We could be that mistake.

I haven’t seen the movie “Superbad”, but Roger Ebert gave it a thumbs up.  Apparently the plot revolves around high school boys who are trying to get laid, and here’s a seven second clip from the film:

Okay, that’s sort of funny, but also troublesome.  Most obviously, of course, there’s a fine line between being “the wrong guy” and being a criminal, as Roger Ebert points out.  But it’s also troubling for what it communicates about the sexual desirability of young men – that they’re so undesirable as to only hope for sex from young women smashed out of their minds.

Feminists often decry “pick up artist” culture – men “on the prowl” and so on – and suggest a more honest, egalitarian sexuality.  The problem is, an egalitarian sexual culture is impossible so long as young men are taught, as Christopher Hitchens once said, that they are “spectacularly unattractive” and have to throw a Hail Mary and prove “high value” in a desperate bid to engage the attention of women.  This message does not, generally speaking, help adolescent boys grow into emotionally aware, compassionate, and confident young men – quite the opposite.  It’s emotionally stultifying and breeds infantile resentment of women’s sexual power.  Consider, for example, this comment left on a “men’s rights” blog, the Spearhead, by “Keyster” on the subject of this past year’s Slutwalks:

They’re high functioning children with sexual power and they don’t want you to forget it…
…Remember this: She didn’t bother to get dressed up for the likes of YOU. Her hope was a worthy athelete
(sic) or Hollywood star might notice her and talk to her; not some weak, pathetic loser …
“We’ve got the sexual power, the power of consent…
… See our bouncing propped up cleavage, our long legs and glorious ass protruding from those heels? You want it don’t you?
….ha, ha, ha…you can’t have it because I SAY SO! Because I have THIS power over you, lowly little man. Bow down to me and beg me a little, I might even let the others see me talking to you, without calling the cops.” 

Immature?  Yeah, it is.  But it’s worth a minute to think about why a young man like “Keyster” – I’m guessing he’s about 19  – would get so triggered at the sight of young women dressing up like “sluts”.  The answer, I think, is that Keyster can’t dress up like a slut.  Or at least he doesn’t think that he can – dress up in all sexy, that is – and thereby make himself desirable to women.  What he thinks, what he’s been told all his life, is that any attraction he can generate is contingent on whatever status and power he can acquire.  In lieu of that, the best he thinks he can hope for is to “be that mistake”.  And that belief is hardly going to generate a healthy attitude toward women.

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28 Responses to We could be that mistake.

  1. Great post – I’m leaving a relatively vanilla comment so I can subscribe to the comments which will surely be interesting.

  2. Danny says:

    I can’t say that was the attitude of women involved in the Slutwalks last year but I’ll say this, that attitude does exist. I just wish such women were a little more overt with it so they would stand out more. Doing so would make such women easier to avoid (because women like that need to get over themselves).

    You know I have to admit that I’ve been at that point in life where I would have love to been “that mistake”. Thinking that my best hopes of success in romance/dating/sex were either as a regrettable fuck at best and a rapist at worst. Looking back on those days its pretty clear that there are almost no sources available for young guys to tap into in order to develop their sexuality in a way that doesn’t leave them thinking so lowly of themselves.

  3. elementary_watson says:

    I can’t say that was the attitude of women involved in the Slutwalks last year but I’ll say this, that attitude does exist.

    Yeah, I’ve also been acquainted with a woman having a Sexual Superiority Complex – “Look at how sexy I am, and keep on dreaming you could have sex with someone as sexy as me, you pathetic little loser!” (Note: I think people of all genders can have a Sexual Superiority Complex, and that such people are contemptuous of less sexy people (in their opinions) of all genders.)

    Whenever I see a woman whose outfit screams “look at me and desire me” but whose face says “stay away from me”, my guess is that she’s one of the people who have the attitude “Keyster” rants against. (Coincidentally, I’ve never seen those women approached by less-than-shitfaced guys; guess the attitude *does* show and *is* a major turn-off for most men …)

  4. Sophistrocrat says:

    If you made these assertions on a feminist blog, you would almost certainly be regarded as vile and misogynistic. “If teenage boys think that tricking women into having sex with them is how it’s done,” they will say, “then they’re sociopaths and rapists! That’s what matters! Who cares about their self opinion? Stop making it all about Teh Menz!!!”

