Whore vs. Player

I’ve got a bunch of work in the queue for the future – a piece on how dating is like the Hobbesian State of Nature (definitely not the Rousseu S.O.N. and Locke…maybe), on how it’s tough to be a man nowadays (it’s a hard life y’all), and some interviews I’ve had with people who have successful relationships on what makes their relationship work out so well and a boatload of other stuff – the new year will be one to remember here at the newly titled “Mr. Philosopher: The Thoughts of the Ignorant Intellectual.”  Shameless plug by the way – follow me on Twitter!

Oh, and subscribe to the blog since I plan to do more posts that are shorter as opposed to my normal sized ones as best I can.  Lots to talk about from an ignorantly intellectual perspective!  (And don’t worry, I’ll explain why I call myself that in the near future…or should I say why it’s been ascribed to me.)

But let’s get to the title – the whore vs. the player.  I’m not getting into the whole “women can be players and men can be whores” stuff – I already agree that both men and women are capable of both.  But where does the line get drawn at between the two?  I think this is a murky area for most people – we want to use a more laudatory term for both sexes as opposed to “player” for men and “whore” for women.  But the words have weight only in their perceived power – they lack distinct definitions unless whore = prostitute.  But I don’t think we’re using whore like that (I still do refer to prostitutes as whores, but not to their faces.  That’s just rude.  But you are what you are – just Ask John Witherspoon.)  Anyhow, I’m going to throw in a couple of charges here –

1)  There’s a difference between being a player and a whore but I’m going to try to make it a lot more tangible than it’s normally been;

2)  Though more desirable than being called a whore, being a player really isn’t much better (from an ethical standpoint).

And I’ll try not to take too long to do it.

So on charge 1, we’ve got the difference between a player and a whore.  At first read, somebody inevitably says, “Duh.  Men are players if they get a lot of ass, and women are whores if they have a lot of sex.”  Well, it’s not all that obvious to me.  For one, the title “player” and “whore” have been gender stratified for awhile now.  Whore gets the derogatory (female) connotation; player gets the laudatory (male) one.  Let’s remove the gender aspect from it, however, since the new move is to level the playing field and have both men and women be players and whores, where exactly do we draw the line between the two?  Whore still has a negative connotation, though it may still be through its long-standing connection to “women of ill repute,” but for argument’s sake (goody!  Thought experiment time!)  let’s remove the gender aspects to the words, since that’s what we want to do anyhow, and just focus on what a whore is and what a player is.

Before now, folks would call the player somebody who just gets around all the time with whomever, whenever, but clearly had the power in the situation.  They came after it, you know?  The whore, on the other hand, was the loose person who just was willing to hop in the sack with anybody.  The key difference?  One’s gunning, the other is just willing to deal with anything that comes their way.  The player has standards but they are flexible, the other lacks standards essentially.  The whore gets used and abused and considers it part of the life.

Sure, these differences might be simple, but I’ve tried to make them at least a little bit more concrete.  If there’s something I missed in the subtlety, let me know, but I’m going to move on now to Charge #2 – why being a player still isn’t all that much better in the end.

The player is the one with the perceived power to the rest of the world.  The player travels searching for more conquests to notch on his/her belt or headboard.  The player controls the situation but is only after one thing – the sex.  As I noted in an earlier post, men have been reduced to being sexually charged beings who only endeavor to have sex, which is probably tied to why men have been called players in a negative way (the positive way has obviously come from men in order to laud their exploits of women).  Either way, the player wants to have as many partners as the player can handle.

Clearly I’ve taken a few literary liberties with the concept of the player, but the case I’m making here is that people would rather being the player vs. the whore, all gender biases aside and even historical connotations aside, is because of the perception of the power the player has.  That power is at the expense of the using of those that the player conquers.  And as I’m sure many of you are aware, I’m a good Kantian – you can’t go using people as means towards an end.  So even though it might be socially “better” to be considered a player due to the perceived power of the player (which reminds me, I’ll have to do something on the power of the p-u-s-s-y, as it was once termed to me), it’s still not ethically better, in my estimation.

Someone might go, “well that’s fine, I’ll proudly be a whore!  The social stigma may stay, but I still get what I’m after!”  Well yeah, you do, but you end up being the one being used – still poses an ethical problem.  Whether or not you wish to acknowledge being used, it’s still an ethical issue of being treated as means and not an end.  So no, opting to be a whore comparative to a player doesn’t alleviate the issue at all.

