On Seduction

I’m a bit late to the party, but I found this article today and it baffles me. Mostly because I look at this and think that the men must have some culpability here. Sure, deliberately setting out to break up someone else’s relationship is unquestionably rude and mean, but she’s not actually controlling the men’s actions here. They’re the ones making an active choice to “sneak out at midnight” to talk to her and whatnot. Enabling cheating is unethical (I want to be very clear here: I do not think the men bearing responsibility absolves her of all of hers), but cheating is even more unethical.

Maybe it’s the terminology that hides the ways this is problematic: “stealing” men, like they’re objects. I find it fascinating that women have no agency until the men are going to do something that makes them look bad, and then suddenly the women have all the agency and men have none. This same thinking with the genders reversed was actually one of the hallmarks of a previous abusive relationship of mine: “You can’t talk to men; they’ll sweep you away with their evil smiles and you’ll wind up sleeping with them!” I was always like “I think I have more agency than that. Really.” The message never seemed to get through. You can’t steal someone who doesn’t on some level want to be stolen.

I can’t picture the tactics she describes working on any of the men I know. Partner tells me that’s because I’ve self-selected for social circles where I’m unlikely to meet the kind of men who go for this sort of thing. It just seems like if someone can get swept away from his existing girlfriend just because someone different has popped up, that suggests his original relationship was perhaps not all that stable to begin with. Yes, it sounds like she had a problem and I’m glad she’s fixing that about herself, but I think there’s also a very problematic attitude towards men displayed here, that sees them as not responsible for their own actions.

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