Feministe on the Hotness of Gender-Non-Conforming Men

Rebecca Katherine Hirsch, guest-blogging at Feministe, has a really awesome post on the hotness of gender-non-conformity. Quotes and commentary and stuff below the cut.

But first! Masculinity as defined by our lovably open-minded, calmly acceptive, live-and-let-live culture is one of—oh wait, let me rephrase: Masculinity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy is one of EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS, big braggadocio and mind-numbing manipulativeness born of fear of emotions we demote to “women’s roles.” I do not appreciate these male stereotypes any more than I appreciate the female stereotypical mandates to be passive, sexy-not-sexual, stupid and performatory…

The erotic appeal of interdependent individuality is great! The appeal of stretching the extremely limited norms outside of the gender binary is great. As is the ethicality and empathy to coexist with fellow peoples trying to navigate the world in their own way. In trying to hone in on what exactly elicits such enjoyment in the idea of non-gender-conforming men, I’ve decided that (intellectually) I think it must be the bravery and vulnerability, which as far as I’m concerned operate simultaneously and cross-influence the other.

The comments got into a very interesting discussion on fetishization. I am particularly fond of Jadey’s comment, which nicely delineates the difference between attraction and fetishization/objectification:

 have a huuuuuuuuuuge gender-play kink (+1 to Thomas’s comment about “fetish”), but a major lesson for me over the last few years was not to confuse my kink with someone else’s life or identity. This is extra super-duper important when it comes to fetishizing trans* people (like a certain Erika Moen cartoon that I won’t even link because it still enrages me that much) and queer people, because of all the shit they are already putting up with. Do I get goosebumps seeing a dude (not necessarily a cis dude) happily wearing a skirt? Oh my yes. Does that picture I found once of Meryl Streep in a ‘man’s’ suit (and cannot seem for the life of me to track down again, damn!) set my heart a-racing? And how! (And that’s just drag – non-clothing non-conformity does it for me too.) But that can’t turn into, “Hey you there, person with a politicized and marginalized experience of gender, I have decided that you are erotic because of how I choose to define your gender and/or sex. Wanna hook up?” It puts me in mind of this post, A Message to my Fellow Fat Admirers. Attraction? Fine. Mutual attraction? AWESOME. Dehumanizing and demeaning objectification and fetishizing? HELL NO.And you’d hope that it would be easier to tell those things apart, but yeah… Being attracted to a person who is often socially derided as being fundamentally unattractive based on fucked-up social norms is not a bad thing in and of itself, but A) it’s not a political action that the attractee should be eternally grateful for because you deigned to get a boner (literal or metaphorical) for them and B) it doesn’t mean that you get to decide how they ought to define themselves or see themselves just because you’re attracted to who you perceive them to be.

Which is not to say that this an extreme to which the OP has gone, just that it’s the minefield that this kind of thing exists in.

Also, the OP links to a picture of this muscular dude drinking a Jager while in a tutu and a tiara. I want to do so many nasty things to that guy. You don’t even know. Come home with me, sexy gender-non-conforming person!  You can leave your tiara on.

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142 Responses to Feministe on the Hotness of Gender-Non-Conforming Men

  1. Improbable Joe says:

    Yeah… too bad for us gender-conforming guys who don’t have great abs.

  2. ozymandias42 says:

    Gender-conforming guys with less conventionally attractive abs* can be hot too!

    *Because less conventionally attractive abs are, clearly, great. They’re cuddly! 🙂

  3. Danny says:

    But first! Masculinity as defined by our lovably open-minded, calmly acceptive, live-and-let-live culture is one of—oh wait, let me rephrase: Masculinity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy is one of EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS, big braggadocio and mind-numbing manipulativeness born of fear of emotions we demote to “women’s roles.” I do not appreciate these male stereotypes any more than I appreciate the female stereotypical mandates to be passive, sexy-not-sexual, stupid and performatory…
    So that’s it? Just “fear of emotions we demote to women’s roles? I’m really hoping they don’t think that’s the only basis for what’s wrong with masculinity as we know it today.

    Improbable Joe:
    Yeah… too bad for us gender-conforming guys who don’t have great abs.
    I hear ya buddy. I’d have to say I’m more like a keg than a six pack.

  4. Mysti says:

    Not necessarily a bad thing to like to like ‘nonconformative’ guys, even feminine and cross-dressing ones, but is seems the OP defines ‘nonconformative’ as ‘not masculine’ for guys, and ‘not feminine’ for girls, all that is doing is exchanging one double-standard for the other.

  5. Michael (or is it Michelle?) says:

    She seems to have fetishized cross-dressing and gender-play rather than non-conformity tout court (she almost admits that in her last full paragraph). Her examples revolve around clothing, without much mention of, e.g., guys who aren’t afraid to cry in public. That’s her thing and cool and her kink is not my kink but her kink is ok, but it bothers me a smidge that she’s ignoring the non-sartorial/physical aspects of non-gender-conformity in a post celebrating non-gender-conformity.

  6. Improbable Joe says:

    It just seems to me that it is easy to find a guy with an ‘ideal’ physique, put him in anything nontraditional, and then pretend that you’re rocking the alt kink nonconformist vibe. Next up, let’s take a bikini model and give her a faux-hawk and some fake tats, or put her in a suit and a drawn on mustache and pretend there’s something transgressive about finding her sexy.

  7. monkey says:

    Hmm… well, let me just say in terms of unconventionally attractiveness that Divine was unabashedly sexy. It was mostly because zie (thank you Ozy) was a force of nature. Divine could simply not help being sexy.

    I’ve also been obsessed with Rocky Horror lately, and if you look at it, TIm Curry was not particularly buff. Again, though, he was pretty much sexy by the power of his own will.

  8. monkey says:

    Oh, I thought of another example: Eddie Izzard.

  9. Improbable Joe says:

    I can’t speak to “sexy” outside of my wheelhouse, which is almost exclusively conventional. I was speaking more specifically to the choice on photo in the link up top. Finding some muscular young man with tattoos, who is acceptably “hot” by societal standards, and then making lusting noises around him because he’s completely conventionally attractive plus a skirt doesn’t exactly strike me as being really meaningful.

  10. monkey says:

    Another thing to consider is that a tutu is usually considered a “costume,” even when worn by a woman. There’s something about that picture that seems more parody than anything.

  11. Darque says:

    I agree with everything that monkey and improbable joe have said, although I’d like to say that the OP’s sentiment is refreshing. (even if the photo chosen was of a stereotypically attractive man who just happened to be wearing a tutu..)

  12. ozymandias42 says:

    I found an awesome pic of a hot fat dude in a tutu a few weeks ago, and now I CAN’T FIND IT, but it has been linked in this post in spirit. 🙂

  13. monkey says:

    Ozy: I appreciate the spirit. But you could just put up a pic of Eddie Izzard.

  14. Danna says:

    Wait, is eddie izzard not conventionally attractive? Ive had a million, no, ALL the ladyboners for him, even now that hes older and not crossdressing, but so did all my female friends. But no one ever acted like he wasnt gorgeous.

    Also, I know about that erica moen comic…i agree, it was told from an outside perspective and in poor taste, but she added to it to apologize for that. I find it hard to hate her for one insensitive comic, when the rest is so insightful and funny.

  15. doubletrack says:

    I’d probably weigh in on the side of Improbable Joe, re: the tutu picture. That guy looks VERY (traditionally) masculine: his pose, the cigarette and alcohol, the tatts, the muscles. The tiara and tutu could almost be photoshopped in. It’s not an especially transgressive example (and, to be fair, this is noted in the post). It’s a start, though. A really, really hot start.

    Otherwise, I completely agree with her take on what makes gender non-conformity so attractive, although like Michael/Michelle I would be keen to see it extended beyond just clothing.

  16. Jonathan says:

    I liked her post. Partly that’s because I’m a gender non-conforming man (specifically a straight male femme – aka tranny – with no significant musculature). But more because all she’s really talking about is what gets her hot.

    And yet (quoting my own comment on Feministe) by doing that, by declaring the truth of her own sexuality, she contributes to the expanding of possible truths for everyone else, in however small a way. That is, by offering it as another option against the overwhelming cultural expectations of what her – and everyone else’s – sexuality should be.

    In this spirit, I think anything that makes more room for people to be who they are sexually – and gender-ly – is a good thing. Especially because it benefits me personally 🙂

  17. dungone says:

    I don’t care where you stand on his gender conformity, but seeing some skinhead looking character chugging Jagermeister in an alley says to me, “possible fight with idiot… cross street.”

    Also, I second what has been said about this being a kink. And as a kink, seems to me like a predictable, loud, and inane kink. And I actually think it’s a nuisance; rather than giving any one guy more options, it says to me, here are half a dozen more mutually exclusive things that I have to do in order to survive as a man in the sexual marketplace. And not one of those options is actually who I want to be. I think that some average guy who does his own thing even though it never gets him laid, that is real gender non conformity. Because masculinity is all about mating. Masculinity will always be about what women want, just as Harlem will always be where black people live on the Upper East Side. Sure, you’ll go live there if they put up a fancy high-end condo for half the price of what you’ll find in Mid-town, but if that’s the reason you find yourself there, then you’re not really “there”.

  18. Jonathan says:

    “And not one of those options is actually who I want to be.”

    Well, don’t do them. Cobblers to what anyone else wants. Instead, add to the conversation. Say this is me, this is what I want. That’s all Hirsch is doing. She’s saying ooo I like this, I want this. She’s not asking for her likes and wants to be picked over, deconstructed or denied. Just: this is me, this is what I want. If someone doesn’t fit that, well, so they don’t. Never mind. There are quite a lot of other people in the world.

  19. monkey says:

    @Danna: I think Izzard is attractive, but my point was that no one would ever accuse him of having six-pack abs.

  20. jfpbookworm says:

    I think the “six pack abs” thing is getting overstated. The point is that this was a relatively conventionally attractive man in a woman-coded outfit, and as such reads as just another instance of “Gender non conformity is hot. No, I didn’t mean you, I meant when hot people do it.”

  21. Schala says:

    I liked her post. Partly that’s because I’m a gender non-conforming man (specifically a straight male femme – aka tranny – with no significant musculature). But more because all she’s really talking about is what gets her hot.

    I would prefer you not use tranny as a term.

    It’s been amply used as a pejorative for transsexual woman or transgender feminine person. To me it’s on the same level as she-male or he/she.

  22. AB says:

    @Jonathan:

    Well, don’t do them. Cobblers to what anyone else wants. Instead, add to the conversation. Say this is me, this is what I want. That’s all Hirsch is doing. She’s saying ooo I like this, I want this. She’s not asking for her likes and wants to be picked over, deconstructed or denied. Just: this is me, this is what I want. If someone doesn’t fit that, well, so they don’t. Never mind. There are quite a lot of other people in the world.

    This. And speaking as a straight woman, I often feel restricted in expressing my sexual preferences, or any part of my sexuality for that matter, because there’ll always be guys responding with “But that’s not me! I need you to find me attractive specially, or you’re being unfair!”. Like everything boils down to whether or not my taste pleases any specific man. Which of course just makes me more reluctant to express anything.

