How Sex Creates Gender
Sex — the verb, and everything surrounding it — helps create gender.
Like when some guys discourage other guys from relationships, and pressure random sex.
What’s that got to do with gender? What it means to be a woman or a man?
Casual sex is independent, invulnerable, unemotional. And you can “score”
Casual sex is independent, invulnerable, unemotional. Things we associate with manliness.
And it’s a lot easier for unattached guys to “play the field,” in a “manly” competition to see who can bed more girls — and “score.” Winners in this game just might take a stroll down the Walk of Fame, returning, triumphant, to the frat house and “high-fives.”
For the victor has not merely had sex. He has conquered women — getting them to “give it up” and “submit” to him. He demonstrates his dominance and superiority over the vanquished, now rendered mere “ho’s” who just might find themselves treading the Walk of Shame.
But he’s also shown supremacy over all those guys who boast fewer notches on the proverbial bedpost.
Plus, his unlimited lust for women demonstrates that he’s “not gay.” No, he’s a “real man.”
“Players” in this game are independent, without ties to, or reliance upon, any woman.
Guys in relationships can’t score… and they’re emotional and vulnerable
Guys in relationships can’t enter that game.
Worse, men with girlfriends are at least somewhat dependent on women. The guys want to get a beer? Well, relationship-guy is tied down by the old ball and chain and just might have to check with his sweetie first.
If the relationship is strong, he will be loving, nurturing, open and vulnerable, and able to express his feelings.
Yes, guys are actually capable of all that. But macho men won’t want you to think so.
Men take the leader role
Of course, getting that relationship in the first place creates gender, too.
Men typically play “leader,” taking the initiative to approach a woman, ask her out, plan a date, pick her up, open her door, maybe order her meal, pay, take her home, reach for her hand, initiate a kiss, initiate sex, and call her the next day.
Any rejection he gets just helps to toughen him up — very manly.
Women, on the other hand, more often wait passively to be asked out, transported and treated. Later, they may “wait by the phone,” hoping to be asked out again.
Since women are passive, they must attract — doll themselves up and throw out a few subtle hints — so that men will notice them. Thereby upholding the “women should be attractive” role. And the “don’t be too assertive!” role.
If a man and a woman get together, they might eventually try a little Dominance/submission. And he’ll more likely be “D” to her “s.” If they’re not into that, there’s still a good chance he’ll spend more time on top — which needn’t be about submission, but we often act like it does.
Why do most guys prefer to initiate dates and pay?
Some guys complain about always having to ask women out and pay for dates. Yet surveys say that most men like it best that way. Why opt to take on the greater burden?
It may be due to gender ranking: our society ranks men over women. Thus, men must constantly prove manhood — that they deserve that high status. (Women needn’t prove womanhood. I’ve never even heard the term, “prove womanhood.”)
Maybe risking rejection and paying seem a small price to demonstrate leadership and thus, “manhood” (since society has assigned “leadership” to “masculinity”).
Why is dating resistant to gender equality?
But why is the early stage of dating so resistant to gender equality, even as parity comes easily in so many other areas of life?
Most of us cross gender boundaries these days. But typically, women needn’t do something masculine just because a guy does something feminine. If a guy owns a cat or writes poetry, the woman he loves need not own a dog and swear like a sailor.
But when it comes to the dating ritual, one must lead and one must follow. Women and men could take turns leading, but because society is in most of our heads, women can be just as uncomfortable taking the “leader” role as men are at becoming “followers.”
But she probably isn’t uncomfortable being a leader in a business situation, right?
Maybe the role switch feels more powerful in a dyadic relationship, versus a group of people who work at a company, for instance. And when a female boss leads a group of men and women, the power differential isn’t all about HIM and HER. It’s not so “in-your-face.”
A lot of men who are comfortable with female leadership in their jobs are not so comfortable when their female partners seem “higher up” in the relationship. Ethan Hawke divorced Uma Thurman because he couldn’t handle standing in the shadow of her greater success. Goldie Hawn and Audrey Hepburn have talked about similar difficulties.
A lot of people think that sex (the noun) and gender are the same thing. Actually, gender is what society makes out of our biological sex. And in an ironic twist, sex (the verb) has become the most tenacious way by which we create gender.
Looks like we’ll all have to work a little harder to get out of that trap.
Reposted at The Good Men Project.
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Posted on October 7, 2015, in feminism, gender, men, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged feminism, gender, men, objectification, psychology, sex, sexism, sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.