Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Male vs Female Gaze

At left: Girl before a mirror by Pablo Picasso.

When I first saw the Picasso painting, I didn't know squat about art or cubism, but I remember thinking, "She doesn't like what she sees." (Rorschach test, anyone?)

In the discussion over my last post (about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival), a related issue came up: Do we feel our appearance is judged more harshly by women or by men?

Maggie Jochild wrote:

I was not visibly disabled the first time I went to Michigan in 1977, but I was fat. Very fat. And it was the first place in my life where I ever went naked in public -- even with my lovers, I'd not shown my body. Michigan created enough safety for that to occur. It was also where I learned that women have beards, have mustaches, have flat chests, have enlarged clitorises, have mastectomy scars, have unimaginable scars (like I now have), have every kind of body type you can imagine, -- that women often look like what our culture calls "men" -- because bodies are on full view and it's just not voyeuristic. We come out of our mothers this way. It was tremendously validating and educational.
[...]
I am now really fond of nudism, and have often gone to events where clothing is optional. And the fact is, at venues where men are present (even or sometimes especially leftie/gay men), I get snickered at. Always by a man. NEVER by women. I do believe this is conditioning -- and what I refer to as ideology is conditioning, not hard-wired into any brain -- but it's so entrenched and laid in so early, the only way around it is a complete re-do of identity. NOT appearance.
Others immediately disagreed. Bint commented:
I have often had my body ridiculed by women. I remember when I was going through radiation and the skin on my back was burned to a crisp. It wasn't a bit contagious or oozing, just charred. I was engaged and had gone to try on wedding gowns. Of the people who saw me in that store, daring to show my non-conforming body, feel free to guess the gender of the person I could see sneering at me when I turned around to face them. I could give even more accounts of situations like this. The idea that men are conditioned to be less accepting to variations on body types is a joke to me and many other women of color and women with disabilities.
Octagalore has also felt more *judgment* from women:
Bint: I too think what you said was very reasonable, especially the above. Most of my friends are women -- I'm not someone who claims "women don't get me" -- in fact, women usually get me better. But I've also gotten the most heartbreak from them.

I was horribly unpopular in grade school through high school. Although I became identifiably conventionally attractive during this period, I was very "different" in religion, how my parents dressed me (awful crocheted ponchos, "interesting" ethnic outfits) and in other ways. New boys would come to the school, hang out with me, then inevitably a girl would tell them how weird and oddly-dressed and outcast-y I was and they'd back off. High school was more of the same.
How about you? More nasty comments from men or women? Has that changed since you have aged vs when you were young?

If you agree with Bint and Octagalore, do you think women's negative judgments are due to oppression and rivalry, or is this just because we are also so hard on ourselves? After staring at ourselves in the mirror a long time, it seems likely we have developed a hypersensitive awareness of physical appearance, which we then turn on each other.

On the other hand, men have this way of humiliating women that, for me, far exceeds anything women do. It just feels different. The misogyny? Aggressive language? The tone of voice? I'm not sure why. Is there a possibly-physical threat present in men's statements, that is not present in women's?

As a child, were you ever picked on for looking different? Did this come from boys or girls, mostly?

On a related note: Do lesbians have more positive experiences with other girls, regarding personal appearance, than hetero girls? I'd be curious to know if lesbians ever wanted to tell their friends they were pretty, but refrained from doing so. Or did you go ahead? As a child, I had a friend who always told me I was "pretty like a doll" (I wasn't, but I loved hearing it), and I have always wondered if she grew up to be a lesbian or was just being a nice friend.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

if you're fat, then women are worse. women *keep watch* over weight & fatness more than men do.

lindsey

Trinity said...

I get recommendations on how I should change my appearance (be more feminine) mainly from women. I occasionally hear from men that I'd be sexier if I were more feminine, but not often.

With women it seems to be that I've broken some rule and am not "pretty" and "could be." With men it tends to be obvious discussion of sexual desire and how they'd feel more of it if I looked different.

I think how harmful each feels would depend on what you value more. If someone's discussion of your sexual hotness is uncomfortable for you in general or is a sore spot/thing you worry about, the men's comments will hurt more. If comments that you don't fit in, look unacceptable, don't quite "make it" as a woman matter more, women's comments will sting worse.

Renegade Evolution said...

