The Sickness of the Political and Corporate Mistreatment of Men, Women, Sex, Relationships, and Self-Esteem

Members of Femen Protesting the Egyptian Constitution at the Egyptian Embassy in Stockholm

Members of Femen Protesting the Egyptian Constitution at the Egyptian Embassy in Stockholm

I believe the institutions that control us are like diseases or parasites. They infect every aspect of our lives, including the most personal and potentially most meaningful aspects. Many orthodox religious or shallow cultures, governments, and corporations say to women and men that we are only as valuable as our looks and that sex is the most important aspect of our relationships. But I think most people who have been in relationships know this isn’t true. If only sex brings two people together, then it likely won’t evolve into a healthy, long-term relationship.

Our cultures objectify both genders in different ways. Men are told our muscles, toughness, size, and sexual experience are most important. Women and girls are told their appearance is most important, sex is a weapon, and the most meaningful endeavor for women is to please men. Of course, these primitive messages do incredible harm, especially to impressionable kids going through puberty. However, it is not just sex and good looks that are used to manipulate people. Even relationships and what is truly attractive like our best attributes are objectified and sold in the media. The myth of the “perfect” woman or man or a “magic pixie dream” girl or man is sold in mass in all kinds of media. For some people, the fantasies become more desirable than the reality and people disconnect.

Our sexuality is used against us to profit financial rulers, so we end up alone or feeling alone with unsatisfying encounters or relationships, and our sociopolitical and economic rulers (psychopaths at the wheel) even try to profit from healthy relationships. They tell us we need to show our love with their gifts, and the government says we need a financial contract (marriage) to show our love, (in orthodox cultures a dowry or dower is often paid or marriages are arranged) but most marriages end in divorce or people stick together even when they shouldn’t because they have become reliant on each other or they have a child and feel a divorce would hurt the child too much. But bad marriages hurt children more in my opinion because inevitably they make the parents miserable. Marriage creates financial pressure that shouldn’t have to exist in relationships. There is also sometimes coercion and rape in marriages. It is believed by some that there is an “obligation” to have sex with your partner if you are married or in a sexual relatonship, but we all know marriage does not equal consent to have sex.

I believe many women in the less orthodox cultures are lucky because they have much more freedom than women in strict, religious orthodox cultures. They get to express their emotions, whereas guys in them are told to “man up” and that “being a man” means being strong, cold, and unfeeling. We are told to disregard women and our feelings and acquire riches. We are fed ridiculous machismo lies about “manhood” and told it is defined by our stature, wealth, status symbols, the number of women we’ve slept with, and that this attracts. Nothing could be more damaging to young boys and men and the people we have encounters or relationships with, because it makes us value and seek all the wrong things. It is detrimental to us and others because it almost inevitably leads to feelings of insecurity and misperceptions and mistreatment of women. No one can live up to that ridiculous idea of manhood and be healthy and happy.

The fact that it is culturally acceptable in less orthodox regions for women to use their sexuality as a weapon (since that is what the media says is valued most and acceptable) also engenders disrespect and unhealthy relationships and encounters. I think using your sexuality as a weapon can be a very destructive behavior. Women in unorthodox regions generally have much greater influence over the behaviors of heterosexual men than heterosexual men do over women. Sexual behavior is also incredibly controlled and misrepresented in other ways. For example, female virgins are sometimes fetishized or viewed as “more valuable” or “pure” while male virgins are seen as worthless or fundamentally flawed, which are both very harmful attitudes. Both attitudes stem from the fundamentally wrong idea that sexual experience is somehow a marker of our worth.

Women and girls have a different set of lies pushed on them by our governments and media. Women who are less sexually open than their piers may be called “prudes,” but if they sleep with many people, they may be labeled as “promiscuous” or something more harmful. (I think this is rooted in jealously more than anything else. Some insecure individuals will childishly give others one or another label regardless if they aren’t given the attention they seek.) But highly industrialized countries treat this issue very differently from most “third-world” countries. In industrialized, unorthodox countries, women who are very sexually active and open to everything sexually are often valued, whereas in less industrialized countries more women are often shamed for this kind of behavior and even punished or killed for it. I believe this is because media is less pervasive and people don’t have the money to live out the same kind of fantasies, so people are abused more often in real life, as opposed to being abused in the media.

