You shouldn’t be able to jerk off to feminism

by lonesomeyogurt

A lot of screeds against pornography, promiscuity, “sluthood,” and all the other absurd and hateful ways men have coerced women into feeling good about being exploited come with a self-righteous, adjudicating tone that understandably annoys the shit out of a lot of women. So let me be clear: I don’t claim to know what a real, authentic female sexuality looks like, and I don’t claim to have the right to decide what a correct expression of that sexuality would be. But what I do have the right to do and the responsibility to do as a man is point out when a mode of male sexual expression deviates in absolutely untenable ways from even the most basic standards of respect – respect for a woman’s intelligence, agency, and humanity. And so, for what it’s worth, here it goes:

Pornography, casual sex, clubs and frat parties and the unyielding oversexualization of every possible aspect of our culture could not exist, either in practice or in principle, without legions of men who are actively aroused by the idea of demeaning, humiliating, hurting, and exploiting women. From Cum Splattered Sluts 4 to Yale Fraternity pledges chanting “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal” (clever!), it’s time that we admit the truth: The attitudes and assumptions of deeply misogynistic and generally shitty men pervade the sexual culture of this country and this world, and greater female involvement in social institutions designed from the ground up to oppress and exploit women will lead to nothing.

So this is where the title comes in. Men shouldn’t be able to jerk off to feminism. If it’s really feminism, those with a deep and abiding hatred of women should not be able to see it on the street and high-five their misogynistic, hateful friends about it. If it’s really women’s liberation, it shouldn’t satisfy the sexual predation of a man who sees women as little more than prey. And if it’s really going to stop rape, it’s going to happen outside of the clubs and bars and bedrooms that exist to get women raped.

This isn’t meant to be me attacking so-called “sex positive” feminists, although I have no problem claiming that many who identify as such are neither sex positive nor feminists. Instead, it’s just me, frustrated this morning from reading about another young woman being raped by another goddamn man who plied her with cheap alcohol produced by a company that knows how often predators use their swill for drugging girls, who took her to a party thrown for the sole purpose of allowing men to select women to abuse, where the music being played was produced for the sole purpose of entertaining misogynists, scumbags who enjoy hearing that vaginas and breasts exist as depositories for semen and pleasure toys instead of real flesh attached to real human beings. And I just get angry, bitter, and confused when I see so-called feminists arguing that the institutions and social structures that made this rape possible are somehow in need of re-appropriation or correction instead of outright destruction. Casual and impersonal sex, pornography, the culture of intoxication and hypersexualized partying, they’re all part and parcel of the rape culture, designed by misogynists and women-haters to allow for the convenient and guilt-free expression of the meanest contempt for women as human beings. They can’t be saved by the inclusion of feminists any more than the Neo-Nazis up by Hayden Lake can be saved by the inclusion of more gay or Jewish members.

And before you say that such a comparison is unreasonable, might I remind you that more than half of college-attending women report some form of sexual abuse; that almost three quarters of the offenders had been drinking alcohol; that more than three quarters of high-school age boys stated that “forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances” (more than half of the girls did too); that a third of elementary school girls, more than boys from the same age group, stated that a woman’s previous sexual experience makes it okay for a man to rape her; and that 43% of college-age men admit to sexual behavior that meets the definition of rape. If the links between intoxication, the male encouragement of promiscuity and casual sex, and the rape culture still aren’t  clear, I’d recommend checking out the writings of Andrea Dworkin and Derrick Jensen, both of whom nail down the specifics in ways I’m not qualified to do.

That doesn’t mean that I, like Andrea Dworkin, think that men and women should never have sex; however, only one who is willingly ignorant of patriarchy’s reach would deny that the default for sexual encounters between men and women in this day and age is one of disrespect, inhumanity, and exploitation. There is a real, honest, worthwhile female sexuality out there, and I don’t know what it is – but I do know that men and women have to actively fight against the current to find it. And I do know that when the majority of women are able to express their sexuality in ways that respect and honor their personhood, it won’t be easy for misogynists to jerk off to it. Hopefully, it’ll scare them shitless.

PS: While writing this, I’ve been watching VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 2000’s, which has been absolutely instrumental in keeping me enraged about the state of patriarchal sexual exploitation is media today. During the last segment I just heard a very famous woman say, in regards to Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, “It rocked so hard I didn’t even mind being called a bitch. After a bit, something can be so good you don’t even mind it when he ‘strong-arms a ho.'” Then she laughs. Good to see that more and more feminists are excited about getting women “involved” in popular music

 

As always, http://www.rainn.org/ is a great resource for those who need help, and a great place to donate for those who want to see and end to sexual exploitation in all its forms.

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