Guess the sluzza

Melissa over at Shakesville has a good point about this article from The Daily Mail, “One’s a virgin, another has slept with 50 men…can you guess how many lovers these women have had? You may be surprised…”.

Why would I be surprised? Because, last time I checked, there was no actual way to tell how many people a women has had sex with just by looking at her. Oh wait… i forgot, you totally can.

So yeah, the headline that I may be surprised? I was not surprised by any of it. Because how would I be able to make any kind of guess just be looking at them/hearing brief background info that wasn’t about their sexual history. So, when you have no predetermined expectations, surprise really doesn’t come into¬† it.

As Melissa said, though, the premise of this apparent surprise is built on stereotypes. So, I guess not buying into those stereotypes is where I went wrong.

I have mixed feelings about this article. Overall, it is stupid. Plain stupid. Who cares how many people these women have slept with? Is there a lesson to be learned; like, don’t judge a book by baseless stereotypes it’s cover? Because it really is just a simple report of how many people these women have boned, and that isn’t even interesting (I guess unless you know them personally and are weirdly curious for some reason). And there is no male equivalent to this. I see it is in the ‘Femail’ (I see what you did there, Daily Mail!) section, but surely they could at least pretend to be judging/exposing men and women equally and have a dude equivalent. I wanna see a nerdy Asian man reveal he has boffed 100 women, and a blonde male model that all the ladies want to fuck reveal that his single sexual partner is his high-school sweetheart. Come on, Daily Mail, blow my mind with crazy contradictions!

I do like that they presented a wide variety of experiences, and generally present them all as being positive as well as nuanced. Nellie is waiting until she’s married, but acknowledges she feels desire. Shelly talking about her experiences being consensual and safe.

However: all the women’s stories have “and now I am in a long-term relationship” endings, and it would be nice to have some single ladies thrown in the mix. I suppose it is easier and makes women’s choices seem safer when they are couched in the language of ‘ and now I’m settled’/my choices have worked out.

Also, despite the general positivity of the article, the captions of the photos strike me as kind of snarky. Instead of just the women’s names, it also adds a descriptor of their status: “One-night stands”, “Numerous short relationships”, “Teenage pregnancy”, “Catholic upbringing”, and “Waiting until she’s married”. How about using something positive that they themselves have said, like “I’m not regretful” (not much better, but better than “One-night stands)?

And, even though the article itself doesn’t really present one choice/sexual lifestyle as being better than another, their is the overall tone that sex is special and having lots of parters isn’t that great, which is seen in quotes by some of the women

Those who have sex so young or who have lots of sexual partners should have more self-respect.

and

I’m rather glad I haven’t had lots of sexual partners, because I think sex is so special and shouldn’t be cheapened.

and

I’m grateful that I’m in a loving relationship. Sex is more special when you have strong feelings for each other.

I understand that these are individual women’s views, and I respect that. But it doesn’t really provide a balanced perspective; where is the ‘sex is sex’, and ‘sex can be awesome without committment’, and ‘even thought I’ve only had a few partners, it isn’t because I think having lots is wrong’ ? At least they have Shelly’s story to feign some sort of balance, where sex can be special and and magical and awesome in a relationship, but doesn’t necessarily have to be any of those things.

It’s hard to have a long-term relationship when you’re focused on your career. You’re working such long hours that you don’t have the capacity for a serious relationship. But you still have basic human desires and a need for sex.

And nowhere does she pass any judgement on women who have only had one or two or five sexual partners.

Overall, my feeling about this is the same as Melissa’s; pretty much a giant ‘say whaaaa?’


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