Jul 112011

I read Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” Well, I had her read it to me. Audiobook.

I admit that part of the appeal is her reference to Pathmark and No Frills, two keystones of my own childhood in northern Delaware. But also she talks a lot about body image and the sexualization of women, both of which are topics dear to my heart. She says near the end:

I have a suspicion that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore. [...] Even if you would never sleep with or even flirt with anyone to get ahead, you are being sexually adjudicated by these L.A. creeps. Network executives really do say things like “I don’t know, I don’t want to fuck anybody on this show.” They really do say that stuff.”

The solution to this problem? More women becoming network executives and creating shows for women the L.A. creeps don’t want to fuck.

Which, totally. Right on.

Until then, can we spend a minute talking about regular women in their every day lives being “sexually adjudicated” (which is a phrase that I am now going to incorporate into my everyday vocabulary)?

This, to me, hearkens back to Mr Ironwood’s comments vis a vis the perceived potential sexual availability of women. Actually his post was more about whether or not a woman might ever even theoretically want to fuck him, not whether or not he wanted to fuck her, but it still feels immediately relevant.

I’ve been thinking about this a great deal for a variety of reasons, not least because I have recently posted a profile on an online dating site. Yeah. I know. And I have pictures posted. And most of the messages I’ve received so far have been about the pictures. “Nice pics.”

I’m a girl with a PhD, gainful employment at a job I enjoy, and a list of interests that provide more than enough possible targets for comment from people who want to send me a message. And yet what do they begin with? “You’re cute.”


There will probably be people who read this and feel that it’s perfectly natural that a user on a dating website’s first and biggest reaction will be in response to the images – especially, I know some will say, if that user is a man.

I have, in the past, believed that men’s response to me as a potential source of sex was caused by my job. Now I’m learning that it’s caused by my appearance – my face, my body, and the putative vagina that go with them. I’m being sexually adjudicated before I’m being personality/intelligence/emotional-fuckwittage adjudicated.

Probably I should get over it. I’m sure there are lots of people who would enjoy the feeling or at least forgive it on the grounds that it’s inevitable, that on some level ALL men (even the good ones) are like the L.A. creeps.

But I don’t enjoy that feeling. I don’t enjoy the sense that men perceive my body as existing in the public domain, accessible to their senses for their consideration and judgment. Like their judgment has anything to do with me. I can’t be invisible, in order to avoid the judgments, so as a next best alternative, just keep your opinions, which you probably can’t help having, to yourself.

Let me add for the record, because I think some people might wonder, that I do not sexually adjudicate first. I have examined my reaction to profiles and I learned that what I judge first is a sort of social class/intelligence factor. Does this person’s brain seem to work like mine? Sexual adjudication – “Can I imagine ever being naked together with this person?” – is somewhere down the list, maybe between 5th and 10th.

I guess this boils down to a tip for people who want to impress girls:

Even if the first thing you THINK about a woman is sexual adjudication, don’t let it be the first thing you say.