The antidote for craving sexual attention from random men on the street.

I rarely trouble myself with what feminists think or are saying anymore.  I am busy with my garden, managing the woods and pond, canning, and learning everything I can about permaculture, older methods of food preservation, and Christian agrarianism.  These tasks are satisfying and are like a soothing balm for a worried mind and troubled spirit.  Instead of going on the attack against the evils of feminism, these days I’d rather focus my energy on sharing the positive things I’ve learned about finding satisfaction and contentment as a woman through family relationships and laboring in the natural world.

However, I’ve decided to address, in as kind and gentle a way as I can, this article (found on AGP) by noted feminist author and speaker, Jessica Valenti.  Mrs. Valenti has written what I think is a very honest article about her ambivalence surrounding the lack of catcalls from men she receives now that she is 36.  I applaud her for acknowledging honestly that it bothers her that men on the street don’t pay sexual attention to older women the way they do with younger women.  She could have just said, “Good!  I’m glad they stopped now that I’m nearing middle age!” even though it wasn’t truly how she felt.  She writes:

…as much as I wish it didn’t, the thought of not being worth men’s notice bothers me. To my great shame, I assume I must look particularly good on the rarer days that I do get catcalled […]  do care in some way that sits uncomfortably with my politics – enough that it worries me to wonder how I’ll feel when I’m 45, or 65.

Although catcalling is a low-class behavior, women always crave male attention, and losing it never feels good, no matter what your politics are.  Women want to be desired by men, and this desire when properly constrained is good and serves a purpose when we are young in that it makes us receptive to the sometimes clumsy romantic advances of the young men who we may marry.  After that age, women don’t lose the desire to be praised by men but they must control that desire such that their husbands’ attentions are sufficient, lest they fall into temptation and sin.

The problem is that thanks to feminism, women are much more valued for their sexuality than anything else now.   This is ironic because I think the original goal was not to reduce women’s value in this way, but nevertheless that has sadly been the result.  This is one reason why pick up artistry can flourish when in the past it could not, especially among older women.

Previously, men praised older women for their contributions to their families and their homes.  Feminism made it passe and suspect for a woman to focus on her husband, children, and extended family and to find satisfaction and contentment in her service to them.  But men don’t care that much about women’s outside-the-home careers, even if they sometimes appreciate the money.

Mrs. Valenti has the unhappy habit of complaining bitterly about how much work women do.  She complains about how much work we do as mothers:

“Whether you call it Attachment Parenting, natural parenting, or simple maternal instincts, this false “return” to traditional parenting is just a more explicit and deliberate version of the often unnamed parenting gender divide. Whether you’re wearing you baby or not, whether you’re using cloth diapers or teaching your four-week-old to use the toilet; it’s still women who are doing the bulk of child care, no matter what the parenting philosophy. Putting a fancy name to the fact that we’re still doing all the goddamn work doesn’t make it any less sexist or unfair”

She complains about how much work we do at the holidays:

We all know that women do the majority of domestic work like child care, housework and cooking. But the holidays bring on a whole new set of gendered expectations that make the season less about simply enjoying fun and family and more about enduring consumerism, chores and resentment so that everyone else can enjoy rockin’ around the Christmas tree…Being the holiday point-person can be drudgery.

She complains non-stop about anything women do to serve their families.  This complaining about family service is the feminist way.  But what men value in women most, I believe, are these three things:

1. Our sexuality

2. Our ability to care for and nurture families

3. and our ability to be good companions.

So when second-wave feminists made it passe for women to find their primary satisfaction in caring for and nurturing families, that reduced women’s value to men to only two things: sexuality and companionship.  But now, with the non-stop complain-a-thon about how overworked they are in relation to their male partners, younger feminists (probably inadvertently) turn women into poor companions.  What man wants to seek companionship with someone who never stops complaining?  So that leaves women with one value to men: sexuality.

And what’s more, I think modern feminists sense this, which is why there has been such a push to frame it as powerful when modern young women allow themselves to be sexually used and discarded by multiple young men.  These young women are lost and confused (as are the young men, but that is another topic) and sense that their sexuality is now all they are really bringing to the table, so they heap it up, but it leaves them feeling broken and empty and even like they’ve been raped.

And then on top of all that, the attention starts to dry up around 35.  And then what?  When you know your sexuality – your biggest asset – is waning and you are a poor companion and you believe it is old-fashioned for a woman to find self-worth in her family, what are you left with?  You are left with nothing.  You are left like Mrs. Valenti, wishing that the guy on the street would look up and whistle at you, and you are rightly ashamed for wanting him to.

