Who has the power, Sam de Brito?

There was a column published in yesterday’s ‘M’ lift out of The Sunday Age, written by Sam de Brito. In his article, he discusses how far men will go to “shag” women- playing “the white knight at some point – prancing about a woman, feigning chivalry, when their motives were a little more carnal.” (As a side note, the article isn’t up online yet, so I can’t link to it- but I will as soon as it appears- please see the picture at the bottom of the post for a scan of the article, or visit here for the original article).

Now, I’m not going to disagree that this happens, and Sam gives a few fine examples of just how far men will go to get into a woman’s pant’s. But (isn’t there always a but?), the concept that women hold power over men because of their sexuality and/or attractiveness is tired and oft-used excuse.

I just want to break his argument down into a few points, because I found it so unbelievably ignorant in some parts.

  • The idea that the “knowledge” of the “crazy lengths [that] blokes will go to to bed a woman… could be of huge value to most women”.

Women are told consistently about how their attractiveness gives them a certain sort of power. The thing is, this ‘power’ is a very narrow, specific type. It’s restricted to women that men find attractive. For arguments sake, I would say that these women are typically physically attractive (as De Brito says himself, one of the girls in his story was a ‘cutie’). If this power was truly worthwhile, it would be applicable to more than just a select group of women. As one writer puts it, the power the command attention in this fashion is so circumscribed – if it was really empowering, wouldn’t it be empowering for all women? Where are the 70 year old lap dancers?

It’s all very well and good to say that attractive women have power because men want to have sex with them, but by doing so it dismisses all the other ways in which women lack power. Women are still, on average, paid less than men. Women are underrepresented in our Parliament, and in upper-ranking positions in businesses. And before anyone starts telling me about how women can use their sexuality to advance themselves, just remember this: women shouldn’t HAVE to do this. This ‘power’ of being attractive, or appealing to a person’s sexuality, isn’t something that women should have to use. They should be respected in their own right, and not have to call upon their their sexuality to get what they want or need.

  • “This… shows the crazy lengths blokes will go to to bed a woman, but also how craven and duplicitous we can be once we’ve achieved that goal”.

Come on. Really? You’re also going to insult men now? Not all men will “crawl a mile over broken glass” to reach a woman – and not all are craven and duplicitous once they actually do. Can we please stop with the gender stereotypes for a moment and recognise that some men (along with some women) will go to great lengths to have sex – and other men and women simply won’t. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that. Stop buying into these cheap stereotypes, and stop perpetuating them with columns such as this. Branch out and write something that recognises the vast difference between various men and various women, and try not to further reinforce this “women are sexy so they have power” stereotype any more.

Apologies for the poor quality scan, but I thought it would be best to have some copy of the article online, as I can’t link to a copy. Just double click to enlarge the image.

7 thoughts on “Who has the power, Sam de Brito?

  1. Jesus H. I haven’t read the article but it sounds like an insult to both men and women. I am a bit sick of Sam De Brito.

    Not only are women disadvantaged as you point out, but on the flip side we also have some “powers” beyond exploiting our attractiveness to men. I don’t know if Sam acknowledges in the article, so I’ll have to wait to see it online.

  2. All de Brito’s writing has to offer are cheap stereotypes and evidence that he doesn’t think about anything too deeply.

    You won’t get an intelligent reply from him, but he’ll come on here under a fake name and say that he’s awesome and you’re just a cranky old feminist.

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