Best of the Week
of June 8, 2003

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of June 8, 2003, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s database using the search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.   

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Question:

I always thought reaching the mid-40s was the kiss of death for women as far as dating. But I am noticing much younger men flirting with me. Do younger men really like older women? Is it purely sexual? What's up?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Valerie, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, United States, 45, Female, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 513200310550


Responses:
Yes! Maybe! Yes, we do really like you. When I was a young man, older women were always beautiful and very sexy. In my 20s and 30s I dated many women 40-plus, and it was wonderful. I had a healthy, normal relationship with women of my own age, but older women also got my full attention. In some cases it was sexual, but not always. Some of the best times in my life were spent in the company of mature women. If you find the young ones are flirting, then you've got it! You've got the kiss of life!

POSTED 6/11/2003

Harvey, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 50, Male, Catholic, Black/African American, Straight, Sales, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5242003115700


I am a 44-year-old woman looking forward to turning 45 in a few months. I am constantly hit on by younger men. I have dated a few who have their heads together. No, it's not all about sex. The ones who are trolling for sex don't get far with me, basically because you have to be able to make love to my mind first. However, the ones who I have dated look at older women as widening the dating pool. I am also not looking and will not become involved with someone who is just looking for notches on their belt, or wants to be raised again. Younger than me doen't mean young enough to be my child - they've been raised in an era in which they are not intimidated by a woman with education, her own wealth or possessions. Let's face it: turning 40 did something really beautiful for you. In my case, I wasn't as driven to succeed in business, had completed my child rearing and was more relaxed in mind and spirit and felt more appreciative of myself and others. Some very smart younger men could be picking up on that. I have been told by younger men open to dating older women that that is the quality that they appreciate most: A woman who knows who she is and is comfortable with that. I am enjoying myself more now than I ever have.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Serene, Chandler, AZ, United States, 44, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Self Employed, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 525200380441


Why don't you find out and report back to us? If they are flirting, take them up on it and find out if it is flattery, lust or love. You will only know life by living it. Good luck.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Matthew, New York City, NY, United States, 44, Male, Middle class, Mesg ID 529200381202


Ever since I turned 39, I notice that much younger guys have been hitting on me. I have absolutely no idea why this has been happening, but it's very flattering!

POSTED 6/11/2003

Jackki, Louisville, KY, United States, Female, Black/African American, Nurse, Mesg ID 530200364122


Most women meet their sexual peak somewhere in their forties or fifties - the high level of desire is likely to last from the thirties to sixties. Men reach their sexual peak in their teens and twenties, so you are an attractive find as someone who is likely both experienced and lusty.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5312003124033


I am a 17-year-old male and can say that older women are definitely more of a turn-on for men, as they are generally more experienced.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Ne0n, Northampton, NA, United Kingdom, Male, Straight, Mesg ID 63200373917


My opinion is that women (men, too, I suppose), are taking care of themselves much better than in past generations (physically, emotionally, etc.) and therefore remaining 'attractive' much longer. Also, women seem to be more confident as they age and become more comfortable with who they are and not so hung up on trying to 'be' something they are not. To me, any woman (regardless of age) who is confident, feels attractive and is comfortable in her own skin is very attractive to me.

POSTED 6/11/2003

PHil, Warren, MI, United States, 37, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, technical, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 66200333405

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Question:

Why do people automatically think that a guy is gay if he looks great and has a certain sense of style, or only wears certain clothes? I mean, some women do this, so why can't men?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Jen, Flint, MI, United States, Mesg ID 5142003104234


Responses:
There are certain styles of clothes that younger and 'out' gay men seem to gravitate toward, such as Abercrombie & Fitch. Tight t-shirts, tight jeans, shiny fabrics, necklaces and bracelets also seem to be common fashion statements among younger 'out' gay men. But this is true of lesbians, too. The 'biker chick' look and lose jeans, braless with white t-shirts and plaid shirts seem to be favorites of many lesbians I know. If a straight person dresses this way, I too am guilty of assuming they are gay. If they choose to dress this way, the assumptions are a given ...and they better be prepared to deal with it.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Mike, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 42, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5222003121306


