Men, Bitches and Bimbos 

Girl talks to guy at barIn high school I had the kind of thinking like she’s either a “bitch” or a “bimbo.”

My friends and I would go to a bar and get some drinks and maybe a buddy would “drink up” the courage to talk to a girl. If she rejected him we automatically labeled her a bitch. But if she stayed and conversed for a while, and if she started dancing with him, we labeled her a slut.

I honestly did not realize how horrible my thinking was until we started talking about these issues in class.

One of my male students wrote those lines in a paper, and gave me permission to post them.

His paper was full of self-examination and self-revelation, which just goes to show how perfectly nice people can live in boxes that shield them from the harm they do.

But his introspective words also show the possibility of moving outside our boxes.

Most often, society ends up in our heads as our brains unconsciously soak in the world, and its understandings, so that behaviors and attitudes can seem perfectly natural and normal, even when they are perfectly illogical and harming.

But when Mr. Student, here, moved outside the patriarchal box just enough, he could look back and say,

I think guys put women in these negative categories to justify a sense that they are somehow superior to women. And I really don’t like it.

I wonder if these guys put women down partly because they are afraid of them. After all, if his buddy must “drink up the courage” to approach a woman, that seems like fear. (And in a patriarchal world, all the pressure and possibility of rejection is on the guy.)

So the guy is scared and yet has learned that men should feel superior, since in our society men and masculinity are ranked higher than women and femininity. So he and his buddies turn the tables and demean women as sluts and bitches.

If we all recognized our basic equality, maybe we would hurt each other less.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 18, 2016, in men, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Not only is it not right, but it’s quite counter productive. Your other post is about this sex power women have over men and how the dating game is lopsided against men as far as getting dates and sex and how men are so lustful and attracted to women. Yet, women not nearly as interested or entranced by men’s bodies like men are to women. So it’s tough for men and women feel that men are to pursue, but when you have women who actually take up a man’s offer or approach, she’s seen as a bimbo or slut. So when a woman does what a man hopes and takes his approach well, she gets punished for it.

    So stupid dudes aren’t helping things and only creating this disproportion even more so, as it makes the few women who do take initiative or lust/attraction to not want to or hold back now. Or more women to have even bigger walls up and be more guarded on their signals and attraction for fear of being judged and slut shamed. It’s so stupid and weird how guys can complain about this, yet this behavior is the very thing making it worse and essentially guy’s shooting themselves in the foot when doing this. You want women to approach or to show more initiative…well calling her a slut and bimbo is the last thing you want to do to get that and will cause the reverse. It’s so weird how some guys can be or society can set things up that are counter productive to anyone.

    • I’m glad you added that point. On the one hand we have men constantly getting rejected. On the other hand we have a sexist culture that makes it more likely that men will have more desire and that women will be more likely to reject.

      We create lopsided desire by 1) objectifying and fetishizing women and their body parts, and pretty much ignoring men and 2) repressing women’s sexuality by constantly punishing women for being sexual. And then we expect men to approach and constantly get rejected because either women have their barriers up or they have actually lost sexual desire – with nearly half of women saying they have low sexual desire.

      • Well that’s why it’s frustrating with how guys can be assholes about things that only hurt themselves. You complain or think of women aren’t attracted to you, reject you and have this sexual power. So then some women do take initiative and some might be lustful, but then the one’s like that, get punished for it. When it was the thing men were just complaining about. You got what you were hoping for, but then you turn it around and chastise women for it. Well, then women aren’t going to be lustful or show it, which is the same thing men were hoping for. It’s messed up and these guys hurt it for the other guys who like girls who show their interest or lust, but now hold back or don’t because of fear of being judged for it. Even if men’s bodies were more sexualized, women could still hold back on their appreciation and interest if they are still chastised for their actions and interest.

      • Yeah, you’re right.

  2. You know life is so full of irony.

    Women want basic equality. So do we men. But, when you look around here is what you see:

    Women now view most men as “creeps’ and rapists (thanks to rape culture nonsense)
    Women view men as interchangeable and disposable
    Most women view most men as unattractive
    Women have privilege when it comes to dating and sex
    Women in America have a sense of entitlement.
    Women blame men for everything wrong in their lives (even when they have no man!)

    So, the very group that is complaining about a lack of equality (rightfully so) is also unwilling to either forgo its superior status or its lack equality in its treatment of men.

    Sometimes I really think women go through life wearing blinders or are simply oblivious.

    Yes, it is wrong to put women in categories of bitches or bimbos. But, it is also equally pernicious for women to throw men in the disposable, interchangeable, creepy, unattractive categories as well. Is it not?

    • Here’s my response to a few of your quotes:

      “the very group that is complaining about a lack of equality (rightfully so) is also unwilling to either forgo its superior status or its lack equality in its treatment of men.”

