Padlocks and Keys as Analogies for Sex. Ick.

Super cool news to be filed under dreams-do-come-true: My GMP piece Monday, the letter to my brother about hook-up culture was reposted on Jezebel yesterday. To top it all off, it was the featured story in Jezebel’s daily email. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with the exception of a few GMP commenters who wanted a venue to discuss some pretty ugly hostility towards women who, for I’m sure a huge variety of reasons, have declined to sleep with them over the years.

Somehow, in all my reading about gender, sex, cultural norms, I’ve managed to avoid one sickening analogy that a commenter pulled out:

To put it simply: since women get to do the choosing of which mate they will have, they are analogous to a lock, and men are analogous to a key. A key that can open many locks is a good key. But a lock that is opened by many keys is a poor lock. If feminists want PUA’s [pick up artists] to be less successful, then they should instead instruct women to stop “giving it up” for such superfluous reasons.

Yeeesh. I barely know where to start, so let’s itemize:

1. Women don’t get to choose which mate they will have. What does that even mean? “Mates,” if we want to call them that, have to choose each other. That was kind of my whole point about consent vs. coercion. Women may have more options in some circumstances, but let’s not pretend that every woman can point to any man she wants and say, “hey you!” and expect a satisfying sexual experience.

2. I may never look at a lock and key the same way again. This analogy gives me the heebie-jeebies, probably because of the forceful entry images it keeps conjuring in my brain. Differing anatomy aside, the way that men and women should approach each other is fundamentally the same: honesty + respect + humor (in my personal opinion). Best response came from twitter: “Best lock is a combination lock, no key needed.” I like that a lot better as long as both people are combination locks. It takes a certain set of criteria (and everyone’s are different) to make some magic happen.

3. Feminists don’t “instruct” women to do anything. Feminists are not some cultish network of witches that periodically issue proclamations to all ladyfolk. Feminists sure as shit don’t try to tell other women what constitutes a “good” reason to sleep with someone and what constitutes a “superfluous” reason.

4. Can we please have a moratorium on the expression “giving it up?” It makes me squeamish, almost as much as when Monica refers to her virginity as a “flower.” Ick. Nobody is giving anybody anything, and they aren’t losing anything in the process, either. Duh.

Related Post: AskMen has determined exactly how many partners makes you promiscuous.

Related Post: But how old is she reaaaally?

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7 Comments

Filed under Gender, Republished!, Sex

7 responses to “Padlocks and Keys as Analogies for Sex. Ick.

  1. yzek

    I have a clue why so called Nice Guys (R) (C) TM (WTF) appeared and were bashed under accusation of being awkward manipulators; because agressive, confident manipulators described in your letters would never appear and reconsider their behaviour. And therefore the comment thread went in direction, that “jerks” are really bad, of cource, but “NG” are hell much worse. What an irony!

  2. wait really?

    damnit, *my* guyvirginity *was* a flower.

  3. “since women get to do the choosing of which mate they will have”

    Wait, what? And men just stumble around and fall on random things with their penises?

    Love the combination lock metaphor. Congrats on your Jez repost, Emily!

  4. Well done for getting to Jezebel!

  5. Pingback: Quadrant Games | rosiesaysblog

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