Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Raining Boys

To start, I’d like to share with you a scenario that Kay S. Hymowitz describes in her book “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys.”

Scenario 2: The Darwinian Playboy. These are the guys who plan to live alone and have lots of sex with a lot of women. Though they might hang around for a while, they will never, ever be that into you. They lard their deep mistrust of women with convenient bits of evolutionary psychology. Some saw fathers, uncles, brothers, or friends chewed up and spit out by ex-wives who had cheated on them but still got the house, the kids, and half of their ex’s income. Others probably never recovered from their own experiences of betrayal; others are geeks who, having spent much of their twenties invisible to women, are also in a vengeful frame of mind. Some of them are devoted followers of Roissy, a philosophically sophisticated blogger who uses his multitudinous sexual encounters to analyze the amoral nature of female desire; think Hefner via Dostoyevsky. “Women, no matter how determinedly enlightened and independent, are turned on by smart, dominant males—not bullies, not necessarily billionaires, mind you, but guys who know how to communicate the right mix of self-confidence, aloofness, and charisma.” Love and marriage, concludes Roissy, are just “pretty lies.” “Marriage is no escape from the sexual market and the possibility that you may be outbid by a competitor with higher value,” he writes. “No matter how much you love your kids, if a divorce happens (50% chance, 70+% chance the wife initiates it) you are going to be paying child support for the new lingerie your ex-wife buys to sexually please her blogger lover. Life is a parade of worry and high wire risk, of love and loneliness, and no socially manufactured arrangement exists to insulate you from your dreaded fears. To imagine otherwise is beta.”

Safe predictor: By his mid-forties, the playboy is doing a comb-over for his balding head and wearing leather jackets to cover-up his gut when he goes to bars to pick up women. Despite the fact that he tends to blather on about great bands of the 1990s, there are a few who are willing to sleep with him. Eventually, he’ll find himself seeing one of them and deciding to move in with her. He becomes a stepdad to her kids and begins to dislike her ex as much as she does. He’s not especially happy with his arrangement—he remembers the good old days when women appeared to him like an enormous, all-you-can-eat buffet—but what’s the alternative?

This scenario, my friends, makes me want to cry and scream at the same time. This speaks of a man who has given up—he had given up before he even finished college. Why? What’s driven this route of apathy among a large population of men these days?

For the record (I feel like I say this phrase a lot), I do not believe that this scenario speaks of all men. I know a large number of men who completely do not fit this persona—and I am so glad to have them in my life. But we can’t ignore the fact that there is a growing number of what Hymowitz calls the “child-man.”

Here are a couple definitions and explanations of the child-man from Hymowitz. “The child-man prides himself on his lack of pretense, his slovenly guyness, not to mention his fascination with bodily fluids and noises.” “Men tried to cool down the masculine persona through youthful playfulness and coy hesitancy. ‘Me?’ they seemed to say. ‘I’m not a man. I’m a guy.’” And speaking of the prevalence of child-men in tv and movies, “With a talent for crude physical comedy, gleeful juvenility, and self-humiliation, these guys are the child-man counterpart to smoother, more conventional romantic leads, such as George Clooney and Brad Pitt, beloved by women and Esquire editors.” “Crudity is at the heart of the child-man persona—the bad-boy tone epitomizes his refusal to grow-up.”

The second and third wave feminist movements are, in large part, to blame. The biggest difference between men these days and men in previous generations? “Still one thing above all separates his forefathers from him: they knew they were going to be tied to, and responsible for, a family. He does not.” “Adult manhood has almost universally been equated with marriage and fatherhood.” There was a script, expected norms for dating and marriage between the sexes. In the over-eager attempt to equalize women with men, feminism unintentionally demoralized and destabilized the role of a man in society, in family, and in relationships. And although feminists say they don’t want the stereotypical “protector, provider”, statistics and research say otherwise.

Men are left confused—they’ve grown up with working mothers, and a society that demonized masculinity while forcing feminine ideals and qualities on everyone. At the same time, “nice guys finish last”—women seem to go for the jerks. Some men feel they have no value to a woman—if his role was protector, provider and a woman can take care of herself, then why does she need him? There’s nothing left to protect and no one left to provide for. Why should he push himself to be better, to work harder? For what? For whom?  So with all this confusion of what it is to be a man, many men have simply given up trying to figure it out. There is far too much temptation to continue on in adolescence—to accept the “child-man” stereotype portrayed in Adam Sandler films.

