Category Archives: relationships
We should not ignore the effects porn can have on a man’s self-image. I knew a man who was unconfident because his erection was “only 17cm long” (around 7″) and he could last “only up to 20 minutes.” When I asked what he thought was normal, he said in porn everyone had a foot-long penis and could keep going for an hour on end.
I asked whether it had occurred to him that if a normal woman were penetrated for an hour by a foot-long object, she would most certainly end up in the emergency room.
He was dumbfounded.
That’s a blog comment from Natalie, to which a Mark responded:
It is absolutely true that if men are holding women to a higher level of expectation in sexual performance, men are also holding themselves to a higher level of expectation. Yes, men are also conditioned to think that they need to have a monster-sized penis and last for several hours without ejaculating.
A lot of men find themselves competing with porn stars and coming up short. Besides huge cocks men may have to compete with idealized physiques.
On the other hand, plenty of “ugly” male stars manage to get “perfect” looking women. The “ugly” stars are hired to help Average Joe feel like he really can get that girl on screen: “If she likes sex with him she’ll looove sex with me!” But when Average Joe can’t nab Miss Perfect he may wonder what’s wrong.
Upping the ante, porn stars come every time. What if Average Joe can’t? And what if his partner, Average Jane, can’t either? And when she does, it takes more time than expected.
And, why don’t the same moves that “work” in porn work on all of his partners? And why don’t they all love threesomes, orgies, anal, facials, swallowing, bondage… In porn women are always horny and just need a man to satisfy them.
Now add on guy-talk. As WebMd put it:
When men do talk, they often puff themselves up to their peers. Less apt than women to discuss their insecurities and more inclined to exaggerate their exploits, men paint distorted pictures of their sex lives for one another.
So it seems like everyone else gets more exciting sex, more often, and with more partners.
Most people want pleasure and connectedness from sex. But then feel short-changed if their sex lives aren’t porn-worthy.
Maybe we’d be happier if we remembered what we really want.
Cross-posted at The Good Men Project.
This matter of women liking sex less than men is confusing. I enjoy sexuality very much as a man and am disheartened by the seemingly in-your-face fact that women don’t enjoy sex as much as we men do. To me sex is a total experience (heart, soul, mind and body) and it seems that if women don’t enjoy this important part of healthy relationships, then they aren’t as attracted to men in all those ways. I don’t know, it would be nice to actually feel very attractive to the opposite sex. The whole thing makes me very sad, i dunno.
That’s one man’s reaction to a blog post I wrote asking, “DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?” I wrote the post because statistics suggest that, on average, women do typically like it less.
That’s because women’s sexuality has been repressed by a culture that calls us sluts and ho’s and describes men getting sex with women in unappetizing ways: screw, f-, bang, nail, ram, smash, smack that, beat those… Or, women may get distracted with worry about not looking good enough. And if they do think they look good, they may focus on looking hot for the guy. Who can be in touch with sensual feelings with all that going on? Not to mention, women who have been raped often don’t enjoy sex at all.
Women in egalitarian, sex-positive cultures love sex and are easily and multiply orgasmic. They don’t even need a vibrator.
The problem is sexism, not biology.
The question remains: What to do?
As a society we need to heal. Women, their sexuality, and their bodies — in all their many forms — must be respected and celebrated. And we must put an end to a rape culture that so often blames the victim and fails to punish rapists.
Over time, both sexism and sexual repression have diminished, so there is hope. But cultural change takes time. What can we do right now?
If sexual abuse and trauma are part of a woman’s past, she likely needs therapy and a great deal of understanding from her partner. Too many couples try to struggle through the problem alone when they need help.
Meanwhile, the beauty ideal has narrowed to impossible standards, leaving many women feeling sexually undesirable – and that dampens libido. So women need to become more loving and accepting of their bodies, and men need to appreciate and communicate the unique beauty their partners hold.
Also, let go of how you look and get in tune with how you feel. Focusing on looks is a huge distraction. Instead, center on small sensations that grow larger as you submerge yourself in them.
