Misogyny and “women only want…”

Some men think that “women only want to date rich men” or some variation on that theme. Usually it is expressed in conjunction with a complaint that “I’m a nice guy, why can’t I get a girlfriend?”, and sometimes with a bitter comment “she’d only try to take advantage of me anyway”. 

To be fair, there is the female analog: “Men only want to get into your pants”, or “men only want trophies; beautiful, brainless arm-candy”. 

I was looking at some ads from the 50s, which reinforce those stereotypes. But it was a different era. Women at the time were usually financially dependent on men — it wasn’t until 1977 that women won the right to credit in their own name. Before that, it was common for banks to require a husband or father to approve or even cosign a loan or account application. In the 50s, it was considered important for a husband to be a “good provider” for his wife and children. Of course, it was a package deal. Ads from that era also show husbands spanking their wives, and wives being obsessive about pleasing their husbands. 

Times have changed. Thank God. 

I mean, if those are the roles you want to play, and you have a willing partner, go for it. But nowadays we are no longer straight-jacketed by gender roles. A woman can be a CEO. A man can be the domestic partner, cooking and cleaning and caring for kids. Or both can act in partnership, as friends. They can work out who works when, who pays what bills, and who performs what tasks. It’s no longer gender-driven. 

I am flabbergasted when I hear “women only want…”. What women? Not the ones I know. But then, I don’t tend to hang around with women who just want someone to support them. And I think that’s the key. I think those men are looking for a particular type of women who will fit the 50s stereotype of female subservience. Unfortunately, that female stereotype requires the complementary male stereotype of a man who is a good provider. So men who make these complaints have two strikes against them. 

First, I think the vast majority of modern women do not want that role division. They want something more egalitarian, more friendship-based. But these men are not looking for women “like that”; they have already eliminated them from consideration.  And second, when they DO find women who fit their requirements, they find those women fit the whole stereotype – and those women are not looking for someone like them. Double whammy. 

So yes. If you think women only want to date rich men, and don’t care that you’re “nice”, I suggest you ask yourself what you really want. If you really want to buy into the stereotype of dominant man/subservient woman, then you are looking for someone else who is also looking for that, and yes, that means you will be the provider. That’s the role you are choosing. 

I would rather have an egalitarian relationship. Whether you become friends with someone who you are attracted to, or whether you find a growing attraction to someone who is already a friend, I think it’s important to be friends. Then you can find out if either or both of you want to work on a relationship together. Yes, this means you will probably be “friend-zoned” many times. That’s not a bad place. Most of us have friends. It’s a good thing. You may very well friend-zone her, too. Being friend-zoned just means that the question of a further relationship has come up and either or both of you decided not to go there.  It’s a clarification of the boundaries of a friendship. 

If you are offended by being “friend-zoned”, then one of two things have occurred. Either you entered the friendship under false pretenses (the “he only wants to get into my pants” type of friendship), or you have already created a relationship in your fantasies, so that for you, emotionally, it’s a breakup and not a clarification of possibilities. Breakups are painful. You may need to distance yourself for awhile. But remember, the supposed ‘relationship’ was one-sided. If you are wise, you won’t burn bridges; that person is still your friend, right?

If not, go back to your stereotype. You’re looking in the wrong place. 

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