Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
oxymora: (xkcd - wtf)
A couple of days ago, this xkcd comic was posted, and I punched the 'bookmark' button about 30 seconds after I saw it in my RSS feed:

Porn For Women
(please notice the alt text)

I thought of posting somewhere about it at the time, but so many people did that I thought it wasn't necessary.

Then, [personal profile] afterthree tweeted about this gem, which claims that

Men clearly have an urge to blog that women lack.


Guys seek thrills and speed. They go for the adrenalin rush. They get pumped by going higher, faster, farther than anyone else. They want lots of action and instant gratification. That's also why guys like blogging – instant opinions, and lots of them.

On the other hand,

Women never held peeing contests. Perhaps that helps explain why women tend to be more restrained and less concerned with public displays of prowess. We are just as interested in listening as in talking, and more interested in relationships than scoring points. We also tend to lack the public confidence that comes so easily to many men.

I could start ranting about how much is wrong with this, but Chelle did that for me, so I'm going to tell you why this made me decide to post the xkcd comic after all. What made me so happy about that comic is not that it mentions porn, or that it shows an emancipated female character or that it's funny, or true. It was that, at least for me, it managed to convey two important points:

1. People are people. Men and women are not as different as you might think. Fundamentally, we're all human, and we share basic desires, instincts, motives and propensities. (The same goes for different ethnicities, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, what have you). Most of us go through the world sorting their counterparts into categories without being able to recognize that this other is a person, which means that a) he or she is probably not as different from ourselves as we might think and b) at the same time much more complex than a list of checkboxes. Paradoxically, stereotyping makes us undervalue a person's uniqueness and our commonalities at the same time.

That's the message of the comic itself. The second point is in the alt text:

2. There are gender differences. And it's okay (and important) to notice them, talk about them, analyze them, and make fun of them. As long as you keep point one in mind, and do your research. Gender (as well as the other categories mentioned above) is a touchy subject, and storming in and writing a column based on your and your girlfriend's non-experience is not helping.

Neither of these points is especially hard to understand or demonstrate (fuck, Randall Munroe did it in one strip) so please, World. Get. It.
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