Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Book Discussion & Recommendation > Feminism and Romance Novels

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message 1: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (last edited Feb 19, 2012 11:13AM) (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Came across this very interesting article about how BIG the romance genre is and yet how un-respected.
http://www.theawl.com/2012/02/romance...

One of the reasons I started this Vaginal Fantasy thing was to illuminate (in a humorous way) a highly underrepresented genre, so this was a pretty cool read for me. Interesting that this article focuses on the older romance, with more "regular person" and "mundane" plots, and in our time what's popular (and what I love) is either SF/Fantasy or Historical mixed with romance.

Thoughts? And is this the longest blog entry you've ever read, because it might be for me, haha.


message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina Bentley (cbentley) I didn't realize the historical fiction books I was reading in my teens were considered part of the romance genre. I've always thought of romance books (ie. Harlequin type books) as girl-porn, and would never dream of buying one in paperback because of the horrible titles and cover art. I wonder how much of the increase in sales is attributable to the e-book hiding the cover art?

I realize most stories follow a similar plot line, but what makes a story really suck you in is the style of the writer and how much you connect to the characters. A great book can be a huge time sink (and money pit depending on how many volumes a series comprises). Maybe romance novels satisfy a desire for a quick and easy read without getting too involved in the plot. It's no wonder they are booming in this era of instant access and connectivity. Who wants to read a monster piece of literature when you're used to reading short tweets and FB posts?

I think it's funny that Maria's article says men don't usually read romance. My father in law introduced me to urban romance books! I have NOT worked up the courage to tell him that the genre is now called 'Vaginal Fantasy'. lol


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura | 111 comments While reading this artical I got the overal thoughts - Well, men have porno magazines and woman have romance novels. Haha.. Both magazine and books can be raunchy but just in different styles. Ones that both seem to suit eachothers interest..Both also have a 'feeling' of being cheesy, shunned by the general public to a certain extent.


message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (thebookishginger) | 25 comments I love some good romance, but I don't really buy Harlequins and the sort in the bookstore.. I'm too embarassed I guess? But I will buy pretty much any other type of book, whether it be childish or whatever..

My dad actually gave me my first real romance novels when I was in Highschool, lol. Someone had given hima big box of books, and he told me to look and see if there was anything I wanted. This is when I was introduced to Catherine Coulter, I love her historical romances!

I have to agree though, most people scoff at it, but everyone enjoys it! Besides, my husband isn't very romantic, so I need to live it in my imagination!


message 5: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Lais wrote: "Felicia, your comment about “our time” really got me thinking about the evolution of the romantic genre. I was first exposed to romance novels of the light Harlequin, Silhouette, Avon variety in mi..."
These are great thoughts on how far the genre has come from the nurse stuff! Definitely we'll touch on your thoughts for the hangout next week.


message 6: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (keltx) | 11 comments I was interested by the part about the one male writer who wrote under his wife's name because I've wondered about the male perspective in writing love scenes.

I'm new to the vaginal fantasy/sci-fi/horror genre, but have been reading romance for a long time. Last year, I started moving into paranormal romance and urban fantasy books but still they were by female authors. Throughout, I wondered if a man wrote a (detailed) love scene in a male POV what would that look like and are they even out there. Finally, I got my wish when Jim Butcher did that sexy scene between Dresden and Susan in book three, I think. Maybe his wife helped him out scripting it, but I really thought it might be the first good look I've seen into a man's thoughts and feelings during sex. So being a noob in this area, does anyone know of other books that a male viewpoint love scene from a male author?


message 7: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Kelley wrote: "I was interested by the part about the one male writer who wrote under his wife's name because I've wondered about the male perspective in writing love scenes.

I'm new to the vaginal fantasy/sci-f..."

Wow this is a great questions, I wanna know the answer to it, and discuss it in the hangout next week!


Jean ~ Kindle Queen (jkat9) Kelley wrote: "I was interested by the part about the one male writer who wrote under his wife's name because I've wondered about the male perspective in writing love scenes.

I'm new to the vaginal fantasy/sci-f..."


I believe there were a few love scenes in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) by Kevin Hearne is the first book. But I don't think they were detailed scenes. I'm drawing a blank on any other ones. Oh! Ilona Andrews is actually a husband-and-wife team. They write the Kate Daniels series (urban fantasy) and The Edge series (paranormal romance). Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews On the Edge (The Edge, #1) by Ilona Andrews There are definitely more detailed love scenes in The Edge series. I wonder if they write those scenes together or how that even works...


message 9: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (keltx) | 11 comments Jean, thanks for the recommendations. I have read the Kate Daniels series and now I'll have to read the Edge too. I know that Gordon writes all the Curran POV novellas, so I am curious how involved he is in the books. But as you said, there isn't much nookie in that series.

Lais, great job on the research! Thanks for so thoroughly crushing my dreams. ;) Did you find any of the gay male romances with actual male authors, or were they just male pen names?


message 10: by Karo (new)

Karo | 38 comments Ilona wrote: "Kelley wrote to me, linked here

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide a thought-provoking author's perspective!


message 11: by Kelley (last edited Feb 24, 2012 06:44PM) (new)

Kelley (keltx) | 11 comments Thanks Ilona for sharing with us and for going above and beyond by asking Gordon for a Curran scene.

Your explanation reminds me of the Friends episode when Ross and Rachael have their first date kiss. Rachael goes on and on about what lead up to it, how it felt, and that he was a face holder. (Cue the female sighs.) Flash to Ross who only says, "We kissed", and then Joey asks, "Did you use tongue?" Ross confirms and they high five.

Maybe you're right, I don't think I want to read the male POV after all.


message 12: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Ilona wrote: "Kelley wrote to me, linked here, and said, "...In a Goodreads discussion group, the topic came up that male authored romance books (few as they are), are still from a female POV and basically that ..."

I love that you came over here Ilona, I"M A HUGE FAN and thank you for a really awesome perspective on this. I want to include this in this month's discussion for sure!


message 13: by Jean ~ Kindle Queen (last edited Feb 24, 2012 06:59PM) (new)

Jean ~ Kindle Queen (jkat9) Yay! We heard from Ilona. Awesome! (I'm actually a little giddy.) She definitely made some great points.

