The sort of comments you never see here

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Here are the contents of a comment that was recently submitted to this site. It broke several of our comments guidelines, so naturally I didn’t let it through moderation. But some of you have expressed interest in seeing what comments get moderated around here. Because this person might be (I’m clinging to hope) fourteen years old, I’m not going to rip it apart as hard as I could.

OK….I’m a guy….and I have to add that in this looks/celebrity obsessed world we now live in…both women AND men suffer.

True. We’ve discussed this many times. Not that he noticed.

Men are objectified as much as women.

Oh, boy. You know, the Suffering Olympics are bad enough when they pit two disadvantaged classes against each other. But to claim the most privileged class* suffers more than the less privileged ones is an old tired argument. (*I realize “men” includes the male portions of some classes that really have been objectified and still are – African-American men, for example, prized for their performance abilities on astroturf and concert stages, as long as they’re managed by old white men. I think, however, our commenter means “men” in the narrow “White, heterosexual men of means” definition that he’s been spoonfed by his own privilege.)

And in everyday life…men have it much worse IMHO. Women are much pickier about male beauty than men are about women. Seriously. Men get a bad rap.

Here, have some cheese with that whine.

Here, have some cheese with that whine.

Uh-huh. This is a common myth. You see, men imagine themselves less picky about looks because they don’t even see the women they reject. Trust me. I’ve gone out to bars looking hot and gotten hit on. I’ve gone out to the same bars looking frumpy and had guys knock me down to get to the hotties – they don’t think of themselves as having “rejected” me because they’re too busy running over me while in pursuit mode. Something to think about, guys: as long as we have this stratified system in which men generally pursue and women generally reject or accept, a man’s refusal to pursue a given woman is equal to a woman saying “No” when asked on a date.

Quite an eye-opener, isn’t it?

Sure men are visual creatures. But on a superficial/visual level they are much more widely accepting of most women as “beautiful”….were as women(who have the power and select the mate) are far more picky. Ask any anthropologist. Men have an infinite amount of sperm and are less choosey. Women have a finite amount of eggs and are biologically much pickier. And in todays looks obsessed world…women can be cruel.

This is gender essentialism, and I wouldn’t let his “anthropologists” comment on it either. It’s just too problematic an argument to get into here, and will remain so until one of the alleged “scientists” behind it raises a sample of boys and girls in a vacuum where they don’t meet any other humans or animals or any aspect of culture until they’re grown up, at which point we can really assess how biology directs people to behave, absent of culture.

Men will look upon MOST women as “hot” or attractive simply because they are women. I know women don’t like to be “objectified”, but when you think about it, men are much more appreciative of women then they get credit for.

See above argument for the first sentence. As for the second sentence… oh, my god. Men should be given credit for appreciating how hot we are (when we’re rendered visible by hotness, that is). Where have I heard that one before?

On the other hand, women will generally find only men with model like faces “HOT”.

I… is he living on Earth? Ladies – those of you who like men – should we start listing all the balding, big-nosed, beady-eyed, glasses-wearing, weak-chinned, male celebs we find crazy hot? Or should we just refer him to this post? (ETA: oh, dear god, that was the post to which he was responding.)

Think about that. Men can work out all they want in the gym…but it’ll do them little good. If they don’t have model faces…they aren’t considered “HOT”.

Bullshit. No one can seriously think this is true, unless there’s a whole lot more wrong with him than his non-modelesque face. Here in L.A., I constantly see flabby, balding, physically unappealing men dating women who look like they could be (or just missed qualifying to be) on magazine covers. This is because women are heavily socialized to look beyond men’s looks, and men are heavily socialized to think they have every right to expect women should look a certain way. (I’m perfectly happy to see physically unappealing people hooked up with hotties, I just think roughly 50% of the time, the un-hot one ought to be the woman, and we need to dump the belief that men can’t help expecting beauty in a mate and the corresponding myth that women are more concerned about security. And the other myth – that we’re not visual. The hell we’re not!)

But take an average looking woman who takes care of her body…and she will be considered HOT by most men.

Again: just not true. Any fit, trim woman who commits the grievous aesthetic sin of merely having small breasts can tell you this is not true. Tons of men reject bodies – however well cared-for – that come with small breasts, big noses, too “manly” a build, acne, “bad” hair, etc.

It’s interesting too that in his defense of men, he’s inadvertently revealing that he thinks attraction is based purely on the physical, that heterosexual men never get around to noticing women’s other traits. Like I said above, I find most humans are pretty damn shallow, but on the whole I meet roughly equal numbers of men and women who are capable of looking beyond the physical to figure out whether someone appeals to them or not.

