Men tend to say this to women a lot. (This is going to be a pretty heteronormative post. Perspectives on how this works in other types of relationships is very welcome; I just don’t have much to contribute.) Even men who don’t act in accordance with it or generally believe it. In feminist circles, there’s also “Male feminists just use feminism to get into women’s pants.” I’m trying to fight the temptation to guess at the motivation for these statements. (The truth! you say. Some men and some women act like this some of the time, but men frequently tell women that all men are like this all time, I reply.) So I’m just going to look at the results of this. Being told repeatedly and matter-of-factly that the class of people you’re supposed to fall in love with only cares about you for sex and will cheat on you given the chance is not good for one’s self-esteem. It promotes several gender stereotypes:
- Men don’t really have feelings
- Men are sex-crazed beasts and thus not responsible for their sex-related actions
- Women want to be married more than men do
- Marriage makes women happy and men unhappy (blatantly false according to surveys, stand-up comics notwithstanding)
- Women will never get a man to willingly enter into a monogamous, committed relationship with them because men don’t really love, but only lust, so women have to lure men into marriage by witholding sex (the only thing men want) until marriage
The feminist version of this mantra also, of course, enforces the idea that men don’t really care about women’s rights.
This idea also makes a nice set-up for the Nice Guy (TM). The Only Decent Man in the World, you can call him. Or, the guy who is caught in the Friend Zone. He is afflicted with a crush, or maybe even love, and convinces himself and those around him that this is highly unusual for a man (newsflash: it’s not) and that he must suffer while watching his special someone deal with men who only want to f*ck her, since of course that’s what all men besides him want. This isn’t offensive yet – a little middle school-ish, but not offensive – until you add the final bit that has been known to occur in this scenario. “How could she not like me back?! How could she like that jerk instead?! Women are evil!!!!”
Let’s check the logic here. A girl doesn’t like you, therefore she’s evil. Evil implies malicious intent – malicious because you deserve to be liked by anyone you like, intent because she’s purposely controlling her feelings to avoid liking you. If you believe the first part you have an especially large sense of entitlement. If you believe the second part you’re working really hard to place blame on someone. Instead of just saying “it sucks that the girl I like doesn’t like me back”, the Nice Guy in the Friend Zone blames this on the girl for being too stupid to date Nice Guys instead of Bad Boys. Somewhere in the throes of the ensuing angst this stupidity gets warped into evil. (Don’t try to overapply this; I’m not claiming every unrequited crush goes this way.)
I’d like to finish with a concluding point but I wasn’t really leading anywhere besides “It really pisses me off when men say that.” So yeah…I hate that.