Below is a preview of a forthcoming blog post about sexuality, coming of age, and dangerous metaphors surrounding sex and gender.
Alrighty, folks, for this post I am gonna ask you to dig back in your mental Rolodex. Think about when you were younger, back to when you first learned about sex, or at least when you first remember hearing people talk about it. Think back to the lessons you received about sex from family, friends, and teachers when first getting the ‘bird and bees talk. Now think about this: ‘What is the worst sex metaphor you’ve ever heard?
I don’t mean sex being compared to fighting or anything like that, no, I mean metaphors concerning sex and gender. Let me flesh this out a bit more so you have a clearer picture: you ever heard the phrase ‘why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?’ ever heard it in reference to sex or feminity? Chances are you have. What does it mean though? Well, this delightful turn of phrase asks us to consider why we
would commit to something if it’s possible to reap the benefits of commitment without any of the responsibility. It’s been applied to many scenarios, but in reference to sex, it typically indicates the following message: Why would someone (read: a man) create a bond of commitment, whether a marriage or any otherwise long-term relationship, to a woman when he can have sex with her without said commitment? This is an absolute MESS to unpack and presupposes a lot of dangerous things not only about women, but about men, masculinity, and sexuality as a whole.
Recently I asked my followers of Twitter to share the worst metaphors they’d ever heard related to sexuality and the responses were honestly as confusing as they were upsetting. Every single response had a clear theme of objectification, in all the scenarios offered women were considered to be sullied and made unclean through sex while men were completely absolved of stigma. Let’s dig into these examples and walk through them together, step by step, and unpack their etymology, how they work, and the damage they do. Are you ready? Let’s dig in…