Men get a bad rap for being superficial, when if you really were honest, its women who are. Men dont care if a woman has money. Or if she is famous. But women not only want HOT guys, they want rich guys, famous guys, powerful guys. Men have to jump thru many more hoops to get a woman’s attention.

We’ll need a shit shovel to get through this one. Classifying any group as superficial is inflammatory. If I allowed this comment in, a thread would likely get derailed by people ripping him a new orifice. Never, ever label a whole group with one trait. There’s a world of difference between talking about how “superficial men” might behave versus saying “men will behave this way because they’re superficial.”

As for the rest, the reason men are less likely to care if women have money or power is because women were, until last century, not allowed to earn any. And if women are more concerned with money and power than you think they ought to be, that is also because they’re still limited in their ability to earn it for themselves and girls are still being raised to think success for a female means hitching herself to a successful man.

Plus all this pressure put on women to have big boobs or to look like a supermodel….IS NOT BECAUSE OF MEN! Men don’t care. That kind of pressure is put on women….by OTHER WOMEN!

A lot of people think this, but it’s a short-sighted, superficial view. Women have historically pressured each other to work on their looks, but because it was the only way for a woman to secure a mate and be financially secure. If you loved your daughter or friend and didn’t want her to end up married to the local deadbeat, you helped her look pretty so she could score a nice, stable (if obviously shallow) man. So why did women exert this pressure? Because of the very rules of patriarchy, set up by… wait for it… MEN! Yes, sexist white straight men! The very ones!

But who does he blame for this conspiracy? Not just women. Oh, no.

The fashion industry is run by gay men and women. Not straight men.

Yeah… um, quick, name all the lesbians in fashion? I don’t mean to make light – this is an inflammatory slur on gays and lesbians, insinuating that they are the source of the misogyny that pushes women to waste time on clothes and makeup when we could’ve been taking over the world – but it’s so ludicrous. It doesn’t even stand up to itself.

Women competing against each other and conforming to gay men’s ideals who WISH they were women.

Again with the homophobic crap. For anyone who’s curious, the comment about gay men wishing they were women is bogus. Gay men have the whole range of feelings about and reactions to their gender that everyone else does because, like everyone else, they are human beings.

I am so sick of men being blamed for this “lookism”. When in reality, it is the average male who is the victim of lookism.

Wait, he just blamed “gay men” but he’s sick of “men” being blamed… oh, right! Gays aren’t people. I forget! Remember when I said I wasn’t going to rip into him as hard as I could? I’m really not. Believe me – I’m playing nice here. Which is why I’m not even going to touch the second, self-pitying, self-obsessed, masturbatory sentence.

If women only realized that THEY have all the power sexually and take responsibility for that instead of blaming it on me….they wouldn’t be so bitter.

Oh, for cryin’ out loud – the pussy power argument again. I’m linking the Happy Feminist for a response. Oh, what the hell – here’s a link to Spice Girls feminism, too. (ETA – see this comment for more on how inflammatory this part of his comment is.)

If women only realized that they don’t have to TRY to get a man’s attention. Men are easy.

I think I’ve addressed this enough above. Reality check, kiddies: every adult (and most every kid) has to work to get people’s attention. That’s how life works. And no, men are not as easy as they imagine themselves to be while crying into their beer about hotties rejecting them while non-hotties stand around in the background, unnoticed.

Maybe they do realize this. And these women you see on tv…exploit that instead of developing a real personality. Until one day they wake up, and they realize they’ve hit a wall and are no longer young. Instead of turning around and blaming men…they should look inside. And perhaps towards those average “nice” guys who treated them well all those years ago…put were ignored or passed over for the rich good looking guy…whose now dumped them for a younger model.

Okay, for the first half of that, who is he talking about? Fictional characters who are written mostly by men? If so, he’s ironically making the argument we usually make except he seems to think fictional characters behave of their own volition, and should be counted as real women. If he means the female actors… I have no idea where he’s coming from. You’re not seeing anyone’s true personality on TV – not even (necessarily) in interviews. So, that’s a big chunk of whatthefuckery there.

As for the last half, it’s the Nice Guys argument. I pretty well covered that here, but to sum up: men who get rejected by hot women like to believe it’s because they’re So Nice and the women prefer men who are superficial or nasty. They don’t want to consider the possibility it’s that they’re aiming too high on the hotness meter (like I said, humans are largely superficial, and if you’re looking for Mr./Ms. Right in bars, you’re not likely to hook up with someone who’s much better looking than you are, no matter your gender), or that they have creepy personalities, or that they’re dull, or any of the 3,000 legitimate reasons both men and women will reject potential partners. It’s so much more comforting to think you’re this noble, put-upon, unfairly treated unfortunate than to realize that maybe you’ve just not so wonderful.