Kelley - I remember that Friends episode. So funny! I have a theory that the answers to all of life's problems can be found by watching 80's sitcoms and Friends. : )


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wynde (wyndes) I love this question. It's totally making me think. The first sex scene I ever wrote was male POV but totally female fantasy. It was quirky, but a few people have told me it's their favorite fan fiction ever, so there's something right about it. (Eureka fan fiction, but I won't bother with a link, if you're curious it's not hard to find. Eureka's not a huge fandom, alas.) Then in my first book, I only wrote one real sex scene and again, it's male POV. But I have no idea why! I didn't think about it at all, I just felt like it'd be more fun from his point-of-view. I think it had to do with the element of surprise. My heroine was the initiator, so he's sort of the one going through the whole thing with an OMG attitude. Again, though, at least a couple reviewers have mentioned loving the sex scene, so maybe there's some element of fulfilling female fantasy by using the male point of view during sex? Except I can't really ask people why they liked it, and maybe they just liked the physics. (It's rather a geeky sex scene--my heroine's a physicist, so she explains the virtues of friction and oscillation and resonant frequencies. Yeah, it's weird.) I'm going to have to pay more attention to this, though, and it's definitely given me something to think about!


message 15: by Heather (last edited Feb 26, 2012 10:03AM) (new)

Heather (tornadox) | 20 comments Lais wrote: "The establishment of the RWA was a bold step to legitimize the genre, and the leading females no longer had to be naïve, simpering, love starved nurses, teachers, or librarians. (Although sexy librarian=purrrrrrr in my book)"

Awful Library Books has begun showcasing these modern romances starring librarians.


message 16: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Lais wrote: "Heather wrote: "Lais wrote: "The establishment of the RWA was a bold step to legitimize the genre, and the leading females no longer had to be naïve, simpering, love starved nurses, teachers, or li..."
This is the best thing I've seen in a while. OMG!


message 17: by Dan (last edited Feb 26, 2012 09:31PM) (new)

Dan | 25 comments From Ilana, Message 14: "This isn't sexism, but just simple biology: men can achieve orgasm far easier than women. Basically, 99% of the time they will have fun no matter what, unless something goes really wrong."

From Lais, Message 17: "Men are just not geared to romantacize sex in the way women do. That's not saying that men aren't romantic, just that romance and sex are two different nebulously related things entirely to men while they are almost always entertwined for women."

Speaking as a guy, I think that Ilona makes a very good point about guys and sex. A guy is pretty much guaranteed a good time during sex, orgasm is not hard for us (heh, phrasing). I must respectfully disagree with Lais's suggestion of separation of the sex and romance with regards to men. Guys, as much as they are socialized to be casual about sex, absolutely equate romance with sex and the romantic ideal. At least I do.

If I were to write a romantic sex scene from the perspective of a man it would be in the manner of a man giving a gift of pleasure to the woman. After all, as suggested above, the physical aspect of men and sex is fairly straight forward and easy. So it is in the act of giving the act of pleasing that man can derive a greater, more romantic enjoyment. The selfish side of men and sex can be achieved pretty simply, but the selfless, romantic side, where the man makes love to the woman, is something a man would work at and something a man would aspire to. The romantic sex scene from a male perspective could be an act of worship (though not necessarily submission), the struggles of an artist or a consensual co-operation to bring pleasure to everyone in the room. I, for one enjoy, the female body and touching the female body. I find women to be erotic outside of the lead up to climax and enjoy just being with them. I think that is how you need to write a good male perspective sex scene. As a man who enjoys women as more than just a vehicle for release.

Thoughts?


message 18: by Bettie (new)

Bettie (bettiesharpe) | 1 comments Hi, I'm new here. Great article, interesting discussion. I consider myself a feminist and I read and write fantasy and sci-fi romance. One of the big things that appeals to me about the genre is that the authors, agents, editors and readers are mostly female. There's a great online community of writers and readers.

My single mom read Harlequins (Mills & Boon) when I was a kid. She'd work a hard day programming multi-million-dollar computer systems, and come home, kick off her shoes, and read a Harlequin novel about some virginal nurse in New Zealand falling in love with a doctor. She read to relax, and what's more relaxing than a story that you know will have a happy ending?

I like how the author of the article points out that romance is expressly written to entertain the reader. Really, so is all genre fiction. I've never been a believer in the "Books as broccoli" school that says people should only read books that are "good" for them. I'm for the Sullivan's Travels philosophy: Life is hard, and it's good to give people stories they enjoy. Personally, I like my stories fantastical, and filled with action, adventure, and a bit of romance. But, to each her or his own.

Happy reading, all.

P.S. OMG Ilona Andrews commented. Her books are some of my favorites!


message 19: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (keltx) | 11 comments Dan wrote: "From Ilana, Message 14: "This isn't sexism, but just simple biology: men can achieve orgasm far easier than women. Basically, 99% of the time they will have fun no matter what, unless something goe..."

Dan, you had me at worship. Write that scene and I will read the crap out of it.

So, I know there are guys out there who are amazingly confident in bed. This sounds like exactly who you described and they are used as the basis for the heroes women currently read about in novels. But I think most women would agree that those men have the same population density as supermodels. (I hope I'm wrong.)

I totally agree with you on the romantic part. I think all men want to be romantic, but I fear the translation gets lost in the execution. Ilona has it exactly right when she says that women want security in knowing we will be pleasured without harm and cherished regardless of flaw. (I hope you don't mind my paraphrasing) In trying to fulfill our wants, men tend to get stuck in their own head. Whether it's spelling out the alphabet with their tongue or spacing out so they will last, the pressure to perform can take the romance right out of it.


message 20: by Dan (last edited Feb 27, 2012 11:15AM) (new)

Dan | 25 comments Hi Lais,

First of all, no worries, I am not at all offended. I'm here for the fun of the discussion and hope I can provide an interesting point of view as a heterosexual man who enjoys romance novels, not to mention sci-fi and fantasy. (don't tell the other men though, I'm on a hit list.)I personally believe the world would be a boring place if everyone always agreed with me. Even though, obviously, I'm always right. :)

It's sort of interesting for me to deconstruct male heterosexual sexuality. The more I think about it the more I think maybe Lais has a point. For guys the effort to achieve basic physical fulfillment is pretty simple. But complex fulfillment which include emotions and other mess stuff is just so much better.

I suppose I think of it in terms of long term versus short term gain. If a guy is hungry, he can order a pizza and get a tasty meal. Short term gain. But, if he goes out and buys a shark steak, learns how to cook it, get the right seasoning and tools, takes care to sear it properly and serves it with fresh vegetables on a bed of jasmine rice he has a fantastic meal which blows his mind. While the pizza is by far the easier option, the shark steak is just so much better. Long term gain.

