You’re sitting at home, munching on Doritos, watching shitty re-runs of CSI; it’s a Saturday night. You had plans with your best friend, but she has decided to hang out with her boyfriend of 3 months. Guess it happens? WAIT (the sound of screeching breaks)! What. The. Hell. The feeling that envelops your stomach is one, which is deep, yet fittingly placed as if it was a natural reaction. And this is what is problematic, that “naturalness”, that seeming “order of life”, because after all if she doesn’t hang out with her boyfriend, she may never get married, may never have kids, and will surely not fulfill this imposed “circle of life”. That reminds me; maybe I should watch The Lion King, instead of shitty, overplayed CSI re-runs….


This has all happened to us, and we are taught that this sort of behavior is excusable because of what’s at stake; we wouldn’t want to shake the heterosexual matrix or reproduction. However, it is never excusable to be late to class, to break an appointment, or not show up for work, so why is this behavior acceptable? The Fallacy of the Misplaced Scale as created and described by Gayle Rubin is to blame. We, as a society, put an over-emphasis on sex, but specifically heterosexual sex. This causes symptoms including, but not limited to, lonely Saturday nights, overeating, pregnancy, and even the loss of a friend.

I have always been mind boggled as to why this behavior was acceptable. My friend, who is a serial dater, has not been single for more than 6 months in the last 9 years… We are 22… Needless to say, her dating habits and boyfriends have always been problems within our friendship. However, when I learned about the fallacy of the misplaced scale in class, I began to feel sorry for her, our society, and myself. Love comes in all different forms and this misplaced scale undermines these relatonships. When one challenges the use of the misplaced scale, one is seen as overbearing, protective, jealous, and even accused of being a lesbian. Oh, no, not a lesbian. This scale is a complete outrage and completely under values same-sex friendship. It says to people, “You can only be in fulfilling friendships until you find a partner or until you can reproduce”. Say what? Personally, I think friendship is one of the most important parts of my life, and I think it is unjust that this scale has any power.

You can also see this scale in place when one is in the relationship for a while. An air of “I’m more important than you (and so is he) because I have a dick to latch onto” exudes from them. The power relations are then seen and in action. Their plans take precedence, their opinions matter most, and, you, the single, pathetic one are never to complain. You are forced to watch, CSI, no wait I decided on The Lion King, on a Saturday night; or worse, the couple overpowers the television and makes out during your movie until their lips are sore. The fallacy of the misplaced scale needs to be exposed for what it is; a heterosexual creation, which favors the reproduction of two human beings and gives them unearned privileges and an endless amount of “get out of jail free cards”. Mostly though, it needs to be exposed because I am running out of movies to rent and patience for those who participate and take advantage of this scale. I, for one, am sick and tired of being accused of being jealous, overprotective, displaying mother-like behavior, and of being a lesbian, when I do not describe nor think of myself in any of these ways; the scale needs to go, and behaviors need to be altered.

-Katie Schaffer