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Author Topic: Sexist Men and Women -- Made for Each Other?
Heather
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Curious if any of you saw this, and what you thought about it: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110823104926.htm

quote:
ScienceDaily (Aug. 24, 2011) — Men with a preference for 'one-night stands' and negative sexist attitudes towards women are more likely to use aggressive courtship strategies. They compete with other men who are also interested in the woman, tease the woman, and isolate her away from her friends. In response, women with a preference for 'no strings attached' sex and negative attitudes towards other women are more likely to respond to men's aggressive strategies. These findings by Jeffrey Hall and Melanie Canterberry, from the University of Kansas in the US, are published online in Springer's journal Sex Roles.

Hall and Canterberry set out to understand the characteristics of men who use aggressive court-ship strategies, based on speed seduction techniques described in the US bestseller "The Game" by Neil Strauss and the popular cable TV program "The Pickup Artist." They also studied the characteristics of women who find such strategies appealing.

I confess, the PUA stuff -- in the current incarnation of it, anyway, and certainly at the level of hype it's had -- is outside my own sex and dating experiences in a big way. To my knowledge, this wasn't ever something I've had to deal with, or if someone was trying these things, all they likely got from me was a blank look.

While I hear lots of older adult mainstream talk about it in terms of the perception this is everywhere for young people, I can't think of a time when any of you here talked about it. So, for all I know, this is no more pertinent to you than it is to me.

But I certainly am not surprised by the findings with this. Not a shocker to me that anyone who courts people by doing things like putting them down is not likely to find a receptive audience with someone who thinks well of themselves and others and isn't into put-downs or other kinds of hating-on.

Perhaps obviously, the study is addressing heterosexual people (though it would have been nice if they had just made that clear, eh?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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bump on a log
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The cases where I've seen this dynamic in action have been like this: women who would like to think of themselves as / be seen as 'tough' respond to hard handling from men, because to object to it would make them look 'weak'. However, I'm sure there are many other ways this can play out.

It would be helpful if the article had included the questionnaire they used and explained how the people studied had been recruited. That way we could get a better idea of exactly what was being asked and of possible sample bias etc. But reporting of this kind on scientific studies is seldom very good.

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Heather
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This abstract is the best I've got, alas: http://www.springerlink.com/content/72885788164pt1x7/

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Though I'm curious about what you've said about weakness/toughness up there, in terms of seeing responding to PUA stuff as either accepting or objecting. Where do you think non-participating fits in? In other words, what's just walking away without responding at all otherwise, because you think things like putting you down are baloney and not worth even a breath, get filed under?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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bump on a log
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Oh, thanks for that. Not long ago, in the halcyon days when I belonged to an institution of higher learning, I could log into Springerlink and read anything on it any time I liked...but no more. Costs money now and I can scarcely pay the rent as things are.

My guess is that just walking away might get filed under 'too weak to deal with it / not up to the challenge' or something similar. But bear in mind that I'm thinking of the dynamics I've observed of high school and university, between people without much experience under their belts. It might be different among adults: less of the adolescent interest in seeing if you can do or 'take' this or that, and more of an inclination instead not to stick around wasting your time on being treated unpleasantly. Perhaps, also, adults tend to have more fixed attitudes towards courtship and sex roles, so that with adults this this really would be a case of ingrained sexism on both sides, rather than trying things out or testing yourself.

That's an interesting aspect of the study, actually, that they used college students, then adults. I wonder if the results were precisely the same for both groups. I know that when I was younger I was distinctly unenthusiastic about feminism, but later experiences have changed my mind, and a friend of mine with a similar personality has gone through a similar transition. The college students of now grew up after many of the major gains of feminism and it is easy therefore when we are younger to dismiss it, because we don't understand how things used to be, and we haven't yet learned how sexist things still can be even in the West. So I would be inclined to hope that many of the college-aged women at least were simply trying on a 'tough' antifeminist attitude for a while -- to annoy their mothers, even -- and would change their minds in future. But perhaps in my European way I am reckoning without the so-called 'traditional values' which are so strong in some parts the States (I have lived there, I'm not talking through my hat). Perhaps many of the people in the study who had sexist attitudes, both men and women, were raised with them, instead of acquiring them as a form of rebellion against their parents, in which case I'm not real qualified to comment!

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Saffron Raymie
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This is just based on my own thinking at about sixteen years old.

Another reason for not wanting to be quiet and walk away is not wanting to look shy (looking weak) or 'too dumb to to think of a 'comeback'. The fear of looking boring can totally come into it.