Deep connection may also help partners to merge and emerge into a transcendent experience. As one woman describes it:
There is a form of sexual ecstasy that mimics the union of God and man, recreation of the world. I can’t really describe this experience… But pure joy and connection with another person I feel is becoming closer to the cycles of life and the underlying palpable energy to the world… in essence, God.
And finally I’ll repeat some advice to men from earlier posts:
If you want your partner to desire sex then romance her, show appreciation, stop shaming women for being sexual, or for not fitting ridiculous “ideals,” desire her and let your lady know she’s beautiful.
I don’t understand the girls here. They say they want men to be emotionally responsive and sensitive, that they want us to be good listeners and really caring. So I’ve become all that. I’m a really good friend, a good listener, sensitive, and all the rest. And they all want to go out with these macho assholes! I don’t get it! What do women want?
Sociologist, Michael Kimmel, is an expert on men and masculinity. He says this is the question guys ask him most often.
Turns out, certain negative traits are associated with a rise in both men’s and women’s popularity. Remember the “mean girls” who top the high school pecking order?
Luckily, what makes “bad boys” and “mean girls” appealing isn’t their badass-ness. Good guys and gals can actually copy a few benign “bad boy” traits and become both desired and pleasant.
Social research, as reported by The Good Men Project, finds that personality traits named the “dark triad” are correlated with physical attractiveness.
- Narcissism – defined as an overly developed sense of self-worth and entitlement matched with intense egotism.
- Machiavellianism – defined by the person’s reliance on manipulation to get what he or she desires without regard to others as well as a cynical dismissal of morality as “for other people.”
- Psychopathy – a loaded term; it doesn’t refer to a violent maniac, but to someone defined by reckless thrill-seeking, selfishness, lack of remorse and affect and a certain level of superficial charm.
Turns out, narcissism is most associated with being found beautiful. But it’s not the narcissism that matters. Rather, ego-centric folks just carry themselves with confidence and adorn themselves in the latest styles.
Researchers took pictures of a few “dark triad” types along with pics of a few “normal” folks. In one picture everyone dressed in their usual clothing. In another everyone wore plain clothing and hairstyles, and no makeup.
Narcissists were deemed more attractive than others when dressed in their usual fashionable ways. But in the “plain” photos they seemed no more alluring than anyone else.
Looks like all you need is confidence and decent fashion sense – or someone who can help you with fashion sense — to come across as more appealing. And in fact, you’ll have an edge over the bad boys and mean girls because the “Dark Triad” make great first impressions but most people run away once they get to know them.
I became the detective, trying to determine whether he was right for me. Was he devoted, caring? Empathetic? Did he appreciate me? Was he in love with me or was I just a passing fancy?
He thought understanding each other was overrated.
My sleuthing confirmed my initial attraction – that he was deep. Unless the subject was sex and relationship, which he thought were the same thing. Big problem!
I eventually learned that this dynamic – men seeking sex and women seeking answers – is not unusual. It is even reflected in the erotica we seek.
Cognitive neuroscientist, Ogi Ogas says that men search the internet for two-minute clips that are all about skin and explicit sex. Women’s erotica is more like detective novel meets romance, and takes hours to read and digest. (The number of women romance readers and male online porn viewers are about the same. About one in 10 men are into romance while one in 10 women check out porn clips.)
The men’s interest is simple, uncomplicated. But women more likely want character-driven stories that reveal the lover’s nature. Sex is not for its own sake, and not with impersonal strangers.
As Ogas notes, the female cortex is highly developed and skillfully scrutinizes all available evidence – social, emotional and physical, somewhat consciously but largely not. All this leads to a general feeling of favorability or suspicion: Is he committed and kind? Is he a rouge? A player? Only if the detective work leads to a stamp of approval will physical and psychological arousal unite.
Men’s desire has been likened to an on/off switch, while women’s to a complex circuit board.