    Nonetheless, you’re very accurate, in my view. In junior high, I couldn’t imagine any way in which I’d actually inspire some women to have sex with me in the future, beyond tricking her or just being fortunate enough to catch her off guard for a while until she came to her senses. I had some notion of women finding men handsome, but the idea that this would ever apply to my not-distinctively-ugly-but-still-dorky-and-generically-awkward-in-that-junior-high-manner self at any point still seemed entirely … foreign. Desire only seemed to make sense going in one direction.

    And yes, that did probably inspire some unhealthy and vaguely resentful attitudes towards women – attitudes that it took a long time to shake, and, though I recognize how irrational they are now, probably affect my behavior in subtle, vestigial ways. I do wish that one could occasionally point these things out in spaces that talk about gender issues without it invariably turning into feminists accusing you of belittling rape or sexual abuse or misogyny or whatnot.

  5. @Danny: I’m not sure if I disagree or agree with you, so let me make it clear:
    I highly, highly doubt that the women who participated in the slutwalk were doing so to arouse male attention – if I had to guess, I would say maybe 1 out of 100 women (if that) who went to the event did it with that intent.

    I consider myself SlutWalk agnostic – not sure if it did any good, not sure if I endorse it. I do recognize their right to hold such an event and understand the philosophy behind thinking it was a good idea.

    The SlutWalks were about two things, generally, both strongly Feminist ideals:
    1) Empowering women by giving them greater freedom of expression
    2) Breaking down the myth that clothes incite rapists and/or victim blaming is appropriate conduct

    I know some women who went to a SW – they are not the types who are very fond of male attention. If I want to delve a little deeper, I suspect that many of them are acting out in a passive-aggressive swipe towards a society that encouraged women to show off their bodies (but not too much) and to wear makeup (but not too much) – which is a very annoying balance-beam for women to have to deal with in order to “fit in.”

  6. Danny says:

    EE:
    @Danny: I’m not sure if I disagree or agree with you, so let me make it clear:
    I highly, highly doubt that the women who participated in the slutwalk were doing so to arouse male attention – if I had to guess, I would say maybe 1 out of 100 women (if that) who went to the event did it with that intent.

    I meant that “I can’t say…” in the context of “I don’t know one way or another (and really don’t care)”.

    I consider myself SlutWalk agnostic – not sure if it did any good, not sure if I endorse it. I do recognize their right to hold such an event and understand the philosophy behind thinking it was a good idea.
    Agreed.

  7. Jessica says:

    I’ve thought about this before as well. Interesting to see someone write about it.

  8. H.D. Lynn says:

    I agree with your ideas about Superbad and the men like Keyster. However, while I agree those attitudes are molded by our society, I think there are real differences between how men and women perceive sex. Men tend to rate visual interest as a top aspect for their sexual satisfaction, but women tend to rate fantasies as one of the most important aspects in sex. I think this underpins interactions between men and women, but I think our culture has built itself around the worst aspects of men-women sexual dynamics.

  9. AlekNovy says:

    Feminists often decry “pick up artist” culture – men “on the prowl” and so on – and suggest a more honest, egalitarian sexuality. The problem is, an egalitarian sexual culture is impossible so long as

    Let me finish your sentence a different way

    Feminists often decry “pick up artist” culture – men “on the prowl” and so on – and suggest a more honest, egalitarian sexuality. The problem is, an egalitarian sexual culture is impossible so long as women refuse to do their fair share and 50% of the work.

    Feminists keep whining about how men are supposed to start believing that women want men just as badly, but they do this at the same time where a man can go EIGHTY YEARS without ever having a woman initiate a relationship with him. Without him ever experiencing being asked out by a woman, kissed by a woman first, have a woman do any of the risks or initiations.

    Sure, you might say “but women initiate sex, and kissing all the time with their boyfriends!!!” Sure, but that just reconfirms the notion that women only like sex in “exchange for a relationship”.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I DO AGREE that women want sex much more than men believe. We all know they desire men just as much as men desire them.

    HOWEVER

    How the fricking fuck is a guy supposed to believe something he NEVER SEES EVIDENCE OF in his own personal life. Unless he’s a rockstar he has NEVER EVER not once experienced a woman asking him out, kissing him first, or initiating sex with him.