Sometimes you think that if you consent to everything and act like you love whatever they do, they'll stop, because then they would have no power. This is like the incorrect belief that men cannot be assaulted because they 'love sex' so a no can't be ignored, as there won't be one.
So it may be sexist thinking about men; 'they'd say yes to anything, so I will, then I'll be strong like them.' Obviously this is sexist towards women too but gender-essentialist thinking can often lead up that alley.

[ 09-05-2011, 02:58 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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I know it's not exactly where the discussion is going, but it's actually a relief even to here "this type of women respond to the 'aggressive courtship strategies'" because most of the time I hear people talk about such tactics is either "It works on women" or "It doesn't work on women"... massively homogynising women.

I don't know if people have watched Derren Brown documentaries, but he is a bit of hypnotist/commentator/skeptic guy who seems to like to explain a lot of the theory behind manipulation to debunk cons etc.

But one thing he says is that the more stressed/scared/frightened a person is, the easier it is to control them using verbal or physical queues, as they default more easily to instinctive responses. It seems to me being a woman who has a low opinion of women and themselves is more likely to feel nervous and vulnerable... I can see how on the surface that could actually manifest in lots of ways, "toughness" but just as easily maybe also being quiet.

Ugh, I just find all that dating strategy stuff so yucky... it's so tempting to speculate all sorts of crap. I'm thankful that it seems most people aren't actually that manipulative.

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Saffron Raymie
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Jacob - Derren Brown is really cool, he does a lot with gender in children too.

I thought of another reason I may have said yes to people like this in the past. It's about slut-shaming, but slut-shaming men.

A woman in the situation thinks 'oh man, they're trying anything to get laid, if a woman did that she would be seen as 'easy' but they would all sleep with her'. It's basically fighting sexism with sexism - if a woman did what pick-up artists did, she would be objectified and slut shamed, and seen as 'used' and worthless.

What's the answer to this people wrongly run into? Objectify and slut shame men. See *them* as worthless. Every girl in my friendship group used to know this one boy, Rob, and other boys asked why we all slept with such a jerk who had no respect for us. The girls would laugh and reply that they had zero respect for him, were all using him, and that he was 'just an easy, we don't even know his name, why would we care about his respect?'. (I imagined all the boys who regularly slut-shamed the women they'd slept with being asked if they were worried that the women didn't respect them? They would have laughed). Many girls in the group refered to the boy as the 'token whore' of the area; but again, they'd all slept with him; saying things like 'oh course I had a bit, every gal's had a bit - it's like taking candy from a baby'. They would make endless jokes about how he couldn't 'keep it in his pants'. This happened so much that Rob's best friend (male) once, deperate and in tears, asked 'how do I become 'an easy'?

Obviously this is the worst way to treat sex and human beings of all genders ever, but I definately do think there's an element of 'playing people at their own game' and 'a woman would get passed around like sweets if she did acted like they do - so lets pass THEM around like sweets.' 'We have them (translation: have sex with them), we win. Who cares if they're thinking they've won, who cares *what* they think?

Fighting sexism with sexism is just about the worst idea ever, but it's sometimes how people initially respond. This is especially so if they have been taught that sex is something you get, and getting means winning, rather than sex is something you DO together, for the same goal of shared pleasure.

This is highened by the cultural belief that one-night-stands are about 'getting' and 'pulling' and 'having'; as well has no feelings being involved - 'no strings attatched'. Due to sexual shame, people of all genders may feel like, in order to have a 'proper' one night stand and not get hurt (which obviously shouldn't happen anyway), they have to 'train themselves' see the other person as something they found on the bottom of their shoe.


So, the sexism may not always be directed at women. I think it's incredibly hard to get through to a girl who can only hear 'he doesn't respect you' as 'you are being used - because you're female, honey, and he's male - so it's you that's been used. We all know what men love.' As well as 'he doesn't respect you' as 'Nobody does. Have some more modesty! You'll get a reputation, young lady!' She's had so many messages like this before, intended to stop her having the sex she wants, that without proper non-gender-essentialist, casual sex-accepting sex ed, she can't grasp the concept of 'he doesn't respect you' without a ton of 'you're worth more than casual sex dearie, get a devoted boyfriend' messages popping up to join it.

I got so sick of people seeing that they boys who I'd slept with had somehow 'won', that I desided to be very vocal about that fact that *I* had in fact 'won' because I'd enjoyed it more; therefore 'got' more. But where do we all get these messages of 'getting' and 'scoring'?

[ 09-12-2011, 05:13 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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Heather
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Rae: that was really fascinating to read, and I really think you're unto something. Thanks for sharing that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WesLuck
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I agree. [Smile]
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