Why? Who knows? Some will point to evolutionary psychology: To best reproduce themselves women need a man who will stick around and support their children with resources. So women must be careful, picky. But men (having a great deal of sperm) best reproduce themselves by willy-nilly spreading their seed. It’s a popular theory, but I have my doubts since women in some cultures behave a lot like our sexual stereotype of men. American Indians prior to European contact, for instance.
Others say that in a world where women have less power, women’s lives are more affected by men than vice-versa, so they need to be more careful, even if their sleuthing isn’t very conscious. Women are more likely to follow husbands who are transferred in their careers than vice-versa, for instance. Also, men’s social status affects women more than women’s status affects men’s. When a waitress marries a dentist, her social status immediately rises to his. Not so much for the trucker who marries a female business executive.
And since men are typically bigger and stronger, abused women suffer greater injuries and have more difficultly defending themselves.
Women are also more likely to depend on men, financially, because they are more likely to stay home full-time with kids. Is he dependable? Can he keep a job? If men leave, women in our society bear all the responsibility for children (versus Ancient American Indians who parented communally).
Also, women’s sex drive is typically lower in our culture (largely due to repression, which is due to sexism), perhaps leaving women wanting emotionally connected sex more than variety and experimentation.
And of course, women were raised on a diet of Disney princesses living happily ever after with their one and only true love. Could have an effect.
Meanwhile, bombarded by women-as-object images, men come to see women’s bodies as objects that are all about sex, and women’s body parts sex-signals. Hence the simple look-arousal response. (Surprisingly, the breast fetish seems to be learned, not natural.)
When women and men so often have contradictory ways of seeing and being, you have to wonder why (for about 95% of the population) women and men are thrown together in the first place.
Yet, when it comes to relationships — and not mere erotica — there is more coming together. In fact, guys are getting more romantic and seem to be quite relationship-oriented. So maybe in real life it’s more often a match, after all.
A new study on men’s breast size preferences may or may not be surprising.
University of Westminster researchers showed 361 British men 3-D models of women with different bust sizes and asked which woman they found most attractive.
A lot of women think that men only like big breasts, but this study says otherwise. Yes, nearly half – 44% – favored larger busts. But more than half didn’t, with one third preferring medium-sized gals and another quarter saying smaller is better. So there’s a range.
And, the researchers focused on white men because prior studies showed that preference varies by ethnicity. Once again, it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
It all goes against pop evolutionary psychology which claims men want bigger breasts because they indicate health and fertility. First of all, most men don’t prefer larger over smaller. Second, if men preferred larger, then those genes would have been spread more widely and we’d have a lot more large busted women around today. Finally, there is no evidence that large breasts are associated with better health or fertility.
And even men who love big breasts may come to love more petite women, and vice-versa, as many can attest.
So ladies, you needn’t get expensive and potentially dangerous surgeries (which need to be redone every ten years) for implants.
And here’s another reason you don’t need them: Men who preferred big boobs were more likely to be sexist.
After indicating their breast preferences the guys were surveyed on how much they objectified women, felt hostility toward them and practiced benevolent sexism (seeing women as weak and needing protection).
Turns out, a preference for large breasts was most common among men in all three of those sexist categories, and most especially, among those who saw women as weak.
Now, men who are partial to buxom women aren’t always sexist. The Western world acts like “bigger is better” so no surprise that many men come to think so.
At the same time, the pattern makes a certain amount of sense. One researcher suggested that,
It is arguable that benevolently sexist men perceived larger female breasts as attractive because larger breast size on a woman is associated with perceived femininity.
And if you are going to objectify, it helps to easily see the crucial body parts.
That said, women should be confident and proud of their bodies, however they are shaped. That confidence will attract the best guys.
