author purported that we will be looked down upon if we are not homophobes. I don't think it's remotely true.

Do you by any chance live in a large urban centre or university town?

I can assure you that a big part of the culture(if you can call it that) of the small town I grew up in was and is a vicious strain of compulsory homophobia. 'Real men' participate, or risk becoming targets.


Finally, with regard to the "stiff upper lip" thing - well, yes, that's true. As a dude, I'm expected to maintain a degree of stoicism. And what's wrong with that? It's a useful tool for dealing with troubling circumstances. One could argue that it's a good idea for women, too, to keep a stiff upper lip - and I'd agree. I don't think this is a distinctively male virtue. But it *is* a virtue - and if it's one that sexism perpetuates, then this is not an evil to be cast aside with the many genuine evils that sexism brings.

I think you are confusing staying calm in an emergency with repression.
posted by Gin and Comics at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I only cry when I'm pulled over for speeding, and that's strategic crying.
posted by everichon at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: I'd like to refavorite Grobstein's comment from a year ago in a similar discussion, because I couldn't possibly favorite it hard enough.
Thanks for linking that! When I typed my last point, that was exactly the comment I was thinking of, but didn't have the wherewithal to track it down.
posted by hincandenza at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2010


There are clear parallels between what is on this list and sexism in general. the 5th point is a great example: How can we pretend like we think there is no problem with homosexuality, if we use "gay" as an insult?

And for each of you MeFi-ites that say "I don't face these issues", then how come there is sexism at all anywhere? Maybe you are lucky. People will not stop putting women (and others) down until they stop putting men on a pedestal.

As a man, I did not post this to complain about my lot in life, but to raise awareness about how sexism affects everyone. Like the author says, raising awareness about the problems of men helps women.
posted by rebent at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2010


Thanks for posting this. I would say Metafilter needs more discussion along these lines...

...though on preview I see that this is actually just talking about douchebags from 1978 (or something). *rolls eyes*
posted by stinkycheese at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that "responsibility to be the breadwinner" wasn't on this list. Yes, there are plenty of women who make more than their male partners, but they're still a minority, and every man I know feels a strong pressure to be the primary supporter.

I'll admit that I'm guilty of presuming every adult male instinctively knows how to change a tire or fix a leaky faucet.

I'll admit that I'm guilty of expecting that they will do it, without complaint. 99% of the time this is true, but I've been noticing how our responsibilities at home just happen to fall neatly into our prescribed gender roles. (Except cooking, we'd all die.) It wouldn't occur to me to mow the lawn. It's just an undiscussed expectation that he will do it. If the dryer broke, I'd just call him, whether or not I know he has experience with dryers, based on "he's a guy, he must know something related to machines and stuff."
posted by desjardins at 12:42 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Never mind all the points in the article. What I want to know is this: Mrs. Example and I went to a shelter today to look into adopting a cat, and met several wonderful ones. Does my making noises along the approximate lines of "KITTY! Awww! Who's a good kitty? You are! Yes, you are! Lookitdafuzzybelly!" make me less butch?

Somehow I suspect it does.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:46 PM on July 28, 2010


Best of the web? Nah, probably not.

Still worth talking about? Definitely.

I'm a little surprised, though perhaps I shouldn't be, at the number of commenters who think these things are either 1) not real things, or 2) not that big of a deal even if they are real.

Refusing to deal with the fact that men are dumped on by society in ways which are unique to them may make it easier to fight the good sexual politics fight, but it doesn't do anyone any favors.
posted by valkyryn at 12:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The denizens of MetaFilter largely choose to live lifestyles that cause them to be surrounded with the enlightened. This is highly rational and understandable, but it does lead to some skewed perceptions. Based on comments here and in similar threads, I get the distinct impression that many people here don't have a good feel for the sheer numbers of people that do, still, in 2010, buy into social ideals like the crap on the list.

Mind you, in social circles where those are commonly accepted norms, the situation for women is, naturally, proportionally worse.
posted by darksasami at 12:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [32 favorites]


I think what a lot of people are missing here is that a lot of this (for want of a better term) male-on-male sexism seems outside of your personal experience because, by and large, the article isn't about your/our (MetaFilter-reading, worldly, largely urban, mostly well-educated) demographic. It's about working-class men, men who have lived their lives under pressure (from both sexes) to conform to certain social norms.

Saying things like "It seems like these prejudices are mainly experienced by men who hang out with douchebags." kind of misses the point, in a similar way (though not as obviously) to blaming someone who stays with an abuser. People who have zero social mobility have much less choice than you might think over the kinds of people around them. If everyone in your workplace, and everyone in your town, has a set of expectations of you, choosing to stand out like a sore thumb is an incredibly risky act, and often a poor survival strategy.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:50 PM on July 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


Wow those (American, straight, white) men really do have a tough time of it
posted by hamida2242 at 12:51 PM on July 28, 2010


stinkycheese: Thanks for posting this. I would say Metafilter needs more discussion along these lines...

...though on preview I see that this is actually just talking about douchebags from 1978 (or something). *rolls eyes*
Right, it's a frustrating article because it seems to speak of almost none of the issues I see. I think most of my gripes about standards placed on me as a man stem from the transition to hopefully a much more egalitarian world while some people cling to advantageous throwbacks. An example mentioned earlier is alimony and child support: to my mind, you can't agitate for equality in the workplace and pay, for the unfettered right to choose... and then say your ex has to support you (and your child) financially because "he's the man". In a somewhat related example, when my decent, hard-working, stable parents had to fight my (likely sociopathic) eldest sister for official legal custody of the two kids she neglected and they'd been raising for years already, it was stunning how the South Carolina courts still leaned heavily towards"But... but... she's the mom!" Yeah, and she's a psychotic and unstable junkie, judge!

I hope for a world that is more equal, but to get there we will have to cast off more of these stereotypes as they apply to all genders. They exist for men as well as women, to their benefit and detriment alike. Even the ones that seem beneficial have a nasty double edge of implicitly putting people into a different tier. Saying the man should pick up the check at dinner by default implies that a woman can't, or that her sex is for sale. Saying that black people are "great athletes" almost implies "... to make up for their low IQ". These stereotypes hurt us even when we think they might help us.
posted by hincandenza at 12:52 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow those (American, straight, white) men really do have a tough time of it

How many paragraphs of "yes, women have it worse, but this is still interesting" genuflecting would you require in order to be able to process information on this topic? Because I'm counting three in this article, and apparently that didn't do it for you. Is this topic just totally taboo?
posted by gurple at 12:54 PM on July 28, 2010 [43 favorites]


Not allowing men and boys to express their emotions seems like a HUGE problem for me. It's so ingrained in our culture that a lot of people seem to think it's totally natural, ignoring how when boys are upset they're told to stop crying and get over it. I know a lot of men of my father's generation who just seem to keep so much stress and worry in because they think it's betraying their role in life if they confide in anyone or ask for help.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:54 PM on July 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


You know where a lot of this comes in? Raising kids

I was raised by women. Soviet women. Now, the Soviet Union was a curious creature: women were considerably more equal in opportunity (not that it wasn't a patriarchy of course,) but Classic Gender Roles still applied.

So, I was raised to uphold a woman's idea of the standard gender roles of a man. It was ridiculous and did not account the reality of being a man at all. At all. I can honestly say this has messed me up more than just about anything else.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I do wish more parents of 12 yr old girls would point out to them that grabbing boys junk (in fun or as a come on) is unacceptable.

Why wasn't this happening when I was in 6th grade?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Based on comments here and in similar threads, I get the distinct impression that many people here don't have a good feel for the sheer numbers of people that do, still, in 2010, buy into social ideals like the crap on the list.

Yeah, those comments definitely remind me of some of the attacks heaped on commenters in the recent sexism-topic'd threads who questioned whether women really get cat-called or told to smile 70 times a day because they never see it. I think most people who comment on here don't live/associate in the geographica/cultural areas where enforced gender roles still exist -- but that doesn't mean they don't exist. For example, I was going to make a comment about how it's annoying always picking up the tab on the first 3 or so dates, but then decided against it because I could just forsee the multiple responses about how they and their friends always pay 50/50 etc. But, yeah, everyone's experiences differ.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


(Of course, yes, context, and individual parenting issues etc. etc. But, seriously, single mothers with no father figures in the picture, for the love of god raise your boys with a healthy and realistic conception of "manhood" rather than an idealized one.)
posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2010


I think what a lot of people are missing here is that a lot of this (for want of a better term) male-on-male sexism seems outside of your personal experience because, by and large, the article isn't about your/our (MetaFilter-reading, worldly, largely urban, mostly well-educated) demographic. It's about working-class men, men who have lived their lives under pressure (from both sexes) to conform to certain social norms.

This is exactly it; this article only barely applies to my husband, but applies very well to my brothers-in-law, who did not attend college and who work in construction. They've both been in numerous fights, one refused to cry at a funeral of a very close (young) relative, they're both good providers who don't listen to their wives, and they're both TERRIFIED of being thought of as gay. I wonder what their lives and relationships would be like if they felt free to express emotion without censure, if they didn't feel their honor was impugned by walking away from a fight, if they could wear pink shirts or comment on other guy's hair without fearing social ostracism. My husband is lucky not to have to deal with those things: he knows I'd think less of him for fighting, he's encouraged to express his emotions, and he works with openly gay guys (although I still have trouble getting him to wear bright colors).
posted by desjardins at 1:03 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


any man who gets in fights for fear of being called a "pussy" has the emotional maturity of a 12 year old, plain and simple

Well that's not really the point, the point is that there is a social expectation that once an argument or other conflict between two men gets to a certain level it escalates to violence. I honestly think that is part of the reason why arguments on the Internet can get so much more heated than ones in real life, at some point in a real life argument things either escalate to the point of violence or both sides back off. People who pick bar fights know that all they have to do is pick some guy out and insult him enough to make him feel like he has to throw the first punch.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:04 PM on July 28, 2010


If you've ever watched reality tv you'd see lower working class men crying all the time. Over their kids, their mums, their arresting officers. I don't know exactly what class of men this 'don't cry' rule applies to but it isn't who I'd have thought it'd be.

Also the list missed the one thing that really seriously pissed me off when mr shinybaum was raising our child while I worked - that he was kindly babysitting or that he was whipped. It seemed pretty normal to me because my dad did a lot of the heavy lifting whenever my mum was ill, but until we moved to a worse estate with a lot of single fathers he got some really alarming reactions to being a stay at home dad. I don't know who it threatened more but some women took it really badly.
posted by shinybaum at 1:04 PM on July 28, 2010


Why wasn't this happening when I was in 6th grade?

I have no idea why people think unwanted sexual attention is cool for boys. A gang of girls demanding to see your junk so they can judge it is pretty intimidating if you aren't a natural exhibitionist.
posted by shinybaum at 1:10 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


This article summarizes five of the values with which I was raised as a male. I mean, they're certainly not my values, but, y'know, the father figure tried very hard to make them mine and was exceptionally disappointed that they weren't/aren't. It's taken me years of therapy to start getting in touch with my emotions in a way that is at all practical -- the whole "stiff upper lip" training did wonders for that childhood-related PTSD I'm dealing with.

And as far as men always wanting sex: It's taken a lot of failed sex to get beyond the feelings of shame and inadequacy that come with lost/non-existent erection in a sexual situation. I'm only 30; I can't be the only one here who was raised with crap like this. It has nothing to do with the people with whom I currently hang out, these are just the things that were embedded in my upbringing -- I disagree with them, of course, but they're still there.

So, yes, these things don't just affect guys who hang out with douchebags.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:10 PM on July 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


However, I can't help but chuckle cynically that a thread about the expectations or stereotypes placed upon men will likely:
a) disregard male experiences as unimportant or not the norm anyway
b) suggest it's not that bad, so what do men have to complain about?
c) just get deleted since it's just chatfilter and not worth having a whole thread about this


Oh would you get over your persecution complex? Are you actually reading the thread? It's been something like 9 out of 10 men saying "I'm fine, I don't know what the big deal is." I was just going to say how it's strange that in threads about women's issues, there are always men jumping in to say "But we suffer too!!!", and then when there are threads about men's issues like this one, "Oh yeah we're totally fine, don't know what you're talking about."

Some of the things you mentioned I agree with and wanted to support, but your sense of persecution is so heavy that I don't know how to talk with you about this. Even you had to say "the article is crap" -- and yet it is along the same lines as many of your own points, and actually mention many of the same things. And your sense of persecution, your expectation that women wouldn't be interested, remained unmoved, even though it was actually a really caring article written by a woman. Someone is finally give a shit about what you've long been saying nobody gives a shit about -- but you just dismissed it out of hand, as crap.

So where can the conversation go? It's just us talking past each other.
posted by catchingsignals at 1:13 PM on July 28, 2010 [15 favorites]


I was just going to say how it's strange that in threads about women's issues, there are always men jumping in to say "But we suffer too!!!", and then when there are threads about men's issues like this one, "Oh yeah we're totally fine, don't know what you're talking about."

I'm pretty sure it's different men talking in each thread. I don't see what's so odd about different people posting in different threads. Speaking only for myself, in threads about women's issues, I generally don't contribute, but when I do, I like to think I talk about women's issues. And here I'm talking about men's issues.

(I should note that I'm also not exactly a fan of the persecution complex hincandenza is displaying. Discussing the problems caused by society's expectations of male behavior doesn't have to descend into outright misogyny.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


As a straight, white, urban, middle class plus male in a very progressive environment/social circle, all of those items had some personal resonance for me.

Wow those (American, straight, white) men really do have a tough time of it

This is lazy.
posted by fatbird at 1:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Correction: I mean different men taking those contradictory positions in each thread, not that there aren't cases where the same man posts in two threads.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:19 PM on July 28, 2010


hincandenza should have written the article instead. That list rings truer.
posted by dabitch at 1:23 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, there is massive difference between expectations enforced by your own gender and those enforced by the opposite gender. You'll accept or ignore the bullshit imposed by your own gender on a case by case basis, but expectations imposed by the opposite gender seem insurmountable obstacles.

Women today rarely bitch about high healed shoes these days because they wear high healed shoes solely for status among women while men rarely even notice. Women can simply ignore the high healed shoes crap without significantly narrowing their mate choices. Similarly, men rarely complain about the fighting issue because not playing that game doesn't obviously narrow their mate choices.

Women chafe about boob size and weight since men notice those. And women definitely complain about various forms of sexual harassment that occur. All the sex role issues men actually complain about are similarly expectations enforced by women. these are often expectations that narrow their lifestyle choices and/or impact their selection of mates, like say owning a fancy car.

Imho, this article fails so miserably because all except #2 are games among men that men need not play, very analogous to high healed shoes. Yes, women enforce the "don't care too much what women think" issue, obviously.* And men bitch & moan about that one horrendously.

In fact, there is a separate sexism issue in how women notice men's status among men far more than men notice women's social status among women, which forces men into playing more stupid male games. I'd call this one fair game though since women are so much less picky about guys looks.

* Any women who doubts this should read too much as excessively; realize most men take decades learning the difference.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:24 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


It must be awfully nice to live in the world of so many commenters in which fights are something you can choose to engage in or not, instead of something which gets done to you.
posted by enn at 1:29 PM on July 28, 2010 [20 favorites]


I live in what is technically an Islamic theocracy and I don't have to deal with most of this stuff. Mostly because I don't know many other Dutch men here, so if people question my attitudes I just pretend that my peculiar attitudes are Just How We Do Things Back Home.
posted by atrazine at 1:31 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a cisgendered male-partnered married feminist woman. I think about half of this article is crap, but the other half is really thought-provoking. I love my husband passionately, and many of the reasons why are ways in which he diverges from the cultural expectations of manhood. For example, even among our highly atypical circle of friends, there's the assumption that he'd fight some guy who assaulted me. He wouldn't; he has no interest in fighting someone who is already clearly more willing to violate the social contract than he is, because that sounds like a terrible idea and a great way to get hurt. Yet the assumption is made over and over again.