And at just around 1000 words, I’ve tried to problematize the “player vs. whore” debate from a different angle.  What are your thoughts?  Did I miss the mark?  Is being a whore or a player alright?  Is there another viewpoint to give this?

For The Love of Money Pt. 2

“A 700 credit score is sexy!  Let me say that again, a SEVEN HUNDRED credit score is SEX-EE!”  The woman was excited, and her audience cheered.  Hearing that bold announcement by a 30-40 year old black woman during Freshman Orientation back in 2005 was alarming and an opening taste of reality for me.  5 years later, I still struggle to deal with how love and money play out.  Back in For the Love of Money Part 1, myself and a few other people dug into the issues surrounding socio-economic status and potential relationships that can be negated due to those material relations (one key line my opponent said was, “Nobody on Wall Street marries the fry girl.”).  In the few months since then, I still struggle with the supposed fine line created through the constructs of socio-economic status.  In particular, how important money has become for relationships and how it can make you a potential partner.  As a friend and I collaborated to conclude, and this may well be a sad shame, but for a woman to be a potential partner “she needs a mouth and a vagina.”  For a man to be a potential partner “he needs some money.”  Though it reduces women to mere sexual or physical beings and it reduces men to nothing more than ATMs, it might be that this crude thesis holds some merit, or is at least worth digging into.

Both partners having been reduced to their most basic parts, let’s try to look at why this may be the case.  Men have been sexually aggressive beings for as long as male and female has existed (supposedly.  This very well could be a case of me playing into the stereotypes, but either way the stereotypes have, in some way or another, driven how the current social landscape is setup), so what do men look for?  Point blank, someone to poke.  This reduction of male desire isn’t safe, but is out there and so for right now, we’ll just leave it at that – men are looking for someone to have sex with.

Women have been after security as one of the top priorities in a partner.  Originally, I imagine the cavewoman was referring to security from the sabretooth tigers and ridiculous other natural aspects.  Currently, protection and security extends out to the financial realm.  As Eddie Murphy put it, “You gotta have some money to get some pussy in the 80’s.”  Nearly 30 years later, his point still stands.  Financial security in a man has become a principal trait for many women, as it represents plenty of things about the man, potentially (he’s hard working, toils endlessly at what he believes in, or the most obvious – he’s got money he can spend on the woman).  Either way, the financial security is something that women are vocal in their desires – they don’t want to pay a man’s rent or his bills, he needs to be able to do those things.  He needs to have some money.

While I can appreciate that there are many people out there who don’t have money as a principal issue for them or sex as a principal issue, this is being done for a larger point – the de-evolution of the relationship due to the importance of money.

So men want sex and women want someone to have some money.  The extreme interpretation of this is that men are going to use their asset (money) to get what they want (sex) and women will use their asset (sex) to get what they want (money), which could be called prostitution.  For the record, if Andrea Dworkin’s work can be (though potentially misinterpreted) considered calling all heterosexual sex rape, then I feel comfortable saying that the current dating structure is very close to prostitution.

The interpretation of my comments can be many in number and angry, but hear me out.  Women, when you go on a date, is it considered bad form if the man doesn’t pay?  Men, have we not been taught that the bill is on us?  Granted, in a longterm or serious relationship, the basic dating payments tend to be swept away, but in order to impress, the men opt to pay.  If he can pay the bill, it’s an example of him doing decent enough (and being “chivalrous” enough to pay) that he gets a notch up.  Granted, he needs to not be an idiot or some rude fellow on the date, but just off of the top the dating concept is, for better or worse, “he pays, she lays.”

A new thing I’ve run across is, “Whoever asks pays,” thereby (supposedly) leveling the playing field.  But when you ask people who should ask, the man will say it’s his responsibility and the woman will put the onus on the man due to a bunch of different reasons.  All in all, “whoever asks pays” alleviates some of the problem but it doesn’t get at the root – the maleffect of money on the current dating age.

I don’t have a solution to the problem I’ve posed here.  Frankly, due to the link attaching money to relationships and the narrowing down of both sexes to simply “sex” and “money,” this problem has no end in sight.  But I can say there are a few things in the world that get a bit of an explanation through this theory.

