A Look Into the Mind of a Woman

daily-life-of-womanNote: This is a (mostly) satirical post

Adam, Eve. Regis, Kelly. Men, women. There are many similarities between the two, yet many differences. Members of both genders complain that the other is hard to understand or get along with. This could be a legitimate complaint and that’s why here I present a quick and fun guide for men to the opposite gender, women. These ideas are reflective of the thoughts, behavior, and attitudes of some women, not necessarily all.

-It’s not PMS. It’s you

Before you conclude that a woman who is irritable or cranky must be having premenstrual symptoms, check to see if you’re not the cause of her less-than-happy attitude.

-Your looks do count

You may have all the confidence and money, but never get the idea that your appearance doesn’t matter. Looks do count, to a greater or lesser extent, to all women. The theory that women are not visual is simply not true. Now go put on a nice suit!

-Men and women are still not equal

No, despite all the gains that have been made in gender equality, men still have advantages over women in many areas of life. Don’t act so surprised and quit complaining about affirmative action for women.

-Marriage isn’t just a formality

Wondering why women see marriage as the goal of relationships? It’s because marriage has real benefits, both tangible and intangible. marriage is symbolic of a true desire for commitment and devotion to another person. So that idea you had about living together in perfectly unwedded bliss? Time to find a better idea.

-Women dressing up is not about men

In case you thought that women were wearing those stiletto heels and perfect make-up just to impress you, think again. Women dress to impress themselves, and other women.

-Pick-up lines are more than annoying

Being approached day after day with the same cheesy, generic pick-up lines can be tiresome. An honest, but confident approach would be appreciated, but ultimately who a man is, determines whether a woman will reciprocate interest or not.

-A little caring goes a long way

It’s been said before, but showing you are genuinely interested in a woman and her life and interests can go a long way, whether you’re male or female. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.

-Every woman is unique

I know — this is a guide about how women think, right? Yes, but although women have some general characteristics in common, all women are different. Any attempts to put all women in one box will fail because each women comes with her own quirks, interests, and bothers. All just for you.

Now, those are my thoughts. Any women reading have anything they’d like to add to this list? This could become a never-ending guide for the other half of our species.

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Open Question: Should Women Pursue Men?

equal-courtshipSince publishing the response article Why the Man Has to Chase I’ve received several comments and emails from men and women alike explaining why, or why not, they agree with the premise of the post. For the most part, the men who have written in do not agree with the idea that while women can initiate contact, women are more successful in dating and relationships if they leave the pursuing and chasing to men.

In contrast, the vast majority of women who have given their responses agree with the article and have given their experiences with dating that support the theory behind it. In the females’ experience, for a variety of reasons, pursuing men they have found attractive has been mostly unsuccessful.

Now, I ask readers, considering all factors: your experiences, personal beliefs, and any others: do you think women should pursue men?

One part of my view is contained in the earlier post — no, women should not pursue men because men don’t want to be chased. Men, if they’re interested, will show this interest in some way, thus making chasing men unnecessary.

However, the idealist in me does believe that women should pursue men. After all, this makes securing the man she finds the most attractive, easier, instead of choosing from the men who show interest. In a world without gender bias and norms, women would and should approach men. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world.

What is your view? Should women pursue men or not?

“I Have No Female Friends”, Part 2

woman-envyTo round up this month’s attempts by women to set back the Women’s Movement and themselves, this is an article response to another blogger’s thoughts on the original post “I Have No Female Friends”.

The response is entitled, Women Who Don’t Have Female Friends, and begins:

Earlier this week I found these blog posts about women who say they don’t have female friends. It reminded me of a discussion forum I found online some time ago with a similar discussion about women who say they don’t get along with women. In both cases, the discussion about these women was negative and full of assumptions about women who say these things.

After which the author proceeds to make countless negative statements and assumptions about women as a group, and numerous other amazing statements.

-“The majority of women don’t feel good about themselves.”

Besides that this is an overreaching statement, it is contradicting the entire post — to make a post deriding assumptions, then proceed to make your own.

It doesn’t seem to occur to the author, or she fails to mention, that her superior and belittling attitude towards women might be noticed by them, and disliked by them. If all people would believe that women don’t feel good about themselves, the author would find herself in a bad position.

-“I think saying men and women are not that different is PC bullschitt. Men and women are different, whether it’s because of society or biology or a mix. It’s fine to admit that.”