But I also see ways in which, frankly, he's been damaged by, well, the patriarchy. There are NO models for men finding emotional expression without the conduit of a woman being present, either your mother or your wife or your girlfriend or your sister or, possibly, your daughter. I asked a fairly large group of my male friends how many of them had ever cried in another man's arms, and the answer was "zero." (Out of, seriously, something like seventy men.) I don't think that's something that women can fix; I think dudes need to do it for themselves. But when my husband has gone to investigate "men's groups" or what have you, he's said that not more than thirty minutes goes past before the guys start talking about how horrible their wives and or mothers are, and that's not why he's there.

I don't know how to fix this, but I think it does us all a disservice to claim it's not actually a problem.
posted by KathrynT at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


games among men that men need not play

Why on earth would male-enforced (male) gender roles be somehow more optional than female-enforced male gender roles? This comment baffles me.
posted by enn at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


shinybaum: "If you've ever watched reality tv you'd see lower working class men crying all the time. Over their kids, their mums, their arresting officers. I don't know exactly what class of men this 'don't cry' rule applies to but it isn't who I'd have thought it'd be"

It applies to my social circle. I'm a college age dude who has mostly grown up around suburban people and I would not feel comfortable crying in front of somebody else. I have to cry pretty often and I end up going to the bathroom or locking my room and turning up the music. It's hardest when I'm flying because traveling is usually an emotional experience. Once or twice when I've done it, guys have always been like "Are you crying? Dude, he's crying!" And then a whole bunch of awkward and I run out of the room and can't believe I just did that. I actually have a hard time believing anybody cries with other people around because I've never seen it (except when someone passes away or when a girl cries while watching a sad movie).

I think a lot of it has to do with age. It's much easier for me to express my emotions at 20 than it was at 17. It's much easier as a senior in college than it was when I was a freshman.
posted by anonymuk at 1:35 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Straight men who are afraid of being seen as gay are missing one of life's great pleasures -- leaving people wondering what the fuck you are. We must all try to maintain a little mystery, darlings.

Plus, gay men give each other the nicest compliments. The other day, two lovely fellows praised my outfit's color combination. I haven't had a fashion compliment from a woman since high school.

And a few years ago, I got the (physical) compliment of my life when a slightly older gay gentleman told me that I "took his breath away" when I walked in the restaurant. *blush*!!!!!!!

Best of the web? Nah, probably not.

Still worth talking about? Definitely.


The 3 criteria for a MetaFtiler post are: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others. (emphasis mine)

1 out of 3 IS bad, in this case. This ain't MetaChat. I agree there is a possible good discussion here, but you gotta have a good link. Them's the rules. Thumbs down/dislike (but not flagged; I'm permissive and loose that way ...)

on preview: jeffburges, I think I totally disagree with nearly everything you just wrote. you're making some major (mis)assumptions there.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2010


One thing that really strikes me on reading this comment thread:
The article claims that men are expected to always want sex.
Quite a few people object to this... by expressing an expectation that men always want sex.
Huh?
posted by baf at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Having said that, as the mother of a 12 yr old boy I do wish more parents of 12 yr old girls would point out to them that grabbing boys junk (in fun or as a come on) is unacceptable.

Yikes. Goes to show that sexual harrassment sucks no matter who's doing it.

This article was useful but poorly written, not to mention that whenever someone says "Feminism needs to do this!" they're imagining a large corporate building where "Feminism, Inc." exists. (w/ a corporate logo of a fish riding a bicycle, perhaps)

And also, to imply that feminism hasn't been addressing this very topic all along shows both ignorance and a lack of research skills. "William Wants a Doll" came out in 1971; where's the author been? She needs to Google "intersectionality of oppressions" and do some basic reading.

I'm raising a son and already, he's been told that boys can't play with the baby dolls at his preschool, that pink is only for girls, that he's a "baby" if he cries, that it's important to like Iron Man and Spiderman because that's what boys like, even though he's never seen either of the movies or read the comics (because we think he's too young to deal w/ that much violence yet).

He's four. And he's being socialized by the bullshit macho scripts floating out there, because even though we don't teach those things at home, other parents transmit them to their sons and daughters who expect him to comply. And no matter what Mom and Dad say, he wants to, because he wants to belong.

We'll teach him to be discerning, and to resist, but there's no way, short of living on a commune, to insulate him from the macho script. It's everywhere.
posted by emjaybee at 1:38 PM on July 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


It must be awfully nice to live in the world of so many commenters in which fights are something you can choose to engage in or not, instead of something which gets done to you.

Indeed. But to be fair - pretty much all of the fights I have ever been in have been driven more by LMS than anything else - and that has it's own gender and societal expectations issues built in.

That, and since I started working white collar work, I haven't been accosted very often anymore. It happens, I guess, but nowhere near as frequently.

I suspect that this generalizes - if you run with the right crowd, fights are far more common.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:39 PM on July 28, 2010


hincandenza should have written the article instead. That list rings truer.


Yes, but the other list is more socially acceptable: the new reality. The original link's list seemed like what a woman's idea of what a strawman homophobe troglodyte's concerns would be, rather than actual info from guys. I mean parts, yeah, and I know some of the fearful-of-gayness sorts, but a lot of that depends on your work and geographical situation, I would think. I think hincandenza's (e) has caused more trouble between the genders than almost anything else shy of outright aggression.
posted by umberto at 1:40 PM on July 28, 2010


One thing that really strikes me on reading this comment thread:

Men wanting to have sex all the time != men wanting to have sex all the time with whomever invites them to do so

To be fair, it's probably not even an accurate stereotype, but for me, yes, I want to have sex all the time (excluding refractory periods ;). No lie.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:41 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd add in as a rider on the "men want sex all the time" is that statutory rape of minor male is supposed to be something to celebrate. (Oh, he "got lucky" at a young age - hooray for him.) Which is just creepy if you think about it.
For example, I was going to make a comment about how it's annoying always picking up the tab on the first 3 or so dates, but then decided against it because I could just forsee the multiple responses about how they and their friends always pay 50/50 etc.
This is one of those 'no win' scenarios. One the one hand, men are required to pick up the tab - on the other hand, women aren't allowed to pick up or split the tab. I've known men who complain about having to pay for dinner who nonetheless would be horribly offended if a woman tried to pick up the check on the first date. Not that I think you fall under that category, just pointing out that it's a powerful expectation that even folks who dislike it feel they must obey. A woman picking up the tab is supposed to expect a cookie the way a man doing the laundry is supposed to. (And I expect some men get just as tired of that - "Yes, you paid your way, like adults do. You don't get a medal for that.")
posted by Karmakaze at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blue-collar, working-class men are getting shitty treatment here.

I'm going to go ahead and posit that sexism exists as much in the upper class as much as it does in the lower class.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I pretty much would only agree with the "fight" thing. Man, I hate fighting. I don't get challenged much (I like to think it's because I don't piss people off, but it's probably more to do with being 6'3" and 220lbs), but when friends or friends of friends shoot their mouths off and get themselves in a situation they expect me to "have their back." I've actually lost friends (temporarily, anyways, in my early 20s) because they were so angry that I wouldn't jump in and fight with them after they'd verbally attacked and harassed some people outside the local bar to the breaking point. My approach is that if you intentionally go out to start a fight, it's your battle, not mine. I'm not getting knocked out because you wanted to tease the mallrats.

Or the time my wife (then girlfriend) slapped a guy in a club for grabbing her on the dance floor, which started a bar brawl. Full on, like in the movies, with pool cues getting smashed over peoples' backs and people wielding broken bottles. My friends were like "so did you knock the guy out or what?" No, I grabbed my girlfriend from the fray and made a break for the first taxi I could find before the cops showed up. I'm not getting stabbed over that nonsense, that's crazy. I'll admit it, too--in the taxi? We ducked so nobody could see us and didn't sit back up until we were a couple of blocks away.

Come to think of it, most of the pressure to fight was from other guys, and in the first example there weren't even any women around. How is this a result of sexism and not just people acting dumb?
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:44 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suspect that this generalizes - if you run with the right crowd, fights are far more common.

Most fights I have seen or been involved with involved alcohol.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:44 PM on July 28, 2010


To be fair, it's probably not even an accurate stereotype, but for me, yes, I want to have sex all the time (excluding refractory periods ;). No lie.

Well, and some women do too, but there's not much acceptance of that as a normal thing--a woman like that is considered a nympho and somewhat scary/laughable. Desire level seems to be a lot more about individual body chemistry than about gender, once you get people to be honest about it.
posted by emjaybee at 1:45 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It also happens where you wouldn't expect it and from people who should know better. I was doing some rape crisis work and a fellow worker said that men who wrestle are gay, and they should just admit it. I went home and started looking up gender issues in wrestling. As it turns out, one big reason that the WWF (now WWE) hires women is because they want to offset the perception that wrestlers are gay. So they compensate for the "loss in masculinity in watching sweaty men" with women in bikinis. And it works! If you look at the interviews with wrestling fans and you ask them if it's gay, they'll start naming all the female wrestlers and talking about the wedding gown mud wrestling matches.

So yeah, if you're wondering whether this stuff actually happens just look at professional wrestling. I like the documentary Wrestling With Manhood (click the preview button on the bottom right and you can watch the whole thing for free).
posted by anonymuk at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bill Foster: I helped build missiles. I helped protect this country. You should be rewarded for that. But instead they give it to the plastic surgeons, you know they lied to me.

Sergeant Prendergast: Is that what this is about? Is that why my chicken dinner is drying out in the oven? You're mad because they lied to you? Listen, pal, they lie to everyone. They lie to the fish. But that doesn't give you any special right to do what you did today.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I saw a really egregious example of "men want to have sex all the time" in a movie and its reviews recently. There is a scene in Get Him to the Greek where the protagonist is shoved into a sexual encounter with a beautiful woman who rapes him with an enormous dildo. In the next scene he says, "I think I was just raped," and that is the punch line I guess? It was never mentioned again, anyway. Usually before I see a movie I read a bunch of reviews, but even the review site that's explicit about what sort of content there is didn't mention it. I guess it was "graphic nonmarital sexual activity" or a "[scene] of aberrant sexuality". The way that people in the theatre laughed was like, well, what do you mean he didn't want it, of course he wanted it.

I don't have kids, but have two younger brothers who are chafing under the kinds of expectations that commenters have mentioned here, and it is sad to watch.
posted by bewilderbeast at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it's different men talking in each thread. I don't see what's so odd about different people posting in different threads. Speaking only for myself, in threads about women's issues, I generally don't contribute, but when I do, I like to think I talk about women's issues. And here I'm talking about men's issues.

Oh I know. I was just wondering if the people who feel that men's issues always get dismissed and never addressed (and it's often made into a men vs. women thing) register threads like this, where it's either surprisingly quiet, or in this case, a lot of men doing the dismissing.

This article was useful but poorly written, not to mention that whenever someone says "Feminism needs to do this!" they're imagining a large corporate building where "Feminism, Inc." exists. (w/ a corporate logo of a fish riding a bicycle, perhaps)

And also, to imply that feminism hasn't been addressing this very topic all along shows both ignorance and a lack of research skills. "William Wants a Doll" came out in 1971; where's the author been? She needs to Google "intersectionality of oppressions" and do some basic reading.


I honestly don't see what is so bad about the article myself. In any case, your second paragraph here seems to actually conflict with the first -- if feminism is not a monolith, then you have to allow that not everyone is up to date on all the research and theories about "intersectionality of oppressions", and that what you consider basic reading is not someone else's basic reading. In my world, very few women are anywhere near as far along as the writer of this article. And she seems to have written it because she genuinely cares, and wants to improve things for men. I don't really understand the hostility of the response.
posted by catchingsignals at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jesus that's atrocious. I mean, I had no desire to see that movie because it looks like shit anyway, but holy crap I'd have thrown my drink at the screen if I'd seen that.
posted by hincandenza at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2010


Next time my wife asks me to open a jar I'm going to tell her to fuck off!
posted by Mister_A at 2:00 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


From my limited sphere of male friends over the years. Numbers from the article:

1. This might be more of an American and UK thing? Although Australia boys and girls seem to be getting more violent lately.

First day I landed in Connecticut to catch up with my ex-roomie I got taken out to a bar that evening. Maybe with four or five of his friends who I'd never met before. One clown - big, fit lad - got into a bit of argy bargy that escalated into six or so people pushing and grabbing [including some of the other friends] and almost fisticuffs, before security stepped in.

I was just an amused onlooker, and was most incredulous when the whole lot of us in our group got ejected from the bar. We all crashed at the same house and the next morning I'm reminiscing with the big idiot about the fight and he dead set gave me a stern dressing down for not having his back, not jumping into the fray. I couldn't bloody believe what I was hearing. I'm not a fighter at the soberest of times, and drinking only makes me happier and want to avoid fights. And I didn't even know this guy. I was on his "team" coz I walked in the door with him?

And on many subsequent visits to bars in the USA I'd witness similar incidents. Mostly loud posturing over a minor slight leading to some heavy duty pushing and grabbing, never really outright brawling. But nothing like that happened as frequently back home.

Can't say if it's sexist pressure or it just comes naturally to a lot of the Americans I met.

2. God, it's really not that hard to learn what a lady needs, is it? FTA: "And being good in bed has become a crucial part of this mythos as well. It's no longer enough for a Real Man to nail a lot of women: he has to get every single one of them off." That only becomes "unfair and sexist" [heh!] when the lady takes for ever and ever and ever to get off. Like, extended foreplay, sex [WOOPS SORRY BABE, I'M ALL DONE! I COULDN'T LAST FOREVER], then bloody 20 more minutes of oral sex or whatever. Girl, you gotta speed things up a bit!

3. 50:50 with my male friends and colleagues. A lot of guys are absolute shockers, and a lot of them love to brag about it. There was a bit of a "league table" happening with a half dozen or so guys I studied with at university, which just wasn't my bag. It was a pretty tight group of about 90 of us studying the same units, and the girls in the faculty were extremely dark when they found out about it a few months in. A group of 25 or more girls completely ostracized the lot of them... for about 2 weeks! And then all was slowly forgiven... and some even managed to have a chuckle about it, for whatever reason.

You certainly wouldn't want to be seen turning down too many offers, but as far as chasing and conquering, I didn't think there was too much pressure there on the non serial conquerers.

4. I'm a bit dubious about the Opera-isation type theory of letting it all hang out... and sometimes going so far as letting it all hang out in front of millions of strangers sitting in their lounge rooms. Crazy shit. Makes me squirm.

Not sure how much it helps when you can still grieve in private, or maybe in front of that one special person. And what's wrong with attempting to suck up anyway? Do we really need more emotional people lurking everywhere we go?

I never feel any undue pressure to "not cry." I kinda like the stiff upper lip theory. Same goes for nearly all my male friends in terms of not being emotional, but I really can't guess how many of them find it an "unfair and sexist" struggle. I remember one guy at university who used to bawl his eyes out at parties when he got drunk. And he was often loudly blubbering about heavy stuff like his relationship with his dad or his unhappy time at high school. It was a farking downer and an embarrassment.

