Monday, April 29, 2013
Putting men in a box
I was rereading my post a couple days ago about how I was processing my cancer scare, and I noticed something that bothered me. I made the assumption that most men would not consider a relationship without sex to be worthwhile, as if that were the main point for most men. Wow, what a blatant, ugly stereotype! I realized that I still operate on gender stereotypes unconsciously, even though I do not consciously endorse them. I'm ashamed of myself!
How often did I hear my dad or other well-meaning people warn me growing up "Watch out, men have a one-track mind!" I remember reading a book by a Christian author, trying to enlighten Christian woman on what men were "really" like. It included phrases like (I'm going from memory here, not quoting verbatim), "every man, no matter how holy, has your body sized up in the first glance when he meets you. If he's holy, he'll refrain himself from undressing you in his mind, but, being visual creatures all men can't help but notice your body."
All men? Really? Can you prove this? Have you talked with each of the 3.5 billion men on Earth to ask them what they do when they first meet a woman?
And why is this supposed to be only a man thing? Couldn't a woman be a visual creature too? I'll admit, I notice people's appearances when I first meet them. Full body, not just faces, not just the style of clothes, and I do it to men and women. If it's a man I find attractive, I might actually undress him in my mind, though my "holiness" usually restrains me. Does that make me less feminine?
I have a lot of male friends who have never asked me for sex, but we have an enriching relationship nonetheless. Are they not getting any pleasure from the relationship, just because I'm not having sex with them? In that case, they are being very generous with me, enduring my presence so that I can derive pleasure from their company, while they suffer miserably without sex.
What about life partners, though?
Again, why do we have this assumption that men are the only ones who just couldn't bear to have a long-term life partner if no sex were involved? As if women have no libido! Honestly, I'd suffer in a long-term life partner situation without sex too. But that doesn't mean that the relationship wouldn't be beneficial in other ways. I'm able to absorb benefits from a variety of life domains, without making any one of them THE primary focus of the relationship. It is insulting to men to assume that they are too stupid and animal-like not to be able to enjoy the same depth and openness of experience.
I have betrayed the humanity of both men and women by my statements. I apologize.