I think saying men and women are totally different is conservative and closed-minded. I would never say men and women do not have their differences but painting them as two sub-species is not something I’d ever do, and not something I’d expect from any intelligent and open-minded person. Experience and research tells me they aren’t nearly as different in their basic motivations as our brains would like to make them out to be.

To use the author’s own example, there are logical women and emotional men. A person’s outward behavior does not always or even usually reflect who inwardly are. Yes men and women are socialized differently, but those differences may affect only the social. Men lean toward the rational because that’s what’s accepted and expected of them, but their core personality may be quite different.

-“I feel good about who I am because I know I’m intelligent, talented, a good person and so on…the biggest thing with women, I’d say, is more than half of heterosexual ones strike me as not thinking they’re complete or good enough if they don’t have a man or a husband.”

The problem with this statement is that it is a judgment against women who have a strong desire for love, as if that is wrong. Everyone has something they wouldn’t feel complete without, and the love of a man doesn’t seem any worse than others. But whether it is wrong or not is not so important. What is glaring is that in a post about how judging other women is wrong, there is so much judging.

-“Personally, I’d love to find even just one woman who can talk football all day–I really would. Sure, there are women out there who like football. It’s not even unusual to find women who love football. I just simply have never known another woman who lives and breathes football”

The author needs an award because she loves football. Unlike every other woman on earth, she likes football, and that makes her truly unique.

It’s ironic that the author is in fact, feeding right into the original hypothesis that women who claim to have female friends feel that they are “special” and different from other women, and these differences make them better.

-“I understand that some of the women over at the blog link try to make a distinction between women who seem proud of not having female friends and other women who don’t have female friends, but it seems like a half-hearted attempt… As far as I read, they also failed to state or point out that saying you don’t have female friends sometimes is…well…simply a statement of fact.”

“As far as I read” would be the key statement here.

That “I have no female friends” is a statement of fact for a woman saying it was never in question, the question was why. Why do they make these statements and what sort of mindset do they have?

Judging from this response and the author’s own words, the author didn’t actually read the article or the comments following. This might have come in handy, in making stronger arguments against the original article; arguments that didn’t prove the point.

Note: All snark in this post was intentionally kept to a bare minimum

Cameron Diaz Tells Us: Women Want to Be Objectified

cameron-diazThe latest in controversial celebrity comments: Cameron Diaz, in the UK’s Sunday Times.

In a recent interview, the actress made a bold statement about the sexual objectification of women. In doing so, she offered up a glaring example of how an over-sexualized culture can influence the way women view themselves and their self-worth, and a classic case of self-objectification:

Says Diaz:

I think every woman does want to be objectified. There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy…I’m a woman, I know how to handle myself. I know what I feel comfortable doing and I know my sexuality.

It’s empowering. I’m not some young girl with the photographer going, ‘Will you take your clothes off?’ I’m like, ‘How does this look?’ They’re like, ‘Today we’re not going to put anything other than bras and heels on you,’ and I’m like, ‘These heels are not high enough.'”

While many have their own opinions of what Cameron said and what her statements mean, her thoughts for me bring to mind a few ideas on the issue of female objectification.

Objectified Does Not Equal “Sexy”

Inherent in the definition of objectification is dehumanization and depersonalization. When a person is objectified, they are viewed as not a person but an object, lacking in humanity and merely a means to an end in satisfying the objectifier’s desires, usually sexual.

In other words, it’s not about you, your womanhood, or your attractiveness. It’s about what you — or rather, your body — can arouse in the viewer. Not anymore human than a well-made piece of art. All a sexually objectified woman is worth is her ability to entice and once that worth is lost, which it inevitably will be, her worth is also lost.

Objectification Is Not Empowerment

Cameron may believe that posing in undergarments and sky-high heels makes her a liberated and empowered 21st century woman but in fact it is just the opposite.

Having women flaunt their “sexiness” by displaying their bodies in very little clothing is our culture’s way of keeping women disempowered: at their mercy, with no power except what little may be given to her by men, for a short amount of time. In modern culture, the image of the disempowered woman is not the happy homemaker but Playboy’s Playmate of the Year.

Speak for Yourself, Then Stop

Do women like to be objectified? I haven’t done a worldwide survey, but my guesses are no. But whether they do or not is beside a major issue many have with Cameron’s statement — a person should never assume that their thoughts and desires are universal.