Some women who understandably bemoan the condemnation of promiscuity will embrace negative labels or protest naked in an attempt to “take these lablels back.” For example, there are groups of women who do so-called “slut walks” to protest the shaming of female sexual behavior or even sexual violence. But I believe the two shouldn’t be equated because it feeds into victim blaming. I believe people generally want to sexually abuse others not because they think it is right or they want to dominate, but because they are sick in the head. They don’t understand anything about sex, intimacy, or people, and they must be educated before they hurt anyone. So to sexualize (or appeal to people’s hormones) in the very protest against hypersexualization and sexual violence makes no sense. One may argue simply protesting nude isn’t sexualizing the protest but the reason nude protests get attention is because they are nude. It is not the substance of what they are saying that attracts most people. It goes without saying the female form is nothing to be ashamed of, just as male form is nothing to be ashamed of, but there’s not really any reason to flaunt your body or sexuality or throw it in people’s faces regardless of your gender since it inevitably appeals to many people’s lowest common denominator. If a man does this, he will rightly be viewed as a predator, so it is a double standard. Women can act like predators in industrialized countries where orthodoxy doesn’t rule and they often get encouraged by those who like this behavior or believe it is empowering. I am sure it can be empowering but for all the wrong reasons.

In industrialized countries there is far less of a stigma attached to a wide spectrum of sexual behavior, so this kind of protest makes even less sense considering that. In my opinion, these protests just feed into the negative, reductive labels they are supposedly protesting. The term sluttish was also first used in 1386 to describe a slovenly man, so this term has not just been ascribed harmfully to women. It is more commonly used to describe women, but a word can’t hurt you unless you give it that power. Embracing the word may not be the best approach because people’s sexist misconceptions aren’t changed by this, but often reaffirmed. I believe the same is true of racial slurs. When you “take back” a slur, racist outsiders who don’t understand will feel the liberal use of the word reaffirms their own racist attitudes.

Men are more often called womanizers rather than “sluts” for being promiscuous, which is arguably more damaging. This implies they are taking advantage of women and not simply being promiscuous. Protesting nude is quite a statement to make in a country where women are required to cover nearly every part of themselves due to religious custom or law or where women are bought and sold like objects. But it means nothing where women are free and encouraged to be naked and use their sexuality. This is why I have respect for feminist groups like Femen in Ukraine (who bravely protest Sharia law in orthodox regions naked) but I have almost no respect for self-identified “slut walkers.” Far fewer people are trying to cap female sexual behavior in the West, except highly orthodox politicians. In my opinion, it is not empowering to use your sexuality to manipulate others. I think that is usually negative regardless of your gender, unless you’re using your sexuality to help people. Doing it for any other reason in my opinion devalues sex and ourselves. Intimacy and meaningful connections can’t be affixed a price tag.

Most women in less orthodox regions are given far more freedom than women in extremely orthodox regions. It is far easier for women to have casual sex in the West because most regions are less orthodox. Women in the West get to hide their feelings. Men cannot do so as easily. They can’t hide their arousal (and it is immediately obvious when men lose it), which puts pressure on some men. It also obvious when a man has an orgasm, whereas women can fake them. For those who know anything about female orgasms, it is obvious when they do fake them. (Just for educational purposes, I will briefly mention when a female orgasm is real the labia and clitoris enlarge, the vaginal walls open up, and become wet. Some women will also shake uncontrollably when they reach an orgasm.) But I think faking them is pointless. It gives their partners the perception that they are not important. However, men are told the opposite. They are told the orgasm is the best part, which it really is not in my opinion. 

Casual sex is preferable to some because some people want to hide their feelings. But it is harder for men to be casual about sex, because women can still have penetrative sex without arousal. (However, this can be physically painful.) I believe many people think they need sex when they really need intimacy. But when people want just plain sex then who they often seek out “the lowest hanging fruit” or those who make themselves most available, and this can do damage on both sides. Some insecure individuals are attracted to the rugged “bad boys” or girls because they want the confidence they have. They want the primal kind of sex from a person who knows enough about it and won’t fall in love. But everyone is capable of this. It is more of a mix of feelings and behaviors than an identity. Anyone can act tough or indifferent and everyone can be good at sex. It is not exactly difficult. If you want to be good at it, all you need is education about sex. Some people have lots of sex and are still terrible at it, because they never bother learning or paying attention to their partner’s arousal or signals.