    I don’t really think there’s anything women can do right in this regard. We’re confronted with men who complain that they’re always expected to live up to this mainstream ideal, but if we respond by telling about how much we love gender-non-conforming men by pointing out hot androgynous looking men we find attractive, we’re accused not not really liking men, and get complaints about our culture not appreciating masculinity. If we point to rugged and masculine looking men who still defy gender norms, we’re accused of liking mainstream masculinity too much and not being transgressive enough. The same goes for young/old, big/small, ethnic minority/ethnic majority, etc., it’s never good enough.

    The only thing most complainers seem to agree on is OK for women to like is ordinary/average men. And not only is this confusing (since ‘ordinary/average’ can mean so many things), it’s also one of the things least likely to make it to a page about what anyone, regardless of sex, find especially attractive, because those examples will by nature tend to be special. That’s the whole point of these things, it’s about ideals, about the most perfect examples of our particular preferences, and no matter what that preference is, those examples are almost never going to be ordinary, because finding an ordinary appearance especially/unusually attractive is something of an oxymoron.

    And yes, that goes for women too. When men talk about how they like women who’re different from the skinny teenagers we’re all lead to assume that normal men want, they don’t use an image of some average frumpy housewife for their ideal hotness, they point to women like Nigella Lawson, who, granted, is both adult and curvy, but is also way prettier than most women could hope to be at that age. I’ve never seen the image of what I would call an ordinary looking 45 year old woman show up in any article about what men find hot.

  23. ozymandias42 says:

    Jonathan: Yes. Tranny. Generally considered a slur. Please don’t say it. 🙂

  24. L says:

    This reminds me of someone I know on Literotica (who just so happens to be the mother of a friend I had in high school??), who is very much into the GLBT and gender-nonconformity culture and has been for several decades now. On Lit, they recently made a new board for “Fetish & Sexuality” that’s wildly popular, and I have to say… it’s a disgusting sty of ethnic, racial, and gender stereotypes, and just the sheer amount of off-putting drivel I see on there makes me want to distance myself from anyone with a self-proclaimed fetish, regardless of what it is. The truly upsetting part is that it made me realize just how much of our sexual preferences is codified by culture via the virgin/temptress, masculine/feminine, and conventional attractiveness/non-attractiveness paradigms. And how most of what we call “fetishes” (or as I’m much more supportive of calling the majority them, “kinks”, to call a spade a spade) is completely determined by how much it -doesn’t- conform to what society tells us we should be going after. So the taboo becomes just as important as the subject of attraction, and in fact probably wouldn’t have turned into a kink if it weren’t so–oooh, ahhh–“taboo”.

    Anyways, back to the bit about my friend’s mom… I sometimes go into this Fetish & Sexuality subforum just to see if anything interests me (I usually just wind up pretty depressed), and I oftentimes spot her in the “WHO ELSE LOVES TRANNIES” and “Sissy boys are the best” types of threads, reminding the posters there that gender non-conforming people are… *people*, and relating her real-life experiences with these kinds of individuals. Her anecdotes almost always fall on deaf ears as these posters aren’t interested in talking about real human beings; just objects to be lusted over, fucked, and when it comes high time to support legislation that wants to acknowledge their right to be treated fairly and like a human being, in all likelihood, they’re forgotten.

  25. tovyasagain says:

    I’m a little confused by her use of the term “vulnerable”, yet then describing exclusively guys who are in fact *being* confident, assertive, and unafraid what people think.

    They’re certainly *exposing* themselves to vulnerability in the sense that they’re not conforming to the traditional masculine physical image – but the “I’m going to act like I don’t care what people think of me” is pretty much par for the masculine emotional image. It isn’t “guy in a dress who blushes brightly whenever a pretty girl says hello or comments on it”, that she happens to like, it’s a man who happens to be confidently bucking image based masculinity. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, I just wouldn’t call it gender-non-conforming – not with the term “vulnerable”.

    [Note: I’m sure it takes a hell of a lot of strength to non-conform like that, so I’m not trying to say it’s easy, and I’m sure it exposes you to vulnerability – but I feel like breaking the “vulnerability” norm would be if a guy went out with nontraditional looks that he was visibly nervous or insecure about – not if he was hiding any nervousness behind a confident “This is who I am!” exterior.]

  26. Jonathan says:

    @ Schala & ozy – okay, I won’t use “tranny” here if it bothers you. No worries 🙂

    But in my community – that is the UK transvestite community – we generally don’t have a problem with it. I actually blogged about this last month. So if you want to know where I stand on this please read:

    http://malefemme.blogspot.com/2011/11/tranny.html

  27. P John Irons says:

    “Masculinity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy is one of EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS”

    The misandry, it oozes.

  28. RocketFrog says:

    P John Irons:

    I am not sure I understand why you consider that statement misandrist?

  29. ozymandias42 says:

    Personally, I consider the statement misandrist to the same degree that “Femininity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy* is one of EXTREME VULNERABILITY and INTENSE WEAKNESS” is misogynistic. It’s simplistic, yes, but it is getting at an actual point and it’s clearly critiquing the social forces and not the individual people.

    I’d also be interested in why Irons considers it to be misandric.

    Jonathan: Ah, cool. I was not aware of that particular reclamatory movement… interesting! I’d still steer away from using it here, though, because not everyone will understand the reclamatory intent.

    *Patriarchy in current usage generally means “the system of gender roles that disadvantages both men and women.” I know, I know, it’s confusing. Blame linguistic drift.

  30. RocketFrog says:

    ozymandias42:

    But that is why I have trouble spotting the misandry, or the misogyny in your statement. Talking about how cultural norms define masculinity in a particular way isn’t saying anything hateful about men, it is at most saying something hateful about those cultural norms (or the particular definition of masculinity they hold). Had the OP written “Men are EXTREMELY STOLID and characterized by INTENSE NOTHINGNESS”, then it would be a misandrist statement.

    By the way, I suppose I myself am an accidental gender non-conformist – albeit not in any way that anyone is likely to find “hot”. I have often been accused, by both men and women, of “not being a real man”, but unfortunately I remain entirely clueless about what that is even supposed to mean, and have been unable to get a satisfactory explanation.

  31. ozymandias42 says:

    RocketFrog, I think we’re saying the same thing in different words. 🙂 The statement is as misandrist as a similar critique of femininity is misogynistic, i.e., not at all.

  32. JE says:

    Are we sure he meant the statement? I first thought he was talking about the attitudes described by the statement

  33. dungone says:

    Well, don’t do them. Cobblers to what anyone else wants. Instead, add to the conversation. Say this is me, this is what I want. That’s all Hirsch is doing. She’s saying ooo I like this, I want this. She’s not asking for her likes and wants to be picked over, deconstructed or denied. Just: this is me, this is what I want. If someone doesn’t fit that, well, so they don’t. Never mind. There are quite a lot of other people in the world.

    I have a thought. What if I said that I want someone barefoot and pregnant cooking my dinner, then how about that? When does that stop being just me stating my own likes and dislikes and becomes something worthy of comment and deconstruction? Do you see where I’m going with this? I hope so.

  34. superglucose says:

    “As is the ethicality and empathy to coexist with fellow peoples trying to navigate the world in their own way.”

    Nice assumptions here, that this is somehow “nonconforming” for men. Personally I don’t feel that society tells me, as a man, that I shouldn’t coexist with the people around me.

  35. D says:

    IDK, while I wouldn’t classify RBK’s language as misandrist, I do think it can come across as hostile to many. I think it’s plausible to read RBK’s opening language as an attack on those who are ‘stoic and unemotional’ (i.e. ‘EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS’…). There’s nothing wrong with being stoic and unemotional, provided that’s who you really are and you’re not trying to fit other people into neat little boxes.

  36. dungone says:

    I’d also be interested in why Irons considers it to be misandric.

    I didn’t at first, but I can totally understand why. Let’s revist that statement:

    Masculinity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy is one of EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS

    Granted, she’s not accusing men of of being extremely stolid and filled with nothingness, but she does walk a very fine line. That’s because it’s pretty safe to assume that this masculinity that she’s referring to is how a lot of men choose to define themselves. So even though it’s fine to praise a couple superficial gender-bending fashion trends as being hot, it’s not necessary trash the way mainstream men define themselves in order to do it.

    And I really like Jadey’s comment and agree with it 100%. But it should also go the other way. It’s not just non-conformist, exotic looking men and women who should be allowed to create their own identities without being treated like objects. Regular men and women should be extended that same courtesy.

    Thought experiment. Let’s go to Saudi Arabia for a moment and look at the women in their niqabs. What shall we say about femininity in that country? Is it troubled, yes. But how will we talk about it? Do we say that femininity in Saudi Arabia is”Extremely Stolid” and “Intense Nothingness” and then proceed to showcase women in thing bikinis on Venice Beach and write about how if only those women in Saudi Arabia could be more like that, to please our sexual desire? No, because that would come off wildly misogynistic.

    So what would we do for Saudi women (or for that matter, for American women)? We’d look at their situation and say, geeze, you know, we’d like for them to feel comfortable in a bikini, but first, let’s talk about how in the world some of them live in, schoolgirls literally get forced back into a burning building because they dared to escape without being properly dressed.

    So what are you going to say to the man who goes off to work in the morning, dresses the part so that he can bring home a paycheck that puts food on the table for a wife on her maternity leave and a brand new baby? Is that “INTENSE NOTHINGNESS” still? Or maybe it’s a society that doesn’t offer a man shit unless he doesn’t conform to this role? Maybe it’s a question of getting drunk off your ass in a tutu or actually having the love of a child in your life? Hmmm…

  37. Darque says:

    Spot on analysis Dungone.

  38. Jonathan says:

    “I have a thought. What if I said that I want someone barefoot and pregnant cooking my dinner, then how about that? When does that stop being just me stating my own likes and dislikes and becomes something worthy of comment and deconstruction? Do you see where I’m going with this? I hope so.”

    If you want someone barefoot and pregnant and cooking your dinner – well, okay. Quite possibly you could find someone who would do that for you, even on a consensual basis. When it stops being you just stating your likes and dislikes is when it’s non-consensual. For instance, when social and cultural pressures are so strong that the idea of consent becomes problematic.

    Of course as men we have all sorts of social and cultural pressures to perform masculinity in a certain way, and that can certainly be problematic too – for some more than others, but probably for all of us at certain times and in certain circumstances.

    But I would question whether one woman saying gender non-conformity in men gets her hot really amounts to the imposition of non-consensual social pressure.

  39. L says:

    “I have a thought. What if I said that I want someone barefoot and pregnant cooking my dinner, then how about that? When does that stop being just me stating my own likes and dislikes and becomes something worthy of comment and deconstruction?”

    When you start trying to shape the world and the people around you to fit that preference is exactly when that stops.

  40. L says:

    Oops, that was @dungone.

  41. dungone says:

    @L, @Johnathan,

    I completely agree with both of you, and so the question remains, when is that point?. I contend that we are already at the point where men are pressured into being gender non-conformative in numerous ways (“be more sensitive”) while at the same time receiving the same amount of traditional messages (“boys don’t cry”).

    And no, it does not impose anything more on men when Hirsch states her preferences on her blog than it does when some guy at a train station buys a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But at the same time, it does impose something. And the way I can tell is the lack of agency that Hirsch gives to men.

