Am I a Misogynist?

This is a question I ask myself every once in a while.

I do so because I consider myself a feminist:

-I believe that, outside of biology, gender means absolutely nothing.

-I believe that “no” means “no”, and the only exception to that rule is when they tell you (however they want to), that “no” actually does mean “yes” (but the word “yes”, or any positive affirmation, should pass through their lips at some point). Admittedly, that’s not really even an exception.

-I believe that approaching a woman in a hotel elevator at 4 in the morning in a foreign country, no matter how innocent your intentions, is fucking stupid… you just don’t do that. The bar will work just as well, and it won’t make her wonder whether or not you want to rape her.

-I believe that rape victims are NEVER responsible for the rape; they are NEVER to blame… I don’t care if the rapist’s victim murdered his wife… she will get the due justice accorded to her by a fair trial. Rape is still wrong. Period.

-I believe that women can do everything a man can do, and vice-versa (please keep in mind that I’m not talking about biology… obviously men can’t get pregnant… I’m talking about talents, skills, and so on).

-I believe that personality is at least half of what makes a woman attractive (for me, personality is more important than looks). And, ultimately, I believe that women deserve to be seen as human beings, not sexual objects.

That said…

-I watch porn. Love it, in fact.

-I love it when women know they’re beautiful and want to show off their beauty.

-I happen to like pics of women COSPlaying.

-I happen to like looking at pictures of women in bikinis, or even naked.

-One-night stands don’t bother me. Hell… I’d love one-night stands. Sometimes I wonder if maybe, for now, I’d be better off in a “friends with benefits” relationship as opposed to a romantic one.

-Like all guys, I imagine what it’d be like to be the only dude surrounded by a lot of hot women. It’s a fantasy.

-Some of the so-called “misogyny” exposed in movies and TV and commercials just doesn’t seem all that misogynistic to me (I’d be happy to give examples and see reasons for why I’m wrong… I’m not so egotistical as to become an ass when shown why I’m wrong… I will accept when I’m wrong… and my bar for being shown to be wrong is set really low because, quite frankly, I’m a stupid guy who’s way more often wrong than right).

-From the above… I really don’t like commercials that show men as dysfunctional, couch-potato, moronic asshats married to entirely socially functional women. It’s NOT their portrayal of women I have an issue with (I love that); it’s the way they portray the men. I feel like commercials have just traded misogyny for misandry.

Side rant: beer commercials are the worst, especially since they manage to mix the two. They’re misogynistic because the girl is either shown as a dumb blonde or an “evil feminist”. They’re misandrinistic, however, because they reinforce the stereotype of the stupid, beer-chugging, couch-sitting, football-watching asshat who cares more about his beer/game than his girl.

Are there any commercials that aren’t full of misogyny and/or misandry, or is that just not possible?

-Above I said that personality is more important for me than looks, and that is absolutely true… even if I’m looking for a one-night stand or “friends with benefits”. But that doesn’t mean looks aren’t important. I do have physical standards. I need to be physically attracted to a woman before entering into some kind of intimacy with her. Admittedly, I no longer know how to describe what I find attractive a) because “skinny” no longer means what I intend it to mean when I say it (now it means “anorexic”… I just mean “athletic” mostly) and b) my opinions vary and are wildly eclectic. It’d be easier to start a gallery of women I find extremely attractive and for you to just infer what that is from the pics, quite frankly (and I can if you want, though I’m not going to if not asked). I’ll give you two women I consider to be goddesses, however: Olivia Wilde and Kate Beckinsale. Also: most of the Suicide Girls.

-I’m all for women dressing skimpy; and yes, partly from a purely physical, “I’m a dude” standpoint. I want to see it.

Now let me expand. This isn’t about defending the above, though I will do a little of that. It’s to give some more context:

-I watch porn. Love it, in fact.
To be honest, mainstream porn has left me by the wayside, pretty much because the greatest thing in the world is a woman actually getting off (climaxing… and the more involved and intense, the better), and in the mainstream movies they’re faking it so much more often. Plus, my imagination can do a hell of a lot better than mainstream porn. It’s all the same; no variety, no change. Mainstream never even gets me excited anymore. I will pretty much watch it with a group of guys as a comedy event because I know, instead of being turned on, I’ll just be laughing the whole time at how bad it is.

I tend to go with the amateur stuff because here’s where you can see a woman actually enjoying herself; actually climaxing. That’s what I like. Mainstream porn tends to focus on the guy’s orgasm, even though women now pretty much own Silicone Valley. It’s pretty pathetic, in fact.

I do also rather like the Halloween outputs of Burning Angel, because they’re different; they push the envelope, doing something others apparently won’t do. This is variety. Horror and sex/nudity seem to go hand-in-hand, so why isn’t this exploited more often? And when it is, why is it always the guy who’s the monster and the girl who’s the victim (but then, I’ve got that problem with mainstream horror films, too)?

-I love it when women know they’re beautiful and want to show off their beauty.
I don’t have a defense for this, whether you take this as a positive or a negative… I just don’t understand why women shouldn’t be allowed to wear whatever the hell they want (even if it’s nothing at all), wherever the hell they want, without criticism.

-I happen to like pics of women COSPlaying.
I’ve been told by people that big Comic events and other places where COSPlaying happen en masse are horribly misogynistic. Sometimes I wonder if those of you who say that think this through… is it still misogynistic if the woman in question WANTS to dress up like that? Why? And how do you justify that opinion? Now I’m not going to comment on the comics, video games, movies, TV shows, anime and that shit. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about COSPlaying itself (removed from the actual entities). I don’t see what’s so misogynistic about women wanting to dress up as these characters, regardless of how much, or how little, costume there is.

