Full disclosure: I like men in skinny jeans and am quite partial to a man bun. Until a few nights ago I didn’t realise that my taste in male aesthetic was leaving me wanting more in the bedroom. You can imagine my relief when I stumbled across a post entitled, ‘Choke me, spank me, pull my hair’ by Australian Bachelorette contestant Rhys Chilton outlining (in detail) the impact of tight-jeans-and-man-bun-wearing men on the sexual satisfaction of women.
Before reading the post, I’d been unaware of the internal struggle many women were facing because men aren’t masculine enough. According to Rhys, the rise of feminism and women stepping out of the kitchen has destroyed old-fashioned masculinity and now we women folk just want to be spanked. Or choked. And maybe feel the sweet caress of the odd yank of our hair.
Rhys Chilton: the modern-day philosopher. After some Googling and general social media stalking I’m still somewhat perplexed. I just don’t know what to make of him. Running through Rhys’ post is a series of contradictions – on the one hand he says he’s all for 100% equality, and then he describes the bedroom as, ‘The one place you won’t complain (too much) if a man acts like a real man used to and orders you around’. Rhys’ theory of women wanting to be controlled by more ‘masculine’ men is troubling because associating sex with control and power teeters right on the edge of the descent into rape culture. It’s also a complete negation of the idea that different women may want different things in the bedroom. You could be forgiven for wondering whether Rhys views women as one homogenous group of subs.
It would be very easy to brush him off as a dudebro and take no notice of the post. And maybe that’s what we should do; not give him any more time in the spotlight. Here’s the reason why I think it matters: This person has a platform, and his ideas represent a binary way of looking at gender that doesn’t allow for variation from the norm. I’ve never liked the idea of ‘acting like a real man’ or ‘real woman’. Am I less of a woman if I have short hair? Or because I don’t have children? Does having a vagina make me more “real” than a woman who doesn’t? Is a real man someone who can fix stuff? Or is a real man someone who knows how to put a woman “in her place”?
Here’s a thought: Perhaps it’s we time started considering if an individual is a decent human being and stopped caring about whether they fit into fixed gender ideals.