    She admits to mocking traditional gender roles:

    I’ve mocked the stereotypes of Strong, Arrogant Man and Weak, Beautiful Woman my whole life

    And she says that mocking doesn’t even go far enough for her, that she is not trying to impose this on men even in her own sex life:

    I have not gotten (many) men to act out my fantasies yet but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before all my future lovers will discover

    What’s missing from her analysis is any real consideration for men’s own agency. It’s all about her and what she wants, and if she wants it then it must be what’s good for men. So in my book, her analysis is pretty toxic. Her conclusions might be well intention-ed, but that’s just not good enough in this day and age. You see, she’s right in a way. Sort of like getting the answer right on a Calculus exam while getting the steps in between wrong. If she had actually given thought to men’s perspectives, she would probably have written her opinions quite differently.

  42. AB says:

    Dungone, where does this fit with your previous claims that by voicing their attraction to (some) women, men are collectively making women feel good about themselves, and that it’s OK to shame women for failing in their duty to do the same for men? It seems most of the people who subscribe the strongest to the idea that there’s a “Myth of men not being hot” are also the first to criticise practically any expression of female sexual appreciation for any kind of men.

  43. Anonymousdog says:

    Why is it that many of the posters in this thread seem to equate ‘gender non-conformity’ in men with ‘androgynous”? Is androgyny the only kind of gender non-conformity available to men?

  44. AB says:

    @Anonymousdog:

    Why is it that many of the posters in this thread seem to equate ‘gender non-conformity’ in men with ‘androgynous”? Is androgyny the only kind of gender non-conformity available to men?

    Androgyny means having the traits of both sexes. I have a hard time seeing how you can practice gender non-conformity as a man without exhibiting some stereotypically female traits/behaviours, so I guess the only alternative to androgyny is strait up femininity, or perhaps being what one of my psychology textbooks refers to as undifferentiated. Anything else is just plain non-conformity.

  45. P John Irons says:

    ozymandias42: “I’d also be interested in why Irons considers it to be misandric. ”

    I consider the statement to be a form of stealth misandry, a shell game that hides contempt for a large swathe of men behind a veneer of concern.

    On the surface, it is not misandric. It does not, as you point out, say that MEN are intense nothingness, it only says that masculinity “as conceived by the patriarchy” is.

    But in context, considering that this statement comes from a feminist source, and that feminists believe that the patriarchy abounds all around us, and that the majority of people are still under its thrall, then by implication “patriarchal masculinity” is an applicable description of that large majority of men who are still under patriarchy’s grip.

    The statement becomes nothing but thinly-veiled contempt for those men who do not conform to the narrow gender roles that feminists permit them.

    Supposedly, it is only a narrow slice of masculinity – i.e. traditional masculinity – which is now verboten, and a broad range of alternatives that these men have now been “liberated” into.

    But traditional masculinity has always been much broader, and subtler, that this articles straw man version of it, and therefore the range of masculine self identity that is now derided as INTENSE NOTHINGNESS is actually quite broad as well.

    One can’t just take the Marlboro Man, turn him upside down, point to the end-result as being the New “Real Man”, make fun of those that fall short – and call all that “liberation”.

  46. Jonathan says:

    @ dungone: “so the question remains, when is that point?. I contend that we are already at the point where men are pressured into being gender non-conformative in numerous ways (“be more sensitive”) while at the same time receiving the same amount of traditional messages (“boys don’t cry”).”

    Really?! Do you really feel that in your daily life? Well, if you do, okay, then please explain how. This might be an interesting area for discussion. Or perhaps in an Open Thread later.

    I can’t say I do, but then I’m gender non-conforming (in the overall cultural sense) in any case. On the other hand, I don’t know any men who are worrying about it at all either; and most of my friends are – how shall I put it – “traditionally gendered” men.

    “What’s missing from her analysis is any real consideration for men’s own agency. It’s all about her and what she wants, and if she wants it then it must be what’s good for men.”

    I don’t see that she’s saying at all that “if she wants it then it must be what’s good for men”. Whether it’s good for any particular man depends on whether it’s good for… well, him. And yes, she’s used some gendered generalizations, but so what? It’s a personal piece about her sexuality, not a reasoned piece of gender analysis. My own sexuality has very little to do with well-considered gender analysis.

    PS How do you do the inserted quote thing?

  47. Jonathan says:

    @ Anonymousdog: “Why is it that many of the posters in this thread seem to equate ‘gender non-conformity’ in men with ‘androgynous”? Is androgyny the only kind of gender non-conformity available to men?”

    Not at all. Gender non-conformity depends entirely on context. And I don’t just mean male femininity either. I’m sure we could think of plenty of contexts where being “stereotypically manly” would be the most non-conforming thing someone could possibly be.

  48. dungone says:

    Dungone, where does this fit with your previous claims that by voicing their attraction to (some) women, men are collectively making women feel good about themselves, and that it’s OK to shame women for failing in their duty to do the same for men? It seems most of the people who subscribe the strongest to the idea that there’s a “Myth of men not being hot” are also the first to criticise practically any expression of female sexual appreciation for any kind of men.

    AB, your (misleading, double barreled, derailing, frankly appaling) question is very easy to answer. I shall quote what I already said:

    it’s fine to praise a couple superficial gender-bending fashion trends as being hot, it’s not necessary trash the way mainstream men define themselves in order to do it.

  49. RocketFrog says:

    I am not entirely sure what male gender conformity or non-conformity even *is*. I have often personally been told that I do not look nor act like a “real man” (despite physically being a bald, barrel-chested individual with a large amount of body hair – I have been told that my body language is not very masculine, but *also* with no satisfactory definition of what “male body language” is supposed to be like), but have never managed to find anything that even approximates a precise definition of what “being a real man” is supposed to entail – apart from the sentiment that not being one is apparently a terrible thing. How are men supposed to non-conform (or conform) to a gender role nobody can give a proper definition of? Personally, I find it incredibly confusing to be expected to follow standards (or transgress against them, which often is equivalent to being expected to follow standards that are partially inverted from the original ones) that nobody can actually specify – barely even describe.

    In fairness, the same can probably be said about conventions for female appearance and behaviour.

  50. dungone says:

    Really?! Do you really feel that in your daily life? Well, if you do, okay, then please explain how. This might be an interesting area for discussion.

    As a matter of fact I do, but let’s be clear that this isn’t about me, so please refrain from turning this into an ad hominem discussion. I am discussing men in general. If I say that some men have trouble with their self identity, it does not mean that I do. It could be a friend. It could be a shared experience with other men that I relate to because I am a man with an open mind and a sympathetic, sensitive heart. You know… that’s how it works.

  51. dungone says:

    @johnathan, you need to use <blockquote> HTML tags (remove the spaces) to to wrap the text. Make sure you end the quote with </blockquote> (I hope the escape characters I used show up – if not, ignore this.)

  52. Pingback: Gender-nonconforming Men are HAWT, Apparently | GendErratic

  53. Jonathan says:

    As a matter of fact I do, but let’s be clear that this isn’t about me, so please refrain from turning this into an ad hominem discussion. I am discussing men in general. If I say that some men have trouble with their self identity, it does not mean that I do. It could be a friend. It could be a shared experience with other men that I relate to because I am a man with an open mind and a sympathetic, sensitive heart. You know… that’s how it works.

    Yes, but actually I think it’s more meaningful if it is about you, and you say how and why. Gender is a very personal thing; and while generalizing about it can sometimes be useful, very often it just leads to “othering” – that is, people telling other people who and what they are. In the trans community we tend not to like that very much. From that perspective I think it’s much better for people to relate their own understanding and experience of their own gender, allowing us to appreciate human gender in all its variety, than to generalize about it in a simplistic way: to say, for instance, men are (or should be) this, women are (or should be) that (which is mostly a load of cobblers in my opinion).

    Anyway, going back to the original post:

    it’s fine to praise a couple superficial gender-bending fashion trends as being hot, it’s not necessary trash the way mainstream men define themselves in order to do it.

    I don’t know that that really matters here. The impetus for Hirsch’s post is her sexuality. Yes, we can point out that “Masculinity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy is one of EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS” etc doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny – but I don’t know that it was ever really meant to. She’s just decrying the (let’s say) supposed rigidity of gender norms in an excitable way because she’s… getting excited. I could do the same thing from the other side: rant about how our culture focuses on a certain type of femaleness and… well, I’ve just sat here typing and deleting sentences about that, about “clones” and so forth, but basically it’s just my own prejudice: I don’t find that type of femaleness attractive and I wish it wasn’t so culturally ubiquitous. I can’t say to any individual woman: no, this is wrong, don’t do it.

  54. Jonathan says:

    blockquote worked! thanks 🙂

  55. f. says:

    My own sexuality has very little to do with well-considered gender analysis.

    Johnathan, I think a lot of us just wish that writers who write about their personal sexualities would make this fact (which I highly suspect applies to pretty much all of us!) transparent in their work. When I write about what makeup, or androgyny, or muscles mean to me in terms of sexuality, I always try to make it obvious that this is about me, not some objective truth about the world which I have discovered.

  56. f. says:

    And sorry for misspelling your name 😉

  57. P John Irons says:

    @Hirsch

    But would we extend the same rationalization towards the proverbial patriarch, sitting on the porch, spitting tobacco while complaining about how “today’s women are just too uppity, now in my day they were sweet and demure, hooboy”?

    At which point does the expression of personal sexual preference by means of overeager generalizations slide from excusable “excitability” into something politically problematic because it contributes to enforcing gender roles?

    At which point does over-eager expression of disapproval for those who fall outside one’s sexual preferences slide into an attempt to exert power and control over them to make them conform?

    When are people morally responsible for their personal sexual preferences? Always? Never? Or only sometimes – when they’re men?

  58. debaser71 says:

    I am a man. I am turned off by sexual promiscuity, skimpy outfits, snarky talk, kink, fetishes, and dirty dancing. I am turned on by polite established demure adult women.

  59. AB says:

    @dungone:

    AB, your (misleading, double barreled, derailing, frankly appaling) question is very easy to answer.

    Spare me the adjectives and just answer the question. You have implied, and sometimes outright said, that men make women feel good about themselves, and they do this by commenting on the sexual attractiveness of women. You have rejected my claim that the shows of appreciation from boys and men are not always that empowering, and don’t necessarily make women feel good about themselves. In your mind, men expressing their attraction to women is a positive thing.

    But whenever a woman expresses, or is quoted expressing, any sexual appreciation of men here, your immediate response is to say that it’s oppressive and not good enough, and that it makes men feel bad, unlike the stuff men say about women, which makes women feel good. So why are you so reluctant to point out exactly what the difference is?

    I shall quote what I already said:

    it’s fine to praise a couple superficial gender-bending fashion trends as being hot, it’s not necessary trash the way mainstream men define themselves in order to do it.

    I was asking how your opinion of men’s expressions of sexual attraction to women matches your tendency to view so many women’s expressions of sexual attraction to men as oppressive, not what you said in this thread.

    But am I to understand that when men go about their business collectively making women feel good about themselves, they don’t do it by diminishing the value of any other women? And that this is why male expressions of sexual attraction to the other sex are more benevolent than the female ones?

  60. L says:

    @P John:

    “At which point does over-eager expression of disapproval for those who fall outside one’s sexual preferences slide into an attempt to exert power and control over them to make them conform?”

    I don’t think there’s any solidly measurable, quantifiable, black and white here. Lines are fuzzy, and they change depending on the situation. They don’t change wildly, but they change nonetheless.

