This isn’t what misogyny means love

Quiz time! Put your calculators away, please, I have a maths problem designed to test every inch of your natural intelligence. Ready? Here we go: Pete Davidson is a 25-year-old comedian. He is dating Kate Beckinsale, a 45-year-old actor. What’s their age difference?

Twenty years? Wrong. The correct answer, judging from popular responses, is: “Too many years to be acceptable”. While society takes older men hooking up with younger women for granted, we still seem to have a lot of hang-ups about women dating younger guys. There is a one-word explanation for this: misogyny.

Yes, obviously, sexual attraction moves in mysterious ways. Rather a lot of us like a nice pair of buns and all that. But it’s not really a hidden secret that men are attracted to nubility and women rather more to status. Human society only makes sense if we can agree upon those as tendencies at least.

That human society then goes on to assume these are universals, rather than the tendencies they are, is not misogyny.

38 comments on “This isn’t what misogyny means love

  1. This is one of those “look at the controversy here” and most blokes are thinking they’d very much like a roll in the hay with Ms Beckinsale.

    (I was once within about 50′ of her at a film showing with director/cast Q&A and she’s a total babe)

  2. “men are attracted to nubility and women rather more to status”

    I’m willing to bet those would be reversed if men had been treated as second class citizens for most of history.

  3. I’m willing to bet those would be reversed if men had been treated as second class citizens for most of history.

    Unlikely.

    Older women can’t have children. Older men can. From a evolutionary perspective it makes sense for men to be attracted to young women who can bear them healthy kids and for women to be attracted to men who will give their offspring the best chance in life.

  4. @Dongguan John
    Sorry. You cannot use common sense and logic , it is important to emote, fulminate and condemn out of hand

  5. Matthew L–Boo Hoo.

    Yeah being kept out of all those wars and back-breaking manual labour–yeah how awful.

  6. Wot DJ said.

    The reason we don’t generally want to (on a visceral level) see Harold and Maude pairings is because that means death for the tribe.

    There’s also plenty of social disapproval when ageing Lotharios pursue much younger women, but that comes from feminine insecurity about being replaced and cut off from the man’s resources rather than direct biological imperatives.

    Ms Beckinsdale is, of course, incredibly fit for a fortysomething lady and I’d be on that like Van Helsing.

  7. I’m willing to bet those would be reversed if men had been treated as second class citizens for most of history.

    Imagine being descended from a long line of slaves, serfs, peasants, cannon fodder and working class scum* and thinking the vast majority of men haven’t been second class citizens for most of history. Try telling an 18th century Irishman, or Highlander, or Welsh coal miner, or English textile worker how privileged he was.

    Until a few years ago, you could’ve even tried telling my grandfather, who moved into a single room “house” when he got married, had to share an outside toilet with several other families, and did bareknuckle boxing to make a few extra pennies when he wasn’t working in front of a furnace all day.

    *Unless you’re incredibly posh and can trace your nobility back to William the Bastard.

  8. Steve,

    This is like women talking about getting the vote in 1918, when 40% of men also didn’t have the vote until 1918 (and until 1884 almost no-one had the vote).

  9. Mathew L- and unless you’re going to evoke genetics surely the history that matters for Kate is 1974 to 2019.

  10. Isn’t the ‘row’ more about Davidson being not much of a looker compared with La Beckinsdale? Boy’s punching well above his weight.

    Mind you she was married to Michael Sheen, who I have seen in the flesh and can confirm he is both somewhat odd-looking and teeny tiny. And he’s Welsh.

    OK; I’ve got to the heart of the problem. If she’ll fuck those bozos, why not me!?

    Apologies for the misogyny…

  11. Dunno about that , old men leering over young women has also been laughed at from Chaucer to Anna Nicole Smith and my own impression is that the standard “man a few years older ” marriage pattern is being varied a lot more
    I have seen evidence over the years that women are hugely resistant to marrying beneath what they perceive as their social class which lead to a whole generation of childless graduate women

    Is this really a nature thing though ? How could you possibly know

    PS It seems to me that women get away with their leering rather more easily than

    PPS My own wife is few years younger than me and looks about twenty years younger …..to me anyway

  12. Yes. The stone-age evolutionary basis for older men generally lusting after younger (and hence more fertile and more likely to survive childbirth of their large broods) women, and for younger women to be attracted to older (and hence more genetically-successful) men should be mind-garglingly obvious.

    But apparently it’s not…

  13. Apart from being a looker and having a fit bod, Beckinsale has one other endearing quality – she smokes.

    So not only could you have an enjoyable sh@g with her, you’d be able to relax with a shared tab afterwards.

  14. While society takes older men hooking up with younger women for granted, we still seem to have a lot of hang-ups…

    Who “we”, middle-aged white woman?

    I’ve checked with my “society”, which is mostly old farts on bar stools, and they said, “Kate Beckinsale, phoar! Pete who? Mine’s a Leo.” So not many hang-ups there.