5. Huge laughs! I often get told on first impression I'm either a] a cop, b] a Pom, or c] gay. I think it's amusing. Even at work I've had gay men come on to me over time, thinking I was possibly gay. It's a running joke with my missus, even she notices.

But I'm not even close to being offended and I don't feel any sexist pressure to change my ways. Although I do find it slightly baffling.

Having said that, hate to say but I reckon quite a few of my friends would be mortified if people thought they had a gay persona. Therefore I'd assume quite a few males I know would spend undue time dwelling on and working on the sexist pressure of appearing manly and not-gay.

I wonder how much of her theories is imagined sexist pressure that really isn't there?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was not terribly impressed with the article, but I have to say I am not terribly impressed with most of the responses either. Gender roles do apply to both genders, and they are enforced by both genders. Just look at any of the AskMe threads started by shy guys asking for advice, and the number of women who respond that they would never consider dating a guy who was not confident enough to make the first move. The social penalties for men who step outside of their defined roles can be harsh. Just look at how much more hate is focused on gay men than gay women. For men who play by the rules, the rewards are great. But on the other side of that, men are far more likely to die violently, far more likely to be completely socially outcast. People talk about "nice guys" with such derision and disgust, and perhaps there is a species of "nice guy" which deserves that, but in my experience, that phrase usually describes someone who just isn't very confident - a supreme failing when it comes to manliness.
posted by Nothing at 2:02 PM on July 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


Gender roles enforced by the opposite gender are less optional because you've less idea how to deal with them without complying.

I've never gotten into a fight because I avoid that type, especially when drunk, and/or walk away tactfully. Almost all the men I know with fancy sports cars bought them solely for impressing women, apparently works for their social circles too.

I'd imagine the original article was built upon comments from men who were either trying to avoid making the author feel responsible, or else were rather older. I've never felt like homophobia was an expectation, but I drop such friends instantly.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2010


I think men are sometimes at a disadvantage because of sexist assumptions. These are not those occasions. I think we need to draw a distinction between assumptions based upon a person's apparent physical sex which in no way impair a person's dignity, humanity or ability to function in the world and sexist assumptions which demean people or threaten their ability to thrive and/or survive.

One is invidious and ought be fought against. The other is bad sitcom writing.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:05 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the article left out one glaring spot unfairness: the treatment of men as fathers, especially of young children. Work schedules are less flexible, it's harder to find a new job after being a full time parent, people treat you like you have no idea what you're doing. It's demoralizing and everybody, Moms and Dads, lose.

I'm talking this over with my husband right now and it's kind of disappointing that our society (in the US) has not gotten further with parental issues in general. We're worried about how his conservative workplace will treat him if he takes time off to take little ones to the doctor, or stay home with them when they're sick. It's scary and stupid at the same time.

Really, I know it isn't like this everywhere. If you live someplace that is more progressive (like Sweden) I am very, very jealous.
posted by Alison at 2:09 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]



However, I can't help but chuckle cynically that a thread about the expectations or stereotypes placed upon men will likely:
a) disregard male experiences as unimportant or not the norm anyway
b) suggest it's not that bad, so what do men have to complain about?
c) just get deleted since it's just chatfilter and not worth having a whole thread about this


I have to agree with catchingsignals on this. Are we reading the same thread? It's definitely a shame so many men are shrugging off these problems as unimportant (or as simply problems that lower-class troglodytes bring upon themselves or whatever) -- but it's like 99% men doing it, not women, as you seem to be implying.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:09 PM on July 28, 2010


Oh, the expectation that I'm up for punchy-fighty comes to me far more frequently from women than men. I end up as escort to sketchy places when whoever it is I'm accompanying is relatively small and/or fearful. I am more or less okay with this and mark it under "paying my dues," although it heads into weird zones like "Please take my daughter to this concert. You're big and nobody will fuck with you." I especially like the parts where I am invited to go because it will enable a woman to shove her way up to the section of the floor nearest the stage.

I am less willing to go with it when I get The Look, which is when the female I'm with expects me to sidle up and begin looming at someone when one or more parties no longer feel like using their words is sufficient to win whatever their dispute is. Sometimes I will play along but it often leaves me feeling icky.

I dislike engaging in fighting because, honestly, I don't think I'd be doing anyone any favors. I have let myself get hit because it would end a fight where my loudmouth friend would not do so well.

Oh, and jeffburdges, check that OK Cupid blog post on attractiveness — women rated eighty percent of men as "below average" in looks. Definitely not less picky about looks.
posted by adipocere at 2:10 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed this, but most especially I enjoyed the final paragraph.

Different people feel more affected by gender expectations than others. Some of us -- women and men alike -- still hear these voices in the back of our heads, still feel them shaping our reflexes, still see a need to consciously drag these messages into the light so we know how to recognize them and have an easier time tossing them overboard. And some folks -- again, both women and men -- feel like this is really not that big a deal.

The author manages to describe these two different orientations to gender expectations without making either seem better, and I really appreciate that. I, of late, have more of a need to examine the role gender expectations have had in my life, and I sometimes feel strange and awkward because other people I know don't seem to need to. I needed to hear that it's totally okay to do either one.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 2:10 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm a bit dubious about the Opera-isation type theory of letting it all hang out...

I certainly wouldn't mind to belt out my anguish and fears like a Itallian tenor. Alas, the best I can aspire to is a pale imitation of Fred Schneider though.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:19 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm mulling this thread (esp. hincandenza's comments) because I think there is a lot of truth to the assertion that gendered expectations are damaging to both sexes. I'm not sure why I found the linked piece weak.

But in the meantime, re comments like this

seems like these prejudices are mainly experienced by men who hang out with douchebags.

can I just say that douchebag is one of my least favorite slurs? That's an item used pretty exclusively by women. I'm fine with an equal opportunity slur like enema bag instead. . .
posted by bearwife at 2:32 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Expecting men or women to behave in any sort of consistent way based on the fact that they're men or women is ridiculous. Similarly ridiculous is thinking that the solution to the issues involving masculinity or femininity involves mass changes in behavior (i.e. men crying in other men's arms because that's what women do, or women doing "man" stuff).

The answer is to drop the masculine/feminine paradigm altogether, and to encourage people, with all their myriad personalities, to just be people. Don't go around with expectations regarding other people's behavior. Let them be themselves around you. It'll take just as much work for you to allow that as it will for them to do so.
posted by sciurus at 2:33 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I experience all of these things except maybe fight fight fight on a regular basis, but then again, my friends are mostly douchebags
posted by tehloki at 2:36 PM on July 28, 2010


According to this article, I'm not doing a very good job at being a man.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2010


catchingsignals, I don't think it's hostile to expect someone writing an article on gender roles and feminism to do some basic research on gender roles and feminism.

This is not advanced stuff--I didn't say she should explain Lacanian theory or French anarcho-feminism's impact on American feminists.

But I somewhat snarkily pointed out, the way gender roles hurt men has been a topic of discussion for over 40 years among very mainstream feminist and feminist-sympathetic types. "Patriarchy hurts men too" is pretty much a cliche, it's been around so long. Multiple books about toxic masculinity, lad culture, and the stress of the macho ideal have been written in the last 20 years, all of which addressed this issue.

I also said the article was useful, and it is. But it could have been much better without much effort on the writer's part, especially considering the rich vein of material already out there.

Probably my hostile tone came from my annoyance at writers who say "Feminism should do this thing* I just thought of!", because almost always people who say that have not bothered to find out that feminists are, in fact, doing that thing and have been for years. It's about not giving credit for the immense amounts of thinking, theorizing, and hard work on many issues by feminists, and it's lazy and yes, annoying as hell.

*favorites are often: work to end violence and repression against women in other cultures; work to end domestic violence against men; protest prejudice against men who are primary parents; reform crappy workplace policies for parents of both sexes; protest lack of help with childcare. All of which feminists have been doing, largely unthanked, for about 50 years.
posted by emjaybee at 2:39 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Solon and Thanks:
However, I can't help but chuckle cynically that a thread about the expectations or stereotypes placed upon men will likely:
a) disregard male experiences as unimportant or not the norm anyway
b) suggest it's not that bad, so what do men have to complain about?
c) just get deleted since it's just chatfilter and not worth having a whole thread about this
I have to agree with catchingsignals on this. Are we reading the same thread? It's definitely a shame so many men are shrugging off these problems as unimportant (or as simply problems that lower-class troglodytes bring upon themselves or whatever) -- but it's like 99% men doing it, not women, as you seem to be implying.
I didn't imply it was women, you inferred that. My point was that a thread about and by men discussing their own areas of stereotypes negatively affecting them would get a higher ratio of "This isn't an issue" or "not that bad", and that this would be more okay than the same thread about women. I'd say it's part and parcel of the discussed topic: a man wouldn't normally discuss these things- stiff upper lip and all- and whining is weak. That both men and women can buy into these things is actually the heart of the topic.
Nothing: Just look at any of the AskMe threads started by shy guys asking for advice, and the number of women who respond that they would never consider dating a guy who was not confident enough to make the first move. The social penalties for men who step outside of their defined roles can be harsh. Just look at how much more hate is focused on gay men than gay women. For men who play by the rules, the rewards are great. But on the other side of that, men are far more likely to die violently, far more likely to be completely socially outcast. People talk about "nice guys" with such derision and disgust, and perhaps there is a species of "nice guy" which deserves that, but in my experience, that phrase usually describes someone who just isn't very confident - a supreme failing when it comes to manliness.
THIS. I find it very frustrating that being decent or respectful is a negative trait when it comes to men. I find it frustrating that women even reinforce the "gotta be confident, confidence is the most important thing!" and justify themselves by saying that "nice guys are secretly evil and misogynistic". Essentially, it feels like the same mindset that justifies listening to right-wing bullies: they are so confident in their politics, they must be right- unlike those liberal pussies! As a guy, it's transparent which other guys I see who are obviously dangerous or predatory or sleazy, and I can't fathom how everyone else doesn't see it. But hey, they're confident and not one of those (sneering) nice guys...

Some people are just nice, and it sucks that this is a penalty in the love lottery. Some of us were raised to not be forceful, aggressive, or overconfident, and it's wholly unclear what the line is, where we are "good" confident and where we are "just another asshole". And it often seems that line is not based on our actions, but on whether we were attractive enough that our attentions would be desired. As a guy, this plagues me, these uncertain gender roles and behaviors with their mixed signals.
posted by hincandenza at 2:43 PM on July 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'd like to ask a few questions of the men who say they've never experienced this sort of thing, or that only lower-income people or those who hang out with "douchebags" ever experience it.

All of these questions, for the moment, are going to assume that you are male and heterosexual. Your social class, ethnic group, and upbringing, however, are your own, whatever those are.

1) You come home and there's your girlfriend or wife in a filmy negligee, begging you to have sex with her in so many words. And you're ... just not interested right at that moment. You're just not.

- Do you think this could never, ever possibly happen? WHY do you think it could never, ever possibly happen, if so?
- If it does happen, how would you feel? Uncomfortable in any way?
- How would you expect your girlfriend to react? If she'd be OK, would you be uncomfortable anyway? Why?
- If you think she'd be upset ... why would you expect her to be upset? Has the same situation ever happened with the positions reversed? How upset were you?
- What if you tried to have sex with her anyway, and you couldn't get it up? How would you feel?

2) You're married or otherwise permanently coupled, and have pre-school aged kids. Your wife or permanent girlfriend has a good-paying job. You don't have a job. You stay at home, taking care of the kids. And let's say your partner is absolutely cool with this set-up, you've never had any problems from that direction.

- How do you feel about being unemployed?
- How do your relatives feel about your being unemployed, and staying at home raising the kids? (Are they all totally happy about it? Even grandpa?)
- How do acquaintances feel about you? Strangers at the mall when you're out with the kids?

3) Totally new scenario! You're ten years old. The bully wants your lunch money. You don't have any. He doesn't believe you. He starts pushing you. A circle forms around the two of you shouting "Fight, fight, fight!" The teachers aren't going to do anything - they aren't paid enough to care. Which of these responses feel socially acceptable:

- Sit down on the ground and cry
- Try to run away and hide
- Fight back to the best of your ability


If you can answer these questions honestly, and still say you have absolutely no idea what is being discussed and believe that it has to be entirely relegated to the world of douchebags and poor people ... I think you must be very, very lucky.
posted by kyrademon at 2:46 PM on July 28, 2010 [20 favorites]


Regarding #5 -- I am about as non-homophobic as they come, honestly, but I still hate driving my wife's car without her in it, because she has a "Don't like gay marriage? Don't have one!" bumper sticker on it. And when she's in the car, it's not a problem, but when I'm in the car alone or with my kids only, I get people shouting nasty things out of cars and whatnot. Am I afraid of being identified as gay? Nah, go right ahead. But do I like having strangers shout hateful things at me? Yep.
posted by davejay at 2:47 PM on July 28, 2010


I certainly wouldn't mind to belt out my anguish and fears like a Itallian tenor. Alas, the best I can aspire to is a pale imitation of Fred Schneider though.

LOL! Woops.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:51 PM on July 28, 2010


Er, duh. Do I like having strangers shout hateful things at me? Nope. Got a little mixed up there.
posted by davejay at 2:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


3) Totally new scenario! You're ten years old. The bully wants your lunch money. You don't have any. He doesn't believe you. He starts pushing you. A circle forms around the two of you shouting "Fight, fight, fight!" The teachers aren't going to do anything - they aren't paid enough to care. Which of these responses feel socially acceptable:

- Sit down on the ground and cry
- Try to run away and hide
- Fight back to the best of your ability


Well, in my case, my parents would have said fight back. I would have done 1 and/or 2.

Never been in a fight, or at least not one since primary school, in which case if I remember correctly I made one very pathetic attempt at a punch and spent the rest of the time cowering with my arms over my head. One of my biggest fears is unintentionally winding up in a situation (road rage, etc.) that escalates to violence and not knowing how to respond or de-escalate.

I'm gay and have a "fear of being perceived as gay." Maybe it's my age showing, but I think that many people, straight or not, still have a fear of being perceived as gay -- in certain contexts and certain places and at certain times. It's all fine and good to be in the Bay Area and treat that fear as if it were "funny" (Greta Christina's word, not mine), but as I've said before, SF is the only place in the world where I've ever been spat at with the "faggot" epithet just for minding my own business. I think that in US culture, some level of that fear is a preservation mechanism, not a joke. Obviously, that's truer in some places than others, but gay men (and straight men "mistaken" for gay) do get beat up on the streets of New York and West Hollywood and in the Castro without any of the attackers being evidently aware that "this is a gay mecca" and "it's not supposed to happen here."

And yes, we've come a long way, hallelujah, etc., etc., but as GC herself acknowledges, the increased acceptance of homosexuality brings along with it an increased climate of intensified hatred among people who truly fear or despise gay people, which can and does result in violence. GC seems to make light of this, and it bugs me. And "the anxiety it still creates for a lot of straight men" is not limited to straight men -- I'd be willing to wager even in San Francisco itself.
posted by blucevalo at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The other week we had a thread in which women impacted by sexism could share their experiences for general edification; I'm really happy to have a new thread in which we can hear from the men for more edification.
The fight for equality has to include everyone.