I also think it's a little sad that men feel this need to take control, to find the perfect way to make a woman happy, instead of working with the woman to create a mutually exciting and... beneficial...sexual experience. The way it's been described, it's like men go to sex, have an entertaining five minutes and then spend the rest of the ride dispassionately applying for the "orgasm stimulater" position down at the old orgasm factory. I will admit that is could be an accurate way to describe the teenage boy's mindset, if he's at all considerate. (Which, lets face it, a lot of teen aged boys are not.) But if a man has grown sexually, I would hope he has built up sufficient craft and skill that he can enjoy the encounter without having to concentrate on the motions so much that he looses out on the passion.

I mean emotions aside, sex is fun, right? Lust rules. Then add to it having this outstanding fun with someone you cherish, it should be a fantastic party. At least that's what I aspire to.

Ilona wrote in Message 14: "Most of them aren't thinking, "Omg, I love you, you're so hot" but rather "Oh good, she's moaning, so she must like whatever I'm doing. I should do that again."

I think a man who knows what he is about should be thinking both these thoughts at the same time. "Oh my god, I love her and she's totally hot AND MOANING! I love it when she moans! Lets make her do that again! Weeeeee!! This is so much fun! Wait, what did she just ...ooo...that felt good...my turn..."

Ehem.

On a different topic, I noticed that a lot of the comments here mentioned that women look for a safe or a non-threatening lover. Do women feel threatened sexually by men on a regular basis? I am not an idiot, I understand the reality of rape and the physical and social social realities that place women in a potentially dangerous place. I guess I just never thought about it. Do women, on a daily basis, live in fear of men? As a man, I have to say the idea of a physical threat to myself never really occurs to me. It's not really a part of sexuality and fantasy unless I am deciding to indulge in some kink. But generally I assume a place of safety. Is this not the case for women? (Feel so niave asking this...)

Finally...

Lais wrote in Message 30: "As I was writing this a new thought occured to me: It appears to me that women are largely responsible for defining 'romantic' expectations when it comes to relationships and sex to begin with which seems altogether unfair somehow. Thoughts?"

Not so unfair. More how it is, on some level. Women define romance and then men decide if they want to play. Women say "would you like a Shark Steak dinner?" and then men decide if they are willing to put in the effort or if they would rather just have pizza. Should this balance out more? I hope so.

I think men need to take a more active role in understanding, embracing and enjoying romance. Man's general reaction to the idea of "romance" as an idea is confused these days. We lost our playbook when we started accepting women more as equals. Now men are either hiding in caves, drinking scotch and smoking cigars with each other lamenting the days of old when women knew their place or wandering lost on the open savannah of sexual revolution, trying to create a new play book. By and large I don't think men have a real over all sexual identity anymore, since women have taken their long overdue freedom. It's up to "modern men", hopefully with some female guidance, to figure out how to get back in the game without retreating to the old macho oppressive stereotypes. While remaining buff and sexy. Confusing and sometimes painful stuff. Which is why a lot of guys just run away from romance.

I think I may be rambling. Thoughts?


message 21: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (keltx) | 11 comments Dan wrote: "Hi Lais,

First of all, no worries, I am not at all offended. I'm here for the fun of the discussion and hope I can provide an interesting point of view as a heterosexual man who enjoys romance nov..."


Hi Dan, you make several valid points and I'm glad you're here. I enjoy reading your point of view.

I wanted to touch on the "doing harm" aspect of women and sex. Women carry a far greater burden with sex such as pregnancy, STD's (HPV can equal cancer), social stigma, and self worth issues that are all consequences which are of far less concern to men. So our definition of security includes someone who understands and tries to lessen the consequences for us. This best illustrated in the historical romances with the rake vs. the gentleman. Of course, these days women have a lot more options to take care of themselves. (birth control and such) It is still nice though to have a guy who is considerate of these issues.

Now, rape and molestation are a whole other story. I don't worry about it now, but as a kid and young adult I did. I don't want to get too deep into this topic, but lets just say women are not afraid of men, we are just aware of the fact that you can overpower us physically.

I feel for you, Dan and all the other modern men. Good luck writing that new play book. I think the fact that you read romances puts you well ahead in the game.


message 22: by Dan (new)

Dan | 25 comments Hi Kelley,

First of all, thanks for commenting on my thoughts and being so nice. I love a place to expostulate, especially about gender issues and social philosophy, and it's nice to know I am not boring people. If I start to, let me know. I know I can be overly verbose, I just sometimes don't know when I am doing it.

You wrote "Women carry a far greater burden with sex such as pregnancy, STD's (HPV can equal cancer), social stigma, and self worth issues that are all consequences which are of far less concern to men."

On the first three points (pregnancy, STDs and social stigma) I would agree with you. Pregnancy only happens to women, cancer is awful and though we have made some progress, generally speaking a promiscuous woman is still a slut while a promiscuous man is a stud. Yay the infamous double standard.

However, I would strongly disagree with the last point. A mans self worth is absolutely tied up with sex. After all after the age of...sixteen? how many men would admit to being virgins? None. Because it's shaming. A female virgin has worth, a male virgin is a failure. Men are expected to have a certain amount of sexual prowess. A man who fails to become erect in bed is pitied and ridiculed. Oh sure, the sitcoms will try and be nice about it but men know they are failures if they cannot perform. Why do you think Viagra sells like it does? We are neurotic about our junk. It is our silliest feature and our crowning glory. Seat of the most awful pain and glorious pleasure. Any guy who says his self worth is not influenced by his junk is either asexual or lying. In my opinion.

In a lot of ways men are almost entirely defined by their relationship to sex. Why is a geek ridiculed? Because he can't get the girls while the jock can. Men measure themselves against each other on a fairly regular basis. And god forbid a man drop his pants and a woman should laugh or giggle or even smirk wrong.

To be honest I think it's one reason a men need to get in contact with their romantic side. A man in a romantic relationship with a woman can feel confident that she likes him for the whole package and is less likely to be scarred by the occupational sexual fopah. Mock a guy sexually when it's just sex and you can scar him pretty badly.

Dan


message 23: by Dan (last edited Feb 27, 2012 06:25PM) (new)

Dan | 25 comments Hey Lais,

You wrote : "But generally speaking, sex for women is tied to a powder keg of emotion. It's not just the emotional attachment we feel for our partner, it's the way we feel about ourselves. One of the most acute injuries women can suffer? A blow to their self esteem or sense of self worth. One of the times women are most open to injury to self esteem/self worth? Sex."

