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menI recently read a superb article in The Guardian about why men should be feminists:
the point is that the best and wisest feminist ideals ? the sort that don't interest the media - have things to offer men too. Women moving onto the ground of politics and the professions, gaining autonomy and attaining enhanced cultural presence as a result has presented challenges for men and masculinity, but also certain opportunities.Men should embrace these principles too, not only for women's sake but also for their own. All else being equal, to be born male is to inherit legacies of entitlement that continue to outweigh those bestowed on those born female. Yet the state of maleness carries its own burden of expectations and constraints. Contemporary studies of boyhood shed light on what we've always known ? what I still remember vividly from my own boyhood ? about the disabling and limiting influence of male behaviour conventions, homophobia and general "gender policing" on men in the making and the huge anxieties that inform them.
This is the baggage men drag with them through their lives; the pressure imposed both from without and from within to appear hard and never soft, to make a performance of rejecting anything that smacks of domesticity or femininity, notwithstanding the metrosexual and "new man". Even men who seem to embody and thrive on this stereotype can feel like slaves to it, and are often undone by it.
Indeed! I'd like to take this one step further from gender stereotypes to sexual stereotypes. Certainly female sexual stereotypes are damaging (slut, whore, prude, frigid, women's orgasms are "complicated", women are always faking it and on and on) but male sexual stereotypes exist in tandem with these. Here are just a few I can think of:
Boys will be boys, men are visual, not emotional, all orgasms are easy, all orgasms feel amazing, men know everything about how to have sex, men are incompetent in bed, men only think about one thing, all men want to sleep with 18 year old porn stars who are blonde, skinny, and have huge breasts
Those are just the ones off the top of my head. In many ways, these stereotypes limit men's sexual pleasure and growth just as much as the stereotypes about women do. The pressure that the article above speaks about exists here too - the pressure to know everything, to ask no questions, to do certain things sexually whether you like them or not. Men hold themselves to these standards and their partners, in so much as they believe in these stereotypes, are part of this policing as well. Many aspects of this come back to what the Guardian article spoke about - gender. As we insist on dividing the whole world up into masculine and feminine, sexuality gets lumped in and anything sexually "feminine" (asking questions, displaying emotion, being tender...) is off limits to men.In my time at Babeland I've had the chance to talk to a lot of men who don't fit these stereotypes: men who would rather read erotica than watch porn, men who want to watch a different kind of porn than what gets shoveled down their throats by the mainstream industry, men who have read books on sex and know their stuff but still know that they have more to learn, men who truly respect their partners, men who want to have a new and different kind of orgasms, men who want better or easier orgasms, etc. How many more men are out there, wanting to "stop and ask for directions" but they just don't feel like they can?e="bookssex" target="_blank" href="/page/TIB/CTGY/books-sex-information">books on sex and know their stuff but still know that they have more to learn, men who truly respect their partners, men who want to have a new and different kind of orgasms, men who want better or easier orgasms, etc. How many more men are out there, wanting to "stop and ask for directions" but they just don't feel like they can?