I know that the pressure on men to be breadwinners is a real killer. My husband has had some trouble finding work, and while I'm fine with a reduced income and taking care of rent while he job hunts, it has been destroying him. He feels this expectation that he should have a good job to provide for us, that he should have been able to buy us a house by now... it's really hard to see how heavy this weighs on him. I don't care about these things, but he can't get out of the mindset that "he is failing as a man."
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 2:59 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Having grown up as a new-age sensitive male doofus, and being old enough to relax about a lot of young-man craziness, I can nevertheless testify to the ongoing power of some of the bullshit mentioned in the link. It stays in your head and it poisons your soul. I think anyone who knows me in real life would never guess that I feel any of the pressures mentioned in the link, and I've put a lot of effort into changing my life to rid my psyche of the poison, with some success. But it's still there. And if I'm feeling it, I'm pretty sure the other men around me are too.

It's not, of course, at all like being explicitly discriminated against, paid less, barred from opportunity, harassed on the street, etc. etc. But internal struggle is still a kind of struggle.

I'd like to think that passing time means progress, that the assumptions of the past aren't going to haunt our kids. But sometimes this sort of thing lingers and persists generation after generation, unless we actively combat it, by talking it over.

So here we are, talking it over.
posted by Erroneous at 3:01 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I was disappointed in the article, although it does contain one or two interesting points. There are other, more common, examples of sexism. One is paying for food and drink when the woman (often a vociferous supporter of women's rights) earns as much (or more) than the man but ducks when the bill arrives since it is social convention for the man to pay.
posted by bobbyelliott at 3:17 PM on July 28, 2010


can I just say that douchebag is one of my least favorite slurs? That's an item used pretty exclusively by women. I'm fine with an equal opportunity slur like enema bag instead. . .

bearwife, I always wonder about this, what are you objecting to here? People being called douchebags has always seemed to me gender neutral. Douches are used by women but they're generally useless and often harmful. So women shouldn't like them. I guess that men wouldn't really have any opinion of them but I'm willing to tell them what horrible things douches (and their bags) are.
posted by hydrobatidae at 3:17 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm gay and have a "fear of being perceived as gay." Maybe it's my age showing, but I think that many people, straight or not, still have a fear of being perceived as gay -- in certain contexts and certain places and at certain times. It's all fine and good to be in the Bay Area and treat that fear as if it were "funny" (Greta Christina's word, not mine),

I don't want to put words in Greta's mouth (she is a close, real-life friend) but I read "funny" as "odd," not funny ha-ha. And I read "odd" as meaning "this might seem like a thing that shouldn't be anymore, given the rise in acceptance of gay people, but it's still an issue." I also read her thing about it being a laugh-line as being about its portrayal in recent popular culture (e.g. the Friends episode she references). That is, it's become a sitcom laugh-line, rather than a thing that must be treated as horrible or traumatic or a cause for violent retaliation.

I know that she knows, as I do, that the place you're most likely to be gay-bashed in a city is probably the gay neighborhood. Because that is where gay bashers know there will be gays to bash. I know that she does not make light of this. She does not think it is humorous.
posted by rtha at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2010


People talk about "nice guys" with such derision and disgust, and perhaps there is a species of "nice guy" which deserves that, but in my experience, that phrase usually describes someone who just isn't very confident - a supreme failing when it comes to manliness.

The "nice guys"(tm) that are talked about with derision and disgust, and almost always with scare quotes, are not all that nice. They combine excessive whining about how they're not getting laid, a creepy disregard for boundaries, a sense of sexual entitlement, a fair dose of slut-shaming, superficial feminist posturing, and ideas about relationships distilled almost entirely from rom-coms.

It's not the lack of confidence that bothers women about "nice guys"(tm), it's the tendency to lash out with irrational jealousy should they not be the object of affection.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:30 PM on July 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


emjaybee: But where did she say "feminism should do this thing I just thought of"? I didn't notice it on first reading, and just went back and searched for the word feminism, and still couldn't find where she was suggesting feminism hasn't been doing this. I'll go back and check again in a bit.

This is not advanced stuff--I didn't say she should explain Lacanian theory or French anarcho-feminism's impact on American feminists.

But I somewhat snarkily pointed out, the way gender roles hurt men has been a topic of discussion for over 40 years among very mainstream feminist and feminist-sympathetic types. "Patriarchy hurts men too" is pretty much a cliche, it's been around so long. Multiple books about toxic masculinity, lad culture, and the stress of the macho ideal have been written in the last 20 years, all of which addressed this issue.


I actually made a FPP about it, a while back, the cliche that it is. I'm sorry, but at least around the people I meet day-to-day, what you consider basic stuff isn't basic at all. I appreciate you wanting to defend feminism and wanting its hard work and achievements to be recognised, but I don't see anywhere where she was saying anything against that. "Patriarchy hurts men too" is not a cliche amongst people I know -- it simply wouldn't have crossed most people's minds. That's why I really appreciated her kind-hearted standing up for a group that she herself wasn't in. Not all that many people do that. And I especially liked what Made of Star Stuff mentioned. It was a compassionate, caring thing.

This was not a treatise on or a critique of feminism, just a well-intentioned person trying to change something for the better. She's on your side, y'know? Maybe she's building on or helping pass on the knowledge and insight from feminism that you so respect?
posted by catchingsignals at 3:30 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


If there was a reservation I had with her article, it was something like blucevalo said -- I don't think she intended to make light of what gay people still face, but I don't think as much progress has been made on that front as she seems to think.
posted by catchingsignals at 3:34 PM on July 28, 2010


There would be almost nothing on the Internet if it weren't for lists...cheap filler...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:36 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


or on preview after seeing rtha's comment, she probably just didn't put that part of it very well. She seems like a nice person, rtha :)
posted by catchingsignals at 3:40 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your wife or permanent girlfriend has a good-paying job. You don't have a job. You stay at home, taking care of the kids. And let's say your partner is absolutely cool with this set-up, you've never had any problems from that direction.

- How do you feel about being unemployed? Fan-fucking-tastic.

(I hate working)
posted by gagglezoomer at 3:40 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I feel like, in threads like these, we have to walk a pretty thin line (we being mefites, all inclusive.). We have to acknowledge two things:

1. all personal experiences are valid.
2. no personal experience invalidates the general trend.

By which I mean: yes, it is completely valid that your personal boy- and manhood has not conformed to these rather typical male pressures. No, your personal boy- and manhood does not in any way mean that these pressures don't exist for other people.

Because it's tough. Maybe one person did not grow up with the pressure to be willing to fight, but grew up with some other less common but equally troublesome pressure (say, the pressure to excel in some academic subject versus another. there are people who believe that novels and nonfiction are for me, poetry is for women. I shit you not.). Does the fact that their societal experience doesn't match this mean their input doesn't count? of course not. but does that mean something like (I'm paraphrasing certain comments in thread, but no one comment in particular) "I don't think we really grow up with this pressure any more?" is correct regarding everyone else's experience? of course not. metafilter is full of people who are enormously empathetic, but who can also be a little blinded to experiences outside their own, much like the rest of the world is.

I don't know if it's because I grew up on long island (get the jokes out now, folks. I've heard 'em all), but for what it's worth I have seen all of the following in my life:

1. Dudes get in fights over something that absolutely no one witnessing or participating could later indentify.
2. One dude beat the shit out of another dude on a line to buy cds that I was working the register for because his girlfriend told him to. The girlfriend then yelled after the beaten man, who fled the establishment "That's fuckin' right, my boyfriend fucked you up, asshole!" I have no idea what started the shit. Getting them out of the establishment without involving the police was tough.
3. A friend of mine punch a 14 year old kid in the face for talking shit about his girlfriend. My friend was 20 at the time. and drunk. the 14 year old had 6 friends or so egging him on. may have been drunk too. Most of us were in a car at the time this happened and when it did, I said to everyone involved "you all better get the fuck out of this car right now and start hitting people" in what I can only describe as not my smartest moment ever. shit that's not even on long island, come to think of it. these were all my peacenik liberal college friends.
4. Countless, and I mean countless, jokes told among friends about someone's ability to have an erection. I've done it. had it done to me. everyone I know has done it and received it. it is the joke to tell among friends, unless women are around and you're in danger of cock blocking someone. that would be a dick move.
5. had a (now ex-) girlfriend insult my masculinity for not wanting to get it on one time.
6. seen members of my family tell another male member of my family not to get upset about something tragic because he was "embarrassing" himself.

and honestly, every other damn thing in the book. Some of this was among "blue collar" people, and most of it was just plain everybody.

for anybody who does not feel these pressures, fucking awesome. I'm sincerely really happy for you. I've heard all the reasons not to get worked up about these things, and I like to think of myself as a reasonably enlightened dude where these things are concerned, but I struggle against pressures to have big muscles, make more money than my partner, pay for things, be a sex god, act "masculine" instead of "effeminate" and all the rest of it every fucking day. I wish I had whatever boyhood you guys had.
5.
posted by shmegegge at 3:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [28 favorites]


and 5. there is no 5.
posted by shmegegge at 3:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


bearwife, I always wonder about this, what are you objecting to here? People being called douchebags has always seemed to me gender neutral.

What? It's OK to use the term as a slur because women, the only sex that uses douche bags for their intended purpose, in their female vaginas, shouldn't in fact use them?

I think the reason the term is a slur is because douche bags are used to cleanse vaginas. I'm pretty tired of slurs that are based on women's body parts (like "pussy") or items women use.
posted by bearwife at 3:50 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the reason the term is a slur is because douche bags are used to cleanse vaginas

TO be fair, I think it's more an immature gross-out yucky private parts thing than a knock on women. Guys also call each other dicks and cocks.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:52 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


All well and good, but someone has to change the flat fucking tire and it's always me.

Plenty of feminist thinkers argue that women have properly distinctive talents, desires, and interactional styles, as if that were a good thing. Being progressive with respect to gender does not necessarily mean denying any basis for difference between the sexes.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:52 PM on July 28, 2010


"How do you feel about being unemployed? Fan-fucking-tastic. (I hate working)"

Nifty!

But what about the rest of that set of questions?

And do you consider raising kids not working, or did you simply mean you would find it preferable to other forms of work? (Serious question, not an attempt to put words in your mouth.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:17 PM on July 28, 2010


I would put "eating meat" on such a list, though. I get peeved at those commercials that (and people who) question my sexual virility because I don't.

Which commercials?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:18 PM on July 28, 2010


What? It's OK to use the term as a slur because women, the only sex that uses douche bags for their intended purpose, in their female vaginas, shouldn't in fact use them?

No, douchebags are called douchebags because they're nasty. I have heard enema bags referred to as douchebags.

WP: Douchebag (slang uses): "The term refers to a person, usually male, with a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and engaging in obnoxious and/or irritating actions without malicious intent."

What's even better about the term is that it not only describes something that's nasty, it's also something that's actually bad for women (though some women people have (rather remarkably) disagreed with me about that).
posted by mrgrimm at 4:23 PM on July 28, 2010


Which commercials?

Mostly Carl's Jr, but I think Rally's has had some too. Beer commercials are usually worse.

"If you do not care how your watery light beer tastes, you are obviously a homosexual or a woman! Ha-ha!"

I don't have the chance to look any up right now, but I'll see if I can find one. There are tons that obviously equate manliness with eating meat, but there are also a few that suggest the contrapositive (if that's what I mean---not eating meat is done by those who lack manliness.).
posted by mrgrimm at 4:33 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stuff like this becomes far less important when you simply stop caring.
posted by jonmc at 4:45 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? It's OK to use the term as a slur because women, the only sex that uses douche bags for their intended purpose, in their female vaginas, shouldn't in fact use them?

Douchebag is a great pejorative term. Douching was invented by people who believed that vaginas are dirty, disgusting, and bad. That women need to "clean out" their vagnias with vinegar (in some cases) and other things while menstruating. They are bad for women in all ways: their use can lead to infection and disease. They promote "cleaning" something that is quite clean and health on its own. The idea that female reproductive organs are dirty is a pervasive and sexist one that should be shot down.

So let's not have this whole "douchebag as a pejorative term is sexist" every time it comes up.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:06 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't have the chance to look any up right now, but I'll see if I can find one. There are tons that obviously equate manliness with eating meat, but there are also a few that suggest the contrapositive (if that's what I mean---not eating meat is done by those who lack manliness.).

Wow, that's terrible. Thanks for explaining.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2010


Here's one of those ads, goodnewsfortheinsane.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:18 PM on July 28, 2010


This is a fascinating thread to me, in both good and bad ways. On the positive side, I am learning a lot about what it is like to be male in (American) society, which I couldn't possibly have known otherwise; I'm aware of these expectations of men--both those on the list and those brought up in this thread--in only a vague, hypothetical way, but rarely ever get to hear about concrete examples of what it is to live with them, whether it's frustration with the need to conform and desire not to, or whether it's shrugging these expectations off because you don't care if you're perceived as a "pussy" (and, yes, that, along with "douchebag," is yet another example of something directly related to women--specifically their primary sex organs--being used to describe men in a negative or pejorative light).

On the negative side--any time there's a thread about sexism against women, it invariably involves a bunch of men telling us a) it isn't true; b) they don't understand and we should spend our *lives* explaining it to them; c) we're liars (different from "it isn't true"), but in this thread, nobody is saying that about any of the men's related experiences, either like or unlike items on the article's list. That in and of itself isn't negative--fighty threads aren't pleasant for anyone, of course, but it reflects one of the many, many pervasive yet often undetected threads of sexism that run through our culture: when men speak from experience, listen, because they *know*; when women speak from experience, dismiss them, because it's *just one opinion*. And this thread is just reinforcing that for me. (That doesn't mean the thread is bad; it's certainly, as I said, an eye-opener for me.)

I believe that the patriarchy creates MASSIVELY shitty situations for men in a variety of ways--probably way more than I know or could even think of. But thing that irks me most about the article w/r/t "men have it bad too" which they do, is that men can opt out of these expectations. Women cannot opt out of not getting equal pay, being seen as objects there for men to enjoy, etc. etc. ad infinitum everything that has been discussed in several threads about women and their place in society over the past years here.

I'm glad for the discussion.
posted by tzikeh at 5:21 PM on July 28, 2010




"If you do not care how your watery light beer tastes, you are obviously a homosexual or a woman! Ha-ha! "

Real men don't drink watery light beer. That's the first thing I put a stop to when my husband and I started dating. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 5:26 PM on July 28, 2010


but in this thread, nobody is saying that about any of the men's related experiences, either like or unlike items on the article's list.

To clarify - I don't think anyone *should say* that. I absolutely believe the experiences that the men are describing in this thread. I'm simply comparing it to what happens in these discussions when they're about women.
posted by tzikeh at 5:26 PM on July 28, 2010


tzikeh, while I totally understand your points and agree with most of them, I have to disagree about the "opt out" statement. Sure, we can opt out of having those expectations, but we can't opt out of being judged by them. Depending on the situation, that can lead to serious consequences, such as having someone less qualified promoted above you, or being assaulted at a bar. The scale of the problem is certainly not as massive for men as it is for women, but that doesn't mean you can just turn it off.
posted by darksasami at 5:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


THIS. I find it very frustrating that being decent or respectful is a negative trait when it comes to men. I find it frustrating that women even reinforce the "gotta be confident, confidence is the most important thing!" and justify themselves by saying that "nice guys are secretly evil and misogynistic". Essentially, it feels like the same mindset that justifies listening to right-wing bullies: they are so confident in their politics, they must be right- unlike those liberal pussies! As a guy, it's transparent which other guys I see who are obviously dangerous or predatory or sleazy, and I can't fathom how everyone else doesn't see it. But hey, they're confident and not one of those (sneering) nice guys...

