This is not about all men. This is about men given to a particular kind of attitude toward women.
I think this is something that stuck with me, because the first time I saw it, I thought he had a point. Because I thought it was a good point, I shared it with others. In the process of doing that, I realized how stupid it is.
Yes, I realize this was a bit of standup comedy, and maybe I shouldn’t take it so seriously. However, part of what makes comedy good is the commentary it provides – a keen sense of the difference between the way society tends to understand things and the way things actually are. It is a way of understanding things from a different perspective. In this case, it seems like a perspective that makes a very comfortable transition to the one held by this guy – The Death of Pretty.
The whole concept of a “whore’s uniform” is basically bullshit, because the definition of whore’s uniform is dependent on factors ranging from the overall existing standard to the personal tastes of the individual making an evaluation. Now, I think what these two men are trying to describe is something along these lines:
But maybe they meant this:
So the problem is essentially this:
If the standard is a skirt that just hits the top of your knees, a miniskirt marks you as a whore.
If the standard is ankle length skirts, a skirt that stops at mid-calf marks you as a whore.
If the standard is a burqa . . . well, you can probably see where I’m going with this by now.
If you didn’t find that very useful, I made this non-intuitive graphic to help.
The brain is (in part at least) a comparison engine. It is tuned for noticing differences. When something is different – when it stands out against a backdrop of uniformity, we want to examine it. We want to know what the significance of that difference is. We want to know what it means.
Meaning is important to us – it is how we learn to interpret and navigate the world. It is also how we reconcile our impulses with the world.
You are born into the world wanting things. The world abruptly begins to tell you which wants are ok, and where and when it is permissible to satisfy them. This is important to us, because we are conditioned to be social creatures. We look for social cues from others of our own kind to let us understand how to satisfy our urges without stepping on someone else’s toes and getting banished from the village.
However, the impulses we have do not self-regulate. The old wyrm coiled at the center of your brain does not want its fair share. It just wants. Forever. So you reign it in most of the time, while keeping an eye out for when it it’s ok to . . . indulge. We are always looking for the special occasion – the little mini-vacation from dealing with the stress of considering others. When is ok to eat or drink to satiety? When is it ok sleep in? When is it ok to not work? When is it ok to express the fullness of my emotional state?
What situation makes it ok to see to my urges without bothering about how other people feel about it?
Sexual urges are no different – except in this case, you are not merely using up resources, such that another person cannot use them. You are not merely burdening someone else with an unfair share of work. You are using a person directly as the resource which satisfies your urges.
I get the impression that the difficulty some men have with women is inability to reconcile then notion of a woman as a person with rights, and the feeling of a woman as a resource capable of satisfying an urge1. If a man has strong sexual urges towards women, and also understands that you must generally respect the wishes of other people, then he is likely to try to find the situation where a woman can be considered not in terms of her person-nature, but in terms of her resource-nature. When is she saying that she is not to be respected as a person? What signal can I look for that tells me I am free to indulge.
Restrictive dress standards do not exist to protect women from objectification. They exist to protect the right of men to objectify some women.
Suppose you are an average male who is attracted to women. Let’s suppose also, that you have something in your system of beliefs that causes you to have a negative attitude about sex. Like you think sex is really bad, or something terrible will happen to you for wanting it or thinking about it. You are still subject to these desires even though you also feel that it is bad. You may feel a twinge of anger directed at the perceived source of your frustrations. Around that same time, your mind is furiously working out a way to relieve the stress your body is under in a way that won’t provoke so much cognitive dissonance that your mind breaks. You probably begin to see all the little ways in which females must be intentionally trying to manipulate you into feeling this way. And what right does she have to make you feel this way, after all, without expecting anything to happen to her? Why should she be so powerful?
Designating someone else as not deserving of respect is a psychological get out of jail free card for people like this. It is a way to carve out a place in both the mind and society where it is safe and acceptable to feel what they are feeling without the negative emotional state that occurs when you have the sense that you have done something wrong. The more restrictive the standard, the greater freedom there is for a man to interpret a garment (or lack thereof) as an invitation to use her as a resource, rather than respect her as a person. It makes it feel like the woman has given consent simply by not adhering to the standard. Or it removes a man’s sense of guilt because he was provoked into a reaction that “couldn’t be helped”2.
And if you feel that all of the above is reasonable, again, do be aware that interpretations vary on what slutty is.
1I also get the very strong impression that, when these sorts of men say that women have too much power, they are referring at least in part to resource control. As in, women (people) have too much control over women (resource).
2This probably also explains a lot of the homophobia that seems prevalent within the same demographic. Not just the dudes who hate the object of their own closeted desires either. Some straight dudes just have a very violent reaction to being evaluated (sexually speaking) by another dude. I suspect that the reason may lay in their own understanding of the weight of the male gaze. There is an implicit moral judgement within it. As if a gay man is saying “I am looking at you because you have done something wrong, and because it’s your own fault, I can use you.”
