A couple of young filmmakers wanted to find out if men and women can be just friends, so they visited Utah State University and asked that very question of some of the students in the library. They posted their “results” on YouTube:
The students’ answers aren’t very surprising. All of the women said “yes” until prodded by the interviewer to admit they thought their male friends would “hook up” with them if given the chance. All of the men said “no,” essentially arguing that all men want all women at any given moment.
According to this video’s “When Harry Met Sally” logic, men and women cannot be friends because it’s in men’s nature to want women. The women in the video supported this logic by claiming the male friends they were referring to all had crushes on them.
I wonder how my male friends would feel if I accused them of secretly wanting me? Would they appreciate my arrogant assumption that they just want to have sex with me? Yes, it’s a fun little video put together by a couple of college kids, but all kidding aside, the video exacerbates the stereotype that all men are mindlessly lustful and have no other interest in women except sex.
Author and gender studies professor Hugo Schwyzer often speaks of what he calls the “myth of male weakness” in which we falsely believe that men are too weak to control their sexual impulses. Because of this myth, we excuse rape, cheating, and other sexual deviance and often put the blame on the victim by asking questions like “what was she wearing?” or “did she lead him on?” and so on, as if those factors excused the act.
While there’s no sexual deviance implied in the video, the male weakness myth is painfully obvious. According to the students who were interviewed, men are too weak to be friends with women. There was no question of whether or not the women secretly desired their male friends; the assumption was that men and women cannot be friends because of male desire, an unwanted impulse against which women must constantly defend themselves. It’s the same old song and dance: boy and girl meet; boy desires girl; girl stays pure by denying boy. When will we get past this ridiculous lustful male/pure female dichotomy?
Men want women, women want men, men want men, and women want women. Sometimes no one wants anyone. And sometimes people just want to be friends.
Love and a little help from my friends,
The Slasher Chick