It’s not easy being easy.

 

GWF

‘Guys We Fucked’ – touted as an anti-slut shaming podcast created in the hopes of liberating women’s sexuality from the shackles of antiquated patriarchal conventions – but more accurately, additional noise for the cacophonous symphony that is the ‘slut/stud double standard’.

The problem? Bang a lot of dudes, you’re labelled a slut, bang a lot of girls, you’re a stud, or a player – the female equivalent evidently a pejorative, whilst the male epithet inferring aspirational qualities. Innumerable sources across the web including the likes of Elite Daily are urging women to take their sexual identities by the horns and wear their scarlet letters with pride.

what a slut old guy with slut tattoo dr heckle funny photo blog

Let’s unfurl why this “double standard” exists, shall we.

Semantically, the words ‘Double Standard’, insinuate that both sexes face equal challenges in their pursuit of a common goal. Now, I would argue the worldview that both men and women perceive sex in the same way is inherently flawed, so any discussion that rests on this assertion is equally misleading. A well-known inquiry into human behaviour was conducted in the 1970s and 80s, (which has since been watered-down on YouTube here) – the abstract reads:

In these studies male and female confederates of average attractiveness approached potential partners with one of three requests: “Would you go out tonight?” “Will you come over to my apartment?” or “Would you go to bed with me?” The great majority of men were willing to have a sexual liason with the women who approached them. Women were not. Not one woman agreed to a sexual liason. Many possible reasons for this marked gender difference were discussed.

Whether social conditioning or biological determinism, males pursue and females allow themselves to be pursued; media perpetuate it, research validates it and nature demonstrates it. So, from a normative perspective, men and women’s conceptions of sexual priorities are seemingly incongruent.

Enter a novel wave of pop-feminism and anti-slut rhetoric that encourages women to start thinking more like men and stop being such prudes – perhaps it’s some misguided sense of FOMO or an ill-thought out step towards ‘equality’. Regardless, there’s a reason the ‘natural order’ of things doesn’t have women praising each other for sleeping around, and once again, it’s because men and women experience life in very different ways.

To quote Paul Elam:

First, let’s take a look what it takes for men to have a rush hour of sexual traffic, assuming they are not paying for it directly.

To have a high volume of sexual encounters with women, men must:

A. Have great sexual magnetism based on physical appearance, or

B. Have visible economic success, or

C. Significant social status among other men, or

D. An operational understanding of women and their desires and the ability to manipulate those things, or

E. The ability to project high self confidence in social settings, or

F. A combination of two or more of the above.

Now, to have a high volume of sexual encounters with men, women must:

A. Have a vagina

Whilst the above might come across quite tongue in cheek, you’d be hard-pressed to argue anything to the contrary. In fact, it’s this very understanding that contributes to the negative connotations associated with promiscuous women. Everyone is more than well aware that should she so desire, even the most vapid and penniless woman can get enough ‘Vitamin-D’ to render the sun redundant. It would seem ludicrous to deify a woman for achieving something that she has to make an active effort to avoid – like giving praise to an alcoholic for managing to get through a beer.

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Conversely, when a man sleeps with a woman it demonstrates an ability to circumnavigate the very obstacles that prevented the hundred or so men included in that study from succeeding – an achievement that earns favour among both men and women alike. If you analyse social dynamics (i.e. live a life with functional eyes) it quickly becomes apparent that the more success you have with women, the more success you’re bound to have, a glaring indication that it’s not men that perpetuate the controversial ‘double standard’, but women. By choosing to sleep with men who are players, women are preserving a discourse that treats promiscuous men as viable mates and successful humans; each notch on his belt is a vote of confidence by the female community (the value of each vote is directly proportional to the attractiveness of the caster). Succinctly put, guys earn admiration for sleeping with lots of women for the same reason that they would be congratulated for overcoming any particularly onerous challenge.

hotel-room

Now I certainly don’t condone the use of any degrading terminology or slurs, and I’m quick to concede that from a moral standpoint, there’s not two cents worth of difference between a promiscuous man and a promiscuous woman. However it’s certainly not difficult to understand why the one would be considered more impressive than the other – and this discordancy certainly adds fuel to the fiery double standard debate. Men have to work infinitely harder than women in the pursuit of a casual sexual encounter, and everyone knows it. This doesn’t exactly answer why women are denigrated for doing so; it just explains why they’re not admired for their dalliances. To understand why there’s such animosity directed at women for being promiscuous we’re compelled to look deeper.

I believe that the true source of this double standard debacle stems from the notion of power, or how it’s perceived by society at least. Men who appear to be able to ‘have’ any woman they want are perceived as powerful, conversely, women who are able to refuse the advances of powerful men, or alternatively, keep them sexually exclusive, are themselves considered powerful (this is almost always synonymous with being extremely physically attractive). To explain why this is the case we’d have to unravel an intertwined mess of contemporary gender theory and evolutionary psychology; however I think it’s safe to say that the above is a commonly accepted norm.

In the same way that some might eat the heart of a lion in the hopes of consuming its power, both men and women strive to be more powerful than their cohorts by assimilating the status of powerful partners – albeit in different ways, as highlighted above.

Now it’s no secret that the most commonly identified perpetrators of slut-shaming happen to be women themselves; anyone who knows a girl/woman who has been cheated on will attest to the stream of expletives the ‘other woman’ has been called, probably the most vehement of which would be the likes of “whore” and “slut” (See Jerry Springer/Cheaters for reference).