But honestly, wtf do I know. I have a vagina.
I obviously pulled a bunch of pictures and shit from the internet, so I don’t want to claim them as my own. However, I forget where I got most of them, so I will just credit Internet.
Within each of us is the person we once were. A sleeping pattern of paths, along which thoughts once flowed in response to experience.
A situation which stirs the echoes of those experiences calls out to your previous self. It will wake, assert itself and you will be as you once were. Your attention will flow along the paths established until the path out can be found or forged again.
I have been playing a lot of Kinect games lately. Specifically, I have been playing a lot of dancing games. I have logged the most time in a game called Rhythm Party. It should be noted that on the majority of the songs, I have achieved a null score in terms of rhythm1. Apparently I utterly lack the ability to move in time with music at even the most basic level. As I was flailing my way through one of the Japanese groupdance tracks, an observation drifted through my mind: I am very awkward.
Then I thought to myself, “Fuck you, stupid brain. That was a cunty thing to think.”
To which it replied, “Well, I guess that makes you a stupid cunt then, doesn’t it?”
1My score in terms of pieces of furniture inadvertently kicked per song is pretty high.
I want to set up a Minecraft server with a couple of slight modifications. It will be a survival mode game such that dangerous creatures start spawning only after someone has manually lit the first light somewhere in the world. Prior to this, the world would be completely safe, but have an abbreviated day that provides only weak illumination.
After someone sets the first torch, you get a regular day/night cycle, but monsters will aggressively inhabit the land. Ideally everyone would then hunt this person to punish them.
1. I have the tendency to over-complicate things.
2. I procrastinate. A lot.
3. I am a perfectionist, but only with regard to things that have little or no value to anyone. I will become absorbed in tasks like rearranging files on my hard drive. Or establishing the perfect naming conventions in a script with three functions.
I believe that perfectionism develops as a way to avoid making progress while still sort of feeling like you are doing something meaningful. It alleviates the nagging feeling that occurs when you know there are matters to which you should attend. It lets you focus on something with which you are already familiar, which can sometimes be more palatable that doing something entirely new. It lets you stay in your comfort zone, expend little effort and all the while you get to feel a certain superiority about your devotion1.
I put off starting tasks and projects that do not demand immediate attention because I make it a giant ordeal in my head. Because it is now a giant ordeal, it probably has some important implications or consequences or something, and will likely have who can even guess what impact of unfathomable magnitude on situations I have yet to even conceive of.
Certainly, for something so important, I wouldn’t want to run the risk of starting incorrectly. Need to consider all the factors. Do some research. Come at this thing from all angles. Clean my desk. And now it’s like mid afternoon, so I should probably get some lunch. And run to the store – and a couple other errands while I’m out. Get all this low-hanging fruit out of the way so my mind will be clear to tackle this really important thing I have to do.
I actually get kind of a lot of work done while trying to avoid doing any particular given task. I feel like I ought to be able to exploit this somehow to improve my life.
Once I manage to get started on something2, I rarely encounter the sort of difficulties that I had envisioned during the triage stage. It’s like, if I could just initiate a task without picturing every potential difficulty, I would have no issue. I should allow myself the comfort of believing that if I just nudge myself forward a little, my brain will go with it and keep things rolling.
But I don’t really have that kind of trust established with my brain. It has totally fucked me over in the past when we had to decide whether to play Age of Mythology3 for three hours or get started on the philosophy paper due in eight hours.
1See also: prayer. 2I will work diligently until it nears completion, then fuss with minor details to avoid finishing and starting over with something completely new. One method I use to this end is starting a new project. 3In fairness, I did lay low the enemies of Ra that day.
Little kids sort of freak me out. That is not to imply that I have child related phobia, it’s simply that I’m never quite at ease when one is around due to the fact that they are 1.) small and 2.) ignorant of the notion of their own mortality. As I understand it, children don’t have a real sense of self until around age 21. Or I guess more appropriately, they have no sense of self as a distinct object careening around in a 3-dimensional space where objects are often hard and unyielding. Or sharp. Or fire. Not sure if I have the age right, and I’m certain it varies. If any parents or shrinks have some actual data they’d like to share, feel free to correct my heresies.
In any event, the defining attributes of children seem to be inquisitiveness and utter disregard for safety. As a result, their investigative methods are somewhat lacking in the necessary sophistication to ensure relatively safe experimentation. It essentially boils down to “Ah, look! An as yet unidentified object! I ought to put it in my mouth to determine its nature and origin.”
The point being here, that you have to pay attention to them. At all times. I’m bad at focusing on anything that is not aggressively demanding my attention2, so that is more than a little intimidating to me. It is also possible that an infant might make both better reasoned and less impulsive decisions than I do.
