6 Gender-Essentialist Myths About Dating and the Bedroom Debunked

Music:
The Yoshida Brothers, Hishou [2007] (***)  – The Yoshida Brothers play enjoyable instrumental music that mixes a traditional Japanese sound with a pop/rock aesthetic. 

Blogs:
 6 Gender-Essentialist Myths About Dating and The Bedroom Debunked

University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley and colleagues went through psychology studies to see which gender myths about sex could really be proven by research and found many of the myths aren't true.  I first saw a good summary of this on Feministing and then read the link it's based on at Live Science.  Here's my summary of the two links:

1. Men want "sexy", women want "status"
This stereotype only holds up on paper when college students are abstractly asked about their "ideal mate".  When researchers looked at how men and women rated real people in actual speed-dating situations the gender differences "evaporated".  "There was no difference in the way they rated their romantic interest based on those people's attractiveness and earnings."

2. Men want may sex partners, women want far fewer
Researchers found that a small number of very sexually charged individuals were skewing the average.  Turns out the typical number of partners wanted by BOTH men and women was "one". That's right.  The typical man and woman said they wanted one partner.

Also, remember those studies where they asked men and women how many partners they had and men answered with much higher numbers than women?  Turns out a lot of men over-estimated their numbers and women under-estimated theirs (probably because of social pressures.) In studies where men and women were" tricked" into thinking they were attached to a lie-detector, men and women reported the same number of partners.

3. Men think about sex more than women do
They do slightly, but it's only 18 times a day over women's 10 times a day.  The cliché that men think about sex every 7 seconds is not true. Also, men think about other needs like food and sleep more than women too.

4. Women have far fewer orgasms than men do
Studies suggest this is true, especially in one-night stands, where women had one-third of the orgasms men had.  However, in committed-relationships, "women had orgasms 79 percent as often as men". "The fact that the gap can shrink so much based on relationship type suggests that having a partner who cares about a woman's sexual satisfaction is more important than biology." 

(This is why I hate the often repeated myth that women don't like sex.  It's more like women don't like sex where their needs aren't met.  Seems to me that men who repeat this myth are basically telling others that they don't take their partners needs seriously and therefore probably aren't going to be very satisfying in bed.  At least they warn you. )

5. Men like casual sex more than women do
There was a 1989 study where "a trained young man or woman propositioned college students."  70 percent of the men said yes to the woman but no women said yes to the man.  While the study could mean that women aren't interest in casual sex, it didn't take into consideration cultural factors. (This isn't in the article but the study took place at a Florida college post-Ted Bundy, the good looking man in Florida who raped and murdered young women,  and none of the researchers seemed to realize that this could influence the results for the women.)

In another study,  when women were asked if they'd be interested in a one-night stand with someone famous (like Johnny Depp) and men were asked about an equivalent celebrity, the gender difference "evaporated."  According to the researchers, women may reject most one-night stands because they don't think the man will be good in bed.  It also seems like safety concerns and concerns about being "slut-shamed" about casual sex are greater for women.

6. Women are pickier than men
In a 2009 study researchers  found that "people are choosier when they're approached by a potential partner, and less choosy when they're doing the approaching". In our society, men are typically encouraged to do the approaching and women the receiving. If women were to do more of the approaching, we would probably start seeing more "picky" men too.

Glow and NY-LON

TV Quote (from The Big Bang Theory):
Stuart the comic store owner: Can I help you find anything?

Amy: A comic that depicts a woman whose bosom can't be used as a floatation device.

Books:
Title: Glow (Sky Chasers)
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Year Published: 2011
Rating: ***
Ages: 12 and up
Format: Read in eBook format on Nook for Droid

Fifteen-year-old Waverly  Marshall and 16-year-old Kieran Alden are the oldest children of the survivors of a damaged Earth and have lived their entire happy lives on the Empyrean spaceship while it travels to their new planet. Though now Waverly is starting to feel a lot of pressure from the rest of the ship to marry young and start having children, even though she's not sure she's ready.  Then something terrible happens and Waverly and Kieran must fight for their lives.