Some people are just nice, and it sucks that this is a penalty in the love lottery. Some of us were raised to not be forceful, aggressive, or overconfident, and it's wholly unclear what the line is, where we are "good" confident and where we are "just another asshole". And it often seems that line is not based on our actions, but on whether we were attractive enough that our attentions would be desired. As a guy, this plagues me, these uncertain gender roles and behaviors with their mixed signals.


hincandenza, I'm not a forceful or aggressive man, and a lot of the time I'm really not all that confident. I've been there man, when I was younger, with an ex-girlfriend. But y'know, she really did me a favour -- don't think she meant to, but she helped me understand anyway, after a while.

The problem with "nice guys" really isn't where you think it is. Honestly. I'm not all that confident a person, never been -- but there's a difference between that and neediness, when you need someone to fill a hole inside you. That is not attractive to men or women, generally, because we want to be loved and wanted for who we are, and not so we can fill a hole or an emptiness or boost the self-esteem for someone else. That's something nobody else can carry.

And that's what I was kind of talking about here -- if you're emotionally hungry, if you are just desperate for validation, if all you're thinking about is I would do all these things for her, why won't she like me? -- you end up not being able to see past yourself to that other person, right there. And that other person could be crying out about what they need, but you wouldn't hear: all you hear is how they don't think enough of you. That's how after all these threads, you still think women think "nice guys are secretly evil and misogynistic". Women could open themselves up to you, could bare their souls, did bare their souls in many of these threads, and you don't hear them.

So why would a woman want to be with someone like that? You don't hear them! Would you want to be with someone who never hears you?

One more thing people don't like about "nice guys" is that many appear to have no backbone. I don't say it as an insulting thing (again, I've been there) -- you know when you feel like you are so infatuated/in love with someone, that you would do anything for them? That's kind of what I mean by no backbone. It may seem like it should be a romantic thing, except outside Hollywood movies, it's not. When you have no boundaries, no preferences, never stand up for your own needs but only do things for the other person's approval -- it just doesn't make interesting company. Nor is it truly caring about the other person, even if it feels like it at the time -- because you are just wanting their approval to make you whole.

That's what people mean by "nice guys". Not guys who are actually nice, or "decent and respectful".

You know, you really don't have to agonize over women who only like the confident men or the "bad guys". Why would you want to be with them anyway? Aren't you relieved they left you alone? This is that backbone I meant. All that pick-up artist bullshit, a lot of it is just obnoxious ways to arrive at this. There is a reason why people always say (to men and women) that if you want to find someone, you've got to learn to be happy by yourself. Because when you can be, you are no longer needing someone to make you whole -- you know what you want, you know where your lines are drawn, and you know if it doesn't work out with the other person, you will be okay. I hesitate to call it confidence, but it's a self-assurance you don't have to fake, when you get it. You'll be okay. You have a choice. Not in the spiteful, negging way of the pick-up artists -- there is no hostility or misogyny in this: you just haven't found the right person yet, but you know that whatever happens, you will be okay. Because women are as vulnerable and nice and looking for love just like you, they are insecure and their hearts break just like you, and hey, maybe there's someone out there for you -- but if not, you have a full life already, and you're okay anyway.

And then you have room in your heart and mind for someone else. You'll start actually hearing them.

If you can get to that point where you truly see that, you will be okay, I promise you. And as the cliche goes, you'll probably find someone, when you're not looking.

But first you've got to actually respect women. Don't tell me you respect women -- if you think women 'justify themselves by saying that "nice guys are secretly evil and misogynistic"', you don't actually think much of women. That's what I mean by respect. And you think women can't tell? On a very basic level, you don't even think enough of them to think, hey, women are good people just like me, they wouldn't think that! So why would they want to be with you?

If some women seem to prefer more confident men, or "bad guys" or whatever -- so what? They are not for you. Move on. If you see women as interesting, diverse and individual human beings just like yourself, you know that there are plenty of women who like different, that there are plenty of women who like shy men too, who find it head-over-heels loveable. And you know you'll be okay.
posted by catchingsignals at 5:39 PM on July 28, 2010 [35 favorites]


You're wrong about that, because you don't know me. Everything you say is completely inapplicable to me, personally, because I am in the end the ugliest person- physically- I know or have met. This negates any personality, period- despite what you want to believe in the fairy tale myths of how you wish the world worked.

You don't understand me, you paint me as more simplistic than I am, and the people in my life- including the women- would disagree with you about me as a person or my perspective on women. You can cherry pick all day specific lines and try to Freud out some shortcoming or flaw all day long, but you only prove my point: if I were physically even remotely attractive, none of that would matter much. I'd be just like everyone else: imperfect, but redeemable. But I'm actually, and I'm telling you this, so ugly that it invalidates any redemption.

Which- I've kind of made my peace with this, sort of. I will die alone as I've lived alone. But for fuck's sake don't tell me it's "my fault" women simply don't find me attractive, or that women are some mindreading savants who somehow can pick up on these things in me, but are deaf and blind to abusers and predators. I find it hurtful to say that the things you're mentioning, even if they were true about me, are the most unforgivable sins a human being can ever commit. I find it hurtful that you say bullshit like "Stop having the most basic need for human affection- there's your problem". I'm just like the rest of you, and a cursory look at Askme will show that everyone needs and seeks out affection. Somehow, that isn't a curse on them. But me? You've got me pegged, I have to be Jesus McBuddha, the most enlightened person on the planet, a perfect being of light and cosmic consciousness, to get a date.
posted by hincandenza at 5:56 PM on July 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think there is definitely this binary where men either proudly display their confidence or else they don't have a spine, are needy, depressed, hate women, jealous, or don't understand boundaries.
posted by anonymuk at 5:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have to disagree about the "opt out" statement. Sure, we can opt out of having those expectations, but we can't opt out of being judged by them

That's true, but I think another thing people often expect of men is just that--opting out. Don't care about peoples' expectations, because you're strong in your convictions. You're a maverick, a rebel, you stubbornly do your thing even when people tell you you're stupid for doing it--how many characters in movies fit this stereotype? Even when you're wrong, the whole "stick to your guns" approach saw people like Bush and Rumsfeld gain tremendous support for being "strong leaders", while people like Stephane Dionne here in Canada get mercilessly mocked for seeking out compromise and consensus.

I guess that sorta ties into the whole "don't show your emotions" thing in a way though. Sorry for the half-baked thought.
posted by Kirk Grim at 6:03 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the theme of "men needed to be aggressive" note, I remember the first time I was with my (now) wife and some food go stuck in a vending machine. My wife was shocked and appalled when I started trying to shake it loose. As a man, it was always made clear to me that not shaking the machine violently was not socially acceptable.

I do wish more parents of 12 yr old girls would point out to them that grabbing boys junk (in fun or as a come on) is unacceptable.

Ugh, absolutely. That was absolutely the weirdest bullying I ever experienced.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:03 PM on July 28, 2010


darksasami: The scale of the problem is certainly not as massive for men as it is for women, but that doesn't mean you can just turn it off.

You're right, of course. If these are standard expectations, that means deviating might result in negative consequences. Thanks for pointing that out.
posted by tzikeh at 6:15 PM on July 28, 2010


can I just say that douchebag is one of my least favorite slurs? That's an item used pretty exclusively by women. I'm fine with an equal opportunity slur like enema bag instead. . .

I love the slur douchebag. I use it extensively. I love it because it represents something which is:

1. Marketed and sold as being essential to women, to the point where
2. Women consider themselves inferior and offensive if they don't have one, but
3. The product itself is a solution to a problem that was only dreamed up by rich assholes to begin with, and is in fact
4. Unnecessary,
5. Expensive
6. and actually Harmful to women.

Much like the douchebags to whom I apply the slur.
posted by KathrynT at 6:21 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


darksasami: Sure, we can opt out of having those expectations, but we can't opt out of being judged by them.

I've linked to this Human Resource Executive Online article before on the blue, but it bears repeating:
When [male applicants] affected a more cooperative demeanor. . . . they "were viewed as less socially skilled than female" applicants with the same demeanor, "suggesting that atypical men may also risk social backlash" and they received the lowest ratings of all.
"Of all" meaning, lower ratings, in this particular study, than even the women perceived as "aggressive." (It's only a small study, but googling suggests that there are more like this in the pipeline.) So yes, the guys have opted out of behaving in stereotypically aggressive ways...and, observers of both sexes form poor opinions of them for it. Not such a big deal in this controlled experiment where the observers have no real interaction with the guys. In a work situation, the guys might not ever even know that a supervisor has decided they're "just not leadership material." There's no way to opt out of that.

tzikeh: I'm aware of these expectations of men--both those on the list and those brought up in this thread--in only a vague, hypothetical way, but rarely ever get to hear about concrete examples of what it is to live with them

Me, too. Thanks all, for the concrete examples and discussion. I'm learning from them.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:22 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don’t care if you won’t
Talk to me
You know I’m not that kind of girl.
And I don’t care if you won’t
Walk with me
It don’t give me such a thrill.
And I don’t care about the way you look
You should know I’m not impressed
’cause there’s just one thing
That I’m looking for
And he don’t wear a dress.

I need a man...
I need a man...

Baby baby baby
Don’t you shave your legs
Don’t you double comb your hair
Don’t powder puff
Just leave it rough
I like your fingers bare.
When the night comes down
I can turn it round
I can take you anywhere.
I don’t need love
Forget that stuff
You know that I don’t care

I need a man...
I need a man...

I don’t need a heartbreaker
Fifty-faced trouble maker
Two timing time taker
Dirty little money maker
Muscle bound cheap skate
Low down woman hater
Triple crossing double dater
Yellow bellied alligator...

I don’t care if you won’t
Talk to me
You know I’m not that kind of girl.
And I don’t care if you won’t
Walk with me
It don’t give me such a thrill.
And I don’t care about the way you look
You should know I’m not impressed
’cause there’s just one thing
That I’m looking for
And he don’t wear a dress.

I need a man... leave me alone
I need a man... won't take me home
I need a man... baby, you're just overblown.
posted by bwg at 6:35 PM on July 28, 2010


Much true.
Big deal.
Everyone has to be a victim of something it seems.
Man up.
Doesn't bother me.
I like being a man.
I like being strong and stoic. (Why complain about shit you can't change?)
I like being able to fix motorcycles and computers.
I like being willing and able to fight for whats right and to protect my self/family.
I like red meat and vegetables.
I like beer.
I like white wine.
I like fucking.
I don't like being fucked in the ass.
I don't like being classified by my gender.
I don't like being first to go to war? Is this one of the benefits of the patriarchy?


Why judge?
posted by sfts2 at 7:06 PM on July 28, 2010


Two things about "men aren't supposed to express their emotions and that's awful" trope:

1. This statement conflates CRYING and "expressing emotions." Even people who believe it also see men expressing emotions all the time: Rage, jealousy, hatred. All emotions.

2. Just looking at the "crying" bit: It's bullshit, or it's bullshit based on some sort of very narrow class-based set of rules around men and crying. I was raised in a working-class home in northwest Indiana and the boys AND THE MEN in my family and my community cried ALL THE TIME. My dad, an 8th-grade dropout, was completely "masculine" and he cried at movies. In public. My parents were absolutely not enlightened or modern or feminist or anything like that- I mean, two of my sisters "had" to drop out of high school to marry their teenaged boyfriends because neither abortion nor adoption nor single motherhood was acceptable in my family. My MOTHER is somebody I've never see cry, not once, not at my dad's funeral and not at my brother's funeral. But for me and my brothers and my dad and my uncles and pretty much every man on the block, factory workers to a man, crying was absolutely normative.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:09 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


hincandenza . . . I have four words: Lyle Lovett. Julia Roberts.
You are only ever as ugly as you are being. Please read catchingsignals' comment again.

Addendum: if it helps for you, this only works the one way. No one will ever talk about what a fabulous man Molly Ivins caught for herself.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:15 PM on July 28, 2010


for anybody who does not feel these pressures, fucking awesome. I'm sincerely really happy for you. I've heard all the reasons not to get worked up about these things, and I like to think of myself as a reasonably enlightened dude where these things are concerned, but I struggle against pressures to have big muscles, make more money than my partner, pay for things, be a sex god, act "masculine" instead of "effeminate" and all the rest of it every fucking day. I wish I had whatever boyhood you guys had.

Me too. For all that the article wasn't the best written thing in the entire world or a totally footnoted treatise drawing on every feminist scholar ever, I felt that the author nailed some of the things that make life as a man complicated. Not awful, but not easy, either. Not everything she wrote resonated with me, but some of it really did.

The fighting thing -- literally, from kindergarten through the end of high school, violence (real, threatened, imaginary) was an everyday reality for me and all of my male friends. I was lucky -- it was just at school and socially; a lot of my friends were pummeled at home every day, too. There was no refuge -- I can remember gym teachers (several of them, over the years) deliberately setting up situations where some poor puny little kid would get whaled on, publicly and humiliatingly, by some big brawny dudes.

And it doesn't magically go away as an adult, either, at least unless I was never willing to go to another bar or nightclub, or walk down dark streets, or do pretty much anything except sit at home alone. Actual violence happens very rarely, but many male social interactions are structured by the knowledge (and mutual wish for avoidance) of violence.

But thing that irks me most about the article w/r/t "men have it bad too" which they do, is that men can opt out of these expectations.

I don't agree, at all. How do I "opt out" of a societal expectation, such as that I should be emotionally restrained? I can contravene that expectation by crying and expressing emotions openly, sure. But contravening it isn't the same as opting out, and I'm going to have to accept the consequences of doing so. And perhaps I could choose to only be in social settings where those actions are normalized -- but realistically, those are pretty limited spaces.
posted by Forktine at 7:24 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


hincandenza . . . I have four words: Lyle Lovett. Julia Roberts.
You are only ever as ugly as you are being.


Lyle Lovett's movie star ugly. Not real ugly.

And I think your comment both diminishes and denies what Hincandeza is going through.
posted by cjets at 7:39 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


You know, you really don't have to agonize over women who only like the confident men or the "bad guys". Why would you want to be with them anyway?

I think you're ignoring the fact that, outside of what appears to be Enlightenment Zone, MetaFilter City, discarding that segment of the population is cutting out a rather large portion. It's not quite the "I will only date natural redheads," but, dang, if I start counting the women I know who have either fallen for the bad boys (schtick or just general hoodlumness) or whip out that "confidence" dog whistle, it adds up, distressingly so. It's a significantly smaller set of women to date from when after that particular subtraction.

And I think what hincandenza might be hinting at (and, let me know if I am jamming words in your mouth, hincandenza) is that, when you're not all that great looking, the dating pool shrinks, fast. Fast enough the Venn diagram of the intersection of those two sets has a bleached steer skull sitting in it and not a lot else. As a fellow Ugly Guy, I can relate with not wanting to see tumbleweeds roll by that skull all for my precious little principles. Somehow, the grim satisfaction of having someone carve "... yeah, but at least I didn't compromise on that" on my tombstone might not outweigh the Oh Yeah I Died Alone And Then My Cats Ate My Face Because Nobody Checked On Me For Two Weeks outcome.

If you haven't felt that way, if you haven't felt doomed to making that particular decision, you might as well be nudging your friends on the way into the theater, looking at the single men with their small soda, small popcorn, asking "All the lonely people, where do they all come from?" as if the empty seats to their lefts and to their rights were so very inconvenient for you.
posted by adipocere at 7:43 PM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


How do you feel about being unemployed? Fan-fucking-tastic. (I hate working)

I personally would have no problem staying home to care for a child while my wife works (and it's likely that my situation might work out this way, given our current incomes), but I would still have the nagging gender role bullshit in the back of my mind. I'm almost certain that my father would disapprove.