 Doesn’t this all seem so depressing? It certainly does to me—I do not envy men. But I do appreciate the ones I know who have not given up. Who have not given in to the temptation of male arrested development.

Men are naturally competitive, more aggressive than women, value strength, courage, and resolve. None of these attributes should be demonized, and I’d encourage all the men I know to embrace those qualities. Aggressiveness is not evil in and of itself but should just be tempered so it’s not demoralizing to others. Women need the men in their life to embody these qualities—we respect them. And we love what we respect.

We women love men’s strength and courage—even in its simplest forms. I can’t tell you how many times friends have lamented not having a guy around because there’s a freaky huge spider that needs killing, a stubborn jar lid that won’t come off, too heavy furniture to move, an electronic device that needs figuring out. Sure, these are silly things. But they are real nonetheless. We love seeing strength and courage in action.

So for the love of all women, men please embrace your masculinity. I would love to change to the tune of “It’s Raining Men.”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In Defense of Masculinity

"It is the age of woman worship. Women are angels: men are demons."- Orestes Brownson

Masculinity has been emasculated in the fallout of the feminist movement. "Feminism may have started off seeking equality for women, but it soon denigrated into attacking the very soul of men." I recently finished reading the book "No More Christian Nice Guy--When Being Nice Instead of Good Hurts Men, Women, and Children," from which the previous quote is taken. This will start a series of posts dealing with how feminism has left men confused and conflicted.

To set the stage, the book starts out showing how the gentle Jesus taught in most churches today is not the Jesus of the Bible--He stood up for the weak, for His Father, argued with officials, called the Pharisees names, was confrontational, etc. "A nice Jesus is a heretical Jesus." I highly recommend that everyone read the first 2 chapters of the book (if you don't read the whole thing). From there the author goes on to show how, starting with this "gentle Jesus", the church and the faith have been feminized. And that feminization hurts men and turns them away from Jesus.

Anytime you tell someone that there's something wrong with their basic make-up it leads to feelings of unworthiness. Not only did feminism tell men that they were naturally flawed, but the church jumped on the bandwagon--more so that just saying "we're all sinners." Men were singled out. It has left men confused about how to be men. What does it mean to be a man today? Does masculinity equate to being an abusive destructive caveman?

The truth is there is nothing wrong with a man's desire to be assertive and confident--to be a leader. In fact, women prefer that to what feminists spout men should be--passive males who act more like women and bow to their wives. "This is true for women who, with the aid of pop teaching and pop culture, expect men always to be sweet and compliant, only later finding these same men boring and unattractive." People are attracted to others who have a passion for something and who are assertive in attaining it.

"To everyone's detriment, Christian men are like poodles--once an admirable hunting dog that's been so housebroken it's now afraid to get its feet wet." "A passive husband is an unreliable husband, and this makes his wife anxious, because she knows it will leave her and the children open to difficulties that threaten the family." Women don't want pliable, compliant men--regardless of what the feminists say. "What's being done to Christian men today is similar to what was done to Christian women years ago, when they were told, 'Just submit and your marriage will get better.' Now we're telling men, 'Sacrifice your identity for your wife, and your marriage will be strong.'"

To all the men reading this, don't sacrifice your masculinity--feminists are idiots. Many studies have shown that the feminist rhetoric and lifestyle don't make women any happier than they were before the 1960s. In fact, on average, women are less happy than they were before. [For those who didn't read my first post, I'm all for equality but don't hold to the rest of feminism's rhetoric.]

Of course, masculinity, just like femininity, can be perverted into something it shouldn't be. Masculinity does not equal abuse of power. Abuse of power equals abuse of power--whether it be feminine or masculine. Masculinity is the yin to feminism's yang--a direly needed force in this overly feminized culture.

In my next post "It's Raining Boys" I'll discuss how the feminized culture has caused boys confusion as they grow into men. With no good definition to tell them what a "man" is and fewer fathers present to be role models, a whole generation of men have decided to continue their boyhood or adolescence. After all, with women "liberated" there's no need for them--nothing to protect, no one to provide for. Gender norms have changed and men have been left behind.

If you're interested in reading more on this topic I recommend the following:

"No More Christian Nice Guy" by Paul Coughlin

"Manning Up: How the Rise of Women have Turned Men Into Boys" by Kay S. Hymowitz

"The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men" by Christina Hoff Sommers

Friday, July 20, 2012

Great Expectations

The topic of "having it all" has been spun around a lot lately and people have asked me some very good questions. If you haven't read the outrageously long but honest article by Anne Marie Slaughter 'Why Women Still Can't Have it All' I recommend you give it a try--at least read the beginning and the end. She makes a really good case explaining the lie of the feminist movement and how it doesn't really quite work well in real life.