I've always taken more crap about my looks from women than men, even before my "pornified era". As a kid/teenager, I was a jock, complete with jock body and no chest...in fact, I was often mistaken for male by other females...back then I took crap from women for not being "girlie" enough and my taste in wardrobe (goth skate punk). Now I take crap from women for having low body fat and implants and being too slutty looking. In my opinion, with women, it's always been a loose/loose situation. As a kid/teenager, guys rarely talked about my looks at all, later on I found out guys who wanted to ask me out didn't because I intimidated them. Now if men talk about my looks, even if it is done in a crude or objectfying manner, it is still, well, complimentary...whereas women have just remained vicious, catty, and rude.

belledame222 said...

I've gotten both, as far as high school level "ugly-fat-why doesn't she shave her legs/etc." goes. As an adult? I think women do tend to scrutinize more.

well, put it this way--I think both males and females, particularly horrid juvenile ones, use catcalling and insults as ways to police. but when it comes to so-called "for your own good"--women, mostly.

Cassandra Says said...

In my experience nasty comments almost always come from women. It always seems to be straight women, too. Per your question - I'm bi, and the only appearance-based stuff I ever recall getting from dykes has been of the specifically feminist "what's with the lipstick and general girliness?" variety. From straight girls though...uh. All kinds of nastiness.

From men, it seems like the only time they say anything is if they have something positive to say. The nastiest appearance-based comment from a guy that I can remember other than the evil uncle was the ex who told me that I didn't have a great build for clothes and looked much sexier naked. Which really isn't that nasty - the only reason I even remember is because I LIKE clothes.

There have been guys who have been sneery in that specific "I'm assuming you're a slut because you're wearing a short skirt" way, but I don't think that's what you were getting at, since that's not really a criticism of one's appearance so much as it is a sense of entitlement at work. It's definately misogyny, that assumption that any woman dressed in "sexy" clothes is anyone's for the taking, but I'm not sure that's what you mean here. Is it? It certainly can make women feel like crap, though (in my case in the pissed off rather than the hurt sense - I don't feel like crying, I just want to smack the shit out of them).

Cassandra Says said...

Oh, and I'm not sure if it's a bi/dyke thing, but I complimented my friends on their looks all the time as a kid. Then again, I did the same thing with my male friends, too.

belledame222 said...

eh, there's a kind of "girlfriends" complimenting on each others' looks that I think is almost opposed to any sort of erotic impulse, or kills it, or something. maybe it's just me. but this sort of, "oh, i love your HAIR today" thing. I mean, it CAN be a come-on, that, but, there's a certain tone that straight women use. I found myself falling back on it when I was trying to quash or redefine any less platonic feelings.

but definitely i didn't have a more positive experience around other women than your average bear. I don't think, at least.

belledame222 said...

oh, and I was catcalled to "put on a bra" by some I presumed dyke and her boypal, standing in front of the local gay club. I confronted her; she sort of melted away

Daisy said...

I've had a lot of men make nasty "fat ass" comments, even when I was pretty thin! I've never understood that. I've heard it all my life, perhaps because I have a "full" face? To be fair, they've also been very complimentary, usually of my hair. I've had men follow me in shopping malls, etc, who are likely hair freaks. One guy did a huge amount of expensive work on my car and waived the fee, saying (quietly, intently) "I love.long.hair." and I thought, whatever works for you, dude!

Women's comments about weight are usually the "for your own good" thing BD mentions, and I can easily ignore that. Also, women are catty and mean about my hair, always asking when (not if) I am going to cut it, sometimes saying it's a mess. I always say I'd never cut it, because then I'd look as ordinary and nondescript as every other woman my age, and why would I want to do that? Makes them furious. (The ridiculous American middle-class pressure on older women to have short hair is obscene, and I intend to protest this bullshit as long as I am able to, even until I'm 80, 90, etc. Also, I'm hoping that as more Mexicans move to the US, they will change this state of affairs, since many OLD Mexican women have long hair with no apologies.)

But no question, I am with Maggie on this: men are far worse, in a hateful sort of way.

I wonder if this difference in experience influences why some women become radical feminists?

Renegade Evolution said...

Daisy:

"But no question, I am with Maggie on this: men are far worse, in a hateful sort of way."

