WHAT A SLUT!

I want to talk about the word, “slut”. “Slut” is a great word. I don’t get to use it often. It slides out of the mouth and has a nice kick to it. It’s one of the tamer vulgar words. You can slip it into a PG movie. I put it in the same class as crap and damn. Those are the words a first grader learns and becomes the coolest kid in class.

I am a believer that no words are bad words. People misuse them overtime and they become considered bad words.

From what I can remember from eighth grade lunch, a “slut” was a girl who was too sexually loose, or wore short clothes or danced with her butt in the air, or rejected you for your romantic advances. It was also used to describe just girls in general. Because it made you cool to use the word.

Most of the time it’s about a girl being too sexually loose. Not for dudes. If a guy is called a slut, it’s a joke. You slap your knee after you say it. But for a girl, it’s said with contempt. There is that double standard.

Dude gets lots of chicks and he’s like the bomb. But if a girl does it, she’s not the bomb.

My understanding of this was that it’s generally accepted that dudes gotta try harder than the ladies for one night stands. Some dude don’t like seeing women out there having a good time while they’re struggling. It’s like how people don’t like it when teams run up the score in sports games. Guy can’t handle the girl doing all that so he’s gotta insult her.

Sexual Diseases are also a fear people have. So some dudes and women-ladies label the loose girls to warn others even if they don’t have a disease. It’s not cool to do that.

And some men associate many different sexual partners with an inability to commit.I don’t know if the science is there, but I can understand skepticism. If you’re searching for a lifetime partner and the other person has been with a lot of people, you might be wary of their ability to commit to you.

Should people be judged by their sexual history? I think so. It’s a part of who they are. They made their decisions. They should just own it. Don’t be ashamed of who you are. It doesn’t make you a horrible person unless you slept with Bill Lumberg. Then you deserve to suffer for the rest of your sorry existence.

Should people be made to feel bad or shamed for their sexual history? Probably not. But it’s going to happen. That’s nature.

Or nurture. One of those.

Words only have power if we give them power though. It’s how you take in that information. You can’t let a bunch of losers like get you down by saying things about you.

This was a blog post. I’m done now.

—-

Bustin.

ghostbusters

Sony can’t win.

Sony announces female leads for new Ghostbusters reboot.

People are angry.

Sony announces they’ll have a male-focused reboot too.

People are angry.

No matter what Sony does with Ghostbusters, nobody is happy.

Except for Channing Tatum. He’s happy because he gets to star in a Ghostbusters movie. Congrats on being the only person happy, Mr. Tatum.

I was against any more Ghostbusters beyond a cartoon or comic book series. Ghostbusters is stupendous comedy film. It has aged great. Ghostbusters 2 was not up to par but it’s in the upper echelon of afternoon Comedy Central movies so it wasn’t a complete failure. With the death of Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters 3 is a depressing venture. It seemed best to let the franchise lie.

But money always makes a way. So here we are in 2015 with not one but two Ghostbusters reboots on the way. I’m going to refer to the female led version as Chickbusters and the male focused one as Dudebusters henceforth.

Chickbusters pissed me off initially because of Melissa McCarthy. Once it was announced, I knew she’d be in it and I’m not a fan of her style of comedy. I wouldn’t call it comedy even. The rest of the cast I’m not familiar with, maybe they can salvage that film. Paul Feig offers some encouragement. Anyone behind Freaks and Geeks is a person I can get behind. But Melissa McCarthy is a lot to overcome.

Now Dudebusters has the Russo Brothers directing. They directed Captain America: Winter Soldier and I thought that movie kicked a lot of ass. In fact it kicked the most ass of 2014. I’m neutral on Tatum. I don’t seek out movies with him in it, but I don’t hate him in movies he is in. He’s not a minus like Ms. McCarthy.

I’m making two sure bets about these movies. Neither will be better than the original Ghostbusters. And nobody will be happy with either of them after they’re released except for Channing Tatum.

What Sony should do is make an all-black version next called Ghostbustas with Busta Rhymes in the lead role. That’s where the real money is.

I can do anything better than you! Even suffer!