Style and attention to beauty and details are usually attributed to women because that was the main focus of most women's existences for many centuries: housekeeping, making clothes, decorating (both their home and themselves). Men, meanwhile, were out hunting, farming and chopping wood. They didn't have to pay attention to how they dressed or show an interest or inclination toward style of any sort. When a man did dress stylishly, he was seen as being less 'manly' because he obviously wasn't doing what other men were doing. Unfortunately, many people still feel that way today.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Tracy, Oklahoma City, OK, United States, Mesg ID 523200314434


Women and men have roles in society. A female's conventional role (although of course things are changing nowadays, so this 'role' is also evolving) is to be the 'charmer,' because long ago, people believed it improper for women to court men. Men, on the other hand, are supposed to be the ones to make the first move after being 'charmed.' To be able to 'charm' men, women are supposed to look good. This is probably why when you say fashion, you think of girls first before you think of men. Though things are different now, that attitude is still rooted in us, and we still think that stylish men are somehow playing women's roles.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Steffie, Manila, NA, Philippines, <unorthodoxie@yahoo.com>, 23, Female, Catholic, Asian, Straight, medical student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5242003100150

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Question:

Why do so many Hollywood films seem to feature villains played by British (more specifically English) actors? For example, in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, heroic Robin and his men are played by American actors (even though it's set in Medieval England), while the Sheriff of Nottingham, the evil guy, is played by a very English actor, Alan Rickman. There are many other examples. Is it acceptable for some reason for the English accent to represent evil, when other accents would be unacceptable?
POSTED 5/11/2003
Kathy B., London, NA, United Kingdom, 40s, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Middle class, Mesg ID 59200342753


Responses:
If you think only British accents are used to represent villains, you aren't paying much attention to movies. How about all the Arab terrorists, Latino drug dealers and black 'ghetto-sounding' gang members that make up a far larger portion of film villains? How about all the Russian villains or Italian mafiosos? British accents in the American mind represent the upper class, old money or other privileged elites, which only by coincidence also makes them good villains. Think about the Star Wars series, for example. Frankly, we get all too many movies that assume a British accent equals sophistication and the height of culture. Think James Bond or all those boring Ivory Merchant films.

POSTED 5/20/2003

A.C.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, Male, Mexican and American Indian, Mesg ID 513200364332


Don't you think maybe you put too much thought into that? Why does everyone want to be a victim? Did you ever stop to think maybe he was just the best actor for the part and it had nothing to do with accents?

POSTED 5/20/2003

Natasha, Kansas City, KS, United States, Female, Mesg ID 514200322704


My guess is that it's just a quick and dirty way to show 'otherness,' especially if you are not a very good actor or the director doesn't think the audience is smart enough to deal with villains that don't 'talk funny.' It's not just English accents: German, French, etc. are also used.

POSTED 5/20/2003

Ramonna, Pensacola, FL, United States, Female, Episcopalian, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 515200391620


I'm from England and I've noticed this, too - almost every movie I've ever seen has had a British-accented bad guy. And they are always rational, exceptionally intelligent bad guys - never slash-and-grab types. I've also noticed that Eastern European accents are sometimes used for intelligent, calculating criminals. I think the PC crowd would not be so accepting of other accents used for the same types of roles. Recently, groups have boycotted various movies because of the use of Middle-Eastern accents for the villains. I guess because the British are a Western, Caucasion people, it is considered OK to stereotype them. At least we are portrayed as intelligent and elegant people, and even though that's a stereotype, it's better than some of the other stereotypes.

POSTED 5/20/2003

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 516200394829


I have two theories why so many Hollywood baddies are British. First, an English accent, especially the to-the-manor-born type an Alan Rickman can achieve, tends to symbolize breeding (authority) in this country. Mainstream American movies are built on the idea of the 'little guy' defying authority. Second, because most British-accented actors are white, they make a perfect image for villains, as a bad guy of any other ethnic background would bring accusations of racism.

POSTED 5/20/2003

S.B., Detroit, MI, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 517200394933


I don't think Brits are portrayed as evil. However, in many historical movies in which the language of the country was not English (i.e. The Gladiator), all the characters have British accents. Americans think that by sounding 'Britishy,' you sound regal, educated and formal, sometimes to the point of being uptight.