    Until I see feminists pushing for women do to their FAIR SHARE of the work, I consider them utter hypocrites and refuse to engage them in any conversation on “egalitarian dating” or “egalitarian sex”.

  10. AlekNovy says:

    Even so-called feminists write entire treatises bashing men for not initiating (at pandagon there was an entire thread mocking and ridiculing guys who don’t make the first move).

    Clarisse Thorny wrote an entire illogical treatise on why women are justified in their laziness, which assumed only women have feelings:

    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-are-men-expected-to-make-the-first-move-in-sex-and-relationships/

    Check out StonerWithABoner’s comment’s – he’s amazing in his replies to the piece.

  11. If you can, you should post the link to that Pandagon thread. I would like to see that, too.

  12. That illogical Clarisse Thorn! She must be a woman or something.

  13. Ginkgo says:

    So what’s Hugo Schwyzer’s excuse? GirlWritesWhat is as woman as they come, and she’s powerfully logical.

    More to the point, Clarisse – how are you doing? It’s good to see you commenting somewhere.

  14. I’m ok — still in recovery, obviously. Turns out that major spinal surgery takes a lot out of you. But basically, I’ll be fine. Eventually I’ll write a post about the whole spinal breakage process, but today is not that day. Thanks for asking.

  15. well, there is definitely a double standard at work for sure…

    it’s hard to pinpoint….

    Mr. Manboobz did a write up making fun of men who use sex toys, yet I’ve seen articles at Jezzabel where women brag about using their dildos and vibrators…

    Well perhaps Mr. Manboobs isn’t the sex positive sort, that’s why he made fun of the “pocket pussy’s.” Or, perhaps, something else is going on. There seems to be a concept that an “Real Man” should be able to just go out and get sex…. and the guys who can’t-well, they are just pathetic “Nice Guys TM.” They should just “man up,” quit whining and work harder at their jobs….

    But I suppose I’m just “mansplainin'”

    http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/more-manboobz-misandry/

    So why exactly is it that the guys with “pocket pussies” are pathetic and the lady’s with dildo’s are empowered?

  16. Ginkgo says:

    Today is a day for healing up. Are you making bondage jokes about it yet?

  17. Politicalguineapig says:

    AlekNovy: And how exactly are women supposed to make the first move if 80% of women happen to be not what the guy was looking for? Men who are looking for women, especially young men, want a hot young Stepford babe- a woman who doesn’t have any personality, doesn’t poop or pee or have a period, and looks like she just stepped off the assembly line. Real women just go about their daily lives, and don’t bother asking- because, at best, the man will turn them down. At worst, they’ve left themselves open to harm.

  18. AlekNovy says:

    And how exactly are women supposed to make the first move if 80% of women happen to be not what the guy was looking for?

    And how are men supposed to make the first move if 80% of guys happen to be not what that girl was looking for?

    Men who are looking for women, especially young men, want a hot young Stepford babe- a woman who doesn’t have any personality, doesn’t poop or pee or have a period, and looks like she just stepped off the assembly line

    1) Leave the house
    2) Walk into a mall
    3) Look at the couples that pass you by
    4) How many of the women who are holding hands with a man are “stepford babes”?

    Real women just go about their daily lives, and don’t bother asking- because, at best, the man will turn them down. At worst, they’ve left themselves open to harm.

    That’s absolute and utter bullshit.

    The studies I’ve seen on women asking men out all confirm that women have incredible success rates. And no, they didn’t use “stepford babes” in the studies.

  19. AlekNovy says:

    Men won’t ask women out due to fear of harm, fear to his reputation and fear of rejection = FUCKING NICE GUY TM!!!! FUCKING GROW UP YOU LOSER!!!!!!!

    Women won’t ask men out due to fear of harm, fear to her reputation and fear of rejection = Makes sense, Yep… Coz unlike men, women’s feelings matter, unlike men, when we get rejected it’s a catastrophe, fuck men’s feelings.

    Men using sex-toys to alleviate loneliness until a good partner comes along = BUNCH OF FUCKING LOSERS!!!!!

    Women using sex-toys to alleviate loneliness until a good partner comes along = Good on her, empowered and sexually liberated

  20. AlekNovy says:

    Also, are you calling me a lier? In the other thread you claimed men don’t like women who are flat-chested and over 25.

