Dudes abide | Bleader

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dudes abide

Posted By on 08.03.11 at 01:24 PM

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In its cover story today, the RedEye publishes a probing analysis of contemporary sex and gender relations, contextualizing our current state of affairs within an account of the gains made by second- and third-wave feminist movements; various challenges to traditional feminist thinking posed by critics like Camille Paglia and Katie Roiphe; and an evolving understanding of the malleability of gender, as advanced by queer theorists.

Just kidding!

Actually the paper parrots the results of an anthropological survey on the mating habits of heterosexuals, conducted jointly by cosmopolitan.com and the online men’s magazine AskMen. Everybody knows what Cosmo is, but if you’re unclear on AskMen—as I was—take for example the lead piece today in the publication’s Dating and Sex section, “The Trick to Getting Her to Dress Sexier.” It emphasizes positive reinforcement, like how you would train a puppy: “It’s all rather Pavlovian: Positive reinforcement equals more positive behavior.” This dovetails with the rag’s tag line, “Become a Better Man,” insofar as making yourself better relies on your ability to skillfully manipulate women. Trust me—it does not have anything to do with your personality.

Anyways. In the RedEye article, AskMen editor in chief James Bassil, taking into account how technology has changed the romantic landscape, sums up the findings as follows: “Even as men are getting more comfortable with meeting their girlfriends online and less anxious about who she’s ‘friending’ there, other romantic behaviors have proven to be timeless ones: chivalry isn’t dead, size matters, and women forgive while men forget.” (I can't find the piece, which was reprinted from Reuters, on the RedEye site, but here's a pretty close version of it.)

The article goes on to discuss the matter of the check—who should pay? It’s a more contentious issue than I had thought—and birth control, before surveying the paper’s online followers for their opinions on a pressing issue. Is weight-gain fair game for breaking up? Opinions vary—from “What would the women say if we gained weight?” from a guy named Dave, a clear attempt to complicate the discourse, to a Twitter user’s “WEAK!! Real men will stay with a woman through ‘thick’ or ‘thin’ LITERALLY”—but a Facebook user named Kathy really brings it home. “why is this question even asked anymore?” she wonders. “boring.”

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