– Men persistently try to “buy” women with gaudy gifts, expensive jewelry, even drinks at the bar.  Everybody knows if he buys you a drink at the bar, she owes him….(a conversation?)

– Women might really think the best way to say “I’m sorry” to a man is by having sex with him, which effectively reduces the male’s emotions to purely sexual.  On the flipside, men might really think the best way to say “I’m sorry” is through the acquisition and presentation of something expensive, reducing the female’s emotions to purely material.

This love and money issue is beginning to trouble me, as if the only shot I apparently have is to get my credit score up, (and one of my cousins told me that a good credit score is a must have for a husband) then I’ll have to give up this philosopher’s life, go find some corporation that needs a professional writer and tap dance to get my money up.  Next up, Black people and For The Love of Money – if the problems I’ve presented here are real, how are they (if at all) exacerbated by the current state (or even recent state) of Black people?

Quick Thoughts on MLK Jr.

I’m no King scholar (though many Morehouse College alums are unofficially) and truthfully, I don’t want to be.  I have many mixed feelings about this day.  I love that there’s a national holiday for the face of the Civil Rights Movement.  I love that in the past 4 years I’ve been in 2 cities that he’s made his biggest impressions (Memphis and Atlanta).  But in other ways, like with many holidays, it becomes one day to do something.  Haven’t been volunteering?  Go do it on MLK day – it’ll soothe your soul until next year.  Haven’t been marching?  Go do it on MLK day and feel like you’ve done something.  Haven’t said anything inspiring?  Today’s your day; pull out all the MLK quotes you can find and spout them like it’s gospel.  Tomorrow, everything goes back to normal.  I don’t like that aspect of it.  I suppose it’s just going to come with the territory, but everybody wants to be civil on MLK day.  I don’t see the use if we’re going to be rude and snippy like normal on Tuesday.

Mixed feelings definitely define MLK day for me.  For example, there’s the blurbified life story the American public knows and deifies him for, but if something questionable about King came out everybody vilifies the person, as if King is a figure who cannot be touched.  McGruder got away with it on The Boondocks, but @OMGFacts on Twitter could not.  McGruder had King call a group of black folks “niggers” and @OMGFacts put up a tweet saying that on King’s last night, he slept with two women (something I’m fairly certain is false and that the author knew was false).  The backlash was so outlandish that the @OMGFacts account doesn’t exist anymore.  All this vitriol about a joke could’ve been put towards something that means something, in my opinion.  One woman tweeted something along the lines that “King will not be slandered on his day!”  Lady, he’s not Jesus.  It’s not a sin to poke fun at a man who was a known womanizer as well as the frontman for the biggest movement in the United States since perhaps the American Revolution.  If anything, it brought King out of the clouds of “can’t do no wrong” to the more realistic and I believe more appropriate “great man who was a human being.”

While I’m on the subject of King’s supposed indiscretions, I told a friend of mine today that, “I hope he didn’t cheat on Coretta.  If he did though, and Coretta let it slide or dealt with it internally, then we all should shut the fuck up and leave it alone.  She had to live with the man for her life, we just read about him.”  And I feel like this generally with cheating in relationships – if the significant other is willing to work through it with the cheater, all outside parties need to mind their own business.

Back to the matter at hand, it’s a wonderful thing that King Day promotes many principles that we should try to uphold – a sense of egalitarianism, a Kantian duty to the Other (King did know his Kant and Hegel, which is where he pulled the concept of the Other (Hegel) and his duty to the Other (Kant)), and for some, a love of one’s country and a hope that things will get better provided we put the work in.  But tomorrow, there won’t be King quotes.  No more talk of his impact, at least until he gets the obligatory mention in everybody’s favorite 28 day month.  And the part that saddens me most is that many people who went out and did stuff won’t do a damn thing until some other holiday or something tugs at their heart strings and they feel a sense of pride for doing…what?  Just what did you do?!  I know in some ways you mean well, and in others you want to appease your inner humanity, but in my eyes, those fairweather folks spit in the face of the legacy that King leaves behind.  If you’re going to be humane one day because it’s a damn holiday, why not do it daily because the guy who the holiday was made for stood for the COMMITMENT to the progress – not a showcase of faux progress!