I wouldn't let it stop me, but it would still be there.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find it hurtful to say that the things you're mentioning, even if they were true about me, are the most unforgivable sins a human being can ever commit. I find it hurtful that you say bullshit like "Stop having the most basic need for human affection- there's your problem".

I'm genuinely, deeply sorry that what I was saying felt hurtful to you. But I didn't say things like "are the most unforgivable sins a human being can ever commit" or "Stop having the most basic need for human affection- there's your problem". I didn't even think them, could not even imagine I would think them. You say I've got you pegged -- but you've got me pegged, haven't you? I mean, you read things into what I wrote that I would never even think about you.

Of course I don't know you. But you identified with "nice guys", you asked why women don't like "nice guys", and I tried to give you an answer. Yes, of course it is possible that you are physically the ugliest person you've known or met. I've thought myself such an ugly freak I couldn't step out the front door. Don't make me dig out my whole life history to convince you here, I've already been open about way more than I'm comfortable with. But here we are. I'm mostly out of it, and I'm trying to tell you how it's possible, how it can change -- but you're only seeing it as an attack on you.

If there are ugly men, there are also ugly women, yes? So where do they go for human affection?

You can keep beating yourself with that stick, but don't tell me I'm beating you with it -- that I'm hurting you with it. Don't tell me, after I say over and over again that you'll be okay, that I would think you are unforgivable or irredeemable. Those are your own thoughts, the stick you're beating yourself with. I've been trying to talk you into putting it down, but you didn't wanna know.

If you do read those Askme human relations questions, you've seen much, much harsher than this. And you've probably also read this advice given to many people: "You're focusing on your looks because it is something you can't change. Because focusing on anything else would mean you would have to face up to all the things you can change."

Since you read the AskMe human relations questions, do you know about the cognitive distortions? Do you know how many of those were true in just your last comment?

I never said anything was your fault, and I don't think that. There is a world of difference between that and saying there is something you can change. It is not your personality, it is the way you view yourself and the world, and none of it is fixed. People change all the time, including myself, have to when a way of relating to others or ourselves is not working as we like.

You may not be as ugly as you think, because that is often distorted for many, many people. But maybe you are. So if you genuinely believed you were that ugly, why were you blaming it on women not liking "nice guys"? If you genuinely believed that nothing else mattered, then whether you are a "nice guy" doesn't even come into it, right?

So you don't really believe that's all there is.

I don't know you, I don't know your experience, but from everything you've told me up to this point, I have had some similar experiences, and I was trying to share it with you. And I know depressive logic when I see it. How the hell else do you get from what I said to "I have to be Jesus McBuddha, the most enlightened person on the planet, a perfect being of light and cosmic consciousness, to get a date"? Nobody can argue with depressive logic, because anything anyone says is distorted to fit your internal narrative of yourself. Is it just possible that you can't see everything? That it's possible that your subjective experience may be distorted, that people who argue with you aren't trying to hurt you? That we might see something you don't? If you feel as bad as you say you do, that should be an encouraging instead of a hurtful thing to hear. It should be a relief. It was for me: you are fallable like everyone else, your thoughts and view of yourself are fallable like everyone else, and therein lies possible hope. It doesn't have to feel like this. Would you at least consider it?
posted by catchingsignals at 8:18 PM on July 28, 2010 [32 favorites]


I don't run into many of the kind of men this author seems to think occupy the whole world - anymore. Lucky me, or is she hanging out in an Air Force town? Cuz those stereotypes she's tossing out date to the 50s. And those species are going extinct, here on the left coast at least.
posted by Twang at 8:20 PM on July 28, 2010


Awesome comment, catchingsignals.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:50 PM on July 28, 2010


@blucevalo gay men (and straight men "mistaken" for gay) do get beat up on the streets of New York and West Hollywood and in the Castro... And "the anxiety it still creates for a lot of straight men" is not limited to straight men ...

I think that for many straight men (Kinsey<3>ridicule that they've heard (and maybe participated in to be sure their pards know their team) that scares them most. They've heard what gets said, and, with any caring inside them, they've cringed inside and imagined themselves in the same spot.

And probably they're especially scared if they've experimented or had a one-timer. Because experimenting is not allowed, because they don't know that it's fairly normal, that our culture promotes and rewards ignorance, that without experiment you can't be sure. If their gang finds out... getting beat up heals a lot faster.

It's all absurd, and founded on ignorance (see Kinsey). Happily endorsed by our institutions, mostly created by 'manly' men. (Just don't scratch too deep, there ...)
posted by Twang at 9:14 PM on July 28, 2010


catching signals, I identify with "nice guys," even though I mostly agree with your comments. Let me explain:

1. There's lots of social pressure for guys to be like this. Basically, our two role models are shy creepy nice dude from romantic comedies or aggro rage dick from action movies. The nice guys pick romance over action.

2. Women don't like it because it's creepy to be a woman in a real-life romantic comedy. Most guys don't like it because you're being a wimp or you're sacrificing your masculinity to attract women. There's not a lot of people to talk to— but we're also shy, so maybe that has something to do with it! And then you have a bunch of bitter guys talking about how women are faking rape to get revenge on men or how society is really set up to benefit women and oppress men— we don't want to associate with them.

3. I wish more reactions to Nice Guy Syndrome were along the lines of "hey, a lot of guys go through this. Here's what helped me and nothing is wrong with you" instead of "Aha! You think you're being sensitive but you're actually INsensitive!" I do think there's a component of this that is gendered and especially hard for men.

who the hell set things up
like this

posted by anonymuk at 9:39 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Having run into a few people I used to know in my home town recently, you know, they've just got to become Facebook friends, and so suddenly I'm getting all their chatter. BAM. I'm treated to the most violent social scene I've known since my late teens, where yes, so-and-so looked at you crosswise so you'd better fucking pound him (and much, much worse).

So for those who imagine the expectations of violence are only kid's stuff, apparently some people never grow out of it and it lives on in some social circles. I feel terribly sorry for those people. The sensation of being back living in that world was back in an instant, and I'm glad to leave it far, far behind.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:41 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


dude, hincandenza, you have done this before. you have gone on and on about how what women want in a man is the problem. whether it's railing against women for dating guys they're physically attracted or going on lengthy tangents about how women apparently only date assholes, you have covered this and should strongly consider stopping. Knowing nothing about you, I think your comments about women on this site are troubling as fuck, and other mefites have agreed with me on this in outside conversation. If, as you say, you are as unattractive to other people as you say you are, then I'm truly sorry your life has been that difficult. Nothing I can say or think or do will change what your experience has been, and I'm sorry I can't do anything about that.

but recognize this: you have, more than once, moved from the territory of discussing your experience into the territory of making broad generalizations about women as though your experiences applied to all of humanity. it's understandable, and you're not the worst person ever for doing it or anything like that. but you need to stop doing that for your own sake as much as anyone else's. yes, people are shallow. yes, this is unfair to people whose appearance doesn't conform to what a magazine tells us should be attractive. yes, life is fucking hard as fuck for everyone who fits that mold. no one can deny that.

but you really need to stop generalizing about women. for one thing, there are men in this world who are just as bad as any woman you can find about physical appearances, and for another not every single woman is the way you have repeatedly described them. you do not only women but yourself a tremendous dishonor by succumbing to basic and poorly thought out misogyny. do better than that. if for no other reason than because you're forcing people to either dislike you for legitimate reasons or cut you slack out of pity. let the assholes who won't accept you no matter what because of your appearance distinguish themselves. don't give the decent folk ample reason to hate you, too.
posted by shmegegge at 9:55 PM on July 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


I think you're ignoring the fact that, outside of what appears to be Enlightenment Zone, MetaFilter City, discarding that segment of the population is cutting out a rather large portion.

It is cutting out a rather large portion. You are not trying to date womenkind, right? You only need one, and the world is full of women, and even if you cut out a large portion, you still have so many women left. And you know, dating is not the only way to have companionship or intimacy or happiness.

If you haven't felt that way, if you haven't felt doomed to making that particular decision, you might as well be nudging your friends on the way into the theater, looking at the single men with their small soda, small popcorn, asking "All the lonely people, where do they all come from?" as if the empty seats to their lefts and to their rights were so very inconvenient for you.

I could only laugh, reading that last paragraph. You don't know me, man, but I know -- will you take my word for it? Without me having to tell my life story?

This is not me claiming that something worked for me, and so it definitely will work for hincandenza. We may have very different circumstances. What I was trying to say is that there are things we think or do that lead us further and further away from the very thing we so want, and we don't know it, and we just keep doing it, and it hurts more and more, and we just keep doing it. That is almost the cornerstone of therapy, and of the human condition. Most of us do it. And I'm seeing him do it, and I'm not the only one, and I'm only trying to say, hey, that can't be helping you, y'know? It doesn't have to be this way.

As a fellow Ugly Guy, I can relate with not wanting to see tumbleweeds roll by that skull all for my precious little principles. Somehow, the grim satisfaction of having someone carve "... yeah, but at least I didn't compromise on that" on my tombstone might not outweigh the Oh Yeah I Died Alone And Then My Cats Ate My Face Because Nobody Checked On Me For Two Weeks outcome.


I'm sorry. I'm sorry it feels that way, and I'm sorry that's the world we live in, and I'm sorry any of us has to ever feel that lonely, man or woman.

But we do, and if we don't change it nobody else is gonna fucking change it for us. And however many threads hincandenza uses to vent his frustrations about womenkind, it won't change for him -- if anything, he'll just get more and more negative reactions confirming his view of women, and possibly his view of himself. That's not gonna change anything for him -- you see that, right?

I was trying to suggest some alternatives that I worked out from bitter experience. And I tried to explain the reasoning behind them, maybe I didn't do a very good job, but they're more logical than anything you'll find in a pick-up artist book. They are so logical I can draw you fucking diagrams leading from one thing to another, and how the way hincandenza thinks about himself and about women works in direct opposition to what he says he wants. And some of these things are not intuitive. For example:

I think you're ignoring the fact that, outside of what appears to be Enlightenment Zone, MetaFilter City, discarding that segment of the population is cutting out a rather large portion.

It seems obvious that if you cut out a large number of your potential dates, you are severely limiting your chances, especially when you have other factors limiting you already. And yet by narrowing down the field, you are being selective. That is attractive, because people like to feel special, and that you chose them not because they were the easiest one available, but because you chose them, because they are awesome. In your selectiveness, you get to rule out all the people who have little in common with you, who you have to bend over backwards to make happy and then probably still fail -- less negative experiences, less knocks on your self-esteem. You get to rule out all the people who like "bad men" -- phew, lucky escape there, plus now the women you meet, you'll actually have more respect for, and it'll show in every move you make, everything you say. By being selective, you have now taken control -- so now you feel more in control instead of powerless, and that again is attractive and shows when people meet and spend time with you. You realise you're no longer going after every woman, so you can relax more, and that is attractive, plus it frees you to have more time to find interesting things to do with your life -- again, another attractive trait. These good things just pile up, when you counterintuitively let go. And if you were ugly, those good things still can't but help. (Another one: don't ever say you're ugly. To yourself, you say it enough and even if you weren't, you start believing it. I don't care if it's the "truth" -- why are you reinforcing it for yourself and making it worse? To others, you say enough and even if you weren't, other people start believing it. Again, doesn't matter if it's the "truth". Give yourself a chance.)

The holy grail -- when you can get to a point where you know that you can find companionship and intimacy and happiness from friends and family and other things, even if dating never works out for you, because there are so many ways you can have a life well lived. Then you truly relax. And I think you start fucking glowing. People will wonder what it is with you, and be intrigued by you -- why are you not chasing what everyone is chasing, and why do you seem so damn relaxed and happy about it? I want some of what he's having! And hey, guess what -- that sounds like confidence! Except that it's not some pick-up artist bullshit, it's true from your heart, it's coursing through your veins, and you can face the random crapshoot of life that is dating whenever you're want, with much better chances, knowing that either way, you'll be okay.
posted by catchingsignals at 10:11 PM on July 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm a young white guy, so for the most part I have privilege coming out my butt. I'm also fortunate in being brought up by Nordic social democrats in good standing so I don't really feel constrained by most of these five things. That said, the hot-to-trot thing struck a nerve.

A couple of years ago I was stalked by a woman whose sexual attentions I had rebuffed. She showed up wherever I went, called me up all hours, often crying on the phone, "ran into me" on the street and started arguments with me when I didn't want to go off with her. It was stressful and frightening, frankly. This went on for two-three months. Then she stopped. I stopped seeing her at all. I was cautious at first but soon the whole thing became a thing of the past and I didn't really think about it much. Then, about a year after I'd last seen her, she shows up at my house. Luckily I wasn't there. Then the whole thing starts up again, showing up places where I go, running into me on the street, etc. Then, after a few weeks, it stops again. I haven't, thank Jebus, seen her now for a really long time.

Most of my friends were very supportive, but some of them responded by asking why I hadn't just grabbed the opportunity and had a one night stand. It was a weird attitude to have thrust in my face.

Also, an acquaintance of mine, his first sexual experience was when he was twelve and his babysitter had sex with him. This gets passed around his friend-group as a kind of legendary accomplishment, but he was once asked and he said that, really, it had been scary and uncomfortable and it had fucked him up sexually for a good while.

So yeah, that hot-to-trot thing can be pretty bad.
posted by Kattullus at 10:15 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't forget to compound the social expectations if that society happens to be the (US) military. See The Great Santini.
posted by bonefish at 10:24 PM on July 28, 2010


1. There's lots of social pressure for guys to be like this. Basically, our two role models are shy creepy nice dude from romantic comedies or aggro rage dick from action movies. The nice guys pick romance over action.

True a lot of the time, yeah.

2. Women don't like it because it's creepy to be a woman in a real-life romantic comedy. Most guys don't like it because you're being a wimp or you're sacrificing your masculinity to attract women. There's not a lot of people to talk to— but we're also shy, so maybe that has something to do with it! And then you have a bunch of bitter guys talking about how women are faking rape to get revenge on men or how society is really set up to benefit women and oppress men— we don't want to associate with them.

Agreed.

3. I wish more reactions to Nice Guy Syndrome were along the lines of "hey, a lot of guys go through this. Here's what helped me and nothing is wrong with you" instead of "Aha! You think you're being sensitive but you're actually INsensitive!" I do think there's a component of this that is gendered and especially hard for men.

But I think the insensitive part is important -- in fact it's crucial -- because if you're relating to people, never mind dating, and you're thinking you're being sensitive but actually you're not (we've all been there)... it's not gonna work is it? There's no Aha! about it -- the other person matters, y'know? They're actually the most important part of it.

I've spent an insane amount of time on this thread, trying to rephrase and re-edit and re-write what I wrote into something that hopefully wouldn't be defensive-making... but there is only so much cushioning a person can do. There are no intended Ahas and Gotchas here.


who the hell set things up
like this


We do. The people who came before us did, but we're reinforcing it, every day, unless we choose not to. That's kind of the point of this post, I think.

Okay, I'm gone -- sorry I wrote so much. Hope some of it makes sense.
posted by catchingsignals at 10:31 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Susan Faludi's Stiffed is a good book on the unfair demands of masculinity from a feminist perspective. The Mother Jones interview on the subject should be required reading.

