Male Player Culture and Sexual Attitudes Toward Women

52 posts / 0 new
Last post
500_Apples
Male Player Culture and Sexual Attitudes Toward Women

This is a gramatically reconstitued version of a post that appeared in the feminist forum and received mixed reviews. My hope in this thread is that a lot of men will post miscellaneous experiences of the atitudes toward women they've seen or held in their lives, so that hopefully by the end we end up with a broader picture.

To all the other men, agression is something that is distributed on a continuum, try and think back to the times you were most agressive, or that it was on your mind for whatever reason, even if it's relatively tame, and think about the social dynamics at play.

**********************************

I think one of the problems of guy culture is that men are measured by the woman on their arms, so to speak. Having a girlfriend / sexual partner and frequent exploits is a form of validation and is assumed to be "necessary" without anyone ever realizing it's "necessary".

I write this as somebody who is, for whatever reason, rarely in love/lust. Maybe twice in my life, once at 18-20, and another time at 22-24 or so, whereas most people seem to be in wild relationships on a regular basis from the time they're 14. Over the years I've had plenty of harassment from other guys telling me I need to ask her out or something... it's difficult to explain what a huge pressure it is. The impetus is to ask out any woman you might be talking with at any given point in time, go find someone if no one is available, if you're not interested get interested, et cetera. Fortunately, I rarely listened. A few times I did, twice I asked a friend out that I wasn't really into (which was preceded by non-genuine flirtations) and then lost that friend, once I made a made a really lame hyper-cocky date request to what could have been an opportunity. Fortunately, no real harm done.

Back in the fall of 2006 there was an exchange student in one of my classes, and I brought up conversation with no real intentions whatsoever, just usual exploring the water sort of stuff. There's other people in the room noticing and within the next few hours and weeks "Daaaaaaaaaaave man, awesome !!!!!! when are you making your move". The conclusion had been predetermined for me. Incidentally, she was attractive I guess, a nice person, but I wasn't attracted to her. Maybe it was because all the external commentary turned it into a military operation. When I did get a girlfriend about 5 months later that I was actually interested in, one of these guys told me "I don't think she's as hot as that other girl". His girlfriend got mad at him ...

Part of the reason that I hate parties is that they're glorified mating festivals. If the purpose of a party is to get laid, and you don't think you're going to get laid at that party, then there's no point in going. A few years back was going to a sugar shak with some people. Was going to invite one guy and he told me over msn "can't wait to get some honey, if you know what I mean". How embarassing... we don't talk much since, he changed sometime around 2005 and became more agressive in all aspects of life. A year ago or so I organized some reunion with some other alumns of my program (we were a special group imo). Another guy told me it was great I was organizing this, and that he was totally getting laid that night. He ended up leaving early, alone. Incidentally, that party was an exception and I enjoyed it, as it was mostly engaged with respect to the idea of catching up to old friends. As far as most parties go, I think they're just glorified mating festivals, and I prefer the honesty of dating sites.

I think it's important to teach boys that it's ok to be single, and that relationships and attractions should be something that emerge naturally from normal social interactions rather than something that's forced; certainly that should be the case while they're in school anyway and hopefuly meeting new people all the time. Right now, men are in part by who they date, and while that happens I'm not sure that can change. Trophy wives are a status symbol, and unlike private jets you don't need US$ 30,000,000 to go for it. If a single man ever ran for public office for example I suspect he would be massacred.

 

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

I'd party with you without any intention of using it as a vehicle to mate....I've never really been able to do it any other way.  Making friends is an earth shattering thing to do and orgasms are, so far for me anyway, fleeting pleasure at best.

I suppose I feel that pressure to be a 'man' sometime, but most of the time I guess I've been lucky enough to meet a number of really strong women who've helped carry me beyond that kind of feeling of male inadequacy.  They did so simply by being themselves, letting me be myself and making our lives all the sweeter for it.