Comments

  1. sbg says

    I never quite undestand what the ideal response to an argument like that is, to the arguer.

    “Oh, you’re right, you poor man! I never saw it that way before. Thank you for enlightening me, let me get you a cold beer!”?

    I mean, really.

  2. Dom Camus says

    I never quite undestand what the ideal response to an argument like that is, to the arguer.

    It’s not a response they’re after. The commenter is expressing his frustration at what he perceives as the unjust message of sites like this one. He lives in a world where the behaviour of girls causes him and his (male) friends endless trouble.

    His problem is a desperate lack of understanding, but he doesn’t see that and is not expecting to have his misperceptions corrected. Indeed, he mistakenly believes exactly the opposite: that he has come here to enlighten us. He wants to open our eyes to his world (the “real” world).

    And the bottom line is, he’s grumbling because he can’t get the girlfriend he wants. OK, I’m speculating here – there is no concrete evidence – but I’d bet good money that’s what it is.

    So BetaCandy is absolutely spot on eith her link to the Nice Guys argument. “Why doesn’t the hottest girl in the room want to date me?” And I think we can all agree, that truly is one of life’s great mysteries. Admit it, just reading his comment made you want to date him, didn’t it? I fancy him a bit and I’m not even bisexual!

  3. says

    He’s probably the same guy who tells me that homophobia is practically dead and why should I want to get married anyway when his gay friend likes to go out and sleep around all the time.

  4. Patrick says

    … wow.

    I’d like to express my thanks for the tremendous amount of work that moderating the comments on this site must require.

  5. Death Worm says

    When someone posts a comment like this, I just wonder why they bothered. Why go through all the trouble of going to a feminist website and reading an article there just to post a long rant about how “men are the ones who are really objectified!” How did he even find this site – did he just Google “feminism” so he could find women to disagree with? It’s like how at some atheist blogs I occasionally read, there’s always a person in the comments section who is always there arguing for creationism to be taught in schools and going on about how “arrogant” atheists are. Again – why go through all the trouble to go to a website where everyone will most certainly disagree with you, and regularly post about how wrong, wrong, wrong everyone is there?

  6. Genevieve says

    conforming to gay men’s ideals who WISH they were women.

    Oh my God, it’s my high school boyfriend!

    No, but seriously…put down the privilege and come out from under the rock already.

  7. says

    SBG, no kidding. I always want to borrow a quote from Jack O’Neill: “And? But? So? Therefore?”

    Don Camus, I really like this line from you: “He wants to open our eyes to his world (the “real” world).” Amen. His world is the real one. He knows this because the whole world is structured to protect him from realizing the world looks many different ways depending where you’re viewing it from. And the media is a very big part of keeping that self-focus alive.

    Jack, we could play “Spot how many things are wrong” with what your friend tells you. (A) The implication that all gays should want the same things, (B) The marriage bit sounds a bit like warning someone off something allegedly for their own good but really because you just want to keep them away and (C) of course none of this has to do with bigotry because your friend is not a bigot and bigotry is practically dead because your friend says it is, so there. *shakes head*

    Patrick, fortunately, we really don’t get a lot like this, and when we do, one button banishes them from the mod queue. What’s tougher to moderate are the borderline comments, where either someone is contributing some good thoughts but also spouting gender essentialism (or something) or where you get a feeling they’re leading up to an argument like this but you can’t tell at first.

    DeathWorm, actually, it is mainly Google’s fault. It indexes sites by keywords, so for example it can’t tell a site lambasting men who don’t pay child support from a site where men are looking for ways to get out of paying child support. So it mismatches sites to its visitors kind of frequently. Very annoying. That said, I just now realized what post he was responding to, and it was the one I linked above, on how female actors have to be blandly perfect but males are allowed to look interesting more than beautiful. Whoa, boy, if he read that post and still left that comment, I’m just gobsmacked.

    Genevieve, he sounds like the reason I didn’t *have* boyfriends in high school. ;)

  8. says

    I can’t find the link now, but there’s a cartoon I’ve seen linked around the feminist-fandom sphere which embodies this – there’s a schlubby-but-not-hideous fanboy sitting on a couch lamenting to his gal pal about how there are no female fans, no girls who like him, none who see the real “him” – and she’s sighing since clearly she has it for him and he only sees her as a kind of gaming golden retriever to talk at.