Mrs. Valenti knows something is wrong.  I wish she could drop the feminist narrative for a moment and really try to figure out exactly what is wrong, but she just never does.  I hope someday she will.  But for now, she writes:

But I do wish there was more nuance in conversations about aging, beauty standards and feminism

As if that would solve anything!  It wouldn’t.  Women will still want to be desired by men and men will still want women primarily for sex, families, and companionship, no matter how many nuanced conversations feminists have about the matter.  And so everyone is left much sadder and emptier than they would be if feminists would just admit that it is our (God-given) human nature.

The antidote for being an older woman craving sexual attention from random men on the street is to be an older woman who finds her satisfaction and contentment in being the cherished companion of the husband of her youth and in her unselfish care and service to her immediate and extended family.

 

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15 thoughts on “The antidote for craving sexual attention from random men on the street.

  1. But what men value in women most, I believe, are these three things:

    1. Our sexuality

    2. Our ability to care for and nurture families

    3. and our ability to be good companions.

    But now, with the non-stop complain-a-thon about how overworked they are in relation to their male partners, younger feminists (probably inadvertently) turn women into poor companions.

    Interestingly enough over the last few days I’ve been thinking about what I would value in a woman, or “why wouldn’t I take Paul’s advice to live a celibate life?” My conclusion was:

    1. Sex
    2. Children
    3. Companionship (and it’s a rare woman who can compete with a dog for companionship)

    So I’d say your post is pretty much spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s something else. I read someone else’s takedown of a post that Jessica Valenti wrote about not leaving the house without looking her best.. She is headed for a crisis and the usual remedy is to get plastic surgury and then frivorce. I hope that I am wrong but, from pictures, it’s easy enough to deduce that she is dominant in the marriage and the husbnd loves her as only a loyal beta can.

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  3. Then there’s this poor chap, who wrote into the NY Times recently:

    I am a not-unattractive 47-year-old man. It used to be that when I walked into a room or down the street, women would notice me. It’s not as if I pursued their interest; I have been happily married for 16 years. But lately, I seem to have become invisible. Younger women (and men) have mostly stopped seeing me, and those who do call me “Sir.” What are my options?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Agreed 100% that part of the cure is a loving spouse–I chase Mrs. Bubba around, and she’s not complaining about not being ogled like Ms. Valenti (Mrs. Golis?) is.

    Another thing that comes to mind is that there is something “telling” that Mrs. Golis (and the gentleman described by bodycrimes) is missing being ogled–it is as if almost against her will, she is equating ogling with good social interaction.

    Put another way, it’s the journalistic/feministic equivalent of the Stone Age dioramas that always seem to portray the women as classically proportioned with a “c” cup, and of course mostly naked. Were women back then all like that, or are many archeologists very, very lonely people?

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    • Don’t you think, though, that it’s very human to want acknowledgement? I was chatting to this lady in her 50s, who said she’d literally become invisible. Not just to men, but to everybody. Doors would slam shut in her face, servers would fail to see her etc etc. I got interested in that, and started to chat to people about it. Turned out lots of men had the same experience.

      We all want to feel we’re desirable, male and female. That’s not wacky or immoral. It’s just human.

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      • I agree 100% that we all want to be acknowledged. The trick here is that Mrs. Golis is specifically saying that she half misses the catcalls. One would infer that a great portion of the acknowledgement she was previously getting was in this category.

        OK, so why is this? Is our culture so sexualized that most have forgotten how to talk to a girl without ogling her? Is it just Mrs. Golis’ neighbors and coworkers? Is Mrs. Golis somehow unapproachable–does she give everybody a “don’t f*** with me” look?

        I’m guessing that an over-sexualized culture has something to do with it, but whatever it is, it’s an interesting question.

        Side story; I once told my kids, while ordering at Subway, to give the “young lady” in front of us some room so she could order in peace. She heard me & turned around with a look of great gratitude and crow’s feet that made clear she wasn’t used to being called “young lady” anymore.

        I hope we’re both still laughing about that mistake of mine.

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  5. I hope you don’t object to my comment. I am a homeschooling mother of eight, all rather close together, make homemade soap, cheese and bread and any number of things, also make my daughters’ clothes because we can’t find decent things in the store generally.

    This quote from the woman you quoted, however, struck a chord, regarding the workload during holidays:

    “simply enjoying fun and family and more about enduring consumerism, chores and resentment so that everyone else can enjoy rockin’ around the Christmas tree…Being the holiday point-person can be drudgery.”

