• author
    • Debra DeAngelo

    • September 6, 2013 in Columnists

    Are you a feminist or just another sexist?

    Yes, we’re still talking about Miley Cyrus, because the other choice is fretting over what our government plans to do in Syria, and, frankly, nothing I could write will have any impact on that whatsoever. Let’s just stick to snack-pack pop culture for now. I fear we’ll have plenty of opportunity to talk about war in the weeks to come.

    So. The sidebar to all the fuss over Miley’s very awkward toddle into grownup female sexuality is Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which was part of her pathetic VMA performance. Not just the song, mind you, but the video, with its lithe and lovely young ladies prancing around in panties, while Thicke and rappers T.I. and Pharell Williams — all fully clothed — taunt the “good girls” into having sex with them.

    Feminists blasted the video for its objectification of women. Maybe I should turn in my feminist card, because I don’t see it that way. I think the video is fun and sassy, no one’s being abused, no one is being forced to do anything against her will, no one is being harmed. Everything’s consensual (which is absolutely key) and the girls look like they’re having fun. The guys, ultimately, are just trying to get noticed.

    Yes, T.I. has one questionable line — “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two” — and some feminists pounced on that and screamed “rape culture!” Come on. Seriously. I ask you, all women who have ever known men: Do they not all brag about their equipment and believe it’s the biggest, baddest monster on earth, and give it names like Big Red and The Whopper and whatnot? Further, we women who actually know men, do we not humor this nonsense and play along with it, knowing how fragile the bubble of male ego can be? All we have to do is look him in the eye, point toward our own parts and say, “You know, I can pass a 10-pound, 20-inch baby through this.” You’ll instantly deflate more than just his ego. So, when it gets down to it, who really has the power?

    Sometimes I wonder if these hardcore feminists actually know any men. I know a whole bunch of them. All that sexual bravado doesn’t really phase me. Here’s the deal: Men think about sex all the time, talk about sex, and will say and do outrageous things to get sex. They have their desires. Sure, acting upon those desires without a woman’s consent is 100 percent wrong, no exceptions. But is expressing desire, in and of itself, bad? Isn’t it merely the male fluffing his feathers and flapping his wings in hopes that the female will find this an acceptable display for carrying on the species?

    Think about that. Is that really wrong, or have you just been conditioned to believe it’s wrong?

    As for Thicke’s “sexist” video, a clever group of female law students from New Zealand redid the “Blurred Lines” video, attempting to turn the tables. They stayed clothed, bossing and humiliating some men wearing nothing but tightie whities. (Which, by the way, is not what the men did in Thicke’s version. They mostly just stood around and sang, and kept hoping.)

    All of us who actually know men will immediately spot the flaw with this approach. Tell me girls, if you ask your man to watch a sexy girl in stilettos place a heel on a half-naked guy’s back as he does pushups, what is he more likely to do: Gasp in ashamed epiphany about how it feels to be objectified, or race to your closet, grab some stilettos, fling them at you as he leaps into pushup position, and look up at you wistfully?


    My real issue with the second video, however, is that it intends to objectify and embarrass men. Fight fire with fire. The trouble is, when you fight fire with fire, everybody ends up getting burned.

    All the fuss over Thicke’s video reminds me that we’ve been conditioned into viewing male libido as bad, and female libido even worse. By the time girls hit high school, they know their only choices are virgin or slut. It’s black or white. No gray area for girls at all. Males are “allowed” to venture into the gray area, but who’s doing all this “allowing”? Here in America, women still have the right to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for themselves. Ladies, the only one keeping you from exploring the gray area is you. Rather than vilifying men for their natural desires, how about we stop vilifying women for their own? Rather than criticizing male libido, how about nurturing female libido as normal and natural instead of squelching it?

    The video from New Zealand was the last drop that finally spilled my bucket of impatience with feminists. I can’t begin to count all the slurs (yes, slurs) against men that I see on Facebook, social media and elsewhere, ripping men to pieces and declaring them The Enemy. They’re all abusers, oppressors, batterers and rapists. When I see these posts and statements, I’m compelled to reply, “Oh really? Is that true about your father? Brother? Son? Husband? Neighbor? Friend? Co-worker?