“OH MY GOD! GIRLS HAVE IT SOOO EASY! COACH GAVE THEM 15 POINTS!!!!”

-Twelve-Year-Old Me when a shutout kickball game became a tie.

In seventh grade kickball on Fridays, we’d play boys vs. girls. The boys always won in a slaughter but it was not a cakewalk. We’d have to kick with our left feet if we took an early lead. The gym teacher would give the girls more points if the gap got too big. One game we weren’t allowed to run. The concept of male privilege would have been as lost on Twelve-Year-Old Me.

It would be five years later that I’d faced with this idea of male privilege. My twelfth grade sociology teacher taught a class on the struggles of women through out time. I was slightly smarter at seventeen than five years prior so I took notes and paid attention in class. I was a good student. I had no trouble accepting that women hadn’t cruised through history. But then my teacher dropped this bomb at the end of her lesson.

“Even today men have it much better than women.”

My hand zipped into the air! I had to ask a question.

“You said men have it better. How can men have it better if you can be drafted to go die in a war just cause you were born a guy?”

My pencil was all ready to scribble down her answer. My brain prepped to soak in that sweet knowledge she was about to lay on me.

“I don’t think anyone should be able to be drafted.”

And then she gave us worksheets and that was it! I was left confused. I wanted to see her after class, but then decided to talk to my friends about video games in the hallway instead. So that question remains unanswered.

Do men have it better than women?

Virtually everyone would say it’s axiomatic that men have it better than women. I remain skeptical when it comes to the Western World.

I love reading crime statistics. That was a favorite hidden hobby of mine back when I was seventeen. I used to compare the trends of violence over the years to the portrayal in the media. It was like the more violence went down, the more violent stories were covered on television. Quite the dangerous inverse proportion.

One thing I’ve learned from all my fun time researching is that men are much likely to be the victim of a violent crime than women. They are far more likely to murdered, beaten, robbed, and a bunch of other nasty stuff. The only violent crime women outrank men is rape.

Men more successfully kill themselves more than women. Men die more on the job more than women. Men are more likely to end up in prison or become homeless. Can you say someone has it better if society is more likely to drive them to be a violent criminal? I’d have some trouble.

If you look at the tops of society, you will find men soaring. Men are more likely to be doctors, CEOs, and a bunch of other kickass stuff. But not many people look down and see the bodies of men laying on the ground. Men get to soar to the top, but they also sink.

I wouldn’t go as far to say women led easier lives. They have different equally as bad crap to deal with. I have trouble in general saying anyone has an easier life than another. It’s easy to observe someone else and pick out the good parts and not see what you might have over them. You might also miss what sucks about their life. Grass is always greener.

If you think I’m absolutely wrong and that men objectively have better lives than women, I’m open to hearing out your opinion. I’d love to have a discussion about it.

Man-vs-Woman

The Guys Who Finish Last

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This post was inspired by Scott Alexander’s Radicalizing the Romanceless. Scott Alexander writes these articulate very well-researched and rational essays. If you have a spare half hour, I urge you to check out this article and his entire site.

Now for the galactically feared, globally reviled, universally despised – Nice Guys

WORKING DEFINITION

Let’s define Nice Guy.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition (Number One on Google).

“A nice guy is an informal term for a teenage or adult male who is gentle, compassionate, sensitive and vulnerable.”

Here’s geekfeminism.wikia.com’s definition. (Number Two on Google Search)

“Nice Guy™ is a term in Internet discourse describing a man or teenage boy with a fixation on a friendship building over time into a romance, most stereotypically by providing a woman with emotional support when she is having difficulties with another male partner. “

The first one is the one I’ll be using for discussion. This was close to my own personal definition. The fixation on friendship aspect is foreign to me.

THE ORIGIN

Where do Nice Guys come from? What causes a young man to go down the dark trail of being nice for romance?

Shyness, introversion, and lack of self-esteem. If you’re not good at communicating with people, you might drift towards relying on being nice to entice potential partners. Nice guys might also be practicing The Golden Rule. They would like a girl who is pleasurable to be around and shows interest in them and so they do the same to girls they like. A personal example of this, I once left love poetry in this girl’s locker that I liked in high school. If she had done the same for me, I’d have been over the moon. But that was not what she wanted.