      Overall women have less equality than men – but sometimes that inequality creates a certain female power, that I have written about in the past – which Bob refers to. I summed it up in my response to him:

      “We create lopsided desire by 1) objectifying and fetishizing women and their body parts, and pretty much ignoring men and 2) repressing women’s sexuality by constantly punishing women for being sexual. And then we expect men to approach and constantly get rejected because either women have their barriers up or they have actually lost sexual desire – with nearly half of women saying they have low sexual desire.
      “On the one hand we have men constantly getting rejected. On the other hand we have a sexist culture that makes it more likely that men will have more desire and that women will be more likely to reject.”

      Sexism is also the cause of the points you make below:

      “Women now view most men as “creeps’ and rapists (thanks to rape culture nonsense)”

      Rape culture is not nonsense. It happens when you blame victims instead of rapists. Like when the boys who were assaulted by the Penn State football coach were threatened instead of the coach. Some other boys went to football camp and were sexually assalted by the varsity guys. And then the guys who were assaulted were threatened for making the rape public. Or, a cheerleader was kicked off the team because she refused to cheer for her rapist.

      In rape culture rapists are defended and those who are assaulted are threatened because the larger culture or subculture values the rapist more. The winning coach, the star football player or basketball player. Or they think the person who accused makes their community look bad, whether that community is a university or a small town in Texas.

      Besides, The more sexist a culture, the more rape there is. American Indians of the East Coast were extremely gender equal and Europeans were shocked at the lack of rape and wife battering. In fact, rape and battery are used to create a sense of male superiority.

      When you have a culture where men rape women, Women grow distrustful of men. Even when they know that it is only a few men who rape, women don’t know who to trust. And so they are cautious with all men.

      If you don’t like the fact that women become fearful of all men when only a few men rape, work to stop rape.

      “Women view men as interchangeable and disposable”

      What does that mean?

      “Most women view most men as unattractive”

      Because we objectify and fetishize women but not men. Plus, we repress women’s sexuality by constantly punishing it, and after many years of consciously repressing their desire, women actually lose desire – almost half of women in America have low or no desire. That is not natural – you don’t find it in sex-positive cultures. I had much less sexual desire in my mid 20s than when I was 10 years old. That’s not natural. And it followed years of suppressing my desire for fear of punishment.

      “Women have privilege when it comes to dating and sex”

      Yes, because of sexism. All of the things I described above. Which fits with mine and Bob’s point that sexism can create a strange female power – which also creates female powerlessness (like the lack of desire… Women can’t ask men out for a date or make the first move… Objectification…)

      “Women in America have a sense of entitlement.”

      That only makes sense to say that if you don’t recognize the sexism that creates low interest in sex for women, and the objectification that lies behind the perception that women are the more attractive half of humanity.

      It’s kind of like people who think that blacks and women are entitled because of affirmative action. Affirmative action is not quotas, it’s about making a bigger effort to include more people, and mirror your community. It was instituted because people in our society believed that white males were smarter than everyone else. Affirmative-action actually helped businesses to make better hiring decisions because it got them outside of their white male bias. So most companies continued affirmative-action even when it was no longer required by law. Because they made more money when they did better hiring. Yet despite affirmative action, men and whites are still more likely to be hired and promoted and make more money.

      “Women blame men for everything wrong in their lives (even when they have no man!)”

      No one is blaming men here. I’m blaming patriarchy – a sexist system that privileges men over women – and ends up backfiring.

      Patriarchy = sexism. It is the equivalent of racism. One system privileges men. the other system privileges whites. Plenty of men are not sexist. Plenty of women are sexist against their own sex. In other words, many men are fighting the patriarchy and many women are upholding it. (To the extent that it is unconsciously internalized we all uphold patriarchy – I have found that even sometimes I do. I just don’t realize it until I get outside my box.)

      • Thank you for the reply.

        “Sexism is also the cause of the points you make below”

        I find this to be very reductionist in approach. What is more disheartening is to see a person with you level of education to accept this as the cause of these things and actually believe such.

        You (and I don not mean you personally) cannot go through life blaming all of ones behavior on the various isms of the world. Much of the the behavior we observe by people IS in fact representative of their individual choices and decisions. I am not saying those choices are not in part influenced by their social environment. However, that social environment is only a part of the influence.

        Here is a good example. I just finished Iris Kransnow’s book, “The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married” In this book she interviewed a 37 year old Gen Y sex therapist who resides in Miami. She specializes in counseling young women who have experienced emotional fallout from hooking up. She (the therapist) asserts that the typical very attractive man has usually slept with around 40 or so different women by the time he turns 30. She also believes that the typical (average) woman has has had sex with around 15-20 men by the time she is 30. All casual in nature.

        The therapist is asking the question of just why are the women calling and knocking on her door and not the men? Her answer: Women are just not cut out for this kind of sexual behavior, as much as they try to deny it. OK we can debate that. That’s not the point.

