Guest post: Spot the double standard

Originally an item for the Miscellany Room from Screechy Monkey. 

So, Slate has a really, really shitty sex advice column called How To Do It. It presents a real dilemma for me: from Slate’s point of view, a click is a click, so they can’t tell that I sometimes read it just for the train wreck value as opposed to actually thinking the authors give good advice.

(Why is it shitty? Well, aside from the issue I’m about to complain about, I’m reminded of something Dan Savage once said when asked if he had any advice for young people who want to be sex advice columnists. After noting that he wasn’t interesting in encouraging competition, he said the one mistake that he noticed in most of the college newspaper sex columns was that the authors are constantly making it all about their own sex lives. Everything is about them and their personal sexual history and their kinks etc. and not about helping out readers. Anyway, “How to Do It” is a textbook example of that — the male co-author really wants you to know that he’s had a lot of dick in his life.)

But here’s why I brought it up.

In a column Dated October 10, 2019, a reader wants to know if it’s ok for her to just flat-out ask potential dates their penis size. The author responds by commiserating with her about how men will lie about it, but otherwise just offers advice on how to go about filtering for size, and ends with a you go, girl!:

I want to also encourage you to continue to openly fish for big dick via your profiles. Why not ask guys if they’ve got what you want? If it’s off-putting, great. You’re filtering out the dick not up to your standards from the jump. Saves everyone time. I believe there’s nothing wrong with coming across as slutty or overexperienced, and anybody cool and/or hung will respect you as a woman who knows what she wants. Be proud of that.

Ok, fine, whatever — if something is important to you, sure, put it in your profile and ask about it. Fine. I basically agree with that, whether it’s size or hair color or religion or whatever.

Less than a month later, a reader says that although he’s open to dating trans women, he’s not interested in ones with a penis, and is it ok to ask.

I’m sure you can see where this is likely going. To be fair, the two columnists don’t flat-out call the writer a bigot, and oh-so-graciously acknowledge that it’s ok to have a preference when it comes to type of genitals…. BUUUUUTTTT… maybe she doesn’t need you to touch “her” penis? Shouldn’t you give people a try? Maybe you should grow as a person, and get to KNOW people as human beings instead of being so obsessed with genitals. “[I]nquiring about the contents of prospective sex partners’ underwear will turn a lot of people off. He’d be doing it to filter certain people out, but I think he’d more often be filtering himself out for asking the question in the first place” Etc.

I’m just amazed by the lack of recognition of the double standard.

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