The Press Republican

Wiley Wandering

« Unpacking the N word’s Relationship to Diversity in Northern NY | Main | Sticks, Stones, & Hateful Words »

Gender Bender???

How many of you have seen the film Clerks? Well, there is a scene in the movie when a couple are arguing because, initially, the woman in the conversation is somewhat perturbed because the man admits he has had thirteen lovers. His girlfriend, after hitting him somewhat playfully yet forcefully enough for him to know the hit was more than playful, calls him promiscuous for his having what some would call the ultimate intimate experience with thirteen different women. She gives him so much grief that he finally challenges her to reveal her number of pre-marital moments. She says three with her bosom extended knowing she can flaunt her lower number. The conversation then drifts and the edge that was present for a moment over the topic wanes. A bit later, a customer that they had both recognized and chatted with pays for his merchandise and leaves. When he is out of earshot, they discuss the woman’s previous moment with him, and other men as well, with none of the acts (all the same) being described as an ultimate intimate moment, but definitely a landmark along that route.

Upon being badgered by the man, the woman then reveals that she had previously been in a moment like that with 35 other men. The man flipped, completely dismayed at how she could have been calling him promiscuous and yet had landmark experiences with 35 men, then practically insinuating that she was an Imus non-nappy headed “you know what.” Well, totally blown away with his response she tells him that landmark experiences are simply pit stops on the way to reaching your final destination, and that he should not feel threatened by her having had multiple pit stops. After she was corrected about the fact that 35 pit stops far exceed “multiple” pit stops, she let him know that the 35 pit stops were nothing compared to the final destination, that he and only a couple of other men had ever experienced. He was unable to reconcile her 3 ultimate intimate experiences and 35 so-called casual pit stops to his 13 ultimate intimate experiences.

In the "Examining Diversity Through Film" and "Philosophies of Romance, Sex, Love & Marriage" courses that I teach, there is quite a reaction from the students when they are asked to consider this highly intriguing gendered moment. The students are challenged to contemplate is this a gender thing, some type of subtle or not so subtle sexism, or is it just the way it is? Well, what is your take?

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://blog.pressrepublican.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/69

Comments

Just goes to show you that there are some things you shouldn't count in public - the number of false teeth you have, the number of times you've cheated on your taxes, and your number of sexual partners are among those.

The old double-standard, of course, is that if a man has had many partners, he's a stud, but, if a woman does, she's a slut. The double-standard is unfair, but, I fear the deeper problem may be that neither men nor women of a certain age see the term "slut" as a pajorative, and, take it as a compliment.

Time Magazine recently called this the "Girls Gone Wild" generation after the DVD series of the same name in which college-aged women are encouraged to bare all and more for people with a big party bus and a video camera. The bus just rolls into town one night, parks at a hot-spot, and staff look for volunteers. The guy who owns the franchise is a multi-millionare, so there is apparently no shortage of material. PSU, in fact, had its own experience recently with an outfit called "Shane's World" - a close copy-cat of the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise.

It's as if the sexual revolution went a few steps farther than Gloria Steinem (sp?) ever intended. There was a fad a few years back where middle-school and high-school girls wore thin rubber bracelets all the time. Most of us thought it was just a passing fashion fad, but an HBO Documentary revealed that different colors of the bracelets counted for different sex acts performed. The more bracelets - well you get the idea. The same documentary revealed that MIDDLE SCHOOL students were starting to view oral sex as a safe alternative to intercourse.

As I've said before - I'm a live and let live liberal. If someone (of the age of consent) wants to "live it up" or "go wild" - whatever. But it's just a fact that the potential consequences of casual sex are greater for females than males. Pregnancy is probably the most obvious of these. Sexually-transmitted diseases are also more easily passed from a male to a female than visa-versa. And, men and women are wired differently about sex. Women are more likely to view the act itself as an emmotional experience where men see it as more physical.

So while the double standard for men and women and the number of partners each has had may be waning, I think maybe it's waning in the wrong direction. Instead of encouraging girls and women to have MORE sexual partners to make them equal to males, we would probably be a healthier society if boys and men were encouraged to have FEWER sexual partners to make them equal to women.

*** CB, I am sure you meant that neither men or women see the terms slut and stud and perorative. Men take stud as a compliment, not an insult. If that is the supposed parallel to slut, albeit because of the double standard, positive to slut being a negative descriptor, then if women shouldn't be embracing slut, men should be distancing themselves from stud. But even if a man publicly attempts to step away from being framed a stud, privately he will smile at the compliment. What is that all about? And yes, as a man, I would be smiling about it in my private moments. What is the alternative, eunuch? Well, not necessarily! One alternative is a man that can think outside of his physicality.

But CB, I need you to weigh in and give me some insight on whether or not the man or woman in the Clerks movie are overreacting to the disparity in numbers between their ultimate intimate experiences vs. her landmark/pit stop numbers? After all, they are quite different acts, or aren't they? -- J.W. ****

Funny thing is, I don't think guys diferentiate that much between a make-out session and sleeping together. So, to the guy, the "intimate experiences" and the "pit stops" are all the same thing. That's because guys view sex primarily in the physical. But to her, there's a difference because women see it in the emmotional.