What does it mean to "have it all"? Well, let's start with the basic. What is the meaning of "all" in this case? A perfect husband (and what exactly does "perfect" in this case even mean?), a high-level job, a house in the suburbs, 2.5 perfect children? Does it mean upper middle-class? Does it mean happy relationships at home and at work 100% of the time? Does it mean you live close to work? Or that you live in the city and not the suburbs? This Psychology Today blogger thinks she has it all--but all according to whom? She even says "I guess my standards are too low." She's not really sure what "all" is.

The first problem with the feminist lie of "you can have it all" is that "all" is not defined. So no matter what you have, you'll never reach this undefined goal. There's no litmus test to let you know that yes, you now have it all--congratulations. It's open-ended and therefore, unreachable.

The second problem is that no one can truly "have it all"--male or female. As humans, it's our nature to always want more. We accumulate--food, friends, money, houses, boats, babies, books, shoes, closets, pets, hobbies, etc. There's never a point where our human nature says "Yep, I think I have it all now. I don't want anything else." It just doesn't happen. The old adage of "you can't have your cake and eat it too" exemplifies this point. There's just no possible way to "have it all."

And also, since we're human "all" doesn't just mean stuff to us. It would include healthy relationships. We know that although you may be married, have kids, and have a great job that doesn't mean it's all going well. Your kids may be rebellious, you may feel disconnected from your husband, and you may feel under appreciated at work. Surely if all that is going wrong, then you don't "have it all."

The idea that someone can have it all is preposterous. To have it all is to truly have a perfect life (at least perfect in the eyes of society). And this is the expectation that we've put on entire generations of women--perfection of life. And the idea spread from women to men.

We all learned from the classic novel that great expectations usually lead to equally great disappointments. When we strive to follow the feminist mantra and have it all, we set ourselves up for failure. Where's the liberation in that? It just makes us all unhappy, depressed individuals because we feel something is wrong with us. If we were better, smarter, more efficient we would be able to accomplish the goal. But when the goal is undefined, there's no way to accomplish it.

I think women are getting to the point where they realize that striving to have it all doesn't make them happy. Women, and men, have a hard enough time juggling what they have on their plate already, let alone trying to juggle "all" once they attain it.

A more realistic approach is to realize that life is about balance, about choices. What do you want out of life (and for Christians-what does God want from you in your life)? What are you willing to sacrifice to make it happen? If family is more important to you than your career, then don't pander to the feminist movement because they are the "end all" of womens' ideals. For men, make decisions while keeping family at the top of the list. If career is more important, then be sure to let anyone you date or eventually marry know that about you. Or don't marry at all if that's your choice. But be honest with yourself and your loved ones about your priorities--that will lead to a greater sense of fulfillment than striving for someone else's undefined goal to have it all.

Attempting to have it all is truly chasing after the wind.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Making the First Move Clear