POSTED 5/20/2003

John, New York, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 519200331655


If the film is an American production, I will venture to say that the villain or antagonist is going to be represented as a foreigner 99 percent of the time, even though some people here are convinced that anyone who speaks proper English can't be a foreigner. Hollywood offers a very distorted reality. To attempt to answer your question, I can only reason that in the context of a film that takes place in England, made almost exclusively for a U.S. audience, you can be certain that anything American (accent or actor) will never be used to portray 'the bad guy.' Conversely, have you ever noticed how in British films, television shows and novels, continental Europeans and other foreigners and their accents are the epitome of evil? Nearly every James Bond movie has a foreigner as the villain; even Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's novel is meant to represent everything that wasn't English and Victorian. Look at most historical films about the Romans, Biblical stories, World War II films, etc: the protagonists all use British accents. I suppose it depends on who is directing the film and in which country, which brings up another fact that most movies are not even filmed in the country where they are supposedly taking place. By the way, Alan Rickman played the best villain in Die Hard as Hans Gruber. Remember?

POSTED 5/20/2003

Christian, Boston, MA, United States, Mesg ID 520200390428

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Question:

Why do black people think it's OK to be loud and disruptive at the movie theater?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Natasha, Kansas City, KS, United States, 22, Female, White/Caucasian, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 514200324050


Responses:
So I guess you never noticed a white person being loud and disruptive in the movies? Well, I sure have. When are people going to realize that race has nothing to do with loud and disruptive behavior? It's prevalent throughout American society. There are loud and disruptive people, period, and being a certain race has nothing to do with it.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Been There, Newport News, VA, United States, 54, Female, Black/African American, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5222003101446


I would have to agree with Natasha on that one. Most of the times when I went out to see a movie, the ones who blurted out loud, unnecessary comments, laughed out loud or who made some other obnoxious sounds were black. Even before the movie started and the seats were starting to fill up, you could tell the people who were entering the theater were black because you heard their big, loud mouths. I would think to myself, 'Uh-oh, I heard some blacks coming.' I know loud people come in all races, but blacks seem to stand out the most. They are inconsiderate of others and their rights. After all, we pay our money to be entertained and enjoy the movie. I know I will catch a lot of flak for this from others, but that is my honest opinion.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Moni, Ft.Myers, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 522200373300


First off, I think it's ignorant of you to hold an entire race resposible for your not being able to hear the punchline of a joke in a movie theater. It's not a matter of race, rather how one was raised. I have been in a movie theater and not been able to hear because some white boys were yelling stupid stuff. Obviously they had no respect for the other people in the movie theater. So hun, don't be so quick to stereotype - this is why we have prejudice and racism running rampant today.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Wendy, Lansing, MI, United States, 17, Female, Black/African American, student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 523200322825


I don't think its fair to say that all of us are disruptive at the movie theater. I have had problems with blacks and whites at the theaters. If you go to theaters where people have no respect for each other, you will never enjoy the movie, regardless of the race of the moviegoers. I can't tell you the number of people I cussed out because of their cell phones going off during Matrix 2. I actually have to go to theaters in the suburbs so I can at least hear the movie.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Trina D., Chicago, IL, United States, 27, Female, Black/African American, Network Engineer, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 523200373243


I get so tired of people generalizing about black people because of their experience with a few black people. This is not a racial thing; I see all kinds of people talking loud and disrupting others at the movie theater.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Jezebel, Austin, TX, United States, 24, Female, Black/African American, Exotic Dancer, 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 526200373116


As a black person who does not think it is OK to be loud at the movies, I think your question should be why are POOR black people loud. Sometimes people who feel powerless assert themselves in a disruptive manner in order to feel more powerful. Poor white people don't have such a great reputation, either.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Rachel, Boston, MA, United States, <minoritysig@attbi.com>, 35, Female, Wiccan, Black/African American, Straight, Bookkeeper, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 61200354506


Do you honestly think that ALL black people think it is OK to be loud and disruptive at the movie theater? Do you honestly think that black people are the only people who are loud and disruptive at movie theaters? Lack of consideration and poor manners do not have a race. However, age, education and social factors do occasionally come into play.

