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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Apparently men & women can't be friends...

23 replies

ElfPantsAtMidnightMass · 04/01/2011 10:10

Why do I listen to woman's hour again?

There's a man on there claiming that even his 18 month old son reacts differently to female checkout workers because "the driving force of life is sex" Hmm

He is also claiming that you can only have best friends of the same sex because you look at life from the same angle.

Finding this really uncomfortable but can't quite put my finger on why...

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Prolesworth · 04/01/2011 10:12

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ElfPantsAtMidnightMass · 04/01/2011 10:18

Is he claiming that his toddler son is pursuing sex with checkout women? Rather than seeing them (just for example) as somewhat...motherly?

I feel that if you deny men and women can be friends, it somehow keeps women down - but why?

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Prolesworth · 04/01/2011 11:20

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vesuvia · 04/01/2011 12:33

ElfPantsAtMidnightMass wrote - "He is also claiming that you can only have best friends of the same sex because you look at life from the same angle."

What is a best friend? It probably means different things to different people.

Wouldn't his claim effectively mean there would be only two possible attitudes about life, the male view and the female view? I don't think you have to be the same sex to look at life from the same angle. People of the same sex have very widely differing experiences and views.

I think friendship is about compatibility of individuals on all sorts of criteria. The sex of the person would be a relatively minor consideration, often for practical reasons, mostly do do with so many activities in lots of cultures being segregated by sex. In some countries, it is illegal for an unchaperoned woman and unrelated man to be alone together.

If a man and woman are best friends (whatever that means), I think some partners, family and friends of the man or woman become suspicious. They assume there must be some sexual element to the friendship, even when there isn't. That's obviously an issue of trust and honesty.

vesuvia · 04/01/2011 12:38

I'm using a definition of "best friend" being platonic only.
Not sexual partner, nor soul mate, nor substitute life partner.

TheBrandyButterflyEffect · 04/01/2011 12:55

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TeiTetua · 04/01/2011 17:56

A claim that "men & women can't be friends" might make us uncomfortable because it conflicts with ideas about gender equality. If women and men are out in the world working more or less interchangeably in jobs and social roles, if something would be acceptable in a single-sex situation, we wouldn't want it to be taboo between women and men. Our co-workers could be women or men, the politicians we vote for could be women or men, basically we don't want to see gender specified anywhere, so we have to accept the idea of women or men as friends, on an individual basis, not just as couples. To say that can't happen is to say that we have to recognize gender distinctions, and we don't like hearing that. But it must mean that if we've got a monogamous relationship going, we have to be slow to become jealous of our partner's other connections. And obviously, when we interact with other people, we have to do it in ways that won't make the partner (ours or theirs) jealous! Maybe this is never going to settle down completely.

TheBrandyButterflyEffect · 04/01/2011 18:53

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LadyBlaBlah · 04/01/2011 20:02

No-one mentioned "When Harry Met Sally" yet?

Usually have by this point in the argument Confused

ElfPantsAtMidnightMass · 05/01/2011 09:32

Great post Tei - that's it I think. We have to work together as people, and if the issue of what sex we are is constantly relevant, that gets much more difficult. Also of course what that man was saying is that when he's talking to a woman he just has a big thought bubble above his head saying "Mmm, shagging", and therefore he isn't interacting with her in the same way as he does so with other men. Women are for looking at, again, basically.

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TheFeministParent · 05/01/2011 09:36

I have a fair few male friends that all fell by the way side upon the arrival of my and their partners. Many of my male friends have fancied me, certainly in my youth! And now there are some that I can't get pissed with because they would have to tell me how lovely I am....and I'm still about 2 st overweight!!

So I do sort of agree that some men and women cannot be friends, I certainly couldn't share a bed with a good lokking man without wanting to have matter how much of a good friend he is/.

I guess it depends how sexual you are.

Maelstrom · 05/01/2011 09:37

I have noticed that all of my platonic friendships have something in common:

A) We have a very strong professional, sports or cultural interest in common and,

B) Our sexual interests are focused on someone outside the platonic friendship

Guess these are the same conditions that rule friendships between friends of the same sex. Aren't they?

ElfPantsAtMidnightMass · 05/01/2011 09:59

Good points, Mael. Most of my close male friends are people I have worked with, either real work or hobby stuff. And then there are people I have known for soooooo very long, that the idea of seeing them naked now is just Xmas Confused.

In fact I was reflecting yesterday that in general the more I get to know someone, the less I fancy them. I have met plenty of gorgeous men who I would probably have slept with if the situation had arisen that day Xmas Grin but after a few conversations, or hearing them have burping competitions, or their attitude to women, or their just plain blandness, it swiftly becomes a totally unappetising prospect. The people I think of most fondly in that sad "ah, what might have been" way, are generally the ones I never got the chance to know really well.

So in theory, DHs/DPs should be less jealous of male friends, then of random strangers...

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baildonwen · 05/01/2011 12:53

Does that mean that brothers and sisters can't be friends either

TheBrandyButterflyEffect · 05/01/2011 13:42

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Mumi · 05/01/2011 14:39

I didn't hear the programme but can sum up the guy's point in 8 words:

"Every woman I know wants to shag me".

ElfPantsAtMidnightMass · 06/01/2011 00:58

at Mumi's point. He can dream, I suppose. Would bet anything that he is cheating on mother of aforesaid baby, or at least hoping to. Why go on air to make the point that he sees women as for sex and nothing else?

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wukter · 06/01/2011 01:10

I don't know.
IME there is always a period of sexual tension between two close friends of the opposite sex. Usually it passes, never to return. That's why I also am totally ok with DH's older friends but don't like new work - based friendships for example.

But I think genuine friendship is possible after that hurdle has been jumped.

sarah293 · 06/01/2011 16:19

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reelingintheyears · 06/01/2011 17:00

I have five male friends who i see regularly,usually with DP in tow but certainly not always.
I'm the only woman in our pub quiz team,there are five of us.
There's no sexual tension because we are mates.
It's our local pub and we know lots more people there and it has caused some small jealousies from other women over the years who have wanted to be in the team and seem to resent me for getting on with the blokes.

I like women too and have no problems with the other guys bringing their partners/GFs along but they never want to join in for long.

We're all quite competitive and like winning the quiz and i think it puts some women off.
The banter is always good and quite different from my female friends.

camaleon · 06/01/2011 17:10

Men and women can be friends... Women and women can be friedns... Men and men can be friends. It is not that easy to have 'real' friends, it is many times difficult to share the moments, the experiences and time that are the foundations of friendship.

I also believe you can have friends you have sex with. I have had those in the past. Male friends who were mainly friends, but from time to time the situation would become sexual and it would not be a major issue. It depends on the concept of friendship too. During my teen years, I could feel sexual tension with a couple of my female friends too. It did not undermine the friendship, although I had no sex with them.

reelingintheyears · 06/01/2011 23:55

What is my problem......
I've just been thinking about which men i can be talking to were i to go to the pub on the off chance.....
There are loads..
It really is a personal thing.
You make friends with people whether they are men or women.

Ephiny · 07/01/2011 11:48

I don't really have or want any male friends either. Silly to say it isn't possible though - does that mean bisexual people can't have any friends at all?

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