An Interesting Male Perspective

I was reading through some of the blogs I follow, one of them listed a link to this article, “Ladies, Men don’t have it as easy as you think (If you have a few minutes, check out the post below it too.  It’s pretty funny).”  The article made me think and when I think, I write.  If you have a differing opinion, suck it up and leave an offensive comment at the end.  Offensive comments make me hard.

Essentially, the article says that women are constantly bombarded with imagery in the media that says they are unattractive unless they use certain products, or need to lose those extra pounds, etc.  Then, on a day to day basis those same women are constantly receiving the opposite message from men.  Men call them attractive, hit on them, gawk at them, etc.

Then, the article parallels the female experience with a man’s.  Men are constantly bombarded with imagery in the media that says we’re fat, unattractive,  need to make more money, or need a more expensive car to be attractive.  It’s similar to women, but the difference is that men don’t get that day to day reassurance of their attractiveness.  Men are rarely complimented, are rarely hit on, are not gawked at like women are.  We have the negative pressure but little of the positive pressure.

I can feel the female hatred radiating through the screen.  No, I’m not saying that being gawked at constantly, hit on constantly, and rude passes are a good thing.  I’m sure those are a constant frustration, but I am saying that men don’t get any of that.  Not even a smidge.  None of it.  No positive reinforcement on a day to day basis.  I can’t remember the last time that a woman I wasn’t dating, or wasn’t family, complimented me on anything.  I don’t even get “Hey, that’s a nice shirt” from female coworkers.  And that was my feeling-sexy shirt  😦

Every once and a while, it would be awesome to get an unsolicited compliment from someone of the other gender.  Reassurances like that might boost men’s confidence after being bombarded by the negative images we get on TV or in Movies.

One thing that the article doesn’t mention is the slight difference in how men are portrayed in the media.  One of the most interesting distinctions between male and female portrayals on TV, especially sitcoms, are the stereotypical “fat, stupid, father/husband” (or the gawky, nerdy guy in Romantic Comedies).   The woman is always attractive, but half the time the main male character is an overweight dumbass (The Simpsons, King of Queens, Family Guy, etc).

I could see a female perspective arguing that those representations show that men don’t have the pressure to be physically attractive.  However, I would argue that those characters reinforce negative feelings about our bodies.   Those guys are constantly mocked for being the fat, stupid father/husband.  Those characters are the retards that lucked into a good situation and are desperately trying not to screw it up on a day to day basis.

If you look at male characters in movies or TV that are considered attractive, sex symbols, or successful they are just as bad as the media representations of female characters.  The guys are ridiculously fit, tall, dark, handsome, usually well educated, talented, make a lot of money (or have some sexy job, like being a spy), and generally make us ordinary guys feel like fat, stupid, ugly, awkward idiots.

I’m not saying that either gender has it better or worse than the other, just that there are pros and cons to each.  However, there is a lot of awareness and support around women’s issues and maybe there isn’t the the same level of awareness around some of men’s issues.

I don’t know, but it is worth thinking about.  And writing about.


6 thoughts on “An Interesting Male Perspective

  1. I’ve rewritten a few responses to this post…not because I’m just trying to come up with something offensive to make you hard (you opened the door to that, I just walked through it) but because you really have hit on an interesting debate. However, I think on balance, were you to do a longitudinal study of popular media, you would find that generally speaking, it’s the “average” guys who get the “hot” women. It’s the reason that the Bridget Jones books and movies were so notable – she’s a big pudgy and silly and yet she has two awesome dudes fall in love with her. Perhaps the fact that men are now held to the same ridiculous standards as women is a sign that the gap of gender equality is getting smaller…you now just have to put up with the same crap we always have. Happy graduation, dudes. Welcome to the big leagues.

    • Oooh, I’m starting to feel tingly.

      I think what’s interesting about your response is the reference to “average” guys. I would argue that the representation of “average” has gone from actually average to more and more attractive. Similar to female representations, they are getting further and further away from normal body types. Thus, increasing the negative impact on all of us normal guys.