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this discussion with girls: What is he thinking? Are we just friends? I don’t want to read into anything, but I have no idea what his intentions are! And he asks these probing questions, but does he really expect me to answer a hypothetical “would you date me” question? How am I supposed to respond to that? Why can’t he just tell me what he wants?!
And all the women in the world said, “Amen.”
Why can’t he just tell us what he wants? I think many women wish for the days when courtship was something that was easy to see (why do think we love Jane Austen novels so much?). If a suitor was pursuing a girl, she knew. It was obvious to her and to those around her because there were societal rules and norms for how to pursue. And it was always led by the man. But then the sexual revolution happened and chaos between the sexes ensued.
Women don’t know what to do anymore. We still want to be the pursued, not the pursuer. But then we get into these friendships with guys and we don’t know how to read the signs. We try not to read into anything, but it’s difficult. Especially when guys start asking questions like “Would you ever date a guy like me? What does he have that I don’t? Am I your type?” Those questions put women in an awkward position—it can appear to change the role of pursuer and pursued. And we don’t want to be the pursuer. And we don’t even know if those questions mean you want to pursue. We have no idea what those questions are supposed to mean. So guys, make things easier on us all and don’t ask them. [For the record, I’m not talking about all guy-girl friendships—there are specific friendships where this type of thing happens.]
I don’t think guys know what to do anymore either. There’s no clarity between gender roles. What does it mean to be a good woman or a good man in the 21st Century? There’s a whole lot of “what not to do” out there, but little instruction on what to do and far too many mixed messages in the media. That will be an entirely different post, but as it relates to pursuing here are my thoughts and recommendations.
First and foremost, women want to be pursued. As I said in an earlier post, woman’s deepest desire is to be wanted. The clearest way to see that a man wants a woman is that he pursues her. He doesn’t wait for her to come to him. So for the men reading this post, make the first move. Be the pursuer. Don’t let her be confused as to your intentions. It’s as simple as saying, “I’d like to pursue you and see where this goes, if that’s ok with you.” Even if she is not interested in being anything more than friends, she’ll respect you for your clarity (and probably want to set you up with every good friend she has because she realizes what a catch you are). And--bonus--being so direct is considered assertive and, as I've covered before, women like assertive, dominant men.
Now, if you’re a guy and you’re just friends with girls be sure to not ask vague, leading questions like I mentioned above. Male-female friendships are totally doable—just be sure to keep it casual. If you’re texting her frequently every day, sending “good morning” or “good night” messages, and frequently going out together with just the two of you then you are sending the wrong signals. Ask yourself “Would our relationship look to others like we’re dating?” If so, then there’s a good chance that she’s confused about your intentions. And don’t think you can have one DTR (define the relationship) conversation where you tell her you aren’t interested and then continue to act the same as before. She’ll continue to be confused—actions speak louder than words, remember?
I’d also like to remind women to be kind and generous if a guy makes his intentions clear. If you aren’t interested, be respectful and direct in your response. No, ‘Right now I just want to be friends’ talk—that leaves it open for later and is disrespectful to him. If you aren’t interested, simply say “I think we should just stay friends, but I’m really flattered.” Being direct allows him to move on to find someone who does reciprocate his feelings.
And finally, since I just threw the word ‘feelings’ out there, I’d like to also remind women that it isn’t easy for guys to talk about their feelings. Even the “I’d like to pursue you” is difficult for men to say—so be aware of that and be very thankful when he puts aside his own discomfort for you. It takes courage and women should respect that.
So men, please be the leader and make the first move. Women everywhere will sing your praises for it.

[For the record, this is no passive aggressive attempt on my part to any male in my life. This conversation has just happened so often with women I know that I wanted to clear the air.]

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Girl Code, Part 1

First, I’d like to start off by saying a big thank you to all of you who have been reading my blog so far and have taken the time to let me know your thoughts. For all who have talked to me personally, left me comments here, or messaged me on Facebook: thank you for the encouragement! I love it, and I appreciate you for it.
Second, I also love the fact that any time there’s a conversation regarding male/female interaction, my friends say “I can’t wait to read what you have to say about that on your blog!” If you have a question about something or there’s a topic you’d like me to write on, please don’t hesitate to let me know! You can do an anonymous comment below, email my g-mail account at or message me on Facebook.  
Ok, now onto The Girl Code (brought to you at the request of my roommate J ).
I’ve titled this Part 1 of the Girl Code because, like most things female, the girl code is rather complex. So today I’m just dealing with one aspect, something I like to call the “Back the F Off Rule.”
In general, women have the understanding if a guy is dating or with another girl that guy is off limits. Makes sense right? He’s taken and out of respect for that relationship and for the girl, other girls back off.
During the short time I listened to the radio this morning a male caller asked the question “Okay, I just don’t get this. How come when a girl catches you looking at another girl, they get mad at the girl you’re looking at instead of you?” I understand his confusion. It would seem to make much more logical sense for the girl he’s with to get mad at him for noticing someone else. So let me try to explain to you what’s going on in the girl’s mind.
First, I’ll let you in on a little secret here. Women know how to get a man’s attention. Trust me, we are well aware of how to capture a male audience. We also know that other women have this ability, and we can tell when other women turn that switch on. On the radio, the girls were referring to it as a “vibe.” And the male radio hosts thought this idea was so ridiculous they thought the women were lying. It’s not a lie. The “vibe” consists of a lot of nonverbal communication: facial expression, way of walking, playing with our hair, eyelash fluttering, and that certain look in a girl’s eyes. Other women know exactly what I’m talking about—and can spot it in an instant.
So, let’s go back to the question. Why is Girl A mad at Girl B because Guy A was looking at Girl B? Because Girl B is breaking the Girl Code rule of “Back the F Off.” This rule not only covers overt flirting, but also encompasses “that switch” I referred to earlier. Girls can flip that switch off and on in a second. So Girl A is mad at Girl B for flipping that switch on when it should have stayed off.
Women also know that men naturally look at women. Now, don’t misunderstand me. Roaming eyes are a red flag—there’s a difference between a guy haphazardly seeing and a guy purposefully looking (this would be “roaming eyes”).  And since we know that men naturally see women, we blame the woman for turning that switch on and capturing that guy’s attention. We do so because we know she knows what she’s doing—breaking the girl code.
I would like to point out that there are two types of situations that can happen here. 1: The girl flipped on that switch and broke the girl code. 2: The guy just has roaming eyes and she did nothing wrong (which opens a whole can of jealous worms). Many women can tell the difference between the two situations. Which situation occurred will determine whom she is upset with. And as I said, roaming eyes is a red flag ladies—so tell him to enjoy the view and walk away.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Power of Women

