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20 Years of Love & Sex
20-Year Timeline: From the beginning of AIDS awareness to outed cartoon sponges.
Love Is a Drug: Once the realm of poets, artists and philosophers, love has been exposed as biochemistry.
When Porn Wore Sideburns: In San Jose's golden age of smut, real fans converged in the dark at theaters like the Burbank, the New Paris and the Pussycat.
Gay Nineties: Twenty years of queers in the South Bay.
The Joy of Mix: Want a real window into the soul? Don't look into the eyes—look at the CD collection.
Victims Gone Wild: How feminism has messed up relationships.
Borderless Dating: In the valley, young couples aren't afraid of diversity.
Twenty Years of Tom Cruise: What were we thinking?


Victims Gone Wild

How Feminism Has Messed Up Relationships

By Amy Alkon

"IN SEDUCTION, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine," proclaimed radical feminist Andrea Dworkin in 1976. If you're a woman born 20 years ago, you probably don't even recognize Dworkin's name. Yet, there's a good chance you've had some seriously frustrating dates with her unwitting progeny: the guy who waits until date three or four—not to grab you, throw you up against the wall and suck face—but to politely inquire, "May I kiss you?"

Equal pay for equal work? It's a beautiful thing. Equal opportunity? Thrilled to have it. We women owe an enormous debt to Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and all who followed in their footsteps, fighting the righteous fight against sex-based discrimination.

Unfortunately, in the late '70s and early '80s, feminism got hijacked by a small but vocal gang of Victims Gone Wild. Leading the band with Dworkin was anti-porn harpy and law professor Catherine MacKinnon (most of whose outrageous, but now commonly accepted, claims about the damage done to women by pornography were neatly debunked in a 2004 analysis by psych professor Catherine Salmon).

Dworkin, MacKinnon and their hairy-armpitted underbosses gave the order to the "victimized"—women, largely privileged and white, on campuses across America—to crawl out from under the boot of "male oppression." In reality, what they were fighting wasn't male oppression, but maleness of any kind—based on the erroneous feminist notion that equality means sameness.

In their eyes, male sexuality isn't just different. It's WRONG. Penetration is a form of rape, don'tcha know? Ultimately, these femi-fascists sought to re-create men in their own image and to reshape sexual expression into something kinder, gentler and more "egalitarian." (Personally, I have no idea what more "egalitarian" sex is—and I hope I never find out.)

According to their Stalinist-feminist party line, every man is a criminal—a rapist until proven otherwise. In 1992, a small mob of "wymyn" bullied Antioch College into passing the "Antioch Rules," a written code mandating that one obtain "clear verbal consent" from one's partner in any sexual act. At Antioch, from then on, raging desire was expected to play out as if accompanied by the small print on an airline ticket: "Pardon me, but would you mind giving me your unqualified verbal permission to tongue your left nipple?"

Men, as a group, were expected to feel ashamed—although the individual man was generally unclear as to what, he, personally, had done wrong, just by virtue of being born with a penis. Relations between men and women got very confusing. Opening the door for a girl didn't mean you were polite; it meant you found her inferior.

Whatever you do, don't compliment that female co-worker on her hair—a compliment is no longer just a compliment but a full-on patriarchal assault, surely intended to send a woman running, screaming, out of a "hostile workplace." It got to the point, in many quarters, where just about anything a guy could say or do, short of silently rolling over like a stuffed pink bunny, was seen as a capital offense upon the Sisterhood.

Perhaps some of this sounds like old news. It is—and it isn't. While the radical feminists have receded into the background, their agenda is still trickling down into sex, dating and relationships. Just look around at young women and what they wear. Sure, there is that subset of preteen streetwalker chic. But, there are also a lot of lonely women in their 30s and 40s who dress like men trying to attract work picking lettuce. Refusing to pander to "the male gaze" is what it used to be called.

These women can't, for the life of them, figure out why they're unable to get a date. After all, men "shouldn't" care about what's on the outside, right? They "should" only lust after that beautiful person within ... right? Yes, perhaps they "should." But they don't, and they won't, and the sooner women admit that, the sooner they'll have a date with more than their cat on Saturday nights. Of course, this does assume that women will be asked out. That's another big problem, judging by all the requests for advice I get from guys who wonder why no women will ever agree to go out with them, then note somewhere in their message that they're too terrified to even ask.

You really can't blame the guys. They're looking for a sign, any sign, that it's safe; that they won't be rejected. They aren't getting many (or any), because women who go out of their way to look like migrant laborers generally aren't in the habit of flirting—the method women have successfully used for centuries to send a message to men that the coast was clear for the asking.

Some misguided women today do try to take over and sweep a man off his feet. While there are those stories of deliriously happy couples in which the man was hunted down like prey, a whole lot of young women have learned the lesson the hard way that the dynamic created by this act of "equality" doesn't work.

Men and women are actually very different; biologically different. No, they didn't magically become the same just because a bunch of man-loathers in the women's studies ghetto decided to grow out their mustaches.

The burgeoning field of evolutionary psychology is proving that there's nothing new in psychology. In fact, an ever-increasing mountain of data shows that what men want and what women want has always been, and will likely continue to be, the same as it was back in cave days.

Acknowledging how we're hard-wired, and using it in our best interest doesn't "put a woman down." In fact, it takes a strong, self-assured, post-victim-feminist woman to ease up a little. Acting the girl (or putting on the alpha male) is a role—one that's worked for 10 million years. As a role, it involves play and fun—a big part of what's been lost on the dating scene.

It's time all women junked the big ugly boots, shelved the perpetually dour faces and worked up a seductive smile or two. Maybe, once they do, they'll inspire a guy to glue a little hair on his chest and ask them for a date. In time, the guy might even work up the guts to kiss them afterward—and without asking them to sign a permission slip first.

©2005, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.

The Advice Goddess appears in the print version of Metro and more than 100 other newspapers. She can be reached at www.advicegoddess.com. Amy is now blogging daily and can be seen on the Biography Channel, between their programming, with 'The Advice Minute With Amy Alkon.'

Send a letter to the editor about this story to letters@metronews.com.

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From the February 9-15, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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