I would say it's the same for men (see the above post) with an added twist, since most men work very hard repress their emotions and hide from their feelings. Women who have been pigeon holed as emotional creatures, get to face their emotions head on. Lucky you? Men, who have been taught over the generations that emotions are weak, useless and foolish, never the less still have them. They just repress them, leading to all kinds of fun and twisted responses. Sure the good old Patriarchy directly repressed and abused women but it turned men into twisted emotional refugees. Not very good for us either.

I suppose I'm just saying that guys are definitely emotionally invested in sex and I think it would be a mistake to think they are not. Guys can be hurt just like women. Unfortunately guys as a rule try to repress this and hide this even from themselves(as they have been taught)and so its hard for women to recognize when they have caused this damage. For that matter, the guy may not even be able to realize that he's been hurt.

Is that a lame excuse? In my head it sounds like a lame excuse, but I don't think it is.


message 24: by Bree (new)

Bree Brouwer (breebrouwer) | 6 comments Dan wrote: "A mans self worth is absolutely tied up with sex. After all after the age of...sixteen? how many men would admit to being virgins? None. Because it's shaming. A female virgin has worth, a male virgin is a failure. Men are expected to have a certain amount of sexual prowess."

Dan, I haven't commented on this forum yet, but absolutely feel the need to here. :)

I have to agree with you on this aspect, most definitely. My husband and I are both Christians. The social pressure to have sex before marriage is probably doubled (maybe tripled) because of this, because people want us to "be bad" and break our rules. My husband explained to me many times what he had to suffer through in high school, a Christian high school nonetheless, because he was not willing to sleep around. Note that I said he did suffer; you think that his noble choices made him ignore the taunts and jeers? Far from it. I believe this is just another solid example of how men definitely are tied to their sexuality, no matter what religion you come from, either.


message 25: by Bree (new)

Bree Brouwer (breebrouwer) | 6 comments Dan wrote: "I suppose I'm just saying that guys are definitely emotionally invested in sex and I think it would be a mistake to think they are not. Guys can be hurt just like women. Unfortunately guys as a rule try to repress this and hide this even from themselves(as they have been taught)and so its hard for women to recognize when they have caused this damage. For that matter, the guy may not even be able to realize that he's been hurt."

Amen! Ironic, isn't it, that feminism pushes men and women to be "equal," and yet the world still tells men to be tough and hide their emotions, or they're considered "feminine" and "girly."


message 26: by Bree (new)

Bree Brouwer (breebrouwer) | 6 comments Lais wrote: "Girls can pursue any profession, wear feminine, masculine, or androgynous clothes, and cry/laugh/express emotion with minimal fear of repercussion. Societal acceptance of the same status for boys seems light years away. It breaks my heart! Emotions are a human trait, not a gender specific trait."

Emotions definitely are a human trait and in this area I completely agree with you, Lais. It's a terrible shame, maybe even a degradation, that our society does not allow men to express themselves as they do women. However, I don't think this means that we have the SAME emotions all the time, or that we need to express them the SAME way all the time. We are still different genders and individuals; this will determine how we ultimately show our emotions. The issue, I believe, is that society should not mock us when we do this in our own ways, lest they risk receiving the exact same mockery when they express emotions in their own ways, and so perpetuate the issue of never being allowed to express feelings.


message 27: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 8 comments Dan, your replies are amazing!
(I love all the people/replies in this thread.)


message 28: by Kelley (last edited Feb 27, 2012 10:34PM) (new)

Kelley (keltx) | 11 comments Dan wrote: "Hi Kelley,

First of all, thanks for commenting on my thoughts and being so nice. I love a place to expostulate, especially about gender issues and social philosophy, and it's nice to know I am no..."


Hey Dan, how about we both mildly disagree and call it even? Here's how I see it... Low self-esteem male = virgin or hermit. Low self-esteem female = stripper or prostitute. Which one is worse?

I love your statement, "We are neurotic about out junk." Totally awesome! I get that, I've seen all the statues and drawings that revel in the phallus all the way back from antiquity. Hey, I think they are pretty neat too, But to say that's all a man is would be an inaccurate generalization. Women have just as many hang-ups about body parts as men and can be ridiculed and harassed.

Lais, You express your thoughts so eloquently, I'm envious. Message 33 - Yes to it all... I couldn't agree more.

Everyone has made really great points. I am enjoying this thread.


message 29: by Dan (new)

Dan | 25 comments Hi Kelly,

I am happy to mildly disagree with you. :) And we can totally call it even. You summed it up nicely when you said :"Here's how I see it... Low self-esteem male = virgin or hermit. Low self-esteem female = stripper or prostitute. Which one is worse?"

I would not be me if I didn't make a point though. Low self esteem in men also leads to wife-beating and religious extremism (ok, ok, you ladies can have the religious extremism too). Low self-esteem leads not just to harmless introversion. I would imagine there are more destructive ways low self esteem manifests itself in the female world as well. Not that I want to turn this thread into a downer or a "more horrible" competition. Just thought it might be important to mention. After all, violence is a pretty big part of the male experience these days, especially since the messages being told to men about violence are all confusing and contradictory.

Oh! And Kelley, you are totally right that men are more than their junk. I think perhaps I got a little to emphatic about my response. I was just passionate about sex and male self esteem.

Lais, you wrote: "I think society in general has done a pretty decent job of empowering girls. Unfortunately it almost seems as if it's been done at the expense of boys."

This HAS to be done at the expense of boys. One of the most difficult things for men to deal with is the fact that empowering women means that men have to give up power. Four thousand years of power and dominance and we have to be the generations which give it up. I think it's vital that we do so, but I understand why we're having a hard time doing it.

Once again it's a short term, long term question. Short term? Men have to loose authority, jobs, the moral high ground and simple power. And for what? Why are we giving up this power? And who asked me if I wanted to give up this power?

But long term? We get to finally meet, hangout with, understand the other half of humanity. We get to do not only the right thing but also profit wildly. And we get to learn how to deal with our own dysfunctional social and emotional issues. The trick is getting men to understand the long term.

The goal is to show men what they are getting by empowering women, and how it is actually a long term benefit to be part of and equal, mentally healthy, emotionally stable human race. Proving that empowering women also empowers men...is tricky when men think they are already empowered...The idea of giving up to gain is counter intuitive.

Also on a totally unrelated note: Are you Lais because "Lace" was taken? Or is that your name and if so, where does it come from? I was just wondering because the spelling is kind of unique. Feel free not to answer my idle curiosity.

