The obnoxiousness of the entitlement myth.

A comment by “Omega” on hugoschwyzer.net:

The vast majority of people who approach others are men, and 9 out of ten times someone is rejected, that person is male.  Many people are approached, and since rejection is common, obviously there are many men getting rejected.  One, if women were so afraid of rejecting men, it wouldn’t happen so often.  Two, if men were really so entitled and went into a rage so often, high schools and colleges and even workplaces would be literal war zones.  But they’re not, because the vast majority of men accept rejection.  Maybe they’re hurt or whatever, and maybe they express anger to their friends (just like women do), but this entitlement complex you keep pushing is simply a false phenomenon.  It’s not true.  It’s incorrect.  And it’s frankly obnoxious.
(“Omega,” on October 21st at 1:06 p.m.)

There are two thoughts I have about Omega’s comment.  First, there are many ways in which a man could react badly to rejection short of “turning a college/workplace into a war zone.”  (A man who reacts to rejection with violence is clearly either a psychopath or tragically brain damaged.)  Even a reaction that is seemingly as benign as “sourness” could still make life less pleasant for a woman, and so the absence of widespread mayhem doesn’t mean men handle rejection as well as they should.  And yes, to state the obvious, men should take it as graciously as they can.

That said, Omega’s comment regarding the platitude about “male entitlement” is correct.  It is obnoxious.  It’s obnoxious not because no men believe in chauvinistic sexual entitlements – clearly some do – but because the attitude of “male entitlement” is far, far from universal.  In fact if “male entitlement” is meant to mean something greater than the “entitlement” felt by women, I would even venture to say it’s a feeling held by a distinct minority of men.

The entitlement platitude also obscures the fact that there are many men for whom the feeling of entitlement to sexual pleasure from anyone feels wrong.  And this feeling of wrongness is sadly misplaced.

To put it another way:  I am admittedly not entitled to sexual pleasure from her.  And I’m not necessarily entitled to sexual pleasure from her, or her, or her.  But I am entitled to sexual pleasure from some woman, somewhere, at some time.  It is not reasonable to require, even as a remote hypothetical, that I accept a life of masturbatory solipsism as a condition for an ethical sexuality.  Which is why I find the following sentence in Mr. Schwyzer’s essay troublesome:

“Making it clear that one doesn’t expect one’s wants to be met by others is a key part of putting other folks at ease.”

Contrast this to the advice given to young women by sex positive feminists:  You should expect your sexual wants and desires to be met by others.  Indeed, sex-positive feminists have emphasized – correctly – that expecting others to meet your own sexual wants and desires is the sine qua non of a healthy sexual self-esteem.

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