    And yeah, if Mr. ModQueue were right, I wouldn’t have been pining in vain for several guys in HS and college, until I finally wised up and realized that they were *never* going to be interested in me, no matter how helpful and attentive and charming I tried to be, they were interested in unthreatening caregiving blondes, not flatchested bespecacled nerdy goths who talked about Beowulf and Homer, even if said nerdy goths tried wearing contacts and fluffy fashionable sweaters for a time…

  9. Sophist says

    I think that the tone of this post borders on arrogance. You should learn, BetaCandy, that though you are right, you need not constantly put down your opponent in your arguments. It is wasteful, it is immoral, and worst of all, it is stylistically criminal.

    The idiot’s excuse for being an idiot is that the is an authentically ignorant. Such appears to be the case with our dear commentator. Before you write in such tones you should consider your excuse for doing so.

  10. says

    I have very little doubt you’re a friend of the commenter, or the commenter himself. Or that Bill Diamond person who used to comment obsessively, telling us silly females how wrong we were with our non-male-centric world view, even after he realized all his comments were going into moderation and not escaping. You sound remarkably like him.

    Like him and the commenter, your arrogance puts any arrogance I may have in the shade.

    I don’t think it’s likely he is (you are?) “authentically ignorant.” I’ve had a lot of experience with people who are bigoted out of ignorance, and they are not generally the ones who leave comments like this on websites.

    What’s “arrogant” is presuming to venture into a feminist-friendly space and tell women, in essence, “You (bitches who don’t beg to blow me) have it all wrong: we men are unfairly punished while you pretend to be victims but in fact you have all the power.”

    Consider this part of his (your?) post: “If women only realized that THEY have all the power sexually and take responsibility for that instead of blaming it on me….they wouldn’t be so bitter.”

    This is inflammatory as hell. Characterizing feminists as bitter is a tired and pathetic way of saying there must be something defective with any woman who isn’t eager to sexually service unattractive men. And to say we have “all the power sexually” is to say – another tired, pathetic argument – if a man strays, that’s the woman’s fault. If he rapes her, that’s her fault. If he rapes her kids, she must’ve known about it, that abetting whore! Anything a man does with his penis is the fault of some damn bitter, virginal, whoring, uptight, slutty bitch – we are somehow all of these things at once, or some of them one minute and the others the next, depending what male sexual behavior needs excusing at the moment.

    I should’ve brought this up in the post – that’s how “nice” I was attempting to be.

    I’m not sure what you mean by arrogant – there is nothing wrong with embracing that you know something when you do indeed know it and are prepared to back it up. As I am, and as I’ve done. If you meant “condescending”, again: read the original comment and consider who you should really be addressing your concerns to.

  11. says

    Sophist: Not that BetaCandy needs any help laying the smackdown on you, but… arrogant? Really?

    Are you going to sit there and tell me that you don’t see the supreme irony in coming onto a stranger’s website and trying to silence them with claims of “arrogance” simply because you don’t like their tone? Do you honestly not see how arrogant that is?

  12. SunlessNick says

    Damn, I wanted to be the first to use the word irony. *Moans briefly about women.*

    But, what the hell: I was going to say, “Irony, Will Robinson.”

    Men get a bad rap for being superficial, when if you really were honest, its women who are. Men dont care if a woman has money. Or if she is famous. But women not only want HOT guys, they want rich guys, famous guys, powerful guys. Men have to jump thru many more hoops to get a woman’s attention.

    Even according to the writer’s own picture, women are interested in a larger number of more diverse qualities; yet somehow it makes them the superficial ones?

    Illogic, Will Robinson.

  13. Genevieve says

    SunlessNick–
    When I read stuff like what this guy wrote, I honestly wonder if this guy has ever sat down and talked to an actual woman instead of simply assuming that everything the MRAs write about the elusive female species must actually be true.

  14. says

    Tekanji, smackdown backup is always appreciated. :)

    Nick, I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right. Even if we accept his precepts, he’s still describing women as using multiple criteria in choosing a mate, but we should congratulate men for being indiscriminate rutting machines?

    God, I’m glad I have a higher opinion of men than the average misogynist!

    Genevieve, exactly! I think the MRA philosophy is very compelling to boys and men who are too uptight about charming/scoring women to really just relax and get to know them in a meaningful way, and so women reject them and they… well, actually THEY are the ones who are bitter, aren’t they?