Bree wrote: "Amen! Ironic, isn't it, that feminism pushes men and women to be "equal," and yet the world still tells men to be tough and hide their emotions, or they're considered "feminine" and "girly."

Very, very confusing.

I mean, to bring this discussion full circle: Men don't write romance anymore because men have no idea what romance is anymore. Or rather whats expected of them in a romance. As women are exploring the brave new world of empowerment, men increasingly are adrift. I enjoy romance novels for fun but in a very real way I am also using them as a field guide to try and understand what women want and how I can fit into their wants and needs. Which is something I would not have had to worry about fifty years ago. RE: the TV show Mad Men.


message 30: by Bree (new)

Bree Brouwer (breebrouwer) | 6 comments Dan wrote: "But long term? We get to finally meet, hangout with, understand the other half of humanity. We get to do not only the right thing but also profit wildly. And we get to learn how to deal with our own dysfunctional social and emotional issues. The trick is getting men to understand the long term.

The goal is to show men what they are getting by empowering women, and how it is actually a long term benefit to be part of and equal, mentally healthy, emotionally stable human race. Proving that empowering women also empowers men...is tricky when men think they are already empowered...The idea of giving up to gain is counter intuitive. "


Couldn't have said it better. In my marriage, this is how it works - equal understanding, caring, respect, and empowerment. I just wish more people could see it in such a way!


message 31: by Bree (new)

Bree Brouwer (breebrouwer) | 6 comments Lais wrote: "'Holy hell..is this is what feminism is doing to our young men?' Women are not doing themselves any favors by perpetuating the notion of inequality this way. "

Lais, my entire senior thesis in high school was the negative repercussions of feminism on masculinity and chivalry. Despite all the good things feminism has brought to this world, it also leaves little room for men to be what they need to be. Your example is a prime one of this: it's true that the majority of girls mature faster (whether that translates to learning is probably an individual matter), but that doesn't mean that boys should not stay with these girls as they change, and it does not mean that girls should assume they are better than boys as they change. This creates more disconnect at an early age. No wonder there are so many broken relationships, marriages, and divorces! We're not teaching girls and boys at a young age how to properly relate to each other.


message 32: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin I think women are told so much that they are supposed to be virgins and say no to sex and that boys are going to try and pressure them into having sex that we end up not able to express our sexuality unless it's happening TO us, rather than us being active participants. I know I definitely have fantasies that involve me submitting and these romance novels capitalize on that brainwashing.

On one hand, the feminist in me says "omg you can't like that any more!" because it really isn't empowering. Then I shove that voice away and say "well I enjoy it now, so who cares why I turned out that way?" because I know it would be ridiculously difficult to reprogram my desires.

Related to the above discussion, I'd like to add that we as a society do have an issue with letting men express themselves however they want. Men are only supposed to be like men, and I think that's part of a bigger problem where women are still looked as as "less than" men. It's ok for a woman to embody male traits, and it's actually encouraged because it's good to be like a man. But a man that embodies female traits is looked down upon, because it's bad to be a woman. Women started wearing pants, and now it's normal. Men that put on skirts are going to be tormented and possibly assaulted. I hope we can progress to a point where people can just be who they want, but it seems like it's going to take a long time.


message 33: by Necrophidian (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Dan wrote: "One of the most difficult things for men to deal with is the fact that empowering women means that men have to give up power. Four thousand years of power and dominance and we have to be the generations which give it up. I think it's vital that we do so, but I understand why we're having a hard time doing it."

This is only true if one views society strictly through a binary M/F filter. If ya ask me, that's the thing that ultimately needs to relinquished... by men and women alike.

We talk about what men are, what women are, and in a general, societal sense, it all may be somewhat applicable (though I'd say it's becoming increasingly less so as time goes on).

But in the course of my own life I've found that, in day-to-day relationships with individuals, this stuff is all mostly meaningless. It just doesn't apply. The similarities in being human greatly outweigh the differences of sex. And the complexities of the individual absolutely trump everything else.

To the supposed rules of thumb about men and women (some of which have been brought up in this very thread), I've encountered so many exceptions, that I dismissed them as being "rules" a long time ago. I've come to believe that most of the differences we cite are actually fabrications born out of our need to see patterns, to categorize, and to belong (and also because business needs neat and tidy demographics to market at). I think we make far too much of them. As just one example, the phrase "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" has always made my teeth itch. I think it diminishes all of us.

In the end, we're each a minority of one. Informed by a singular genetic line and a unique set of experiences, the individual is the irreducible primary. I think if we all kept that more firmly in mind, there would be a lot less misunderstanding in the world.

My two cents. Great thread. Thanks for reading. :)


message 34: by Arlington (new)

Arlington | 3 comments @DJ Enigma
I hear ya! I joined yesterday and I stumbled upon this thread this morning and I've desperately tried to put words on how I feel about it. Thanks, your post is epic!
All I've managed so far is a small list that point out the differences in how we are treated since the day we are born depending on what we have between our legs. The genderroles are not something we are born with, it's not even forced upon us because we adapt to it and willingly let it forms us. I don't even think most people are aware of it, it's like brainwash.

However, even if I don't call myself a feminist anymore (it's actually because I dislike labels), I continiously find myself looking at the world through feminist glasses. Or laser beams, more like it, haha! I think that, to change course, it's important to be aware about how it affects us, even subconsiously. How else can there be a change and freedom for all? :)

It would be interesting to know more about your view regarding this topic. Have you got any thoughts as to why feminism has turned into the new bad word? Any ideas about how to implement change? I must say, you seem beyond awesome!
If I'm upsetting anyone by going OT, perhaps PM would be better?

(I'm sorry about my somewhat incoherent language- I try to get better at it.)


message 35: by Caitlin (last edited Feb 29, 2012 06:42AM) (new)

Caitlin Lais wrote: I don't see romance novels as anti-feminist at all. In fact, I would say that romance novels are the most widely spread medium for women to enjoy romantic/sexual espression in a safe and satisfying way. They are written by women for women to sepcifically cater to the romantic fantasies of women. This seems quite empowering to me.


The part that I don't find empowering is that you typically see the man making an advance and the woman surrendering to him. In Grave Witch Falin initiates the sex and keeps pressuring Alex to give in after she has said no. In Silent in the Grave, Brisbane suddenly kisses Julia hard enough to cut her lip. In both of these books, the man is exerting control over the woman.


message 36: by Dan (new)

Dan | 25 comments DJ Enigma wrote: "In the end, we're each a minority of one. Informed by a singular genetic line and a unique set of experiences, the individual is the irreducible primary. I think if we all kept that more firmly in mind, there would be a lot less misunderstanding in the world."