POSTED 6/11/2003

T-D., Los Angeles, CA, United States, 34, Female, Mesg ID 62200382831

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Question:

I am going through the process of coming out, and because I am in my late 20s it is probably easier for me than many others who are forced to in their adolescent years. I am comfortable with my sexuality and wear a small pride necklace every day to my job in community teen programming. I'm worried about how to respond to a parent who may have a problem with me being gay and 'exposing their child to immorality.' While I do not discuss or promote my sexuality with teens, much less anybody at work, it is part of who I am, and I feel an obligation as a very feminine gay woman to show that we do not all 'look gay.' How should I defend myself against a homophobic parent?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Shannon, Glendale, CA, United States, 29, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Community Services Specialist- Teen Programs, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 514200334431


Responses:
When I started my current job I was already out. One of my coworkers confronted me shortly after I was hired. She looked at me and said: 'I don't like gays and I think it is morally wrong and a sickness. I don't want you around my children.' All I did was give her an icy glare, a scowl and the silent treatment. From that point on it was business only with her. When I became her supervisor, I took her into my office and flatly stated that any comments made about my or anyone else's sexual orientation would result in immediate disciplinary action as outlined under the laws of the State of California. Hopefully, like California, all states will soon make discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal. Until then, an icy glare, a scowl and walking away with no comment will say it all. There is no need to defend your sexuality to anyone.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Mike, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 42, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5222003105034


I know you want to learn about how to defend yourself against a homophobe parent. You mentioned how you want to show that not all of you look gay. So if you don't look it and can pass for being straight, why would you want to risk a bunch of strife and conflict because you feel a need to tell others about your sexual preference? I mean, you know that most parents would be highly suspicious if a known homosexual were around their kids, so why risk the potential drama if you can avoid it, especially if you have an advantage of posing as straight? I feel if you are gay, why tell the whole damn world? Why subject yourself to scorn when you can keep it a secret? It's not like it's anyone business or right to know. Just keep it to yourself. I know I sound unsympathetic, but I feel as though many homosexuals bring things on themselves by being too open about their sexuality, and then they get pissed off beyond piss off-tivity when others don't accept. What do you expect? You could have saved yourself from a lot of scorn, rejection and ridicule if you'd just kept that fact to yourself. I'm not saying you can't be proud about who you are, but I don't feel you have to broadcast the fact that you're gay or a lesbian in order to be proud of who you are. You can be proud in the silence. I think some think if you're closeted, then you're ashamed. Not true. And to those out there who would be outraged at what I'm saying: I'm just saying keep it to yourself but be proud. Don't accuse me of being a homophobe, because that's not what I'm saying. Are we clear?

POSTED 6/11/2003

Moni, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Mesg ID 522200380327


I don't have a great answer for that, but my first question to a parent who might broach that question is: How am I exposing your child to immorality? You mention that you work in teen programming, and I am working on the assumption that you don't openly, without provocation, tell every teen you come across your sexual orientation, with all the details. Sure, you are open about your sexuality, but so is everyone else. What I am saying is, unless you are pushing your views on everyone who enters the door, rather than letting the opportunity to discuss sexual orientation rise from the teens you are helping, then how could what you are doing be defined as 'exposing them'? You are acting as a role model for those teens who feel that they might be homosexual, and need someone to counsel them through it. Teens will be 'exposed' to homosexuality everywhere - and sometimes that exposure will certainly be unpleasant, stereotypical or derogatory. Sometimes it will be in-your-face. What you are doing is letting them know that homosexuality is not the most important thing about you, presumably, but it is a part of you, and a good part, too.

POSTED 6/11/2003

beautifulstars, St. John's, NA, Canada, Mesg ID 64200394138

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Question:

Why is it that black men frequently wear the most ridiculous-looking suits? Bright colors like pink, white and red, with matching hats? Just curious.

POSTED 5/22/2003

F., Baltimore, MD, United States, Mesg ID 514200373833


Responses:
I live in New York and am around black men all the time, and sorry, but I don't see the brightly colored ridiculous-looking suits you claim to see. I do see black men, particularly those in higher-level positions and who work on Wall Street, dressed in business suits. The younger hip-hop crowd wears FUBU or Sean Jean or Tommy Hilfiger.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Rhonda P. Outlaw, Laurelton, NY, United States, <Rhonda_Outlaw@ars.aon.com>, 41, Female, Lutheran, Black/African American, Straight, Account Representative, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5222003104335


Who are the black people you see who wear these outrageous suits, as you call them? Unless they're going to church or dressing up for a special occasion, you don't see too many blacks wearing a suit, let alone 'loud' ones. Most men I see wear conservative colored suits, and that includes black men. It seems to me that whites always think the world should conform to what they view as normal, and anything outside that is weird or even questioned. Get a grip!

