I don’t really like going into the world of Jezebel. In fact, I’m only aware of it because it’s part of Gawker Media as a whole and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on Gizmodo and Lifehacker in the last two years which are also part of Gawker Media. But suffice to say, the few times I’ve gone to the site, I’ve walked away with an astonishingly bad taste in my mouth.
To start with, let me explain about a little about myself. I’m a nerdy guy. I was never all that sociable in high school. As I recently revealed, that wasn’t even really much of an option. I’m not exactly sure where the idea came from, but somehow along the way, I picked up this crazy notion that girls should be respected. It wasn’t from church, as I never even knowingly entered a church until I was 18. And it certainly wasn’t from the people at my school. In fact, I recall one particular incident in high school where I watched one particular douchebag rubbing one of my female friends in the crotch area under the table during class. I don’t remember much about the incident, only that he was staring at me as he did it, almost showing off. The incident angered me. She laughed. Later she informed me that she laughed because, when she’s uncomfortable, she doesn’t know what else to do. I wish I’d had the good sense then to start a fight with the guy. She was my friend. I hated seeing her disrespected like that. That memory sticks with me to this day.
Suffice to say, I’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to cultivate an attitude of respecting and valuing the women in my life. So, when I hear or read angry anti-male rants that look to portray us all as horn dogs and insensitive cock monkeys, I get more than a little pissed. I’m expected to go the extra mile to see the individual value of women (and gladly do so), but because I’m male, my opinion and values—values that include ensuring women get respect!—are irrelevant, because how could I understand? Still, I get it. More often than not, the women I meet that so fiercely cling to these beliefs have been hurt. Badly. Although, that’s an unfair correlation, we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been neglected and left alone and insulted and disregarded and we all deserve to be valued.
Which is why when I see stuff like this, I get mad. Furious. Fuming. I want to punch something. Hard. Repeatedly.
Of course, I feel this way for two reasons. Chief among them is because this email, this horrific, gut-wrenching, slimy piece of filth exists. Classifying vaginas? Horrible. Ranking girls? Degrading. And then there’s selections like this:
“Non-consent and rape are two different things. There is a fine line, so make sure not to cross it.”
If this email were a person, we’d be brawling on the floor right now. I’d likely be getting my face smashed in, but it would feel good for the chance to punch the guy who wrote it at least once.
But there’s another reason that it pisses me off. Because I’ve read this before. Where one person goes to great lengths to categorize and dismiss an entire other gender. Where one individual reduces the act of sex and relationships to a self-serving, pseudo-scientific piece of crap for the sake of humor, ego-stroking, or whatever other sick pleasure the person is trying to conjure up. Except, the other time I saw this, it was written by a woman.
Since I don’t really expect you to go to great lengths to read through two lengthy articles about the depravity of human sexual selfishness, allow me to summarize: A female student of Duke university created a detailed presentation describing the pros and cons of 13 separate men with whom she had slept, giving them scores, even ranking their penis size.
Surely, Jezebel, the site that deems the hypothetical application of a degrading and insulting composium on the subject of female objectification would hate this. I mean, look what they had to say about the frat boys’ email:
“Once again an idiotic college student has brought shame on his fraternity, his school, and possibly the entire Greek system by doing something that confirms every misogynistic frat guy stereotype.”
“The email covers disgusting frat guy cliches — racism, degrading women, and promoting sexual assault — so thoroughly that it almost seems like a parody, but it appears to be real.”
So, what did they have to say about this lady person’s objectification, degradation, and personal, individual humiliation of 13 Duke University students that even included pictures?
“Here’s another reminder that women can be as flip, aggressive, or acquisitive about sex as men can. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as all parties are consenting.”
“Some of it is downright hilarious”
Jezebel. Listen. I appreciate what you’re trying to do. But holy crap are you ever screwing it up. I mean, for crying out loud…how in the world is an email that admittedly horribly degrades unnamed girls is bad, but a powerpoint presentation that chronicles the sexual exploits of 13 individual students with names and pictures is only wrong because it’s in writing? Would it be ok for the frat boy to continue his attempts to bone as many chicks as he can so long as he gets them to say “ok I’ll do it” first and never writes about it? Of course not!
It’s wrong because it’s wrong. It’s wrong because it’s disrespectful. Because every single friggin’ person on this friggin’ planet is worth something. Men and women alike!
Are either of these two people right? No. They’re both unbelievably wrong. In the worst ways. They’re insensitive, callous douches who have treated members of the opposite sex as little more than objects that exist for their own gratification. And that’s not how it works.
I’m disappointed that people like this frat boy and this Duke girl exist. Not just disappointed, but angry, furious. Outright disgusted. But Jezebel, people listen to you. You have loyal readers. As a member of the public spotlight, you could effect change in the public mind’s eye. And instead of promoting mutual respect and admiration, you’re merely conjuring up hate for the other side.
As a man, I’ll go ahead and apologize on behalf of my kin. It won’t make anything better, but I really am deeply and truly sorry for how some men have callously and heartlessly pursued little more than your vaginas and left you emotionally empty at the end of it all. And I’m sorry I didn’t punch that guy in high school in the face when I had the chance.
However, we’re not all bad. And failing to condemn with equal vigor the actions of girls like this Duke university student and the USC frat guy only continues to encourage inequality. Maybe you’re ok with that. Maybe you’d rather be dominant than equal. Maybe you think it’s high time than men be made to cook and clean while the women go off to war. I don’t know. But that’s the not the world I wanna see.
I want to do household chores, I want the woman I’m with to have a job, and I want to tell her how much I value her every day and delight in seeing her face. And shit like this makes it damn hard for guys like me to want to put in the effort.
I’m just glad I know that not all girls are like that.