Parents should always bare the blame for everything that happens ever. A teen boy could go home and get love advice from his mother. She might instill her son with what she values in a partner rather than what girls his age value.

I’d also say society is unsure of what the contemporary man should be. We’re trying to help women take center stage after being shafted for far too long. Traditional gender roles break down. Where does that leave men? What is expected of you as customs and culture change? I have yet to get a definitive answer to this. This lack of knowing trickles down into dating. What role are you supposed to play? Some men can’t figure it out.

It also might be in the nature of the guy because he’s a genuinely nice emotionally sensitive person.

CONFLICT

“She’s just hit the nail on the head with what bothers me about the Nice Guy (TM) rhetoric, those whines from some men about how it’s so unfair that women won’t flock to be with them when he’s a “decent” bloke who doesn’t do nasty things to women, and what more do they want? Well, colour us as unreasonably demanding, but women do tend to want a little bit more than a guy who simply refrains from being nasty like it’s some great sacrifice.

These whines that this young woman refers to stem from shattered expectations of young guys. They were nice to girls and then were shockingly rejected. And then it happened again. Maybe even a third time after that. So now they have to answer a question. Who is to blame for these rejections? Women or themselves?

Women get the blame by a lot of dudes. They develop toxic opinions about women. Women-blamers are on a lot of dating websites. He’ll greet a girl with a nice message. He’ll do it twice. If there’s no response, fuck her, yet another stupid stuck up bitch. She’ll get a nasty last message. He’s entered the dangerous loop where women push him away because he’s bitter and he’s bitter because women push him way. I wonder what happens to these sort of guys….

Some guys blame themselves and use it as motivation to be better. They’ll start working out. Others give up because they think women aren’t worth any additional effort. I had a conversation with one of my younger cousins about that. He’s around fifteen. I asked him if he was talking to any girls. And he said no, they’re not worth his time. I laughed as he was so young to be that cynical about romance.

And others just complain.

“I’m a nice guy. I treat women right. Why can’t I catch a break? I’d be a good boyfriend. Give me a chance.”

These dudes think girls wanting more than a nice guy is an unreasonable demand. I get why. Everyone says so, even some women. Movies and television say the good guy gets the girl. Writers love this story. It’s so easy to write. That’s why you see it all the time. The virtuous man gets love and every man has an equal chance at it.

But love is inherently unfair. Nobody is an equal opportunity lover. People love with regard to race, age, marital status, creed, color, sex, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and a lot hell of a lot more. Virtuosity is not taken into account until later if it is taken into account at all.

Why would society lead these men to believe one thing when another is true?

Because girls are supposed to want the virtuous man. But they’re people and they aren’t a certain way. I get their frustration with the situation. Having to bring guys down to reality and being hated just for not being attracted to someone. It gets worse when some of these nice guys aren’t as nice as they advertise as I mentioned above.

SOLUTIONS

The tension on both sides is palpable once anyone mentions a Nice Guy. How can things be smoothed over? What should be done with Nice Guys? Like most dating/relationship issues, there is no smooth solution. I have nothing.

Because if you give someone advice on what women want, you don’t have any authority to do so. Not even women can tell you what a particular girl wants or needs from her partner or what you may need to do. It’s hard to articulate exactly what you want. There’s a lot that words fail. It’s very much on the person to pick up signals. You can’t coach that.

So no solution. Life sucks for some people.

Maybe I’ll have a solution to this in 2020.
—-

The Zone

For Day Two of Valentine’s Week here on Cynic No More, I’m going into a familiar place for a lot of people. It’s caused a lot of pain, grief, and allowed trite quotes to be liked on Facebook.

The Friend Zone.

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Note here. When I say the word “men” or “women” always assume that I don’t mean all men and all women. Goes without saying but that I’d say it either way.

I. THE SITUATION

If somehow you don’t know about or been a part of this phenomenon, let me give to ya real quick.