  15. MaggieCat says

    The fashion industry is run by gay men and women. Not straight men.

    Yeah… um, quick, name all the lesbians in fashion? I don’t mean to make light – this an inflammatory slur on gays and lesbians, insinuating that they are the source of the misogyny that pushes women to waste time on clothes and makeup when we could’ve been taking over the world – but it’s so ludicrous. It doesn’t even stand up to itself.

    Since I think the comment was probably meant less as “gay men and women” and more “gay men, and women” it’s a much more sweeping accusation. Everyone’s responsible except for the straight men! It’s not their fault! ATTICA! ATTICA!

    (Too bad someone clearly forgot to tell Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Tommy Hilfiger, and Stuart Weitzman. And that’s just off the top of my head.)

    Now that I’ve managed to stop laughing at the absurdity of the original comment, and since the whole “men can’t be held responsible for the insane beauty standards women are held to because they don’t run that industry” is one of my pet peeves because the idea that women are responsible for our own suffering from unreasonable beauty standards is one of the greatest sleight of hand tricks of the 20th century, plus this is the first time in over a week that I’ve been able to look at a computer screen for more than 3 minutes without getting nauseated, I hope everyone will forgive me if I go on a rant …

    Please. The fashion industry as we know it today started with a straight white man, Charles Fredrick Worth. For centuries women had been working as dressmakers, but they were given no credit or recognition for the immense amount of skill they possessed (if you’ve ever seen antique clothing, check the hand stitching; it’s enough to make some of us weep from envy, not to mention the sheer amount of architecture required for most of it) because women’s professions have never been given the credit or respect that they deserve. Those women served individual clients, and they gave their clients what they wanted. It took a straight white man to decide that the clients should buy what *he* thought they should wear. After he married a model and made her several dresses and other women started asking about them, he found financial backers (after being turned down a few times by people who didn’t want to be involved in anything as “low class” as dressmaking (see above re: women’s professions) Gee, wonder if a woman could have pulled that off in 1858?) and he began sewing in labels to identify the clothing as *his*. Behold the power of privilege and ego.

    The first woman to open a fashion house (Jeanne Paquin) didn’t get in the game until more than 30 years later. The earliest female designer that most people can name was noted for taking inspiration from men’s items. Square cuts, tweed, braid reminiscent of the military, even square Art Deco cologne-like bottles for her perfume. (And if you really think the person with their name on the label is in control, check out this history of what Coco Chanel had to go through and how little of her own company she controlled; look under ‘Launching Perfume’ and ‘Postwar Comeback’.)

    Say we accept for a moment that today’s fashion industry is one of the few places where being a woman or a man who’s openly gay isn’t seen as an instant handicap (although I’d argue sexism and homophobia still affect who can get the financial backing to start up). While it’s not true in a technical sense, I’ve met enough people who genuinely believe it that I think there may be something worthwhile in addressing that perception.

    The thing is, it’s not really about who’s providing the product when it comes to a merchandising market, it’s about the end consumer. That all important person that you try to appeal to in hopes of keeping your company afloat. If you look at the images chosen to be presented, even in women’s clothing women usually aren’t being treated as the end consumers: we’re not customers and they’re not selling the public a product, they’re just selling wrapping for the actual product because women are still treated as a commodity rather than as an equal audience. Personally I don’t believe that the fashion industry is nearly as “trend setting” as it claims since such a large part of its success rests on being able to *predict* what will be in style a year in advance. Sometimes maybe, but by and large it reflects the culture rather than affects it. (And I say this as someone who truly loves the medium, if not the practices required for financial success in it.) The fashion industry didn’t create the standards we see, they simply respond to the power structure already in place.

    Name me an industry that’s known to be run by heterosexual men that can be as widely dismissed by as many people as the fashion industry can. You can say that it’s frivolous consumption, nefarious in its planned obsolescence, poisoning the minds of young women with an unrealistic beauty standard and plenty of people will agree with you; you can find places where everyone will. If I point out that there’s really no reason for the conspicuous consumption of the automotive industry, that it’s nefarious in its planned obsolescence, and poisoning the whole damn planet, there’s barely a place in the world where there won’t be people to argue the point and perhaps even toss out that “women just don’t get cars”.

    Name me an industry known to be run by straight white men that’s used so frequently as shorthand for shallow or stupid or as something that needs to be tossed aside (Legally Blonde) or endured until you get to your real job ( Ugly Betty, Just Shoot Me).

    And if you can do that, name me an industry that’s perceived as being “run by women and gay men” that you CAN’T say either of those things about. Because if there is one, I’d love to know.