There are both men and women who are motivated to socialize in hopes of realizing a sexual encounter and their are men and women who are motivated by a myriad of other reasons.  If you're of the later category, know you're not the only one and seek out others.  Otherwise we are just perpetuating a myth.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I really liked your post when I saw it yesterday, Apples.

I've really benefitted from a strong female role model in my mother--who played hockey in the seventies before Canada even had a national women's program, rode a motorcycle, mowed the lawn in her bikini and became a widely respected high school principal. But of course that's pale compensation for the inundation of anti-feminist ideology that bombards us on a daily basis.

On Saturday I was enjoying a drink on a terrace with my partner, and she pointed out--which I didn't notice, of course--a group of fairly geeky-looking guys (i.e. not typical "jocks" or whatever, guys who probably consider themselves "sensitive"--hell, some of them could have been my friends or colleagues) who were making all sorts of sexist comments about various parts of women celebrities anatomy. They used the usual strategies: morselizing them, dehumanizing them, breaking them down into a Frankenstein assemblage of parts rather than a holistic, human individual. I thought about my role in that situation: "hey lads, show some respect" etc. But quite clearly, the bar was a masculine, heterosexual space and that behaviour was more or less normalized. There were all sorts of other ingredients to the situation that made it seem out of place: like it was in the middle of day, there were children around, it was on the street, etc. But the actual content of their conversation didn't contribute to its out-of-place-ness. Why not? we wondered. Why is the misogynism the last distasteful part of that scenario? Well, the answer is easy, actually...

In the end, the group left shortly after we noticed, and my partner didn't want to create conflict (and she's actually quite capable of stopping idiots like this in their tracks) but I was left feeling cowardly and impotent in the face of that anti-feminist space.

What was also striking was the performative nature of their conversation--because they weren't stereotypical macho dudes, it was like they were playing men (well, we all of us men play men to an extent): this is how men talk. Are we not men?

KenS

.

KenS

I work in the construction industry. The number of sexist comments I hear and just let go by are legion. Its not just the melieux, its also the fact that the nature of the industry is that the people you work with is just a flow. Even if there is one person you have mutual knowledge enough that he can have a context to what you say, its just one guy among a bunch of people who know nothing about you.

I have to pick my moments when I say anything. And thats not just for my own sanity. I'd be quickly widely known and dismissed as a crank if I didn't pick my times. And people don't pay attention to what cranks say.

I have noticed that when I'm around people who do know me,  they don't initiate blatantly racist or sexist remarks. Since almost none of these people do I know well, I often wonder whether they are only behaving at this moment, to not offend me personally. Part of me says that even if 'thats all', who knows that it isn't part of baby steps.

From my watching, the increased acceptance of openly gay men in the industry began with only refraining from mocking them.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Catchfire wrote:

What was also striking was the performative nature of their conversation--because they weren't stereotypical macho dudes, it was like they were playing men (well, we all of us men play men to an extent): this is how men talk. Are we not men?

Ummm, haven't you ever heard women discussing body parts with other women?

I'm not sure I have a problem with people discussing their carnal sides.  Misrepresenting your desires on the other hand in order to fit in with a group leaves a lot to be desired.  Where I do have a problem is if it were the only acceptable mode of conversation.

If a Women had a philosophical discussion with me, opened her heart up about her emotions,  discussed some politics, enumerated some of the intellectual ideas taking shape in her mind I don't think it would be offensive for me to also hear a comment about a guys cute but.

I'm just thinking the problem might not be so much that guys talk about womens body parts or wanting to get laid as it is the subjects that might give that balance are considered taboo in certain circles for guys to talk about.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

On Saturday I was enjoying a drink on a terrace with my partner, and she pointed out--which I didn't notice, of course--a group of fairly geeky-looking guys (i.e. not typical "jocks" or whatever, guys who probably consider themselves "sensitive"--hell, some of them could have been my friends or colleagues) who were making all sorts of sexist comments about various parts of women celebrities anatomy...

 

I've been in the milieux that KenS has described, but I've also hung around younger guys as a minor sports coach. I've heard a whole team turn on a guy for saying something questionable and tell him, "Hey, that's sexist." I think the culture's changing. When I was much younger, it was an exotic novelty to see a girl playing hockey with us, now the boys don't seem to notice any difference.