See, I disagree. Once again, may be due to my experiences, but I think women are more hateful. I mean, aside from the typical "Nice Tits, i'd love to bang you" comments (which oddly enough, I don't see as hateful), or even some of the porno-speak comments I hear out of men, the meanest thing I ever recall a guy saying about my looks was when in college, when i was VERY buff, some dude said that muscular chicks were a turn off and he wanted to know when I was trying out for the football team....which I took as ha, he WISHES he was this buff! Women on the other hand? Women are vicious, and they have a tendancy to put it all back on you...I mean, a guy insults a woman, it's pretty typical stuff "you ugly/dumb/sleazy/useless bitch", a woman does it, well, because they are women, they know how to get at you. A lot of it becomes very personal and frought with bullshit concern. "Not to be mean, but WHY are you such a --------?" and often they come at you with a whole lot of bullshit "motherly concern" type of crap ("I want you to examine, deep down"). Women may not be as outright loud or rude, but hateful? I think they are moreso, and infinately more devious in knowing HOW to get at/to other women.

Oh, and backhanded compliments...women are the masters of those... "I love your hair, but, well, you could stand to loose a few pounds....great outfit, but what is with those shoes?" And that shit annoys the hell out of me.

Daisy said...

Ren, do you agree with Trinity?--

If comments that you don't fit in, look unacceptable, don't quite "make it" as a woman matter more, women's comments will sting worse.

When you say:

Women may not be as outright loud or rude, but hateful? I think they are moreso, and infinately more devious in knowing HOW to get at/to other women.

See, they don't get to me, and I am wondering why that is.

I work with a woman who is *constantly critical* of everything about me, yada, yada, yada...but I am able to tune it out. I mean, her opinion simply doesn't matter to me. Maybe if she was a feminist (or ex-feminist, or has what I would call a feminist sensibility) then I would care? I DO care what certain other women say. But if Martha Stewart (which is who this woman reminds me of) says blah blah blah, I really and truly do not give a shit.

And yeah, men are aggressive, mean, and seek to humiliate women who are not deemed attractive, or if they don't think we are attractive in the way THEY prefer (as lesbians often are not). Ren, since you are attractive, perhaps you haven't actually dealt with that?

It can be *extremely intimidating* and cause women to question their self-worth.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I think you both are coming up with similar experiences, actually, just with different interpretations, maybe.

well, and colored by, I think certain types of women come in for more bullshit by other women than others. the "slut" takes a lot of flak from women, as does the beauty queen. and of course if you have something that puts you "beyond the pale" (too poor, too fat, too non-white, disabled, too gender transgressive, something) then i think it's pretty much open season and a free for all: you've effectively been de-sexed, and everyone loves to monster-bait.

but if you're sort of average looking, not too outlandishly different, not too threateningly attractive, then for the most part women, at least women who aren't intimate with you (and aren't horrible and/or trying to sell you something) tend to be that sort of faux-supportive, or else ignore you, because they're too busy slapping and poking their own thighs or fussing with their own hair.

(I am drawing on a high school template here, mind you; my adult life I think is maybe not all that gender typical in a lot of ways)

but yeah, I think it takes a certain amount of inurement to not see "ugly dyke fat bitch" and so forth as hurtful, even threatening. It's true that those sorts of insults tend to be less personalized than "come closer so I can -really- hurt you, smile," but that kind of shit can really be devastating to people who really think of that sort of thing as incredibly awful, whether because they're not used to such language or because they're entirely too used to it. If that makes sense.

slip. see, I know why I react strongly to constant criticism, especially by women: because my mother is a very critical woman, sometimes in subtle and complicated ways, and she's worn some of my nerves raw.

belledame222 said...

and the other thing, of course, is that while sure, I'm as sensitive to "you're ugly and fat" shit as anyone else, I don't really rate men, so it's not so upsetting to me if some dude says I'm not attractive. I mean, it doesn't really make any difference to my -life-.

belledame222 said...

One thing I learned from high school, although not until years later: I was "ugly" and a "bitch" in direct proportion to 1) how well I did in class and 2) how not-friendly I was perceived to be.

Renegade Evolution said...

daisy:

I'll say now that I have my own sets of bias going on here, but...I wasn't always "conventionally attractive" or whatever. I've always been thin, or very muscular, so no, i did not ever take shit for being heavy...which I know a lot of women do....but...