  16. Sophist says

    This is silly. I, nothing more than a concerned reader, only wanted to address something I saw as a stylistic fault. It was not a criticism of any of your points, most of whom I agree with. It was not a defense for the commentator. It was an address of your reader, who felt that there is room for improvement in your writing. Focus on arguments, not persons.

    Insults are unnecessary to begin with, and they are also unnecessary to follow with. To display this I thought to point out that your unwise commentator writes unwise things exactly because he is unwise. But you are not as unwise, so why do you allow yourself to engage in unwise writings? (Here I assume that personal insults are always unwise.)

    As for me, I am a simple reader, and not the commentator of notoriety, his friend, nor even Bill Diamond. Fortunately the world is big enough for me to not need to be any of them. If my person interests more than I think it should, then discovery is possible through my discontinued blog.

    It is possible that I would have written condescending were my knowledge of the English language better. The worst thing about the English language in international communication is that there are native speakers, and I am not one of them.

    Tekanji, is any place on the internet really private? And especially then blogs who allow reader feeds? But yes, I admit that I am arrogant, as I am, after all, trying to impose quality on what people write. Some fight for rights, others refine writings, all improve the world, I say.

    I won’t comment again. It is up to BetaCandy to decide whether to take my comment as an insult or a constructive remark. With that said I’m sorry if I upset anyone. Such was not my intention. Peace to all, and prosperity.

    P.S. This commenting system is too complex for simple folk like me.

  17. Kiki says

    Sophist, why prey tell are you trying to assist a native english speaker with their writing when you are not? If BetaCandy wanted writing critism there are many people out there to give it to her, not to mention many other blogs and sites that would assist her.

    I have met MANY “Sophist”s in my life who enjoy argueing for the sake of argueing. That is not the point of the site, this is a place to come and air feminist veiwpoints on various things and have them justified and supported.

    The point of this post was that someone tried to post an unfreindly, misguided, INFLAMMATORY attack on a post that had been put up here. These attacks happen to most of the readers of the site. It is nice to see a detailed rebuttal of the arguements, because unlike BetaCandy and supposedly you, I am not good at argueing for the sake of it. In fact I get extremely frustrated with my lack of words for something I know is wrong and incorrect but my freind the “sophist” has once again argued me into a corner because my very emotional response.

    Cudos to BetaCandy for responding to someone and letting their remarks be seen and discussed when I would have furiously deleted the comment.

  18. says

    My motive for deconstructing this comment:

    I believe in calling out stupidity. American culture dictates that we coddle and give the benefit of the doubt to people who say stupid things, or bigoted things. We assure ourselves, “They just don’t know better. I’m sure he didn’t mean the N word as a bad thing.”

    I have two responses to this:

    (1) If anyone is really as stupid as this commenter must be if we take his comment at face value, in which he asserts that women control men’s sexual behavior and women expect more beauty than men do, then he is too stupid to live and I’m in favor of the process of natural selection slating him for extinction. That’s nature at work – don’t like it, email the complaints department of the universe.

    (2) If he’s not really that stupid – as I suspect – then he is harassing us. He is intentionally hawking belligerent, misogynistic views here when there are dozens of places ’round the web where he can gather with like minds and say all he wants.

    Either way, he deserves to be called out.

    Because A LOT OF PEOPLE claim to believe women are entirely responsible for men’s sexual behavior, including when men rape women and when men molest children. Those people sit on juries in rape trials and apply their prejudices to the fate not only of rapists – who get off if they’re white, get convicted if they’re of color, generally – but to the rape victim who can’t have justice because the jury prefers to believe she MADE the rape happen.

    That’s not a “stylistic issue.” That’s an undeclared war I’m fighting.

  19. FM says

    MaggieCat – Let me just say I loved your rant. As someone who loves both current and historical fashion, I can definitely relate to people dismissing it as unworthy of interest at best, or shallow at worst. Your comment about male-dominated fields getting more respect made me think of the reactions I get to historical fashion– that it isn’t as respectable an area of study, or isn’t as relevant to history as other “manly” subjects like history of weapons. And anyone who’s studied historical fashion knows that it’s DAMN relevant.

    Kinda reminds me of this blog, actually, and the trolls who assert that critiquing pop culture is a waste of time.

  20. says

    Since I think the comment was probably meant less as “gay men and women” and more “gay men, and women” it’s a much more sweeping accusation. Everyone’s responsible except for the straight men! It’s not their fault! ATTICA! ATTICA!

