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Hunter

Wow. Sexual Power? And at MY age? Who knew?

Puh-leeze.

I'm sure Nancy Pelosi got where she is today by oozing sex appeal, lulling slavering DC power brokers into cooperation with the unspoken, but implicit promise of forbidden carnal delights...

...or something like that.

C'mon. Anyone who spouts this nonsense should ask themselves how Barbara Milkulski made it into the Senate. (not a slam on Barb, whom I adore)

Liz

Ah, yes, the power that women have over men to make them do bad things. That's the same power that makes women in short skirts cause men to rape them, I believe.

kali

What a great excerpt. I never liked what I've seen of her writing before, but that passage was very insightful. I never thought of that, that some men take it almost as an affront that their desire to please a woman can give her a degree of power over him. Even though for most of history women's very livelihoods have depended on being able to please a guy, no one ever talked about the huge power men exerted over women in love. Because the huge power men exerted over women in all contexts was taken for granted, obviously.
I also think there's a different degree of respect granted to men and to women who are obsessively, foolishly, in love. Women get the "OMG LOCK UP UR BUNNIEZ" reaction to a much greater degree than men. Which ties into the above point somehow-- or does it? I can't quite make the link. Probably because women, despite the patriarchal stereotype of them as overmemotional, have historically not been able to afford emotional incontinence; they had to supress their feelings and marry Mr Collins and not Mr Wickham, or risk disaster, so there is more contempt for women who can't do that.
I do think that generally, any charismatic and fascinating individual has some power over others, and lots of them use whatever socially acceptable manners are at their disposal to manipulate people. And people are often sexually attracted to charismatic individuals of their preferred gender; but because we're all looking through the male gaze, the power of a charismatic man is seen neutrally, as charisma, but the power of a charismatic woman is frequently reinterpreted as "pussy power."

ballgame

In favor of aggressive and highly-competitive men. We all know the term for an aggressive and highly-competitive women...

Though not as true as it used to be, mythago, I think you make a good point.

you are making a pretty grievous error in terms of the populations you are comparing.

Annamal, I appreciate your picking up on the fact that I incorporated an unverified assumption within my casual observation. Calling it a "grievous error" seems a bit, uh, harsh. Frankly, you can't really call it an "error" unless you can show that it was not merely unverified but, you know, wrong. But otherwise, yeah, good catch and worth checking.

Ballgame, it is certainly true that men are more likely to hold the more dangerous jobs. But why do you suppose that is? Consider a typical family in which the husband is a police officer and the wife is a secretary. Are men clamoring to break in to the secretarial field?

Well, if women were clamoring to marry secretaries, HF, they probably would be! ;)

I don't think the reasons for the wage gap matter so much as the fact that it exists.

Really?? Are you serious?

Ballgame, do you really think that women have more material power in society than men do and, if so, do you think it is a power derived from sex appeal?

"Material power"? No, I don't think so. But I do think women wield considerable power and in microsocial arenas wield more power than many men. I think the average woman has more sexual power than the average man, and the average mom has more emotional weight in the typical family than the average dad. (How many "If Dad's not happy, nobody's happy" T-shirts have you seen?)

Reise

Any man who is willing to pretend that a woman has "power" over him because she is attractive either *wants* her to hold that power (even if it's untrue), has issues with their masculinity, or is over-reacting for the sake of not having anything better to complain about.
However, those men who ARE in a domineering situation rarely ever get any serious attention and are usually downplayed because they are such weaklings for "getting themselves stuck" in such a relationship. So is it really any surprise that insecure men behave this way?
That being said, preach!

Hunter

Just so you know, Ballgame...it is YOUR responsibility to verify YOUR numbers. But nice try.

Annamal

Also yeah I'd call it an error cause it's pretty damn obvious that women who parent and work at the same time are going to work less hours thereby pulling down the general number of hours worked.

It's up to you to show that women behave in the same way without children.

think the average woman has more sexual power than the average man, and the average mom has more emotional weight in the typical family than the average dad. (How many "If Dad's not happy, nobody's happy" T-shirts have you seen?)

Eh, I'd invert that slogan to "if everybody's not happy, mom's not happy" which seems to correlate a lot better with the truth. Are you familiar with the concept of "emotional work" in relationships? And do you understand that women do more of it? And that this is empirically verifiable? You are aware at least of the studies which show that marriage provides much greater benefits to men than to women? Doing all the work != having all the power.

As for the average woman having more sexual power than the average man-- balls. Women's sexuality is used to make them feel powerless all the damn time.
The other thing you're missing is that men's power over women isn't seen as sexual and isn't sexual, in many cases; women will tolerate a man interrupting them, provide him with ego strokes while he talks, and listen to him attentively regardless of whether they find him sexually attractive; it's purely a function of male social privilege. It's only because "sexual power" has the potential to slightly reverse* this normal gender dynamic that women's sexual power seems more noticeable than men's.
* it bloody doesn't, usually. A lot of men talk even MORE when they're trying to impress you, and put you in even more situations where you have to give them insincere ego strokes just to be polite.

kali

That last comment was me. And I thought of another quick way of debunking the "women have more sexual power" idea.
What percentage of women have applied hot wax to their private parts because their male sexual partners find it attractive?
What percentage of men would do the same for their female sexual partners?
Of men who are partnered with men, do you think the percentage is higher or lower?

Yes, of course the cultural norms are different... that's part of my point. Women don't in fact have the power to demand these things of men.

The Happy Feminist

I don't think the reasons for the wage gap matter so much as the fact that it exists.

Really?? Are you serious?

Yes, for the purposes of THIS post, it doesn't matter if it's discrimination in the workplace between male and female employees, a lack of value placed on work women do, women's greater obligations at home, or failure to encourage girls to enter certain fields, the end result is that, for all our alleged sexual power, we make less money in virtually ever field.

But I do think women wield considerable power and in microsocial arenas wield more power than many men. I think the average woman has more sexual power than the average man, and the average mom has more emotional weight in the typical family than the average dad.

But, even if this is true (which seems doubtful), what does the woman get out of it? When you use hte word "power," what I think you really mean is that the woman may have a strong effect on people -- her emotional state may have a strong effect on her family members, her sex appeal may have a strong effect on the men around her.

But that's a very different thing than being able to control events. For example, if I have sex appeal, I may HOPE that a man will do what I want. But if have money, I have the POWER to buy things. If I am a judge, I have the POWER to send the defendant before me to jail. That's the difference.

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