Hi DJ, welcome to the thread. I can't agree with you there. Unless you live in a bubble, or unless you are a sociopath, you live in society and are therefore effected by it's preconceptions. You are not an individual alone, you are an individual existing within a society of other individuals, informed by the history and actions of all the billions of individuals who came before you. Some of these individuals are female, some male, some gay, some straight, some black some white. To throw all this out and try to exist as a pure individual, unfettered by past or present social constraints is impossible. I submit that while we are in some ways in control of our own destiny, we are also subject to the lessons we learn a parts of the societal machine, lessons taught to us by our parents, our playmates, our teachers and the world in general.

This is why it's so important and also so damn difficult to change the dominant social philosophies. They are the pattern the machine we are all a part of weaves. These days, I consider myself a feminist. I firmly believe in equal rights for women, equal pay for women equal responsibility for women. I support a woman's right to choose and a woman's right to serve in the armed forces in whatever capacity.

Yet I would be lying if I didn't say that there is still a knee-jerk, subconscious part of me that finds it very difficult to hit a woman, that wants to protect women from harm, that wants to shelter and (dangerous honesty here, I hope no one is offended) sometimes dominate women. I call it my lizard brain. It's the part of me that whips my head around when an attractive woman walks by, that makes me size up other guys on the subway, in case I have to "throw down". It's silly and primitive but it's a very real part of me. And I feel like it's a product of long forgotten instincts and more recently ingrained social behaviors.

As the man says, "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." We can't forget the past, our present social entanglements or how far we have grown, lest we find ourselves tipping the scales again and returning to some form of the bad old days.

So, I for one, don't feel like I am "the irreducible primary" but rather the sum total of my life experience as it has been bounced around and shaped through both past and present social constructs and the other people around me. I also feel that my dealing with women in general tend to be different than my dealings with men. Language, comfort levels, topics of discussion, all these things change when I am talking to women as opposed to men.

Not sure how to close this or if it's even making sense. Someone edit me!


message 37: by Dan (new)

Dan | 25 comments Lais Wrote "I asked her once why she preferred this type of physique. Her response.."because he could so easily throw me around!" (not throw around as in domestic violence type..eww. but throw around as in be totally physically dominating in a delightful way)Is she buying in to stereotyping/brainwashing? Not at all."

I agree with this. I feel like there is nothing wrong with dominance or submission as long as it stems from choice and not obligation or force. If a person feels like it is their obligation to be submissive, that's not likely to be very fulfilling, if they are forced to be submissive, that's rape. But if a person chooses to let their partner take control of the sexual fun and guide them through the amusement park, then it's a choice, the fulfillment of a sexual fantasy and entirely healthy. The important thing here is that both partners (or all of the participants) are there voluntarily and agree to the game and the rules of the game. When it stops being a fantasy and become about real dominance, then it becomes about possession and devaluation. And I feel like that is unhealthy.

At the end of the day, I think it's important to examine your fantasies and understand where your sexual impulses come from, but also to enjoy them and not feel ashamed of them.


message 38: by Necrophidian (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Heya Dan,

Sorry, but I'm not sure what you're trying to get at with your response. The viewpoint you appear to be countering isn't one I presented. :/ In fact, you seem to be echoing much of what I expressed? Lemme attempt to reiterate/clarify a bit:

Ethnicity, sex, gender, orientation, lineage, source figures, environs, personal experience... all culminate and contribute to the complicated picture that is the individual person.

So it's my assertion that we should be very wary of categorizing people and making assumptions based on any one particular basic attribute. Folks just aren't that simple. They're individuals.

That's our start point, each and every one of us: being a minority of one. Hence my use of the term 'irreducible primary'. Before you're a member of humanity or any subset thereof, you're Dan.

Here's Marie Brennan's perspective, which echoes my own, presented in the context of writing:

http://www.sfnovelists.com/2009/04/16...

Hope this clears things up a bit.


message 39: by Necrophidian (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Arlington wrote: "It would be interesting to know more about your view regarding this topic. Have you got any thoughts as to why feminism has turned into the new bad word? Any ideas about how to implement change? I must say, you seem beyond awesome!"

Gee, thanks! ^.^;

Maybe PMs would be better, so as not to derail anything hereabouts. :)


message 40: by Necrophidian (last edited Mar 01, 2012 10:22AM) (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Lais wrote: "Like it or not, women and men have differences. It's a nuanced thing and difficult to articulate clearly this idea that even though we have differences, we aren't exactly different. Nevertheless, to deny that biology plays a role in how we perceive and interact with the world around us..and the people in it..is incorrect."

I don't deny it plays a role. How can it not? Some of the undeniable role it plays has been illustrated in this thread.

What I'm saying, though, is that the role it plays is comparatively minor when measured against the role of just being a human being, which includes a myriad of factors. A person's sex is just one of those factors.

Yah, there are differences, obviously, but it seems to me that far too much is made of them. Because we know that there are differences, we start getting too comfortable in drawing distinctions, making generalizations that actually aren't nearly as universal, or as exclusive, as we tell ourselves.

Example: men are better at math. It's just a difference in the male brain that makes mathematics and related disciplines easier for them to grasp.

This notion has been around and broadly accepted for a while. But guess what? Research is now indicating that it's a load of bunk.

Problem is, based on this stereotype, a good deal of damage has now been done. Many girls have been told by educators, source figures, that they're just inherently not as good at something... and now they believe it.

That's not good for them and it's not good for our society. What if our next Einstein is an Alberta rather than an Albert, but she's been repeatedly told she shouldn't pursue physics, just 'cuz she's a girly-girl?

"To relinquish viewing society through a M/F filter altogether completely devalues the unique role that gender plays."

Sure, and I wasn't saying it should be entirely abandoned. But to view society through that filter at the exclusion of all other factors at play devalues all those other factors. It diminishes the individual, and everything starts at the liberty of the one.

I'm not saying the filter should be discarded. Far from it, actually, given the societal inequities that are still very much a problem for us. What I'm saying is that it needs to be put into perspective. I find it to be, at present, greatly overblown... which trips us up and leads to a great deal of misunderstanding in the long-run.


message 41: by Necrophidian (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Lais wrote: "I think we are saying essentially the same thing. (We are so smart!)"

