On male entitlement and women’s bodies

One of my students told me she was proud of her younger sister (who is 11) because, although she’s not “yet” into boys, some boys had noticed and commented positively on her butt.  My response was “how did our culture get to the point at which no one bats an eye over that kind of entitlement?”  My kids just looked at me, and I said, “how entitled must you feel to think it’s appropriate to give an unsolicited opinion on a girl’s appearance–let alone on a ‘private’ part of her body?”  The older sister was obviously out to provoke more than anything else, but I did end up getting into a very interesting side discussion with another 8th grade girl about how boys are raised in this regard.

I told them that I’m not bashing men or boys…it’s just that we are all taught that that is perfectly acceptable to evaluate and vocalize one’s opinion on a girl’s appearance/body.  Unfortunately, the only ways for that to change are for us to question it, parents to raise differently, and for (straight?) girls to push back and accept less boyfriends.

This conversation took place just yesterday.  Today, I went into a gas station to pay for gas, and i had the following conversation:

“Hello, may I have $20 on pump 6, please?”

“Why [are you] too skinny?”

“Pardon?”

“Why [are you] too skinny?”

“…because…I don’t eat enough?”

When I told my kids about it…remember, they’re right around the beginning of the formal operational stage, and you have to interpret everything they say through that lens.  They’re still very concrete….they said, “Well, you should have said, ‘Why are you so fat?”  It was such a good teachable moment.  I told them that it didn’t matter to me that he was using “skinny” as an insult (even that, or he is even worse at flirting than I am), because thin people aren’t discriminated against; his “mean”ness isn’t really the point.  The issue is that he didn’t think twice about commenting on the body of a woman that neither asked for feedback nor knows him well enough to decide if his opinion is of an value.  I asked the students to think about how often they’d heard someone offer an unsolicited opinion on a girl’s appearance, and why no one questions the acceptability of such a practice.

I’m not bashing men.  I love men.  But they should be held to a higher standard in so many areas.

I’m shy, I admit, but it shocks me when a guy feels comfortable enough to hold my hand on a first or second date.  I frequently kiss on a first date, but hand-holding seems more intimate…or, if not more intimate, more relationship-y, and you can’t know if you’re that compatible on a first date.  I’m not even saying I don’t like it…If I’m attracted to a guy, I like being touched by him…It’s just more that it surprises me that someone has the nerve to do that.  I would feel like I was being overly clingy if I were to take a guy’s hand early on.  I probably wouldn’t do it until we had the talk–even if I wanted to.  I just don’t feel that entitled to him.

Actually, doing that early on is a red flag to me–false intimacy.  (I have SO much more respect for guys who are upfront about their emotional unavailability).  Maybe some guys just like holding hands and I’m just more jaded than I want to admit.

I was talking to a guy about sex.  He’s just a little younger than me, never married, and he said he’d only had sex with 5 women.  I found that VERY hard to believe, even after he said he’s phobic about STDs.  Then it clicked, and I said, “How many women have given you blowjobs?,” and he’s like “…”  Too many to remember.  Now it makes sense.

I didn’t think to ask how many women he’d gone down on, but it’s probably just as well, because the most likely scenario is that that number was significantly lower than his blow job count, and then I’d have confirmation that he’s an asshole who is happy to receive pleasure as long as it’s the woman taking the risk of getting a disease from him.

He didn’t understand why I consider oral sex “real” sex.  He said it’s like the difference between kissing on the cheek and the mouth.  I think it’s very easy to phone it in for sex, but a blowjob is an act of love (coming from me, anyway…not because I don’t enjoy them, but because it’s done with love).  I guess he considers intercourse a different category because of the trust/risk involved FOR HIM.  I think that, by his own standards, if he didn’t have a problem with feeling entitled to women’s bodies, he’d stick to handjobs.

He is more entitled to pleasure than his partners.

I think his attitude is supposed to be common among the younger generation.  I think they pretend it’s because of the risk of pregnancy/disease….but I’d bet my retirement that these straight boys are getting way more oral sex than they are giving.  And even if they are giving it, it’s probably not any good, because they don’t even know a woman’s basic anatomy.  The youngest guy I have slept with didn’t even have the basic vocabulary–let alone an understanding of how different every woman’s body is when it comes to pleasure and orgasm.  Until a young (hetero) guy comes across a woman who loves him and is confident enough to teach him, he’s just using women as sexual entertainment.  He and his partners are all missing out.

I’m finding myself fighting the urge to say how much of a man-hating prude I’m not…and I hate that.  I’m just trying to see things from an outside perspective.  Frankly, I think some of this stuff could be covered in sex ed classes, but the big picture needs to start much, much, MUCH earlier than that, or it’s going to take a revolution.

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