Sunday, December 24, 2006

Modern women: Exhibitionists?

Three trends I've noticed lately amongst women: socialising as their main interest in life, extensive foreign travel as their number two interest, and adventure sports as their number three (or at least a claimed interest in things like SCUBA diving, skiing, sky-diving etc).

Now, the first one is hardly new. And the second and third may not be true of the young women that you come across; it may be something particular to where I live, although I suspect not. Most of you will probably not think that adventure sports are a popular interest amongst women. But this comes up so often on the dating website (which I use as my method for viewing trends amongst young single women), that it begs for an explanation.

Anyway, I've been trying to figure out what the connection is between these three interests which seem to be coming up so frequently that I'm sure they are part of some group trend rather than reflecting individual interests. This morning I think I finally worked out the answer: Exhibitionism.

I think this has two route causes. Firstly, psychologists know that people in general have been getting more extrovert over the last few decades. Why this is so is still a mystery, but it certainly seems to be the case that there are fewer and fewer 'shy' women and more and more loud and outgoing women these days. I suspect at least part of this is due to the way that young women have licence these days to do whatever they like, plus the fact that they are now so obsessed with the lifestyles of celebrities. This obsession really is quite extraordinary from a man's point of view. I mean, can you imagine the average man studying the gossip magazines to see what Tom Cruise has been wearing this week, or deciding whether some important aspect of lifestyle such as whether you are single or whether you have children is fashionable or not at the moment based on the current events in some celebrity's life? I mean, can you imagine actually basing the direction of your life on this information?

Anyway, the real heart of the matter is that despite women ostensibly having total freedom to do whatever they want, and being able to do anything a man does (supposedly), there are a number of flaws in this. One of them is that women are on the whole still reluctant to actively pursue men; they would rather be passive targets of men's attentions. They would rather simply dress themselves up and hang out somewhere where they are visible to a high traffic of men, such as a bar, and wait for one to approach them. Notice, for example, how single career women who have artificial insemination to become a single mother by choice tend to justify this by saying that they "got tired waiting for Mr right to come along." I've always found this choice of language rather perplexing. Why would a supposedly go-getting, independent career woman have to wait for the right man? Why wouldn't she actively seek him out? And even if you assume that we all have to wait, to some extent, for the right person to come into our lives (be it a friend, business associate or wife/husband), I still can't see why a supposedly go-getting, independent person would give in to using such passive language, and not emphasise their ability to increase their odds of meeting such a person by taking an active approach to it.

Well, the truth of course is that not only are these women not so go-getting and capable of rational planning when it comes to their private lives (even supposedly educated women seem to be just as likely as uneducated ones to make poor decisions in their private lives, such as falling for bad-boys), but also when it comes down to the hard work and courage needed to go out and approach people, too many women simply give up and take the easier route of being the passive 'honey-trap' to ensnare a man simply by dressing up and fluttering their eye-lashes and tossing their hair. Hence the sickening double-standards of the women who rub their independence and aggressiveness in your face, but then when it comes to the issue of dating they suddenly claim that they are 'old fashioned' in that arena, and expect the man to pursue them and shower them with gifts and praise.

This lack of willingness to go out and approach men is made all the more pathetic by the fact that, in general, most men would have been very polite and friendly back to them. Think about it, who is more likely to face a cruel rejection: the man approaching women, or the women approaching men?

Some may try and argue that women just don't like to approach men because they are physically afraid of inviting an assault of some kind. But I really don't think that this stems from physical fear. To bring this back to my original point, if women were so afraid of physical harm, then I don't think they would be going out to bars and clubs dressed like hookers, going off traveling and back-packing (often alone) to remote places, and engaging in adventure sports.

Some may also argue that women today ARE now more likely to pro-actively pursue men and talk to them in public places. This may be true, at least to some degree, and it may be my lack of interest in pubbing and clubbing over the last few years that has blinded me to this. Yet I do doubt that its true.

