Privileges **

** (noun) a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people — as defined by Google

a book without women is often said to be about humanity but a book with women in the foreground is a woman’s book. — Rebecca Solnit

images

 

In an ideal world, we would all have the same privileges irrespective of race, gender or social class.

But it is not an ideal world. Privileges (even by definition) are conferred based on what you are, not what you have done or what you can do.

Men have certain privileges by virtue of the fact that they have a Y-chromosome and a penis; while women do not.

Recently, I can’t help but wonder if these privileges are conferred only on certain types of men while excluding others. Maybe privileges are conferred not on the basis of anatomy but about society’s perception about your person-hood (specifically, male-hood or female-hood).

I have come across the blog of a man who is a self-described introvert, pessimist, mediocre, 30-year-old virgin. Dateless and bothered about it, he took it upon himself to start a blog chronicling his (mis)adventures — I find his voice articulate, engaging, somewhat depressing, but a great read anyway.

He reminds me of G, actually. I wonder if G would have ended up sounding like him if G had not met me — the love of his life (or so I think) 🙂

 

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Whoever Declared March as Women’s Month, I Wonder

“You asked me to explain myself. I just wonder what needs to be explained. Let me be very clear. Look into your own heart. I swear to you, mine’s no different. You want a place in the trades and professions where you can earn your bread? So do I. You want some means of self expression? Some way of satisfying your own personal ambitions? So do I. You want a voice in the government in which you live? So do I. What is there to explain?”

(Quoted from the movie, Iron Jawed Angels; spoken by Hilary Swank who played the role of militant suffragette, Alice Paul.)

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

***

The thing is … Alice Paul, many would disagree with you; and debate that there is much difference between the hearts and souls of men and women. For example, the fact that Ms. Universe 1994 Ms. Sushmita Sen was asked the inane question: “What is the essence of being a woman?” illustrates this fact. Nobody would dare to ask a man: “What is the essence of being a man?”  with the express intention of expecting the guy to answer that his main purpose in life is to produce and take care of the next generation of human beings.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice's lovelife was so private we do not even know about it.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice’s lovelife was so private we do not even know about it. Image from biography.com.

I suddenly remember you, Alice, because last March 8 was Women’s Day and I think just this week, we were celebrating Mother’s Day.

I do not want to malign motherhood, Alice — an institution without which, I wouldn’t exist. But the thing is, people have ennobled being a mother to such an extent that not being one or not wanting to be one raises the spectre of “aberration” towards someone.

I am sure a lot of our sisters are ambivalent about motherhood — even those who are mothers themselves. Of course they would never dare to tell their children (or even other people) of this ambivalence; that would be like taboo or sacrilege.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when fatherhood is also elevated in the same pantheon of “nobility” as motherhood. When a guy can be asked: “What is the essence of being a man?” and for us to expect him to answer that being a man is all about being a father.

That is when I will truly believe that the struggle of feminism has succeeded.

***

Justin and Barry -- my favorite feminists. It doesn't hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

Justin and Barry — my favorite feminists. It doesn’t hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

And because it is Women’s Month, I would like to have the privilege to objectify men.

Hence …

What can girls love more than guys who just scream “eye candy” — like Justin and Barry over here. Some have speculated on the budding bromance between these two world leaders 😉

***

Reading Lists:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/10/the-budding-bromance-between-president-obama-and-canadas-justin-trudeau-in-11-great-pictures/?tid=sm_fb

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/03/heartbreak-dating-exhausted-medical-resident.html

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/15/7371737/rape-culture-definition

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/13/9523879/playboy-nudity-no

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/4/10877038/hitchhiking-woman-dangerous

Female Genital Mutilation More Widespread Than Previously Thought, UNICEF Says

 

How To Fake an Orgasm (or Orgasms, plural)

(Ana’s POV)

Image from strongafrocentricmindsets.blogspot.com

Image from strongafrocentricmindsets.blogspot.com

Meg Ryan gave you a general idea. And her performance should have earned her an Oscar if the Academy were all females.