    (hang-ups, I mean really. Nobody’s said that non-ironically since loon pants went out of fashion.)

  15. Regardless of their own personal preferences, is there one single heterosexual man anywhere who is surprised or in any way shocked by a young man being attracted to Kate Beckinsale?

  16. “Imagine being descended from a long line of slaves, serfs, peasants, cannon fodder and working class scum* and thinking the vast majority of men haven’t been second class citizens for most of history”

    My stepdaughter is 7 and has a better understanding of the difference between bad and worse than you seem to. I’m sure she’d be happy to explain for you.

  17. Matthew L:

    How was it worse for working class women in eg 1914-18, or 1815, or at Agincourt, than for working class men?
    Do you think the men blown to pieces in various mining disasters, or drowned in shipwrecks, or crushed on building sites died thinking ‘At least that bitch of a wife has it harder, and will have until some stupid blood invents the washing machine!
    Men worked themselves to death on farms in the wet; women worked themselves to a generally slightly later death in the dry. Not sure who had it hardest.
    The seven-year-old daughter of another man whom you are raising – well done! – probably does have a similarly sophisticated understanding of history to you, yes.

  18. As David Burge said on Twitter, this relationship between an older woman and a younger man is different because it is the younger man who everyone finds disgusting. People aren’t saying “She shouldn’t be with a man that age!”, they’re saying “WTF is she doing with that moron?”

  19. Another day, another female Guardianista whining about something.

    But, lordy, Beckinsale in Cold Comfort Farm

  20. BoM4 – Yarp. Feminist “history” (herstory?) is, and always has been, solipsistic just-so stories by bored, privileged women.

    Matthew L – I dunno if it’s worth comparing the relative oppression of Victorian iron puddlers with their wives and daughters, who all lived in what we would regard as poverty, squalor and filth.

    Life was nasty, brutish and short for 99% of humanity since we came down from the trees, and probably none of the boys bleeding to death in the mud of Verdun with their torn limbs lying several yards away thought “Cor blimey, at least I still ‘ave me male privilege!”

    The feminist view of history, that it’s all a plot against womynfolk, is ladybollocks.

  21. ‘judging from popular responses’

    The world should be run by Twitter.

    Ms Beckinsale is surely well endowed with Coin of the Realm. Ol’ Pete may just want her money. Or the security it represents. But wait, that would be the exact reason why younger women are attracted to older men.

  22. Second-class citizens? Throughout most of history most men only dreamed of being promoted to second-class citizens.

  23. ladybollocks

    Is that the thing you need two hands and a map to find?

    I and something approaching all other men would be willing to explore Beckinsalia without even vision to guide us.

  24. Feminism is just another fact free conspiracy theory like chem trails, 911 truth, honest government or extinction level man made climate change…..

    Life was hard for some women some of the time, but some tiny number of men had it slightly easier some of the time, therefore patriarchy.

  25. Itellyounothing,

    Feminism is just another form of “magic money tree” like socialism. It stems from people who want to each the bread made by the Little Red Hen but without making it. They’re basically spoilt women who thinks the world owes them serious money, respect and orgasms without having to do anything in return.

    Yer hairdresser isn’t a feminist. She understands reality: dress nice, be polite to people, do a good job. They generally end up marrying dependable men and having good lives. Feminists dye their hair pink, say they hate men, and then wonder why men don’t want to know them.

  26. “While society takes older men hooking up with younger women for granted”

    Well, no. No, actually, we don’t. It happens, sure. Do you think no one’s looked askance at the age difference between Trump and his current wife? Or is this like ‘period shaming’ – something no one does but third-wave feminists cry about all the time?

    “There is a one-word explanation for this: misogyny.”

    There might be a one-word ‘explanation’ for this – but its not misogyny. Jealousy maybe. Envy. But whatever word you choose, ‘hates women’ doesn’t have to be part of that explanation.

  27. She’s a fucking corker. The shock is not his age but his looks. If I knew she was as setting the bar that low I would have had a go myself.

  28. Isn’t the rule of thumb for “is it creepy?” half your age plus 7; anyone younger than that is a bit creepy. So, using the general rule, this is a bit of a weird relationship.

    That said, regardless of my age, I would if she asked nicely.

  29. While society takes older men hooking up with younger women for granted, we still seem to have a lot of hang-ups about women dating younger guys.

    Here in the US, there seems to be a lot more social opprobrium when a male teacher boinks a female student than when a female teacher boinks a male student. (I think the sentences for the lady teachers are generally lesser, too.)

  30. @ Ted S
    Over here too – it is the assumed power relationship that is only condemned when a male is assumed to have power. In France the sentences for lady teachers can include a spell in the Elysee Palace.

  31. Pete D is pre qualified. He was shagging Ariana Grande previously.

    Plus apparently he’s hung like a shire horse.

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