Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts Upon the Hunt: Part I

A Side Note of Inspiration: I've been trying to think like a man lately. Yep.

Some History: When you grow up as a smart little girl into an intelligent and semi-sophisticated (my hair isn't always in order) older woman, there is something about the male species that you might never want to admit you know. You might try really hard to believe that some men are capable of not being typical. That some men, due to breeding and education and a really great mother figure in their lives, somehow lack (or evolved) away from the gene where they size up your looks the minute they see you. 

A Fact: Men are hunters.
A Second Fact: Men are very very very very very visual.

Some Explanation: When a man is a hunter, I see it in two ways.

Way 1) Mostly they are going to hunt with their eyes before they ever decide to hunt with their brains. This has been a hard concept for me to grasp in my life, but I think I'm finally at a place of embracing it. I'm finally at a place where if I'm the object of desire, then it might not be such a bad thing. Did you hear me feminist world? Ahem, being an object of desire might not be such a bad thing (thanks to Patty B over at MMP for helping me voice this).

Way 2) Hunting is all about winning or losing. And men like to win. And they want to win even if they don't want you. More on this in Part 2.

The Realities of Conclusion: These thoughts on the hunt stemmed from a conversation I had with a smart, caring, intelligent, funny man who has been my dear friend for a long time. We've been friends with benefits some times and other times we've just been friends. He knows me well. He knows I have a brain and a graduate degree from a top university. He knows I care about feeding poor children and helping the homeless. He listens to me when I rant about being misunderstood by some one. He laughs with me during a good movie. He's been there for me emotionally and physically when I've wanted the one or the other. Knowing that he sees me as a valuable human being makes it ok for him to finally admit that sometimes he sees me purely as an object of desire. And he added to this that it might be safe to tell me that he just plain likes it when I dress like a slut. And, that most men like it when women dress like sluts. 

I have never dressed like a slut before. Well, not often. I've alway been pretty modest because even a V neck shirt can make my lush, brainy breasts look provocative. 

Moving On: This was hard for me to hear because I fear that dressing like a slut will give people the wrong opinion of me, but I also relish the idea of dressing like a slut and taking my sexual power to a very new and higher level. To be able to be the object of desire, know it, own it, even if it's only for the man that sits and watches the news with me. 

What are your thoughts on dressing like a slut? Or looking at girls who are dressed like sluts. Or am I saying the word "slut" so many times that you are now uncomfortable (like I sort of am.)


Craig said...

First off, I don't believe in gender essentialism; rather, I believe that most of our seemingly gendered behaviours are a result of intense and early socialisation, not hormones. There are just too many exceptions to make such generalisations. And the dichotomy of either man or woman ignores the non binary diversity of both gender and sex.

I think that the concept of "slut" is inherently misogynist and not at all useful. It's is used to control women's sexuality in a way that men aren't subjected to because women aren't supposed to be sexual in the way that men are allowed to be. How often would you say that a man is "dressing like a slut"? I certainly haven't ever heard it. A man can dress virtually however he wants without his clothing saying anything about whether he is sexually available, or whether he is "promiscuous".

In other words, I don't believe in the concept of "sluttiness" or that how you choose to dress in any ways relates to your sex life or how many/frequent partners you choose to have. The idea that showing a larger amount of skin or a more form-fitting garment is somehow more sexually provocative is, I think, intrinsically linked with the idea that women who dress "provocatively" are inviting and even encouraging lurid advances or even unwanted attention including rape.

Is it natural for a heterosexual man to enjoy and find pleasure in seeing a women wearing clothing he finds sexually alluring or interesting? Yes, it is. As long as he doesn't make judgements about the women based on her clothing choice, or as long as society at large doesn't shame her or victim blame her based on her clothing choice.

And maybe you need to tell him that you like it when he dresses like a slut and see how he reacts. See what his ideas are regarding being male and considered a slut.

Craig said...

I realised that my comment might have seemed antagonistic - if it did, I certainly didn't mean it that way. I suppose I just have very strong negative feelings about the whole concept of "sluttiness" and the women are socialised to feel shame for having sexual needs.

It would have come across very different if he had said, "I like it when you dress sexy", or "You have a very attractive body, and I enjoy it when you show it off" - while those kinds of statements still are focussing on your physical appearance, they don't inherently carry the sort of judgement, misogyny, objectification, and dehumanisation with them that using the word "slut" does.

