Filed under: issues, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:16 am
Really, New York Times? The Gray Lady is at it again, telling women — in a dippy, unmoored “trend” piece — that you can be successful in work. Or love. Not both. See, because successful women scare the men away. That’s the price we pay, ladies, for liberation. “Is female empowerment killing romance?” asks the article, in a sentence so backlashtastic it’s not easy to cut and paste on a full stomach. I don’t know, I thought when female empowerment brought us the freedom to date and marry for love, not to mention use the Pill (speaking of which, must read this), that was kind of romantic. There’s so much else to eviscerate in this piece that I’m not even sure where to start, other than to say that when I opened the page and started reading, I literally had to scroll back up to the top to see if someone had accidentally sent me a link from 1997. Or 1957. Or — whatever.
Look, I’m sure there are men who are put off by “successful” — “ambitious,” “strong” etc. — women. I’m sure there have always been men like that. Even since before women were “liberated.” So, um, maybe that’s their problem? And even, even to the degree that men, en masse, are scared by female success, again: THEIR PROBLEM. Why is always women who have to dial it down? What’s more, the suggestion that so many menz are SO SCARED of SCARY SCARY WOMEN is ridonkulously insulting to men, too.
And then there’s this advice, annotated by BG in brackets:
Leave the snazzy company car at home on the first date [because MEN HATE SNAZZY CARS]; find your life partner in your 20s, rather than your 30s, before you’ve become too successful [show of hands: who in her 30s wishes they'd married that guy from their 20s?] [also, by the logic herein, that guy from your 20s will dump you when you become "too successful"]. And go after men who draw their confidence from sources other than money, like academics and artists [avoiding people who draw their confidence from money is sound advice for anyone; however -- oh, for God's sake, this is just silly].
The article does showcase some excellent boyfriends (who appear to be European. COINCIDENCE?!). See:
Ms. Kiechel in Paris says her boyfriend actively encourages her career and brags to friends how intelligent and hard-working she is. Ms. Haag and Ms. Domscheit-Berg both earn more than their husbands and report that their men actually enjoy watching the waiter’s reaction when they say their wife will pick up the tab.
That’s great and all, but it’s kind of like saying “How nice that your husband HELPS OUT with the baby!” The above attitudes should be a given, not a plus. And I know they are held by far more men than this article gives credit to. The day we’ve really achieved — or at least driven our snazzy cars closer to — liberation is the day we start to see articles telling the fellas that if they’re scared of successful women, they’re just gonna have to man up.
Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:19 am
It’s sort of a “spa day” in hell: a new store in a Chinese mall where women — only women — can go to vent their rage by literally picking up a bat and breaking sh*t. Apparently their frustrations are mainly job[lessness] and economy-related, but of course we can imagine (though perhaps not support) the grand opening of their sister store, Break Your Ex’s Sh*t. I do have some questions, though:
1. Where are the men, going, then? (Naive, probably: I’m guessing that women have fewer societally-sanctioned alternatives for letting all hella loose.)
2. Do we have such places here? According to the comments at Jezebel (h/t for the story), the answer is yes.
3. If you were to open such a place of business, what would you stock it with and why?
Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:33 am
A study at Wake Forest University of more than 1000 unmarried young adults ages 18-23 has found that the emotional roller coaster of romance has an even greater effect on the mental health of men than of women. “Surprisingly, we found young men are more reactive to the quality of ongoing relationships,” said sociology prof Robin Simon, who found that men experience both greater stress when things are rocky and greater “emotional benefits” when things are rocking.
“Surprising?” Maybe, but only against strong, silent stereotype. For one thing (as Simon notes), men are more likely to rely on their galpals as their primary source of intimacy; gals, meanwhile, have their own galpals.
Simon also notes that (paraphrase) “strain in a current romantic relationship may also be associated with poor emotional well-being because it threatens young men’s identity and feelings of self-worth.” While men are more affected by the quality of an existing relationship, women are more affected by whether they’re in a relationship or not. From a summary: “So, young women are more likely to experience depression when the relationship ends or benefit more by simply being in a relationship.”
What this says to BG:
1. These results jibe with the letters we get/got.
2. Chicken vs. egg/nature vs. nurture? These results might do away with some stereotypes, but to what degree are the findings caused by stereotypes — or at least cultural assumptions, proclivities, etc. — to begin with? That is:
(a) women are “supposed” to be the emotional CEOs of relationships; are young men not raised with the same tools to manage them?
(b) Women, arguably more than men, get the message that they’re “supposed” to be in a relationship, no matter what; this, at least as much as internal factors, could explain why the study found breakups leaving women more bereft. (This also explains a lot of this.)
All of the above speaks to BG’s emphatically co-ed mission. Even though men represent 5o% of the partners in straight relationships, romance is — still — usually considered WomensStuff ™. That’s dumb. Men — obviously — have questions, not to mention feelings. Let’s work all this stuff out together, according to what we need, not what we’re “supposed” to want or have. K?
Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:06 am
Some smart observations from Echidne on the study we were annoyed by* a few days ago:
The study defines dating as a traditional male-initiated process: The man invites the woman, he picks her up, he treats her, he takes her back home. He can ask for sex and she can refuse it. Hooking-up, on the other hand, is defined as a fairly egalitarian process about necking or kissing or intercourse or whatever. Either party can initiate it.
Note that there is no third alternative, such as some kind of egalitarian dating with going Dutch. It’s important to keep that in mind in evaluating the study findings. We have no idea how the study participants would have ranked egalitarian dating.
4. The checklists of items the study used (for the subjects to agree or disagree about) were not identical for men and women. An example about the possible benefits of traditional dating:
For the benefits of traditional dating, we listed 36 possible benefits for men and 34 possible benefits for women. Twenty-seven of these benefits were identical for both genders (e.g., “Traditional dating is romantic”), with the remaining possible benefits gender specific (e.g., for men, “You can ask anyone you are interested in on a date”; for women, “You have the power to reject a date”).
Similar gender differences were applied to the checklist covering the possible risks of traditional dating. The checklists for the benefits of hooking-up were identical for both sexes but the checklists for the risks of hooking-up were not:
Two items were gender specific. (”Risk getting pregnant” vs. “Risk of getting partner pregnant” and “Can get a bad reputation for being ‘easy’ or a whore” vs. “Can get a bad reputation of using women”).
Why would such differences matter if they are not about the questions discussed in the above summary? Because the overall experience might affect the answers one gives. For instance, men get reminded about their responsibility in the concept of traditional dating this study used, and that reminder is different from the reminders women get.
That’s why my point about the two choices is an important one. The study did not ask how students would have felt about egalitarian dating.
*In that post, by the way, I should have specified that by “traditional dating” I didn’t mean boy-always-takes-lead dating; I just meant going-on-DATES-dating.
Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:32 am
A new study at James Madison University (based on a limited sample) suggests that “more women than men continue to prefer dating whereas more men than women rate hooking up above dating.” At least that’s the way Science Daily describes it. And that’s not wrong in terms of the study, but how come it takes a whole bunch more paragraphs to get to this part? “Overall, both genders showed a preference for traditional dating over hooking up…On the whole, men and women agreed on the benefits and risks of dating and hooking up.* It’s not that gender differences are never interesting, or worthwhile to note. But maybe if we paid more attention to what we actually — demonstrably — have in common, there’d be, well, even more traditional dating.
What we learned from watching the Super Bowl: women are frigid, scoldy bitches, unless you drink beer. What we learn from most media analysis of studies of women’s (waning?) libido is often — if less uncreative and nasty — equally reductive.
How refreshing, then, to read, in yesterday’s Washington Post, about Daphne Miller, M.D.’s thoughtful consideration — and successful treatment — of her 47-year-old patient’s complaint of waning desire. Her point, however, is not her success; it’s that when it comes to finding a “cure” for stalled libido (exercise? counseling? drugs?) one woman’s mrrrrrrow! is another’s meh. Dr. Miller writes: “A woman’s sexual experience depends on a complex interplay of her neuroendocrine system, her multiple sex organs and any number of social circumstances, and it stands to reason that there might be many places where the process can go awry.” In other words: women are complex! Also, a unicorn! Brava.
Bonus quote from Rosemary Basson, director of the Sexual Medicine Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “Look,” she explained to Miller, “if there was a drug that was so potent that it could overcome all misgivings we have about ourselves, our sexual image, our uncertainty about our sexual partners, the kids banging at our bedroom door, you could not make it legal. It would be slipped into drinks. What are people looking for?”
Author (and FOBG) Lori Gottlieb appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss her — to me, bizarrely — inflammatory book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, which basically urges women to be picky about the important stuff (kindness) and not picky about the not-important stuff (height), and which Lemondrop summarizes rather equitably here. What it’s left in its wake is a lot of women feeling very rankled and defensive about being told they should “settle,” which is not really what Lori is saying. That said, I understand the defensiveness. Women, rightly, do not like to hear, which they often do, over and over, that they are “too picky.” (Yes, picky. About the person you are going to spend your life with. Urr?) Not that there aren’t women (and men) who are indeed “too picky.” But to be told that, or to get that message from our culture, which single women do, over and over, can be insulting, dismissive, unsympathetic. For one thing among many, it puts the dating onus squarely and only on the woman, whereas it’s not like every still-single woman is surrounded by terrific uncomplicated men on bended knee, just waiting for her to get over her thing about bowties or “no lawyers” or whatever. Women who have gone on a million dates with and given a million chances to a million perfectly nice guys who for whatever legitimate reason leave them lukewarm do not want to hear that they are “just being picky.” They are tired. They are trying. Go away. That’s part of my theory, anyway, for why Lori’s message, fairly or not, has left so many women so totally steamed.