POSTED 6/11/2003

Moni, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Mesg ID 5222003110051


I've often wondered that myself. Maybe it has to do with trying to outdo one another: who is the best dressed, who is the most flamboyant, who can catch the most attention. Or maybe they simply don't realize that those types of outfits are not socially accepted outside of the black community (sometimes not even inside the black community). It is my belief that certain styles simply do not look good on everybody; just because a particular style is sold at the local clothing store does not mean it looks good on you or is appropriate for business or other types of social situations. This applies to halter tops, short shorts or skirts, skin-tight pants or whatever. Colors like hot pink or bright red look ridiculous on men, no matter who they are.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Chandra, Detroit, MI, United States, 26, Female, Jehovahs Witness, Black/African American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5292003104058


Why do you consider a white outfit with a matching hat to be ridiculous?

POSTED 6/11/2003

Jackki, Louisville, KY, United States, Female, Black/African American, Nurse, Mesg ID 530200363642


Here are a few answers:

Bright colors offset a dark skin color, so we feel less self-conscious wearing them;

You might think the color is 'ridiculous,' but are you right? At the moment, wearing neutral or dark colors is a norm among the white, European-based culture of the majority in the United States and United Kingdom. Is it the norm among black people? If one's peers dress in bright colors, then one is going to feel compfortable wearing them.

Living in a white-oriented world, many black men don't fit in, anyway, so why conform to dress codes set up by people who do not accept you even when you do conform?

A person who stands out from the crowd often attracts a certain kind of respect as well as ridicule. So when a black man wants to make an impact, whether in business, romance or whatever, he will often do it through his clothes.

Bright colors worn on special occasions are a long-standing part of African culture, and the wearing of them by African Americans and African-Caribbeans has survived beyond slavery as a remnant of this.

Other minorities, numerically or politically, also seem to stand out. White heterosexual women tend to wear brighter colors than white heterosexual men; some gay men display a flambouyant dress sense, and so on.

Thanks for asking.

POSTED 6/11/2003

David, London, NA, United Kingdom, <lesnids3@lineone.net>, 46, Male, Christian, Black/English, Straight, Business Consultant, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 612003100822


I've noticed this myself! When I see it, I just shake my head. Of course, there are plenty of black men who dress in what society would call a normal way. In my opinion, it may be a socio-economic thing. I can't say I know any middle- or upper-class folks who dress this way, just as I don't know any middle- or upper-class white folks who dress 'Goth' or 'punk'. You also should remember that what looks ridiculous to you might look perfectly fine to someone else. Just because we don't like it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Finesse, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 30, Female, Black, Straight, Mesg ID 632003120949

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Question:

As a gay man, it seems to me that our society is obsessed with 'lesbianisnm' (just check out the "Girls Gone Wild" videos). So why is it so dangerous for two guys to do the same thing? What is it about two guys that you straight people find so offensive?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Bill, Ft. Dodge, IA, United States, 30, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Gay, waiter, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5162003115022


Responses:
There are two main categories of people who object to homosexuality. The first is the moralists who believe that because of religion or nature or whatever, homosexuality is simply wrong. I doubt this first group would endorse homosexual women any more than homosexual men (at least not in public). The other category is those who regard the world as a playground for their own personal titillation. For a man in this category, the idea of two women together is attractive because it evokes a fantasy involving him (the truth, that they would be an unwelcome interloper, would be a real joy-killer). Of course, if these men don't find the lesbians attractive, their obsession evaporates quickly. The heterosexual women who accept lesbianism do so because it turns their man on, and that makes them happy. It has nothing to do with acceptance of lesbianism, and everything to do with satisfying - and keeping - their mate. Male homosexual sex doesn't do anything for heterosexual men, and heterosexual women are smart enough to know that they would be an unwelcome participant, so it has no benefits for either heterosexual gender, therefore it is still anathema. By the way, this whole issue p***es me off no end. But what can you do - times will change.