I loved all the sci-fi details and the tense action.  Unfortunately, towards the end, the story shifted from sci-fi action-adventure to a story about religion.  The religious stuff is handled clumsily and is likely to offend both people of faith and Atheists alike.  That's too bad because when religion wasn't front and center, I enjoyed Glow.

[Parent Note: This book would make for a good discussion about reproductive issues and ethics since a large portion of the plot of Glow is about fertility and reproductive issues.

There are some ugly stereotypes about both religious people and Atheists in the book. People of faith are vilified as either power-hungry or sheep-like followers and Atheists are portrayed as having having no spirituality or moral clarity to keep them motivated in times of crisis. The tired old wives tale about there being no Atheists in foxholes is trotted out in this story as well. The link to the Military Association of Atheists in Foxholes will be happy to explain to everyone that, yes, there really are Atheists in foxholes.]

TV:
NY-LON
– (*** 1/2) This TV romance between a New York City bohemian and a London banker aired in 2004 and is now available on Hulu.  It stars Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton from True Blood, with his British accent) and Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins from Parks and Recreation).  It's not a perfect show, but if you like romance stories about the bohemian world of  Lower East Side New York City or stories about London, you might enjoy this short 7 episode show during the holiday TV repeat season.  There is a lot of squabbling between the main characters and it's clear the show thought it would get a second season and didn't, so the end is a cliffhanger.  Still, I enjoyed the characters and all the fun New York and London details.  Available on Hulu with a free account (since the show is rated for mature audiences only).

Ms. Evil Octopus Goes on a Field Trip, K’naan, and Biking to Work

Music:
K'naan, Troubadour (****) [2009] – Rapper K'naan was born in Somalia. Right before the war broke out his family immigrated to New York and then Toronto.  His album is full of upbeat hopeful rap and hip-hop songs about the immigrant experience, with plenty of realistically sad details and a touch of bravado about what a badass he is for coming from Africa. Favorite Songs: T.I.A. (This is Africa), Fatima, Wavin' Flag, Take A Minute.

My Life:
Ms. Evil Octopus Goes on a Field Trip – I made an exception to my Friday-only subbing rule to help out a teacher in need and subbed for 3 days for the class that calls me Ms. Evil Octopus.  On the second day we went on a field trip with lots of helpful moms (but sadly no dads).  The Thanksgiving program at Woodland Manor had fun hands-on activities for the kids to do, the kids were great, and we had sunny warm weather. My favorite part was what happened when I introduced myself to each mom:

Mom: Hi, I'm Sarah's mom.
 
Me: Wonderful to meet you. I'm Ms. Eureka.

Mom: [Looks strangely disappointed after hearing my name.] Oh.  Ms. Eureka?

Me: But the kids like to call me Ms. Evil Octopus.  It's just a fun joke we have going on.

Mom: [Perks up.] Yes, Sarah told me this!  She said you're really funny.

Heehee. I guess even moms like silly jokes.

What I Learned About Biking to Work – For the past two years I've wanted to bike to my sub jobs.  This week I finally got my act together and biked to work for all three days.  Yay!  Here's what  I learned:

1. Biking makes me feel good all day.

2.  I need a change of clothes for the top of my body but not the bottom.

3. Fully inflated tires make the ride a lot easier, so does a range of gears.

4.  It was good to have the daughterling's bike as a backup bike at home for when I discovered a flat tire  right before I needed to leave home.

5. The bike ride home is the best and made me feel less tired after work than if I drove.

6.  Being a super slow biker is okay.  Just getting out there is what counts.

The Glitch Mob, Women at the Movies, and My Fall TV List

TV Quote: "For a while in the 1970's, our town was run by a freaky cult.  Every few years the remaining members predict the world's gonna end and they have an all-night vigil in the park. It's so annoying.  Turns out when you think the world's ending you don't aim so carefully in the Porta-Potties." (Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation)

Music:
The Glitch Mob, Drink The Sea [2010] (***1/2) – I asked my kids to give me a list of musical groups they enjoy so I could broaden my musical listening.  This electronic group was on my son's list.  It's good — mostly wordless — atmospheric music for driving, biking, walking or writing.