500_Apples

ebodyknows wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

What was also striking was the performative nature of their conversation--because they weren't stereotypical macho dudes, it was like they were playing men (well, we all of us men play men to an extent): this is how men talk. Are we not men?

Ummm, haven't you ever heard women discussing body parts with other women?

I'm not sure I have a problem with people discussing their carnal sides.  Misrepresenting your desires on the other hand in order to fit in with a group leaves a lot to be desired.  Where I do have a problem is if it were the only acceptable mode of conversation.

If a Women had a philosophical discussion with me, opened her heart up about her emotions,  discussed some politics, enumerated some of the intellectual ideas taking shape in her mind I don't think it would be offensive for me to also hear a comment about a guys cute but.

I'm just thinking the problem might not be so much that guys talk about womens body parts or wanting to get laid as it is the subjects that might give that balance are considered taboo in certain circles for guys to talk about.

The scale and loudness probably matter. Obviously women sometimes behave in a sexist manner as well.

500_Apples

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I've been in the milieux that KenS has described, but I've also hung around younger guys as a minor sports coach. I've heard a whole team turn on a guy for saying something questionable and tell him, "Hey, that's sexist." I think the culture's changing. When I was much younger, it was an exotic novelty to see a girl playing hockey with us, now the boys don't seem to notice any difference.

That's a rapid change. How old are they?

remind remind's picture

Good topic 500_apples

It is amazing that some men sell themselves the idea they are "players" while believing the women  they "play" are 'sluts'.

Not realizing it is they who fit the 'slut' definition, at best, is amazing, but it is changing, young women  are starting to throw off that yoke of patriarchial suppression and calling the players for what they are.

500_Apples

remind wrote:

Good topic 500_apples

It is amazing that some men sell themselves the idea they are "players" while believing the women  they "play" are 'sluts'.

Not realizing it is they who fit the 'slut' definition, at best, is amazing, but it is changing, young women  are starting to throw off that yoke of patriarchial suppression and calling the players for what they are.

I've noticed some women at some point trying to reclaim the word slut by using it amongst themselves as praise, but I've seen that like... twice. I've certainly never seen it in conservative Ohio.

I think the underlying belief behind the word "player" is that men are forced into monogamy by society. Monogamy's actually beneficial to the bulk men. The alternative is the "moral framework" of polygamists in places like Utah and BC, where 17 year old boys are apparently kicked out on a regular basis.

remind remind's picture

Na, the word 'player' is a word of praise for men, between men, who use women and lie to them to get them to comply to what they want from them, be it; money, sex, a roof, or even access to their children, and they think there are someone if they believe they are one.

 

6079_Smith_W

500_Apples wrote:

I think the underlying belief behind the word "player" is that men are forced into monogamy by society.

I think the nuclear family is a model that men and women are encouraged to conform to, and yeah, it primarily benefits men because traditionally it is a situation in which they have most of the control.  But monogamy is another thing entirely. There are plenty of men and quite a few women who have no problem with playing around even though they are attached - most often by cheating, but sometimes not.

And speaking of which, I think the "slut" reference you are talking about might be in reference to the book "The Ethical Slut" - the notion that having open or other relationships is fine so long as all parties are okay with it.

writer writer's picture

500_Apples, I highly recommend Barbara Ehrenreich's book The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment

6079_Smith_W

@ 500_Apples

I think in a lot of male circles a man is not supposed to express interest in a committed relationship even if it is what he is interested in.

I never hung out in groups where guys goaded each others about making "plays" on women or talked about body parts (though I have certainly heard enough of it in public).

Even among my friends though, love relationships and the desire to have a partner were not something we talked about in the way women share their feelings and expectations with each other (or even the way that women have spoken to me, and vice versa).

I have two close, longtime male friends now for whom that is an exception, but it is not something I would ordinarily ask about, even guys who were roommates of mine. I certainly would not have done so when I was in my 20s.