Perhaps because I have an older brother, and the majority of my good friends in life have been male, I've learned how to DEAL with their insults better. A man says something rude or insulting to me, I whip back around in verbally eviscerate him where he stands...hell, he wants to take a shot at my looks or brains, I have enough of both to point out his own flaws and shortcomings with ease...which not only takes back whatever pleasure or power he gains by insulting me, but usually humilates him in front of his peers (other men). At which point EVERYONE has a good laugh. But, as I said, I've always hung out with guys, so maybe its a matter of being able to play by "their rules" as well as they can. Shrug. Men don't intimidate me, I'm not afraid of them. Sure, if one hits me, it's going to hurt, but since they days when they became physically larger than me, that's never happened without my consent.

Women on the other hand...well, I have and have always had female friends, but most of them are like me in that in some way, they are not acceptable in the eyes of other women and do not have the time or desire to play the games other women play. In short, even though we were told to want, and maybe do want, that great female sisterhood thing...well, we've always been treated like the unacceptable cousin from a strange country at best, and non-women/non-humans at worst. The majority of verbal, emotional and, yep, physical abuse I've faced has come almost 100% at the hands of women. So yeah, I am biased, but I do find women to be far more hateful to their own kind than I find men to be. Yep, a man can sure as hell beat the shit out of me, rape me, kill me, whatever...but they haven't. But have women sure as hell made me feel like shit often? Yep, they have....both before and after being what one might call 'conventionally attractive'.

Anonymous said...

One other thing...women are perfectly capable of objectifying other women in demeaning ways. I've had plenty of dykes come on to me with really insulting, aggressive language and body-language. It's not the exclusive province of straight men by any means, and--to me, at least--it didn't feel any different when the lech happened to have a vagina. If anything, there was just a whole lot less recognition of the creep factor.

--Piny

Jan said...

I've never had any male say anything derogatory about my physical appearance that I know of or heard, but I know for a fact that women do criticize other women for their appearance, weight, clothes, hair, nails, shoes, etc. It's all petty stuff but that's the stuff I've heard from women about me that I've never heard from any man.

Trinity said...

"mean, a guy insults a woman, it's pretty typical stuff "you ugly/dumb/sleazy/useless bitch", a woman does it, well, because they are women, they know how to get at you. A lot of it becomes very personal and frought with bullshit concern. "Not to be mean, but WHY are you such a --------?" and often they come at you with a whole lot of bullshit "motherly concern" type of crap ("I want you to examine, deep down"). Women may not be as outright loud or rude, but hateful? I think they are moreso, and infinately more devious in knowing HOW to get at/to other women."

Yeah, exactly. If a guy tells me "I don't like you" -- great.

If a woman tells me "have you ever THOUGHT ABOUT" then that's serious to me. Even if it's someone whose opinion I don't value. I value my mind, value thinking, so much that it's easy for people to ensnare me by telling me I haven't thought something through enough.

Even religious fundamentalists, when they get pseudo-intellectual, can stop me short. "Have you really considered out point of view? I don't think so. If you had..."

Gets me every time.

"I want you to X" doesn't. I'm good at winning tests of wills. I relish it.

And that's a way of communicating that's much more commonly women's. "Well, but I just meant that, you know, last week you were wondering why Brian didn't notice you, and well, it's a proven thing that men like women who look like this. So I'm only trying to help. Do you really want people not to notice you?"

THAT means I have to go home and torture myself: how much do I value Brian's attention vs. my own individuality, is it an adequate price to pay, am I isolating myself for some bullshit desire to not fit in, on and on

where if it's a guy saying "Grow your hair" I can say "No." That's very easy.

Renegade Evolution said...

Trinity: It somewhat comes down to aggressive vs passive aggressive. I prefer pure out aggressive. It's blatant, simple, in your face...men tend to be aggressive. Women tend to be passive aggressive. It REALLY pisses me off...a man discounts a woman flat out- "shut up woman, I don't care what you think", women? It's a whole big fucking game of feeling and emotion and have you considered and crap like that. And what floors me is a woman can dump a ton of shit onto another woman, and the second the other woman strikes back, in any way, she is villified for hurting the aggressors feelings and being insenseative and all that other shit. I hate that, I really, really do.

Octogalore said...

