Check out the Diet Coke ad above.
Do you react like these women?
- Aaaah, awesome
- I was like :O when i saw this commercial
- ooh la la! like like like, all I need, no sugar, no calories!
And Coke’s personal favorite:
- Hot damn I need a Coke.
Or like these men?
- Bad commercial, kinda degrading for women…
- kinda sexist, no? Imagine a group of guys rolling the coke can to a hot girl, that then gets splattered with coke on her top and takes it off while they stare… yeah … id wanna see that commercial!
- I feel very violated as a man to be viewed as a slave laboring, sex toy meant for the amusement of females. It’s almost to hard to bear watching this demonstrable evidence of female oppression in our society. I don’t think women would be laughing if this video was the contrary. Women are nothing but misandristic swines. We have to unite my brothers and break this new established misandry system. Wahh
Oh no, do I have to start competing with guys who look like THAT?! (We ladies can relate having had to compete with Brooklyn Decker-types for years.)
I don’t like how he’s demeaned before he’s ogled. (On being demeaned — or being demeaned and ogled — the ladies can relate and commiserate.)
An alternative translation:
Women aren’t the only ones who are objectified! And women like to objectify, too, so quit yer whining!
If so, these guys think this ad is equivalent to what women are pelted with every day. It’s not.
First, sexiness is a part of the human experience. So if either men or women are portrayed as sexy some of the time, no big deal. Our sexuality is a part of our humanity.
The problem comes, in part, from bombardment by an impossible beauty ideal, leaving plenty of women feeling bad about themselves. Guys increasingly face this problem, but not at nearly the same level.
Also, women are almost ALWAYS the sexy ones, and that is the PRIMARY way they are portrayed. The imbalance communicates that women exist to sexually please men. That’s their main purpose, and without reciprocation.
And then women are hurt by men who learn — however unconsciously – to think of women as sexual-pleasure objects. So women may be treated as things and not people. Some men will use and abuse them. Their lovers may only care about their own pleasure and not make emotional connection. Their lovers may treat them like interchangeable objects. They may rudely ogle others while ignoring their partner. Taken to extreme, some men kidnap women for sex slavery, or go to prostitutes who have been kidnapped and enslaved.
Because if women are just objects, no feelings to worry over.
If women and men were BOTH portrayed in multidimensional ways, with one part being “sexy” — and outside of impossible body ideals (variety is the spice of life!) then “sexy” images needn’t be a problem for either gender.
What is virginity? Might seem obvious, but there in no clear answer.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary says sex is “an act performed with another for sexual gratification.” Sounds pretty broad, yet a lot of us think it’s penis-to-vagina penetration that ends virginity.
What about gays and lesbians? What about young women and men who take virginity oaths but do oral and anal? What if a woman’s one and only lover were a man with E.D.? (That can happen!)
I spent about a week (at Harvard’s medical school library) looking through everything I could – medical dictionaries, encyclopedias, anatomies – trying to find some sort of diagnostic standard for virginity… I am not finding anything close to a medical definition for virginity.
Feminist author and blogger, Jessica Valenti, points all this out in her book, The Virginity Myth. And when she asked people to define “sex” she got no consistent answer. Indeed, America once had a great debate over whether Bill Clinton “had sex” with “that woman, Monica Lewinsky.” He said oral didn’t count. Others said it did.
Odd that there’s no clear meaning when we’ve talked of virgins since ancient times, when so many keep promoting it, and when virginity becomes a synonym for girls who are “good,” as in, “She’s a good girl.”
Even if she is both mean and virginal, she’s a good girl, Valenti points out.
But if she’s kind and non-virginal, she may be punished for her supposed badness — even when she has no control.
In some parts of the world girls and women are murdered in honor killings because they were raped or because they did not bleed on the marriage bed — and hymens may be broken from things that don’t even resemble sex, like exercise.
Even when girls aren’t being killed they may feel shamed for their lost virginity. Elizabeth Smart has explained that she “felt so dirty and so filthy” when her captor raped her that she understands why someone wouldn’t run away “because of that alone.”
As a young girl one of Elizabeth’s teachers had compared sex to chewing gum:
I thought, “Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.” And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value… Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.
And then there are sexually naive but slut-shamed 11-year-olds who have no idea what “ate me out” means even as they’re accused of having been thusly eaten.
So women are shamed and killed and feel so dirty that there’s no point in escaping a ruthless captor – all because of virginity, or the lack thereof — even when “virginity” is unclear!
Virginity: a myth that can kill and cripple, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
One of my students wrote this and gave permission to post.
Miss Universe can pose for Playboy, but she’d better not have sex with an actual playboy.
Sexual girls may be “sluts” and “ho’s” but all girls are bombarded by sexy-women images — that tell them what they’re supposed to look like. Combined with a high school hierarchy based on looks, the message gets thru that a woman’s worth rests largely upon her ability to attract.
Some seek confirmation that they are, indeed sexy, and therefore, “worthy” by drawing the male gaze.
Walking down the street a young woman meets male approval. Or, she may try sexting. All for his pleasure and her self-esteem.
Some have sex with men, hoping to feel beautiful. But a young woman who tries that is back to being a bad girl because now she’s sexual. Except that she’s not. She’s being sexy for someone else’s pleasure — a sex object who doesn’t enjoy sex – even as she enjoys looking good.
Kerry Cohen, psychotherapist and author of Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity says,
The problem is not necessarily that girls are victims of predatory males. It’s that they are victims of very narrow definitions of sexual desirability. And in the course of confirming their desirability – and hence their worthiness – they end up completely removed from their own sexuality and experience of sexual desire.