Two Friends. One starts to develop romantic and/or sexual feelings for the other. The other does not return the feelings, liking things as they are. Leaving the friend with feelings in a situation

There are variations to the story. Some people wanted romance the entire time but felt more comfortable being friends before hand. Others develop feelings as time went on.

This is a rather sucky well-known situation that has led to many vitriolic blog posts from men and women alike. MTV made a television show out of this.

Much of the frustration comes from the passing of the burden of the feelings. Guys complain about friend-zoned all the time. Women feel attacked for not being interested in someone. Or they see the friendship was a ruse set up to trick her into sex.

The usual way it goes is it’s the guy getting friend zoned. I don’t doubt that happens to women, but it appears to be rarer. My female friends have never mentioned being in the friend zone to me. I never overheard the girls in the front of my homeroom back in high school talk about this as I eavesdrop. They more vented about men wanting only sex without commitment. Perhaps women are more likely to keep these happenings to themselves? Or just not share them with me?

II. OUTCOMES

Quite a few ways this can end.

The Guy Remains the Genuine Friend
The most agreeable ending. The guy recognizes they’re incompatible. He stays in touch and is happy to see her pursue love in other places. Their friendship remains strong. His feelings dissipate or kept in check for the sake of the friendship.

Image: FILE PHOTO: 70 Years Since The Casablanca World Premiere Casablanca

The Guy Cuts Off All Contact
See ya later! The friendship is over! The guy decides he’s not going to suffer and watch a person he loves, love someone else. I had a co-worker who went off about this during late-night shifts. She was a little socially awkward and was bullied by the girls at her school. So she opted to get guy friends. Without fail, all of them fell passionately in love with her. Upon her rejection of them, they all hit the road. They took away their late night texting sessions. They stopped their Skyping. They pretend like they didn’t know her.

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The Guy Plots
Some day he will escape this zone and her love will be his! The guy who remains the friend for today and plots his rise to romantic partnership silently in the shadows. Rarely works out.

signs-of-a-desperate-man

The Girl Ignores
He just couldn’t get the clue. Maybe she felt he betrayed her trust by pursuing her. Maybe she realized he wasn’t that great a friend after all. Ignored. Blocked. Removed from the Steam Friendlist.

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Mutual Split
It’s painful for both of them and so both decide to never see each other again. The downer.

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They Get Together
The girl decides why not give it a chance? The relationship works. This is the cutest outcome. Genuine love. Every time I see this happen for someone, I start giggling on the inside. Story tellers adore this ending.

Ron_and_Kim_Kiss_by_Gazpatcho

III. CONCLUSION

The drama here is that there is no real compromise between friendship and romantic relationships. A suitable in-between would shut everyone up. Friends with benefits is not it. I have not seen that go anywhere good. If you try to trickle down some romance into friendship, that begs a simple question. Why don’t you just date them?

I don’t think anyone should date someone due to pressure but neither should someone be a part of a friendship that isn’t fulfilling for them. There are limits to friendship. To desire more from a person is not wrong. Wanting to be the one who makes their beloved’s eyes light up and their heart melt is an admirable desire.

The Friend Zone breeds negativity. Close friendships end. People become bitter. Some develop toxic thoughts about the other gender.

All because a friend liked a friend more than they ought to.

Writing the Female Character

Over the past year or so, I’ve been going through some old stories that I wrote during middle and high school.Leia-princess-leia-organa-solo-skywalker-34233178-288-288

Often I did not write stories with girls. In the beginning, it was because they were icky. I wrote stories about guy friends hanging out and getting into hijinks or I copied what I saw in video games or on TV. On the rare occasion that I did write a story with a girl, they were a plot device, a trickster trying to lead my heroes down the wrong path.

Later on, I strayed away from females characters because of a fear of mine. I’m a man. What if I can’t write girls right? Is there some quality to them that might be beyond my grasp?

To further elaborate on this, I’d like to bring up J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. She’s a female writer writing from the perspective of a male character. For the first several books, Harry felt like a guy I could know. But in Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince, there was this moment when Harry’s character first became infatuated with Ron’s sister, Ginny.