Had Cameron said that she alone enjoyed being objectified, perhaps she would have lost all credibility and been ridiculed, but her interview wouldn’t have been nearly as controversial. However, in extending her beliefs to every woman; insisting that they are reflective of all women, she entered into new territory. Claiming that every woman secretly hopes to be objectified and encouraging women to think of this desire as healthy is not only brazen but dangerous in a culture where women are still thought of as the lesser gender.

What do you think of Cameron Diaz’s statements? Agree or disagree?

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Women vs. the “Sexy” Woman

kate-upton-GQ In past posts, the phenomenon of competition and hostility among women was discussed. There are many theories on why women seem to dislike and compete with other women, a very popular one being that women are simply born to view other women as competition. Another, as discussed in the book Catfight, is that a competitive atmosphere is created by the gender roles placed on women and the human desire for inclusion.

There is another aspect to the reality of female competition — certain women tend to be excluded and hated more than others. These types of women can have female friends, but often they attract mistrust and ill will by other women. They are what I have dubbed the “Sexy” Woman.

The “Sexy” Woman

The Sexy Woman is a woman who draws attention to her sexuality and sees it one of her more attractive qualities, if not her only attractive quality. She can even be explicit about her desire and ability to draw others — particularly men — to her, with her “assets”. To the Sexy Woman, using what you were born with (or bought) to get ahead in life is no different from using your intelligence, hard work or talent. The Sexy Woman’s looks and body are herself. In other words, she objectifies herself.

As a result, the Sexy Woman is usually very popular with men, in the most basic of ways, and has male friends. With women, she is ignored, at best and notorious, at worst. Given this, she considers men to be more understanding and less hateful than women. She does not go out of her way to be friendly with women, but likes the companionship of men.

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful?

The Battle of Women vs. the Sexy Woman is thought to be the classic tale of women being envious of the most beautiful woman. The Sexy Woman too believes that it is her beautiful face and body that cause women to hate her. Yet the situation is much more complex than mere beauty.

The Sexy Woman can be pretty or even beautiful, but it does not seem to be her appearance that cause women to be suspicious of or dislike her. Other women, who are just as “sexy” and good-looking, are loved and admired by their fellow women, and get along with them well. What separates them from the Sexy Woman is their attitude and presentation. Whereas the Sexy Woman calls attention to her sexuality and wants to be known for her attractiveness, other women are less forward about their looks, and do not view them as their most redeeming asset.

Hate It or Love It, or Hate It

The real question is what makes women so uncomfortable with the openness of the Sexy Woman? Why does her willingness to be objectified make women consider her unworthy of a kind word? Maybe her overt sexuality reminds other women of the pressure placed on them to be sexy and conventionally attractive. Maybe she is just another airhead. Or maybe we’ll never know.

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Gender: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

gender-boyI’ve posted several times on the topic of gender — the social and biological aspects of what determines a man or a woman; the subject is one I’ve been interested in for a long time. Learning more about the topic has made it clear that the origins of gender and sex are not as simple and uncomplicated as some might believe.

There are generally two sides to the nature versus nurture debate of gender. There are those who believe that sex and gender are for the most part, biologically determined and that the two sexes think and act differently, often in opposing ways. This group also tends to believe that gender is fixed and not much changing across cultures and time periods.

On the other side of the debate are the nurture folks who hold that sex –the physical characteristics of a person– may be biological, but gender — the way that sex is shown in the outside world, is socially manufactured. They believe that men and women are taught explicitly and implicitly how to be men and women. This group also tends to believe that most gender stereotypes are false.

Nature via Nurture

Enter a third, smaller but growing group. Those who believe in the nature via nurture origin of gender think that both biological and environmental aspects combine to create what we recognize as men and women — the way they think, act, dress, and even how they look. Many who are partial to the nature via nurture explanation also assert that what is determined by a person’s sex chromosomes and what is determined by environment is not entirely clear and can’t be separated.

My thoughts tend to fall more within this group. Although I may view things differently in the future, I tend to think that nature and nurture both influence gender, possibly to the same extent. This is because most aspects of sex and gender,  when looked at closely, either show both biological and social roots, and the entirety of them points neither to biology or culture, completely:

  • gender-girlWithin gender, there is a range of behavior that spans time periods. Throughout history there have always been women who just weren’t ladylike enough, and men who weren’t tough enough. This suggests some biological roots, but not a binary one of two separate sexes determined by an X or Y chromosome.
  • Traits that have largely been shown to be genetic can vary with surrounding factors. Height, for example, is influenced by environment and nutrition, even if it is inherited. So if gender is biological, this does not rule out culture playing a big role in how gender is shown.
  • Gender stereotyping begins even before a baby is born — male babies are thought to behave one way and female babies another. With such stereotyping early on, it seems nearly impossible to say which behavior is actually biological and which are nurtured through beliefs about gender.
  • Sex hormones have been shown to influence men and women to differ on things such as hearing and verbal fluency. This suggests a strong biological component, but hormonal levels also depend on environment, such as the mother’s surroundings, health, and nutrition.
  • Attempts to raise children in the opposite sex –raising those who were born physically male as girls and children who were born physically female as boys– has turned up mixed results. Which could be taken to mean that both genes and environment ultimately create gender.