Faking an orgasm is just like any other worthy endeavor. One has to perform it with sincerity to pull it off.

First, one has to know what an orgasm feels like to be able to fake one.

And yes, I have had it, thank you very much. A lot of girls haven’t though. Or they may be unsure, confused if they have had it or not. Believe me, girls, you will know. No ifs or buts about it.

Orgasms are like that perfect pair of strappy high-heeled shoes, they defy explanation. They fit your feet like a dream; they make you feel sexy and they don’t give you calluses afterwards. I haven’t found the perfect high heels yet. But I am optimistic that I will find one. Eventually.

Image from thefishybowl.wordpress.com

Image from thefishybowl.wordpress.com

So orgasms. Second of all, it’s not really about the penis-in-vagina. (Sorry lesbian friends; I can only talk  about the heterosexual perspective.) A girl can have an orgasm while washing dishes (although it is not advisable because one can drop a perfect piece of china and that would be a lousy day); or while watching Chris Pratt save the universe in a movie. One can have an orgasm in the shower (make sure you are using a bath mat so you won’t slip) or even in the library (the Reserve Section is a nice place because there are few people around; just make sure to tone down your vocalistic emissions). Still, the best place to have an orgasm is one’s bed preferably with someone you are madly in lust with. Please take note that one does not have to be in love to have the big O. Though, sex with a loved one belongs (in my opinion) in a different category of orgasms; or even a different category of sex.

I haven’t faked one with Christian (not that I know of). That would just entail too much work; requiring energy that I do not have inclination to expend. Besides, he knows me like the back of his hand so faking it with him will be like deceiving myself.

Image from mirror.co.uk

Image from mirror.co.uk

It is best to fake orgasms with a stranger or a new lover. However, a warning: faking it in the beginning of a relationship may doom that relationship even before it has started. If you can’t be honest with a man you are having sex with, what is the point of staying with him in the long term? Oh yeah, there is also money, power, security (emotional or otherwise) or self-deception. I get that girls — we gotta do what we gotta do. But then, don’t expect orgasms.

On a positive note, we don’t need orgasms  to live a meaningful life.

But it sure will be a life that is lot less fun 🙂

Non-Overlapping Magisteria

Jonas does not believe that he should have to choose between his work and Alice. They are two completely different aspects of his life.

Image from nupe.co.uk

Image from nupe.co.uk

 

You are being pussy-whipped bro, James, his friend from work remarked.

But Gabrielle, another colleague, had a different opinion. What do you expect her to do Jonas? Wait for you to come home everyday and massage your feet after your day at work?

Honestly, Gabrielle’s suggestion is preferable to having Alice 8000 miles away; and him flying back and forth from one side of the globe to another just for them to be together for a few days out of every year.

Women are put into this world to wait on men, James further opined. You have to up your game, and show her that she is not the only pus – sorry – girl in the world.

Let it be put into record that James’s statements were made in the context of him inviting Jonas to join a “boy’s night out” which consists of a visit to a KTV along Quezon Avenue and a really cool spa in Makati where the therapists provide “extra service.”

Jonas was seriously mulling James’s invitation.

Gabrielle intruded on his thoughts because she was concerned that Jonas did not have the correct priorities. Gabrielle is a happily-married mother of two, and she is as worried about Jonas’s erratic lovelife the way she is worried about her own son’s scrapes in the playground.

She is now saying: When you are in your deathbed, you will not wish that you had put in more time in saving our rainforests. What you will regret is that you have not spent more time with the woman you love most in the world.

Gaby, with all due respect, you are not in your deathbed, so I don’t think you are in a position to say what people in their deathbeds are thinking.

Jonas, I may not be in my deathbed, but my father currently is in his. And that was exactly what he told me.