    So are you saying that I’m peter pan or santa clause? Out of all the women I’ve been attracted to in my life, the top 10 have all been flat-chested, and at my age, a sizeable percentage of my picks are over 25.

    My best friend refuses to date women who are “not curvy”, he would never ever ever date what you refer to as “toothpicks”.

    Again, none of your excuses are logical – and I’ve yet to see anyone even attempt to give a logical set of reasons for why women are still in 2012 so darn lazy in dating. They either give extremely insecure fantasy reasons such as “men only date playmates” or list a bunch of unisex reasons like Clarisse Thorny (who didn’t list a single excuse that doesn’t also apply to men).

  21. Danny says:

    They either give extremely insecure fantasy reasons such as “men only date playmates”…..
    Which I might add if a guy were to say this about a woman that “only dates _____ guys” it he’d be classified as a Nice Guy before the page could refresh.

  22. AlekNovy says:

    Yep, well all of these excuses would.

    If a man submitted the exact same article as Clarisse Thorrny Submited to TGMP – he would have been lambasted, shamed and mocked with all sorts of “you nice guy TM!!” shaming tactics.

  23. AlekNovy says:

    I obviously mean if a guy submitted the exact same article as Thorny, but substituted men and women. Because all of Thorrny’s excuses were unisex.

    Every single excuse she listed for female laziness can be used by a man to justify being lazy and not making moves.

  24. Politicalguineapig says:

    Alek: As I said in the other thread, men have a lot more wiggle room in looks. If I dated, I’d have to use a lot of makeup and clever layering to compensate for what I don’t have. A man never has to worry about that. And as for the Stepford thing: well, I saw a postsecret about a woman who was moving in with her boyfriend who was complaining that as long as the boyfriend was living with her, she couldn’t use her own toilet. Women who are in relationships have to keep an image alive, and can’t spoil that image by indulging biological functions.
    I think you’re probably a huge outlier. Most men like cleavage, the more the better.
    I don’t have time to waste by going to the mall; I have loads of better things to do.
    And here’s a set of logical reasons why women will probably not make the first move.
    1. Ignorance is deadly. A woman has no way of knowing if random-dude- she-met-at- the-bar is a good guy or someone who will leave her for dead at an intersection. Rapists are basically normal men, after all, and abusive men are the most charming.
    2. Low threshold of consent. Some men believe that eye contact or conversation automatically leads to consent. In order to avoid confusing men, a woman has to behave as neutrally as possible, and not do anything stupid, like smiling.
    3. Slut shaming. Women who make the first move quickly gain a bad reputation. If they want to have *any* female friends, or any standing in the community, they have to act reserved and wait for men to make a move.
    4. No support. Women are always on their own. No one’s in their corner, so they have to proceed cautiously.

  25. AlekNovy says:

    Alek: As I said in the other thread, men have a lot more wiggle room in looks.

    Complete non-sequitor. What does that have to do with 99.9% of women on this planet being lazy. In fact, the more attractive the woman (by societal standards) THE MORE lazy she is, not less.

    If your logic applied, then barbie-dolls would be going around hitting on men…

    I think you’re probably a huge outlier. Most men like cleavage, the more the better.

    I LIKE CLEAVAGE TOO!!!! The point is it’s NOT A DETERMINING FACTOR. I do not “prefer flat chested women”… the point is it’s not a deal breaker

    It just so happened that all the women that I was attracted to were flat-chested.

    1. Ignorance is deadly. A woman has no way of knowing if random-dude- she-met-at- the-bar is a good guy or someone who will leave her for dead at an intersection. Rapists are basically normal men, after all, and abusive men are the most charming.

    THAT’s A COMPLETE NON-SEQUITOR. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH FEMALE LAZINESS AND WAITING AROUND TO BE ASKED OUT?

    WHAT BARS?

    MOST PEOPLE MEET IN SOCIAL CIRCLES, WORK AND SCHOOL. But women don’t ask men out there much often either.

    How does BEING LAZY reduce chances for risk? ITS A COMPLETE NON-SEQUITOR? What does being lazy have to do with risk management? I do not see the connection?

    So

    -> if a woman waits for the men to invite her out, she has less of a chance of him being a serial killer.

