Ok, so proving today that even the intelligenterati can fail, and fail hard, is Stephen Fry, who apparently feels sorry for straight men, "because women only want sex in order to have a relationship."

*headdesk*

I shan't bother heaping on the sarcasm, because [personal profile] gominokouhai has already done that far better than I could.

What I'd like to dwell on for a bit is the odd bit of straight male angst that Fry has managed to latch onto. "I think most straight men feel they disgust women", he says, "They find it difficult to believe that women are as interested in sex as they are."

Now this is interesting because it rings very true; I think a lot of (especially young) straight men feel ugly and unloveable, and often end up concluding that women aren't interested in sex per se, but rather in 'hooking a man' — rich and powerful, natch.

But the rest of the sentence is cringeworthy. "For good reason", Fry continues. "If women liked sex as much as men there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas."

This is perhaps the most bizarre aspect of his quotes. Despite years of work on gay rights, on promoting the idea that gay people are just as decent and well-balanced as straight people, Fry ends up perpetuating the same myth that gay people are inherently more promiscuous, more sex crazy, than straight people. And myth it is.

Where's the disconnect?

As a single straight man, sometimes I did envy my gay friends. And, yes, maybe pulling as a gay man is easier and more straightforward than as a straight man. But not because women aren't interested in sex. It's because our society forbids women from taking the initiative, and forces that responsibility on men. Obviously a thousand feminists have pointed out the negative impact this has on women, and obviously they're right, but that doesn't mean that the situation is all roses for men either. I'm not sure any female readers can understand what it's like to feel unattractive, lonely, in need of affection, and have to go out in that state and open yourself up, because companionsip is not going to come to you.

It's doubly awful if you're socially awkward and naturally self-doubting — and perhaps Fry can sort of empathise with that. And it's triply awful if you feel that your efforts to pick up women are somehow demeaning to them — that by chatting them up you are sexualising them without their permission, that every action that your sexual desire demands that you take is anathema to all feminist principles.

In comparison, the gay scene, as Fry describes it, does sound on the surface pretty ideal. No stupid rules about one group of people not being allowed to make the first move — if you want sex there are places you can go to get sex, because sometimes a quick shag is really what you want. And if you want possibly more than sex, then you can dress up nice and go to a gay bar and pull or wait to be pulled.

But then I'm not gay, and despite Fry's comments on how great it is, I have a nagging doubt that the gay scene is really all that either. Because people are people, and shallow whatever their sexuality, and at the end of the day, being a plain, awkward gay man is probably not much easier than being a plain, awkward straight man.

Another one via [livejournal.com profile] calcinations:

Parents across the UK are understandably being made anxious by news reports today suggesting:

Rise in 11 year olds on the pill (Sunday Times)
One thousand girls on Pill at 11: Huge rise in contraceptive prescription for pre-teens without parents knowing (Daily Mail)
Huge rise in 11-year-olds on the pill (Telegraph)

[...]

Despite the media hype there are many medical reasons why young girls might be prescribed hormonal contraceptives [...] Unfortunately the data from the GPRD does not break down reasons for prescribing hormonal contraception to young women, so we cannot conclude precisely why they are using it. This hasn’t stopped media speculation it’s primarily for pregnancy prevention, wrongly suggesting all young girls on the pill are sexually active lolitas.

11 years old, on the pill and sexually active? The media loses the news again, Dr Petra Boynton, 2 Aug 2010, drpetra.co.uk

spudtater: (Default)
( Jan. 27th, 2010 01:02 pm)

Monday's word-of-the-day calendar informed me about Nellie Bly, 19th century investigative journalist extraordinaire.

Wiki extracts )

Why have I not heard of this awesomeness before?


This morning's news included the story of a report on the question: "should people in troubled relationships stay together for the sake of the children?". To which the answer turned out to be: "No". Or, more specifically, "unhappiness in children is more likely to be influenced by conflict in their family than the family's structure"

Thank you. You'd have thought that would be bleedin' obvious, but apparently not, as they then interviewed some fucking Tory who went on to explain how this survey, comprehensive and unbiased though it might be, contradicted the beliefs and policies of the Conservative party and was therefore, obviously, wrong.

I may be paraphrasing there. But only a little.

My personal feelings are that the increase in divorce levels are consequences of nothing more complex than the fact that more women are able to support themselves, giving them an increased chance of being able to escape unhappy or abusive relationships. But this would contradict that rose-tinted image of 1950's household nirvana that is so bloody pervasive in this country, wouldn't it?

spudtater: (Default)
( Jan. 22nd, 2010 02:37 pm)
I'm a bit ambivalent about this story, looked at from a feminism standpoint. Is it an laudable example of an empowered woman turning the tables and showing sexual assertiveness over a man? Or a shocking example of disrespect for the body of a member of the opposite sex, of the sort that would absolutely not be tolerated were genders reversed?

Or am I overanalysing things, and is it just something stupid happening to an equally stupid slebrity?

8^P
.

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