These, and more, leads me to believe that sex and gender, like many behavioral and physical traits, is a product of nature and nurture, often working together. Without one or the other, what we know as men and women wouldn’t be quite the same.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of nature and nurture when it comes to gender? And why?

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Are Men More Visual Than Women?

men-visual
It’s one of those things that everybody knows — men are more visual than women. The proof is all around us. Pornography caters to men as their most loyal consumers, some studies show physical attractiveness of their partner is more important to men’s happiness than women’s. The physical just matters to men.

Meanwhile women are more attracted to a man’s personality, such as his sense of humor, and his ability to provide and be a good father to their potential children. Evidence for this is seen in women’s willingness to happily engage in relationships with men who aren’t generally considered the most physically appealing.

But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong, as it has been in the past? What if the idea of men being more visual has little basis in reality, or what if the gender inequalities in visual arousal have their origins in culture and society, not in biology? When looked at critically, there are several reasons why the commonly accepted idea that men are innately more visual should be questioned:

1. There is greater social acceptance and encouragement for men to value physical appearance

Historically women needed to value more than a man’s appearance. Since they couldn’t have jobs that would sustain themselves and any family they would have, women had to look to a man’s financial ability and ability as a father when choosing a mate. Men who were more financially stable could focus on other qualities in a potential mate, such as their physical appearance.

Nowadays women have more career opportunities. But differences in society’s appraisal of the genders remain — men are still expected to be able to provide financially for their wives and family. And women are still expected to be pretty enough to secure a marriage with the most financially able man.

2. Some studies challenge the idea that men are more visual

Most studies that gain popularity reinforce conventional wisdom. Thus there are easily found studies which support the idea that men are more visually stimulated than women are. Much rarely discussed are the studies which conflict with this notion.

One of the more recent studies on gender and visual stimulation found that women are as visually responsive as men are. In the study, the brains of female participants showed as much activity as the male participants when shown sexually erotic images. Researchers responded that although men might personally rate sexual images higher than women do, there was no difference in their brain activity when viewing them.

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What’s Wrong With PUA?

pick-up-artists

A short while ago I published a post about PUA, short for Pick-Up Artists, a male seduction community, and my personal experience with a PUA. Since then I’ve received comments and emails on a regular basis which question, or more often, disagree with, my position that PUA is not only manipulative but pathetic.

I’ve responded to most of these comments and questions, but they continue to come in. Some are confused and some simply want further explanation but all wonder the same thing — what’s wrong with PUA? So in the sake of brevity, I’ll detail here why I dislike and disagree with PUA and its methods:

1. PUA is based on manipulation

Pick-Up Artists techniques are pure manipulation: they are designed to coerce women into thinking and doing what they otherwise wouldn’t. PUA techniques are mind games which attempt to overturn the unfair advantage that PUAs believe women have in dating and turn it into an unfair advantage for men.

Some may counter that all forms of courting and dating involve manipulation. However, PUA methods are willful and conscious manipulations — power-play with clear-cut “winners” and “losers”, not simply ways to make oneself more attractive to women. Natural mating rarely involves the same level of deceit.

2. PUA is objectifying

While the male Pick-Up Artist feels more attractive and empowered by his ability to secure his “target”, the target of his manipulations is dehumanized. PUA is also known as “The Game” because PUAs treat their methods and the women they target as nothing more than a game to be won at all costs.

This can be seen in PUA lingo such as “Bait, Hook, Reel, Release” and “Compliance Threshold”, a measure of a woman’s willingness to go along with the PUA’s plans of sexual activity. PUAs don’t see women as humans like them, but pawns in their chess game of ego gratification.

3. PUA is sexist and misogynist

In case it’s not apparent at this point, any dating method founded on the belief that women are difficult to deal and confused, and must be manipulated into agreeing with what they “really” want, is sexist.

