Open Thread: if men are such horndogs, why does lingerie exist?

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We’re told men have such high sex drives and are such indiscriminate pigs that they’ll have sex with anybody in their orientation sphere. Why, then, is there a massive lingerie industry? Why on earth would any woman ever need to dress up to turn on a creature who’s always up for sex with whomever?

Why is there a massive porn industry which centers entirely on getting men aroused, if they’re in a constant state of near-readiness already?

Why is there a huge, booming cosmetics industry centered on making women look more attractive to men, if men are already champing at the bit to do it with every woman they meet?

Why are girls taught from pre-pubescence that they’ll need to look like magazine model photos (which even the models themselves don’t really look like) to get dates?

Could it be that it’s all a bunch of bullshit? Because it’s a narrative that doesn’t fit the facts, and it’s propped up on the idea that there’s something wrong with any man who doesn’t take advantage of every sexual opportunity that comes his way. But if these men are the exception, why aren’t lingerie and porn and cosmetics niche markets at best?

Comments

  1. Sabrina says

    It’s contradictory messages galore, of course! What surprises me is not even that way too many men buy this crap (to be fair there are also still way too many women that buy into all kinds of stupid contradictory ideas about their gender, socialization does that to you) but rather that even many of those who see that patriarchy hurts men too aren’t doing anything against it. Men hold the most political power, they hold the most economic power, they control most of the media and yet they apparently like to stereotype themselves into incompetent horny jerks?

    And sadly many also come to the conclusion that it’s all women’s fault, and particularly evil feminists who what to ruin all their fun. I can’t count the times how often I’ve seen an MRA or PUA complain that women and/or feminists are sooo mean to them and when you ask “wtf have we done?” they start listing all the things their fellow men did to them. /headdesk

    In the end it’s a wonderfully working “divide and conquer” strategy of all those men in power that sit at the very top. Tell men over and over that they’d fuck anything that moves and at some point just enough might believe it so that they’re willing to buy your products. That the makers of such stereotypical shit are usually male doesn’t really matter. If it makes enough money why should you care if someone might think you’re a horny asshole?

    P.s.: Sorry for my constant use of swearwords. I suppose I trigger the spam filter every time with that. ^^;

  2. Fairfield says

    “Because it’s a narrative that doesn’t fit the facts, and it’s propped up on the idea that there’s something wrong with any man who doesn’t take advantage of every sexual opportunity that comes his way.”

    I think you described it perfectly. As much as the narrative is created to control women, and how women think, it is also used to control men and sadly, as Sabrina wrote, there are a lot of men who willingly (and unwittingly) get ensnared so deeply in the web that they cannot see beyond it.

    A male friend complained to me just prior to the New Year how he was going to stay home with his folks rather than go out with friends because the expectation upon him, were he to go out, would be to get drunk and have sex with someone and he just didn’t want to be amidst company that not only accepted the expectation but pushed it on others.

    Both sexes get absolutely hammered from a very early age with such a deluge of marketing and false social constructs that it’s a small miracle any of us manage to see past it. Remember that video of the little girl called Riley and how she disliked marketing to children? I think that’s very apt in this topic.

    It really is “divide and conquer” or perhaps “control and profit.” Many companies have realised that they no longer need to supply for a demand but to falsely engineer the demand for the things that they can and want to offer. I remember seeing a documentary on something similar a long time ago, about the initial tests for “marketing propaganda” after the 1st world war, specifically to do with campaigns for cigarettes in America. Anyone know the name of it? Sorry I can’t be more specific.

  3. minuteye says

    It’s really very simple, although I can see where you might have gotten confused. You see, women are pretty. You know women are pretty because they wear pretty underwear, and sparkly makeup, have no body hair, and are skinny (this is and has always been the definition of pretty, *insert random evopsych explanation for this definition*). Straight men are always ready to have sex with any woman, but women with body hair, body fat, or in sweat pants aren’t real women, so they don’t count.

    /sarcasm

  4. says

    Why men don’t do anything about it? Obviously, some don’t get it that they can.
    I had a nice discussion with someone who seemed to be able to think critically and wasn’t very fond of stereotypical male and female roles. I proposed that he could ignore those and just do his thing and …. totally lost him. It was like seeing his brain coming to a screeching halt because he couldn’t fathom to do as he pleased because the society would wait for him and SMASH him … or something. He never spoke to me again.

    The good thing about feminist spaces (well, those without -ism fails) is the support for and validation of your thoughts and believes. Obviously, if you lack those (maybe because you hate/fear teh womenz and feminazis and won’t listen to them) you may not see the way out.

  5. Fairfield says

    Zweisatz,

    The example you gave, for me personally, is probably the saddest/most frustrating part about all of this: when people have been conditioned to such a high degree that they literally cannot see beyond what has been constructed for them. If I’m honest it makes me despair.

  6. says

    Okay, devil’s advocate position from a guy.

    I never saw lingerie/porn/makeup as ways to inspire guys’ sexual desire…I saw them as indicators that male-dominated society was requiring women to cater to their sexual desires.

