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Apparently I’m a Sexist Douche Bag

20 Sep

The other day I received a message on one of the dating sites I frequent quoting a section of my profile stating that it was ‘grossly offensive’.

What the fuck?

I was seriously taken aback. Offensive? To whom? How? I read the offending paragraph, which expressed my preferences in women, and scratched at my head. I replied asking for clarification, and was informed that my preferences were sexist. I was really stumped.

It’s not that hard to find blogs about the offensive ‘nice guys’ of dating sites. There are men who call themselves feminists yet think women have a moral obligation to shave their legs. There are men with the handle NiceGuy327 who say in their profile ‘Fatties need not apply’. There are even men who claim to be progressive and at the same time want a woman to have a job and be able to take care of themselves instead of relying on a man to buy dinner.

But me?

I like round women. I like women with strong opinions and knee jerk opinion and occasional bouts of insanity. I like freaks and geeks and craft store hippies. I like strong and confident, I like shy and awkward. I don’t like high maintenance plastic barbie types.

This really hit me hard, and I still don’t know why. I would say I don’t like the idea that I’ve offended people, but then I actually like offending the easily offended, conservative nut jobs and right wingers and religious fundamentalists. So why did this time bother me? Maybe because when I argue with a fundie and they tell me I’m going to hell I expect that: I’m an atheist and expect that kind of insult. But sexist? I’m the sensitive feminist guy!

During our conversation it was revealed she found my profile on a blog mocking sexist profiles. She claimed she was not the only one who thought my profile was sexist. It felt like I had been kicked in the gut. There was an entire blog post about how sexist my profile was, with several woman all joining in with complaints? I was sick to my stomach.

It took me a while to find this blog, and it turns out the owner is a self labeled Anti-Feminist who hates the words Rape Culture because, he claims, it promotes militant feminism, anti-male sentiment and also encourages ‘regret sex rape accusations’. My profile in particular was linked to in a rant about a forum thread four years ago in which I called him on being a superficial twat. The subject of the thread was men who felt attacked because they received criticism for expressing a repulsion for ‘fatties’. This guy was one of those guys who wrote in their profile ‘HWP only, no fatties’. As I said, I called him on it, and instead of fashioning a reasoned and articulate reply, he attacked me and a few others on his personal blog.

And this was the source of this woman’s complaint about my profile?

Ok, I’m starting to get it now. There are no real complaints, this woman simply reacted emotionally to something I wrote, and took personal offense.

Apparently stating a preference, ANY preference is sexist. To borrow one quote from a Tumblr blog mocking sexist dating site profiles: Pro tip: The only thing that turns me off more than you telling me how loving/caring/gentlemanly you are is you telling me what you’re looking for in a woman.

To quote from a previous blog post of mine: I prefer women with long hair. I like glasses. I like curvy girls. Punks and goths and hippies and librarians. I like sun dresses and leather jackets and combat boots. I like jeans and sweaters and flip flops… Are these preferences wrong? Am I being superficial for having them? I also like smart women, educated women, opinionated women. So am I repressing the dumb and the ignorant and the milquetoast?

Somehow that makes me an offensive sexist douche bag. Because I gave voice to things I have noticed I tend to notice.

I don’t like high maintenance plastic barbie types. That’s the kicker right there, the line that offended her. I was told that was offensive to women who have had plastic surgery, and that whole high maintenance thing really set her off. The word ‘plastic’ in no way links to cosmetic surgery, but is used to imply shallow and superficial. Ok, maybe I can see how you might be offended by criticism of high maintenance girls, in a different context. I was not ranting about girly girls or fashionistas. I was not attacking anybody, it wasn’t a criticism, though there are certainly unintended tones of negativity. I think there is definitely a difference between Refined and High Maintenance, between being able to express a desire for attention and demanding material things.  I thought I was clear I meant the superficial and demanding, rather than worth the effort. I’ve found quite a few blogs defending the term High Maintenance, and so have removed that from my profile. It’s a bit contentious, like taking ownership of the word Slut, and is too in depth to delve into here.

I think this woman was perhaps a bit too overly sensitive, and reacted emotionally to one or two lines. But she got me thinking, about good guy sexism and about derogatory terms like High Maintenance. And that’s always a good thing.