You're Not Liberated Until You DO AS WE SAY!

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My friend Rachel Kramer Bussel has a new Village Voice column on resurgent feminist fretting about "unladylike" behavior, which is well worth reading. For an opening line, you can't beat: "Ladies, be warned: Your pussies are causing the downfall of society." (Though maybe an attention-grabbing lede was the only way to yank readers' gaze from the impressive display of decolletage in that oversized author photo.) I wrote about the profoundly disempowering assumptions animating this latest spate of raunch-bashing last September. [Cross posted @ NftL]

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  1. I just got fired for reading that.

  2. We can choose to be celibate or to have someone come on our face. Having a full range of sexual options should be a high-priority feminist goal.

    O RLY? Why should it be? I think she’s wrong. I don’t really see “feminism” as having anything to do with sex itself. Feminism is all about the deempasis of sex in judging a person. Sex itself is a private thing and has nothing to do with “feminism” (whatever that means, it seems, anymore). Nice attention grabbing attempt, though.

    Pathetic.

    Also, my workplace blocked the lustylady.blogspot.com address so I can’t even visit that blog. Apparently, my workplace doesn’t think that sex is a political issue, either.

  3. If you think that having a full range of sexual options -is- appropriate for everyone, and if you think that in general, that women are accorded less of this range than men, then the point seems an appropriate one for a movement that specifically addresses this kind of inequity.

    Why would the fact that it is sex make it any different than any other aspect of the world where there is gender inequity? Like wages, reproductive freedom, etc.

    The privacy argument seems parochial. Different people want different levels of privacy regarding sex. But that doesn’t mean it is inherently private. That’s ridiculous. Given that you can write about it and talk about it and put it in a movie, it ain’t so damn private.

  4. If you think that having a full range of sexual options -is- appropriate for everyone, and if you think that in general, that women are accorded less of this range than men, then the point seems an appropriate one for a movement that specifically addresses this kind of inequity.

    Ok. Then I guess I am taking issue with the postulate that women are accorded less of a range of sexual options than men. I don’t believe this is true at all. I think if anything, women have more sexual options than men. Sorry, but if you feel sexually repressed in USA as of today, there is something wrong with you. Or else you must live in some backwater rightwing religious village without running water.

    Why would the fact that it is sex make it any different than any other aspect of the world where there is gender inequity? Like wages, reproductive freedom, etc.

    True. But see my above objection.

    The privacy argument seems parochial. Different people want different levels of privacy regarding sex. But that doesn’t mean it is inherently private. That’s ridiculous. Given that you can write about it and talk about it and put it in a movie, it ain’t so damn private.

    Oh, ok. Just because you deem my argument “parochial” and “ridiculous” then it must be so. Sorry, but if your statement that “Different people want different levels of privacy regarding sex” is true, then it most certainly seems to be a private matter, by definition.

    QED muthafucka.

  5. The oversized photo’s hard to ignore, but how ’bout that ad half way down the column? Remember that Calvin Klein ad controversy from way back when? I guess posing apparent kids like that is no longer verboten.

    …Oh, and back on topic, I support a woman’s right to enjoy giving…uh…you know.

  6. I don’t believe this is true at all. I think if anything, women have more sexual options than men. Sorry, but if you feel sexually repressed in USA as of today, there is something wrong with you.

    When was the last time you heard “slut” used as a pejorative against a man, versus the last time you heard it against a woman? Which do you think is considered the most airheaded by the mainstream: a female exotic dancer, or a Chippendale?

    On another note, what did you think of the author’s point that a woman can indulge in sexual habits or fantasies which may not be one-hundred-percent in accordance with Strict Equality feminism, yet this should not be considered to have an impact on the rest of her life?

  7. The Feminazi’s may be scolding modern women but at least in today’s world chicks are allowed to have sex without Dworkian guilt trips.

    Well Dearie, ya know that consensual sex is rape.

  8. Smacky,

    Firstly, I cannot RTFA, damn webfilter.

