“Women! What can you say? Who made ‘em? God must have been a fuckin’ genius. The hair… They say the hair is everything, you know. Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls… just wanted to go to sleep forever? Or lips… and when they touched, yours were like… that first swallow of wine… after you just crossed the desert. Tits. Hoo-ah! Big ones, little ones, nipples staring right out at ya, like secret searchlights. Mmm. Legs. I don’t care if they’re Greek columns… or secondhand Steinways. What’s between ‘em… passport to heaven. I need a drink.”
Pacino’s portrayal of Frank Slade in a monologue from the 1992 film Scent of a Woman is one of the most raw and ethereal declarations of adoration in women. I get goose bumps every time I watch it. I would say the sentiment is beyond words, but that’s clearly not the case.
I love women. In today’s society, though, that statement can be extremely controversial. Not those three words in particular, but on how one goes about digressing on the matter. For instance, I love the soft and sultry nature of the feminine voice. I get weak whenever I see long and luscious hair blowing freely in the wind. And sometimes I can’t help but drown in a sea of the most entrancing blue eyes. Yet I wonder: Would feminists, or women in general, view these statements as being misogynistic? Am I objectifying women?
Let me be clear: I do know there is more to women than their physical features. While a spark of lust is what’s key to initial chemistry, it is the development and strengthening of a relationship built on similar personalities, trust, and care that make for true and sustaining love. But…let’s be honest with ourselves: There is a distinction between the nice, funny, and sweet guy who you consider “just a friend” and the nice, funny, and sweet boyfriend you’ve been dating for seven months. I have many girls in my life who I consider as friends, but without that ever so important hint of sexual attraction, that’s all we’re ever going to be. Girls probably know this better than I do, what with all those “nice guys” who whine all day about being “nice guys” and their getting upset whenever they never seem to “get the girl.” I would know, because I was once one of them.
Philogyny is a word meaning “a person who likes or admires women.” It is the antonym of misogyny (“a hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.”) At first, when I read this, I felt that it very much described me. Not being versed on its origin, though, I did the logical thing and Googled it. I found out that, according to Wikipedia: “Cicero reports the word could be used in Greek philosophy to denote being overly fond of women, which was considered a disease along with misogyny.” While I might not be a Classical Studies minor, that still doesn’t sound very good. So… where does that leave me? Am I objectifying women whenever I feel like I’m appreciating their beauty? Or am I infatuated to the point where even the Greeks would shy away from me? (And it says something when even the Greeks start to raise an eyebrow in your direction.)
I believe it all comes down to context. I don’t come from a malicious place when I describe my attraction toward women. Should I take offense if a woman were to appreciate my washboard abs? Let me rephrase that…if I had washboard abs, should I take offense with her flirtation? I think I would be flattered. I bet at first, I would love all the new found attention and dating opportunities that come with it. But after a while, when I was done with my string of hypothetical one-night-stands and finally ready to have a monogamous and serious relationship, I bet I’d probably be quite perturbed if all any girl I met wanted to do was touch my abs. In fact, I’d probably hate it after a while.
I think that’s the mindset we have to operate in. There’s nothing wrong with sexual attraction and I don’t believe people should be holistically vilified for being a bit amorous. What’s important to keep in mind is to be cautious about going too far by putting that person on a pedestal and treating them as these statuesque beings, simply busts that can walk and talk. But hey, no one said you had to agree. I’ll just stick my tongue in my cheek and quote Pacino: “Are you listenin’ to me, son? I’m givin’ ya pearls here.”