    I’m of the mind that it would be nice if people didn’t express personal distaste or disapproval for *anyone* that doesn’t meet their sexual preferences, *just* because they didn’t fit their sexual preferences. If that individual doesn’t meet your expectations for friendship (they don’t bathe often, they’re inconsiderate, etc.), or morality (they’re a dirty fuckin’ liar, they want to outlaw all contraception, etc.) then it might look suspect.The qualities you look for in a plain ol’ decent human being might be similar to the qualities you find sexually attractive, and I think it’s totally within someone’s right to express disapproval in the former. Not, “HAHA he wears eyeliner what a loser”.

  61. Jonathan says:

    @f.

    I think a lot of us just wish that writers who write about their personal sexualities would make this fact (which I highly suspect applies to pretty much all of us!) transparent in their work. When I write about what makeup, or androgyny, or muscles mean to me in terms of sexuality, I always try to make it obvious that this is about me, not some objective truth about the world which I have discovered.

    I agree entirely. The introduction to Califia’s book “Sex Changes” sets out the territory for me here:

    But before beginning this process of teasing out meaning and framing new questions, it is important for me to clarify my position in relation to my subject. (…) I am uncomfortable with the stance of the objective outsider who, because of a sheaf of credentials, purports to have a point of view that is more important or powerful than that of (…) people themselves.

    The final “(…)” replaces the word “transgendered”, but I’ve left that out because I think the quote is pertinent to any discussion on sex, gender and sexuality.

    Having said that, I didn’t read Hirsch’s post as trying to impose an “objective truth about the world” in any case :p

    And sorry for misspelling your name

    No worries 😉

  62. Jonathan says:

    @debaser71

    I am a man. I am turned off by sexual promiscuity, skimpy outfits, snarky talk, kink, fetishes, and dirty dancing. I am turned on by polite established demure adult women.

    After first noting that my opinion, of course, is of no importance here….. I think that’s quite sweet. 🙂

  63. I am a man. I am turned off by sexual promiscuity, skimpy outfits, snarky talk, kink, fetishes, and dirty dancing. I am turned on by polite established demure adult women.

    And that’s okay! It only starts being problematic if you think every women HAS to be polite, established and demure, or that you talk about women who are promiscuous, like to wear skimpy outfits, talk snarky and/or are into kink, fetishes and dirty dancing like they are inferior to aforementoned ones.

    As for the article, I agree with the others who think Hirsch was talking about her own preferences, and that she didn’t mean to imply that gender conforming men are somehow wrong or bad – just that she is more attracted to gender non-conforming men. But I guess the only way to find out is to ask her how she meant it 😉

  64. dungone says:

    @KM, you said,

    As for the article, I agree with the others who think Hirsch was talking about her own preferences, and that she didn’t mean to imply that gender conforming men are somehow wrong or bad

    Hirsch said,

    Masculinity as defined by our anal-retentive patriarchy is one of EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS, big braggadocio and mind-numbing manipulativeness born of fear of emotions

    Sounds to me like gender conforming men are pretty much as bad as it gets in her book. Sure, she doesn’t hate the men, as long as they wear the tutus that turn her on. But I guess this is only her personal preference, so why would that be problematic at all? Which gets me back to your opening remark:

    And that’s okay! It only starts being problematic if you think every women…

    I believe debaser71 made his remarks because another reader suggested that instead of criticizing Hirsch for her personal preferences, we offer our own preferences to somehow turn this into one big happy family.

    The interesting thing about it is that unlike Hirsch, debaser71 said nothing that could be perceived as dismissive of women who did not fit his preferences. And I don’t think he was looking for approval. So that little bit of “femsplaining” that you just did was probably not warranted.

  65. Sounds to me like gender conforming men are pretty much as bad as it gets in her book. Sure, she doesn’t hate the men, as long as they wear the tutus that turn her on. But I guess this is only her personal preference, so why would that be problematic at all? Which gets me back to your opening remark:

    Wait, what? First of all, not being turned on by certain kinds of men does not equal hate. Also, to me it seems like she was criticising how narrow and constricting the definition of masculinity in our society is. Which I find to be true.
    And yes, I don’t think that it’s problematic that she’s into gender non-conforming guys. Do you disagree?

    I believe debaser71 made his remarks because another reader suggested that instead of criticizing Hirsch for her personal preferences, we offer our own preferences to somehow turn this into one big happy family.

    Uhhhh, how would you go about criticising someone’s preference?
    “You can’t just prefer this kind of guy! Seriously, what were you even THINKING? Stop that immediately!” I honestly don’t know.
    Preference isn’t exactly something you can control.
    I think it only becomes problematic if the kind of people you (general you) are attracted to are the way they are because they were pressured into it, not because it’s their choice. Debaser prefering demure and polite women? If this is how they WANT to be, then that’s totally fine.
    Hirsch prefering gender non-conforming guys? If those guys WANT to be that way, also totally fine. (Though gender non-conforming guys aren’t exactly pressured into not conforming to gender expectations – they are pressured into the exact opposite.)
    What is she allowed to be attracted to, in your opinion?

    The interesting thing about it is that unlike Hirsch, debaser71 said nothing that could be perceived as dismissive of women who did not fit his preferences. And I don’t think he was looking for approval. So that little bit of “femsplaining” that you just did was probably not warranted.

    Yes, he did, actually. That’s why I tried to explain why quite few people took offense to that one, while the way he worded it this time in the bit I quoted seeme fine to me.
    Why are you assuming I’m female, btw? (I’m not)

  66. Jonathan says:

    I believe debaser71 made his remarks because another reader suggested that instead of criticizing Hirsch for her personal preferences, we offer our own preferences to somehow turn this into one big happy family.

    Errm, which reader suggested that exactly?

    What I suggested was that you relate how you personally felt… “pressured into being gender non-conformative in numerous ways (…) while at the same time receiving the same amount of traditional messages”… as I think this is a lot more meaningful than us making vague generalizations from rigidly held positions and arguing about them.

    For instance, this post at the goodmenproject…
    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/bullied-by-girls-and-women-one-mans-account/
    …says far more to me than a thousand angry statements about “how feminists are oppressing men”.

  67. dungone says:

    @Jonathan, ah, well that was something else that you said, not what I was thinking of (I thought someone said something but now I can’t locate the quote). Anyway, I was weary of your request for personal anecdote because I often find that this is an attempt to shut someone down. A similar thing happened once when Republicans attacked New England Democrats who wanted to raise taxes because those Democrats supposedly owned Land Rovers, or something, so they couldn’t possibly be working for the best interests of the working class. In other words, unless I have a real tear-jerker of a story about how it all happened to me and required years of therapy to overcome the PTSD later, then my arguments are invalid. Sorry – I just don’t want my arguments to be judged by the quality of the personal anecdote that I can provide. I want them to be judged by general observations that everyone should be able to make about the world around them. So that’s just me being weary of underhanded tricks. Don’t take it personally.

  68. dungone says:

    By the way, that good men project article was written by Eagle33, who used to comment here at NSWATM until he got sick of the way his concerns were dismissed, twisted, or mocked by some of the other readers. Which should go to show you why people like me are weary of certain lines of questioning aimed at men who might disagree with women’s point of view in any way.

  69. AB says:

    @dungone:

    By the way, that good men project article was written by Eagle33, who used to comment here at NSWATM until he got sick of the way his concerns were dismissed, twisted, or mocked by some of the other readers.

    I seem to recall one of the examples of the article from an FC thread where he used it to argue that women didn’t like nice guys but were only attracted to mean guys. If that’s the case, it’s no wonder he’ll want to avoid places where he isn’t free to imply that women who’re abused are asking for it, employing obvious double standards (e.g. ignoring that he was the one exhibiting the behaviour he was accusing women of (being attracted to a not nice girl)), and acting like female sexuality is supposed to be a reward for guys.

    I’ve experienced abuse every bit as serious as what he describes, but I know I can’t count on a fraction of the sympathy, because of the attitudes he’s promoting. But of course, I don’t have a penis and I’m not a declared anti-feminist, so if people like you and him can do your part to increase this kind of abuse, I’m sure you’re quite happy about it.

  70. L says:

    @AB: Yeah in my short time interacting with this guy over on GMP, he’s totally got a bad case of the blinders on… couple that with knee-jerk hostility and we’ve got ourselves quite a stand up MRA. It’s a shame, because I feel bad for him and all he says he’s endured, but he can’t use that as an excuse for his behavior and inability to discuss things without getting incredibly icky.

    Makes me wonder where victimhood ends and perpetration begins?

  71. AB says:

    @L:

    @AB: Yeah in my short time interacting with this guy over on GMP, he’s totally got a bad case of the blinders on… couple that with knee-jerk hostility and we’ve got ourselves quite a stand up MRA. It’s a shame, because I feel bad for him and all he says he’s endured, but he can’t use that as an excuse for his behavior and inability to discuss things without getting incredibly icky.

    Makes me wonder where victimhood ends and perpetration begins?

    It reminds me a bit of the Schrödinger’s Rapist article (a woman making some very good points, but going about it in a way which ended up being hurtful and offensive to a lot of men), but at least that was discussed. Things like the implications of “Women don’t like nice guys” rarely are, outside feminist spaces.

  72. dungone says:

    @AB, wow, did you actually manage to reverse genders for a moment and see what happens when the tables are turned? I salute you for recognizing that there is a parallel to the Schrodinger’s Rapist here. No idea what your last sentence meant, though. I think that’s when the spark of enlightenment was starting to fade again… Anyway, you previous comment was awful. You were one of the people who really triggered Eagle33 when he was here, so it’s kind of unfair of you to be trash talking him. Seems when he is allowed to articulate his experience and put it up on a website with an authoritative feminist backing, everyone looks at it and thinks wow, this guy has something important to share with the rest of us. But when he says the same exact things in a comment thread, you’re ready to twist his words into things that he never said nor meant. Do you actually contend that Eagle33 thinks that women who get abused deserve it? I think that’s a pretty vicious thing to say about him.

  73. Jonathan says:

    @ dungone:

    Anyway, I was weary of your request for personal anecdote because I often find that this is an attempt to shut someone down. (…) Sorry – I just don’t want my arguments to be judged by the quality of the personal anecdote that I can provide. I want them to be judged by general observations that everyone should be able to make about the world around them. So that’s just me being weary of underhanded tricks. Don’t take it personally.

    Sometimes, yes, it can be that – in the same way that any aesthetic criticism can be “invalidated” by “could you do any better?” arguments. But here we’re not discussing anything abstract, we’re talking about sex and gender – and this is such a personal matter that without personal testimony all we have is rhetoric. As it happens I’m currently reading Dorothy Allison again and she has this to say:

    In all questions about sex, it is the everyday life that interests me most. All the impassioned rhetoric serves no purpose but greater obscurity, if it does not originate and flow from an examination of the specific – how we all actually live out our sexuality. Without that detail, I have concluded that there are no valid generalizations to be made about sex and women’s lives except for the central fact that we are all hungry for the power of desire and we are all deeply afraid.

    The end bit about women’s lives isn’t relevant here; but the rest certainly is. For me it means this: If we can’t speak our own truth on these matters, I’m not sure that we have anything worthwhile to say at all.

  74. Jonathan says:

    @ L

    Yeah in my short time interacting with this guy over on GMP, he’s totally got a bad case of the blinders on… couple that with knee-jerk hostility and we’ve got ourselves quite a stand up MRA. It’s a shame, because I feel bad for him and all he says he’s endured, but he can’t use that as an excuse for his behavior and inability to discuss things without getting incredibly icky.