Per your post, I've felt more judgment from women, but
I do get what you mean by the following: "men have this way of humiliating women that, for me, far exceeds anything women do. It just feels different."

I think it's just that while my experience has been that some women are more able to subtly wind judgment into everyday life, men don't speak up as often. Maybe because they have more incentive not to. But when they do, it can be more aggressively hateful.

Having worked in strip clubs for a couple of years, these are the environments I've experienced the hatefulness. Rarely, but memorably. Maybe because when the guy feels he can "buy" your attentions, he doesn't have to curb his impulses. Once, when I was my current height, 5'5" and about 105lb, a guy sneered at me (while I was dancing for him) and called me fat, and said my arms were too muscular and looked like men's arms.

I've never had another woman be that obviously brutal -- to my face, anyway.

Cassandra Says said...

Daisy, when you say this...
"And yeah, men are aggressive, mean, and seek to humiliate women who are not deemed attractive, or if they don't think we are attractive in the way THEY prefer (as lesbians often are not). Ren, since you are attractive, perhaps you haven't actually dealt with that? "

I'm drawing a blank. What do you mean? As in, what specifically are these guys doing? Because again, it seems to me that 9 times out of 10 if a random guy decides to say anything to me about my appearance it's a compliment of some kind (I think that men who don't find me attractive just ignore me), although many of them can be rather ineptly delivered, especially if the dude is your average american white guy. The only times I can recall any negative comments at all were when I was a bit heavier. Is it all about weight, ie. a sexist offshoot of our culture's obsession with weight? Or is the difference we're seeing here generational? I'm wondering if maybe there are things which feel negative and mean to you that feel neutral to me, or Ren (she and I are about the same age, I think)?
That's why I'm curious about specifics. I'm wondering if what you mean is what I think of as standard-issue sexist leering, which I tend to tune out the same way you tune out the "for your own good" comments from other women.

Cassandra Says said...

Here's a thought...what if the nastiness that some of us feel from other women that SEEMS to be aimed at looks really isn't at all? I'm thinking of Belle's comments about grades, affability etc. - I've had that, disguised as appearance comments. I've also had the slut stuff thrown at me the same way Ren has - I've lost count of the number of women who've made catty comments about my boobs being too big, tees too tight, who does she think she is being friendly to my Nigel etc. Men don't do that shit, in general. And the thing is, I think it's displacement. Women use appearance-based comments to attack each other because we know it hurts (which is why I never make comments about other women's weight, EVER, but that doens't mean the appearance is what's really under attack.

I think a lot of it is an attempt to police behavior deemed insufficiently "feminine", honestly, so maybe women who are less openly bolshy, assertive, overtly sexual etc get less of that.

Trinity said...

"I'm drawing a blank. What do you mean? As in, what specifically are these guys doing?"

Same here. I'm pretty sure I've never been on the butt end of this, whatever it might be, either.

Which doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it never did to me. I think I've been wolf-whistled all of once. And one time some guy made fun of my dancing, but I think that was probably mock-the-crip, not mock-the-chick.

Daisy said...

Stripping was illegal when I was young, but I did dance in skimpy outfits for money, wore pasties, etc. They called us "go go dancers"--this was the KC and the Sunshine Band era. The hatred I talk about is the same she talks about. I think I was largely ignorant of that kind of hatred, before I had the job.

"I'm drawing a blank. What do you mean? As in, what specifically are these guys doing?"

"All women are cunts/whores/bitches and you're no different" would be the kind of thing I heard on the job. Getting various parts of my anatomy grabbed ("I thought you girls liked that sort of thing") in a mean, "gimme" sort of way, very humiliating. I never understood the hostility, since I regarded it as a simple (very well-paying) job, and they seemed to think the job existed to make them look like idiots, or something. Very hard to describe. I enjoy Octagalore's "strippers diary", for that reason, she gets into the whole psych thing between dancers and clients. (Also, I didn't do it for as long as she did, and as I said, it wasn't even stripping.)

I've heard "Hey fat ass" from men my whole life, whether I was fat, thin or in-between. It finally died down after I was over 40.

I just don't understand the
reason for that. What were they getting out of it?

Renegade Evolution said...

Daisy:

What were they getting out of it?

Well, two possible answers I can come up with from things I've observed...

