So, the other night on Girls, Lena Dunham had sex with Patrick Wilson and the internet’s head exploded.
I wrote a comment in response to the above linked article that I’ll post here:
I think the true distinction here is what men and women will consider attractive for sex and what men and women consider attractive in general. It sounds awful, but I really think that’s an important factor that many of these pieces about this episode are missing. Would a guy who looks like Wilson have sex with a girl who looks like Dunham? Would a woman like Dunham have sex with Wilson? Sure. All that “proves” is that they each find each other attractive “enough.” I think this is more situational than anything else. That’s why I get uncomfortable when people start saying how they, despite having characteristics that some people have decided are not objectively “hot” , start pointing to instances of their sex with “hot” people as though that proves something.
I guess I’m uneasy with saying to people, “Hey, fuck them. There are plenty of men or women who will throw you a bone if they’re desperate.” Am I supposed to be happy about that?
More from the piece:
Couples are “mismatched” because these boundaries, these “leagues” are made up by society and easily crossed. Anybody can have sex with anybody else! And they do, all the time! Just not on TV. – From the XOJane article
We’ve discussed the ides of leagues here. I’ve said many times that I do believe that leagues exist. Yes, there are anomalies. Of course. There always are. But no matter how many times “society” tells me how hot Liam Hemsworth is, I’m still going to find him twee. I do think some people let the media decide what is to be considered attractive. For the most part, though, I think that is a determination we come to all on our own. There are various criteria and characteristics that can make someone attractive. We’re all programmed differently in that regard. I like British accents. A British accent can make an other wise average looking guy hot to me. That doesn’t mean that all British men are attractive or will be found attractive by a large segment of the population. Sex, or more specifically the ability to have it with someone else, doesn’t prove attraction or desirability. It really only supports the fact that those two people wanted to have sex. I happen to think that, many times, the need for intense or even moderate attraction can be secondary.
Do I believe that it’s common for men who look like Patrick Wilson to sleep with women who look like Lena Dunham? It depends. Common in the sense that these men would carry on long term relationships with them? No I don’t. Common in the sense that they’d have sex with them? Yes. But what does that prove and why should we be happy about that or using it as a defense?
What made me most uncomfortable with the XOJane article was the idea that being able to bang a “hot” person somehow disproves the principles of attraction and existence of leagues. That’s giving the “hot” people a lot of power. So, if someone “hot” sleeps with me, that means that I can ignore all the other rejections and criticisms? You know, because that person was “hot” and therefore their opinion matters more? They’re not Knighting me. They’re f**king me. That’s not a declaration of anything and it’s certainly not an accomplishment.
Aside from being sexist and sizeist and just plain fucking rude, this idea that you have to have a thin, perfect body and the face of a model in order to be sexually attractive is just patently untrue. – From the XOJane article
I agree with this. However, the salient point being glossed over is attractive to whom? I know someone mentioned it in the articles recently, but this is a one-sided take on something that is two-sided. That’s another point I take issue with. Like someone here said, women can’t decide for men what they should find attractive. Nor should they make sweeping statements that completely remove or exclude a man’s input on the subject just for a few rounds of “You go girl!”
Read the article and tell me what you think.