    Equally, I think that particular post by Eagle33 stands up without qualification. Whether or not you think he’s a jerk in other ways and at other times is beside the point. His personal testimony should be acknowledged and taken into consideration.

    I think something else Dorothy Allison said in the same essay (as in my previous comment) is relevant here:

    As feminists we have committed our whole lives to struggling to change what most people in society don’t even question, and sometimes the intensity of our struggle has persuaded us that the only way to accomplish change is to make hard bargains, to give up some points and compromise on others; in the end what that has always meant is trading some people for some others.

    I don’t want to do that.

  75. L says:

    @Jonathan:

    “Equally, I think that particular post by Eagle33 stands up without qualification. Whether or not you think he’s a jerk in other ways and at other times is beside the point. His personal testimony should be acknowledged and taken into consideration.”

    No, it does, and I’ve never said otherwise. Unfortunately, there is very, very little that is irrelevant or “besides the point” when it comes to the topic of gender, sex, sexism, systems of oppression, and all that. Everything is cause an effect, and experiences shape people, for better or for worse. That’s why I asked him about what exactly he meant when he said he doesn’t like media with “strong female characters” as a result of his harassment and abuse. He could very well have meant “mean, bitchy, petty characters”, or he could have meant “I only watch movies where the women are treated as stupid, infantile, and lesser than the men because I am coping with my abuse through sexist male power fantasies”, and he never got around to answering that directly. He also stated a belief that girls bully because most “powerful” female characters in media are depicted as bullies, so when I suggested that perhaps young girls need better role models if that was the case, he accused me of victim-blaming and excusing their behavior.

    The man’s attitude is very telling, unfortunately, and I’m sorry that his experiences have made him so. Which is why I asked where exactly is the line between being a victim of circumstance and being a perpetrator of more of the same in reaction? Because the impression that I get from him is yes, he was wronged in childhood, but now he seems to have some very toxic views himself because of it. Do we hold someone like him responsible for their toxicity, or is that just more victim-blaming?

  76. Solo says:

    @L:
    I don’t know Eagle33, or his posting history, but I’m not sure why you needed him to clarify his stand on ‘strong female characters’. He has sufficiently nuanced his comment in his OP:

    Stories in popular culture of strong female protagonists I’m careful to avoid if they’re developed at the expense of the supporting male characters. The latter are either made to be buffoons, ignorant, stupid, or couldn’t lead their way out of a paper bag

    So he avoids strong female protagonists *IF* the men they are juxtaposed against are bumbling idiots, I suppose because in many ways the resulting mockery and interaction would mirror his abuse. Would you be so uncharitable if someone with a speech impediment said they hated movies where eloquent speakers mocked (or even lightly ribbed) characters who stuttered?

  77. noahbrand says:

    Folks, can we maybe NOT talk about someone behind their back like this? Eagle33 doesn’t post here any more, so if you want to call him a jerk or a misunderstood decent guy or the second gunman or the fifth Beatle or what-the-fuck-ever, maybe do it over at Feminist Critics where he actually hangs out.

  78. AB says:

    @dungone:

    @AB, wow, did you actually manage to reverse genders for a moment and see what happens when the tables are turned? I salute you for recognizing that there is a parallel to the Schrodinger’s Rapist here.

    Excuse me, but weren’t you one of the people who thought Schrödinger’s Rapist was sexist? And here you are agreeing that an article which you don’t find offensive or bigoted at all is like Schrödinger’s Rapist. Or did I misunderstand you, did you actually support the notion of Schrödinger’s Rapist, or believe that the linked article is sexist against women?

    No idea what your last sentence meant, though. I think that’s when the spark of enlightenment was starting to fade again…

    You don’t even know what it means, but you’re sure it’s something wrong? Sad to see how that spark of enlightenment didn’t spread. What I meant is simple (trying to stick to the article and not the person here): Whenever women, especially feminists, have said something similar to what was in that article, it has been analysed, deconstructed, criticised, and torn apart to search for every possible way it could be construed as detrimental to men. When men do the same, people who want to call themselves gender egalitarians better get ready to bow down and praise it.

    Just look at the first example. He mentions being treated badly by counsellors and support workers, and that those were all women. In an article about female on male bullying. He genders the abuse, makes it all about the sex of the people who did it to him. And yet, the FC crowd has been extremely vocal in talking about how wrong, even misandrist, it is to gender war as something male, even when both the soldiers and generals are male. Oh no, we’re told, we must account for all the women who indirectly support it, even in societies where they have no power, not even the power to vote.

    Male soldiers killing female civilians is most certainly not an example of male violence against women, but the actions of female healthcare and social workers is most definitely the womanest of all things woman, and it’s totally natural for boys subjected to it to let it colour all their future interactions with women. And speaking as someone who has two social workers, a nurse, a physical therapist, and a “social and health helper” (doesn’t appear to have an English counterpart) in the family and knows a bit about how these institutions work, it’s notable that, unlike the undefined, indirect support which makes women responsible for the actions of men, the people who set down the policies and constructed the theories according to which these counsellors work are probably more likely to be male than female.

    The rest of the examples are filled with “Girls participated in the deed alongside the boys”, “[the insults from girls] mixing amongst the young men’s slurs”, “A young man, with his “Clique” of girls and boys”, “girls did it with the boys”, “Standing in front of me was my former crush’s boyfriend, his hand firmly on my shirt”. But despite having experienced what can only be described as bullying by both sexes, the focus is only on the girls, and they’re getting all the blame.

    He mentioned never talking about it with anyone, so it’s not even like the bullying by boys was condemned and he was allowed to work through that part of it healthily, leaving only the trauma inflicted by the girls. Instead, he was either traumatised by all the bullying but decided to gender it, or he was only traumatised by what the girls did, and just doesn’t feel like explaining why it was less bad when boys got involved in it. Whatever the reason, I seriously doubt a woman experiencing the same would be allowed to talk about it as a case of bullying by boys and men without howls of indignation coming from many of the same people who support this article.

    Anyway, you previous comment was awful. You were one of the people who really triggered Eagle33 when he was here, so it’s kind of unfair of you to be trash talking him.

    Seeing as to how people at FC had absolutely no problem trash talking me, I don’t feel very obliged to be gracious. Oh, and then there was you (or perhaps debaser) saying there was something seriously wrong with women whose sexuality worked like mine, which is just standard procedure. And you responding to me telling about how I was triggered by accusing me of inventing weird and unintelligible issues no one could relate to.

    Seems when he is allowed to articulate his experience and put it up on a website with an authoritative feminist backing, everyone looks at it and thinks wow, this guy has something important to share with the rest of us.

    And by ‘everybody’ you mean one poster? Because except for you, Jonathan is the only one here who’s brought it up and praised it. And he doesn’t strike me as someone who would dismiss things like Schrödinger’s Rapist and the gendered aspects of war as misandrist propaganda either.

    But when he says the same exact things in a comment thread, you’re ready to twist his words into things that he never said nor meant. Do you actually contend that Eagle33 thinks that women who get abused deserve it? I think that’s a pretty vicious thing to say about him.

    I know that the idea that women are attracted to abusive men does a lot to promote male on female violence, so I don’t take kindly to the people who promote it, even if the increased interpersonal violence is not their main purpose but just a happy side effect.

  79. L says:

    @Solo:

    “So he avoids strong female protagonists *IF* the men they are juxtaposed against are bumbling idiots, I suppose because in many ways the resulting mockery and interaction would mirror his abuse.”

    He was technically abused by both genders, as AB pointed out, but gender very much seems to have colored his experience. I never got around to asking him if he avoids media that depicts ANY kind of bullying, or if male-male or male-female bullying is OK. Because I’ve been subject to abuse in my day as well: captive audience in domestic abuse situations, sexually abused, and emotionally abused (all done by different people). My triggers happen to be depictions of drug use, of all things, and not depictions of abuse. I was trying to get him to say more about it, because all of this stuff is interconnected, and what someone finds triggering is very telling about what they took away from their experiences, IMO.

    @noah: Yeah, yeah.

  80. Schala says:

    @AB

    He only mentioned how affected he was by female bullying because people cared and understood that male bullying hurt him, but did everything to minimize the female-on-male bullying that went on. His piece is to speak against this minimization.

  81. dungone says:

    weren’t you one of the people who thought Schrödinger’s Rapist was sexist

    Incredibly so, no question there. The parallel that you noticed shows just how quickly men’s trauma is dismissed and labeled as oppressive of women when it starts to inconvenience women, but when things go the other way around, the line of demarcation is so far up into every man’s person-hood that it borders lunacy. So the fact that you even noticed the situation that Eagle33 finds himself in and it brought to mind Schrodinger’s Rapist is good news because in the future, you might be able to think of this issue from the perspective of both genders.

  82. L says:

    @dungone: I’ve taken Shroedinger’s Rapist apart and put it back together again and still don’t see how it’s mean and sexist.

    But, that’s for a different thread, I think.

  83. AB says:

    @Schala:

    He only mentioned how affected he was by female bullying because people cared and understood that male bullying hurt him, but did everything to minimize the female-on-male bullying that went on. His piece is to speak against this minimization.

    Actually, he never mentions a single time that he told about being bullied by both sexes and people said “The boys I believe, but you probably just misunderstood the girls’ intention” or anything along those lines. He said he didn’t mention it to anybody, but that he came to terms with the abuse later, only he made the mistake of only considering the abuse from boys and men “with no consideration for how the girls and women contributed to it independently”.

    I’m not sure what ‘independently’ means in this context, but it sounds like he felt the need to categorise bullying by boys and girls into separate categories, even when they participate in it together. No matter what, he doesn’t mention getting any support to deal with the abuse caused by boys and men, or being believed (in fact, he specifically mentions not telling about instances of bullying where boys participated because he didn’t think he would be believed) only that he did a lot of work to separate the abuse caused by girls and women into a different category and seeking out ways to deal with it independently.

  84. AB says:

    @dungone:

    Incredibly so, no question there.

    Is that a yes or a no?

  85. debaser71 says:

    SR is sexist, condescending trash. People who use it get a huge negative in my book. In both being a condescending jerk and being a shallow thinker.

  86. dungone says:

    @AB, piggybacking on @Schala, that is the first and most important thing to recognize about male victims.

    He mentions being treated badly by counsellors and support workers, and that those were all women. In an article about female on male bullying. He genders the abuse, makes it all about the sex of the people who did it to him. And yet, the FC crowd has been extremely vocal in talking about how wrong, even misandrist, it is to gender war as something male

    AB, it is precisely the gendering of war and support workers that is creating the fundamental problem. When you read about those accounts, you have to keep in the back of your mind the gender role of women as sensitive, nurturing individuals. War = male, love = female. The examples that you have pointed out show just how harmful that gendering is when an individual suffers at the hands of the gender that is supposed to be nurturing. It creates an additional level of trauma that follows them around for the rest of their life, caused by a society that erases both the victim and the crime. The person tries to get help and is denied. The person himself themselves in situations where he feels vulnerable and scared, but those around him cannot see the problem because the problem only exists when the genders fit our gender role expectations. In the end, even though the bullying happened equally at the hands of both genders, only half the wounds were ever allowed to heal. For someone like that, living in our society is like being thrown into a swarm of bees right after finding out that you’re allergic to their sting.

  87. dungone says:

    “himself themselves” was supposed to say “finds themselves,” Sorry.