    -> but if she ASKS HIM OUT (the exact same guy), there’s a higher chance he’ll turn into a serial killer!?!?!?!?1?

    W
    T
    F?!?!?!?

    2. Low threshold of consent. Some men believe that eye contact or conversation automatically leads to consent. In order to avoid confusing men, a woman has to behave as neutrally as possible, and not do anything stupid, like smiling.

    WTF DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH LAZINESS IN ALL STAGES OF COURTSHIP IN ALL CONTEXTS OF LIFE?!?

    Here’s how most relationships form
    -1) Jane has been talking to bob at yoga class for a few months, and she likes him
    -2) She keeps throwing hints to get bob to ask her out, like smiling, touching him, etc etc

    Why can’t she ask him out!?!?!? WHAT does… your point have to do in this situation. Most relationships are formed in this context. What does “fear of giving wrong impression of interest” have to do in this situation (the way 99% of relationships are formed?)

    SHE ALREADY IS INTERESTED
    SHE ALREADY WANTS TO GO ON A DATE
    BUT SHE WAITS FOR HIM TO ASK

    HOW IS YOUR POINT RELATED TO THIS? It’s not. It’s a complete and utter non-sequitor designed to rationalize away female laziness.

    3. Slut shaming. Women who make the first move quickly gain a bad reputation. If they want to have *any* female friends, or any standing in the community, they have to act reserved and wait for men to make a move.

    AND MEN DON’T HAVE REPUTATIONS!?!?!?!?1?!?!?!??

    Men risk being “creeps”, “perverts”, “losers” and losing their job. IN FACT, women are a lot more vicious in creep-shaming then men are at slut-shaming.

    If a guy approaches a woman and he’s not her type, (in many cases) she will not only publically humiliate him, but she will go on feminist blogs and talk about this utter loserish creep that “harasssed her” by merely saying hi. She can spend WEEKS talking about the idiotic loserish creep that dared ask her out.

    GUYS ACTUALLY HAVE TO DROP OUT OF classes due to creep shaming. Many are the guy who will (for example) ask a chick out in salsa class, she will nto only reject him, but then creep-shame him to all of the women in class.

    MEN HAVE REPUTATIONS TOO.

    Again, all your excuses and rationalizations are the same irrational ones as Thorrnys… All of them are unisex. Men don’t have feelings? Men don’t have risk? Men don’t have reputations?

    4. No support. Women are always on their own. No one’s in their corner, so they have to proceed cautiously.

    This was sarcasm right? RIGHT!?!?!?!!!?

    When a men gets rejected, he gets publically shamed and ridiculed by both men and women. NO ONE SUPPORTS HIM, the man.

    When a woman gets rejected, all her friends will console her and talk about what a jerk the guy was, and how he doesn’t get what he’s missing out on.

    Bad excuse… Anything else?

  26. AlekNovy says:

    I LIKE CLEAVAGE TOO!!!! The point is it’s NOT A DETERMINING FACTOR. I do not “prefer flat chested women”… the point is it’s not a deal breaker

    It just so happened that all the women that I was attracted to were flat-chested.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter what men prefer in random bodyparts, because we pick partners on the whole package.

    The insane level of shallowness you try to ascribe to men is just pure sexism.

    Do women who prefer a guy that looks like George Clooney only date men who look like George Clooney? NO!!! They date other guys they also like.

    So most men prefer cleavage. So what?!? It’s just a preference.

    The point is this, being the pursuer involves a lot of rejection, humiliation and pain, by the very nature of being the pursuer… and women seem to be all to happy to let men take all the pain, rejection and humiliation, while they women can just be lazy

    All of your and thornny’s excuses can be summed up as “well, since our life as women isn’t 100,000% perfect, and nobody can guarantee us that we will have a 100% success rate (no rejection) we women should just be lazy…”

    But if guys demand that the world be perfect and pursuing is 0% risk before they make a move they are SHAMED, MOCKED and ridiculed on feminist blogs as being nice-guysTM.

  27. AlekNovy says:

    One addition, on the make up excuse.

    There are plenty of women who don’t use make up (I’ve dated a few)… They’re not any less lazy than a woman who spends hours putting on makeup… So that excuse for laziness is moot too.

  28. a poster by the name of desipis left this at Feminist Critics….

    I thought I’d putt this here just for the gits and shiggles 😉

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