Any dating methods which are based on making a woman feel insecure and question her principles is misogynist. And any so-called seduction which refers to women as “targets”, at best, and “bitches” to be broken down, at worst, is misogynist. There is just no way around that.

4.  PUA is about ego and selfishness

Pick-Up Artists claim and try to convince themselves that their techniques are about attaining a mutually beneficial relationship. Yet it is clear by the amount of manipulation and objectification involved that the well-being of women is not a priority. And the self-esteem and satisfaction of male PUAs is a priority, if not the only one.

In other words, if PUA methods were so obviously beneficial to all involved, then why would they require so much trickery?

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The Elusive Male-Female Friendship

man-woman-friendshipUnfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, most friendships are between members of the same gender — males or females. Cross-gender friendships, those between a woman and a man, are comparatively rarer and becomes even rarer as people move from childhood to adulthood. Why is this the case? Can men and women ever truly be friends? The rarity of the male-female friendship has been a subject of discussion and research throughout time.

Several theories have been made as to why men and women can never just be friends. Some researchers contend that it all comes down to biology: both men and women are made to seek out partners and sexual relationships. Unless other factors intervene, a man and a woman will always initially see each other as potential partners.

Other interpersonal relationship researchers believe that the most important factor is not biology, but gender role expectations. When a man and a woman of similar demographic meet for the first time, their first perceptions of each other is in terms of attraction. Because they are aware of their gender and their relation to the opposite sex, their initial response and interaction is concerned with their attraction to the other person and the other person’s attraction to them.

According to this view, people largely learn how to react to the opposite sex, and in most societies men and women tend to be seen as (potential) romantic partners. So in meeting each other, gender awareness and cultural expectations don’t allow men and women to forget the potential for romantic involvement. As a result they either pursue each other romantically, or not at all.

Gender-Bending

One type of male-female friendship is more common than others, and that is one where one member shows traits of the opposite gender — the effeminate man or the tomboy. Interpersonal researchers claim that the gender-bending of the woman or man in the friendship allows their friend to view them not a romantic partner, but more like themselves. Thus this friendship is either more like a friendship between two women or two men.

Outside Factors

Besides the main theories, there are many other factors that keep men and women from forming friendships. Current relationships, activities, and work prevent men and women from meeting in a platonic setting.

If either a man or woman is currently involved with someone else, they are more hesitant to take up a friend of the opposite sex for fear that their partner will disapprove. In addition, men and women still take part in different activities and career which cut down on the potential meetings.

Do you have a close friend of the opposite gender? Do you believe men and women can or can not be friends and why?

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Male Friendship vs. Female Friendship

male-friendship

Are female friendships closer and more personal than male friendships?

One contradiction exists in popular gender stereotypes of friendship, one that most probably don’t realize. Female friendships are thought to be less sincere, less stable, and more superficial than male friendships. Women are seen as being in nearly constant competition with each other and disloyal to women they call friends.

At the same time, friendships between women are believed to be more revealing, intimate, and personal than those between men. But how can something be both superficial and deep, intimate and insincere? Are female friendships “better” overall for these reasons, or inferior for the same reasons?

Despite what many may think, friendships between men and women haven’t been found to be very different. Men and women engage in friendships for similar reasons and claim to achieve similar goals with friendships. The differences between the two types of friendships are superficial and usually a matter of appearance and style.

Although friendships between the genders are essentially the same, certain qualities typically characterize each form of friendship. That is, male friendships tend to include the following:

  • Team membership — men see their friendships as physically doing things together and requiring some personal sacrifice for the betterment of the friendship.
  • Jokes, insults, and verbal and physical aggression
  • “Locker room talk” — curse words, dirty stories, teasing, and more verbal aggression
  • A group of friends; three or more close friends not simply two

Female friendships, in contrast, are usually characterized by many of the following:

  • female-friendshipPhysical closeness — non-aggressive physical contact such as hugging and sitting close together
  • One-on-one communication; female friendships more typically include just two close friends
  • Openness and verbal expression of emotions, personal thoughts, and opinions
  • A sense of attachment; female friends are more likely to perceive their friendships as personal and intense

Female friendships are thought to be closer because women share their deepest feelings and engage in extended one-on-one communication more often. But male friendships are seen as more stable because men view their friendship as a team and thus work together to keep the relationship afloat.

It’s likely that whether you believe male friendships or female friendships are of a higher quality depends on your expectations and values in an interpersonal relationship.

How are your same gender friendships? How do you think gender affects friendships in general?

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