Thursday, May 17, 2012

Manly Thor's Day Special: Are women stronger because vibrator sales are soaring?

Teri Hatcher, 47, also from Desperate Housewives, said: 'To be honest, I don't know what I want a male for. I have some fabulous electronics to use instead. And any woman who tells you she doesn't is lying.'
Oh well, send us off to the glue factory then.

That's all from a story that tells us that sales of sex toys are set to catch those of smartphones. But, journalists being journalists, it also comes with this additional narrative that women are getting stronger and more independent.
Suddenly ordinary women weren't afraid to talk about their sex lives and their use of sex toys.
The word "ordinary" is doing a lot of work in that sentence. Without it you might doubt the narrative. I'm not saying I know it's not true. It might be for all I know. But it might not. Huge sales of vibrators or even sales of huge vibrators for that matter, might also be a sign of lack of fulfillment among women. We might just as reasonably wonder if women watching celebrities' glamour filled lives and feeling that their own lives are comparatively empty are rushing out to buy vibrators in a desperate attempt to rid themselves of their feelings of emptiness. (Yeah, I know, it's pretty much impossible not to make double entendres here.)

Here is a contrary indicator for your consideration. The guy who does the clean up work for the television show Hoarders recently did radio interview where he said this:
The network doesn’t really like me talking about this… in every hoarder house I’ve ever been to, underneath the bed or somewhere else, are like… 600 dildos. Or vibrators, I guess is technically what they are. Once you get to underneath the bed, it’s basically nothing but batteries and vibrators all the way back…. They just use them till they burn out, and get another one. 
Okay, that doesn't prove anything either but it gives us an alternative image. Instead of winner we have lonely loser who lies in bed compulsively masturbating when she isn't out compulsively buying things she doesn't need.

And did Mr. Paxton really check every one of the vibrators so he can conclusively say that they were all burnt out? These are hoarders after all, we don't know that these vibrators even get used more than once or twice each. These women may be making the same mistake over and over again of buying a vibrator thinking it will make her feel good about herself, using it once or twice and then forgetting about it and later buying another.

And don't think that hoarders are weird people completely unlike the rest of us. They simply tend to do what we all do a little more compulsively. How many pieces of sports equipment are out there that were bought by women and men keen to exercise, then used a few times and forgotten? How many musical instruments were purchased because someone really wanted to learn and then abandoned? How many teach yourself French books and CDs are collecting dust in the closets of the nation? How many unused vibrators are cluttering the bottom of women's underwear drawers?

Let's consider sentence number two from the story:
Experts believe the willingness of stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jane Fonda to divulge their bedroom secrets are behind a recent surge in the sales of 'pleasure goods'.  
I hope and pray that women are happier and more fulfilled but I'd be more inclined to read the explosion in vibrator sales after celebrities endorse them as a sign of significant levels of dissatisfaction in women's lives.
'It all started with Sex In The City - which was incredibly liberating for women, especially after Charlotte became a virtual recluse after buying a rabbit vibrator at New York's famous Pleasure Chest sex story. 
Charlotte became a virtual recluse? Hmmm.

I don't have any issue with women using vibrators but ask yourself this, how would the media have played that story if it had been about a fictional character named Charles rather than Charlotte? Do you think "Charles got so busy masturbating with sex toys that he became a virtual recluse," would be played as a sign of his mental and moral health? Me neither. Do you think that a storyline like that would be described as incredibly liberating for men?

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