This week’s Change From Within post comes via Everyday Feminism:
I love my friend Nathan, but we disagree about pretty much everything. Whether about economics or politics, religion or vegetarianism, we argue.
It’s a part of our friendship, and it’s (almost) always respectful and ends with a hug. I love that we can disagree so much and still laugh and enjoy one another’s company.
But sometimes it gets pretty heated, like when we talk about the nature of men and women.
We fundamentally disagree about the role of biology versus socialization, nature versus nurture, in influencing the ways that men and women tend to act.
In one of the chapters from his “blogsperience,” Confessions of a Diarrhetic: Lessons of Love, Life, and the Ocean, he puts it this way:
“Women are better at commitment than men. This is because each of the sexes has a different job when it comes to the genetic imperative. Men are wired to spread their seed. We want to grow as strong and wealthy as possible so that we can have a large harem and the tribe will survive . . . So [today] men cheat. I’m not excusing it; I’m explaining it. We want to spread our seed as often as we can. This is one of the many reasons men are so drawn to pornography, you can have a new girl every time you fire up your computer!” (Even if you disagree with him, consider giving Nathan’s “blogspierence” a read or listen. It’s definitely a captivating story).
He goes on to explain that this is why straight men and straight women can never truly be friends.
The guy is always trying to sleep with the girl while the girl thinks it’s just a friendship. And he’s not the only dude to make this argument:
And you know what? These guys are absolutely right.
So long as we continue to live by and construct our relationships around oppressive, patriarchal understandings of sex and gender, straight men and straight women cannot be friends, and for that matter, gay men can’t be friends with any other men.
If men believe that they have no control over their “biological imperative” to “spread their seed,” then every friendship with a potential “mate” will be defined by a constant game where the man is endlessly jockeying for position to sleep with his “friend.”
The problem with this line of thinking, though, is that it presumes that men are not, in fact, human.
After all, whether you believe it’s divine endowment or an evolutionary outcome, pretty much every human being is capable of rational thought and will power.
This separates us from the “natural world” because, in essence, we have the ability to rationalize our way beyond simple biological urges and will ourselves to act differently.
True, there are probably lots of ways that gender norms are influenced by our hormone levels or our evolutionary biology.
But to say that we are simply slaves to these fundamental drives is to say that our power of cognition is no more powerful than, say, that of my friend’s dog who humps everything.
I find this line whole “men are slaves to their sexual desire” bit to be an insulting trope. And the men who are reading this should too!
After all, if we as straight men are incapable of being true, genuine friends with women, it simply reinforces some pathetic stereotypes about men.
Sexual Attraction Is Nuanced
Read the rest at Everyday Feminism…