  88. L says:

    @debaser: If I’m with a guy that makes me uncomfortable to the point where I fear for my personal safety, I’m not going to give a hoot about being polite–insofar as offending his sensitivities doesn’t make the situation worse. 😛

  89. AB says:

    @dungone:

    d@AB, piggybacking on @Schala, that is the first and most important thing to recognize about male victims.
    [snip]
    AB, it is precisely the gendering of war and support workers that is creating the fundamental problem. When you read about those accounts, you have to keep in the back of your mind the gender role of women as [snip]

    No. I don’t have to keep anything in mind, except to look at the concrete situation. You are saying that when men do something on their own, it’s fair to blame women for it too without giving any explanation except some vague “they encouraged it”, but whenever something primarily involves women (even if it’s in lower ranking positions), it is completely fair to label it gendered abuse and act like no man had a hand in it.

    Similarly, whenever the sexual behaviour of (some) men is questioned or critiqued, it’s fair to talk about a widespread demonisation of male sexuality and talk about how women have a duty to make men feel good about themselves sexually. At the same time, you casually state that my sexuality is seriously wrong, and oppressive towards men, even though I don’t do anything to men.

    And when it comes to bullying, you’re so caught up in the idea that women have it so endlessly easy, and men are so endlessly demonised, that you just ignore everything which doesn’t fit. I wasn’t told that girls were innocent, I was told that girls were way more vicious than boys, more manipulative and calculating, more evil, less likely to forgive, less honest, less direct, and plain worse. It took me a lot longer to get over the far more vicious and systematic bullying inflicted on me buy boys than girls, in part because I was always told it didn’t matter, from the first time I heard “they just do it because they like you” in kindergarten.

    But in your world, that doesn’t exist. Even when I mention that people are blaming women for actions taken solely by men (such as most wars), while not holding men responsible for the actions of women, your answer is that women are thought of as sensitive and nurturing, and that women=love. Seriously, WTF? How on earth can a stereotype about how love is female mean that women are blamed for wars they didn’t participate in?

  90. A friend retweeted this to me, not sure what I think. She loved it! I agree that he is hot (which is why she retweeted it to me in the first place) but don’t like the reclining female at his feet, or whatever its supposed to be:

    http://www.gq.com/moty/2011/peter-dinklage-gq-men-of-the-year-issue

    Opinions?

  91. Jonathan says:

    Hmmm, all this bother wasn’t quite what I was getting at when I mentioned that article. All I meant to highlight was the significance of personal testimony, in the fashion of old-school consciousness raising: to speak, to listen, to forego judgment, to put conclusions aside – and, especially, to leave previously arrived at conclusions at the door.

    Obviously CR isn’t always appropriate or useful, but in a thread about sex, that started with personal testimony, I thought that here it might be. At least to the extent of listening (or rather, reading) without deconstructing everything to the nth degree.

    As for SR: it’s not a feminist critique of men; it’s just an analogy; a way of explaining how a woman might feel when being approached by a man – for instance, when she’s out by herself at night alone.

    I actually had this brought home to me the other evening. I’m usually careful about this sort of thing, but I was late for a gig and couldn’t find the venue and I was frustrated and in a hurry, approaching students asking if any of them knew where it was. Well, I found the venue okay, but in the process I approached one young woman who said “no” very quietly, hardly looking up, and was clearly trying to get away as quickly as possible – and I suddenly realized she was terrified. In that instance I was Schrödinger’s Rapist, and all the analysis in the world about misandry, about how men in fact generally aren’t rapists, didn’t matter. It was just me and her and she was frightened. And that’s all SR is really saying.

  92. Ginkgo says:

    @Noah
    “Folks, can we maybe NOT talk about someone behind their back like this? Eagle33 doesn’t post here any more, so if you want to call him a jerk or a misunderstood decent guy or the second gunman or the fifth Beatle or what-the-fuck-ever, maybe do it over at Feminist Critics where he actually hangs out.”

    Ya think? Or maybe over at GMP where the article is posted?

  93. debaser71 says:

    “When you approach me, you are Schrodinger’s Rapist”

    I approach women for many reasons and NOT one of them have anything to do with getting in their pants. Ever. (and not to L or anyone in particular…I am using the general “yo”u) Spare me the lectures about it because your assumptions are wrong.

    But as far as being made to feel uncomfortable and telling someone off. That’s alright, I was meaning “using SR” on a blog or something like that. As in an effort (for example) to explain things to horny crass man-children who just don’t want to get it, because, well, THEY ARE MEN! Duh!

  94. dungone says:

    @Johnathan, quoting Dorothy Allison

    In all questions about sex, it is the everyday life that interests me most. All the impassioned rhetoric serves no purpose but greater obscurity, if it does not originate and flow from an examination of the specific – how we all actually live out our sexuality. Without that detail, I have concluded that there are no valid generalizations to be made about sex and women’s lives except for the central fact that we are all hungry for the power of desire and we are all deeply afraid.

    It’s funny, but I actually disagree with the epistemology being proposed here. I think it’s pretty anti-scientific if what she is asking for is the type of “consciousness raising” that was a big driving force in early feminism. At least in combination with what you’re telling me, that’s what it sounds like to me. What is “impassioned rhetoric” if not a view formed by the bias of personal anecdote alone? Or does she mean that science is just impassioned rhetoric? I would take a simple truth derived by scientific experimentation over the personal testimony of thousands of people, hands down, any day. Well, this is a comment thread on a blog, so we have few means of practicing science (beyond referencing science that has already been done), we just our own experiences. So we have to make do. And to make do, there really is no advantage of impassioned rhetoric, however it may differ from personal anecdote. In fact, putting personal anecdote on any sort of pedestal, trying to bestow it with a sort of explanatory power that should only be reserved for science, I believe that is a poisonous idea.

  95. elementary_watson says:

    Continuing the rather off-topicness of SR: Jonathan, I think the concept of Schrödinger’s Rapist goes beyond “sometimes some women are afraid of strange men, and when a woman freezes when you approach her, leave her alone” (this I can get behind), and goes more like “assume that any words you say to a strange woman will be interpreted by her as you hitting on her, most probably unwilling to accept a rejection”, which further poisons the already polluted relationship between the genders.

  96. Jonathan says:

    @ Daisy Deadhead

    No, I don’t know what to think either – nor, judging from the video, does Peter Dinklage. I guess that’s the point, if there is one. 🙂

  97. debaser71 says:

    My apologies but I feel the need….(and note I am not normally one to quote others because I know when people do it to me, it sort of pushes my buttons)…and I know, it’s been done to death. So don’t take it personally, I am just using this paragraph as an example to show why (partly) I think SR is toxic sexist trash.

    “I actually had this brought home to me the other evening. I’m usually careful about this sort of thing, but I was late for a gig and couldn’t find the venue and I was frustrated and in a hurry, approaching students asking if any of them knew where it was. Well, I found the venue okay, but in the process I approached one young man who said “no” very quietly, hardly looking up, and was clearly trying to get away as quickly as possible – and I suddenly realized he was terrified. In that instance I was Schrödinger’s Mugger, and all the analysis in the world about racism, about how blacks in fact generally aren’t muggers, didn’t matter. It was just me and him and he was frightened. And that’s all SM is really saying.”

  98. dungone says:

    In that instance I was Schrödinger’s Rapist,

    I feel sorry for you, then. I read a story once when I was about 12, it was called Kaffir Boy, and it opened my eyes to something I hadn’t realized up until then: people can be the tools of their own oppression because making things even worse for yourself is easier than trying to fight back. The police have a notion for this that they call a “secondary crime scene.” That’s when you get into their car or follow them into the dark alley because you’re so afraid of confronting them in the one place where you still had a chance.

  99. elementary_watson says:

    Oh, and @Daisy: No opinions except “WTH were the people who put that woman there (objectifying language intentional to match the objectifying display of the woman) thinking/drinking/inhaling”?

  100. Jonathan says:

    @dungone:

    In fact, putting personal anecdote on any sort of pedestal, trying to bestow it with a sort of explanatory power that should only be reserved for science, I believe that is a poisonous idea.

    The point she’s making is not that personal testimony has explanatory power above science or above anything else, but that there is no generally valid “explanation” to be made at all on this subject. All we have is our own sexualities which are varied and multiple and ultimately personal.

    If I can offer another relevant quote, this time from Pat Califia:

    The best we can do is speak our own truth, make it safe for others to speak theirs, and respect our differences.

  101. AB says:

    @Jonathan:

    Hmmm, all this bother wasn’t quite what I was getting at when I mentioned that article. All I meant to highlight was the significance of personal testimony, in the fashion of old-school consciousness raising: to speak, to listen, to forego judgment, to put conclusions aside – and, especially, to leave previously arrived at conclusions at the door.

    The problem arises when the personal testimony is encouraging bigotry and sexism. It wasn’t a good article by any means, but it’s magnified by often its supporters agree that the things the article complains about when done to men are completely OK, even desirable, when done to women.

  102. Jonathan says:

    @dungone: re Schrödinger’s Mugger. Yes, of course, SR could be rephrased and applied to numerous situations where someone feels themselves in danger. But if anything that makes it more useful and less sexist than the contrary.

  103. Jay Generally says:

    I checked the box, guys, and it turns out the rapist was dead. Just absolutely beaten to death.

  104. Jonathan says:

    @elementary_watson:

    I think the concept of Schrödinger’s Rapist (…) goes more like “assume that any words you say to a strange woman will be interpreted by her as you hitting on her, most probably unwilling to accept a rejection”

    Only if you take it very seriously. But analogies aren’t supposed to be taken very seriously, they’re just supposed to make you think about things – and, especially, make you think about things in a different way, from another point of view.

  105. Jonathan says:

    @AB:

    The problem arises when the personal testimony is encouraging bigotry and sexism.

    I didn’t read the article like that, but okay, if you did, fine. I don’t really want to discuss that here though, because that’s not why I mentioned it. If I have anything to say about it, I’ll go and do it on GMP.

  106. dungone says:

    @Jonathan, no that’s not what I was talking about, I was talking about oppression. Kaffir Boy is about growing up as a black boy in the shantytowns of South Africa during Apartheid. The mechanism of oppression is that the person’s own mind is used against them. And that’s what happened to you that night. Your own gender was used against you in your own head.

  107. Jonathan says:

    @dungone: I wasn’t oppressed at all, either in my own head or anywhere else. All that happened was that she was frightened – and I could have prevented that if I’d thought about it.

    And with that, I’m out. We’ve got a long way from the original topic now and I don’t want to argue about anything else any more.

  108. L says:

    @debaser: I live in a neighborhood whose population is probably 90%+ black people, and has a comparatively high crime rate compared with the average for an American zip code. I do not go out alone at night, I do not wear fancy jewelry, fiddle with my zune and headphones, go anywhere unless I know (or at least can look like I know) exactly where I’m going. A man was shot on my doorstep (literally) back in september, and for about 5 months, not a week would go by without me hearing being able to hear gunshots from my room. The murder risk around here (my zip code is about a square mile) is 180% of the national average, and the robbery risk is 225%. My PD alone had 12 homicides this past year, and my zip is serviced by -two- precincts. When I go outside, I am constantly keeping track of who is around me and what they’re doing, and if there are things I can take cover behind in case someone pulls a gun. Walking along sidewalks that don’t have cars parked makes me feel unsafe because there was a drive-by on our block as well; someone shot in some storefront windows and possibly hit a kid in a restaurant. If it were the white hipsters that were terrorizing this neighborhood, jumping people as they came out of the subways, and robbing people and knife and gunpoint, then I would be cautious of them. But as it stands, I don’t think a single homicide or robbery was committed by a white kid here this year. So I’m going to be leery of the demographic that is more likely to commit these crimes, which in this neighborhood, happens to be younger black males who have something to prove and people to impress by how much money they can steal and how much blood they can spill. So yes, I live in a neighborhood of Schroedinger’s assailants, gang members, and thieves. Sue me.