Intimacy can be a very different concept for men simply because of what we are told by our cultures and media. For men intimacy is often tied to contact. Sometimes, women think all men want is sex and they push away guys who are actually incredibly caring and good potential mates, but who don’t communicate their feelings well. Some men appear as if they are only interested in sex when they are really just hiding their true feelings or they don’t know how else to express them. Women are more often treated like pieces of meat so understandably many see sex as secondary to intimacy. Unfortunately, the only way to get close emotionally to certain individuals is to connect physically. Meaningful, intimate sex with someone you love can be far harder to find, so I think casual sex can be useful so long as both people involved understand that is what they are doing and their feelings don’t change or they change in the same ways at the same time. However, this is very rare.

Understandably, sex is psychologically different for many women. Women are penetrated in heterosexual “normal” sex, so there is an widespread perception that women are more vulnerable in this act. In actuality I think men are often more vulnerable because their desires and arousal are nearly impossible to hide. Sometimes, men just want the closeness and intimacy and not really the sex or the orgasm. This is why I think “cuddling” is good before sex, because it gives you a better idea of what you both actually want. If you don’t build intimacy and trust first it is hard to be comfortable during sex and let go, which means it will be much harder to enjoy. Sex really is just a biological trick for procreation. It is only meaningful if you make it meaningful. Otherwise, it is just a pointless distraction or another chemical high, which has been very much perverted by our financial insitutions. 

Having too much sex as a woman is frowned upon in far more orthodox cultures, whereas men in them (so long as they are married) can have as much as sex as they would like. This is largely because it is not a challenge for most women. But this is not really an advantage for either gender. I don’t believe mindless sex truly helps any gender in the long run. If there’s nothing beyond the physical connection it can get stale and feelings can get hurt. I think health is not achieved because of all of these pressures, lies, and distractions. We are treated like pieces of meat by our governments and by much of the media, and so some people treat each other in the same way.

Sex is used to sell in hypersexualized, industrialized cultures to the point at which we can never forget about sex. Certain types of pornography can also feed into these incredibly unhealthy perceptions of sexuality. Sex is associated with “winning” to the point at which it becomes violent. Men are told the way to assert their manhood is by taking a control of a woman in any way they can, and so consent becomes unimportant for some. All of this contributes to a sick “rape culture,” which makes it very hard to have normal relationships and encounters, even when our desires do not reflect the sick culture. But the media, massive corporations, and our government don’t want us to be happy and healthy. They want miserable little, lonely, statist drones, working, fighting, and feeling like they have no option but to submit to the state and continue on in miserable nine to five jobs or to take loans to go an expensive school to eventually get a nine to five job. If we are paying to live out some fantasy or another, that is profitable for them. What is “necessary” is what we are told. Real relationships that cost nothing in which neither person feels the need or has the expectation that money will ever be involved or define their relationship are not profitable for the government or corporations, so they often encourage people to avoid them either on a conscious or subconscious level.

We are all objectified. We are all infantilized. Even our good qualities are bought and sold like commodities. I am not sure if this is ever going to change because everyone is so reliant on the system. Everyone is focused on “surviving,” but never being happy and healthy. Happiness and health are almost seen as secondary to “surviving.” But it’s not possible to live a long life without health and happiness and without them you might as well be dead anyway. Unless industrialized cultures can stop being motivated by fantasies, shut off their televisions and start thinking critically or the media, corporations and governments stop appealing to people’s lowest common denominators I don’t see how our societies will find a way out of the rat trap.

Hypersexualized, industrialized cultures to me are much like the atmosphere in Las Vegas. Everything is fake. People are motivated by big riches they will never get in a system that is rigged, and people are treated like objects. The government and corporations do this to us. But we have to rise above it. If there is no market for this kind of thing, sexual violence will become far less common, and people will start valuing each other more and not living fantasies, but instead start connecting in all kinds of meaningful ways. People will stop just looking to sex to forget about what is painful, and instead use it to add fun to already meaningful connections. Sex and love are separated in our cultures. But they don’t have to be. If sex was only seen as meaningful or worthwhile with existing connections that go deeper than physical attraction, then we would be much happier and healthier.

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