Why “Long Distance Stuff Never Works” (or Why it is Preferable for Women to Date Male Virgins)

(Marianne’s Theory of Human Relationships)

It’s like this Alice:  when it comes to relationships men’s learning protocols are different than that of women.

Women are more hopeful … hence we become basket cases who never learn. Take our friend, Manda, for example, she is always falling for men who are attached. Her first boyfriend was gay who was attached to another guy; her 2nd boyfriend was a mama’s boy who was attached to his mother; and now the third one is married, attached to another woman. Sure he will get an annulment. In like what? A million years?

Men are different. What they learn gets imprinted in their CPUs. They are very efficient that way, and hence are not prone to deviations. We should strive to become like them, actually. So Jonas … well he used to be crazy about this girl with the pretentious name, Ligaya or Gaia or something.

Anyway, my brother was in the first stages of puberty, so that explains his bad taste in girls at that time.

His preferences have improved since then, as you can attest.

Ligaya strung him along for two years, or maybe three. She got herself knocked  up by one of their classmates and you know how Jonas is so much into the “knight in shining armor thing”. Yes Starfish Syndrome,  that’s another way of putting it. He skipped school for a year to take care of her. It drove our mom crazy. She had to go and confront Ligaya to leave him alone. Thank god she did.

Ligaya migrated to Canada. My brother wouldn’t give up on her. He wrote her everyday for months. I know, because I used to sneak into his room and read those letters.

And then, the letter writing stopped. Maybe Ligaya finally did something that got Jonas off her back. Or baka nauntog lang ang kapatid ko at natauhan. That, my friend, was my brother’s first long-distance relationship. You will say that the relationship was one-sided and you are right. But it really messed up his head; and you got the nuclear fallout from that one. The Ligaya Incident is the reason why Jonas is not into long distance stuff.

Yeah, it sucks. If I had known you before you knew my brother, I would have told you my theory of the perfect relationship and you would have been spared of going through this drama. But … if my brother hadn’t been your boyfriend, then you wouldn’t have gotten to know  me and we wouldn’t be bestfriends so … the universe has its reasons.

The perfect relationship — I have come to the conclusion that the first women who have the power to mess up men are their mothers. So a girl should check out the mothers first before buying into the men. And then, we should make sure that the guys we date are virgins – like emotionally. Physical virgins are preferable but that’s too much to  hope for.

Alice, don’t laugh. The perfect relationship is the one where two people have the least amount of baggage going in. They can accumulate their own baggage later.

The Myth of the Virgin and the Unicorn. Why is the virgin in the picture always  a girl? Marianne would like to know. Picture lifted from http://manbehindthecurtain.ie/2012/03/24/on-staying-innocent/

The Myth of the Virgin and the Unicorn. Why is the virgin in the picture always a girl? Marianne would like to know. Picture lifted from http://manbehindthecurtain.ie/2012/03/24/on-staying-innocent/

***

Reading Lists: 

http://time.com/117585/yes-all-women-virgin-killer-ucsb/

http://www.thefrisky.com/2014-09-22/frisky-rant-leave-male-virgins-alone/

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/problem-male-virginity-hesaid/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yourtango/7-huge-mistakes-i-made-as_b_6355374.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samantha-joel/ten-wedding-vows-based-on_b_4762318.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000035

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/opinion/sunday/the-all-or-nothing-marriage.html

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/13/self-discovery-marriage-psychologist-suffocation-model

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/elizabeth-gallagher-on-free-around-the-world-trip-it-can-t-be-that-weird-1.2153414

http://www.rappler.com/brandrap/stories/68701-long-distance-easier

Rural Myths and Legends (or A Roadmap to Second Base)

black sands beach

The beach has black sands, most of it is composed of a metal called magnetite. Chinese merchants have been mining the black sands for close to 15 years now. As a result, there are areas in the water that would immediately dip and deepen which is very dangerous for an unsuspecting swimmer.

“Every year, the sea would claim a life. The townspeople believe that, like it’s an obligatory sacrifice. Last year, a group of students from the provincial capitol went on a picnic on this beach. Two of them drowned.”