 

al-Qa'bong

I did...in my twenties and earlier.

There's a lot of stereotyping going on in this thread.

KenS

I havent finished kicking this around in my own head. But maybe I'm not going to get any further on my own, so I'll toss it out as far as it goes.

I was thinking about alQ's note upthread. And on reflection, egregious sexist performing among men on their own might not be as bad as it was 20-30 years ago. [Though I'm never in the kind of 'young buck' milieuxs of the construction industry where I saw this 30 years ago.] And I do also see a lot more evidence of boys and young men accepting women as peers and equals- apparent reflections that they have grown up with more of that.

But at the same time I see no evidence of any change that this is becoming less of a rape culture.

In other words, it might be true that even with men coming to accept women as their peers and equals, some of them that do so are also rapists.

Obviously, some of them are rapists. But for all we know, they are just as likely to be rapists as are the guys who are outwardly make it clear they dont see women as their equals.

6079_Smith_W

al-Qa'bong wrote:

There's a lot of stereotyping going on in this thread.

I'm curious to know what you are refering to.

(edit) to clarify, we are talking about social forces on people to conform to a stereotypical mold.

KenS

Thats part of the problem of thinking about changing guy culture... when you dont spend any time there. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about spending zero time with people I work with. But thats the end of it- just feel a bit guilty.

I don't even 'hang out with the guys' among my chosen friends. Although thats partly a peculiarity of the distnace I live from most people I chhose to have in my life.

Tommy_Paine

Misrepresenting your desires on the other hand in order to fit in with a group leaves a lot to be desired.  Where I do have a problem is if it were the only acceptable mode of conversation.

 

I don't socialize with groups of men.   I think this started in high school.  I just noticed that my buddies were different people one on one than they were in a group.   At various times I was probably the same.

 

But then, I work eight hours a day almost exclusively with guys.   Maybe I get what little guy fix I need at work.  I know even at work I get fed up with it pretty quick.  

I prefer to socialize with women.   Now, it could be that women are the same way, different one on one than they are in a group.   But I don't notice it, and anyway at least it's different.   Guys, in a group, are pathetically predictable.

 

Maybe it's a generational thing, or a class thing, but one on one or in groups, a "player", as described above, someone who doesn't do anything but look good and use others isn't considered a man by anyone I know, but some wierd manboy.   

 

Late at night I was unable to sleep a few weeks ago, and caught a bit of an unreality show.  It might have been "Jersey Shore".  But it featured a guy in his late 20's, living with his gramma, going to the bars to pick up girls, then walking out of a dish washing job because it was beneath him or something.

I was disgusted.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

I see representations on T.V., and listen at lunch and break to guys arranging going out for a round of golf, and I don't even have the slightest twinge of feeling like I am missing something.  In fact, I feel a sense of relief that I'm not included.

 

Which might not be odd if I was always the odd ball, but I played sports, I hung with the guys, I do fit in.  I just don't want to.

 

I'm not sure changing guy culture can happen in a group dynamic.    I think you have to lead by example, for one, and for another do the changing one on one.

 

I've shared my views one on one with guys that using a street prostitue who is only plying her trade because of drug addiction is in fact rape, and I've never been contradicted, but I doubt it's something that would fly in a group of guys.  

 

 

Caissa

I have spent my last 16 years working in pse student services. The majority of my colleagues are women. The type of overt  male player culture referred to in the op doesn't exist in my working environment.  I have encountered this culture in two work environments. The first was when I was in the CF Reserves. The inclusion of women in the Forces had certainly not mitigated the fundamental sexism in the early 80s when I served. The second was when I was employed working in the maintenance department of the Port of Saint John as a summer student from 1981-86. It was a predominantly male environment and the discussions represented some of the worst of guy culture. 

writer writer's picture

What about guy culture here on babble?

