In Search of Feminist Men

by Loolwa Khazzoom • August 9, 2010 • My Ridiculous Romance

It’s all about consciousness. Awareness. Care about the experience of, you know, half the population of humans. Feminism. The F word. As in, if you’re not in favor of it, fuck off.

So I’m back in dating world again. And ready to run like hell from it already, after, oh, a few days. This seemingly awesome guy contacted me on Match.com, and we spoke for the first time tonight.

I was making popcorn and getting ready to watch Cagney & Lacey reruns. He was not familiar with the show. So as a nutshell explanation, I said it’s pretty much the only show where women have strong roles without being hypersexualized. He said, in response, “but isn’t [hypersexualization] a good thing?”

Really? Really? It’s 2010, and I still have to teach Feminism 101 to a man?

I gave a soft answer, saying, no, it’s not a good thing, because there’s just this one-dimensional representation of women, to which he agreed, yeah, diversity is good, three cheers, and we moved on to other topics. But seriously, honestly, the representation of women on television is the bane of my existence.

I have to search far and wide for anything that remotely interests me, never mind that does not outright piss the hell out of me. And even the good movies with powerful woman characters still embody all kinds of socialized bullshit, meaning the women are not really all that powerful. You don’t get to go out with me if you don’t have awareness of this crap. So here’s what I wrote the guy:

Hi B,

Nice chatting with you. I like the upbeat and funny energy you had on the phone, and I’m looking forward to meeting.

Here are a few things I really liked in your profile:

  • “I think the best thing in life is a true reflection and honest caring feedback toward mutual growth and happy time.”
  • “I value communication and knowing who we are in a relationship.”
  • “I look for growing and learning opportunity as life is just an opportunity to learn and grow..and obviously who we are with has a great effect on it!”
  • “What I look for most is a woman whose mind and heart is ahead/independent of her surroundings and what it seems to be.”

With that in mind, I want to share with you some information about the hypersexualization of women in media. This a very important issue to me and a critical problem with pop culture and the erosion of female power and identity. I assume that when you said the hypersexualization of women was “a good thing,” you meant that you like to see images of sexy women. There is of course nothing wrong per se with being or looking sexy.

The questions are, what is “sexy” really, how are we conditioned to view “sexy,” how do our ideas of “sexy” affect women and men in terms of power and bodily integrity, how does that in turn affect the way that people connect with themselves and others…and so on.

Also a super important question: Why is it demanded that women are “sexy” all the time, regardless of how we define it? Why can’t a woman police officer on TV just be a police officer? Why does she have to wear pornographic clothing in order to be “allowed” to have that kind of strength and authority? As a friend said, “The message to girls and women is this: Be fuckable or die.”

Here is some info on this topic, in case you’re interested. 

  1. Hypersexualizing our Girls
  2. One Angry Girl
  3. Media and Girls
  4. Our Children Under the Influence

And here’s info on the show I told you about, Cagney & Lacey

Goodnight.

I really felt exhausted after the conversation. But I guess this is the thing about living in the world: People will get some things and not other things, and they will have strong points and weak points. We have to be ready to do the work of information exchange if we’re going to be out there. I just wish there was a planet that had the same core values as I.

That said, I’m grateful for all the feminist work out there. After all, I didn’t have to explain the whole damn thing myself. I had resources to point him to. Thanks ladies!

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2 Responses to “In Search of Feminist Men”

  1. Elana
    Aug 10, 2010

    Hey Loolwa

    This sounds really hard. There may not be a LOT of feminist men out there, but they ARE there.

    What I would like to suggest is that there are probably some feminist men out there who don’t KNOW that that’s what they are. If they haven’t had a lot of interaction with feminist women, they may have no idea what ‘hypersexualization’ even is….But if they were to encounter the ideas, they may understand and be supportive and develop and come towards where you are. Slowly and gently with a lot of understanding.

    I think it’s possible that, rather than give over your entire world view on the first date, it may be helpful to also find out a little but about where the guy is in HIS life and HIS worldview and see it as a work in progress rather than his entire identity. There may be more overlap that you think, but you have to be a little patient to discover that. I mean, I just think that expecting a guy to be exactly where you are on the first date — on any issue, not just feminism, also religion and zionism and money and bottle recycling or whatever — is just not realistic. So maybe it’s helpful to just kind of take a deep breath, accept that everyone is different, even good people are different from each other, and see if there isn’t a place where your ideas meet and work from there…..

    Mostly, deep breath….and hang in there….

    b’vracha,
    elana


  2. o.a.g.
    Aug 10, 2010

    something tells me this guy isn’t too big in the critical thinking department.
    there are a few books on the topic too if he cares to be further informed:
    The Lolita Effect (US)
    Getting Real (Australian)



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About Loolwa

Loolwa KhazzoomLoolwa Khazzoom has worked with leading media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, Rolling Stone, and ABC News. In addition, she has published two books and has lectured at prestigious venues including Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Harvard University. Loolwa is passionate about health, music, dance, multiculturalism, and Judaism.

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Loolwa Khazzoom is a a public relations manager specializing in holistic media, holistic marketing, holistic public relations, and holistic promotions. Her services include branding and messaging development, image and communications management, website content development and optimization, social media management, traditional media campaign management, book development, and in-house writing and editing.

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