    I want to go on record: I like men. A lot. I think they’re a hoot. Heck, I even married one. And honestly, they are frequently better company than women — no drama. I can rattle off the names of scores of men who don’t fit the sexist slurs. I know hundreds of kind, gentle, wonderful men, good friends, relatives, and kind souls who wouldn’t harm anyone, particularly women. Men aren’t the enemy, and if you believe they are, you’re just as sexist as the men you deplore.

    Patriarchy is the enemy. Fundamental religions that oppress women are the enemy. Inequality in the workplace is the enemy. But men themselves? No. Not even when they throw stilettos at you and start doing pushups.

    • But Debra, no men were hurt in the making of the video. It says it right there at the start. 🙂 I agree some men are good and decent but I have to say I have known many who aren’t but that is neither here nor there. And yes, they have included relatives, friends and lovers and husbands, Also, I love men but would rather be around a great woman friend any day, no drama for me as I don’t allow it to cross into my sphere or happiness. Men, however have been allowed to pass in and that is where my trouble started. Love your energy in your writing. Personally, I am more worried about our reputation as a country than Miley, Robin or the rest of the music world..

    • Debra,You’re a hoot! lol
      Maybe you need to ‘unfriend’ some of those male bashers on Facebook.
      Friend some of my friends. They help people & save animals. No bashing there,expect for plans to go to war with Syria.

      • Don’t worry, Liz, I have plenty of amazing male friends that constantly counterbalance all the slurs. But, send some of your friends my way anyway!
        And… a lot of these things I read aren’t actually posts by my friends. They’re posts on various pages and in various groups that sometimes just blow my mind. I want to ask them to copy/paste their statement somewhere and insert the names of their sons or grandfathers and consider the impact of their words. Hate is hate, even if it’s labeled “feminism.” And… if you have to show your confidence by tearing down men, you aren’t really liberated. You’re still struggling with your own issues.

      • Robert

      • September 7, 2013 at 9:53 am
      • Reply

      Thicke’s video is just an updated version of the Robert Palmer’s Video… slightly more “shocking” cause of the exposed tits… misogyny maybe… and maybe not.

      we live in a sexualized world… sex is used to sell pretty much everything… women’s bodies (and now men’s bodies) are objectified so the viewer can have a hormonal response. Thicke’s video is an example of this… but not the cause of it…

      the response to his video by the law students was intentionally more demeaning to men than thicke’s video was to women… it was an funny/angry knee jerk reaction… and seemed to imply that thicke’s video was “worse” than it was. in thicke’s video.. the men were tantalized… but powerless… ending up as simple voyeurs… just like the viewer… in the law students video… the women were aggressors…

      on the whole… hetrosexuals will have to continue to work on the discussion between the sexes… I am gay… so I sit on the side line and am bemused by the hysteria of it all.

      • Robert – bottom line, isn’t there just too much hysteria in general over sex? Maybe if we weren’t infused with Puritanical beliefs about sex, sex wouldn’t be such a useful sales tool. And I agree… the New Zealand video was actually demeaning.

      • davidlacy

      • September 7, 2013 at 11:43 am
      • Reply

      IMO, Robert’s comment sums up my beliefs entirely, including where my opinion overlaps with Debra’s, and where it diverges.

    • Wait! I have to rewatch that video! I was watching Miley’s horrible dance moves & missed the exposed tits!
      Oh,well… I also missed the half time show where (insert name,iforgot her name) shot the camera a finger b/c I was watching the back up dancers on all fours,facing upwards,HUMPING the air. haha.

      • The naked girls were on the video, not the VMA performance. But yes… Miley’s performance – what a colossal mess!

      • Michael Ann

      • September 8, 2013 at 11:02 am
      • Reply

      Amen! Great column, Debra. I have been doing a LOT of thinking about this very subject since my divorce and subsequent dating life. Sex is a natural, wonderful part of our humanity … men AND women. The mating dance is not unique to animals of the four legged (or winged, or whatever ) kind. Bring it on!

      • Absolutely, Michael Ann! Sex is a joyful thing when both partners meet each other as equals, rather than one pursuing and one avoiding! Yes, bring it on!

    • I enjoyed your conclusion, “Patriarchy is the enemy. Fundamental religions that oppress women are the enemy. Inequality in the workplace is the enemy. But men themselves? No. Not even when they throw stilettos at you and start doing pushups.”

      Patriarchy is the enemy.

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