Caissa

Why don't you start a thread on it?

writer writer's picture

Reading this thread, most of the men participating seem to indicate they don't hang around with other men in groups. Yet I think it can be argued that babble *is* largely directed by male culture. It is certainly dominated by male contributors. How does this reality fit in with larger societal male culture? How do male contributors acknowledge this (or not)? What is it about babble that results in such a gender imbalance? Is there any opportunity to self-reflect about this? What could be done to address it? Is it something to be addressed? That's what I mean.

writer writer's picture

Caissa, see my post above yours. I'm a pretty plain talker.

Edited to add: I really wish the mindreading would stop.

Caissa

She asked a question, I merely suggested it could use its own thread and if it interested writer then writer might wish to start a thread on it. Frankly, I thought her question was a dig. Many generic digs re. men on Babble are appearing lately. A frank, full and open discussion would be preferable to the what I have been perceiving as many drive by snipings on the topic. I presume you see it differently, KenS?  

Caissa

We cross-posted, writer. I think your questions are important enough to warrant their own thread. I'd be more than happy to here your take on the questions you pose.

writer writer's picture

You want to disprove my theory that, above all, men fear apologizing by apologizing for posting that you frankly thought I was throwing out a dig and doing a drive by - rather than just asking for clarification if you wondered what my motives were, and giving me an opportunity to expand, if expansion / clarification was needed?

Caissa

I apolgize to you for thinking you were throwing out a dig and doing a drive by.

My observation that i believe that type of behaviour has been happening lately stands.

Caissa

I'm trying to follow you,writer. I get the first three sentences but I lose the thread after that. Could you elaborate so i can better understand what you are saying?

writer writer's picture

Sometimes we help the creation and perpetuation of such realities. You assume I am doing a drive by. So you do a drive by based on that assumption. And then your behaviour laces together with other such behaviour to prove that, yes, this type of behaviour has been happening. Lately, I'm not so sure. Think it's been part of the culture here for a while.

Edited to add: and thanks for the apology!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I think babble definitely has a unique male subculture, made up of men who consider themselves variously feminists, feminist-sympatico, feminist-savvy, etc. Yet we still have the benefit of retreating to male privilege, and the strategies, comfort, affirmation that entails in ways in which we can consciously ignore, because, consciously, we "get it." In that regard babble can be somewhat treacherous in that it provides a space of male privilege disguised as a feminist-positive space, or a space of equality. It's not, of course. We men are all guilty of that in different ways, I think.

I also wonder about the pleasure it give us men to say feminist-positive things, unconsciously (or even consciously) aware of the above dynamic. It's kind of perverse isn't it? I'm referring to this post, in fact. Not that men "don't have a right" to say feminist things--I'm just wondering about our affective state when we say them. It's very hard, at least for me, to say a feminist thing and give only that thing to equality, feminism, utopia, whatever--without also taking pleasure at the fact that *I* can say it. It's ego, innit? And that's male culture in a word.

Signed,

Your Freudian intervention for the day.

KenS

Are there real people on babble?

Not entirely facetious. I don't think I'd go near an online exchange such as what I would do one on one, or even with a few guys, at the workplace.... despite generally having less in common with the guys at work.

If you are talking about something that includes sharing personal experiences, it isnt just the general reluctance that men have more than women about sharing around that. I can park that. But there is a big difference between women talking in babble about their experiences with sexual assault, and men exposing themslves online to where discussions of the same might go. Its not going to happen.

ETA: I think thats an uncalled for dig Caissa. Its not her place at all to be starting a thread. But in the first place, she asks a good question.

KenS

Dear Sigmund,

Whats an affective state?

6079_Smith_W

@ writer

Yeah, I see that too.

First, this conversation is going to go the way it is going to go, and I wouldn't expect everything would happen all at once.

Second, if I were to mention (as I have mentioned elsewhere) that I think certain behaviour in at protest events is macho posturing and counter-productive it would be a red flag to draw that discussion right here.

Third, yes I know men tend to dominate conversations. mea culpa. I think there are some complicated issues around that too. Anyway, I spoke to that not too long ago and got told my opinion was useless.