You sign into Lulu via Facebook to prove you’re a woman (or rather, that you’ve indicated your Facebook gender as “female”). You page through a list of all your male Facebook friends, award them points based on their looks, manners, spending habits, and ambition, then assign them hashtags for their strengths (#SexualPanther, #NotADick) and weaknesses (#NapoleonComplex, #WearsEdHardy). Then, the next time you’re circling a romantic or sexual prospect in real life, just plug his name into Lulu to see what your (totally anonymous) virtual girlfriends have to say about him… Women may then publicly sexualize (#KinkyInTheRightWays) and shame (#BabbyDaddy) the men in their lives without their consent.
Maybe it’ll help a few women and men get together. And maybe it’ll help a few good women avoid a few bad men. But I wouldn’t care to be ranked on this sort of forum so I’m guessing that men won’t be thrilled to find themselves on it, either.
As the judge makes her pronouncements from on high, the judged may feel diminished, powerless and at her mercy.
But we women are so used to being judged in that way that it might be hard to resist turning the tables.
Plenty of men, on the other hand, are in a tizzy: “WE are the ones to judge and hold power over how others are defined” some seem to say.
Hess points out the hypocrisy of male Redditors denouncing Lulu as anti-male harassment even as they defend their own right to post and unleash anonymous commentary on unauthorized nude photos of women on the Web. Which sounds a lot worse to me. Yet these guys don’t get that. Probably because they’re so used to being the judges, the ones in power.
How about that Golden Rule: Do unto others as ye would have done unto you. We could all take a lesson in non-judgment.
When it comes to virginity, Jessica Valenti says, “It isn’t sex unless you’ve had an orgasm.”
How different things would be if virginity were explained to young girls that way. Sex is so much more than the old in-and-out.
I can relate all too well. And I cannot help but reassess the image of virginity that I had created long before I knew that I was creating it. An image that I had been mindlessly guided to by my culture.
To this day a lot of us are taught to wait for that one man or woman who will rock our world. But once you get that not everybody experiences sex the same way, you lose grasp of the image that has been pushed down our throats.
If you believe that staying a virgin until marriage will make your first sexual encounter better, followed by a happier and healthier marriage, you may be disappointed. Virginity is not proven to make marriage any simpler or happier. And your marriage could end up worse. I know unhappy couples who are not sexually well-matched. But this problem of ignorance is kept from youth, who are encouraged to stay abstinent to obtain that ultimate magical moment.
It all keeps people uneducated about their bodies and their sexuality. And that does NOT make for better sex.
Until I saw Valenti’s definition, I had not thought that losing virginity meant anything more than a dull night that carries much more expectation than it delivers. But now that I see virginity differently I understand a little more of who I am.
Losing virginity is so much more than that moment of penetration.
This piece was written by one of my students who gave permission to post it.
Men and women are both repressed, but sometimes in opposing ways. Too many women feel emotionally open but sexually unresponsive, while too many men easily come even while their emotions lie submerged. Either way, when it comes to sex, they lose.
But should we be surprised when (among other things) buddies push each other to have sex with lots of women who they feel nothing for. Successful “players” are celebrated for “scoring” with the ladies – who may be shamed for “giving it up.”
But as players have sex with women they don’t know and don’t care about, and whose reputations they may destroy, they must check their emotions. But checking emotions goes beyond the bedroom. Boys don’t cry, and shouldn’t express much else, either. When Norah Vincent passed as a man for 18 months, she missed feeling and expressing emotion.
Here’s one man’s response to a post I wrote called “Twilight vs Porn” which contrasts women’s emotionally charged erotica with men’s proclivity for body parts.
It took years for me to untangle the damaging messages I received as a man and to get underneath them to a more genuine understanding of what sex was. I, too, think male sexual modes are primarily culturally reinforced – and exclude men from the best sex within intimacy, leaving them with a series of shallow orgasms and striving egos.
A young woman named Valerie saw it from the other side. She complained about guys gaping at her body and manipulating her into popular porn positions. It’s cold, she says:
I don’t just want to become Body A. I want men to feel like they are with me, Valerie, a particular woman with a particular body and my own unique personality.