    Oh, I think you’re right. I didn’t get that. I should’ve known – white men are 100% Grade A incapable of being responsible for anything. It’s always everyone else’s fault!

    Kudos on the rest of your rant. It got me thinking about something else, too: the end consumer of women’s fashion is straight men. Because as you said, the clothes aren’t sold to women for women to have, they’re sold to women to accessorize themselves with, so they can sell themselves to men. That’s less true now than it was years ago, perhaps, but it’s still there. Consider how straight young men tend to shop for clothes that look cool to them, while women learn from a very early age to shop for clothes that look cool on them. It’s a subtle but important difference. The whole idea of “queer eye for the straight guy” is to teach guys to see themselves as others see them when they’re attending to their appearances. Because straight men aren’t taught to worry about how they appear to others. This is why so many of them can go around shamelessly looking like beached whales in black knee socks and ill-fitting shorts and no shirt – which, hell, I think everyone should be that relaxed about how they look, but it’s not fair women are socialized to worry how we look to othersbut men are allowed to continue that childhood inability to critique the person in the mirror and anticipate how others will react. It’s also unfair that women who don’t get this socializing and go around with functional hair and clothes have it said behind their backs: “Doesn’t she realize what she looks like? Why doesn’t she take care of herself?” As if she should be ashamed to leave the house clean and presentable, but not particularly stylish.

  21. MaggieCat says

    Let me just say I loved your rant. As someone who loves both current and historical fashion, I can definitely relate to people dismissing it as unworthy of interest at best, or shallow at worst. Your comment about male-dominated fields getting more respect made me think of the reactions I get to historical fashion– that it isn’t as respectable an area of study, or isn’t as relevant to history as other “manly” subjects like history of weapons. And anyone who’s studied historical fashion knows that it’s DAMN relevant.

    Thank you. :-) As you can probably tell, it’s a bit of an issue with me. I’ve done costume design, and it took no time at all to get frustrated with the number of people who treat the entire subject as useless or with contempt. I’ve had people tell me I’m overreacting to what I refer to as “The Braveheart Issue” (kilts! They’re wearing kilts! in the 13th century! Gah!) despite the fact that I’ve seen those same people get into an hour+ discussion about how such-and-such gun wasn’t invented yet in another movie. I never got a good answer as to why one was worth discussing and the other was unimportant, so I was forced to come to my own conclusions.

    Of course it’s relevant– where ever there’s been a massive social structure in place willing to punish anyone who transgressed a code of conduct that only really applied to people who were politically powerless to challenge it, it’s important.

    Consider how straight young men tend to shop for clothes that look cool to them, while women learn from a very early age to shop for clothes that look cool on them. It’s a subtle but important difference. The whole idea of “queer eye for the straight guy” is to teach guys to see themselves as others see them when they’re attending to their appearances. Because straight men aren’t taught to worry about how they appear to others.

    I don’t know if everyone does, but I can actually remember when the idea of dressing to make other people happy occurred to me. Once I hit about 5 years old and was vocal enough about my opinions to make my mother stop dressing me, it was all skirts, dresses, and slacks for the next 6 years or so. I can say for sure that I was the only kid in my 5th grade class who owned and regularly wore blazers to school. I didn’t buy my first pair of jeans until I was 13 for heaven’s sake. Because that’s when I started to care (since I’d certainly noticed before) that I wasn’t dressing like the popular kids. And I tried, I really tried, but I was a thousand times more uncomfortable and insecure trying to do the whole ripped jeans/flannel/messy ponytail thing than I ever was as the only girl walking around in a dress and heels during December. After my freshman year of h.s. (also notably the last year before a very toxic friend moved far away) I gave up and made my peace with being the only student wearing a knee length skirt, heels, and a really cute assortment of cardigans 4 days a week. (And also frequently being mistaken for a student teacher. *headdesk* Okay, maybe not so much with that one.)

    Yeah, if I had my way those atrocious sweatpants with the word ‘Juicy’ across the ass from a few years back would have been shredded before they left the workroom and became a blight on humanity, and this leggings resurgence would never have happened, but I’m not saying that everyone should embrace pantyhose and tights the way I do. (Seriously. Yoga pants: just as stretchy and comfy, no aesthetic crimes are committed.) But the fact that anything that can be described as “comfortable” that gets the least bit of approval from the media makes so many women instantly flock to it should prove that women aren’t the ones keeping the insanity in the mainstream. The only thing keeping it there is the pressure that women still get for not conforming, which is what makes it all the more laughable when someone asserts that women are driving the phenomenon.