One; these men are the types who are never going to have female company, attention, or the ability to see a nude/mostly nude woman unless they pay for it. They have, due to their charming attitudes, never had any luck with a woman in their life, which oh, makes them dislike women, so they treat women like shit, and will pay for the perceived ability to do so...

Society as a whole, NOT just men, pushes a mentality that any woman who gets naked, or even partially naked, for a living is a whore and "wants it", or will "take it" any time, any place, from anyone, so it is "okay" to treat them in that fashion.

Trinity said...

""All women are cunts/whores/bitches and you're no different" would be the kind of thing I heard on the job. Getting various parts of my anatomy grabbed ("I thought you girls liked that sort of thing") in a mean, "gimme" sort of way, very humiliating."

Ick. Yeah, I've never gotten that from anyone, personally.

Cassandra Says said...

Trin - Me neither. Which may well be, as I have said before, all about class, or people's perceptions of class. Stripping/go-go dancing etc are percieved as "low class" occupations, creating a class that most men feel they can get away with abusing because they're paying for the privilege. If those men are of a high economic strata I'd imagine their behavior would be ever worse - look at the Duke case, that was about class as well as race.

Daisy et al - Have you ever gotten that kind of behavior outside of the dancing context? I was initially thinking you meant random guy in the street behavior.

And I agree - what's up with the "you're fat" comments aimed at women who from an objective level aren't even close to being so? Is it just being used as an all-purpose insult because the dudes in question know that it's going to sting? Is it an attempt to establish power, the human equivalent of pissing to mark territory?

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I think I'm an outlier here.

And I'm not sure what to ascribe it to. One thread is that I'm a geek, taking after my geek-gendered parent, spending most of my time in geek culture, which isn't terribly appearance-aware; one thread is that I was, when younger, the sort of roughly-average-appearance person who didn't register particularly, and being a geek, wasn't important enough in the social pecking order to be a threat to anyone in particular and thus requiring put-downs. One thread is that I'm oblivious enough to a lot of things that I may either not notice a lot of stuff or not have it register as something to have a reaction to -- which both means that it doesn't stick in my memory, and that people looking for someone to play appearance one-upsmanship games with won't get any satisfaction out of me.

The upshot of this being that I have very rarely experienced direct comments about my personal appearance at all. The occasional sexist come-on or wolf whistle, a little passive-aggressive snarking in junior high about my fashion sense (I think; honestly, it came across as 'these boys want my attention/a reaction, and I don't want to deal with it, so I'll play don't-hear-you-sorry').

The stuff that's actually gotten through my skin has been mostly more abstract discussions. "Women like that are only attractive to closeted homosexuals" was one of the ones that stuck with me. A fair fraction of them have struck me as "Men attempting to support the women they find particularly attractive by expressing contempt for people who have different preferences", which I find disproportionately hurtful, in that whole, "What the hell did I do to you that you need to take a dig at me and those people who have the temerity to be attracted to me at random?" kind of way. The rest have been pretty much equal-gendered interactions, dissecting the unpleasantness of the existence of people like me as if I were some kind of unhuman bug on the medical table.

... which is a revealing thought about why I have such distaste for political appearance policing. It all has that vivisection feel to me. I may pull this out to my place to chew on.

Daisy said...

I was initially thinking you meant random guy in the street behavior.

And I agree - what's up with the "you're fat" comments aimed at women who from an objective level aren't even close to being so? Is it just being used as an all-purpose insult because the dudes in question know that it's going to sting? Is it an attempt to establish power, the human equivalent of pissing to mark territory?


Great observation! The "fat ass" stuff HAS usually been pretty random stuff.

Dw3t, your comment:

The stuff that's actually gotten through my skin has been mostly more abstract discussions. "Women like that are only attractive to closeted homosexuals" was one of the ones that stuck with me.

I once got in a fierce fight with a guy over JULIE FUCKING ANDREWS, if you can believe it, because we were sitting there watching THE SOUND OF MUSIC and he is saying "A woman with high breasts like that, is very orgasmic." --and I dunno why, but I got LIVID over his extremely-arrogant tone of voice. And I couldn't believe he didn't see that Julie Andrews had "high breasts" because she was wearing one of those damn dirndl things, playing MARIA VON TRAPP, you asshole!

He was unmoved, of course...just kept saying how HE knew women, HE knew about women's orgasms, yada, yada. All from looking at MARIA VON TRAPP'S BOOBS!