JMH said...

Craig - really well-articulated. I have nothing to add to that.

Stella - as for thinking like a man, as much a man can think when there's such a woman around, and it's maybe not a wise generalization, but this is how it goes for me:

The woman appears. There's a lot of skin. My mouth dries up, my tongue gets thick, my heart beats at double time. There's a roller-coaster feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm sure my pupils are dilated like I'm some sort of acid freak. My thoughts are alphabet soup.

OK breathe.

And only now can I sort of assess, can I access the higher brain functions. That initial wave must be ridden out. There's an infinite variety of sexiness beyond, but it is the shortest route. Did that rhyme?

Stella said...


First off. I'm with you on gender essentialism. However, I'm also very aware of the ways that I have been subjected to all the ideas that you and I reject regarding that. While I don't think it always exists, I think it does exist plenty in the minds of 95% of the population. We must live among them--but we don't have to be one of them. I'm taking out my hammer to smash this ideas this very moment.

Also, I agree with you about the term "slut" me, I did not use it willy nilly all over this post. I used it to say it. To think about it. To mull it over in my mouth a little bit. To redefine what I have thought when I've said that word. I've had the good girl mentality shoved down my throat since before I was born. I've never been a "slut". I judged, in my teenage years, women I thought somehow measured up to that definition of a word I thought I understood. I understand now that I didn't understand a damn thing. I'm playing with that word in my writing as it evolved in my brain to transform into something else.

My point, with me taking my body as object to this newer level is seeing if it has any influence over my sexuality at all. I'm grown up enough to not fall victim to every Tom, Dick, or Harry who tries to pick me up. However, going out with a damn fine man for a night on the town and allowing myself to show parts of my body that I've never allowed myself to show because I know it's one of the greatest means of foreplay that I am discovering....or because I know that this person already values me for my brain and my heart and my ups and my downs....knowing all of this and then finding the power in simply being desired because of this awesome body that I have...this is something new I'm trying, something new I'm thinking about, something new I never would have let myself even consider because it would have incensed some feminist sensibility inside of me. It still might. I have now only done it once. I'm still not sure how it's working out, but I like that I'm brave enough to actually show some skin these days.

And I want to reclaim the idea that dressing provocatively somehow encourages rape. We live is a fucked up society that teaches people "DON'T GET RAPED" instead of the more valuable platform of "DON'T RAPE"

I was doing this as a strict personal experiment with a man I trust. Would I dress this way if I was out on the prowl trying to meet someone? Probably not at first blush, but maybe now I might try it. I've been fed the opposite for so long another part of me is getting hungry.

Stella said...

JMH--most real men and women need a foundation to follow the first flutterings of physical reaction, it's the attraction of the brain that keeps that wave of primal satisfaction coming back for more and more action.

That might have come out in a bit of alliteration and slant rhyme.

Stella said...

P.S. Craig, those are the ways that he says it, I was sort of generalizing more with other men too, at the same time, cause this guy tends to not quite be like other guys in that regard.

Craig said...

Certainly my experience is going to be very different from yours because I'm not a woman and haven't had the same kind of slut-shaming and sexuality-denying bullshit shoved down my throat like you have. But I totally get the difference between the inner activist, ultra-feminist you and the realities of having to then go out into a fundamentally sexist and oppressive world where whether or not you reject the misogyny of sluttiness, the fact that others do not can and does still affect you in negative ways.

Even from a distance (as I'm gay and am not ever intimately involved with womens' sexualities), I can recognise that it is a very difficult line to walk to balance fighting against the objectification of women and recognising and accepting the natural carnal sexuality which both men and women have.

In other words, where the line is between "I'm owning myself as a sexual animal who has needs and the ability to satisfy them in others and I recognise the power of our species' base sexual attraction." and, "Women have for millennia been objectified and valued as nothing more than what their bodies can offer to bring to men, and I need to be valued and respected for the whole person that I am." is something I certainly don't know.

Newt said...

I think the part about respecting me mentally and emotionally is a big part of how comfortable I am being - to use the term from the post - slutty... or maybe I will just say more overtly sexual.

I dunno but I see men as objects of desire too, MY desire haha. I don't think it's bad, but I guess you just have to be careful that you remember they are people too or something?

Haven't really figured out where I stand... morally.