Hooray! \o/


message 42: by Dan (new)

Dan | 25 comments Hello everyone,

First of all, I think i'd like to apologize for my second to last last reply (where I replied to DJ Enigma). I am not surprised that you didn't understand what I was saying because I think it ended up being gibberish. In my defense I only had three hours of sleep that night and then I went to work and got home and was pretty much totally exhausted. A poor defense, I know. I have since slept and I think I maybe able to be coherent.

Here goes:

DJ wrote: "Sure, and I wasn't saying it should be entirely abandoned. But to view society through that filter at the exclusion of all other factors at play devalues all those other factors. It diminishes the individual, and everything starts at the liberty of the one."

I absolutely agree with this. We are not just men and women, but a combination of our gender, all our worldly experience, and the special individual thing that makes each one of unique. So I am totally agree with you on this.

However... :)

However, I believe some traits are play a more important part in our individual evolution and I think gender specifically plays a HUGE roll on our personal development.

DJ Wrote: "Before you're a member of humanity or any subset thereof, you're Dan."

This is what I don't agree with. I am only Dan because of the humanity and the society which define me. If I had been born a Viking, would I still be Dan? No, I believe that would be a completely different person. If I had been born female, I would be totally different. The individual which is me exists only because of my interaction with the world around me. I am only the individual you know as Dan because of all the forces which have shaped me throughout my life.

The individual core of me, the unique name less spiritual being which came to be at the moment I became a person (whenever you feel the fetus becomes a person. different argument) was immediately defined and shaped by having a gender. That gender then proceeded to shape the way the world reacted to me and how I reacted to the world and has not stopped since. My name, Daniel, is a male name. I played with pretty traditionally masculine toys. I was told never to cry. I got into fights in high school. I react differently to men than I do to women. For one thing, I am sexually attracted to women which skews nearly every interaction I have with them. I am a product of my gender and my society, both the good and the bad.

The older and (hopefully) wiser I get, the more I think I am able to temper the preconceptions placed upon me by my gender and by society, to explore and understand my own individuality within the whole. But I am still very much a part of the whole.

In short, I am only Dan because of the my interaction's with the various subsets of society, gender and humanity.

DJ, I am not hoping to convert you. I am totally cool with disagreeing with you. I just wanted to try and make my point of view clearer. I hope I succeeded. Thanks for your perspective and for listening.

Dan


message 43: by Necrophidian (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments I dunno, Dan, maybe it's me who's not being clear enough, because you claim to disagree with me, but then proceed to reaffirm my points again. ;)

Lemme try a different tact:

Dan wrote: "I am only Dan because of the humanity and the society which define me. If I had been born a Viking, would I still be Dan? No, I believe that would be a completely different person."

Right. And still an individual.

"If I had been born female, I would be totally different."

And still an individual.

"The individual which is me exists only because of my interaction with the world around me. I am only the individual you know as Dan because of all the forces which have shaped me throughout my life."

Right, which I've said. And it all culminates into an individual. Precisely because there are so many factors involved in the development of an individual, it's unwise to make any assumptions about them based on any one factor, such as their sex.

To illustrate:

"My name, Daniel, is a male name."

Debatable, but I understand your point. ;) But what if someone was given a more ambiguous name?

"I played with pretty traditionally masculine toys."

Some boys didn't and some girls did.

"I was told never to cry."

Some boys weren't told that and some girls were.

"I got into fights in high school."

Some boys didn't and some girls did (to this day, I cheer Marisol who, in 7th grade, laid waste to the school bully. He was remarkably docile in the years that followed).

"I react differently to men than I do to women."

Which can vary quite a bit in an individual male depending on other factors, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and the developmental impact of source figures.

What this all says to me, Dan, is that sex and gender roles have played a significant part in your own personal development. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that, that's true of a lot of people, probably most people.

But it is most assuredly not true of all people.

That's the key, the critical point I'm trying to make. Moreover, for those for whom it's true, the degree of truth can vary radically.

This is why I approach everyone as a singular entity and why I encourage others to do the same.

Thanks for the dialogue. :)


message 44: by Dan (last edited Mar 01, 2012 07:46PM) (new)

Dan | 25 comments Ah DJ, I love a good argument and I am always willing to dialogue.

Ok, I concede that I am an individual and the existence of individuality. I don't think we are arguing about the existence of individuality (and we are arguing, damn it! :) ).

I think we are arguing about the defining characteristics of that individuality, and about what traits are essential or non-essential in the composition of that individuality.

To that end, I challenge you to provide me with an example of anyone who has not been in someway been significantly shaped by sex and gender roles. The binary and conflicting nature of the human race is part of what makes us humans. And the experience of being a man is vastly different from that of being a woman both socially and biologically. So while I think it might be possible to be an individual Man or and individual Woman, I find it difficult to accept that one can be uneffected by both sexual characteristics and gender roles. And that one does not make basic behavioral choices based on those sexual characteristics and gender roles. This may be a failure of imagination on my part, but (as the ignorant always say) I don't think so.

The only way I can think of to interact with a totally gender neutral person would be to interact with a sentient AI. And even then, I am pretty sure I would begin to assign it arbitrary gender roles. Call it he or she, giving it a human name, etc. Because in my mind, a person with out gender and without social identifiers is not a complete person.

Man, this took me a long time to write. Thoughts?

P.S. Thanks Lais! :)


message 45: by David (new)

David (david_tames) | 13 comments Somewhere far above in this thread a comment was made about finding male authors who write romance. Then there was another comment about romance being defined by females, and whether this was fair...

I'd say it's not fair, but then I wouldn't agree that romance is defined by women, but rather by those who are more sensitive to the connections we create.

And then with respect to male writers, I grew up reading The Baby-Sitters Club series, mostly because I wanted to discover how the other half lived. Now, as an adult I read Pride & Prejudice every couple of years...read the rest of Austen. My favorite contemporary author is Sharon Shinn.

Years ago I wrote my first successful short story from a female pov. It ends in the deed, yet the irony is that it's a story of wanting and not getting anything more than the mechanical, which is in essence a net loss for the character.

Needles are hard to find, but they exist.

