A man risks the accusation, sometimes correctly, of objectifying women when discussing either sexual joy or desire. Male shaming may occur even if the focus is in favor of women’s pleasure or well-being. I recall refusing to have sex with a woman in spite of my strong wish. I insisted on the use of condoms (we had just met at a concert) and when I stood my ground, this beautiful mid thirties female insisted that I hated women.
I do not think sexism used unfairly as an epithet against men does harm equal to the slut shaming women needlessly endure, but it does bite. The criticism of men’s attraction often goes too far, like scolding a hummingbird for noticing a blossom. The label of chauvinism can be like grenades and cause unintended damage. To my brothers of any color I do not think men should disregard women as sexual beings as a solution to this difficulty. To me the trouble is about viewing women ONLY as a means to pleasure or some other end. Viewing others only as means is not exclusively a male issue. In any case, the one in the place of being a means may find the usury disagreeable or degrading.
Again, the arbitrary judgment about women’s value that excludes women as an end unto themselves causes a problem. Too me, needless restriction of women through custom or law burdens men and as long as women are held-back men will be also. As long as women cannot be infantry, men must do all that dirty work. As a younger man, I trained in fighting arts alongside women and some of them (frankly) could kick my ass.
The societies that are the most attractive to me are the ones where women have the most freedom. In the early nineties, I participated in a very safe free love community where women had more sexual latitude than typical American society permits. When the shame comes off, women display themselves in some wondrous ways.
I also admire smart, bold women. Hannah Arendt, Dora Russell-Black, Harriet Taylor Mill, Lise Meitner, and Élisabeth Badinter these among other woman adorn my bookshelves next to the male thinkers I respect. To me intelligent does not exclude sexy. When observation, reason and intuition begin to fly in the sky of awareness with brilliant women, it is easy to feel desire. The critical vlogs of Karen Straughan on controversial topics makes her seem a very exciting woman to me and if this defines a chauvinist then I must bear the epithet. Better to endure calumny than reject a beautiful warm wonder, perhaps not so different from the feeling that makes the peacock spread its feathers so fiercely trembling.
My statement on woman’s issues follows thusly. “Better a woman pursue her highest calling and joy, than reject it in order to serve my purpose.” I say this not only because I claim that right for myself but also because my grandfather forbade my mother (born in 1939) from going to college. Her father’s 19th century ideas limited her choices. He frankly did not believe in higher education for females. Her story both shocked me as a teen and filled me with contempt for a man I never knew. Males also endure such manipulation as well.
The domination my mom endured in the 1950-60’s I saw exemplified recently talking with three young Indian women from different backgrounds – Muslim, Hindu, and Christian. All of them were capable well-paid engineers who made it to America. They all threw away customary garb and scandalously wore western clothes. They acted nothing traditional when traditional Indians were absent! One complained to me that her family insisted on arraigning her marriage. I inquired (perhaps naively) that “if you have rejected this much convention, why not throw-out arraigned matrimony, just like your Punjabi outfit? I then saw an educated, beautiful, dark young woman drop her head. Apparently, she was only on a rebellious vacation from a tradition she had acquiesced too. My heart burst for her. I looked to the other women to encourage emancipation and they turned away saying nothing. I can only try to understand the influence their culture has on them. My arguments fell upon deaf ears.
To my brothers of every color I say, it is a small wonder some women get extreme to step out of such rolls. Yes, sometimes they do go too far but if that is a hanging crime then a tie a noose for me because I have done it too. On second thought, put down the rope!
A sense of injustice is one of the strongest feelings I possess and it works for both women and men. Whatever hidden misogynist tendencies may be locked in my bosom I stand for what follows. May all my sisters the world over, have the freedom I have or would want for myself. The freedom to live the life they choose with all the responsibilities that go with it.
Now I return to my subject, the wonderful feelings that men sometimes deny themselves by passing over curvy women without notice. A trap I narrowly avoided myself.
By Todd Vickers