Instead, what I think most women do is just try to get themselves noticed and hope the right man comes along and chats them up. This explains why they are so obsessed with going out to bars, pubs and clubs as much as possible (and often becoming alcoholic in the process), why they are dressing in a more and more provocative manner, why they life to travel so much (getting themselves seen as far and wide as possible), and why they like to express an interest in adventure sports (its either 'look at me! look at what I've done!' or its 'look at me, boys, I like the same things you do!'). The trouble comes mainly from the fact that many men have become far less interested in playing women's dating games, and far less motivated to approach women and ask them out. When many men calculate the pros and cons in their minds these days, it just doesn't seem worth the energy.

But this leaves us in the bizarre situation where women are putting all their energy into a strategy (although I hesitate to call it that, as 'strategy' implies its conscious, when I don't think it is) which may have worked years ago, but is far from optimal today. Women are sending out confusing, mixed signals to men: on the one hand they are rubbing their aggressiveness and independence in men's faces all the time, yet on the other hand they still expect to be pursued romantically. The two are incompatible. Or they at least jar uncomfortably together. i.e. they are sub-optimal.

Its a natural tendency when people do something without thinking about it, in order to get a particular response, and if they don't get that response they just keep on doing it even more and more, rather than stepping back and thinking through why its not working. For example, ever noticed how when someone is in a rush for a lift (elevator) to arrive, they will press the button repeatedly (as though there were a mechanism in it to make the lift arrive faster the more the person presses the button!) and they press the button harder and harder (as though there was a mechanism in it to make the lift arrive faster the more pressure the person applies to the button!). Its an illogical but instinctive approach. Similarly, women are using the same old approach when hoping to attract the man of their dreams to come and pursue them. They get themselves seen by dressing up and going out, traveling or doing something to get themselves noticed (like adventure sports), but it doesn't have the effect that they hoped it would: the square-jawed millionaires still aren't flocking to ask them out. So they simply press the button harder and faster while they tap their feet in indignant amazement that the lift isn't arriving faster. Hence witness the hooker-isation of young women's fashion. Even some of the feminists have been commenting on this, although they lack the honest intellect to realise why it is so. Its now normal for young women to dress in tiny skirts, with exposed stomachs and lower backs (with tattoos on display), tight tops (with emblazoned slogan designed to draw the eye to the nipple regions), and all the other fashion classics of the tart (make-up, fish-net stockings and so on). As many men become less and less interested in pursuing women for committed serious partnerships, women press the button of passive attraction even harder, but to their own harm: by positioning themselves as physical objects of desire they are attracting the sex desire of men, rather than the love desire. They fail to realise that the two can become easily de-coupled. Therefore as their exhibitionism becomes ever more hysterical, so do their cries of "why are there no nice men willing to commit to me?" They fail to make the connection that its their own behaviour causing it.


Anonymous said...

Or, it could be they are intelligent people who enjoy traveling or competing in sports. They might actually have interests besides chasing men! Also, they wear clothes they like (and with all those sports, look good in)

Only male vanity would imply that women travel to attract men's attention.

If you see these women, why don't you approach them? That is what a real man does.

Waylon Payne said...

A real man..? I think what the author is trying to communicate is that the traditional roles have been blurred in modern times.

Woman tend to want their bread buttered on both sides. -Might I add not all woman but a significant amount of them.

If he's any less of a man for not being 100% stereotypical in nature, then you're anything but a woman.

Mil said...

"Hence witness the hooker-isation of young women's fashion. Even some of the feminists have been commenting on this, although they lack the honest intellect to realise why it is so."

Why you assume that feminists lack the honest intellect to realise why this is so I am not entirely sure. You have many valid points that I agree to and your writing is impressive but why group all feminist as useless if this is not true? In reference to the point you made about clothing and women these days, please read Female Chauvinist Pigs:Women and The Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy. I'm sorry I don't remember the year of publication but it's between 2004-2006. She makes excellent points and hey, surprise, does not male-bash at all. I'll admit that what women call feminism these days is pure trash. But I believe that long ago, women came up with something really solid and it just became so twisted over the years; to the point of injustice (to men).

once again, I enjoyed your writinga and keep up the good work.

cheers :)