I'm not challenging you or trying to give you the gears because you raise a good and central point, one which I already made in a PM to someone.  But gender imbalance is a very fiery issue, and there are strong opinions and constraints on the discussion. And no, I am not challenging the prevailing view on feminist issues here because I support it. But aside from that there are definite limits, and there are some things which I personally cannot and other things which I will not talk about here.

That doesn't mean some productive things can't be accomplished, but I think it is best to recognize that there are limits to what we can do here.

But thanks for pointing out the elephant in the room (a serious, and friendly joke).

 

 

 

writer writer's picture

Caissa wrote: "My observation that i believe that type of behaviour has been happening lately stands."

writer responded: "... And then your behaviour laces together with other such behaviour to prove that, yes, this type of behaviour has been happening. Lately, I'm not so sure. Think it's been part of the culture here for a while."

Caissa asked: "Could you elaborate so i can better understand what you are saying?"

---

You assumed I was doing a drive by, rather than raising an honest question in a thread I encouraged 500_Apples to start (receiving, by the way, a nasty sludge of insults for doing so). You apologize for the assumptions you made, but also seem to partially justify your hairtrigger response by indicating that it was informed by the driveby behaviour you are seeing on babble lately.

So your assumption, followed by a public slam of me, had - at the moment before your apology - added to the driveby culture that I think you do not like here. You became part of the behaviour / culture you wish to condemn.

However, your apology does much to counteract this nasty dynamic. I think a simple apology and acknowledgement can stop it cold. So many thanks for that.

In terms of whether this driveby stuff is a recent trend, my observation since the birth of babble is that it is not.

Edited to further clarify: I'm addressing what I perceive to be the use of mangled mindreading / digs / drive by / smears / assumptions of the worst in general, rather than on a specific subject.

 

Caissa

Thanks, writer #33 was very clear. I considered putting my observation in a separate post from my apology. My apology should stand alone and therefore I will reproduce it as such.

I apolgize to you for thinking you were throwing out a dig and doing a drive by.

writer writer's picture

Many thanks.

writer writer's picture

Quote:

On top of that, the discussion dynamic scares off a ton of people, even more of them women. As much as I plead about that, and try to take my own practical steps, I'm realistic that it would probably take a huge commitment to change that.

And if we can't make such a "huge" commitment here, in such a little space, how can we pretend that a social shift can take place? So male domination will simply continue, here as elsewhere, with some men ringing their hands about it.

Quote:

I'm inclined to think that reflecting on what babble is like is a very small slice of the reflection required. And possibly a distraction. Yes, its where we are... and thats a good point is that HERE is a lergely male group we are part of. But....

If not here, where? Why is focusing on the culture that is *here* a distraction? Could it not be a beginning?

KenS

writer wrote:

Reading this thread, most of the men participating seem to indicate they don't hang around with other men in groups. Yet I think it can be argued that babble *is* largely directed by male culture. It is certainly dominated by male contributors. How does this reality fit in with larger societal male culture? How do male contributors acknowledge this (or not)? What is it about babble that results in such a gender imbalance? Is there any opportunity to self-reflect about this? What could be done to address it? Is it something to be addressed? That's what I mean.

No question in my mind that babble is dominated by male culture and male contributors. But where does this fit in and what to do about it? Why is there such a gender imbalance?

Unfortunately, we are dealing with two different things here.

One is what seems to be the norm of on-line forums in general- that is pervasive beyond what its particular participants/contributors do and don't do. Babble and similar forums- even old email lists- draw from an activist cadre. Yet, no matter what kind of organizations you are involved with, they are not remotely as male directed or dominated as are these on-line forums. There is something about them that I intuitively get, but cant entirely put my finger on how it works.

But there's a simple factor that even women with the same intersts and values [those fellow activists that Babble draws almost all of us from] just aren't generally interested in these kind of on-line discussions. And I suspect that would be true even if the discussion dynamic were more holesome and fulfilling in its own right. [A dynamic most men dont like either. I don't like it, to the point that I'm currently down to just a few topics I'll consider discussing here.]