        Here is the point and why I bring this up in this context. You continue to cite female sexual repression ad nauseaum. Now, does the behavior cited by the therapist really reflect any kind of sexual repression going on today with women? Of course not. Today women are having more sex than the average man. Only the most attractive man (as the sex therapist correctly pointed out in Krasnow’s book) has a harem. But, for some weird reason you continue to persist with this sexual repression dogma. Yes, there are indeed sexually repressed women in America. I just don’t think it is as many as you seem to think. Just how is the average woman sexually repressed if she has slept with 15-20 men by age 30? That like saying an obese person is starving!

        The overall tenor of your reply is this: Men created patriarchy. Patriarchy = sexism. Sexism is responsible for all the ills affecting women. Therefore, since men created patriarchy, MEN are really responsible (the blame) for all the ills suffered by women and their behavior(s).

        You see it’s the same old same old: men are the blame. But, women get a free pass. They have zero responsibility for their actions. Life simply happens TO them. Always the victims. Never the victimizer. Even if they are the victimizer, guess what, it is not their fault. Right? It’s patriarchy. Right? It’s sexism. Right?

        If women, feminists in particular, want men to join the battle to make things better for them, then women MUST start by stop blaming men for everything they feel is wrong in their lives. Why? Because, men want things to get better for us too! We want to get rid of this shitty system of female entitlement and privilege. A system where a man is only valued for his utility and is hence disposable when a woman become “unhappy.”

        They also have to acknowledge that they (women) also in many respects have gone from being oppressed to an oppressor. It time for women to start taking personal responsibility for their decisions and conduct. Until that happens, most men like myself are going remain on the sideline.

      • This is how you interpret my response:

        Men created patriarchy. Patriarchy = sexism. Sexism is responsible for all the ills affecting women. Therefore, since men created patriarchy, MEN are really responsible (the blame) for all the ills suffered by women and their behavior(s).

        No.

        Is Sexism Men’s Fault?
        https://broadblogs.com/2011/01/24/is-sexism-men%e2%80%99s-fault/

        I’ll be writing more about the cause of patriarchy in a couple of weeks.

        Not only was sexism not caused by men, But Women and men both unconsciously uphold it because it seems natural and normal:

        Why Do Women Fight Their Own Interests?
        https://broadblogs.com/2016/01/01/why-do-women-fight-their-interests/

        It’s not men vs women. It’s gender equality vs sexists. Almost all women and men believe in gender equality and work to make it a reality. But almost all women and men (probably all of us) have also unconsciously internalized sexism.

        Sexism isn’t the cause of all ills facing women. But whenever men’s rights activists complain that women or feminism have caused a problem I can always show that patriarchy is the real root of the problem.

        Patriarchy is the root problem of widespread sexual disinterest. You don’t find it in gender equal societies.

        Patriarchal societies have double standards that accepts men’s sexuality and punish women’s. Women get in the habit of repressing their sexuality so they won’t be punished and after a while it goes away. I personally experienced this. And how else do you explain the fact that in non-patriarchal, Sex-positive societies, Women enjoy sexuality and easily orgasm? Where is here nearly half of women have low sexual interest?

        Patriarchal society’s also objectify women and judge their bodies so that the majority of women get distracted in bed with worries about how they look. That is the opposite of erotic and creates a negative sexual experience.

        AND when women are punished for casual sex but men are celebrated, of course women will be more harmed! I’ve written about that too:
        Casual Sex Distresses Women?
        https://broadblogs.com/2016/01/11/casual-sex-distresses-women/

  3. Well said, we shouldn’t be judgmental if we honor equality.

  4. In order to achieve equality and erode the patriarchy, I’ve gotten to the point where I believe there must be a matriarchy for some time in order to balance things out…

    • I can see how you could feel that way but that would be counterproductive. As Pogo said “we have met the enemy and he is us.” (I’ll keep the generic male in there partly because it’s a quote and partly because it reflects the point well.) It would only continue the cycle of hurt and distrust. And there are possibilities of moving out of this as we’ve seen — as this male student did. If he thought we would only turn to matriarchy I’m sure he wouldn’t be interested. You get more resistance and change would bring us back to where we are now. We must move outside of domination culture toward partnership culture.

  5. In that scenarior the male propositionist (if there is such a word) not only has no accountability but also has nothing to offer. Whether he is acce[ted pr rejected is solely seen as a reflection of the propositioned female’s personality. Bars can be a strange world.

    • If I understand you right you make a good point that guys who are doing the propositioning don’t need to feel so bad about themselves when they are rejected. It’s not him so much as not a good fit. Another woman would be happy with him. Just as a different guy might not be happy with the woman who rejected this guy. But when we have patriarchy and expect men to always Face rejection, I wonder if you create more fear and hatred of women.

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  7. So very true, just accept everybody (not just women) with an open mind.

  8. Good for your student! (And good job by you, teach’.)

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