Shelley Powers has had an ongoing discussion on her weblog about Halley’s post on “girlism”. To me, what is interesting about this discussion is what it leaves out. Dorothea, Shelley, Suzzane, et al concentrate on what it means to other women when one women practices “girlism” — how other women who aren’t (as) pretty can’t use their sexuality to garner minor favors.
What they ignore is “girlism’s” objectification of men. Girlism exploits the naivete of men who have come of age when gender equality was more-or-less accepted.
A man who believed what he was told, when confronted with a woman who flaunts her sexuality in inappropriate places (e.g. the workplace) will be confused — in fact, this whole conversation started when Halley wrote about a lunch where she explained that women were beginning to exploit modern men. The man objectifies a woman and we call him a womanizer. Evidently when a woman objectifies a man, we are to call her a girlist.
I think an apt comparison can be made between some men’s overpowering physical presence and some women’s obvious sexuality. In each case, the individual has a method at his or her disposal that could be used to their advantage. The man could intimidate his coworkers into giving him their best assignments. The woman could flirt her way into plumb jobs. In both cases, this would be inappropriate and would (hopefully) be frowned upon.