I think there is some reason men are MUCH more likely to want to spend their time on a keyboard in a place like this. And thats beyond us to change.

On top of that, the discussion dynamic scares off a ton of people, even more of them women. As much as I plead about that, and try to take my own practical steps, I'm realistic that it would probably take a huge commitment to change that. Which leaves us more or less with the Babble we've got, and similar on-line forums.

Getting to the point: I'm already doing everything I can to make this a less alientaing place. Which at least would put off fewer women. Leaving aside questions of effectiveness, I'm trying.

I'm inclined to think that reflecting on what babble is like is a very small slice of the reflection required by the topic of this thread. And possibly a distraction. Yes, its where we are... and writer makes a good point  that HERE is a largely male group we are part of. But....

I dont see any 'handles' yet.

KenS

For the discussion dynamic on babble, I think male domination is only part of the problem. It may well be the 'original sin', but I'm not sure that helps when you are trying to do something about it.

And really, when it comes down to it... compared to what else we do, how important is a discussion sapce when you are talking about committing a lot?

KenS

Personally, I think its worth a lot. In my own case, I don't have much for alternatives.

But I don't think that changes the practicality or force of my question.

KenS

writer wrote:

And if we can't make such a "huge" commitment here, in such a little space, how can we pretend that a social shift can take place?

There is a BIG problem. This isnt just a small space.   Its an on-line space. And it seems to be VERY HARD the business of addressing discussion dynamics without face to face contact.

So to answer your question, this isn't 'if not here, then where?" Its more like, "this seems to be the last kind of place you can expect to do anything."

 

6079_Smith_W

There is a bit of a paradox to men discussing men's domination of discussion.

Acknowledging it is one thing, but it seems to me that once we have established that dynamic exists there isn't too much to say. To do the right thing is to do less, or in some cases, nothing -not talking or responding, and reminding others that they might want to do (or NOT do, actually) the same.

 

writer writer's picture

Quote:

There is a bit of a paradox to men discussing men's domination of discussion.

Personally, I would love to see just such a discussion on babble. I think it's long overdue. And with that, I will gracefully bow out. Thank you, friends.

Edited to add: There is a world of difference between the current domination of pretty near every thread and forum - save perhaps one - and a mindful male-centred reflection, self-evaluation and analysis in a clearly framed thread. Yes?

6079_Smith_W

@ writer

Yup, I think this is a start. As for the domination of discussion, I'll start another thread, so as not to veer off from the topic of this one.

http://www.rabble.ca/babble/culture/male-domination-discussion

And thanks.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

I might be changing my mind.  Men need strong men to demonstrate examples of other ways of being.  So maybe the solution is not to abandon those stuck in the cliché because it is the only way they know how to fit in.

Some friends told me about a 'men's circle' that was held a few weeks ago as part of a larger multi-day event with an intergenerational audience. A woman very strongly pushed some of the younger reluctant to talk about their feelings(trying to fit in with their friends) people into the circle.  From what I've been told there was a wide variety of people opening up about their lives including a former pimp. It was an uncommon situation and some effort and intention went in to making the safe place for that to be able to happen.  I also have the sense that it was infinitely more powerful than anything that can happen online because it was a space where men could make/strengthen real friendships.  A forum such as babble is a great place to come to fill some time reflect on ideas and sharpen the intellect but it doesn't really quench loneliness.

I also saw a cousin in his early 20's this past weekend who i know looked up to me when he was younger but we haven't seen much of each other since his teenage years as he moved to montreal.  A story about going to an event where he and a friend saw two men kissing came up and they both decided to leave because of that.  After telling the story he quickly realized the group he was now in didn't support that decision and I now have an invitation to be taken to the event when I visit montreal. I don't really know that I can demonstrate a better alternative to the reality he knows but I can show him something different. 

me: "I'm just thinking the problem might not be so much that guys talk about womens body parts or wanting to get laid as it is the subjects that might give that balance are considered taboo in certain circles for guys to talk about."

apples: "The scale and loudness probably matter. Obviously women sometimes behave in a sexist manner as well."