“It was as though something large and scaly erupted into life in Harry’s stomach, clawing at his insides….”

The entire description ripped me out of Harry Potter’s vibrant world. I saw the author’s words on page and felt a little revolted at this description of the teenage male’s sexual urges. I cringed every time I came across any descriptions of Harry’s urges. It wasn’t authentic to the experience.

I didn’t want female readers to have that kind of disconnect with anything that I wrote.

To help me get over my fear, I paid attention to the portrayal of women in movies and television shows. I also paid attention to what characters women said felt real to them. One name that popped up a lot as I did some of my preliminary research was Joss Whedon. he is praised for his female characters, however I deliberately made an effort to not watch anything by him. I focused more on what the average writer was putting on the screen for us all to see.

In two back-to-back sports movies that I watched (Miracle/Warrior), the wife of the coach/athlete filled the same role. She was there to support her husband when he failed and she was there to stand as an obstacle to his goals. She was there to remind the audience that the main character had a family to go back to. The wives in these movies were background noise. They weren’t fully realized people. The men were the main attraction.

So after viewing those movies, I thought about television shows or movies where a woman wasn’t in the background and was my favorite character. This was an entertaining and somewhat difficult exercise.

In my first draft of the list, my favorite female characters were all villains.

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Katy Bates in Misery and

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Estelle Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m a sucker for great villains.

Next I made a list with women who weren’t so evil. I came up with Lindsey from Freaks and Geeks, Jessica Chastain in The Help, Naomie Harris in 28 Days Later. These were characters that I could sympathize with. As I did these exercises, I came to the realization that I had been a complete idiot in the way I went about writing the other gender. I treated them as if women had this alien quality that put them out of my reach. I overthought this process, much like I do everything else.

The female lens is obviously not the same as the male one. Women have different expectations in life than men. Those expectations have an impact on the molding of their personality.

A few months ago,  I had drafted out a story about a romance between a king and a queen for a screenwriting class. I knew I could write the king so I focused entirely on the queen and what went through her head. I spent twice as much time building her life experiences and her reactions to them. This was a detriment to the other characters.

I handed twenty pages of script in to my professor. This was the intro for a feature length that I’m still working on now. I used the queen for five or six pages. My professor e-mailed me back and urged me to use the queen more because she was by far my strongest character. He was a male professor so his opinion didn’t put me at ease. I needed more assurance that this character would not lead to a disconnect with female characters.

So I came up with an elaborate plot. I had a friend who’s a self-proclaimed feminist. She read lots of books so she knew her way around a story. So I asked her for help with my character. I told her I had no idea where I was going with my queen character. This was a lie. I had already come up with her personality. I gave her the scenario and asked her how she thought a female character in the middle ages would act when given the same scenario. And as it turns out, she described a character nearly identical to my own. I hope that I’m on the right track.

I think to write the authentic female voice, you have to abolish the idea of a strong female character.The term is taken too literally. I’ve seen so much media with kick ass one-dimensional female characters. Their hook is that these girls can get down and dirty just like any guy. You want your female character to come off as human and vulnerable as your male characters, not infinitely perfect in everyway.

Too many writers see their female characters as serving a purpose toward the story rather than allowing those female characters to organically influence the events. This is why we see so many bland subplot romances. The writer knows they want the hero to have a girl and get her in the end. The woman is not given much room to grow. She ends up as a contrast to the main character’s personality in order to maximize conflict and make the relationship seem impossible. After the pair hit it off, they have a misunderstanding over something trivial and then she forgives him. The woman is there to be earned. An issue that I see too often is that the girl is made into the goal rather than the actual relationship.

I don’t hold the opinion that all female characters should be positive role models. During the time that I spent reading feminist blogs on female representation, I’d see a lot of complaints on negative portrayal of women. There are some horrible women out there. You can’t focus solely on the negative, but you can’t ignore that either. Some of my favorite characters are the scum of the earth and that’s why I love them.

Everything I’ve said could be completely wrong. I’m still working out the kinks in my writing theories. I hope to make what was my biggest weakness as a writer (other than starting and not finishing things), into my greatest strength.