POSTED 6/11/2003

James D., Summit, NJ, United States, <james_witted@hotmail.com>, 46, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 522200394203


I don't really agree with you that being a lesbian is seen as OK. I agree that straight men like the idea of watching two women having sex, but they like the idea of the women performing for the entertainment of the man watching. Straight men don't understand if you say to them that having a man in the background would completely take away the meaning of the experience. So, the women who are considered OK, in this context, are bisexual women who are more straight than lesbian. Think of it this way: I know this is a very unlikely situation, but if two men had sex for the entertainment of a straight woman in the background, would they be gay? Would you want to be seen as the same as them? (As a matter of interest, I think lesbians and gay men should be allies.)

POSTED 6/11/2003

Barbara, Sydney, NA, Australia, 26, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Middle class, Mesg ID 5232003101003


It is unfair and a bit bigoted to assume all of us are offended or uncomfortable with the idea of male/male relationships. I don't give it a thought one way or another. A person is very fortunate to develop a mutually loving relationship with another person, whether that person be of the same gender or of the other. I do know that there are some heterosexuals who are uncomfortable with same-sex relationships because of religious beliefs and social taboos, but lesbian relationships have been eroticized by straight men who love the idea of 'the more the merrier,' so to speak. Most women do not get turned on by two men together, so no eroticization of this takes place in mainstream culture.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Tracy, Oklahoma City, OK, United States, Mesg ID 523200314024


The obsession with 'lesbianism' has nothing to do with true acceptance of gay women. As a matter of fact, it shows the extreme sexism still in existence in our culture. Why? Because the whole fantasy going on in men's mind with it is basically that they think they, in all their masculinity or whatever, can get the woman to convert to them sexually. I think if a woman was gay for real, she would encounter prejudice similar to gay men (although maybe not as intense). I mean, look at all the controversey surrounding the 'Ellen' series, for example. As far as gay men being discriminated against so much, I think it is because of fear, mainly from religion. Remember, America was founded as a so-called 'Christian' nation, and Christianity condemns homosexuality. In addition, gayness goes against what is the 'norm.' Often it's the mentality of many to be afraid of people or things they don't find familiar.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Transcriber, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5242003105013


Much of the porn industry is dominated by heterosexual men, many of whom fantasize about threesomes. Often, a heterosexual male's concept of a threesome equals two girls all over one guy. When these guys see two girls together, they mentally put themselves between the two girls. However, this is of course a very general statement (and for all you guys with this fantasy, I warn you that the girls are much more likely to be all over each other and leave you out). Another reason (again having to do with the dominating party of the porn industry) is that heterosexual men do not often fantasize about other men - they fantasize about women. Adding another woman to the visualization is just an added bonus.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 526200393432


Simple. Heterosexual guys like good-looking women. And the idea of two good-looking women is considered twice the fun by many guys. The idea that straight guys do not want to look at two guys 'getting it on,' so to speak, should not come as a surprise. It's simple human nature for straight people to enjoy looking at the opposite sex. The same way gay people claim it's human nature for them to look at the same sex. But getting more to the point, the fact is we live in a male-dominated society. And straight males are still considered to be the majority. Therefore the entertainment industry, and society in general, is going to be geared toward the majority. If we lived in a gay-dominated society, things would be very different. I'm sure we wouldn't be seeing as much of the 'Girls Gone Wild' videos you mentioned.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Taz, Detroit, MI, United States, Male, Straight, Mesg ID 529200391643


Men are physically stronger than women, and are also genetically more violent. I guess a man might fear homosexual men because they fear the potential of homosexual rape. I have known many gay men, and most seemed very 'normal' people (apart from non-standard sexual orientation, of course!). There is probably the same incidence of 'bad apples' in the gay community as in the straight.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Sean H., London, NA, United Kingdom, 39, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Geologist, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 530200383529


My gay friends had a theory when I posed the question to them years ago: Heterosexual men can obsess with lesbians because of the fantasy to be with two women at the same time. They can visualize themselves in the bedroom with the two women. I guess the fact that true lesbians (as opposed to bisexual women) wouldn't welcome them escapes the majority of men. Also, a lot of so-called 'lesbian porn' is actually geared toward heterosexual men. It plays on the fantasies of such men. I feel that people should feel safe to do whatever comes natural to them. I believe that anyone who tries to hinder this should go live in some other non-democratic country.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Anne, Madison, WI, United States, 32, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 652003120850