I haven't been able to think about CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN or any of those other damn songs, without thinking of that argument. And now you reminded me of it!

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight! :D

Cassandra Says said...

Daisy, do you have any idea how much I love you for the Von Trapp comment?

You're saying that he meant orgasmic in the "has lots of orgasms" sense? Because if so...huh?

I once had a guy friend try to convince me that women with slim ankles are more sexually responsive than women with thicker ankles. And again...huh? I remember the whole "your leg bone's connected to your knee bone" song, and I'm pretty sure that "your clit's connected to your ankles" was never mentioned. Apparently the songrwiters LIED to us, those bastards.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I'm sorry to have inadvertently reminded you of such a damnfool. :}

I'm perpetually amazed by that sort of thing, honestly. I think it's just that that level of ... I don't have the word for it ... just breaks my suspension of disbelief.

Somewhere in my quotes file I have something I said once that goes something like, "Don't argue with women about being women." It's not like it's the first time I've encountered something like that, but it still just baffles.

belledame222 said...


I once had a guy friend try to convince me that women with slim ankles are more sexually responsive than women with thicker ankles.


What the hell? how 19th century that sounds. and how...quaint. sheesh, i knew lameass armchair ev psych was gaining in popularity but that...dude, queue the phrenology skull measuring machines! eyeroll

Daisy said...

Daisy, do you have any idea how much I love you for the Von Trapp comment?

You're so sweet! I love you, too!

---the hills are alive---

Dw3t-Hthr said...

The writing I did on this over at my place reminded me of something.

I commented at one point that I was having difficulty gaining weight -- partly this is genetic (both my parents were bony until they were in their early thirties), partly due to some metabolic problems. And my weight was giving me health issues that I really would rather not be having, so I was hoping to put on five or ten pounds.

The fact that I was unable to do this got, from one of my close friends, a, "Excuse me for saying this. I hate you."

And she meant it as some kind of joke.

But ....

That one's scar tissue.

Cassandra Says said...

"That one's scar tissue. "

And the tragic thing is that wherever a particular woman falls on the weight scale, I guarantee she has some scar tissue connected to it. Can we not just all cut each other some slack?

That's the kind of thing I meant when I said that in my experience women are crueller about appearance. Another woman KNOWS how much that's going to hurt, and yet your friend said it anyway.

I'm seeing that a lot recently, actually, comments about skinny women that display a sort of casual cruelty and snideness, and I can see where the motivation comes from, because fat women get harrassed about their weight all the time. But still. Why try to displace your own pain onto someone else?

And I'm right in the middle, weight wise, so it's not like I have a dog in this particular fight. I just wish everyone would try to be a bit more considerate of other people's feelings.


Daisy - Mwah!

And Belle - Yep, he was an idiot. The sad thing was that he was in his early twenties. Maybe he heard it from his grandfather or something.
Wierdo.

P. Burke said...

Coming in kind of late here...

I got a lot of in high school from both sexes. (I had just moved to a new school district, was bookish, and had especially unacceptable hair.) People mentioned backstabbing, but both boys and girls were pretty aggressive and in my face.

In college, I got a huge amount of street harassment from men. (My university was located in a relatively unsafe part of town.) Some of that was superficially directed toward my breasts and ass, but the subtext wasn't that. The subtext was "you think you're so smart, you stuck up college girl, but I could hurt you." And the incidents that made the biggest impression on me didn't involve my appearance at all, but were more directly threatening.

Lately, I haven't gotten many mean remarks on my appearance from anyone. I'm pretty boring-looking, and I guess I've been fairly successful in surrounding myself with women who don't engage in that kind of crap. (I love "geek gendered".) There is that stupid game of "I look terrible!" "No, I look terrible!", which my friends fall into sometimes, but I try to stop them, because it sucks just as much for the people playing as for the people listening. There's also the advice from various female relatives on how I'd be so pretty if I just made more of an effort to look feminine. But those relatives also keep praying ostentatiously for me to return to Catholicism, so it's hard to take that too seriously.

belledame222 said...

Some of that was superficially directed toward my breasts and ass, but the subtext wasn't that. The subtext was "you think you're so smart, you stuck up college girl, but I could hurt you."

*nod* I actually was trying to get at that (in part) when I wrote this little cabaret sketch.