Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Men, It's time for a 'Come to Jesus' meeting

When the Yellow Brand Hammer Company says "Yes, society teaches women to be ashamed of their bodies. It does it to men too. " and W. says "Why is it so much worse that he promotes women's body insecurity? To me, that statement implies that it's either okay, or not near nearly as bad to play to a man's body insecurity." I have to ask this--"Is there some point where I get to stop taking you into consideration?" I'm really not trying to be a bitch about this, I'm just frustrated that, no matter what I say, this seems to be the point where I cannot reach you. Listen. Let me be very clear. When we say something like "Here are the ways it sucks to be women sometimes," we are not saying "Here are the ways it sucks to be women sometimes in comparison to the Big Rock Candy Mountain of joy that men have. Fuck you, men, for having everything and being so fucking ungrateful." We are saying "Here are the ways it sucks to be women sometimes in comparison to how it should be." We're, or at least I'm, not sitting around comparing myself to some fantasy ideal of you, wishing I had what I think you have. I'm talking about what I wish I had. I wish I lived in a world where some douchebag didn't think it was acceptable to play on the enormous pressures women feel to look continually ready for fucking by carving up their perfectly fine cooters. It doesn't matter to my desire to live in this kind of world that he's also hacking up penises--I also wish I lived in a world where y'all didn't feel pressure to mutilate yourselves. But I'm not talking about y'all. It doesn't undermine my argument to say that men also suffer. So what? Of course you do. The deck is stacked against us all and it sucks. It doesn't make it okay to exploit someone's weaknesses just because you're exploiting everyone's. And, if y'all see something wrong with how society treats men, say something about it. Don't wait for me to do it. Don't expect me to do it. I'm not always thinking about you. You do it. Listen, I could let caveats spread through my writing like mold spreading through a meal untouched for days, but the thought of it is unappetizing to me. Instead, I'd just like for us to reach an understanding that I'm not always secretly comparing myself to you, that I'm not always silently passing judgment on how good you have things if I don't mention all the ways I know you have it bad. I want what I think is best for me. I'd like for, at the least, you to stop by here and consider what it's like to be me and to live this life in this body at this time and at this place. It doesn't mean I love you less if you show up here and I'm not talking about you. I promise.


Blogger HUCK said...

if y'all see something wrong with how society treats men, say something about it

Society has conditioned us not to. If we complain that we've been wronged by society, we are viewed as weak, and there is nothing more emasculating than that.

It's a vicious cycle which men would rather not face. We'd rather suck it up and say there ain't no problems with me, little Darlin. Now don't you go worry'n your pretty little head about it, neither.

11/02/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't talking about what you said B. I'm not worried about you giving men's issues equal time. Bridgett's comment just seemed to indicate that we should take it so much more seriously because it was about women's health. It was a woman's health issue until she said that.

I just wanted to know why she thought women's health was so much more important than men's. An acceptable answer would be that Bridgett cares more about women's health issues because she is in fact a woman herself.

I don't have any problem with you not dealing with men's issues. I just felt like she was trivializing them.


11/02/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous The Yellow Brand Hammer Co. hates women said...

B: I'm not instigating a pissing contest. I'd win anyway; I can aim better. =)

You started the cooter conversation by saying "...I hope I'm burning next to Dr. Gary J. Alter, MD, who clearly has an eternity of feminist bitches making large, painful cuts to his genitals in his future." I'm playing devil's advocate for this guy, because from what I've seen, I don't think he's deserving of hellfire or eternal punishment by feminists for doing his job. He's operating (pardon the pun) in a society that's particularly unfair to women. That's all he's guilty of, and if that's deserving of damnation, then we're all going to the same hell. These women sign up and pay for this. None of the ethical implications of his profession irk me.

As an extremely attractive white male, I'm not fishing for any kind of sympathy here or downplaying the hardships of women.

Entertain this, though: I hinted at this in my other posts. Society is a bully. So long as people allow themselves to be bullied, the bully keeps doing it. I said that by their very nature, social norms require a constituency to exist. If no one believes them or lives accordingly, they deconstruct.

When I mentioned that society teaches men to be ashamed of their bodies, here's the difference I'm illustrating: Men care less. That's what it boils down to. We blow it off. I know women have a harder time, but what if the reason they have a harder time is because they're entertaining a bully. When a man sees an underwear or cologne ad with a bodybuilder prettyboy on it, he doesn't get bent out of shape. Men just really don't care that much. If you take a look around, you'll see plenty of advertisements all over the place that objectify men. We just don't care. What runs through our heads when we see that shit is "Whoa! THAT'S what I'm supposed to look like? Oh well, got any beer?"