I think it is because most women are comfortable with the fact that they are at least curious about same-gender sex, while 'straight' men are extremely uncomfortable with expressing any curiosity at all. Men are supposed to be 'manly,' and there is something gentle about being with another man. They feel they would no longer be considered 'strong' or masculine because they would be assuming a woman's 'role'.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Danielle, Houston, TX, United States, 38, Female, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, business owner, 2 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 65200393532


Actually, as far as women go, we're fine with gay guys kissing. If I see a gay couple at the grocery store, I think it's cute. Men, on the other hand, have the problem with you guys. It's probably because you represent what they're most afraid of being: gay.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Christina, Long Beach, CA, United States, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mesg ID 68200334120

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Question:

I am a social worker and want to know what people think of people in the profession. I am a conservative white female. However, because I am a social worker, people tend to think I must be a 'bleeding heart liberal' because I work with people who are less fortunate or have mental health problems. Also, is there a stereotype of women in this profession as being 'dowdy' as compared to women in other professions, for example, in the business field? I am asking because I recently retired and am seeking a career change, and I do not know whether the employers I've sent resumes to are not considering me because of stereotypes about me or because of my qualifications.
POSTED 5/11/2003
Linda C., Ann Arbor, MI, United States, 55, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Social worker, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 59200315120


Responses:
Hmmm. Interesting question. I would never have thought of social workers as being dowdy any moreso than anyone else, and don't attribute it to any profession. I would think that most people don't really realize when they have come into contact with a social worker. The connotation is that they are all beleagured, overworked, underpaid government workers steeped in bureaucracy and protocols per TV and movies. The truth is social workers exist in some fashion in about all fields. There are the social workers who work with the school system, designing programs to help children learn. In the business world, EAP counselors assist workers with all sorts of issues. There is even a bit of social work in practically every facet of our everyday lives. Aren't some of the the most prevailing assets and talents of a social worker empathy and reaching out to people, providing insight? I could see a social worker in almost any field; they would be very useful in, say, human resources, matching the 'right' skill set and 'emotional' skills with the 'right' job. Or in marketing, banking, medical etc.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Serene, Chandler, AZ, United States, 44, Female, Black/African American, Self-Contractor, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 513200334355


I used to work in a department of social services in Virginia, and found all the social workers who I worked with to be wonderful people - basically compassionate and caring. None of them were dowdy. Most were quite attractive and interesting. I think the reason you are not getting too many responses to your applications is your age. I'm sure you are not listing your DOB, but a prospective employer will be able to tell you are older because of the graduation dates you list, or just due to the length of experience. It's tough to switch careers at this age. I changed my career in my 40s, and it took me a long time to land a decent job. Hang in there. Persistence will pay off.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Annie, Lawrenceville, GA, United States, 51, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, copy editor, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5132003125028

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Question:

Why do a large number of Asians of non-Indian and non-Arabic origins have minimal body hair? Also, do Asian women of these origins shave their legs?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Transciber, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 516200341144


Responses:
Asians tend to have less body hair due to genes. Asians in general have less hair. To answer your question as to whether Asian women shave their legs, it would depend on where she was raised. Asian women, like myself, who were brought up in the West would probably shave their legs (and armpits) or get them waxed, etc. Those who are immigrants, especially older women, are less likely to do so.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Cyn, Toronto, NA, Canada, 23, Female, Asian, Straight, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 522200343126


I am asian, and yes, people do shave their legs here. I don't know if women here are less hairy, but I have noticed that Caucasian guys tend to have more chest hair than the average Filipino guy. I think this is a matter of physical racial difference, and I think it is evolutionary in nature. Since the earliest ancestors of the Caucasians live in colder places, they need extra 'hair' to make themselves warm. Over the years, we have less hair than Caucasians. It's like asking, why do Americans have high nose bridges and Filipinos don't? It's all about evolving and adapting to our environment.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Steffie, Manila, NA, philippines, <unorthodoxie@yahoo.com>, 23, Female, Catholic, Asian, Straight, medical student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5242003101439


It's an ethnic trait. And speaking for myself, I do shave my legs, because I have a rather fair complexion (my legs moreso), and darker hair shows up on it very easily. Though through personal preference, I'm pretty lax on it until it comes time to wear shorts regularly.