They may talk of a comet, or a burning mountain, or some such bagatelle; but to me a modest woman, dressed out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation. ~Oliver Goldsmith

Here's something I've never understood. Why would a movement with "feminine" as the root word base it's idealogy on making women less feminine and more masculine? Did they have no idea how powerful their femininity was? How important feminine qualities are to society?

Let's go back to the beginning and see what God intended...before mankind fell and it all went awry.

Genesis 2:7 "the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (NIV)

Genesis 2:8-19 Paraphrase: God told man to take care of the garden and work in it.

Genesis 2:18 "The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Genesis 2:19-20 Paraphrase: God brought all the animals to man and had him name them. God realized none of these would be a suitable helper for man.

Genesis 2:21-24 "So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

The following are taken from "Fashioned for Intimacy" by Hansen and Powers
"They were open, naked and transparent before one another. There was an awareness that God had made them for each other, that He had specifically fashioned this union and there would be interdependency between them. Although they were two separate beings having very different qualities, their destiny was to be together...the two who would together express the image of God."

"Not a mother...not a child...not even another man who would be so much like him that he would never be challenged beyond his own nature and instincts...Someone on an equal par--his other self taken from his side--who would stand 'boldly out opposite' him and call him forth in a way no one else could."

"Divide and conquer has been an effective tactic of many a war strategist, a tactic of which Satan is a master."

"Satan ultimately purposed to silence the woman, to render her useless and powerless in the man's life."

Upon hearing that line "silence the woman...render her useless" you probably immediately think of pre-1950 when women were considered less, weaker, and ignorant compared to men. But what about now? With a society that tells women (and essentially men) that men aren't needed? Man's basic desire is to be needed; woman's basic desire is to be wanted. So what does it do to men to tell them we don't need them? It hurts them on a very deep, significant level. When someone hurts us like that, don't we usually ignore anything else they have to say? They've lost the right to speak anything into our lives because they've wounded us. I would propose that is exactly what happened. 

And how did men respond? They said fine, but now we'll only want you on a superficially sexual level--and we'll embrace the disrespectful aspect of it. So man's deepest need was undercut, and now so is woman's. Divide.and.Conquer.

The truth is men and women need each other and want each other. And women have been created in such a way as to capture man's attention and that desire for woman can make them do all kinds of crazy things--start wars, launch 1,000 ships, fight dragons (metaphorically speaking), traverse crazy long distances, and challenge their very nature to be a better person to therefore capture his woman. Did you catch that? Challenge his very nature. Men and women are different and were created so to help each other become more like Christ. The tender love, caring, encouraging feminine qualities help men learn how to be vulnerable, to become emotionally intimate--something that does not come naturally to them.

"...the initial problem God identified, and for which woman was fashioned to resolve, was the 'aloneness' of the man. She was designed and equipped in such a way that she would 'surround and protect' him against, not only his physical aloneness, but also his emotional aloneness--that part of him that easily remains aloof, isolated and unavailable." Fashioned for Intimacy

So here's my charge to women: Be the woman you were created to be. You are beautiful and dignified in your femininity so wear it with pride. Men will respect you for it, and love you for it.

My charge to men: Encourage femininity in the women around you. Let them know it's safe for them to be feminine--that you won't disparage them for it but rather appreciate it.

And I'll end with this quote which has been on my Facebook profile for years:
"One of the unfortunate sequelae of the feminist movement is a lack of respect for the uniqueness and specialness of femininity and masculinity."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Let’s Talk About Sex…and Babies

One of the many horrors, in my opinion, that has come out of the feminist movement is legalized abortion. Now for you pro-choicers out there—hang with me for a minute.  Although I do believe that life begins at conception and that ending that life through abortion is morally wrong, that is not what this post is about. This post is about sex and its ramifications: the cost of sex and the effects of legalized abortion on society and relationships between men and women.

