This week saw a huge blow to the feminist movement in the form of the glamour article that shall not be named. Vice did a really great, harsh take down of the list but it was, male centred – it literally responded to all 13 tips from the point of view of a man. Vice’s success was in showing that men too are damaged by misogyny, that the list was horrible to both genders. One of many problems is there isn’t (as far as I can find and would love it if someone could find one for me) a corresponding one on what men should do to make women fall hard for them. It is assumed that women are the ones who have to do the wooing, that men will simply have woman falling over themselves in front of them. Another problem is it sterilises a beautiful part of relationships – falling in love with your partner’s passions. Another is it’s horrific gender stereotyping on behalf of all human beings.
After the vitriol thrown at them, Glamour issued a statement:
And, Now, an Important Note About Man-Wooing…
We’ve been taking some heat for a post on man-pleasing tips that ran here a few days ago—and honestly, we kinda asked for it. (That’s the consensus across the Internet and even within our own ranks). We hear you, tweeters—and we agree.
Finding real, satisfying romance in 2015 essentially comes down to one thing: showing someone who you are, celebrating who he or she is, and respecting each other. We understand that the list read like a 1950s marriage handbook—and nobody wants to go back there.
That being said, we’ll always be here to help you decode dating. So let’s be clear: You’re welcome to make a grilled cheese for anyone you love, but you shouldn’t be whipping one up in an effort to lock the all-important “him” down. (That’s just a waste of Gruyere.) What we want for you is love based on equality, not indentured servitude with date night. We’re sorry for slipping off message. And speaking of slipping, please, please ignore that beer-right-out-of-the-shower thing. It feels like it could get dangerous fast.
What this statement doesn’t do is apologise, or explicitly take responsibility for perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes — that all men want is sports and beer, and women are sandwich-makers-wanker-offers. They allude to a a ‘consensus across the Internet’, not what that consensus was. By refusing to name the horror, they sweep it under the rug Ending their apology with “And speaking of slipping, please, please ignore that beer-right-out-of-the-shower thing. It feels like it could get dangerous fast” turns the whole post humourous, as if they made a little gaff – a slip.
But it wasn’t a slip. It was a thought out, approved, and published list. It went through writers, editors, and lord knows who else to get posted on a website that thousands of thousands of women read. I’m not saying it isn’t funny – the article was titled “How To Make A Man Fall Hard” and one of the suggestions was give him a beer straight out of the shower. That’s a very literal interpretation of the task at hand. Appreciating the irony in this case is Glamour’s attempt to laughing at themselves, show the “loveable” idiots they were and have us forgive them. We shouldn’t.
In this same way, we should also be aware of Vice’s take down. Yes, its satire points out the ludicrous nature of Glamour’s list, but it does it form the point of view of the man. It doesn’t give women the power to satirise the chains being strapped to them. Women need to be rescued from Glamour, and Vice men are the ones to do it. That isn’t to say I did’t like the Vice article. It was pithy, it highlighted the absurdity Glamour perpetuated, and it made me laugh. It showed that men too suffer horrifically from gender stereotyping, and it illuminated the gap between genders. But it, too, drowns out women’s response.
Glamour’s halfhearted, chuckle-inducing statement doesn’t even begin to cut it. How about a list of “things you shouldn’t accept from your partner as normal” or “great tips on how to boost self confidence before your first date” that can involve your favourite lipstick, or dancing around to your favourite punk rock album, shaving or not shaving, or whatever you want. Yes, Glamour has a demographic, and that demographic may not opt to join the hairy leg club, but within the bounds of their demographic they could still do a hell of a lot better to treat them with respect.
My point is there are so many other tips women need to survive in this world as equally valued human beings. This list debases us. It also machinises some very valuable things that occur naturally in a relationship. My boyfriend didn’t care much about poetry before he met me – now we pour through collections together at antique bookstores. I didn’t know much about tennis – okay I knew nothing about it – but now I love wimbledon and we watch the finals together, shouting and groaning together. I didn’t learn some random phrases and regurgitate them back to him – and neither did he. We learned about the things we each love because we love each other, and that is the beauty of being with another human being.
To Vice, I know you have female writers – let them write a reply too (notice too, because the male point of view is also valid in response to Glamour’s absurdity). Make a satirical video featuring your stellar women editors, writers, graphic designers, etc. Write your own satirical list, instructing how to make a woman fall hard for a man – perhaps giving her an Cosmo straight out of the shower could be part of it? And Glamour, if you really want to own up to your “slip”, do something about it. Post another list, write an article on surviving domestic abuse, interview trans women about their struggles, have a list of funny-but-sweet lesbian dating stories or coming out stories, talk to women of colour about dating in a white washed world, tell women to love themselves, – there are so many things women on this planet need. Thinking we need to make our (male) partner a grilled cheese is not one of them.