  109. debaser71 says:

    The notion that SR is only applicable in certain situations is missing the point of SR. SR says women should be wary of men who approach them. Being “alone” and “at night” is not a prerequisite for SR to be applied.

  110. Jay Generally says:

    @ L

    Sounds like my old neighborhood, although the closest person shot was next door. We had a cop shot four doors down and saw the murderer go running past our window once, though.

  111. ozymandias42 says:

    Hey, everyone, guess what is not on topic?

    Schrodinger’s Rapist.

    Guess what has been discussed to death both here and on other blogs?

    Schrodinger’s Rapist.

    Guess what topic I will be deleting comments about on this thread from here on out?

    That’s right, Schrodinger’s Rapist.

  112. dungone says:

    @Ozy, I agree with you, but I can also completely understand why the conversation moved there. It’s really hard to talk about gender conformity for men without at some point diving into the numerous ways in which the options they have to represent their gender is bounded by the social context.

    For example, as far as my own comfort level, I would sooner walk around dressed as a woman than to fawn over a random cute baby. For women, it’s like an instant friendship. For men, it’s a fast pass to a sex offender registry. No amount of effeminate posturing is going to give me permission to walk up to women without being treated like a potential rapist, either. In fact it might increase the negative response I perceive due to the “creep” factor – anyone they are not attracted to who speaks to them and is instantly assumed to want sex. And will dressing as a woman get a man into a DV shelter that doesn’t acknowledge male victims? So, what’s the incentive to do it? There is very little.

    I’m sure you see what I mean…. playing dress-up may satisfy a partner’s kink in the bedroom, but it does not address anything of any real importance about male gender roles. The OP dismissed traditional masculinity as EXTREME STOLIDITY and INTENSE NOTHINGNESS without really offering a viable alternative. And she did it based on her sexual preferences, without consulting men about it, because as everyone knows, everyone is an expert on the male gender except men. She really believes that her personal preferences are so empowering to men that she is thinking of upping her game from merely making suggestions to using her sexual gatekeeper role to enforce those preferences among her own partners. She talks about it as if it was clearly a positive thing, as if they are bound to love it once they try it. It’s kind of like the woman who accidentally gets pregnant on purpose because she “knows” her lover will be filled with joy as soon as he sees his own baby. It’s wrong, in other words. And it’s useless.

  113. L says:

    @dungone: Wai wai wai wait.

    “She really believes that her personal preferences are so empowering to men that she is thinking of upping her game from merely making suggestions to using her sexual gatekeeper role to enforce those preferences among her own partners.”

    Having sex with people only under certain conditions is a bad thing now?

  114. dungone says:

    Also, to me it seems like she was criticising how narrow and constricting the definition of masculinity in our society is. Which I find to be true.

    I think she was confusing masculinity for her own orgasm.

  115. dungone says:

    Having sex with people only under certain conditions is a bad thing now?

    You mean, it’s not bad? Earlier, you said:

    When you start trying to shape the world and the people around you to fit that preference is exactly when that stops.

    Okay, so trying to shape the world and the people around you to fit your preference is bad. But if you’re a woman and you use sex to do that, then it’s all good, because as long as you’re using your body to achieve that goal, it’s a fair trade. Right?

    Look, prostitution is good. Love is good. Tit for tat coital stimulation is sweet. But trying to manipulate the other person’s behavior by using their own sex drive against them? Oh yeah… that’s fucking awesome.

  116. dungone says:

    @L, you know what it is? It’s lobbyists sleeping with politicians. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, as they say. I don’t want to be in a relationship with a woman who is using me for political gain. I don’t think any self respecting individual would find that kind of relationship rewarding. I don’t think that Hirsch will, either; I think she will find that to achieve her political goals in the bedroom, she will be compromising on who she is as a person and who her partners are as people. I think that someday she will come to the conclusion that the things that really matter aren’t what she had thought.

  117. L says:

    @dungone: You got all of that from this?

    “I have not gotten (many) men to act out my fantasies yet but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before all my future lovers will discover throughout the course of our courtships that these fantasies of mine are fantasies of theirs and voila, we can “gender bend” or be our myriad selves while we entangle our loins, and elsewhere, like maybe walking down the street.”

    To me, that just says she’s getting better at finding compatible partners that are open-minded to this sort of thing, not that she’s an evil she-wolf out to prey on unsuspecting men and force them to cross-dress for her cruel circus of entertainment.

    “Okay, so trying to shape the world and the people around you to fit your preference is bad. But if you’re a woman and you use sex to do that, then it’s all good, because as long as you’re using your body to achieve that goal, it’s a fair trade. Right?”

    It’s called being GGG, and it’s called having standards and preferences, and if you’re not into it, you can say no and walk away. She said that she’s had many unsuccessful attempts to get partners into her feitsh… what, you think her plan is to get better at coercion and brainwashing techniques to bring up her success rate?

    Are you going to bite my head off for requiring that my partners have cocks? Or that they be traditionally masculine in some way? Or, to make it short and sweet, that they be my fiance? So now I’ve got every person on the face of the planet save one up in arms and offended by the fact that all of them *aren’t* my fiance. How dare I only want to have sex with someone I plan on marrying! How cruel am I to require that of my partners? Oh this web of misandry I weave for telling impressionable men, already up to their eyeballs in stereotypes and idealized images, that in order for me to consider them as good sexual partners, they must be engaged to me! Why must I burden them with yet another version of attractiveness! Now all 7,999,999,999 people on this earth are going to be wallowing in personal insecurity at not being able to be a possible sexual partner of mine. I am so evil.

  118. L says:

    DAMN. The joke been totally ruined. 6,999,999,999 was what it was supposed to be.

  119. dungone says:

    @L, it was easy. I asked myself, “what would a woman say if a man said that?” and based my level of outrage on the way I have seen most women react to similar things.

    “I have not gotten (many) women to act out my fantasies yet but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before all my future lovers will discover throughout the course of our courtships that these fantasies of mine are fantasies of theirs and voila, we can enjoy her breast implants or be our myriad selves while we entangle our loins, and elsewhere, like maybe walking down the street.”

  120. L says:

    @dungone: Hey guess what? Dudes say things like that all the time in the BDSM circles and nobody gets on their case if everyone’s happy and consenting. Except replace “breast implants” with “nipple and genital piercings”, or “branding”, or “needle play”, etc. The difference between BDSMworld and vanillaland is that the residents of vanillaland are likely to feel entitled to have all members of the desired sex meet their expectations, and if they don’t, then they are ridiculed and ostracized. People in vanillaland probably feel this way thanks to media depictions of said mainstream heteronormative attributes that are codified into their brains to be interpreted as positive and sexy. Do amputee fetishists scoff and disrespect people that still have all their limbs and digits? I highly doubt the rate at which they do is even remotely comparable to that of heteronormative men toward overweight women, tomboys, or any other such stereotype that doesn’t fit one of several (limited) correct narratives.

    I’m a macrophile and I’m attracted to depictions of men that are upwards of 2 and 3 stories tall. Do I express my disappointment in every single male I meet or see because they don’t meet that requirement? No.

    And your analogy is flawed, by the way. Cosmetic surgery isn’t really comparable to something as simple, cheap, and easy to reverse as, say, putting on a bra for the sake of a little spontaneous sexual adventurism.

  121. dungone says:

    Right, try telling a guy who works on Wall Street that showing up at work in a pink tutu is something “simple, cheap, and easy to reverse.” She did say, “walking down the street” in her fantasy. Your arguments would have a little more relevance if all of those BDSM people were dropping their kids off at school in their zippered-up leather head mask. She’s not asking men to play pretend in the bedroom, she’s asking them to abandon their own masculinity in order to fit her preference. And she’s not discussing it as a kink, but as a positive improvement to the “INTENSE NOTHINGNESS” of a man who just wears jeans and a tshirt. That’s more like what you described as the plain vanilla sense of entitlement than the BDSM fetish.

  122. L says:

    And you’re acting like getting into a relationship with this woman is the last thing these men will ever do. They are fully capable of, like I said, saying no and walking away. My brainwashing she-wolf comment still stands, since you’re pretending that these hypothetical men have absolutely no say as to something as basic as *starting a LTR* with her. If she is somehow blackmailing/brainwashing/forcing men into dating her, then we’ve got a completely different problem going on than her trying to get her guys to fucking indulge her so that she has a chance at having a fulfilling sex life. Her key words were “like maybe”. She was outlining a wish and a fantasy, not a militaristic plan of attack. Please stop conflating the two. I find your assumption that all of her relationships have an element of non-consent to them to be quite offensive, on behalf of all heterosexual women with non-PIV sexual preferences everywhere.

  123. dungone says:

    @L, please, she specifically wrote that this is something that they “will discover throughout the course of our courtships.” In other words, this is not like a “woah, no thanks ma’am” on the first day you meet kind of a thing. This is more like an “I love you,” “Okay good, now I want you to put on this tutu and walk to the 7-11 with me” type of a thing. She specifically wants to turn them, not just find someone who meets her preferences.

  124. L says:

    Hey, I’ve got an idea: how you *ask her* what the hell she meant instead of putting extremely hostile, fear-mongering words in her mouth?

    And what’s wrong with turning? At no point does she say any of the things that you keep insisting that she means. And even then, “turning” doesn’t imply non-consent. I’ve done some “turning” myself when it comes to my fiance, and he’s done some with me as well. Please. You’re trying to find some grand conspiracy where there is none.

  125. dungone says:

    I just want to make a quick side note to anyone else who might still be reading this. The problem that we are witnessing here is twofold. First, it’s the fact that everyone and her sister thinks she has the right to talk about male sexuality, except for men. Instead of deferring to, “what do men think about this?” both in the process of writing the original critique and in the consumption of it by its female readers, there is an automatic assumption that this is valid because a woman wrote this. This sets up both the writer and her readers for a failure to detect the inherent flaws in both the writer’s ideas and the way she presents them. So the second problem is a compounding of the first: when men do read what she wrote and start seeing things that they object to, feminists still don’t deffer to the men. They can’t see anything wrong with it because they don’t look at it from a man’s perspective and they refuse to. They just tell men who find the OP to be a troublesome way to look at male sexuality, they say it’s not, the men are wrong. So it becomes an arduous process of pulling teeth, deconstructing the essay word for word. It literally has to be spelled out for them in a way that they can’t refute, at which point they claim that there must be a perfectly good explanation that the men just haven’t thought of yet. This is the typical pattern of discussing male issues in a feminist space.

  126. RocketFrog says:

    To be fair, it seems to me that the men in this thread also claim the right to talk about the sexuality of the female OP – or at least the way she chooses to express it.

  127. Dungone: For example, as far as my own comfort level, I would sooner walk around dressed as a woman than to fawn over a random cute baby.