“You don’t really believe in that baloney, do you?” Alice asked him.

“I’m a scientist, Alice. But there are many stories and I think we should listen to them so that we can understand the people who have to make them up.”

black sands little boy

She nodded. “Where I grew up, our neighbors believe that the forest beside our town was haunted. With black or red dwarves, or something.” Jonas started touching her neck and she was momentarily distracted. She gave him a warning look. He grinned at her, but stopped anyway. Alice continued, “So they believe that when you step into the forest for the first time, you should give the dwarf, the nuno, a sign of your respect. Like you can bow and ask for it to let you pass. You can also wear your shirt inside out, otherwise it may make fun of you and make you get lost in its forest.”

It’s forest? So you really believe in this folktale, huh?” Jonas teased.

“My grandfather used to tell it to me all the time. I think he was just trying to scare me, to keep me from wandering off and getting lost. What’s so funny?”

“I am just thinking that your grandfather was telling you myths and folktales, while my father used to read me A History of the Manhattan Project as bedtime story.”

“So that is the reason why you are such a nerd!” Alice exclaims, shamelessly lying with a straight face.

Jonas is the farthest thing from a nerd one can imagine. As far as physical attributes go, Alice may appear nerdier than he is: with her glasses (gone now; since she started going out with him she had preferred contacts) and her books and her perpetual ponytails (which have disappeared with her glasses; he always managed to unbind her hair whenever he’s around). Jonas looks like a basketball player, though he’s not that tall. A lot of great players in the PBA are not very tall.

Jonas kissed her nose and stretched out on the blanket, his head on her lap.

Now what? Alice thought. They were alone on the beach, save for a few sand crabs scurrying around them. The nearest fisherman was a kilometer away.

Jonas closed his eyes. “There is another story about this sea. Once upon a time, a mermaid used to live here. Every year, at Lent or Christmas, she would take on the body of a beautiful woman and mingle with the local people. She would encourage the males to drink the local wine which she had spiked with her magic potion, and eat some enchanted food from the ocean. She would do this so that they will forget who they are and follow her.”

“And where are the women in this story, I wonder?”

He opened one eye. “They are tending to their kids.”

“What happens when the guys follow the mermaid?”

“They fall on the ocean and they drown.”

Alice laughed. Guffawed and chuckled like a madwoman. She laid down on the blanket beside Jonas, took his hand and started playing with it. “I like your story.”

Jonas turned and embraced her; her legs, arms and torso in a tangle with his. He was smiling, looking into her eyes.

“I knew you would. I like it too. It got you lying down here with me while my other attempts have failed.”

So then … one of them proceeded to go where (as the Star Trek saying goes) no man has gone before. It was not an entirely boring morning.

 

***

Reading Lists and Interesting Pictures:

http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/83901-pinoys-less-happy-love-survey?utm_content=bufferb106e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://escapology.eu/

http://theadipositivityproject.zenfolio.com/valentine/h35C037#h2faede0b

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/02/12/unborn-babies-feel-anger-and-joy-psychotherapists-study-says/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/60252-18-books-every-woman-should-read-when-shes-18-because-i-sure-wish-i-had

http://www.wheninmanila.com/dont-get-shocked-alibata-is-incorrect-govph/

http://fb-22.sfglobe.com/2015/01/30/husband-and-wife-hear-each-others-thoughts-on-marriage-after-56-years/?src=share_fb_new_33732http://fb-22.sfglobe.com/2015/01/30/husband-and-wife-hear-each-others-thoughts-on-marriage-after-56-years/?src=share_fb_new_33732

Necessary Fictions

Ana met up with Carrie after the conference. This was one of those seminars that people in Ana’s profession go to out of obligation. In her case, Ana felt obligated to attend because Carrie, who is a dear friend, already paid for her registration.

