I was having a discussion with a (cis-female) friend of mine about the challenges she was having meeting date-able guys. She’s quite tall, and has a difficult time dating guys who are much shorter than she is because of a long list of complicated reasons, some mechanical some psychological, which restricts the pool quite precipitously. But she said beyond the simple fact of physical compatibility (we’ll ignore for now the proportion of tall guys who she’s nonetheless not attracted to physically), the biggest obstacle she was having is findings guys who didn’t piss her off during their first date by saying or doing something that betrays a shitty, gender-essentialist, retrograde attitude toward women. This is a sentiment I have heard from many other friends – even ‘nice’ guys who might otherwise be fine to date take themselves out of the running by holding on to (and voicing) anti-feminist and/or misogynist attitudes.
If you (like me) are an openly feminist cis gendered heterosexual (‘cishet’, hereafter) guy, you’ve probably encountered the meme that guys are just pretending to be feminists to get laid (or worse, I suppose, actually adopting the tenets of feminism and self-brainwashing in order to get some consensual hotslappy going). ‘Real men aren’t feminists’, is the implication (if only there were a longer discussion of this topic somewhere). ‘Real men’ are deeply invested in perpetuating a rigid definition of masculinity, and any deviation from such perpetuation is a revocation of their ‘man card’; either that or they are actually adhering to the idea that men will do pretty much anything to get sex, including either mass deception or self-delusion.
I (obviously) have a real problem with this belief. First, it’s silly – avowed feminists are probably the least likely to fall for that kind of bullshit fakery, since they are dispositionally predisposed to examine and critique gendered behaviour. Second, it’s self-contradictory, as it lies within a cluster of beliefs that labels women feminists as unfuckable harridans who should be grateful for any and every offer they get for a Hot Peen Sandwich, regardless of the political beliefs of the Peen-holder. Third, it’s insulting, but nobody really cares about that so I’ll skip over it.
The most generous interpretation I can give for this meme is as follows: there exists an incentive structure wherein cishet guys are rewarded for their adherence to feminist ideas by having more opportunities for sex. Cishet guys who espouse feminist beliefs have somewhat-exclusive sexual access to a population of women who want Peen and yet will not accept the Peen offerings of non-feminist cishet guys. Therefore, the average cishet feminist guy has a sexual advantage over the average cishet guy per se, and anti-feminist cishet guys especially. Furthermore, even pretending to hold feminist beliefs gives you that same access, provided your dissemblance is convincing enough.
You know what else follows this logic? Taking a shower with soap and water. Seriously. Cishet guys with a regular bathing routine will have a much easier time getting laid than cishet guys who don’t. Nobody wants your stinky, unwashed Peen, sir. Ladies want a clean Peen.
And yet, we don’t see derision from this crowd for any man caught in the soap aisle of the drug store. “Real men smell like a sweaty asshole”, the cry should come from this same group. “You’re just showering so you can get laid, you weakling! Old Spice is brainwashing you!”
Let’s get something straight here: there are a lot of reasons that a cishet guy would profess feminism. Some are pragmatic, some are ethical, some are borne of empathy and basic decency. Men have complex reasons for doing a lot of things, given that they (we) are human beings with agency. We male feminists simply happen to recognize that people of all genders operate from that same basic tenet, and (hopefully) adjust our behaviour accordingly. Given the number of cishet women who decry feminism or prefer relationships where gender roles are strictly and consistently defined, the idea that paying lip-service to feminism opens up whole new worlds of coitus is… let’s just say the argument assumes facts not in evidence.
Now far be it from me to say that being a cishet guy feminist doesn’t give you some kind of advantage in certain circles. I’ve had sexual partners who I’m sure wouldn’t have slept with me if I hadn’t lived my belief in equality among genders. I’ve had a couple outright tell me that they were attracted to me, at least in part, because of my feminist beliefs. That being said, I’m sure I have a bunch of sexual partners who wouldn’t have fucked me if I had reeked to high heaven of the previous week’s physical exertion because I couldn’t be arsed to work a faucet. I’d imagine… all of them would agree if you asked them.
So yeah, feminism might help some guys get laid. So does showering. And the reason feminist women don’t want to fuck anti-feminist cishet guys is the same reason that women with functioning olfactory faculties don’t fuck guys who don’t shower: it’s because y’all stink.