02 February, 2011

What Revolution?

Warnng: Angry rant ahead.

As a little girl, I was never allowed to play soccer, a game I loved, because "it's not a game meant for girls". This, along with the attitude that it was the woman's place to keep house were my introductions to gender stereotypes.

Fast forward to now, where everyone hails equality. Except that's not the case at all.

I was extremely surprised to read a post on Mia Freedman's website recently entitled "What is your idea of foreplay?" It wasn't the subject matter or the fact that it was a sponsored post that surprised me, but the content. On a website written by women for women, I'd become used to seeing well-written articles (ok, so not always applicable to me and my stage in life) that also had a women's point of view and often a feminist stance to boot.

Here I present the bit that got me particularly shouty for your amusement:

Because of the differences between men and women, our needs when it comes to foreplay are different too. And whilst we women have perfectly reasonable expectations of what constitutes foreplay, men can be WAY out of synch….

What Men Consider Foreplay:

His partner removing her clothes (whether to get into bed, hop into the shower, or put cream on a painful rash)
A nude woman on TV
A sex scene on TV
Nothing on TV
Getting into bed
Lying in bed
Waking up in bed
Giving his partner that ‘special look’
Pinching his partner’s bum
Saying ‘Hey hon, wanna do the wild thing?’

What Women Consider Foreplay:

Receiving flowers
Receiving chocolates
Receiving a full body massage
Her partner doing the dishes
Her partner doing the laundry
Her partner doing whatever she wants
Being told that she is gorgeous
Being told that she is sexy
Being told that the kids are asleep and that her partner will get them up in the morning
Watching a film of Simon Baker (okay, so maybe that one is just me).

Back it up there. I'm sorry Mamamia (and the sponsor of this post), but I was not aware that receiving flowers was foreplay for women. Ditto for chocolates or having someone do the dishes. Colour me embarrassed, all those times my flatmates washed up after dinner and I didn't hold up my end of the bargain afterwards. Where are my Brady Bunch manners?

I'm sick of seeing cliches like this. The insinuation men are always ready for sex and that women don't really enjoy it and have to somehow be bribed into it is outdated and simply untrue on both sides. To continue to reinforce this myth leaves men under pressure to live up to this so-called expectation, and continues to shame women who enjoy sex and intimacy... when really there's nothing for anyone to be ashamed of.

(Of course the frequent application of flowers, chocolates, doing the dishes etc may help your quest, boys and girls. But a friendly tip: all of these things come with one of those little asterisk-thingys that often appear on mobile phone ads with the following message: "does not imply you will get some". Believe it or not, the sexual organs of plants do not a person ready for sexytimes make.)


In what can almost be called uncanny timing, I came across a piece in the Punch regarding (NSFW I'd say) Filament magazine. This isn't a magazine that I've seen before, but a quick flick through the online preview shows that it seems similar to the layout of something like Ralph or FHM - but aimed at women and featuring men. Given the list of international stockists and the fact that older issues are sold out on their website, I'd like to hazard a guess and say that the magazine seems to be doing quite well... which is at odds to the opinion that women aren't in to that sort of stuff and just want to snuggle with a box of chocolates.

I'd like to think that in this day and age both women and men had the freedom to express and live out their sexuality as they see fit, without having a set of expectations thrust upon them. Whatever turns you on, as the saying goes. It'd be nice to not be reminded of what we all should be according to an outdated idea.

(And now that Angry McRantypants has had her say, normal transmission will resume. General update soon.)


  1. Brilliantly put!

    In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of Mia at the best of times. There have been a few things over the last 12 months that have me thinking "WTF?".

    But yes, this comes back to sexual double standards and it is stupid!

  2. I absolutely agree. Except to say that as the mother of one (living) child, I do actually find the sight of a man doing the dishes arousing. Not quite enough for me to ravish him, but it does increase the odds significantly.

  3. I absolutely detest these stereotypes and have tried my friendships many times arguing this exact point.

    At what point are these cliches self-fulfilling prophecies that society constantly recycles??


  4. I like Angry McRantyPants. I think she should come out to play more often.

  5. Vintage Grrl - thank you!

    Lara - The whole "watching the other person doing housework" thing seems to be a common fantasy for many people... ;o)

    Maria - That is very profound, I really like that!

    M-H - if everyone's well (or should it be badly?) behaved she may come out to play again!

  6. heh, i like angry mcranty pants too. if more women were angry and said so instead of snuggling up with a box of chocolates then some things might start to change. it irritates me beyond belief that this woman, who i can not STAND, has somehow become the face of australian feminism. please. your title was really interesting too. a revolution is when something changes fundamentally, you overturn one system and put in place another. but that hasnt happened in gender relations. all we've ever done is tinker around the edges. politely of course. so as not to be seen as angry. cos angry girls dont get any, dont you know! seriously, great post!

  7. i really like this blog post. It's so true - Mia's post was so narrow-minded and such a simplification and generalisation about men & women. Why all the stereotyping? Why can't we be us in all our unique and complex glory?