POSTED 6/11/2003

Sarah C., San Francisco area, CA, United States, 25, Female, Asian, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 610200343708

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Question:

Why is it that so many whites love black comedians like Eddie Murphy and Dave Chapelle, despite the fact that much of their stand-up routines addresse how racist whites are to blacks?

POSTED 5/22/2003

Jarrett, Chicago, IL, United States, 21, Male, Black/African American, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 5192003120954

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Question:

Why is it that men seem to hate asking for directions even if it is very clear they are lost?
POSTED 5/11/2003
Krista H., Lapeer, MI, United States, 28, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 510200330409


Responses:
I believe the reason men don't ask for directions is pride. Men feel like they have to lead, have everything under control and show no display of any incompetencies. So they feel as though asking for help is a blow to their egos. All it is is their male egos.

POSTED 5/19/2003

Moni, Ft. Myers, FL, United States, Female, Mesg ID 514200355743


I may be the gayest man ever, but I'll tell you one thing: I don't like to ask for directions. For one, it makes me look like I don't know where I'm going (in my mind, stupid). Also, men like being in charge of situations, and to ask someone for help is a sign of weakness. That's why whenever I go to a city that is unfamiliar to me, I always make sure I have the most detailed map possible. Always have a current map with you!

POSTED 5/19/2003

Bill, Ft. Dodge, IA, United States, 30, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, waiter, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5162003112701


I believe that by asking directions a man is admitting he is not in control. I know that for many men, not being in control is the same as saying 'victimize me.' I know that many men are taught by society that because they are men, they need to be in control. I think this is the same reason many men resist calling a repair person to fix a problem that they can't fix. They don't want to admit they can't fix it.

POSTED 5/19/2003

David, Tokyo, NA, Japan, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5182003114011


Long story short: if you have enough time, fuel and a cell phone, don't be averse to a little exploring. If you are in a developed country, the likelihood of becoming permanently lost and eaten by wolves is very low. Here are a few reasons why exploring is a good idea:

1) Being 'lost' is part of the experience of learning your way around a new area. If you don't take advantage of the learning opportunity then you will just get lost the next time you come to the same place. It is an investment in the future to learn about a new place. Who knows, you might find something cool.

2) Women seem to assume that any random person at a gas station will know the area and be able to give good directions. In reality, many gas station attendants give lousy directions because they never go anywhere besides the gas station. Pumping gas doesn't make somebody a cartographer.

3) The more you try to coerce us, the more we will refuse. The issue of resisting asking for directions may be part of a pattern in which the man feels that the woman belittles his abilities or opinions.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Edward, Nashville, TN, United States, 36, Male, Mesg ID 5192003125248

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Question:

What are some common stereotypes about women?
POSTED 5/11/2003
Jennifer, New York, NY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 511200372219


Responses:
The only comments I hear consistently about women are those about their driving skills (and women who put on makeup while driving don't help). One of my buddies jokes that whenever he's on the road and encounters a female with poor driving skills: 'Women drivers...no survivors.' Personally, I see no difference overall in the way men and women drive.

POSTED 5/19/2003

T.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, Web Developer, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5192003113210


Generally, or specifically? Here are several: Women are, in essence, 'the weaker sex,' and for most of these stereotypes, the opposite applies to men, and is a 'positive' stereotype. Woman is always the virgin, the slut or succubus. Women who love sex are 'sluts,' men who love sex are normal (although I think this double standard has gotten less prevalent since the '60s). Girls aren't as good at math or science, and don't have analytical brains. Women are weak and ineffective leaders. Women get hysterical. Women are not career-oriented. All (normal) women must want children, and women who aren't motherly are ostracized and seen as deviant. (Example: the birth mother of Michael Jackson's children is always asked why she's abandoned her children, when in reality, she repeatedly says she was just the surrogate for him.) Women are dependent, controlling and demanding of their partners. Women are fickle. All women are obsessed with their weight. Women talk too much. Women don't speak their mind (or 'don't have a thought in their heads.') Women lose their minds when they get their period. Women lie about their age. Women love to shop. I could go on and on. Some stereotypes have their basis in fact, but to generalize all women as being such is harmful and limiting.

POSTED 5/22/2003

Stephanie, Norman, OK, United States, <steph@asteph.com>, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5222003123255

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