The gender gap in this issue is that women, way moreso than men, buy into it. They buy into the very images and ideas that hold them down.

I think you feel entirely too much sympathy for self-loathing sorority girls on diet pills and bleach lining up at surgery clinics. I think you have misdirected anger. Instead of being so incredibly pissed at the system, show a little hostility to the ones that fuel the system... girls who are too dumb or complacent to buck it and who continute to dump all their money into funding it.

You don't buy into this awful societal definition of a woman. I think the victims you're talking about deserve some of your wrath for supporting the system. I'm saying that you put a lot of thought and energy into these issues. Who elected you Martyr Of All Oppressed Women? It isn't your job, it falls on the shoulders of all women, and frankly, most of them aren't helping out too much. They've all heard of feminism, they just don't seem too interested in it.

In a workplace, when someone's not pulling their weight, everyone else gets mad about it. Similarly, I think you should be a little pissed by the fact that for all your efforts, women across the country (world, too) are working against you and themselves by playing the role assigned to them. Surely, this infuriates you.

Fuck, you're fighting it, why can't/don't they? If women in this country aren't furious, they're not paying attention.

Our culture is a monster without ears. You can't reason with it. All it does is cash checks. I think your biggest battle is with the folks writing them.

I'm a feminist too, I swear. I've just got boybrains and they don't work like yours.

11/02/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous The Yellow Brand Hammer Co. said...

*PS - You probably read that as "blame the woman." I meant it as "blame some of the women for not being sufficiently livid."

Just trying to take a different angle on this.

11/02/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger bridgett said...

W -- here's the acceptable answer, from me, by me. Read the dialogue prior to my comment. YBHC had said he failed to see where Alter's work was misogynist. I pointed out that he was promoting the bodily insecurity of women -- not just any body, but a woman's body -- and that was a misogynist act. (Hateful and contemptuous acts aimed at male bodies go by another label -- misandry.) Misogyny is by definition anti-feminist. Q.E.D.

I nowhere implied in my response to YBHC that this was a woman's health issue; it's more invasive to have the procedure done than to leave it be, so I can see where it could be perceived as a health threat to have the surgery, but that really wasn't my point.

Anything beyond that -- taking idiotic and beauty-norming practices masquerading as health care more seriously because they are aimed at women, for example, or the jumped conclusion that I take women's health more seriously than men because I'm a woman -- is a product of the indignant reader's imagination.

11/02/2005 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

YBHC, yes, I saw what you said in your last comment, but I was so dumbfounded by this idea that I've somehow escaped traps other women fall into to that I didn't know how to reply.

I shave my legs. I wear a bra. I want people to think I'm cute. I sometimes think that, if only I were smaller and smoother and hair-less-er and wore the right clothes, I could find me a man and achieve eternal happiness. Shoot, man, I'm not this way because I'm rejecting some other way. I'm this way because I can't be something I'm not.

I don't hate them because I can see how easy it is to be them. I mean, if I think to myself, "Gosh, if only I looked like Jessica Simpson, then I'd be happy," I also have to face up to the fact that I'm never going to look like Jessica Simpson. But what if I already looked like Ashlee Simpson? I'd think the temptation to "fix" things would be enormous, because it would seem like the fixes would be so small.

I don't get angry at these women because I empathize with them. I don't think they're that different than me. Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it.

11/02/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

I'll just say that is one AMAZING post, B. Keep writing, please.

11/02/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

First of all, great post.

Second of all, I think this has less to do with feminism and everything to do with superficiality.

Assuming that the genitals are not an absolute trainwreck, if anybody left you because of them, you're better off.

Someone who is so concerned about cosmetics that they would undergo the scalpel, is probably superficial in their attitudes in life, and in their relationships with others, and will probably only find a long term relationship with someone just as superficial.

11/02/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Pick said...

Mr. Yellow Brand Hammer,

It occurs to me that you misunderstand the reasons men don't care about body image as much as women do.

In our society, men are valued because we've got the power, and the money. Women aren't allowed in the upper stratas we occupy, so they have to sneak in based on looking good, according to the standards we get to set.

Thus, it really isn't fair to blame the women buying into notions of beauty when you consider those very notions are the only thing women are offered as a path to a higher value.

I know, I'm oversimplifying, and there are some other paths, but for the most part, this is the way it is. Men can afford to stop caring about our bodies because we provide other things. Women can't afford to stop caring, because if they do, we stop caring about them.

11/02/2005 03:55:00 PM  

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