Never saw Clerks, btw. Are they over-reacting? Yes. Again, live and let live. What's the alternative? Do you create a litmus test for yourself and say, "ok, I'm not going to date anyone who's slept with more people than me?" or something like, "I'm not going to date anyone who's been with 10 or more different partners?"

Sorry if I went a little far afield with the last post.

*** CB, Sorry about the delay in response! However, a late response isn't going to prevent me from crowding you about your statement that "women see it [sex] in the emotional." Come on CB, isn't that quite a generalization, especially considering how much women have taken ownership of their sexuality. Now a days if a woman is attracted to a guy, she is more apt to make it known to him than back in the day, don't you think?

Oh, and how many men are comfortable with a woman that has more sexual experience than them? You don't have to answer that, but let's be real! Unless it is a fantasy type scenario where the man is actually a boy and the woman is contributing to someone's "Notes on a Scandal" or seducing "The Graduate" the man will be hard pressed to handle it. I think you just forced me to make this my next blog. Thanks CB!!! -- J.W. ***

These interpretations of what entails the ultimate sex act or what counts as too many or too few partners should be left with each individual to decide. It's not up to someone else to judge another based on the perceptions of the individual judging. I may think it's okay to have pit stops or final destinations with 100 plus people and another may think it should be saved for marriage. I may view the pit stops as more serious than the final destination too, or vice versa. The reality is, every view is valid, and none is more right than another. It's up to each of us to decide how we want to live our lifes, and other people should worry about their own lives and not judge others based on their own standards, because fortunately or unfortunately, various beliefs or mores are simply inventions of humans, and no human is more right than the other. If we were born into a society where it was accepted and common to have numerous sexual partners, then people would look down on the individuals with only one sex partner. But still, it doesn't matter, what matters is you recognize that it is up to you to decide how you want to live your life and be happy and not let society pressure you into conforming to the values of the majority, because you are the one who is going to be sitting on your death bed one day reviewing your life. I know when that time comes for me I want to be able to say I pursued the avenues that made me happy and chose to live as I wanted, not how everyone else felt I should live. All you have to do is be willing to accept the consequences of your actions.

I hear you Steve, but, there are more than just moral considerations here. There comes a point when having multiple experiences just isn't healthy. To be sure, society judges men and women morally in that regard. My point is that we should view this NOT as a moral issue, but rather, a public health issue.

It seems to me that quantity is a preoccupation with the under 30 crowd. I remember very clearly that a large consideration in pursuing a potential monogamous relationship was the number (or lack thereof) conquests of my suittee. I look back now and think how silly I was for making that a priority in my pursuit but it was nonetheless.

I am inclined to side with Steve.... at the end of the day, or one's life, it does not really matter... its the quality of one's relationship with others that will be the true measure of a life well lived...

I think CB hit the nail on the head. For men, going to a pit stop is the same thing as going all the way. Men are so focused on traveling to that final goal, that they don't stop to look at the scenery. Women are more likely to take their time, and see if they want to get to that final destination.

Although, I'd definitely agree that the characters in Clerks over-reacted. Both of them, in their own ways. Veronica (the womans name, if I recall correctly) asked Dante first, and then she got angry at his response. Well, according to the golden rule, she had it coming when he asked her, and got angry at her response. Each wanted a chaste partner, but had no problem playing the field themselves.

Hi J.W!

Boy, have things changed since the 50s and 60s....
I'm just getting around to perusing your blog and find your insights into today's values interesting. Seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Men are studs; women are, well, fallen women.

Since moving to Reno, Nevada in the fall of 2004, I experienced a wee bit of culture shock ... anything, except smoking, is legal here. The entire state is part of the Great Basin Desert. High temps - low humidity and haven't seen any mosquitos since I moved here. Plattsburgh and the north country are so green. I do miss rain - crazy - I know.

I will keep up with your blogs and will try to behave myself ... as, I am very conservative ... but, as you, live and let live.

Lynda

Hi J.W!

Boy, have things changed since the 50s and 60s....
I'm just getting around to perusing your blog and find your insights into today's values interesting. Seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Men are studs; women are, well, fallen women.

Since moving to Reno, Nevada in the fall of 2004, I experienced a wee bit of culture shock ... anything, except smoking, is legal here. The entire state is part of the Great Basin Desert. High temps - low humidity and haven't seen any mosquitos since I moved here. Plattsburgh and the north country are so green. I do miss rain - crazy - I know.

I will keep up with your blogs and will try to behave myself ... as, I am very conservative ... but, as you, live and let live.

Lynda

I have been to your assemblys many many times in my school, Peru High School. I can assure you that your speeches are very much appretiated by my friends and I. thank you for taking time out of your day to come and hlep us realize our differences.

Hello! Good Site! Thanks you!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)