Friday, May 11, 2007

Our Favorite Understatement of the Week

'Keeping women away from men is just an unrealistic proposition.'
--a caller to a recent WCPN program, in which the topic was the Ohio legislature's attempts to crack down on strip clubs.


At 11:57 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Was this a male caller, or a female caller?

At 12:08 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Naturally, it was a male. But then, being a shrewd person, you already knew that. Sadly, generally speaking, men need women far more than women need men.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Actually I'd been thinking just the opposite - I was sure it was a female caller. I was thinking about the viewpoint of the stripper, in particular, about how as the object of male desire she knows this better than anyone.

I don't think it's a bad thing. Women would be fools to think they could ever stop men from thinking about them, wanting to be around them and look at them (often in various states of undress), as often as possible.

Whatever the conventional wisdom, I think it *is* possible for men to behave that way, and also see women as actual people with things to contribute intellectually.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

How advanced of you to be able to hold both those notions about men in your brain simultaneously. Good for you. Lusting after the opposite sex (as we're, alas, programmed to do) isn't necessarily incompatible with taking them seriously as people. I think you're quite right. But it's funny how you had the opposite thought about the gender of the caller. I'd never considered that.

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Mächden said...

From a recent NYT piece (

(Note: some might not view man's sexual state, as characterized below, as at all tragic...)

Some researchers say that on average, male sexual desire is not only stronger than women’s, but also more constant from hour to hour, day to day. They point to a significant body of research suggesting a certain cyclic nature to female desire, and some say women only begin to attain masculine heights of lustiness during the few days of the month that they are fertile.

Studies have indicated, for example, that women are likelier to fantasize about sex, masturbate, initiate sex with their mates, wear provocative clothing and frequent singles bars right around ovulation than at any other time of the month. Women obviously can, and do, have sex outside their window of reproductive opportunity, but it makes good Darwinian sense, Dr. Wallen said, for them to have some extra oomph while they are fertile.

Men, by contrast, are generally fecund all month long, and they are theoretically ever anxious to share that bounty with others, a state of perpetual readiness that Roy F. Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University, described as “the tragedy of the male sex drive.”

At 2:56 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I found this enormously interesting as well as amusing. And incredibly well-articulated (sometimes I simply can't get over the intelligence of my readers). Talk about adding some "oomph" to my skimpy original material. And the "fecund all month" line made me laugh out loud. Thanks for your unique addition to the conversation.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Christine said...

"Advanced" - that's very funny, John. Perhaps the human race is evolving.

I base my opinion on observing the men in my life and the men of similar intelligence that I've had dealings with... I think that on the whole, intelligent men (at least of my generation) accept that women are people. If I made a kind of blanket assumption that "men still treat women as objects," it would be little more than stereotyping, because none of the men I know personally are really guilty of that.

What's interesting is that in the instances where I *have* felt male condescension toward me, it's always by someone who I would *not* consider an intellectual equal. Like, in the absence of intelligence, a man might still play the "gender card."

Where I think the "men are polygamous/women monogamous" thing gets tricky is when a man wants the benefits of monogamy (companionship, stability, etc.) but also isn't content with "just looking" at other women. I don't think there are many women who can accept that arrangement - but that may be more of a cultural thing than not, I don't know.

During the Western Han dynasty in China, nobles typically had a harem of up to 14 wives, with titles ranging from the "brilliant companion" (the #1 main wife) to the somewhat ingloriously named "night attendant" at the bottom of the totem pole.

Sometimes - though not often - I wonder what would happen if we scrapped the "nuclear family" and adopted a system like that.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Or maybe you're just highly evolved, Christine. Yes, what I was really referring to was your apparent rejection of the more doctrinaire straightjacket aspects of feminism, which sometimes tends to treat men as an entire class of retrogrades rather than a collection of individuals. Or at least that's how it seems to me sometimes. I like how you tie gender condescension to intellectual insecurity. I think they're related.


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