John Mayer, man whore, recently did an interview with, of all things, Playboy. And while Mayer is rather well known for self-aggrandizing streams of pure shit coming from his mouth, he did say one thing that caught my attention:
MAYER: I feel like women are getting their comeuppance against men now. I hear about man-whores more than I hear about whores. When women are whorish, they’re owning their sexuality. When men are whorish, they’re disgusting beasts. I think they’re paying us back for a double standard that’s lasted for a hundred years.
Probably more like a thousand years, and if a biblical fundamentalist is to be believed, five thousand and no more. So when John Mayer, impulsive man-whore, comes out and complains about the current double standard, you know something's going on here.
Certainly the celebration, and at least acknowledgement of female sexuality has increased over the last twenty years, be it The Vagina Monologues, chronicling a woman's relationship with her vagina, for better or for worse; the de-stigmatization of high-class escorts in movies like The Girlfriend Experience, and the emergence of stylishly-garbed prostitots. All empower women to a certain extent, and by empower I mean, illuminate an aspect of their existence which had prior to then been repressed and hidden from view, Eleanor of Aquitaine notwithstanding. Which meant, naturally, that the tables had to be turned, and in a big way; in the new reading of sexuality, men were cast as the new satyricons, willing to corrupt any tender virgin with his animal man-seed. The only question was, how to bring shame upon men for it, many of whom naturally feel little to none to begin with?
So what to do with men now?
Men's spirits have a wild, chaotic, Dionysian element to them; beneath the veneer of civility and tenderness lies a wild current of rage, aggression and violence that is not easily tamed, and is more or less responsible for most of the violent deaths of the preceding five millennia. Women know this, and this is why it took five-thousand odd years for people like Camille Paglia and Andrea Dworkin to be as much of a dick to men as men have been to women, and only then long after civil-rights and universal suffrage made it safe to do so. Men do not put up with shit well, and our definition of what constitutes "shit" is extremely broad and irrational.
The answer, then, is to subtly change the social paradigm to include as favourable typically feminine traits as working together, forethought, and sober anaysis of the situation. Make education more and more focused on these values, thereby exluding men from the rolls of higher education that are the bedrock of today's success stories. Put a value on responsibility; namely, you can party, get drunk, and do as many drugs as you want, but make sure you pay the rent on time and graduate with a good enough GPA to get into graduate school - thereby marginalizing the most individualistic, chaotic men who could potentially challenge the new order. And finally, make the criminal justice system hair-trigger sensitive, so that even the most mundane expression of violence can be violently prosecuted. You know you have achieved success in these areas when essays like A short essay on males, individuality, and real ultimate power start populating the nodegel.
Here's the thing, though: despite the best wet dreams of militant feminists, the tables will never be totally turned, and I'll let John Mayer, from the same interview, explain why:
MAYER: What if I meet a woman and it’s love at first sight, and this woman has the greatest night of her life by telling me to fuck off because she knows my reputation? I always say, “Turning me down is the new sleeping with me.” What is a guy supposed to say to a girl who says “You do this all the time”? Girls always say that. Sometimes they say “I’ve been warned about you.” But I can undo that in a couple of days. I have a line for that: “Keep your warning for a while; let’s take it slow.”
And there you have it, women. John Mayer doesn't necessarily speak for all men, but there's a universal element to his persona that all men, no matter how well-trained by their girlfriends, will silently nod and congratulate him for; namely, his ability to be a total fucking douchebag, and simply not care. He simply doesn't give a fuck; if societal norms turn against him, he will turn it into another affirmation of his god-like sexiness. And this is the critical area that feminism can never touch; namely, the deeply ingrained, second-nature opinion among men that, no matter what you say, we are the shit, and if you don't like it, you're probably just jealous. That said, this opinion may be hidden under many, many layers of feeling unwanted and useless in today's world, and comes from the belief that many of the avenues men use to show intrinsic value are now becoming more closed or frowned upon. But deep down, there is that kernel of pure ego that exists that cannot be extinguished.
Keep in mind, too, that women second-guessing their own empowerment doesn't help much; just look at the condemnations levelled against Stephanie Birkett, largely by fellow women, questioning why she would want to sleep with pasty, old, and stupendously wealthy David Letterman in the first place. Ironically, women's sexual liberation may benefit men more than women; you are free to wear anything you want, but if you want any hope of being stylish, it'd better be as sexy and revealing as possible. The new trend among college girls of wearing nothing but black tights for pants, which leave virtually nothing to the imagination, is an example of this. Men selecting women for career ascendancy based on physical attractiveness have been replaced by women doing the exact same thing.
So to summarize, in any closed, mutually co-operative system, all it takes is one selfish or unstable asshole to destroy everything, and that asshole is probably more likely to be a man. Sorry, ladies, but I think this round is unwinnable; you're going to have to settle for parity.