Surprisingly, advice to non-orgasmic women may have something in common with helpful advice for non-emotional men.
Sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach encourages women to explore their bodies — without trying to come (because trying to climax just leads to worry that they won’t and keeps them out of the erotic experience). Notice the subtleties of the sensations, she says, feel into them, let them grow.
A guy once told me that he’d had to do the reverse to experience connection. Orgasm was easy. He needed to notice emotional subtleties and center on those as a way to move beyond cold porn sex. And then he couldn’t believe how amazing sex could be — even though he’d thought it was awesome before.
It’s not often – if ever – that you can witness a man grooming a woman to accept battering. We now have a visual record of how one man attempted it. And it may help to warn women away from potential abusers.
Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, a grad student at Ohio University, had planned to study the stigma of being an ex-convict. While at a local Corn Festival she spotted a tattoo-covered man who was gently cuddling a cute little girl. She approached and asked him and his girlfriend if she could photograph them over a period of time for her project, and they agreed.
Our photographer had met the couple only about a month after they’d gotten together. Two and a half months later she photographed Shane as he battered Maggie in their home. And she had already amassed a photographic record of how he had groomed her for the abuse. You can see the pictures here.
Batterers know that if they give in to their craving to beat their partners too soon the women will leave. So they have two immediate projects 1) push for quick involvement and 2) make her fall in love hard and fast so that she will stay after the beatings.
Shane’s charm offensive began while he was in prison, where he called Maggie every day. As soon as he was released they began dating and within weeks Maggie and her two kids, ages two and four, had moved in with him. A month later Shane got a huge neck tattoo which practically shouted MAGGIE. Any man who would get a tattoo like that must surely be both smitten and committed!
Abusers also keep score of emotional debts owed them (while ignoring those they owe). Altering his body for Maggie created a huge debt. As Amanda Marcotte put it,
“But I got a tattoo for you!” Translation: I altered my very body “for” you, and that is a massive debt that you can pretty much never pay, so you have to put up with my crap forever.
In more emotional blackmail Shane spent plenty of time complaining that Maggie paid more attention to her kids than to him.
Her four-year-old son, Kayden, took the brunt of his resentment even as he lavished attention on his cute two-year-old sister, Memphis. Maybe Shane thought he could release some of his abusive cravings on him while he repressed his desire to beat the boy’s mother. So keep in mind that batterers are often cruel to animals and children.
Batterers also try to isolate their victims, leaving them without help or support. So characteristically, Shane moved Maggie and her kids far away from family and friends within months of beginning their relationship. Moving everyone in with him may have also created a sense of “debt owed” and dependence on him.
But with a criminal record and facial tattoos Shane had difficulty finding work, so he couldn’t really afford to support the family. Abusers can come from any class but men who feel disempowered sometimes beat up their partners partly because it gives them a sense of empowerment in those moments when they are raging and pummeling a smaller, physically weaker person. And Shane’s difficulty finding work may have created a sense of powerlessness.
Once Maggie had fallen in love and was isolated and dependent, Shane only needed an excuse to beat her.
Jealousy works especially well for this trigger. The whirlwind courtship had already marked the relationship as passionate, and so administering a beating over jealous love promotes the storyline that he only did it because he loves her sooo much. And that makes her more likely to stay afterwards.
So Maggie and Shane went to a bar where Maggie became jealous over some flirtations and left. After a friend drove him home, Shane became enraged that Maggie had abandoned him. He then turned the jealous accusation around. Furious that one of his friends had flirted with Maggie, he claimed that she had betrayed him.
As they fought he told her to choose between getting beaten in the kitchen or going to the basement where they could talk privately (they were staying at a friend’s home).
Any police officer will tell you to never go to a second, more isolated location where something more brutal is likely to happen. Maggie was smart enough not to do that.
Hearing her mother’s screams, two-year-old Memphis ran to her mother’s side. Maybe because Shane had always been so sweet to Memphis, she felt she could protect her mom. So the little girl screamed, stomped her feet and finally put her body in between the two of them.