      Additionally, “Welcome to the big leagues” is all well and good except that we still haven’t dealt with the crux of the difference. Women get positive reinforcement daily and men don’t. So, while the media portrayals are increasingly distant from normal, real people, making all of us feel inadequate, men never get any of the positive responses that women do.

      Keep it up! I’m at about half-mast, let’s keep the party rolling!

  2. I’d like to live in a world where women get real positive reinforcement daily. Oh, wait…that’s right, you guys are talking about women who are online dating? Who get “hey wanna fuck” messages? Or those who aren’t online, who get the leering stares from weirdos? Interesting that it’s seen as positive reinforcement. Just today I got a message from a man online which said (verbatim) “I feel like you included all those pics of your legs to tease me…I always look at a woman’s legs first”. I asked him when he noticed a woman’s brain. Shockingly, no response. What did I get from that? Positive that I have nice legs? Um…okay…but I know he doesn’t like me for my winning personality. I would bet that a few days of that and men would also start whining about being objectified.

    • We’re getting somewhere, I felt a twitch. Maybe two.

      It is positive reinforcement even if it is unpleasant at the time. No matter how rude, immature, or annoying a guy’s attention is that is someone saying conclusively “I find you attractive and would have sex with you given an opportunity.” He might say it poorly, he might insult your personality or brain power, but he finds you physically attractive. Even if that isn’t the best kind of reinforcement, it’s something. Whereas a guy never receives any kind of assurance that he’s attractive at all. None. Ever.

      Consider the general dating dynamics, it nearly always starts with “A guy walks up to a girl and says something”. Even if he’s a retard, unattractive, whatever, that is someone saying conclusively that he finds you attractive. He has made a complimentary move toward the woman, showing how he feels. Almost every single dating situation involves a man showing interest in the woman first. Even if they aren’t tactful, or even nice, women are constantly receiving interest from the opposite sex (good and bad, admittedly).

      What do men get? Negative reinforcement in the media, then they get shot down at the bar 9 out of 10 times (at least), and no female ever walking up to them first. As often as women complain about attention from men, I would love to see how they felt on the other side of the coin.

      Seriously, keep it rolling. I’ve got wood and nowhere to put it. Whisper in my ear some more…

      • So let’s take this to it’s logical conclusion then. When a dude exposed his cock to me on public transit, ostensibly because I was hot and he wanted to fuck me, was that positive reinforcement?

        It is simply not true that men do not receive interest. As a reasonably appealing woman who has reached out to men many many many times online (and in bars), more often than not to no response…one must conclude that y’all are just waiting to hear from women that meet the unreasonable standards set for us – hot bod, rich, smart (but not smarter then you), intelligent (but not complicated or demanding), and drama-free (whatever the fuck that means).

        Men are notoriously unaware of their surroundings and subtle communication clues. Maybe the problem isn’t that women aren’t giving you positive reinforcement, it’s that you are too wrapped up elsewhere to notice it.

        How’s that, my wooden friend?

  3. That is excellent, we’re really riding along now. Gotta keep the tempo just right, not too fast, not too slow…

    Guy showing you his cock on public transit? Yup, that’s positive reinforcement. Creepy, but he’s showing you attention in his own twisted way. And look at it from his perspective, he’s showing you his most intimate place and you scoff at him. He’s rejected. He’s probably going to go jump off a bridge now.

    Besides, he’s thinking like a guy. If a chick flashed a guy on public transit, he’d be like “Whoo hoo! Do it again!”

    Speaking as an absolutely average, run-of-the-mill, John Doe guy I can say conclusively that the only woman who ever came up and asked me to dance what the friend of my (then) wife. Did she want to fuck me? Yeah, but that’s only because she knew I was “safe” and she didn’t like her husband much. And you know what? As kinda creepy as that was, it was also a nice compliment. I wasn’t going to sleep with her, but it was flattering that she wanted to.

    You’re saying that we aren’t sensitive enough, maybe the ladies are a touch insensitive. Maybe? Huh?

    Pick up the pace, babe… 😉

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