Really, there's a case to be made that Stiffed is more relevant today, during this recession, than ever:
I started the book when the economy was in a recession, which seemed to support the conventional wisdom that the economy and masculinity are related -- that men feel emasculated when their lives as wage earners are threatened. But I found that as the economy improved, the men I was talking to were still stricken with a sense that they had been betrayed, and that the betrayal went much deeper than a paycheck. It had to do with loyalty and a social pact that they had been led to believe was bedrock and part of being a man. It had to do with work, with the relationship between men and their community, and even with the sense that they could count on their hometown sports team rewarding their loyalty by staying put. Instead, they saw those teams leave town to chase the biggest money offers somewhere, anywhere, else. And buried much deeper down, it also had to do with the loyalty between fathers and sons.
This may be a little ranty, or maybe it'll resonate. As one of the middle class, University educated, liberal demographic, I feel like I chose to buy a slightly different bill of goods. I've worked hard to be sensitive, to be "non-violent, respectful of women, emotionally honest, sexually honest, and just generally [my] own best [self]." Not in that whiny, self-proclaimed nice guy way (except maybe right now on MeFi), but in a way where I've actually been a positive catalyst in dozens of people's lives and this course had led me to some recognition and respect in my liberal demographic circles. But it has never been anything but a liability in the long run in dating. Actual break up quotes, to wit: "You taught me to be more independent, more confident [I'm leaving you because you're still living at home, just started your first job and not independent enough]," OR "I don't feel a strong connection [to the person I left you for] like I did with you, no common interests or beliefs... that way there's no pressure." My mother held a serious grudge against me for over a year because I ended a relationship to a long-term SO that she thought (unprovoked) I was going to marry -- the grudge continued even when I told my mom that my partner was suicidal and I stayed with her long enough to get her through it, kept her safe from serious self-harm on several occasions and then I decided that I needed to take care of myself first and broke up with her constructively.

Both of the narratives that being a good man, either as a traditional protector/breadwinner or as a new age, sensitive male, will get you ahead don't follow through in my experience. I'd feel a lot less betrayed if I'd bought the other message that a nice car is the way to win a mate. I don't blame the women in my life, relationships change that's just the way it is for better and for worse... But I am bitter about the mixed media messages that formed this "be a tough guy" VS. "be a sensitive guy" cognitive dissonance in my head and in society and that dissonance has caused a lot of stress, self-doubt and heartache.

But, all in all, I've been fortunate to have been steered towards being emotionally intelligent and being able to help others. Certainly the burden of this life doesn't even come close to the burdens of many others. But it's incredibly lonely to struggle to carve a niche dating while also not having emotional outlets, comradely or intimacy in friendships due to the man-to-man "stiff upper lip" constraints.

There's also something to be said for the significantly higher successful suicide rates for men and the significantly shorter life span. I don't believe that this is entirely due to biology. Somewhat trite case in point: Can you name the color of the testicular or prostate cancer ribbons? How about breast cancer? What color dress would you wear to signify your concern for women's heart disease? What would you wear for heart disease in general? There is a case to be made that men's illnesses are more stigmatized and men are socialized to be less likely to admit illness, to advocate for themselves and less likely to seek medical help.
posted by Skwirl at 10:33 PM on July 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


catchingsignals: "I've spent an insane amount of time on this thread, trying to rephrase and re-edit and re-write what I wrote into something that hopefully wouldn't be defensive-making... but there is only so much cushioning a person can do. There are no intended Ahas and Gotchas here."

Oh no, your second post cleared it up for me but I didn't read it till after I had posted! Thanks for being patient :)
posted by anonymuk at 10:47 PM on July 28, 2010


As a man, it was always made clear to me that not shaking the machine violently was not socially acceptable.

I shook a vending machine once when it didn't give me my packet drink after I paid for it. I wound up with five packets. It didn't occur to me not to shake it. I stand at five foot nothing, but I've got pretty good upper body strength for a woman, and tend towards rather, er, physical solutions for problems.
posted by Alnedra at 11:04 PM on July 28, 2010


I reckon three and half of those things are good for men, and one's just not true.

1. Fight, fight, fight! Fighting can be a fun adrenaline rush. Almost all of the guys in bar fights are there because they enjoy it. It's a leisure activity that women are socially excluded from.

2. Be a good husband/partner/lover -- but don't care too much what women think. Both of those are good: it's fun to try to succeed at something, and even better if you don't have to care if you fail.

3. Be hot to trot. Always. With anybody. Just not true: if you're a real man you're expected to only be interested in the most attractive of women, and say "I wouldn't touch her with yours" if she's slightly imperfect.

4. Stiff upper lip. The hydraulic model of emotions where letting them out reduces them is just wrong. The more you indulge an unpleasant emotion, the stronger it gets. The socially-encouraged stiff upper lip benefits men, the socially-encouraged emotional incontinence harms women.

5. Fear of being perceived as gay. This is bad for gay men. But for straight men, it's great to have an outgroup of social inferiors. You're a member of an exclusive club of straight men, just through putting your penis where you want to put it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:52 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


One should be really unhappy person to care about such articles.
posted by avysk at 3:18 AM on July 29, 2010


Feeling Broody:
But here’s the thing – as Sathnam Sanghera wrote in The Times when articulating his own desire for fatherhood, “single, straight, 33-year-old men aren’t allowed to confess to broodiness.” The stereotype is that women are the clucky ones who entrap us free-spirited men into settling down, and that we spend the whole time staring wistfully out the window, wishing we were at the pub with our mates.
posted by harriet vane at 5:56 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


She forgot:
Men never ask for directions
Men always order steak at restaurants, women always order fish or chicken
Men never close the toilet seat

Btw, a "contributing writer" at content mill eHow has this advice for women who want the toilet seat down: nagging etc:
"Be relentless in your efforts - training can take time. Don't be afraid to try whatever you think might work: pouting, anger, threats, badgering or even silence. Avoid taking your mind off the goal."
Not sure if serious...
posted by iviken at 6:13 AM on July 29, 2010


Only Netflix thinks I'm gay.
posted by NortonDC at 7:53 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


This article was pretty interesting to read, and I agree with all but two of hincandenza's even better points.

b) Women should earn the same as a man for the same job. However, in the end, the man should always have a job, while a woman has the option to not work and be provided for. I don't agree with this, but an insanely high number of men and women seem to believe it.

Well, yes and no. Depending on the crowd, this one might not be true at all. A woman who chooses to stay home with her kids or to be a "housewife" by *choice* is very often called an anti-feminist and is shunned by other women. Men may or may not be aware of this as a lot of drama between women takes place in this behind-the-scenes hell world full of raised eyebrows and hairpulling. (Ok, not really, but it's been my experience that women who have issues with each other rarely make it public and it's just this weird awkward tension except in private where there's a lot of crying and name-calling. I've seen this even into adulthood. I'm not a man, so I don't know for sure, but experience tells me that men's disagreements don't go into this background bizarro level.)

h) In a relationship, a woman can pout to get what she wants like a petulant child, or withhold sex or affection, or even hit/punch/slap a man and he should just take it.

I know it happens, but I couldn't disagree more with the idea that this is an "ok" thing for women to do. I think women who believe that acting like a petulant child in a relationship is justified are jerks. Not because they're women or they're being misandrist - just because they're jerks.

As for men eating meat - I'm a woman and I think animals are damned tasty. I can not tell you the flack I get for this. It's almost as bad as being a vegetarian in that EVERYONE has to comment about how much grapefruitmoon loves meat. She's such a carnivore! She's practically a Neanderthal! 'moonMan eats just as much meat as I do and nary a word is spoken about it. I don't think it's a conscious thing on anyone's part, but there's definitely something more acceptable about choosing the steak if you're a man.

My ex-husband was a vegetarian and people somehow always assumed that I was too (which I think had more to do with me being female than us living together since it happened even before we were married) - or if friends knew *one* of us ate meat, they assumed it was him.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:31 AM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Now I'm out of school and my rural hometown, I'm lucky enough that none of these affect my life much. I heartily agree that it's very dependent on your social circle.

Weirdly, the one that penetrates my otherwise-mostly-egalitarian friends and colleagues the most is the expectation that all men must love team sports, especially football/rugby. It's OK for me to enjoy cooking (although I have been mocked for being good at baking), but admitting that I don't support -- and have never enjoyed watching -- a sports team is social suicide. There are definite overtones of "not a real man" in there.

When I visit a handful of the people who stayed in my home city working blue-collar jobs, the pubs we go to and the people we meet enforce these roles really strongly. I conciously have to modify my language, stop wincing at sexist/homophobic comments and fake an interest in sports to avoid ostracism and threats of violence, much less to be taken seriously.

Understand that I'm not scared of being called gay (although obviously I want potential dates to know that I'm straight), but I am scared of the ostracism and threatened or real violence that accompanies it. So I play along and, by doing so, help to perpetuate the stereotype. Sorry, but they're bigger and scarier than me.

In stark contrast, the group I spend most of my leisure time with are highly educated (pretty much all have at least two degrees), geeky, highish proportion of people into kink and non-het /non-monogamous relationships. Among this group the gender norms basically stop at clothing choice, although even if I (male) turned up to a party in a skirt I'd get some wolf-whistles but certainly no aggro.

Between my friends and my (female-dominated) work, if I liked sports I could easily believe that this stuff never happens and isn't an issue. But seeing the overt and aggressive enforcement of these norms when I get out of the ivory tower really drives home how powerful and commonplace the effect really is.
posted by metaBugs at 8:52 AM on July 29, 2010


Fighting can be a fun adrenaline rush. Almost all of the guys in bar fights are there because they enjoy it. It's a leisure activity that women are socially excluded from.

Anecdotally I don't think this is the case. Fighting between men is not usually a Fight Club-like experience where evenly matched people decide to fight because it's a fun adrenaline rush. In my experience fights are usually very one sided, and the men on the losing end of those kinds of fights definitely do not look at it as a fun time. Women do get a chance to participate in the same sort of "leisure activity" in the form of domestic violence (which I think would probably happen a lot less if men weren't socially conditioned to solve disputes with violence).
posted by burnmp3s at 9:35 AM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's a conscious thing on anyone's part, but there's definitely something more acceptable about choosing the steak if you're a man.

Most of the women I know who like meat are highly commended for it. Maybe for being unexpected allies in the slaughter of helpless creatures. Maybe because the women are also attractive and confident and it indicates a strong (hetero)sexual appetite. Dunno. Anyway, tiny counterpoint.

if friends knew *one* of us ate meat, they assumed it was him.

That's mostly it. Real men, hell not even "real" men, ALL men, are expected to eat meat. "Eat Like a Man, Not a Rabbit" (Thanks Karmakaze, Great site.) I think that Carl's Jr. et al often push it to the brink of "Eat Like a Man, Not a Homo."

Real men don't drink watery light beer. That's the first thing I put a stop to when my husband and I started dating.

YOU'RE DOING IT!

Well, and some women do too, but there's not much acceptance of that as a normal thing--a woman like that is considered a nympho and somewhat scary/laughable. Desire level seems to be a lot more about individual body chemistry than about gender, once you get people to be honest about it.

...

So yeah, that hot-to-trot thing can be pretty bad.

Agreed. With anyone/everyone who called me on it. The more and more I think about it, the more and more my original conceit seems laughable.

I actually used to argue that male and female libidos were biologically identical, but I have been dissuaded of that argument of late, I suppose, probably too much in the opposite direction.

Basically, our two role models are shy creepy nice dude from romantic comedies or aggro rage dick from action movies.

Oh, c'mon. Brad Pitt. Denzel Washington. Matt Damon. Matthew Broderick. Derek Jeter. ... Barack Obama?!?! the list of "nice guy" role models is endless.

Of course, it's a lot easier to be a nice guy and score chicks (or get elected) if you're extremely attractive. Life sucks that way.

You only need one...

Sage advice. No joke.

...

The more I think about this thread, the more I think that the "breadwinner" or work expectations are really the most damaging for men. We really need to get past that one. Maybe 2012.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:38 AM on July 29, 2010


However, I can't help but chuckle cynically that a thread about the expectations or stereotypes placed upon men will likely:
a) disregard male experiences as unimportant or not the norm anyway
b) suggest it's not that bad, so what do men have to complain about?
c) just get deleted since it's just chatfilter and not worth having a whole thread about this


hincandenza, you made some really great points about the sexism that men face. but it strikes me as deeply sad that the behavior you cite above is exactly the same behavior you engage in in every single sexism/feminism thread on the blue. In fact, in the last thread on sexism you went so far as to tell the women sharing their experiences with you that you don't even see them as real people, just pixels on a screen.

I don't understand how you can treat people like that but expect to be treated better yourself.
posted by palomar at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The more I think about this thread, the more I think that the "breadwinner" or work expectations are really the most damaging for men. We really need to get past that one.

I agree. My husband never wanted to be the breadwinner; I never wanted to be the stay-at-home mom. And yet, we are. I'm not a hundred percent sure how we got here; I was working when I got pregnant, but was instantly so sick that I had to quit. So I wasn't working when I gave birth. And then, whoa, nursing a baby is actually really hard work, but pumping at work is even harder, and daycare is expensive as HELL, like $1500 - $2000 a month expensive depending on where you live, for an infant anyway, and it seems not worth it, particularly when I didn't have a job to go back to. And now it's four years later, and I worked in technology and there's four years of stuff happening that I wasn't part of, and I'm pregnant again, so NOW if I want to go back to work it's the $1000 a month for the older kid PLUS the $2000 a month for the baby, and and and. And so here we are.
posted by KathrynT at 9:59 AM on July 29, 2010


I don't understand how you can treat people like that but expect to be treated better yourself.

it's a sad truth that people who are treated terribly most of their lives often resort to treating others the same way. It's not about expecting to be treated better yourself. It's about not believing better treatment is ever going to come, so you'll be damned if you're gonna be the one guy who treats people well and never gets treated well in return.

it doesn't make his arguments any better, but it does earn (at least my) sympathy.
posted by shmegegge at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Most of the women I know who like meat are highly commended for it.

It's not actually a counter-point, but actually illustrating my point entirely. For a woman to be commended for eating meat is to have it pointed out to her that she's out of the norm. And honestly, no one really needs to be commended or belittled for their eating choices - especially when going out to eat in group situations is often stressful enough for women without having someone comment on "Good on you for eating that steak!" which, trust me, just feels weird to hear.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:04 AM on July 29, 2010


Commending a woman for eating red meat is also an manifestation of the "women should be more like men but men should never be like women." I think a lot of the "don't be gay" pressure is actually "don't be effeminate." That is, part of the problem of being seen as gay is that gay men are categorized as being too much like women.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:17 AM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Weirdly, the one that penetrates my otherwise-mostly-egalitarian friends and colleagues the most is the expectation that all men must love team sports, especially football/rugby.

I feel your pain. I'm capital-N Nerd. I like science fiction/fantasy books, TV, and movies, and play with Lego in my spare time. I get a lot of "You sure have a lot of time on your hands!" comments, but I'm sure no one would bat an eye if I told them I spent all weekend watching sports on television.

It would seem that sports are THE subject of small-talk in the South. Most men begin conversations with "Did you see the game? Joseph Sports scored more goal points than the other team and won the THING!" (Yes, I stole that joke from Penny-Arcade) I usually either smile and nod, or if I'm feeling particularly honest, I mention that I don't follow sports. This usually leads to awkward silence.

To make matters worse, being 6'3", I've spent my life explaining to people that I never played basketball for a high school or college team.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2010


Imho, there are only two long term solutions to inherent parental care issues, KathrynT. Either society raises the children via free daycare. Or grand parents raise the children. I'd even envision social security benefits being contingent upon ongoing social contributions, like raising grad kids. I'm aware all this comes well after the nursing phase you're discussing, but that's the real issue.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:53 AM on July 29, 2010


I find it frustrating that women even reinforce the "gotta be confident, confidence is the most important thing!"


check that OK Cupid blog post on attractiveness — women rated eighty percent of men as "below average" in looks.