But the abuse didn’t end until a housemate called the police. Shane told the officers that he was just trying to keep Maggie from leaving the house with the children while she was drunk.
When that didn’t work he cried out, “Please, Maggie, I love you, don’t let them take me, tell them I didn’t do this,” apparently hoping that his “love” would persuade her to save him.
Often, it works. And it nearly did here as the officer had to coax the truth from Maggie and then talk her into signing a protection order and getting a medical exam.
“I don’t want to get him in trouble,” she wept.
“You aren’t getting him into trouble. He got himself into trouble,” the officer assured her. “You know, he’s not going to stop. They never stop. They usually stop when they kill you.”
What’s not typical is that Maggie left. She now lives in Alaska with her children’s father. Maybe she left because she had someplace to go. Maybe the publicity and the pictures made it difficult to deny the gravity of the abuse.
Most women stay, thinking that he will change. It usually takes months or even years of violent outbursts to see that it is about him and not about her, to see that he will not change, and to see that love is nowhere to be found.
When women decide to leave they should first call a domestic abuse hotline to make plans. And then go without warning. Because leaving is the most dangerous time.
800-799-SAFE (TDD: 800-787-3224)
SIGNS OF AN ABUSER
Before an abuser starts physically assaulting his victim, he typically demonstrates his abusive tactics through certain behaviors. The following are five major warning signs and some common examples:
Abusers can be very charming. In the beginning, they may seem to be Prince Charming or a Knight in Shining Armor. He can be very engaging, thoughtful, considerate and charismatic. He may use that charm to gain very personal information about her. He will use that information later to his advantage.
For example; he will ask if she has ever been abused by anyone. If she says, “yes”, he will act outraged that anyone could treat a woman that way. Then when he becomes abusive, he will tell her no one will believe her because she said that before and it must be her fault or two people would not have hit her.
Another example; he may find out she experimented with drugs in her past. He will then threaten that if she tells anyone about the abuse he will report her as a drug abuser and she will lose her children. The threat to take away her children is one of the most common threats abusers use to maintain power and control over their victims.
Abusers isolate their victims geographically and socially. Geographic isolation includes moving the victim from her friends, family and support system (often hundreds of miles); moving frequently in the same area and/or relocating to a rural area.
Social isolation usually begins with wanting the woman to spend time with him and not her family, friends or co-workers. He will then slowly isolate her from any person who is a support to her. He dictates whom she can talk to; he tells her she cannot have contact with her friends or family.
Jealousy is a tool abusers use to control the victim. He constantly accuses her of having affairs. If she goes to the grocery store, he accuses her of having an affair with the grocery clerk. If she goes to the bank, he accuses her of having an affair with the bank teller. Abusers routinely call their victims whores or sluts.
The goal of emotional abuse is to destroy the victim’s self-esteem. He blames her for his violence, puts her down, calls her names and makes threats against her. Over time, she no longer believes she deserves to be treated with respect and she blames herself for his violence. For some survivors of domestic violence, the emotional abuse may be more difficult to heal from than the physical abuse.
Abusers are very controlled and very controlling people. In time, the abuser will control every aspect of the victim’s life: where she goes, how she wears her hair, what clothes she wears, whom she talks to. He will control the money and access to money. Abusers are also very controlled people. While they appear to go into a rage or be out of control we know they are very much in control of their behavior.
The following are the reasons we know his behaviors are not about anger and rage:
- He does not batter other individuals – the boss who does not give him time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side of his car. He waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the person he says he loves.
- If you ask an abused woman, “can he stop when the phone rings or the police come to the door?” She will say “yes”. Most often when the police show up, he is looking calm, cool and collected and she is the one who may look hysterical. If he were truly “out of control” he would not be able to stop himself when it is to his advantage to do so.
- The abuser very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places where the bruises and marks will not show. If he were “out of control” or “in a rage” he would not be able to direct or limit where his kicks or punches land.