Great group.


message 46: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 8 comments Ocarney wrote: "I'd say it's not fair, but then I wouldn't agree that romance is defined by women, but rather by those who are more sensitive to the connections we create. "

I can get behind that. :)

A little interjection to the ongoing discussion(I really enjoy reading this): I'm part of little internet community called Nerdfighters and one of our sayings is " Imagine me complexly" or " Try to imagine others complexly". :)
I don't want to dive in this kind of discussion because it's hard enough to make your points about social stuff in your 1st language which English is not. I'm sure you've noticed this by now. ;)


message 47: by Necrophidian (last edited Mar 02, 2012 02:12AM) (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Dan & Lais:

First, I wanna apologize to you guys, and everyone else, for the length of this response. I figured, hey... it's a text-based medium built around a book club. These folks probably don't mind abuncha words, right? So I cut loose a bit... but maybe, in retrospect, it was too much. >.> I'll let you be the judge.

Anywho...

One thing I'd ask the both of you to examine about this interchange:

Why does my position keep getting reinterpreted as being that: in terms of an individual's development and makeup, sex and gender have no significance at all?

They're definitely contributors, I've never denied that.

What's in question is the degree of significance and whether or not it varies. I'm saying that it can vary. A lot. I say that because it's been true of many people I've met. It's even true of myself.

I think what this all comes down to is something Dan stated in his last post:

Dan wrote: “The binary and conflicting nature of the human race is part of what makes us humans. And the experience of being a man is vastly different from that of being a woman both socially and biologically.”

This is the crux of the issue. This is where we disagree. Nothing in the course of my days has revealed a vast difference in experience between life as a man and life as a woman. In fact, it's been quite the opposite. I find there to be heaps and heaps more similarities than there are differences. Mountain, meet molehill.

And that's not surprising to me, 'cuz we're all human beings. We're defined primarily by the nature of our minds, not by our naughty bits (or any other physical attribute).

Which, again, is not to say that those naughty bits (and other distinct biological factors) don't have any impact at all. Clearly, they do. So do gender roles.

But is that impact so great that it creates a “binary and conflicting nature” in our species?

I don't see that. I've never seen that. That was the implicit assertion that got me posting in this thread in the first place. It's the ”Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars” point of view, and I don't share it, 'cuz I've seen it contradicted all throughout my life.

As just one example germane to our club here, can't male writers write perfectly believable female characters and vice versa? If the sexes are so alien and incomprehensible to each other, how can this be so?

Furthermore, I've known decidedly feminine men (straight, gay and bi) and decidedly masculine women (straight, gay and bi). If society locks us so intractably into gender roles, how do these people even come about? Mustn't there have been other factors in their development at play? And mustn't those factors have been of greater impact than society's prescribed roles in order for them to evolve that way?

How about this: if the sexes are so radically different, so mutually exclusive in character, shouldn't they be easy to distinguish thru description? I ask then, what's so different about them?

In this thread, I've seen it implied that women don't have the capacity for violence that men do. Well, I know that's not true, and I've the childhood scars to prove it. I've also seen it implied that men don't have the same capacity for empathy that women naturally possess. But I've known plenty of men who disprove that notion, men who've had an emotional intelligence far and away greater than that of some women I've known. Logic, mathematics is the domain of men? I know woman scientists, engineers, programmers. So apparently that's not sex-exclusive either.

So what, precisely, is this great, fundamental divide, this vast, uncrossable chasm between the sexes?

What I see is people. Just people. We all love, hate, doubt ourselves and try to fashion a life. We all know fear and hope. We all feel, we all think, we all want to connect. We are, each and everyone of us, alone in our own heads. We are each tremendously affected by our source figures, to the point where they can trump just about any other environmental factor in our development. We all grow old. We all must face our own mortality.

Yes, I think all of that can have much more impact on a person than the sexual components they happen to possess. And as similarities, these things are considerably more definitive, carry more weight in interaction, than our differences.

Not once in my adult life have I ever shrugged and said, “well, he's a guy,” or “well, she's a girl.” Not once. And this perspective has not caused me a single interpersonal issue.

In closing--and yah, this'll be my last post on the subject, 'cuz I have to immerse in some work for a while--I'll ask this:

Which sex do you think I am?

---

P.S.: I wanna say thanks guys. It's wonderful to be able to engage in this sort of conversation without it degrading into a flame war or something. Kudos to all of you, you've truly been great.

EDIT: Ha! I just noticed this is the 69th post in the thread! I winz! \o/


message 48: by David (new)

David (david_tames) | 13 comments DJ, the smartest thing I'v read on the internet in quite a while. Thanks for raising the bar.

Middlesex?


message 49: by Karo (new)

Karo | 38 comments This has been a very interesting thread to read. A couple of things:

1. I wonder how ol' gender-neutral Pop in Sweden is doing.

2. I approach this topic a little differently, from the perspective of a parent of a six-year-old boy who has done has her best to not throw her son into the mire of gender stereotyping.

DJ Enigma wrote: "Not once in my adult life have I ever shrugged and said, 'well, he's a guy,' or 'well, she's a girl.'"

Unfortunately, you are in the minority; this infuriating attitude is prevalent. High-school classmates frequently post things on Facebook like, "Two boys and I don't have one single thing that isn't broken, burned, shredded, or frightened."* People make excuses for their sons' bad behavior with an airy "boys will be boys," completely oblivious to the fact that said shitty behavior is a parenting choice, not an inevitability. This ridiculous "logic" carries on to adult men who are indulgently accused of "not using their brains, but the lower part of the body."*

I'm not sure I have much of a point, but I just wanted to highlight that as enlightened as an individual's views may be when it comes to gender, society's as a whole are not. I may avoid gender stereotyping like the plague with my son, but when it comes down to it, he's out there in the world, and the world is sending him a whole different set of messages.

3. Totally off topic, but I frequently catch up here on the Goodreads app on my iPhone, and there the poster isn't named until the bottom of the post. The photo is at the top, though. Please pretty please upload something so I know which smarty is talking!

4. DJ Enigma wrote: "Which sex do you think I am?"

If I were the gambling sort, I'd bet a lot of money on you being a woman.

* Actual quotes


message 50: by Karo (new)

Karo | 38 comments Lais wrote: "Trust me, his behavior isn't due to crappy parenting. I am an awesome mom. It's just the reality of how he plays. How I HANDLE his behavior is a different thing altogether. I would never excuse him from making poor decisions simply because he's a boy (though I sure bet he sometimes wishes I would)."

No no, I completely agree! I was thinking of this thread just this morning when I was dropping my son off and most of the girls in his class flocked to a younger baby sibling and coo'ed and ooh'ed while the boys couldn't have cared less. :-) Nature vs. nurture arguments aside, the differences are simply there, more often than not. I just get super cheesed off when I hear this boys-will-be-boys attitude, like it's somehow impossible to raise a boy who is respectful of the things and people around him.


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