This attitude and its exploratory trial and error manifestation in and of itself is rather delightful to observe. When not distracted by an immediate need such as hunger or the need to be cleansed of its own feces, small children are almost exclusively preoccupied with figuring shit out. That’s pretty cool.
My sister had a kid this past October, and whenever I’m around him, I find myself fascinated by his fascination with that which I have long since considered mundane3. If not for the expense, mess, time consideration, pregnancy, labor and general responsibility, I would have a child of my own.
Of course I fully recognize that, absent those factors, I’m essentially left with a learning algorithm. Which is why I intend to craft my children of metal and light instead of settling for the product of our baser exertions45.
Right. So anyway, I’m looking for edutainment toys for my nephew – or at least something sort of science-themed. As opposed to plush, squeaky-themed toys, because those are for dogs. I ordered him a baby version of a Hoberman Sphere and was very pleased with myself. I went back to check on my order and found my money had been refunded, as they were out of stock. I griped about this in front actual parents, who were horrified because playing with one of these things is obviously a death sentence for a child. Again – it was in the infant section. They’re in stock again – I’m still going to order one because, well, there’s a picture of an infant playing with it on the site, and that seems to pretty solidly support my case.
I’ll hear other suggestions for toys if anyone has any. Obviously he’s a bit young for a chemistry set. Which is to say that I asked my sister, and she said no. Rendered terrified of an accusation of child endangerment, I’m basically just compiling a list of ideas now, which I will present to her for approval. And before anyone mentions it, it is also apparently “too soon” for a rock tumbler.
Oh, and since I’m discussing my sister’s kid, I will mention that she and baby-daddy tied the knot last weekend. Here’s the best picture taken that day:
Amber, from now on, it is inappropriate to refer to your friends as anything other than your crew.
1Incidentally, I’ve also read that children do not develop a sense of other until around 5 or 7. For some reason that seems rather late to me, but it would explain why kids are kind of assholes. 2I have taken some pretty intense stimulants designed to forcibly wrangle my thoughts into some sort of manageable direction. I am, on occasion, uncomfortably energetic. 3Although to be fair, I was also pretty fascinated by watching my dog figure out how to eat a tortilla off of the kitchen floor. 4No offense intended to current parents. I’m certain your progeny are all the very essence of cherubic perfection, yet as individual and special as a snowflake crafted by the hand of a loving god. 5Have I been using superscripts correctly? I feel like they are supposed to go before the punctuation when used on the last word in a sentence, but it doesn’t look right for some reason.
When I was little, I would fall asleep on the couch watching TV. I usually needed something noisy to fall asleep to, I don’t know why. Occasionally I would wake up as whatever station I was watching was going off air – some would play the national anthem with video of the flag before going to test pattern and finally dark. When I would wake up to this, it would instantly send me into a panic. I had come to believe this was some kind of barrier – you were not supposed to be awake beyond this time, because this is when reality shut down. As long as you were sleeping, you’d be ok – you would just wake up after reality started up again. But if you were seeing this, it meant you were in an in between state and you might not be able to get back if you didn’t *wake* into reality.
I always seemed to be ok though – obviously I was very clever and always managed to figure out how to get right with the world again. However, one day I was sitting with my mom and grandparents watching TV, and a commercial for Hellmann’s mayonnaise came on. Only, not Hellmann’s. It was the same jingle exactly only they were saying “Best Foods” instead of “Hellmann’s”. Best Foods is the west coast name for Hellmann’s – they just ran the wrong version of it for that area. I can’t explain how upsetting it was that the difference was there and nobody else reacted to it.
After a while I concluded that I had slipped out of my proper reality, and promptly began to freak the fuck out bcause I had no idea what to do. My grandmother was trying to figure out why I was so upset, and, being a child, I explained my situation somewhat less articulately than the above description. I think I managed something along the lines of “I woke up and fell asleep wrong and now you’re all different”. I’m pretty sure I tried to tell her how the TV was involved because she yelled at my mom for letting me watch fantasy movies.
I also used to believe that my stuffed animals had souls. They were different than our souls though, because they were just toys and couldn’t move (logic!). As a result, they couldn’t keep themselves alive, you had to do it by paying attention to them. I used to pile all of my stuffed toys on my bed with me when I slept, because I didn’t want any of them to feel bad, else they might die because I didn’t love them enough. This alone wouldn’t have been too bad, except . . .
My uncle told me that if I left my arms and legs hanging over the edge of the bed at night, monsters would take them. Since *I* had left them beyond the boundaries of the bed, it was technically fair and so I couldn’t do anything to get them back, or even evict whatever was living inder there. So on my little twin bed, I would pile any toy with a face and then try to work myself into the pile without knocking anyone off or letting any part of me leave the bed.
I’m suddenly realizing it’s no wonder why I have the occasional sleep issues.