Another day, another meme.
The new HBO wundershow Girls has arrived (see the full Episode One here). And with it discussions about what the “new woman” wants.
Well, according to recent studies about manhood and masculinity in America, it’s all over now.
Now I’m not the kind of man to lament such a condition. The way I see it men had roughly two millennia to get our shit correct…and we still haven’t sooo….
Male writers have completely fumbled the ball, from their antiquated or opaque literary depictions of sex to patriarchal art games: it’s been our chess board for so long that we forgot what it’s like not to hold all the pieces. Now it’s the women’s turn. And don’t even get me started on some of my favorite black literary lions such as Ishmael Reed and Charles Johnson and their war with our black female geniuses: Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, etc.
The men I love hate the women I love. And there’s no sense in that. Leave it to Baldwin to float above the fray.
But I digress: this post is about what’s happening right now to women, right now to men, and what we’re all doing about it.
Scholars say that the arrival of the Judd Apatow/Adam Sandler manchild– a particular 21st Century species who bumbles around playing videogames all day and not committing to anything: children (see Knocked Up), marriage (see Wedding Crashers and Failure to Launch), even friendship (see I Love You, Man)– that this inept, impotent being has created a void in America and the world that is being filled by upwardly mobile professional women that are doing their damn thang: outnumbering men in college matriculation and employment rates, raising children, paying bills, building organizations and communities, starting companies and engaging in BIG IDEAS…
while the men play video games (white version)…
or drop out, get shot and go to prison (black version)…
Now here’s where things get even more interesting. According to particular feminists, this vacuum is leading women to want it fasterharderstronger in the bedroom…
According to Katie Roiphe and her head-turning Newsweek cover story “The Fantasy Life of Working Women,” all over America professional women are turning to BDSM and “rape fantasies” in order to compensate for their discomfort with their newly won positions of prestige and power in society.
I think this is ridiculous. If bondage is going mainstream, so be it. So are Brazilian waxes. And a lot of other things, some perhaps good, some perhaps bad.
But this is sex, people.
One woman’s pain is another woman’s pleasure. Ditto for men.
And generations define themselves by how they approach love and sex.
Remember the Victorians? Interesting lot. Underneath all their clothes, there was still a lot of sex and celestial beds going on.
So here we are in the 21st Century where asexuality is on the rise, men are addicted to online porn and faking orgasms, and women want to be tied up and sexually assaulted by a “master” wearing a monster mask.
I always wonder where the black community fits into all these convoluted cultural conversations.
Are black women working at Golman Sachs and then going home wanting to be someone’s slave, dressing up in antebellum garb, and moaning through a rape fantasy?
For some reason, I highly doubt it. But in actuality, if that’s what turns her on, who cares? At least, SHE’S GETTING TURNED ON. Isn’t that her prerogative, her love, her life, her dream that Dr. King said she had a right to have umpteen years ago?
Besides, I think the focus on sexual adventures misses the point entirely for three reasons:
1. It’s the 21st Century. We have holograms now. In fact, hologram Tupac is about to go on tour. And yet we still want to control and vilify women’s sexual fantasies? Their right to not only have sex when and with whom they want, but how they damn want to? (I personally happen to know several women that want to have sex with Tupac’s hologram, but I’m not complaining about that. I just find it interesting.)
2. Women are making gains, but still fighting hard for respect, love and equality in the workplace and beyond. For proof of this, see the recent firestorm caused by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s announcement that she leaves work at 5:30 pm, as well as her seminal TED speech about the lack of women leaders, which has become a rallying cry frequently cited by feminists and women everywhere about the disappointing persistence of gender inequality (see the video below).
3. Don’t feminists have other things to fight over? Try some racial/class solidarity for starters. I’m tired of feeling that feminist arguments are really thinly veiled PRIVILEGED WASP WOMEN ARGUMENTS AND MARCHES (see the womanist vs. feminist fuss over those WOMAN IS THE NIGGER OF THE WORLD signs at the New York Slutwalk for example). If y’all women could all get on the same page, stop being classist, stop being racist, stop being essentialist, and pull more men and colors into your ranks then more things would get accomplished GUARANTEED.
And for the rest of you (especially us men): Read a damn book. Treat the women in your life right.
And like Sly said, “I’m through man.”