Monthly Archives: November 2012

Why Don’t We Have More Strip Clubs For Women?

Two weeks ago my friends and I spent 45 dollars to watch semi-naked men clad in firefighter outfits awkwardly gyrate to Bon Jovi songs at the Ho Chunk Casino in Baraboo, Wisconsin. While watching the “blokes” from Thunder From Down Under tear off various pieces of clothing, I was by turns revolted, disturbed, and amused but never aroused. And I thought to myself, Women deserve better strippers than this. 

Envision a theatrical production concocted by a not-particularly imaginative 5-year-old and performed by intoxicated WWE wrestlers, and you’ll get the idea. Each vignette featured a new theme in an attempt to cover a wide variety of stereotypical female fantasies. So we got to see gangsters and Roman soldiers and cowboys, who, after some choreographed combat, stripped down to thongs and showed their sculpted buttocks to the crowd.  The closest we came to seeing a penis was when we glimpsed the side of the bare shaft and testicles of Alex, a mid-30s, steroid-filled Australian stripper.

Then it started to get interesting. They’d bring overweight 40-something women on stage for lap dances, guiding the women’s thick hands inside their thongs. They’d simulate cunnilingus and intercourse on the deliriously happy women. They’d jog into the audience as women grabbed at their crotches with a fierceness usually reserved for plucking bulk condiments from Costco’s shelves. Clearly, the audience loved them. Continue reading

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Why We Should Question Marriage

 

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Richard Burton Elizabeth Taylor

 

matrimonialism (noun): the ideology that embraces marriage as a cultural norm.

Cultural institutions, especially ones as deeply revered as marriage, are rarely challenged. Marriage is thought of as inherently good. When someone announces that they’re getting married, we never tell them not to. But we should. We could save a lot of lives that way (and lose a lot of friends). We never ask them why in the hell they’re marrying the toothless lumberjack they met at Middleton Sports Bowl; we never let it slip that perhaps they can do better than the obese schoolteacher whose hobbies include paint-by-number and video golf. We don’t say anything because it’s not the person that they’re marrying that we’re celebrating. It’s the institution itself. And that’s the problem. Marriage is considered a social good. Even if the people getting (or staying) married don’t love each other or stopped loving each other three decades ago.

American culture is overflowing with matrimonialism in every form of media. Think of the bridal magazines, the New York Times Sunday wedding pages and that apex of matrimonialism: eHarmony, whose website touts: “On average, 542 people get married every day in the United States because of eHarmony; that accounts for nearly 5% of new U.S. marriages.” Side note: I’m guessing that eHarmony accounts for an even higher percentage of divorces.

To clarify, marriage isn’t inherently bad. It’s our uncritical celebration of marriage as a category that’s a problem. While our cultural contract allows us (and in some cases even requires us) to criticize and question the single about their lack of a partner, we can’t ask similar questions to marrieds. Turn the usual questions on their heads and you’ll see what I mean. There’s nothing unacceptable about asking a single person why she’s not in a relationship.  But if a woman tells you that she’s been married for 25 years, you’re not allowed to interrogate her. You’re supposed to effusively congratulate her. You can’t ask her: “Why have you spent the last quarter-century with that man?” or “Do you ever wish that you’d never gotten married?” Continue reading

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