    I am going to grant you this point, never thought of it before. However, I will add, that when you are of grandfatherly age, you will be allowed, but only if you have grandchildren and talk about them at the same time. (Unless you are a priest, or in the south, a preacher, then you can do whatever you want. But you knew that.)

    I enjoy the baby-fussing bonding, and I would miss it terribly if it was not an option for me. I am the one who never misses a chance to do that! It’s nice when people “let their guard down”–but you have made me realize that no, they don’t do that for everyone.

    Here in the south, gurgling at the babies has historically been a nice way for black and white women to be friendly to each other, even during segregation. (It goes both ways, too, it is understood that any race of woman can initiate the goo-goo talk at the babies; even if they don’t speak English.) In retail, I did it every single day, and even distracted babies (usually by singing) when they were having temper tantrums. (In doing so, I learned that they have really short memories, and often totally forget what they were yowling about.)

    I will say that when I was younger and looked stoned all the time, they were less accommodating now that I am a grandmother. But in fairness, no one was truly insulting, just somewhat standoffish. Now, they burble and tell me all about their kids and potty training and what-all. I admit that I do enjoy this. I would feel it as an acute loss if it was denied to me.

  128. L, great posts, and I didn’t even notice the math mistake until you said it!

  129. debaser71 says:

    Daisy said, ” that any race of woman can initiate the goo-goo talk at the babies”

    Female privilege in the matriarchal dominated family life.

    If I try to goo-goo talk a baby the mom might call 911.

    (yes I exaggerate a little…but only a little. And, for what it’s worth, today is better for fathers than it was when I first started. And yeah, I’ve said this before but I am a stay at home father…children are my life…that is the context of what I speak of. Me, as a man, have to deal with mothers all the time.)

    I’ve mentioned this before but one time I was sitting on my grass in front of my house, playing with my (then) 4 year old daughter. Someone pulled up in a car and asked me if I was doing anything “naughty”. I’ve also had a security guard follow me into the bathroom when I needed to bring my daughter to the toilet. And on several occasions I’ve told someone something like, “I’m here to pick up my daughter” and they ask me, “are you sure?” I have to tell my wife (if she’s dropping off one of the kids) to tell the person that their father will be picking them up…otherwise they may give me a hard time about it. And like I said, as my kids get older these things are becoming almost non-existent. People are used to dads parenting their older kids, just not babies and toddlers.

    Daisy, or any woman, I wonder if you’ve ever approached a man with a baby and did goo-goo talk? It’s happened to me many times. Are these women hitting on me? (I don’t think so but see below).

    And on another note but still related to gender non-conforming men I’ve heard from women that it’s “hot” when men do baby stuff, housework, and cooking. I want no part of it. I also recall reading a blog about this, from someone named Valerie.

  130. Jonathan says:

    @dungone:

    On your “quick side note”:

    the fact that everyone and her sister thinks she has the right to talk about male sexuality, except for men.

    Who is “everyone”? As I’ve already said more than once, the OP is talking about her own sexuality not “male sexuality” (supposing there even was such a thing). And who are “men” in this context? Does that “men” include me?

    Instead of deferring to, “what do men think about this?”

    Why should men be “deferred to” when she’s talking about her own sexuality? And again who are the “men” here?

    when men do read what she wrote and start seeing things that they object to, feminists still don’t deffer to the men. They can’t see anything wrong with it because they don’t look at it from a man’s perspective and they refuse to. They just tell men who find the OP to be a troublesome way to look at male sexuality, they say it’s not, the men are wrong.

    Again who are “men”? And who are the “feminists”? Which group do you put me in? And what is a “man’s perspective”? And what is “male sexuality”? I’d guess that my perspective (and my sexuality) are quite different from yours – but I can only guess at that because you refuse to define your perspective in any way.

    It literally has to be spelled out for them in a way that they can’t refute, at which point they claim that there must be a perfectly good explanation that the men just haven’t thought of yet.

    Who are “they” here? Again does that “they” include me? Otherwise who are “men”? Really, all this stuff about “men” makes me tired. It’s like reading Andrea Dworkin or somebody.

    This is the typical pattern of discussing male issues in a feminist space.

    If you could stop with the rhetoric for just a moment and actually say something, maybe there’d be something meaningful to discuss.

  131. dungone says:

    @Daisy – thanks. That’s what I’m talking about. Dressing up as a woman does not automatically open a man up to the world of female experience because so many of the permissions required for that experience are not men’s decision to make. Wearing that tutu isn’t going to erase the years of socialization where the only public way for a man to show friendly intent towards a woman is to perform some banal task such as opening a door. So if you want men to experience the “sensitive side of life” by wearing that tiara, just don’t count on it. It’s not going to happen. That playsuit isn’t going to turn Rob Schneider into The Hot Chick and miraculously impart him with all the special knowledge of what it’s like being a girl. More importantly, it’s not going to solve any of the social limitations men are bound to by their gender roles.

    The more I think about it, I’m not even offended by the proposition that Hirsch’s idea will somehow improve men’s masculinity. I just think it’s something downright immature. She basically has a kink and she’s trying to ascribe magical feminist powers to it. I have no problem with the kink, I just want her to stop saying that she really knows what’s wrong with men.

  132. dungone says:

    Which group do you put me in?

    Do you honestly want to know the answer to that? Okay, I’m not about to call you a gender traitor or anything like that, but I will say that if you speak as a feminist then you speak for and defend a woman’s point of view, not for a man’s. If you speak as a man then you speak as a man. So what I think of the things you say really just depends on the point of view you’re trying to defend. It’s duly noted that some men are feminists, or feminist allies, or whatever it is that feminist men are allowed to be this week. But what do I really think of it? I think you summed it up for me when you said, “I was Schrödinger’s Rapist.”

  133. Hugh Ristik says:

    I find both L’s and dungone’s interpretations of Hirsh’s OP plausible. Perhaps we can agree that she left some ambiguity?

  134. Jay Generally says:

    … she’s an evil she-wolf out to prey on unsuspecting men and force them to cross-dress for her cruel circus of entertainment.

    Did she uh… happen to post her number? 🙂 I kid! I kid!

    I thought the author was nice and up front about her kink and the mutual choice it would be between her, and her prospective lover. Rather than a “None shall pass!” sort of wizard, I was reading her as a “Fun shall pass!” sort of wizard. True, she came down on a strawman version of ‘conventional’ masculinity, in the course of making her point, and I guess she could have taken the higher road, but not everyone writes that way. I doubt that a lot of heterosexual men who would express themselves in such a way get a lot of encouragement compared to your more conventional Übermensch so what she’s writing could be a beacon of hope for lots of boys and men.

    But one interesting counter I remember reading to the post, was in the “Gender-nonconforming Men are HAWT, Apparently” link at the bottom. It was the idea that the man in the tutu is likened to the warrior charging ass-naked alongside his fully armored comrades. His vulnerablity expresses invulnerability,giving him the biggest balls trophy. So the subversion is kind of a reinforcement at the same time. I thought that was very bright. Perhaps a more vulnerable model, to go with the “sexy and I know it” tutu as a counterpoint, would have helped.

    @L
    I’m a macrophile and I’m attracted to depictions of men that are upwards of 2 and 3 stories tall.

    I’m not above the odd depiction of a giantess or two myself. Fist bump, +1, this, and you go; take which one you’d like.

  135. Paul says:

    @L

    “I’m a macrophile and I’m attracted to depictions of men that are upwards of 2 and 3 stories tall. Do I express my disappointment in every single male I meet or see because they don’t meet that requirement? No.”

    *spit take*

    Coiledfist.org? Question mark?

  136. Jonathan says:

    @dungone:

    Dressing up as a woman does not automatically open a man up to the world of female experience because so many of the permissions required for that experience are not men’s decision to make. Wearing that tutu isn’t going to erase the years of socialization where the only public way for a man to show friendly intent towards a woman is to perform some banal task such as opening a door. So if you want men to experience the “sensitive side of life” by wearing that tiara, just don’t count on it.

    On this – and I’m claiming expert status here – cross-dressing (MTF) isn’t about “opening up a world of female experience”, nor about “experiencing the sensitive side of life” necessarily. The tutu and tiara can be read and appreciated simply as cross-gendered fashion, and I’d guess (though obviously I can’t say for definite) that the OP’s excitement comes from what it might signify than what it actually does, about which she can’t say anything for definite either. (What it actually signifies would be for the guy himself to say.)

    I just want her to stop saying that she really knows what’s wrong with men.

    And I’m saying that she’s not saying that at all; that’s merely how you’re interpreting what she’s saying. It’s like the discussion of eagle33’s GMP post. People are just bringing their own politics to it, picking up on one or two things he said and deconstructing them into oblivion, so that the bulk of his post is rendered unimportant and irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether the analysis might be correct or not in a general sense: in the GMP case (as here) analysis is not the point – witness statement is the point.

    I will say that if you speak as a feminist then you speak for and defend a woman’s point of view, not for a man’s.

    Make that “I think that if you speak…” etc and I’ll accept that as an opinion of course, even if I disagree with it.

    So what I think of the things you say really just depends on the point of view you’re trying to defend.

    My whole argument in this thread hasn’t been to defend a specific point of view, but to suggest that the expression of personal sexuality (i.e. by the OP) should be allowed to stand without stamping on it with political boots. (Regarding which, the parallel between what you’re doing and what you accuse feminists of doing should be quite apparent.) I guess you could say this is a point of view too, but if so it’s a view of process rather than politics.

  137. Schala says:

    Do note that some people are into being forced or forcing someone to do something, either because the scenario feels good, they like the constraint or power trip, or they want to assuage guilt.

    I know a friend who had a fetish about feminizing men. She didn’t write a blog about it, but I was able to empathize how it might work with the right person.

    I personally have fantasies of being forced into things through agreeing to the act beforehand anyways. It’s not about guilt here, it’s entirely about liking being forced, “having no way out”. I used to tie myself up as a kid.

  138. L says:

    @Paul: Nah, I’m more of a Minimizer kind of gal, but I do enjoy the high quality stuff that comes out of some of the artists at CF.

    @Jay: I’ll take the fist bump, I think! -returns- :B

    THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN YOU THINK

  139. Paul says:

    @L
    -nods- Minimizer’s stuff is pretty good, hadn’t seen it before. I usually hang out at CF and GTS-city

    “THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN YOU THINK”

    I understand this, intellectually, (of course “what I thought” used to be 1 so, it wasn’t a really hard number to beat :p) but I’d never knowingly encountered another one “in the wild” so to speak. so, mind=blown, lol.

  140. L says:

    @Paul: I started off at GTS city because that’s where the kind, patient folk at macrophile.com pointed me to when I realized that I didn’t fit in with a bunch of furries, but that place is… probably as hostile toward women as the good folk behind the Spearhead. A lot of others’ work doesn’t really appeal to me beyond “Oh, that’s pretty”, though, so I mostly just keep to myself. And haha, I like that. In the wild…

  141. Paul says:

    “that place is… probably as hostile toward women as the good folk behind the Spearhead. ”

    No argument here, thats why I pretty much lurk there, and don’t bother to read threads past the first posts. I just wish I were more artistically inclined so I could make my own images. Oh well.

    *looks around* aaanyways….

  142. Rebecca Katherine Hirsch says:

    Hi guys. Enjoyed the dialogue! Enjoyed the (friendly) disputes! I watch, from afar, with eager interest…

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