Jerry Springer Keep It ClassyI put it to you (#BarryRouxShoutOut) that slut-shaming is not born from men’s disdain of promiscuous women, but rather as a result of women’s innate fear of being outplayed within the sexual arena, but more specifically – having their man, or more symbolically their power, stolen. Promiscuous women are a threat to other women’s capacity to keep a man sexually exclusive – and slut-shaming is a ritual designed to dissuade any woman from pursuing a lifestyle that jeopardises the integrity of another woman’s sexual dominion. If we are to accept this as a feasible explanation of the mechanism driving slut-shaming, then it seems logical that any activity designed to promote promiscuity amongst women would only exacerbate the prevalence of slut-related vitriol circulating within the public sphere. The likely solution to eliminating the associations made between promiscuous women and derogatory slurs would be complex, and would probably require a complete overhaul of the cultural (and perhaps biological) parameters we use to identify how power is asserted and assimilated.

Barry-Roux-meme

So take heed of these words ladies, beware of any article/podcast/blog that pushes a pro-promiscuity agenda under the guise of female sexual liberation, they’re probably just other women waiting to ruin your reputation and take you out of the game – much like crocs do for men.

batali-wearing-crocs

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2 thoughts on “It’s not easy being easy.

  1. We discovered from nature that there are mainly two sexes, male and female, and from this we observed that these sexes have some sort of essence. Extrapolating in linear thought, we then assumed that human beings were most fully aligned with their human nature when they too acted from how we thought we’d discovered gender and sex to be in nature. We imagined ourselves to be merely the highest in a series of nature’s creations instead of seeing ourselves as partially transcending the series and nature itself.

    We cannot be reduced to our hormones and genitals. We are beyond just male and female, though up until now we’ve insistently fed back into the observable world precisely what was expected under the paradigm we thought defined our species along with all the others. We’ve simply acted as expected.

    But not even the observed descriptive actually matches human reality. Unlike animals, human females can have sex any time, and experience multiple orgasms, the intensity of which makes men’s look sloppy if women’s far higher number of nerve endings is anything to go by. Human women can even have sex – awesome sex – when they’re in labour to give birth. Other mammals are less sexed than humans are.

    Nature’s first rule is, “Eat or be eaten.” When we arbitrate significance and normative rules on the basis of genitalia, we fail to rise above the daily rape, the flashing talon and the wrenching jaw we see in the very nature we would take our cues from. Indeed, I would say we have failed to rise above animal violence precisely because we focus on the animal facts of what people are, rather than we do on the ennobling truths of WHO people are.

    We can transmute animal lust into the light-stuff that gods and angels are made of. We can do this by cultivating an awareness of the person beyond the body and seeing beyond the animal in the genitalia.

    If we are unable to have open, honest conversations about gender, sex and sexuality without devolving into another slut-shaming furore, the fault isn’t with the individuals who’ve dared to imperfectly break the silence around these topics; rather, the issue is that the rest of is haven’t “evolved” enough into our humanity to join the discussion like adults. There is no need to overhaul biology; there is merely a need to see beyond it, or integrate it into a bigger picture and definition of humanity. I haven’t listened to the podcasts but I have a feeling they will serve a necessary purpose.

    When you read this blog post above, it becomes clear that sexism is heterosexism. I say this because for any given pair of equally sexed humans, male and female, the male is more likely to get kudos for his involvement in heterosexual dalliances than the female is. For the same heterosexual activity that she performs with the male, the female alone becomes the victim of sexism. The system preferentially serves the male involved only in heterosexual affairs and discriminates against those who are female or non-heterosexual; whatever welcome “hot” lesbians are greeted with is still an expression of the straight male’s power to arbitrate significance from the system that favored him.

    It is clear, then, that the problem isn’t somewhere in the paradigm of heteronormality but with heteronormality as a whole. It reduces us to mostly our biology, to the fixed gender binary that disadvantages females, and is therefore heterosexism. But our humanity and our heterosexism are at odds. Sooner or later we will be forced to choose between the two. Our species will not survive the contradiction because our trajectory is further away from the reductionism of “nature”.

    We must “evolve or die”, but that evolution cannot happen under the assumption of the same fixed sexual-gender binary we’ve been thinking under up until now. In fact, if human gender and sexual expression were fixed, how would we be anything more than robots made of flesh – just really, really evolved animals bound to the softest versions of those natural laws of eat or be eaten?

    Indeed, imagining that gender, sex and sexuality were supposed to be a fixed binary, that is exactly what we’re experiencing. When we slut-shame and legitimize the system that arbitrates value according to how someone performs on a heterosexist scale that advantages males, we are eating and being eaten. Solution? Overhaul not biology but the mechanical significance of sexual acts that we choose to read into and out of biology

    Just my opinion in response to an excellent, excellent piece

    • I also note that when it’s expected that women will want sex less than men and men more than women, then whatever access to a male sexual partner that woman will have, will be guarded with animal jealousy. This is probably the only solution women have to the conflict of really really wanting it, and being told that they shouldn’t. This conflict is a product of our rape culture that blames the victim. Again, I say let’s stop prescribing that just because someone is a ____ s/he will want this and not that. Let’s see the person beyond the body

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