King shouldn’t be rolling over in his grave.  He should look down on us and shake his head and nod his head simultaneously.  He was one hell of a guy, to die for wanting all people to be equal.  Not many people today would do it.  In a time where people die for stuff like a burger (no lie, someone was shot over a Rally’s hamburger in St. Louis in late 2008 or early 2009), he died for a real cause.  And he didn’t martyr himself – he got killed in the line of duty.  Fact is, the personal mountaintops we all want to climb to, he reached.  When he said, “I might not get there with you,” he was right.  He’d already gotten there way before us.  He was being prophetic, just in an entirely different way then how we normally take him.

Still, if King came back to life somehow, I always wondered just how far off McGruder’s interpretation really is….(it’s closer than we think).

Haiti Disaster and A Few Philosophical Implications

In case you didn’t know, Haiti (more specifically the capital, Port Au-Prince) was nailed by an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude.  The epicenter of the quake is roughly 10 miles from Port-Au-Prince, and the capital has been leveled.  There hasn’t been an earthquake of this level in Haiti in over 200 years, the last major earthquake in the area was an 8.0 in the Dominican Republic in 1946 that shook Haiti also, but this has been a bad stretch for Haiti.  2008 they were just bombarded with hurricanes which included something like 4 in 3 weeks, and now this for the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.  All the facts aside, for those of you inclined to help, here are some websites that are taking action:

http://www.whitehouse.gov

http://www.yele.com (Wyclef’s relief site)

http://www.redcross.org

South Side Scholar and Uptown Notes also have more information as to what you can do to help.

A few implications of this situation…

“Cruel and Incomprehensible” – Vicious characterization of nature.  Pres. Obama called the earthquake “cruel and incomprehensible.”  How can an earthquake be…cruel?  It’s just plate tectonics.  Unfortunate, definitely, but not cruel.  As far as incomprehensible goes, scientists have known that something like this could happen due to the poor strength of the buildings relative to a fault line.  But hell, if you haven’t had something like this happen in over 200 years so it’s tough to have the foresight in some ways, and tougher to afford since Haiti is the poorest country on this side of the globe.  We can’t anthropomorphize nature in order to place blame on something.  The only thing that’s cruel about this is that folks died because of something they had absolutely no control over.

“…They Have Nowhere To Go” – This is an interesting question.  Yesterday, Anderson Cooper was reporting that there were people who were walking around looking for somewhere to go and that many didn’t know where to go.  Philosophically, that’s one hell of a problem on multiple levels.  Questions leveled – what do you do when you don’t have a home?  What constitutes a home?  Where are you going when you have nowhere to go?  What is the lived experience of a large group of people who have literally nowhere to go?  When Anderson Cooper said that small statement, I really, really felt for them.  To have no place to go, and therefore no place to really be at.  An old man once told me, “Everybody’s gotta be somewhere.”  But even in their somewhere, they generally have a place they want to go.  What happens when the somewhere you wanted to go doesn’t exist anymore?  All bad.

Pat Robertson – As most of you know by now, this elderly evangelist white guy, Pat Robertson, claimed that the earthquake was due to a pact with the devil during the Haitian revolution in order to beat the French and claim their freedom.  Clearly this is the biggest implication, when people from an overwhelmingly privileged position use their, of all things, religion as a way to lambaste the Haitians and blame them for something that was not of their control (read: plate tectonics aren’t something we can go in and adjust).  Moreover, by blaming the Haitians it puts this privileged man in an even higher position – savior.  Now he can tell people to pray for the Haitians to gain Christianity or something, or to renig on their deal with the devil in order to save themselves or something.  Either way, now he has increased his privilege AND his notoriety with this ridiculous comments.  And what’s worse is that there are people out there who believed it.  Then again, I had a cousin who told me that Katrina might have been a wake-up call for all the insanity that goes on in New Orleans, with the voodoo and the glaring excess.  Ironically (or maybe not so much) enough, she too was a devout Christian…

Either way, this is something horrible that’s happened – people need help.  Don’t charge up others to help, do your part (whatever that is).  And don’t try to be the people who view themselves as amazing helpers who are coming to save the country – the country right now needs people to help save and heal people and shelter people.  And while I’m in a small rant, kudos to Pres. Obama for the swift response.  Perhaps seeing what happened with Katrina and the response time made the Oval Office a lot more sensitive to giving aid quickly and judiciously after a major natural disaster.  One more thing – investigate who you give money or clothes to.  People got ripped off during Katrina – don’t think it wouldn’t happen now.  Stay safe folks, and if you pray, send one up for Haiti.