-I happen to like looking at pictures of women in bikinis, or even naked.
I’m not exactly sure what kind of defense I could be put here. “What? I’m a guy!” just doesn’t seem to cut it. I think it’s maybe because I don’t feel I should have to defend this one, nor do I feel it needs to be expanded upon.

-One-night stands don’t bother me. Hell… I’d *love* one-night stands. Sometimes I wonder if maybe, for now, I’d be better off in a “friends with benefits” relationship as opposed to a romantic one.

You have to understand something… I don’t believe in “soul-mates”. I’m an atheist, naturalist, and skeptic. I’m not about to save myself for that “one soul made especially for me”. If you really want to know what I think about this kind of fairy-tale crap, then Tim Minchin’s “If I Didn’t Have You” is appropriate:

Also, I’m not sure we humans evolved to be naturally monogamous. Now don’t think that means I’d cheat on a girlfriend. Hell no. If she wants a monogamous relationship with me, then that’s what I’m going to give her. If I had a girlfriend, I wouldn’t see other girls without her permission (or involvement if she were so inclined), and I would extend the same to her (that is, I wouldn’t expect her to be “true” if I wasn’t… if she lets me have sex with others, then she gets to do the same… period).

-I’m all for women dressing skimpy; and yes, partly from a purely physical, “I’m a dude” standpoint. I want to see it.

Actually, I support the SlutWalk movement because I’m a feminist, NOT because it’s a chance to see women dressing up like sluts and parading around. It’s important that the victim-blaming culture is busted entirely. It’s disgusting. It’s pathetic. It’s wrong. And it needs to be stopped. SlutWalk is a powerful movement aimed at stopping the “slut-shaming”, “victim-blaming” culture. I’m all for that, from a purely non-physical standpoint.

I’m also all for women being allowed to go topless in public. OR, men need to NOT be allowed to go topless in public. Either way, it’s about being fair and equal.

Yes, I’ve had sexual thoughts about sexy women. Yes, I’ve been to the beach, or to a pool, and seen sexy women in skimpy bikinis, and let my imagination run wild. Yes, I like pictures and videos of naked women and so on. But acknowledging the existence of, and occasionally enjoying the existence of, sexy women is not at all the same thing as seeing all women as nothing more than sexual objects. That I think the female form is sexy does not mean that I think sex is all women are good for.

Or does it?

You tell me.

Am I a misogynist?

*A note: I’m not saying this as a critique of feminism. My question is absolutely, 100% genuine, and is an attempt to understand where I’m going wrong. I want to be seen as a feminist. I want people to identify me as a feminist. But I need to know where I’m going wrong and why. Hence, I ask.


About Nathan Hevenstone

I hate straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied men. I also play guitar and sing, and I'm an atheist and anti-theist. What now?
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2 Responses to Am I a Misogynist?

  1. Pingback: On Feminism | Atheism, Music, and More…

  2. Morgan SG says:

    To be honest there was very little in your discussions of potentially problematic thinking that I actually found problematic or sexist. For example, there is nothing wrong with finding women attractive, enjoying skimpily dressed women, or enjoying looking at pictures of women. There’s a difference between simple attraction and objectification, I think. Attraction is natural and one shouldn’t feel guilty for it. Objectification is, in some way, believing that the existence of another human being only matters depending on how much they can turn you on.

    I don’t know if you’ve been following the story about this, but I have all week and I think it’s a good example: a guy at the Occupy Wall Street protests in NYC made a video and tumblr called “Hot Chicks of Wall Street”. In the video he asks “hot” women why they are at the protest but visually only focuses on their boobs/looks. The tumblr is obviously just pictures of random women meant to show off how “hot” they are. The guy is apparently a huge sexist jerk, but his argument was that he was just “trying to get more men interested in OWS”. Let’s not even touch the heterocentrism of that statement. But here’s where there’s a difference between, say, SG and this dude’s website. SG has it’s problems but with blogs and comments it presents these hot pictures of women in the context of them having a personality. This guy didn’t even see the women at OWS as people with potentially smart opinions, he thought of them as nothing but eye candy to bring more brogressive dudes to the cause. THAT’S objectification and sexist.

    You being attracted to attractive women isn’t.

    I also think maybe being less aware or less offended by problematic media isn’t sexist, for a number of reasons. For one thing, almost ALL media is problematic in some way if you analyze it deeply, and I don’t believe that people should forgo enjoying something just because it has issues, unless it’s deeply horrible. Also, the truth is you can be as sympathetic to feminism as you want but there’s a big difference between being sympathetic about sexism and having the lived experience of being a woman in a sexist culture. Sometimes we as women just pick up on that stuff more. The only thing that would be sexist is if you refused to listen to women when they brought up what made them unhappy in the media, or tried to tell them to stop being so serious or something. Also, I agree with you about how commercials stereotype men as well. I don’t think it’s “reverse sexism” because I think that’s a bullshit idea but I think it’s closely tied to sexism.

    Anyway, obviously I haven’t touched on everything you talked about in your post. My main point is that I think your post is interesting, honest and worthwhile and really, if you think you’re sexist based on the examples you provided I’d like you to meet most of the Internet and compare yourself to them. You’re doing pretty well!

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