Let’s talk about sex. Don’t get excited. There’s nothing to be excited about if anything heartache and pain lie ahead. On the 5th of January 218, one Matt Stephens posted his two cents on Twitter advising women to treasure their femininity and shun promiscuity so that they could have better men to choose from. People’s responses were wonderfully hilarious and it was easy to overlook the violence of his statement.
And make no mistake, it is a violent statement.
It’s always been understood that women exist for men. Women exist for the sexual pleasure of men. Women exist to be Proverbs 31 wives for men. A woman’s value lies wholly in her ability to get and keep a man. How sad is that? Enter Matt Stephens with his prescription on how women can do just that.
Promiscuity & Penis Danger
For some reason, women’s promiscuity is an impediment to being desired by men and being ‘wifed’. For heterosexual women, any promiscuity they engage in is done in partnership with men. According to Matt and the general culture, this promiscuity has no effect on the men they engage in said promiscuity with but has the effect of degrading women, reducing their overall worth and value. Is the appropriate question then not, what is it about a penis that is degrading to women upon contact? Shouldn’t men be insulted by the notion that there is something inherent in them that is so repulsive and destructive?
Jealousy & Objectification
Why is femininity, a code word for virginity here so important to men? Is this jealousy not an extension of the possessive objectification of women? ‘This is mine, my toy and nobody can play with it but me. If I find out anyone ever played with it or even touched it but me I’ll never play with it.’ Meanwhile back at the ranch, men who are not engaging in numerous sexual escapades i.e. playing with other people’s current or future toys and degrading them with every touch- are considered strange with nothing to brag about in the presence of their peers. What’s good for the goose must be good for the gander!
What is it with this obsession with controlling women? Women’s bodies? Women’s sexuality? We have numerous rules, and prescriptions about what women must do in order to be attractive to men. Rules enforced by both men and women. I mean, even magazines that are supposed to be for and about women are obsessed with telling women what they need to be doing to get a man and keep him satisfied. Why is it that the peak of a woman’s achievements is snagging a man but the same is not true about men? How sad is it that women’s lives revolve around getting men to desire them sexually and wife them?
Men don’t want women who talk back so don’t do that. Men don’t want fast women so don’t do that. Choices have to be made based on right and wrong and whether they bring joy or inflict pain not based on whether the penis-bearing members of our society approve.
The most insidious thing about this post is that women’s value, a woman’s worth is tethered to what men think about her, and what men desire her while a man’s value is in no way tethered to a woman’s. What we need to learn and internalize as women, is that our value comes from who we are and that alone. It’s not about the men who desire or are repulsed by us. Our value has zero relationship with what men think of us.
When Yvonne Brill, an American rocket scientist died, the New York Times naturally had an obit article on her. She was a rocket scientist who in the ‘70s invented a propulsion system to keep communication satellites from slipping out of their orbits and this is the opening paragraph of the New York Times article, ‘She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children.’ Pause for a moment and consider the possibility of the Times doing something similar with a male rocket scientist. Even a female rocket scientist’s value is tethered to her cooking and following her husband from job to job.
There’s something very heartbreaking about the ways men and women relate, particularly about the way men view women. The only person you have control of is you. We can’t change men. We have to change ourselves. We have to find our own worth. Determine it for ourselves outside of anything related to men. Then maybe men will have to adjust to the new us and our children will only hear about such tweets, horrified that human beings ever treated each other like that.