1. Assuming that her sexuality is for male consumption.
Whether it’s the bisexual woman who is expected to make out with a woman at a party to the whooping chimpanzee calls of a thousand hardening frat boys, or the straight woman who is presumed to have wanted some serious pipe tonight because she happened to wear a matching bra and underwear, it’s inescapable. (Pro tip: Wearing a matching bra and underwear, regardless of circumstance, makes you suddenly feel like all of your problems are manageable and not so bad in the grand scheme of things. It rarely has to do with sex.) In any case, though, female sexuality is often interpreted as some kind of peacock-feather-display to get the attention of any and all men in a three-mile radius. This is false and, frankly, quite insulting.
2. Expecting a performance.
Women feel as though they have to start screaming during the first sign of sexual contact, and that they have to make their partner feel as though their strictly-penetrative orgasms were both real and the most life-affirming they’ve ever had. If we don’t, it’s because we’re a huge-ass disappointment, and the dude is going to wonder what’s wrong with us, because he won’t realize that a huge amount of natural female sexual expression is rather quiet. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means that constant screaming and moaning in a vague imitation of a porn star is not the way things actually happen.
3. Making ignorant — if joking — comments about women.
“Lol, make me a sandwich, tho.”
“Girl cosplayers are such attention whores.”
“What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing, you already told her twice!”
“Why are you a feminist, though? You’re straight.”
“You don’t wanna look like a slut, tho.”
“My ex was such a crazy bitch, you’re not like her at all.”
“OH MY GOD I AM JUST KIDDING, WHY CAN YOU NOT TELL THAT I’M NOT LIKE THOSE OTHER GUYS WHO ACTUALLY HOLD DESTRUCTIVE VIEWS ABOUT WOMEN? MY PENIS IS DIFFERENT, AND DESERVES AN APOLOGY BJ TOUT DE SUITE.”
4. Mistaking extroversion for romantic interest.
Just because a woman is talking to you does not mean she is flirting with you. Just because a woman is talking to you does not mean she is flirting with you. Just because a woman is talking to you does not mean she is flirting with you.
I would like to take up the rest of the article repeating that about a thousand times, and given that every woman reading this can confirm a time when she was speaking to a man in a completely neutral way to accomplish a perfectly platonic task, and was then harassed for an extended period of time for the number that she never intended to give out, it would be a necessary endeavor. But I will get yelled it if I did that.
(Bonus points for the fact that the only real way to get guys like that to stop is to tell them you have a boyfriend, because your “no” is not enough, only the threat of a potential other dude you might have to deal with.)
5. Thinking that women are a “game” to be “won.”
I am not even going to get into how silly the whole pickup artist phenomenon is, or how charmingly ineffective it was when more than half my guy friends were collectively reading The Game in college and compared notes from it like it was some kind of deleted scene from The Bible. I’m just going to say that this is all so absurd, and the only proper way to look at approaching a women is through the spectrum of being completely normal human beings, just like anyone else.
6. Assuming that women approach sexuality the same way.
“But my ex loved that!”
Cool, that’s awesome, because I am really happy occupying a different human form and perceiving reality through a different spectrum than your ex. It’s actually pretty sweet.
7. Making dichotomies.
While not every man lives and dies by the Madonna/Whore Complex, and while there will always be a huge amount of variation for what defines “no longer deserving of respect” in an individual man’s eyes, there are always those distinctions. It can be unlearned, but it’s a mistake that is all too easy to make when we live in a world that defines and categorizes women by how much sex they have.
8. Being needy, instead of giving.
While it is often women who are swiftly (and unforgivingly) labeled as “needy,” especially in an emotional context, men are more than capable of entering into relationships with a laundry list of expectations for what women are “supposed” to take care of. And whether it’s picking up and henpecking like their mother, soothing their sentimental wounds like a sexy nurse on Halloween, or being the Manic Pixie Dream Booty Call who will show them the life-changing majesty that is drinking cheap beer on a Brooklyn rooftop, there are roles we are there to play. And rarely, in literature or in life, do we stop to question just what roles men are supposed to be fulfilling for their half of the bargain.
9. Assuming that they are the source (and solution) for our body issues.
LOL, no. If only some random dude on Facebook posting a meme about how all women are beautiful was the answer to all of our deeply-engrained problems about the way we look, that would be just the greatest thing ever. Never again would any of us doubt our worth because we spotted an errant ripple of cellulite or noticed how not-voluptuous our hair was at the end of a house party. Sadly, though, the real source of us is the advertising/entertainment/fashion-industrial complex which quite literally makes its fortune by teaching girls, from the moment they notice how flawless a Disney Princess’ skin is, that they need to buy more useless shit in order to be beautiful. It’s cute that men think that these are problems they can fix with their boner, but that type of thinking doesn’t actually get us anywhere in practice.