So how can young women get in touch with their sexuality on their own terms? Dr. Cohen has some suggestions:
1. Talk about Desire. When girls ask parents how they will know they are ready to have sex, desire rarely comes up:
We tell them that sex will get in the way of their happiness and growth. We tell them they must be in love. We tell them that good sex happens only when you are in love… (We must acknowledge) that girls have sexual desire, and everything can change.
2. Talk about Outercourse. Think second and third base, she says, or phone sex, so that young women can explore and test intimacy and communicate with their partners. Plus, women get more orgasms through outercourse than intercourse, anyway.
3. Talk about Masturbation. Women need to get in touch with their own bodily pleasure. It’s hard to know what you like, or communicate what you like, unless you get know your body and how it responds.
4. Talk about Emotions. Sex and sexual feelings are too often removed from emotions in our society, says Cohen, even though they are entwined. Young people need to think about various types of sexual acts and whether they are interested in them, or even prepared for them.
It’s about time more women enjoyed sexual pleasure instead of just being sexy for someone else’s.
At age eleven Emily Lindin was declared a slut and “harassed incessantly at school, after school, and online,” she says.
A diary entry:
Aaron said he had heard that Zach “ate me out.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I said it wasn’t true, just to be on the safe side.
Fifteen years later she recalls:
I have a very painful memory of watching an instant message window pop up from an account called DieEmilyLindin and reading the message: “Why haven’t you killed yourself yet, you stupid slut?”
I’ve been thinking about this amidst an onslaught of tragedies like these:
- Fifteen-year-old Felicia Garcia of Stanton Island had sex with four football players, which was recorded and shared around her school. Two players began tormenting her and others joined in. Felicia jumped in front of a Staten Island train.
- Four boys assaulted seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons of Nova Scotia, labeled her a “slut” and shared a photo online. Then, the whole school started harassing her. Rehtaeh hung herself.
- Fourteen-year-old Samantha Kelly also hung herself, unable to withstand the taunting and harassment that followed a police report of her rape.
I’ve often wished that an “It Gets Better” project could help girls like them make it through and go on to live fulfilling lives.
Others’ opinions can have a big impact on how we see ourselves. Our personal identities can seem merely “subjective,” but when many others agree that we are “X” — for good or for ill — it can seem “objective.”
Still, each of us has more knowledge about ourselves than anyone else. And we can consider the motives behind the labeling. Kids who bully are trying to raise themselves up by putting others down. If they really thought they were so great, they wouldn’t have to make so much effort.
Luckily, it does get better because people grow up, mature and become more secure.
And, the ex-bullied may become stronger, more empathetic and deepened.
In the meantime, maybe Emily’s blog will help others to know that they’ve got support… and that it gets better.
What’s the appeal?
The best-known guess comes from Katie Roiphe who believes women crave submission in the bedroom as relief from their newfound burden of equality, power and free will, as though they just can’t handle it:
In “Girls,” Lena Dunham’s character finds herself for a moment lying on a gynecologist’s table perversely fantasizing about having AIDS because it would free her from ambition, from responsibility, from the daunting need to make something of her life… which raises the question: is there something exhausting about the relentless responsibility of a contemporary woman’s life… about all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world?
Roiphe’s theory has been thoroughly panned. After all, plenty of powerful men like a little dominatrix sex play to gain relief from their relentless responsibilities, too. So some men and some women may want both power and a break from it.
They came to see me as a brief escape when no one was looking at them for direction or leadership. The time with me is when they were told what to do, what to feel and how to act … and all the weight of their careers, families, lives, is lifted from them for a cherished few hours.
Lena Dunham’s hard-driven “Girls” character also seems to want both power and relief.
On the other hand, dominatrices also talk of clients who fetishize their disempowerment, whether it comes from a history of child abuse, racism or poverty. That goes directly against Roiphe’s theory. There are plenty of powerless women out there who could be doing that, too.
Regardless, Tracy Clark-Flory, over at Salon points out that this fetish needn’t mean a woman wants to be disempowered in real life. Surely, a black man who eroticizes racism doesn’t want a return to the pre-Civil Rights era. What we want in fantasy is not necessarily what we crave in the real world.
As a child, I got told off for hitting a man in the crotch with my stuffed penguin and now I love hurting balls. Go figure.
Humans are complex and varied, but whether submission fantasies are motivated by relief from power or from fetishized disempowerment or from some other source, it is Anastasia who is disempowered here, not the reader.
Next time I’ll look at how socialization may spark the allure of Fifty Shades of Grey. Later, I’ll have thoughts on what to make of it all.
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.
They’re called privates for a reason. I’m wearing pants, for f-’s sake. When people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my cock, I feel like that wasn’t part of the deal.
Female celebs are objectified all the time. Remember how Anne Hathaway’s nipples seemed more important than Anne Hathaway’s Oscar? Even Princesses get caught in the net, viz., Kate Middleton’s “Boobgate.”
Women are supposed to be used to this sort of thing. But men aren’t used to it.
A lot of guys probably think that objectifying is no biggie – and maybe even a complement – until men are.
When sociologist, Beth Quinn, asked men how they thought women felt about being stared at and commented on, most hadn’t given it much thought. It’s just something guys do. It’s no big deal.
But when she asked them to imagine waking up in a woman’s body things changed. Guys typically said they did not “know how to be a woman.” But as they talked, they mirrored what women said. Now that their identities and abilities – and humanity – were ignored, they didn’t like it and wanted to avoid it.
Here’s what one guy said:
I would probably have to be very concerned about my attire in the lab. Because in a lot of cases I’m working at a bench and hunched over, in which case your shirt, for example, would open up and I would just have to be concerned about that.
In everyday life he needn’t worry about his clothing or how he looks at every angle. Suddenly he does. And sometimes it doesn’t matter what you wear, you will get commented on anyway.
Turns out, men, women and Jon Hamm don’t really like being reduced to being all about sex and nothing else.
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.