Here are some more signs:
1. Jealousy of your time with co-workers, friends and family.
2. Controlling behavior. (Controls your comings and goings and your money.)
3. Isolation. (Cuts you off from all supportive resources such as telephone pals, colleagues at work and close family members.)
4. Blames others for his problems. (Unemployment, quarrels – everything is “your fault.”)
5. Hypersensitivity. (Easily upset by annoyances that are a part of daily life.)
6. Cruelty to animals or children.
7. “Playful” use of force in sex. (May start having sex with you when you are sleeping or demand sex when you are ill or tired.)
8. Verbal abuse.
9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. (Sudden mood swings and unpredictable behavior – one minute loving, the next minute angry and punitive.)
10. Past history of battering. (Has hit others but has a list of excuses for having been “pushed over the edge.”)
11. Threats of violence.
12. Breaking or striking objects.
13. Uses force during an argument.
Any woman who sees herself in this column should call the nearest women’s crisis line and tell someone what is happening. She will be provided with support and safety options.
Some women do not realize they are being abused until someone points it out to them. They have been made to believe that abusive treatment is what they deserve and that most women are treated this way. Women who see themselves in his should check out the nearest shelter and keep the phone number handy. They can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (TDD: 800-787-3224).
1. Controlling behavior: “I know what’s best for you” and “I know what you want (or need).”The reality is that no one knows what is best for another adult.
2. Blames others for his problems: “Look what you made me do” and “If you hadn’t done that, none of this would have happened.”
3. Use of force in sex and/or saying that sex was a “wifely duty.” There is no law requiring a woman to have sex if she doesn’t want to. Forced sex is called rape.
4. History of battering: Excuses include the classic, “If you hadn’t provoked me …”The truth is that he chose to hit, push, kick, slap or punch you. If he hit you once, he will hit you again.
5. Verbal abuse: If someone deliberately hurts your feelings by word or deed, it is abuse, even if it is as simple as “You look fat in that outfit.”
6. Threats of violence: Threats are almost always precursors to the deed. If he threatens you, leave him before he does it.
7. Use of force during an argument: Most women feel, as I did, that if they haven’t been hit, they have not been physically abused. Restraining someone is also physical abuse. Pushing and shoving are physical abuse.
Abuse and battery take a toll on one’s physical, emotional and spiritual energy. It is easy to say no. We say this word all the time. Unfortunately, we find it especially difficult to say no to those we love and those we fear.
As Fariha Roisin at Huffington Post put it:
Like, nobody who looks like that would a) Even think about sleeping with Hannah b) Then actually have the impertinence to enjoy it c) Then actually tell her she’s ‘beautiful.’ All he, realistically, would surely feel is remorse/self contempt, but hey sex is sex, right? Even bad sex, with a supposed undesirable.
Roisin then points out that when gender roles are reversed a similar outcry is absent.
- Katherine Heigl would go for Seth Rogen?
- The King of Queens gets the queen of Queens?
- Jon Cryer and Courtney Thorne Smith?
- Gorgeous porn stars with Ron Jeremy?
The list goes on but the outcry does not.
Maybe it’s about who has power over media and ideas – usually, men. And men like the idea of being able to get gorgeous girls even if they, themselves, aren’t so good-looking.
It’s not that men are bad. If women had more power than men it would probably be the reverse. (Lena Dunham gets a little power and look what happens to her character, Hannah. If I were producing, writing and starring in GIRLS I’d write in an affair with Patrick Wilson, too.)
This power over ideas may also affect whose body is shamed and whose is not. Men must be quite obese to garner body shame (if then) but women may be perfectly healthy and be thought too fat. And so Rush Limbaugh says feminism was created to allow unattractive women into mainstream society.
The double standard is reflected yet again as men may make love to many women without censor, but women may not.
In the end it is all about who is free and who is not — to love their bodies, to make love and to love. And it’s all tied to who makes the rules and who does not.