Think back with me before Roe v. Wade. Say—before the 1960s sexual revolution. What was the cost of sex? For men, the cost was either marriage (if they wanted to have sex with a respectable girl) or money (if they wanted to sate themselves with a prostitute). Those were their two options. Let’s compare that to today. What is the cost of sex today? For men, buying a couple drinks at the bar maybe? Paying for a nice dinner? Of course, the prostitute option is still available but it’s a little less necessary now, isn’t it? After all, getting a girl drunk at a bar is usually cheaper than paying for a prostitute (or so I assume) and not illegal.

So in which of these two instances do you think men have it better? Before the 1960s or after? The answer is clearly after the 1960s. The cost of sex has gone down significantly, and in my opinion (and many others), this is not a good thing for women.

How does the lowered cost of sex affect women? For starters, they’re no longer just a respectable girl if they hold out for sex after marriage—they’re a prude. And marriage for women generally means more stability, a happier life, a better sex life, and higher socio-economic status. So also, a lower sex cost makes women more vulnerable. Sex, generally speaking, is a more vulnerable act for women than for men. And even with all forms of contraception, women take a risk if they have sex. That risk is the possibility of getting pregnant. That’s a risk that men don’t have to take. Pregnancy makes women vulnerable. And should a woman not want to have an abortion, she can look forward to a greater likelihood of a low socio-economic status, fewer advantages at work, more difficulty finding a husband and, most likely, little to no help from the guy that partnered with her in creating this child.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not dogging on guys. There are many very respectable men out there. But here’s the problem that abortion creates. A man has sex with a woman he’s not serious about. He counts on contraception to alleviate any risk. If that were to fail, he counts on abortion to fix the “problem.” The trouble is—abortion comes with its own set of risks to the woman. It’s a medical procedure that requires an ultrasound (because if you don’t get one and have an ectopic pregnancy you could die) and, even without an ectopic pregnancy, abortion has caused women to die from hemorrhaging (and since most abortion clinics aren’t required to meet hospital standards they are not equipped to help a woman in this case so you better hope a hospital is nearby). In addition to that, there’s been links between abortion and breast cancer, abortion and cervical cancer, and abortion and infertility. Studies have also shown that women who have abortions have a greater likelihood of suicidal thoughts and depression. So for women, sex is a risk, pregnancy is a risk, and abortion is a risk. For men, there’s no real risk--not physically. [STDs are an equal risk for men and women so I'm ignoring this since it's equal to both sexes]

In addition, if the man wasn’t serious about her to begin with, he will most likely either assume she’ll abort or encourage her to. He’ll tell her it’s her decision while clearly favoring abortion, and without a partner there supporting her in whatever choice she makes, she now feels very alone and isolated. It’s a vulnerable state for her to be in. It’s a choice she didn’t ever want to make but now has to. And she feels pressured to abort.

So tell me, does the lower cost of sex help or hurt women?

Moving on to my next point. Abortion is usually defended nowadays with women’s equality arguments. They say abortion is critical to women’s equality with men. So let’s ask ourselves. How so? What about abortion makes women more equal with men?

Pregnancy affects women physically, not men. So once a woman is pregnant, how can she be equal to a man? Well, in this situation a man can just walk away. So in order for a woman to be equal, she has to be able to just walk away as well. So…let me get this straight. In order for women to be equal with men, we have to be equally as irresponsible as men can be? Why on earth did we set it up that way? Why is irresponsibility the default?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to legally say for men and women to be equal, men have to be equally as responsible as women? Why should the laws assume irresponsibility as the common equality link?

The second problem this creates is it sets up the male physiology as the standard. For men and women to be equal, women must defeat biology and mimic the male physical form. So…women have to make the concession to be more like men, to therefore be equal? Doesn’t that seem a little backwards to what feminists fight for?

You might be surprised to learn that early feminists were against the idea of legalized abortion. All these points I’ve made, they saw coming.  And they fought against it as hard as they could.

