Weighty questions (Was Hitchens and Homophobia)

Michael Pollak mpollak at panix.com
Mon Mar 1 01:17:39 PST 1999

Maureen Therese Anderson wrote:

> PS just knew you were gonna get pounched on for that "women's better sense"
> comment!

I didn't understand at all. I still don't. Are you guys disputing the fact that men will dismiss women from consideration for being 20 pounds overweight more quickly than women will dismiss men for the same offense? And that this is why men in singles bars are 20 pounds overweight more often than women -- because they can get away with it? And that this is why women suffer more over how thin or fat they are than men do?

I don't dispute for a moment that it comes from history and society rather than from nature. Like all gender categories. But also like all gender categories -- like all social categories -- it doesn't change immediately with changing social conditions; there's a lag. And the clearest evidence of this, to my mind, is that gay men are *on average* 20 pounds lighter than straight men. Because they are competing for the (socially conditioned) eyes of men, they have to suffer through diets. And similarly, a gathering of lesbians will be 20 pounds heavier *on average* than a similar gathering of het women and proud of it: they shout from the rooftops how happy they are freed from the eyes of men and all the bondage it entails. (Excepting those as are into the bondage, of course.)

Naturally these things are changing, and they are changing most among the overpaid and the overeducated, the latter of whom are overrepresented on this list, me among them. But in society as a whole, the averages still hold -- not least because, in a country without universal child care and free abortion on demand, women aren't actually equal yet. The old relations of gender production are far from abolished. And that's why women worry that their butt is too big and men don't.

> Get thee to a gym, Michel!

This is the irony, of course. I have a thirty-two inch waist and big pecs. So people often think I'm gay :o)


__________________________________________________________________________ Michael Pollak................New York City..............mpollak at panix.com

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