    About what I said before about Chanel taking a lot of inspiration from men’s items (although she did) it needs context: it wasn’t because she was trying to make women look like men– she was telling them that they had the right to demand the same level of comfort and ability to dress themselves without needing a second party because they couldn’t move. It’s why no one’s matched that level of genius: she took a look around the resort towns where her first salons were at all the women in who were trying to outdo each other with frills and corsets and immobilizing skirts and went “screw that”. And brought jersey, that wonderful comfy fabric, which must have been heavenly after years of stays and fussy details, and made it not only acceptable but admired. One of the “sometimes” when fashion doesn’t just react to culture but helps change it, because there wasn’t going to be much going back after that. Dior managed it for a while in the ’50s, but it didn’t stick.

    Two of my favorite quotes are hers: “Fashion has become a joke. The designers have forgotten that there are women inside the dresses. Most women dress for men and want to be admired. But they must also be able to move, to get into a car without bursting their seams! Clothes must have a natural shape.”
    I think it’s a natural impulse for a lot of people, regardless of gender, to want to be admired. The problem is that society has deemed that men aren’t required to worry about being admired for their appearance if they don’t want to, and frequently tells women that they won’t be admired for much else. It’s no wonder they forgot there was a person in there, and many don’t seem to have remembered it yet.

    And “How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.”
    Now if we could just get everyone to agree to that, we’d be getting somewhere. (Yes, I am sitting around waiting for the first time ever for something to air on Lifetime because it includes the words ‘mini series’ ‘Coco Chanel’ and ‘Shirley MacLaine’. Why do you ask?)

  22. Daomadan says

    MaggieCat: I love your rant on the fashion industry! As a costumer/historical reenactor and lover of history, you are spot on about the sexism in the industry and people placing men’s worth over women’s.

    I still try to explain to some people why linens/silks/clothing/quilting, etc should be considered art and are just as important as paintings, sculptures, and other pieces considered “high art.” I always think it is a shame that much of what women created over the centuries is made of materials that don’t weather well and deteriorate. It’s one reason why the collection at the V&A in London is so important for displaying women’s work in sewing, etc.

    BetaCandy: Brilliant analysis and subsequent smackdown in the comments.

  23. says

    This is a great post with great comments too.

    Just want to add, it’s so easy for people to be short-sighted and forget how we got to where we are and how history has affected present-day realities.

  24. Nick says

    Was actually crying with laughter when you said;

    “We’ll need a shit shovel to get through this one. Classifying any group as superficial is inflammatory. If I allowed this comment in, a thread would likely get derailed by people ripping him a new orifice.”

    Need more people like you guys in my life. It would make my daily rant at some of my “mates” a lot easier if I had someone with a pair and intelligence backing me up.

    Great work as always.

  25. says

    I’d take your point about his gender essentialism one step further and point out that testes and ovaries do not a man or woman make.

    And I have a small quibble with the idea that there is a single, fixed, hierarchy of hotness (“aiming too high on the hotness meter”). Maybe straight people have one that I just don’t get, and I do agree that certain bodies in our society are hugely privileged (like skinny ones, and white ones, and cis ones, etc.), but I just don’t as much have experience with a “you’re a 2 on the scale to ten, you’re an 8 on the scale” type of privileging. Does this really happen? Is there a universally agreed upon way that straight people are deemed hot or not that means you can defininitvely state that going to bars “you’re not likely to hook up with someone who’s much better looking than you are, no matter your gender”?

    Besides that, I thought the fisking was brilliant!

  26. says

    you’re a 2 on the scale to ten, you’re an 8 on the scale” type of privileging. Does this really happen?

    Yes, in my experience, it does happen in popular night spots. In big cities, at least, there are bars that won’t even let you in unless you look a certain way (which the bouncers determine at the door). The media coaches us on what heights, breast sizes, hairstyles, hair colors and fashions we should like in the opposite sex, and those are the looks that tend to get favored in those places. In my experience, when I get anywhere near “the look” in a place like that, more men talk to me. When I go in looking like my comfortable, fairly attractive but far from glamorous self, I’m a piece of furniture. And as far as I can tell, women in these places are similarly materialistic: if he doesn’t look a certain way, he’d better have evidence of being extremely wealthy and connected, or something.

    Now, outside of hookup spots, it’s different because you might actually get to talking to another human and find out you have something in common.

    So that’s where I was coming from in my advice to this guy: go to hook-up spots without looking like the latest GQ cover, and yeah, you will get overlooked. Go to places where you might actually get to know a woman personally, and if you are worth knowing personally, you’ll have a shot.

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