Erika Bachiochi wrote wonderful article entitled "Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights" that was published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. She waxes way more eloquently on this topic than I did above so I highly recommend you read her article. You can find it here: Here are a couple snipets from her article to wet your appetite:
“Men’s reproductive design makes them distant from the physical, emotional, and social complexity of pregnancy. It also enables them to shirk the responsibilities that come with siring offspring. Women are not so designed. The lifegiving consequences of the potentially procreative sexual act confront them with immediacy and gravity, a vulnerability that callous men have exploited throughout human history. The legal availability of abortion has worked to detach men further from the potentialities of female sexuality, offering them the illusion that sex can finally be completely consequence free.100 The trouble is that, for women, sex that results in pregnancy is fraught with consequence. Women must act affirmatively—and destructively—if they are to imitate male reproductive autonomy.101”

“As the late Elizabeth FoxGenovese, distinguished social historian and founder of the Emory University Women’s Studies Department, has stated, according to the prochoice feminist view:
To enjoy full dignity and rights as an individual, a woman
must resemble a man as closely as possible. It is difficult to
imagine a more deadly assault upon a woman’s dignity as a
woman. For this logic denies that a woman can be both a
woman and a full individual.110”

“Consider the views of Daphne Clair de Jong, founder of Feminists for Life in New Zealand, writing in 1978:
If women must submit to abortion to preserve their lifestyle
or career, their economic or social status, they are pandering
to a system devised and run by men for male convenience.
The politics of sexism are perpetuated by accommodating to
expediential societal structures, which decree that pregnancy
is incompatible with other activities, and that children
are the sole responsibility of their mother. The demand for
abortion is a sellout to male values and a capitulation to
male lifestyles rather than a radical attempt to renegotiate the
terms by which women and men can live in the world as people
with equal rights and equal opportunities. Accepting the “necessity”
of abortion is accepting that pregnant women and mothers are unable
to function as persons in this society. It indicates a willingness to adjust
to the status quo which is a betrayal of the feminist cause,
a loss of the revolutionary vision . . . .117”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fifty Shades of...Oh Snap

I know what you're thinking. "Cindy, what are you doing? You're a good Christian girl. Your first blog post can't be about Fifty Shades of Grey!" Well...too bad. I have some thoughts here that I'd like to hash out.

So, I was sitting in my boss's office one day recently, watching the muted television while she was reading over something. The TV was on CNN News and guess what they were talking about. No, not politics (pretty sure we have some important election coming up, right?). No, not healthcare (that was a big deal recently, right?). No, they were talking about Fifty Shades of Grey. That's right--CNN News was talking about a wildly popular bondage erotica novel during the middle of the day. How did we get here folks? When did that become appropriate to discuss on the news?

Now, let me state for the record: I have not read the book series nor do I plan to. But I have heard about it from just about every source imaginable: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, CNN News, overheard conversations around town, my hair salon...I could keep going. These books are everywhere. Women love them. Liberated, feminist women love a good ol' bondage erotica book series. Oh if Freud could get his hands on that one--I just know he'd have a ton to say, and I have a feeling these "liberated" women wouldn't like it too much.

What I find most interesting is that most women are in agreement that the books are horribly written, "with too many examples of mortifying overreaches and awkward phrases to cite ('My subconscious runs, screaming, and hides behind the sofa')." And even so, women still love them. They've taken to Pinterest to share their opinion about who should play Christian Grey, the "uber-controlling, hyperbolically handsome and spectacularly rich guy who wants her—but on his terms," in the movie. Oh yeah, they're making the book series into a movie. (Insert screachy record sound here) Doesn't that mean the movie would have to be, ya know, X-rated? So now we have a whole culture of women eagerly anticipating the making of a porno? And they're talking about it on CNN News? Sigh, seriously how did we get here folks?

On Facebook, a friend of mine posted something similar to "Ok ladies, I've finished Fifty Shades of Grey!! What should I read next??" Ok, so now not only is it acceptable to admit to all of your friends, family, and co-workers on Facebook that you read and enjoyed a bondage erotica novel but now you're asking for recommendations for similar books...on Facebook? I recently read a Psychology Today article explaining how erotica novels are the female version of picture and video pornography. Women prefer reading it, men prefer seeing it.

So what would we do if the situation were reversed? What if I saw a male friend of mine on Facebook post "So guys, I just finished watching "[Insert Inappropriate Movie Title Here]" What should I watch next?"  I'm fairly certain that if a guy posted that on Facebook his Facebook world would be in uproar. Because it's NOT APPROPRIATE for Facebook. Heck, it might even make it to the news because, apparently, that's what we talk about on the news these days. (I sound like a 70 year old right now, don't I?)