    I mean, I don’t believe most guys watch porn to get turned on…they watch porn to get off, particularly on sexual fetishes that they can’t/don’t get from willing partners. I think you can even see this in the evolution of porn…stuff like oral/anal sex used to be considered uncommon among loving couples, and so porn did it. Now that oral and anal are more accepted societally, you see porn catering to more extreme or edge fetishes (bukkake, DP, etc).

    Similarly, lingerie and makeup aren’t there because guys can’t get horny without them…they’re there to emphasize what guys already like to see, or to make women more rigidly fit an ideal.

    I always saw these of male society basically saying, “We have our cake and we eat it too…but we want extra frosting to eat with a spoon.”

    Freely admit I could be wrong, just my POV.

  7. says

    Why, lingerie is for the woman’s benefit, of course! Since obviously men are slaves to their hormones, they’re turned on by ALL the women around them. Therefore, women need something to stand out from the crowd and make themselves more appealing targets than the competition. We all know that if a guy can’t score with the hot chick, he’ll settle for screwing the plain jane – but he’ll be thinking about the hot chick while he does.

    …I think I hurt my brain typing that.

  8. Andrea Elizabeth says

    I think that maybe lingerie rose to fill the gaps where the standard definition of masculine sexuality – that men are “on” all the time – falls flat. Somewhere along the line, women must have noticed that, even though men are horndogs and would fuck a sausage casing if they didn’t have any other options at night, some women went a very long time without getting any sort of romantic or sexual attention from men. So stuff like lingerie came about to sort of fill that gap?

  9. says

    I used to be very confused about makeup, because I thought it was a waste of time, and believed guys who said they didn’t necessarily like it, but saw how many women gravitated to it and seemed to really enjoy it.

    And then I saw the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where she adds blush to her cheeks and it transforms her appearance. And finally I got it (sort of). I mean, I’d spent my teen years trying to learn not to blush so much, so there were certain things I just didn’t think of. I know it’s always more complicated than this, but makeup can liven up a person’s appearance. Women who look/feel like hell because they’ve got cancer or whatever use makeup/makeovers to give themselves a lift. And maybe some people just like playing with sparkly colours. I did, before I was old enough to sense the loaded meanings around makeup.

    It can also act as a tribal marker, with a group of girls/women all styling themselves the same way: hair, makeup, clothes. I never noticed this as a teen, but when my brother took me to a concert when we were in our 20s, it was really obvious in many of the teens around us. And I’ve seen neopagan women using makeup in a more traditional tribal sense.

    And I had a friend who said she liked the effect fancy underwear had on her partner.

    At the same time, of course, it is pushed on women because of all these people who want to make money selling the stuff.

    I’ve given up trying to understand the rest.

  10. jose says

    I don’t see any contradiction here. You must look pretty so your man will be satisfied with you. It’s not just physical appearance. You must be kind, supportive, submissive and always ready to be raped by your man.

    Your man will be attracted to other women regardless and will rape them as well because that’s the biologically determined, inherent, inevitable nature of the universe. That doesn’t mean you should neglect your marital duties, because that would mean you’re a bad wife.

    If you think this is an exaggeration, visit Morocco (a supposedly moderate islamic country) and see for yourself. I think a lot of it is applicable to western culture. The main difference would be the western man wants his doll to look like a porn actress because in our part of the world pornography defines what’s standard nowadays (have you seen those “sex advice” columns where they recommend girls to let the boy cum on her face to have a happy relationship?), while the islamic man wants his doll as covered as possible (and always accompanied by a male relative) to keep it away from potential competitors.

  11. David says

    Speaking as a male, I personally enjoy lingerie almost purely as a signifier of intent. A lot of it looks frankly ridiculous, but it’s still sexy because it implies a desire to do something special for one’s partner. If they were wearing it solely because they felt an obligation to, it wouldn’t be fun any more.

    I sort of view it as analogous to my choosing a type of underwear I know my partner finds attractive, or grooming myself in a way I know they find pleasing.

    I have no idea whether my take on this is at all mainstream amongst men.

  12. Quib says

    Obvusly it’s women’s natural instincts to show off. Like in nature, you have a “choosy” mate, and a “show offy” mate, but it’s backwards how it usually is, and women show off for men, because money. Since men are the natural breadwinners everywhere, and for always, women are biologically hardwired to dress up in this specific, manufactured way, to trick men into having emotions with them to raise their babies.
    Men just need to have pornographic videos because of how their monkey brains are programmed to have sex with as many partners are possible. Without commodified images of a very particular phenotypical women in heavy make up and uncomfortable clothes, every man would definitely just constantly have affairs.
    Evolution just made us that way.
    And if you question that or find it short sited and problematic, then you must obviously want humanity to go extinct because of how much you hate the natural expression of sexuality.

    Less sarcastically, I think men are encouraged not to “see” or acknowledge the work that goes into looking good. Beauty tends to be discussed as something inherent, a character trait and not a performance or a creation. Even when peddling these manufactured products, the narrative goes that they enhance your natural features, or bring out the real you, not that they play tricks on the eye or make you look like something you’re not.
    When you ignore the effort and purchases that go into an attractive look, then it’s just about guys wanting the hottest girls, and it fits better with the rest of the story about men being single minded morons, and unattractive women not existing, much less being real people.

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