I also wonder this: to the degree that men are paying attention to this tempest in a coffee-date, how does this message make you feel? If I may render it in the shorthand of stereotype, it’s basically “give the short bald poor guy a chance.” Do you feel that Lori’s advice, for those who follow it, could spell triumph for the common man? Let us know in comments!
The first press release we got from LeaseTrader.com was mostly just puzzling. The next couple were forgettable, reaching so far for a hook that we’re sure someone injured a rotator cuff. But this one? Notable. Here’s what a fellow recipient had to say about it in an email to BG: “This is a fascinating press release about the many men who face intense pressures from marriage-hungry girls who force them to either change their Facebook status, step up the relationship, or propose on Valentine’s Day, all of which apparently leads to a terrible next-day hangover in which they must give up their sports cars because sports cars are incompatible with the emasculation of commitment to women, and also because there is no room for Ken’s sports car — only the Glamour Camper — in the garage at the BarbieDream House in 1982, which is the only place where the universe depicted in this press release exists.” Behold:
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is a big date night, but nobody talks about what many men face the day after. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, this year the day after could provide one heck of a case of the Mondays. Our company (LeaseTrader.com) was needed to help one guy get rid of his sports car after he and his new fiancée had “the talk,” which got us thinking of other situations men face after Valentine’s Day.
*First Date* – Having your first date on Valentine’s Day is already filled with enough anxiety. The next day some men will face the inevitable talk to change their Facebook status. Men used to worry about the blackbook but now it’s all about the Facebook.
*Next Step* – If you’re already in an exclusive relationship on Valentine’s Day expect the “when are we going to finally live together” talk which means it’s time to take that next step. Her talk with you will include changing the décor of your home or commenting on why you’re still driving that ridiculous sports car?
*Engagement *– Every man who proposes to his girlfriend wants the day to be unforgettable for her. For many men this means a Valentine’s Day proposal. Believe it or not, LeaseTrader.com has helped many men ditch the sports car when their brand new fiancées quickly remind them they’ll now be a family man.
Can men and women be friends? Ah, a question for the ages: one that men and women have wrestled with and debated until TOTALLY JUMPING EACH OTHER’S BONES. I kid. In fact, I have always been a firm believer that those of opposing genders should have no issue getting beyond those barriers — people are people, after all. Why should gender have such a big impact on who we hold near and dear?
Well, yeah, OK, I guess isn’t always that simple. Erin Scottberg at Lemondrop doesn’t think so either. Yes, she says, it is perfectly normal and possible for men and women to maintain friendships. But as we orbit around the sun, each year adds an extra challenge to bringing new opposite-sex friends into the mix.
According to Erin, there are two basic guy-friend categories. The seriously dear pal who you’re Just Not Into (otherwise known as Boy BFF, or BBFF), and the seriously dear pal whom you’ve hooked up with but it’s so not a thing. (No, really.) But!
“Now that I’m older,” she writes, “it seems that — unless the men in your life have been grandfathered into your post-college world — these two categories no longer exist. From a guy’s point of view, every stranger is either a potential screw … or nothing. But the thing is, as a single lady, when I meet a guy who I think is cool, but I’m not physically attracted to, I want to be his Just Friend.
I’ve discussed this with friends and think maybe my recent platonic dry spell comes down to geography. People who live their adult lives near where they grew up or attended college have plenty of friends, male and female, and are set with their circle. They don’t need anyone new. As one friend said, “When a guy tells me he wants to be just friends, I think ‘You’re in your late 20s. Don’t you already have enough?’” But when you’re new to a city, the answer to that question is usually, “No.”
Or maybe it’s just that as we get older, relationships get more serious, and, sadly, a good friend of the opposite sex is almost always a threat — while your high school BBFF’s girlfriend may realize you’ve “been around forever,” the girlfriends of newer BBFFs might not be so understanding.
I have been in both situations. I have two very close male companions (we eloquently describe ourselves as “The Holy Trinity”). I’ve known them since the ripe old age of eleven and have been close as could be with them ever since. One I dated briefly in my youth in that “aw it’s so cute they just kissed” sort of way, but we always fell into that category of being ‘Just Friends’. The other has since gotten married and as a side note, his wife and I get along swimmingly. Gender has never been a barrier here.
In fact, I’d have to say that a vast majority of my friends are men. Some I have know for what seems like forever and some I met just a short while ago. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes it REALLY works. Ya see, the boy who I was “best friends” with turned out to be the love of my life. Does it prove the “When Harry Met Sally” theory? Not really. If that were the case I’d probably be a bigamist.
As a woman working in the video game industry about 95% of my coworkers are men. I’m sure one or two may have had more than friendly feelings for me, she says modestly, but for the most part gender has never had a role in how we communicate. I think most friendships are rooted in common ground, and if you can relate to this person (male or female), everything else becomes less of an issue. Does it become more challenging? Yeah. But then again, everything gets harder as we get older standing up, seeing small print, etc.). I think making new friends as we get older is complicated enough on its own without throwing male and female parts into the mix.
Can we be friends? Well, I hope so. It’s lovely to meet you.