I'm not sure what we're each envisioning here in our minds that would be a healthier set of sexual attitudes towards women I'm just thinking that whatever it is let's not desexualize ourselves in the process.  People are going to desire other people, we might be able to deal better with those kinds of feeling culturally than we are but as bad as things may be pretending our desires don't exist would probably be  less less healthy as an alternative.

500_Apples

ebodyknows wrote:

me: "I'm just thinking the problem might not be so much that guys talk about womens body parts or wanting to get laid as it is the subjects that might give that balance are considered taboo in certain circles for guys to talk about."

apples: "The scale and loudness probably matter. Obviously women sometimes behave in a sexist manner as well."

I'm not sure what we're each envisioning here in our minds that would be a healthier set of sexual attitudes towards women I'm just thinking that whatever it is let's not desexualize ourselves in the process.  People are going to desire other people, we might be able to deal better with those kinds of feeling culturally than we are but as bad as things may be pretending our desires don't exist would probably be  less less healthy as an alternative.

I agree, but the scale matter. There's a big gulf between thinking "she has a great rack"  or alternatively shouting "nice tits baby". I understood the situation Catchfire described as being somewhere in that divide.

I'm not exactly sure what the exact threshhold is when it's appropriate and when it's not. I do think it's important to be discreet and not let half the restaurant hear your verdict on who's worthy of a fuck and who isn't with a description of why, which btw is my guesstimate of the situation Catchfire was describing.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

I feel the problem with judging the people in Cathfires story that way is that there's too many variables to guess at.  The interesting thing he brought up was the need to give some attention to the context.  It was a group in a public bar where they could be overheard.  A context where I'd probably feel a little more self-concious about making myself vulnerable by getting into serious and personal discussions.  Granted there are a lot of other 'safe' for that context topics that could have been chosen as an alternative.  This  has got me thinking about guys in my life with whom I do feel comfortable discussing personal/weighty topics with. I lament not knowing how to better create those safe trusting relationships. Which makes your post all the more impressive apples as even online in this forum where people can be anonymous I've felt a reluctance on those participating to want to discuss their personal lives[While this might be a potentially 'safe' space I'm learning people are probably not coming here to deal with their personal lives].  I do know I've never been fond of spending much time in bars and have had to deal with lots of lonlieness and feelings of alienation as I sought out less-traditional environments in which to be social...as well as getting comfortable with that fact that my gender might be in the minority in some of those places.

"I broke into the tomb, but the casket was empty
There was no jewels, no nothin’, I felt I’d been had
When I saw that my partner was just bein’ friendly
When I took up his offer I must-a been mad

I picked up his body and I dragged him inside
Threw him down in the hole and I put back the cover
I said a quick prayer and I felt satisfied
Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her"

 

"So now we're at a club, you watch the woman dancing, she is drunk
She is smiling and she's falling in a slow, descending funk
And the whole bar is loud and proud and everybody's trying, yeah
You play the artist, saying, "Is it how she moves, or how she looks?"
I say, it's loneliness suspended to our own like grappling hooks
And as long as she's got noise, she's fine"

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't agree that there are "too many variables to guess at" when men participate in typical masculine heterosexist narratives and structures which are active in society and which we can all identify. Which female celebrity has the best tits, legs, ass, thumbs, face, etc.? This is not a subtle equation. It's a conversation which "happens" everywhere, in every context. What changed was my response: which spaces, situations, are more male, more heterosexist? A bar, as NY gay activists proved with great effect in the 60s and 70s, ranks right up there with number one. Does that change at a different time of day? What if the men involved share a much more fraught relationship with performing maleness, as did the men involved in my scenario (in my opinion)? They were performing masculinity much mroe explicitly, and much more uncomfortably, than the men usually associated with those stereotypes--or, more accurately, the men we usually reduce to those stereotypes. I was concerned with my role in that situation--am I a steward of masculinity? Am I responsible for my partner's gendered comfort? Am I responsible for the behaviour of strangers? These are the questions that troubled me.

Pages