Dude. I think everyone should read this article right now.
I’m not, by any means, saying that everything the article says is true, and I definitely don’t think it applies to every straight male on the planet (much of it strikes me as being apologetically hyperbolic, which makes sense because it’s on Cracked.com).
However, I think it does do a lot to illuminate certain nebulous feelings I have about how women are portrayed and treated in movies, books, and even the great theater act that is Real Life. I’m in my early 20’s, and I’ve noticed that:
a) I’m only worth notice if I’m pretty, and
b) If I’m pretty, guys are going to dissect me with their eyes.
Either way, there’s no chance I’m getting their respect.
But this article takes it so much further.
Why are women “asking for it”**? Why is it so common for women’s descriptions in books to have attribute-by-attribute accounting of their appearance, while men just get a brief sketch? Why is “getting the girl” synonymous with “and they lived happily ever after”? What’s up with the Blank Page Heroine? How the hell do femme fatals even work?
For some reason, the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop sticks in my mind as a particularly egregious illustrations of where questions three and four came from, though just about any non-princess, animated kids film would work, too (I think the men in princess movies are just as briefly sketched, but I could be wrong).
Guy is a loser/nobody/screw-up/quack/mall cop who holds a romanticized view of public service. Girl is a friend or acquaintance who is sexy as hell but would never in a million million years think of him in that way. Guy does something crazybrilliantheroic to gain the admiration of everyone who ever doubted him, but mostly because he wants to win the affection of the girl. Spoiler alert: he succeeds. And then the film congratulates him, by going GOOD JOB KID NOW YOU GET TO HAVE SEX.
Because seriously. What do we know about the chick? She’s pretty. Umm…yep. Probably pretty nice in a dim sort of way if she’s the type to be swayed by fame and success as opposed to…I dunno…personality and ideological compatibility?
So, let’s see what he hasn’t won:
1. A friend (what the hell do they have in common, anyway?)
2. A partner (what does she have to offer him? What does he have to offer her?)
3. A companion for life (won’t she get annoyed when he goes back to being a weird screw-up? She seems like she’d be fickle that way)
That doesn’t sound like Happily Ever After to me.
**I’m using this phrase sarcastically. Just for the sake of clarity, I mean “why do men apparently believe that she ‘was asking for it'”.