 

Ana started reading Mills and Boon before puberty. So maybe that's why she is R-rated and Carrie is PG. Mills and Boon are the precursors of Fifty Shades of Grey, with better editing.

Ana started reading Mills and Boon before puberty. So maybe that’s why she is R-rated and Carrie is PG. Mills and Boon are the precursors of Fifty Shades of Grey, with better editing. They sold to women who wanted to have fun. People cannot seem to understand this. Sex+love=romance and romance sells because it’s fun. Atrocious editing, bad narrative structure and seemingly shallow characterizations are (sometimes, though not all the time) superfluous. A roller coaster does not need to be blue for one to feel adrenaline rush while riding it. An orgasm is an orgasm whether one has had  it with a dildo or with something else. Picture from bankstownnorthps.com.au

 

Once upon a time, Ana and Carrie worked in the trenches together. They were excellent soldiers — obedient with just the right amount of cynicism; they could look at blood and gore with clinical detachment; they could sublimate their fear, disgust and depression, until a more appropriate time (however long that takes). They could have been made into generals. Ana actually rose to captain but she found that she  hated soldiering and was in it only for the money. For these girls (or women), Carrie and Ana, their passive-aggressiveness is an effective antibiotic to future success.

Now Ana  is thinking: there is something about being in a war-zone (which is basically what their previous job was all about) that draw people closer. If I had been more determined, and gave in to my Inner Goddess and quit while I was still  relatively sane, Carrie would not have been my friend. I would not be sitting here now, drinking mojito and commiserating about our husband’s infrequent erections.

Carrie: I think something happened after I gave birth. That fourth degree laceration really took something out of my sex life. Maybe it’s the lubrication or something.

Ana: I miss it when we were in our twenties and would have sex every other day. Half the time I was asleep, which is a bummer now that I look back on it. Men’s interest really go down with age.

Carrie: I love our daughter and I think I don’t mind not having sex with Ian at all.

Ana: Really!? You mean that?

Carrie: Ana, of course I’m lying! But I can’t help thinking that he doesn’t really love me. That he just married me because I got pregnant?

Ana: Oh please! Are we going back to this storyline? Harlequin, Loveswept, Silhouette, even Mills and Boon novels are teeming with the accidental-pregnancy-plot-that-leads-to-marriage — haven’t you learned anything by now?

(Carrie’s face is blank so Ana would have to spell it out for her)

Ana: Ian loves you, get that through your thick head. It’s not as if you pointed a gun at him and made him marry you.

Carrie: For men, isn’t an accidental gestation just like pointing a gun to their  heads?

Ana: (Silent. How would she know? She had never been pregnant.) Tell me again how your daughter was an accident?

Carrie: I forgot to take my pill.

Ana: Wow, that’s stupid.

Carrie: Thank you, Ana. That is very insightful.

Ana: Well if you will do it all over again, I’m sure that that you will not prefer not having had your daughter. I mean, Arielle is cute and smart and she will probably be your last chance at genetic mortality because, and I quote, women’s chance at conception drastically go down at 39 even with IVF. Hey look, you should have another kid, otherwise, you will smother this one.

Carrie: I am on DMPA.

Ana: Wow, is that so. Well you’re 38, you should probably give yourself a deadline. Don’t be like me. I am still not passionate about progenies and I’m only 3 years younger than you.

Carrie: Having a child is difficult. A real drain on the finances, and on your energy. You want to give her the best. And it’s depressing when you realize you can’t.

Ana: I am so glad you said that. I am tired of these women, and even men, who keep yammering on like having a kid is the Holy Grail.

Carrie: Of course they will say that Ana. It’s a necessary fiction.

 

***

Review of the week: Fifty Shades of Grey

“we should not begrudge E. L. James her triumph, for she has, in her lumbering fashion, tapped into a truth that often eludes more elegant writers—that eternal disappointment, deep in the human heart, at the failure of our loved ones to acquire their own helipad.”

 

fifty-shades-grey-men