Blogs:
Flick Chicks: A Guide to Women in the Movies – Check out these funny descriptions of women in the movies by Mindy Kahling.  She not only plays Kelly Kapor on The Office, but is also one of the show's producers and writers.  Her description of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is probably one of the clearest descriptions I've read on this character-type:

The Ethereal Weirdo

The smart and funny writer Nathan
Rabin coined the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl to describe this archetype
after seeing Kirsten Dunst in the movie “Elizabethtown.” This girl can’t
be pinned down and may or may not show up when you make concrete plans
with her. She wears gauzy blouses and braids. She likes to dance in the
rain and she weeps uncontrollably if she sees a sign for a missing dog
or cat. She might spin a globe, place her finger on a random spot, and
decide to move there. The Ethereal Weirdo appears a lot in movies, but
nowhere else. If she were from real life, people would think she was a
homeless woman and would cross the street to avoid her. But she is
essential to the male fantasy that even if a guy is boring he deserves a
woman who will find him fascinating and perk up his dreary life by
forcing him to go skinny-dipping in a stranger’s pool.

Her other descriptions are equally funny:

The Woman Who s Obsessed with Her Career and Is No Fun at All
The Forty-two-Year-Old Mother of the Thirty-Year-Old Male Lead
The Sassy Best Friend
The Skinny Woman Who is Beautiful and Toned but Also Gluttonous and Disgusting
The Woman Who Works in an Art Gallery

Check them out here:  http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2011/10/03/111003sh_shouts_kaling#ixzz1cdwYe83v

TV:  I've seen all the new pilots, given the new shows their chance, and taken a hard look at all my old shows.  I like to spend about 10 hours a week watching TV so I'm pretty picky about what shows made it to my 10 hours list. 

My Fall TV List

One-Hour Shows: The Good Wife, Once Upon A Time, Castle, Revenge, The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, Grimm, and Nikita
Half-Hour Shows: Parks and Recreation, The Big Bang Theory, and Up All Night
Shows I'm Undecided About: Ringer

What shows made your list?

Grimm, Who’s a Feminist?, and Come for the Lady Gaga, stay for the empowerment

Blogs:
The Rebirth of the Feminist Manifesto: Come for the Lady Gaga, stay for the empowerment – New York magazine has a good article on the expanding world of feminist blogs and how it's inspiring a new generation of young women (and men) who believe in gender equality, much like the consciousness raising groups of 1970's.  There's also list of feminist websites to get you started. Some of my favorites are on the list: feministing, feministe, Jezebel, Shakesville, and Sarah Haskin's"Target Women" videos.  One of my favorite bloggers, Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon.net, is also featured in the article. (Reader warning: There are swear words in this article since it's about the blogging world and the blogging world doesn't sugar-coat things.)

Yes, You Are – What exactly is feminism? Can you shave your legs and be a feminist?  Be a stay-at-home-parent?  Be a man? Yes!  You can do and be all those things and more and be a feminist. Sarah Bunting (a co-founder of Television Without Pity) wrote a classic post that's my favorite response to the phrase, "I'm not a feminist but…"

Here's the start of her essay:

"'feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests — feminist n or adjfeministic adj'"

"Above, the dictionary definition of feminism — the entire dictionary definition of feminism. It is quite straightforward and concise. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

"Yes, you are.

"The definition of feminism does not ask for two forms of photo ID. It does not care what you look like. It does not care what color skin you have, or whether that skin is clear, or how much you weigh, or what you do with your hair. You can bite your nails, or you can get them done once a week. You can spend two hours on your makeup, or five minutes, or the time it takes to find a Chapstick without any lint sticking to it. You can rock a cord mini, or khakis, or a sari, and you can layer all three. The definition of feminism does not include a mandatory leg-hair check; wax on, wax off, whatever you want. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

"Yes, you are." (Read the rest here.)

TV:
Grimm (***) – A police procedural about a cop who learns his family can see evil fairytale creatures hiding amongst humans.  Grimm's executive producer, David Greenwalt, was also the executive producer for the Buffy spin-off, Angel.  Like the first few episodes of Angel, the pilot for Grimm takes itself too seriously. It's as if the show had forgotten its second "m". I started to see how this show might be fun once the big bad wolf was introduced. Here's hoping there's way more of him in future episodes.