Of course, it's a lot easier to be a nice guy and score chicks (or get elected) if you're extremely attractive. Life sucks that way.

You still have to be confident. Women want (good-looking) men who take control. I don't care what you're politics are, social status, upbringing... that's the one thing I've found that's been a constant with women.
posted by L'OM at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2010


Women want (good-looking) men who take control. I don't care what you're politics are, social status, upbringing... that's the one thing I've found that's been a constant with women.

Except for, you know, all the women who love men who aren't like that.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:09 AM on July 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


hincandenza reminds me of Mae Tyme in that I don't necessarily agree with his views but I think it's a valuable perspective.
posted by yaymukund at 11:22 AM on July 29, 2010


I'd agree with L'OM's over adipocere's interpretation of Ok Cupid's statements. Women are quite easily impressed by confidence. If you find a women who likes a guy who seems not very confident, chances are she formed her initial opinions during interactions where he appeared confident.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:27 AM on July 29, 2010


Except for, you know, all the women who love men who aren't like that.

But surely the number of women that say "I am explicitly looking for -- I mean I full on prefer -- a below-average looking man who is nervous (or whatever the opposite of 'confident' is) around myself and other people" is vanishingly small.

There's a difference between "what people want" and "what people can get".
posted by modernnomad at 11:42 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's also a difference between "confidence" and "takes charge." I personally prefer spending time with people with a certain amount of self-esteem, not just for partners, but as friends as well. But when a dude thinks he has to Take Charge of things and be In Control? No faster turnoff than that except for willful ignorance, frankly.

Similarly, I don't like folks who are passive-aggressive, but that has nothing to do with gender requirements, that has to do with the fact that passive-aggression is ANNOYING. If I tell my husband "hey, it's too hot to cook, should we eat leftovers or go out?" and he says "Meh, whatever," that's fine by me as long as he means it. But if "Meh, whatever" is code for "I resent the hell out of you for not making me a home-cooked meal when it's 92 degrees in the house and I'm going to grumble and whine for the rest of the evening," then that's a turnoff. It has nothing to do with him not being a Manly Man who Takes Charge of Things, it has to do with being honest and forthright about issues that affect me.
posted by KathrynT at 11:54 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is important to know the difference between:


Showing confidence: "I like myself, I think you'll like me, and if you don't, I'll be fine"


Assuming authority: "I will make the decisions about x, you will follow them"


Establishing dominance: "I'm better/smarter/butcher/stronger/more powerful than you are and I'm going to prove it"


Violating boundaries:"I'm not going to respect your personal space or your ability to withhold consent"
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:01 PM on July 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Agreed KathrynT -- one can be confident and still introverted, confident and still quiet, confident and still reserved... confidence shouldn't be taken as some sort of pejorative description of either a lothario type or a general loud-mouth.

I've met plenty of women that prefer quieter, introverted though nonetheless confident men... but I'm yet to meet one that explicitly preferred a nervous, insecure man.
posted by modernnomad at 12:05 PM on July 29, 2010


(or on non-preview, what ifds,sn9 just wrote)
posted by modernnomad at 12:06 PM on July 29, 2010


I've met plenty of women that prefer quieter, introverted though nonetheless confident men... but I'm yet to meet one that explicitly preferred a nervous, insecure man.

But does anyone explicitly prefer nervous, insecure partners? Why is the confidence trait always brought up as something that women desire in men, rather than just a normal positive personality trait that everyone likes?
posted by burnmp3s at 12:08 PM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]



But does anyone explicitly prefer nervous, insecure partners? Why is the confidence trait always brought up as something that women desire in men, rather than just a normal positive personality trait that everyone likes?


That's certainly probable. I wasn't stating it as female-only preference and apologies if it came across that way -- I was just riffing on what had been written earlier, which I guess was about the kind of characteristics that women seem to seek out in men.
posted by modernnomad at 12:12 PM on July 29, 2010


I know a lot of confident guys who aren't controlling or "dominant." (In quotes because it's a tricky word that means a lot of different things to different people.)

What I hear my mid-20-something female co-workers complain most about, when they're complaining about guys they're dating? That the guy doesn't listen to them. They don't bitch about his not having a job, or being kind of messy, or liking the "wrong" band, or needing to lose weight. They complain that he doesn't listen.
posted by rtha at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think KathrynT hit it: we appear to be operating with different definitions of "confidence". It's being conflated with alpha male cocky extrovert posturing, but really all I want (and, I think, a statistically significant faction of the female population) is someone who won't default to "whatever you want, dear" whenever a decision needs to be made. I've been in that relationship, and it's the recipe for the nagging mom/helpless manchild dynamic that sinks too many couples. It's really hard to feel like you're in an equal partnership when one side acts like a scared villager placating a vengeful volcano goddess.

Confidence is like attractiveness, that way. From this thread, you would think that nobody who's not a take-charge perfect 10 is getting laid, but the unfuckable threshold is so much lower in real life. I'm one of those women modernnomad says don't exist, I explicitly prefer big nerdy looking dudes who don't like sports and will be happy to sit with me in the corner and snark about the extroverts, and I've never had a shortage of men attracted to my highly imperfect chubby librarian charms. A bitter, hateful victim attitude is a thousand times uglier than physical defects.
posted by Freyja at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


So pretty much she wrote about a bunch of male stereotypes in a rantish fashion....
posted by Mastercheddaar at 12:36 PM on July 29, 2010


Confidence as it relates to women and dating seems to be very anxiety-producing for a lot of men. They don't understand how to effectively separate confidence from other masculine-coded attitudes and behaviors. So they act confident, as they see it, and women react poorly. Sometimes because they're doin' it wrong, sometimes because the women just don't like them.

And it becomes a thing. One of a list of things that women claim to like but don't actually seem to like.* And then we have to talk about it as another example of how feminism and/or actually listening to women is confusing guys and making it difficult for them to get laid.** Or about how women are being sexist when they expect men to conform to certain standards of behavior but don't completely ensure that every man everywhere understands exactly what those standards are.***

Really, though, it's the old-school gender norms that have been perpetuated forever that keep "confidence" a mystery to some people. Hang around some confident submissive men and keep an open mind and you'll get the distinction.



*maybe that's because people read "I like confidence in a man" as "that's the only thing you need to get in my pants" but that's another story
**I lose patience with this discussion occasionally because so many men that I know are both feminists and getting laid
***especially funny when men take what one woman likes and gets mad that other women don't like that. How dare we have individual preferences! There should have been a memo!

posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:40 PM on July 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Freyja: A bitter, hateful victim attitude is a thousand times uglier than physical defects.
I wonder if you were thinking of anyone in particular when you wrote that.

Which comes first? The victim attitude, or the years and years of complete isolation? If isolated, at what point do you stop hoping, and at what point do you feel like you got shafted in life and just wish people would at least be honest and say "Love is like wealth. Some people are dirt poor, and they didn't do anything to do deserve it- it just is" instead of spouting platitudes of what is and is not (the way you wish you were, or the way you wish the world worked)?

How can you tell much about a person on a first meeting? If confidence is about not being passive-aggressive in a relationship, how can you tell that on first meeting? Do some people just never deserve love? If so, do they get to that point gradually, or were they born with it?

Do you suppose that the persona we have on Metafilter might not be the same one we show to the rest of the world- the same way the unfiltered openness we have in a therapist's office is not the same as the person our friends and co-workers see?

Is everyone perfect but me? If not, did your imperfection eliminate any chance at happiness or human connection for you too?
posted by hincandenza at 12:47 PM on July 29, 2010


I'm one of those women modernnomad says don't exist, I explicitly prefer big nerdy looking dudes who don't like sports and will be happy to sit with me in the corner and snark about the extroverts, and I've never had a shortage of men attracted to my highly imperfect chubby librarian charms.

uhhh what? I never said you didn't exist.. in fact, I explicitly stated that one can be confident and at the same time be introverted. Re-read what internet fraud squad said above -- it is important not to conflate being confident with being an extrovert . I am by no means an extrovert, and you'll often find me in the corner, snarking away happily with people just like you. But that doesn't mean I am not confident in the sense that I am entirely happy with who I am.

This isn't about nerds vs jocks, or tall people vs short people. It's about being confident with who you are, whatever that is. I've no doubt that MeFi is teaming with short (or tall), introverted, confident nerdy guys who are getting laid on a regular basis, and that is as it should be.
posted by modernnomad at 1:19 PM on July 29, 2010


I wasn't stating it as female-only preference and apologies if it came across that way -- I was just riffing on what had been written earlier, which I guess was about the kind of characteristics that women seem to seek out in men.

No I wasn't trying to pick on your comment specifically, I just think it's weird that confidence is specifically brought up as a personality trait that men need to have to attract women when if you get down to it women don't have very different preferences about confidence than men do.

Personally I think the reason that it gets brought up so much in the context of men pursuing women (rather than as a factor of existing relationships) is that the way dating tends to work relies on men doing more things that require confidence. If you're a random guy in a bar, a woman is probably not going to ask for your number, then later call you up and ask you out on a date, because women are not expected to do those sorts of things. So men generally have to take the first few leaps of faith to start a relationship, which requires confidence, no matter how desirable they are in other ways. I think it's less that women find confident men more attractive, and more that guys who aren't confident enough to take those kinds of chances don't end up with many opportunities to start relationships.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:29 PM on July 29, 2010


If not, did your imperfection eliminate any chance at happiness or human connection for you too?

for a while, yeah. I can't claim to have gone through the things you have, but I can say that yes I have been through extended periods of time in my life where I thought no one liked people like me and that as a prime example of people like me I would never ever be loved or even fucked again in my life. And for periods of a year to 2 years at a few different points in my life that wasn't just a feeling, it was true. No one wanted anything to do with me. Maybe your situation is so much longer than that, or so much worse that mine doesn't compare, but the point is that - for me at least - it was all merited.

I don't know if it's true for you, but in my case I was a fucking asshole. I didn't realize it, but yes, I was a jerk. I was so focused on my own unhappiness I didn't pay attention to what I was putting out to the world. and yes, I said the "but I'm a nice guy" shit to myself pretty much constantly. I wasn't a nice guy, though. I was meeting a kind of bare minimum. "don't hit women, check. no problem. don't be mean to women verbally, check. not a problem. listen to them talk about their shit, check. don't tell them they look fat, check." and at the end of the day what that was was the really obvious humanly decent things that everyone should do along with a collection of cliches I picked up from seeing movies where John Cusack wins in the end. But outside of that I was self absorbed, self-pitying and morose and I didn't realize it. not just in behavior but in that way that everyone can see even when I'm mostly keeping to myself. People pick up on things when you don't think they do. They're not imagining it and they're not getting the wrong idea. We give off more or less accurate indications of our inner anger and shame all the time and we don't realize it. And when we're trying to act like we're all good, people can tell when it's an act. Friends tried to tell me I wasn't doing myself any favors and I told them "I don't want to meet women who think the way you do. I want to meet women who like a person who is like the way I am." Great. So I wanted to meet a woman who likes a self-obsessed neurotic depressive with an bad attitude who always brings down the party? good luck with that.

I have no way of knowing if you're doing the same thing. All I know is that this unfairly lonely nice guy you claim to be when you're not on metafilter? Try showing that guy to metafilter, sometimes. You pretty much don't. And if you're taking advantage of the freedom of the internet as you would a therapist's office, then who you are here is what you're really like I guess, and as I said, people pick up on that. Maybe you're a nice guy, and maybe you're not. That's your load to carry. But I do know that people meet loving partners on this site, or get laid by people from this site. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones, ugly ones, beautiful ones, smarties and dumbasses. It's at least worth it to be decent here for that reason alone, if not for many other reasons.
posted by shmegegge at 1:42 PM on July 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


hincandenza, I remembered a comment from hermitosis that was revelatory for me when I came across it years ago:

Really, there is no guarantee that you will ever have a significant relationship. There, I said it. There is no bill of rights that we are swaddled in at birth that guarantees that we will be pretty, or that we will be loved, or that we will have a good time. Many people who don't deserve it wind up in one long "satisfying" relationship after another, many who seem perfectly lovable never wind up finding anyone who really appreciates them. You might never have sex again.

I really, really think that in order to be functional HUMANS, each of us needs to confront and make peace with these possibilities. We need to have at least a modicum of control over the chattering voices in our minds that tell us what we want, or are entitled to, or can't live without, so that we can reduce them to a roar dull enough that it doesn't impede our daily quality of life, or even worse, our ability to put our best foot forward when we actually DO meet someone interesting.

Seriously, loneliness is the human condition. The years I was in a relationship didn't necessarily dispel my loneliness, in fact I felt more lonely and misunderstood at times than I had when I was single. You need to stop seeing a relationship as a destination, as a benchmark of personal growth. Train yourself to stop seeing women as targets, to stop comparing them all to each other, and to what you think you deserve (or worse, would settle for). Without these distractions, you may not be any happier, but you will be more likely to approach others as you really are (and as THEY really are).

posted by catchingsignals at 2:46 PM on July 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


modernnomad, I missed your clarifications while writing my post, you are entirely correct.

hincandenza, I can't pretend to know much about your experience of life. Maybe you really are like the Elephant Man, a tragic figure doomed to live in constant loneliness and pain. If so, I'm sorry, my platitudes can do nothing for you.

shmegegge did a much better job at my point, which is that people pick up on that dank miasma of the soul as quickly as they notice physical flaws, and that's part of what gets expressed as "confidence" or lack thereof.
posted by Freyja at 4:21 PM on July 29, 2010


It's sounds very politically correct saying that confidence is being obfuscated by gender norms, but truthfully the definition of confidence has simply been obfuscated. I'd imagine that class mobility is infinitely more responsible for this lose than feminism, but the simply truth remains that women care vastly more about confidence than men. There is no way you can spin that politically correctly, either you accept it as sexual dimorphism, or you rail against the wind. And I'll keep my mouth shut after that since blue isn't green.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:21 PM on July 29, 2010


but the simply truth remains that women care vastly more about confidence than men. There is no way you can spin that politically correctly, either you accept it as sexual dimorphism, or you rail against the wind.

Where is the massive evidence for this "simply truth"? If it's that hard to deny, it seems like it would be something very obvious to everybody everywhere, but I really don't have a clue what you mean since women as a group obviously don't all want the same thing out of men. Especially the lesbians.

As a woman I've known quite a few other women in my life and I've noticed that we're not all attracted to the exact same people, and in fact many of us find quite unattractive what others find quite attractive. Almost as though everybody is an individual and both men and women find different things attractive in each other.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:19 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is everyone perfect but me? If not, did your imperfection eliminate any chance at happiness or human connection for you too?

Honestly, I'm very plain and I've never had any problem finding company of any sex. It isn't my sparkling personality either, or my tendency to hop into bed with anyone who likes Tom Waits. It seems to me to be a mixture of pure luck, chemistry at the time and sometimes geography. Status and wealth gets some people quite far but it doesn't explain everyone by any means, I don't have either.

Being comfortable in your own skin is very attractive, although this isn't necessarily the confidence people are talking about. I really like people who are themselves, that's all. There's a pressure on men to be a certain way, or several ways for men in various social circles, but that can be quite off putting. Men shouldn't have to pretend to be a rugger bugger if they'd rather be writing epic poems to their x-box, any more than I'm going to pretend to like wearing high heels.
posted by shinybaum at 7:35 PM on July 29, 2010


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