wherein the author actually deconstructs something.

An acquaintance from way-back posted this li’l “funny” to her LJ a few days ago, and I posted an evaluative response in the comments [no direct url, sorry, but it’s the first one].

I was curious, especially since I’d just put my big-ol-burgeoning-feminist opinion on her LJ*, exactly why she had posted that, and considering she listed her mood as aggravated, I thought of two possibilities:

1) Either she was aggravated at the thing she posted
2) She was aggravated at something else, and therefore posted it.

Possibly the two were unrelated, but I asked. She replied:

At this time in my life, i think i posted it because it was funny and because I’m sick of men who only want sex. Ya know what I mean?

My first response was:

Yup. That’s a frustration I know about.*** I’m sorry to hear you’re being pestered. My (angry, frustrated) response to that sort of thing was always “fine, see if you get ANY.” The “I’ll have sex when I want to, and you can’t make me, so nyah” response. Not my favorite, but sometimes the only thing that gets (got) listened to. Or not listened to.

So, yeah. I get ya. *HUGS*

What I thought about posting after, but didn’t, ran something like this: “Yeah, and then when I want(ed) to have teh sex, I felt I couldn’t because I’d be giving in again” + “Even if you do say that, it’s not always listened to” + something else I’ve forgotten just now.

I wasn’t done yet. I couldn’t just let all that go.

Then I had a Second thought: The list isn’t fair to women. The long list o’ requirements that women supposedly expect from men, some of which are not necessarily important… I mean, “love shopping”?, and the combination of which is clearly impossible, is used to characterize women as impossible to please.

Follow this with the short, lust-based men’s list, which, while treating men as animals who are subject only and always to their basest selves, use the concept of men having ‘simple’ desires to shame women into submission: men’s desires, unlike women’s, would be so easy to fulfill, i.e., women ought to fulfill them, and be grateful men aren’t as ‘demanding’ as women are.

Part of me still wishes I could see this as funny. Right now, though, it just looks like an example of what men pushing for sex would say (have said) in order to get their way: “You women are so hard to please… why won’t you do the one thing to make me happy?”, or “Look at all the stuff you expect me to do; and you can’t/won’t do this One Simple Thing for me? You obviously don’t love me.”

Guilt trips = emotional manipulation. Full stop.

Something else interrupted the Second thought: Yeah, the list is funny, if you look at the first list as what would be appreciated If only that were something women could sanely do. But from where I’m sitting, I can’t, and won’t buy into that sort of stuff anymore. To me, the entire purpose of “funnies” like this, subconscious though it may be, is to shame women back into “their place” (see also, “The Husband Shop” in this post).

So no, dear, I don’t think it’s funny. I can appreciate that you might, and that at one time I would have too. Then, though, I was playing into the ‘shaming women into sex’ game, and suffering from it as a result.

*and yes, I felt like I was forcing it on her**. Not really sure why; looking at that.
**this might have something to with the fact that the topic relates directly to pushing something unwanted on women, and I don’t want to be even remotely associated with rapist-like characteristics, even though this is 1) just my thoughts on a topic and 2) I dont’ hold a position of power/privilege over her and 3) she is free to delete/edit comments on her own site. Talk about being overly cautious.
***In previous relationships. My husband, my dearest one, is a partner in the truest sense of the word, and is by no means implicated in this. Anyone who implies otherwise will have me to deal with.

4 thoughts on “wherein the author actually deconstructs something.

  1. Interesting dissection.
    I’m not fond of Men vs. Women type of forwards anyway, the “it’s funny because it’s true!” joke. It’s never completely true, so it probably isn’t completely funny, and it reinforces the cultural norms that produce them (as you demonstrate above).
    I hear you, too, in that protesting those norms (i.e. you do not have a right to expect sex) you sometimes override your actual wants–which is precisely the problem with binary systems. Everything becomes either/or. I can be a man or a woman. (I opted for man behavior for awhile because of this.) I can submit or resist. It’s not at all conducive to sexual/emotional comfort and well-being!
    Because I’ve worked through a lot of these things, I always expect new lovers to be all caught up and am continually surprised when they aren’t.
    Hence, sexblog. Coming soon. : )

  2. tanglethis sez:

    Everything becomes either/or. I can be a man or a woman. (I opted for man behavior for awhile because of this.) I can submit or resist.

    Yes yes yes! I sometimes think I attempt(ed) to tread some sort of middle path between those two with external ‘features’ (tomboy label, ‘but I don’t like pink’ + ‘but I have to buy boy jeans’), even when I was a very young woman (high school and earlier).

    I’m glad at least to be settled on a single partner for the duration, who can learn along with me. But when I read stuff about those binary “you’re either this or this” I get to work through a whole slough of old junk, from past relationship baggage to growing up liberal and questioning in a conservative religious community.

    (as you demonstrate above)

    Wow, look how much my confidence lacks/wants reinforcement. That phrase brings up the “I really can do this!” feelings… when I know I’m smart enough to think clearly and express a point. Wow.

    Still, that makes me bouncy and excited. Yay, I’m smart, and someone else sez so!

    And yay, sexblog! I’m glad that’s getting done, yes yes! I’m so looking forward to having that forum available, and making use of it!

  3. Yay, I’m smart, and someone else sez so!

    I say so too! Meant to comment on this for days but I’ve been busy. It’s such a perfect summation of everything that annoys me about these “jokes”.

  4. It’s such a perfect summation of everything that annoys me about these “jokes”.

    That’s funny… That’s what I feel like saying on everybody else’s blogs most of the time. I usually get caught up in the “it’s so good, I really don’t have anything to add except ‘yay! rah! amen!’ and the like.

    EDIT: So, thanks! ^^

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