Nothing kills the buzz of a good night out like that guy who won’t leave you alone. It’s Saturday night and you’re spending that three-hour session getting ready at your best friend’s house, drinking Grey Goose vodka and Instagramming pictures of your shots. Hey, I’ve done it and I have the Instagram account to show for it. No shame.
Then you leave the house and it’s game on. With 20 bucks in your wallet, you feel confident you won’t even spend half. Between the generosity of your guy friends and your short black skirt, you probably won’t need to pay for cover or drinks anyways.
Girls are often just as guilty as guys when it comes to the “game”. In this week’s letter to the editor, fourth-year student Sadaf Ali expressed concern about “Precious on the pursuit”, a features article we published about UTM’s professional pickup artist. As you’ll read in her letter, Ms. Ali disagrees with the strategies employed by precious and she targets the most concerning point: manipulating a woman’s self-worth.
When getting down to business, Precious suggests that men take control not only of how women perceive them, but how women perceive themselves. Confidence is an attractive quality, but there is a fine line between confident and controlling.
In particular, the bit on “negging” caught my attention. Apparently, men should give women backhanded compliments that make women even more conscious of and concerned about their perceived flaws. I once had a boyfriend that told me I look so much prettier with curly hair. My straightener went unused for years. Why can’t you just give a woman an outright compliment and tell her she looks nice? That sounds better to me than telling me I could look prettier.
Precious also suggests that men “body rock”. By looking away from time to time, the woman tries to validate herself to the man. She wonders—whether consciously or subconsciously—why she isn’t interesting enough to keep his attention during the conversation. Is she not pretty enough? Is she not laughing at his jokes enough? Maybe she should start wearing her hair the way he suggested.
Then, to really seal the deal, men should make women compete with each other. By employing the “demonstration of higher value”, you make the woman wonder if she’s good enough to date you—like all the other women you allege have come before her.
As a politics major and a former executive at the UTM Women’s Centre, I’ve engaged in many class and seminar discussions on feminism and gender equality. I’ve heard men—not all, of course, but many—groan and say I should chill and learn to take a joke. But jokes run deeper than we realize, and discouraging women to have these discussions and oppose these stereotypes only perpetuates gender inequality in our supposedly progressive and accepting western society.
Precious does, however, teach his male clients a very important and valuable lesson.
“Be ambitious, be amazing, be as awesome as you possibly can. Be happy and be smiling. Don’t strive to be someone you’re not,” he says. “Remove rejection from the equation; it’s not a big deal. Nothing is ever a big deal for you. Hakuna matata.”
If only these same men would go out and make women feel as ambitious, amazing, and awesome as they can be. To be masculine is not to be removed from your emotions. “Nothing is ever a big deal for you” is not conducive to attracting women. Respecting women’s self-worth should be a big deal.