    In order to pull Christmas off really well, you have to start planning two months ahead. It takes incredible time, work and energy, especially if you have family members who expect you to pull it all off. I don’t know about the rest of you, but a holiday is a day in which all cooking is scrutinized under a microscope, including your decorating and everything else. Now, at this point, with some older children, it is not as difficult as it was, but at one point I had five small children under five; the youngest was born a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. I stated my limits and said I could not pull off a Christmas celebration; it needed to be low-key and quiet. I was informed in no uncertain terms that I had no choice. Christmas Eve I was trying to pull together a feast, a one-woman show, with five children under five, one of whom was a nursing baby, and it did not get done. This was a number of years ago, but the memory of what happened as a result is etched in my brain; it was scary. I was severely punished, informed that everything I cooked was slop and that I didn’t deserve to live. To this day I have received no apology for that event, and it was some time ago. Similar events have happened, some around holidays, some around day to day living, but I know the best thing to do now is to let them happen with complete indifference to them and act as though they don’t affect me. (The mistake I made that Christmas Eve was in crying and saying I couldn’t do anymore, which is what got me in trouble — maybe if I had kept a stoic poker face I would have been all right.)

    I know now when I’m overwhelmed to be sure not to mention it, because mentioning it will result in someone explaining to me why I am NOT overwhelmed, and just to drive the point home, either pile something more on me, or make the requirements for that which needs to be done much, much higher. Big mistake. A poker face has to rule the day; you can’t afford to be vulnerable unless you want to get into trouble.

    The point is that the work we do is hard, laborious work. It is not boring, it is not unfulfilling, and I for one enjoy my work. It is good work. But don’t think it’s not hard work. If you start thinking it is mindless work that anybody can do, and that it’s nothing for people to just heap up on you like you are a pack mule, then you’ll turn into a pack mule who eventually gets a broken back. And we all know what happens to the mule when it gets a broken back — and that’s a scary thought.

    Generally someone waving a flag and saying what’s really going on often results in people screaming “feminist”…..well, if that’s what you want to do, that is fine, but it happens. I hear it all the time, and a lot of the advice on “how to make a Godly appeal” just doesn’t work. My experience has been that most men will not accept a “Godly appeal” if it isn’t logical in their eyes. Maybe it’s different for you, and if so, then I am glad for you, but I don’t think it’s true for a lot of women.

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    • I am a homeschooling mother of eight, all rather close together, make homemade soap, cheese and bread and any number of things, also make my daughters’ clothes because we can’t find decent things in the store generally.

      Uh-huh. And I am a Nigerian Prince with a large bank transfer for you, Dearest.

      *sigh* The level of trolling around here is truly sub-par. Anywho, Dalrock already covered this: Something Smells Fishy.

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      • Excuse me?!
        Well, you certainly know how to be polite and answer to those who are in difficult situations.
        Sorry, my dear, but this is real life and it has happened. You act like everybody in these situations is a fake, and WE ARE NOT FAKE. We know we have to keep our marriages together and we’re doing it.
        So, what do you have to say to those who ARE in these situations and ARE stuck in it?
        I’ll admit my homemade cheese isn’t the best yet, I just got started doing it, but it’s pretty good. I am glad to see that you believe your work is way better than mine, maybe you’ve been doing it longer. I’ve been making soap for a year and a half and I’d thank you to not make nasty comments about it. We use it all the time.
        I’m a second generation homeschooler. My parents homeschooled back in the day when you could still get arrested for it (they didn’t, thankfully).
        If I “lipped” like you just did, would I get in trouble.
        Most men don’t tolerate “lipping” from women. I wouldn’t dare, I can tell you that. I suppose it’s OK for you to “lip” me because I’m another woman.
        Why do you believe this is not true? It is true for me; I have no idea if it’s true for other women, but I hate living like this, and I am tired of being afraid of my husband. I’m glad you’re not afraid of yours.
        Men don’t go to counseling, generally speaking it’s women who go, and I don’t know about anybody else, but every time I got horsewhipped and sent home, while things just kept going on the same. Right now I’m just biding time waiting for the kids to grow up. Then I can quietly leave and live the rest of my life in peace.

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      • I know exactly what and who you are. You came from that “No longer quivering” site at Patheos. I highly doubt if anything you are saying is even true, but if it is true that you are being horse-whipped by someone, I’m sure that you know that domestic assault is a crime and that you have the option of calling the police if you believe you or your children are in danger of harm. Beyond that, you are clearly here for no other reason than to try to cause trouble, but I don’t run that kind of blog here, and trouble-makers are not welcome.

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