I find this whole cultural movement on Fifty Shades of Grey so fascinating. I'm not one to shy away from talking about sex so let me share some thoughts on this. First, if you aren't really sure what Fifty Shades is about, here's a quote from an article that should give you a good idea. (And for the faint of heart, don't read the below paragraph)

       "These terms involve bondage, domination, and many assorted accouterments and accessories of    S&M, including ropes, gags, crops, flogs, suspension machines and a “Submissive Contract” outlining the ways in which Miss Steele is to comport herself around Master Grey. Predictably, Anastassia changes Grey’s way of thinking, and after a bit of open-minded experimentation—spoiler alert!—realigns his libido and ego into a semblance of heterosexual normativity."

Ok, so now that we're on all on the same page let's ask some questions. Why do women, who spout the ideas of being liberated from men, not needing men, and seeing men as obstacles to success like a dominant guy? And don't tell me they don't. Twilight's leading man is dominant as well (just not in the exact way Grey is) and we all know how popular Edward is (even though he freakin' sparkles). In fact, you won't find a romance novel with a leading man who's not dominant. Why? Because women wouldn't like it; they wouldn't read it.

So why are all these women, including feminists, so enthralled with a character who is the embodied antithesis of what they proclaim to want men to be? Because deep down, women like being taken care of. And a dominant guy (pardon my french) typically knows how to keep his shit together. He'd be best able to take care of someone. Try getting a hard-core feminist to tell you that she likes being taken care of and you might have more luck beating your head against the wall. But it's truth. Women are fully capable of taking care of themselves, but that doesn't mean they/we have to like it. We, women, have been born into a generation that has great opportunity but, with that opportunity, has come the expectation that we make the most of it for the betterment of the feminist movement and at the detriment of our own personal lives. Admitting that we, as women, like being taken care of is considered slapping the feminist movement in the face. I have so many more thoughts on the feminist movement, but I'll leave it there for now.

My next question: Why this book? There are so many erotica novels out there. In fact, romance novels are the #1 bestselling fiction nowadays. This is partly due to Kindles and Nooks--no one has to know what you're reading. They can't see the cover and judge you by it. So why Fifty Shades? We've already covered the fact that most everyone agrees the writing is horrible. How did this book get to be so gosh darn popular? I may never know the answer to this question. Perhaps it was a mix of marketing and social media responsiveness--I first heard of these books on Pinterest. Perhaps seeing so many other women reading and talking about it encouraged other women to join the group--to be a part of something? Or perhaps, as Wednesday Martin stated in her Psychology Today post we are "one nation under spanking?" I suppose we'll never know for sure why this particular book made it big.

Will the popularity of this book and the openness with which our culture has talked about and accepted it lead to more? Is the Facebook post I mentioned above something that will become the norm? Will it become appropriate to talk about this type of thing on the news at prime time? What will be the cultural ramifications for the short-term and the long-term? I just have so many questions on this.

The article I quoted from above is located here at Psychology Today's website:

There are a number of other articles on PT dealing with this issue. If you're curious about the psychoanalysis of it all, I recommend you check their page.

Welcome to my world

I assume that most of the people who will read my blog are people that know me and, as such, know that I have opinions--strong ones at times. It can take a while to get me to talk about them (you're welcome world), but once I get started you realize that I probably have many opinions on things that I haven't shared. The problem is my brain is always on; I'm always thinking and sometimes that gets in the way of sharing what I'm thinking. The second problem (or barrier, rather) is that verbal communication is not my forte. Writing on the other hand, that I can do. So I've decided to start this blog to share what I've been thinking about and allow you to join in if you want to know. So, welcome to my world: you'll find a lot of commentary on life, culture, society, and relationships. Most will have a slight psychology leaning because my brain naturally thinks that way. But before I start, I want to state some items for the record.

    1. I'm a Christian. All my views and thoughts are influenced by the fact that I believe there is a God, that Jesus saved me, and that He is the most important thing in this world to people, whether they know it or not.  He had a plan for this world, how we were to interact with one another but it has been skewed because of sin.

    2. You'll probably see a lot of posts that relate to feminism so let me clarify my stance. I am not a supporter of the modern feminist movement. I fully support giving women every option that men have with equal respect and equal pay. The modern feminist movement, though, has much more on its agenda and in its rhetoric than that, and I absolutely do not support the rest. In fact, I blame a lot of the problems in modern society on the trajectory the feminist movement has taken (which I will get into in a later post).

    3. I enjoy intellectual conversations and hearing other opinions. I don't enjoy disrespect. It is possible to share a differing opinion and still respect people who disagree. I welcome you to share your thoughts and opinions, but if you can't do it respectfully then I will not respond.

    4. Lastly, anything written here is my personal view. It does not reflect my friends, family, employer, church, etc. It's MY world as I see it.

So welcome and enjoy the ride.