    Sorry, but if you feel sexually repressed in USA as of today, there is something wrong with you. Or else you must live in some backwater rightwing religious village without running water.

    Oddly, there are a number of people who are harrassed or fired for thier sexual pursuasions. While homosexual relationships are becoming more commonly accepted, as they should, certain sexual practices like BDSM are not. In relation to feminism, many feminists (femi-nazis) refuse to acknowlege that a woman has a right to be subserviant to a man if that is her choice.

    More importantly than sexual freedom, female equality means the equal right to choose your own path. If you want to stand in the back of the church, ala LDS style, or head up your own coven of witches it should be your choice. If you want to stay home and cook for your man or become the next Martha Stewart, you should have that choice without misogynists or feminists restricting your right to choose.

    Misogynists, check.
    Feminists, check.
    Nazis, check.
    Homosexual espousal, umm not exactly but what the hell.
    Okay, everybody drink!

  9. if you feel sexually repressed in USA as of today, there is something wrong with you. Or else you must live in some backwater rightwing religious village without running water.

    Smacky’s right.

    There’s a reason that deep-throating a funk-filled bratwurst makes a person retch.

    She should try this

  10. When was the last time you heard “slut” used as a pejorative against a man, versus the last time you heard it against a woman?

    Ok, but how is that limiting an individual woman’s sexual choices? Certain choices carry certain social consequences (i.e. not governmental interefences). If I think a woman’s being a big slut, I’m not afraid to call her on it. Likewise, I’m not afraid to call a man on it if he’s behaving like a slut. Trust me, I do it all the time.

    Which do you think is considered the most airheaded by the mainstream: a female exotic dancer, or a Chippendale?

    Who cares? Anyway, if I had to guess, considering that all media is controlled by leftists, I’d guess that the Chippendale would sooner be portrayed as an airhead, honestly.

    On another note, what did you think of the author’s point that a woman can indulge in sexual habits or fantasies which may not be one-hundred-percent in accordance with Strict Equality feminism, yet this should not be considered to have an impact on the rest of her life?

    Could you rephrase that? I’m not sure what you’re asking me.

    If you want to stay home and cook for your man or become the next Martha Stewart, you should have that choice without misogynists or feminists restricting your right to choose.

    Kwix,

    I’m not certain that feminists (or misogynists, for that matter) are trying to restrict anyone’s right to choose.

    I guess what I’m getting at is: what is this chick bitching about? I don’t really get it. So she’s upset because other people have opinions on sexuality? Isn’t she the one preaching acceptance? Can’t she get over the fact that some people don’t have to be comfortable with flagrant sexuality? I think society’s come a long way as far as sexual liberation…some people may still be uptight. They may remain uptight. Other people need to learn to respect that. And I still can’t figure out what her point is.

  11. ….a woman can indulge in sexual habits or fantasies which may not be one-hundred-percent in accordance with Strict Equality feminism, yet this should not be considered to have an impact on the rest of her life

    I don’t see how anybody’s sexual habits, fantasies or desires can have any appreciable impact on the rest of one’s life unless you bring it up in the office or at church.

    And for the record, sexual freedom doesn’t mean you’re getting anyone’s blessings. You are free to do your thing, but if you tell me about it I’m free to wrinkle my nose or maybe say, can I watch?

    Discretion is the better part of getting along. That’s why it’s always best to cheat on your husband in another town where people don’t know you.

  12. “When was the last time you heard “slut” used as a pejorative against a man, versus the last time you heard it against a woman? Which do you think is considered the most airheaded by the mainstream: a female exotic dancer, or a Chippendale?”

    Jennifer,

    When is the last time a man scored with some woman he met at a bar and was deeply hurt because he never hurt from her again or met a man who regretted loosing his virginity in high school? Maybe it happens, but not much. For whatever reason, socialization, genetics who knows, generally men and women view sex differently. The fact is that when it comes to casual sex it is usually women who end up on the loosing end. Women suffer the consequences of a sexually liberated society much more so than men. Feminists like this author who deny this fact are not doing women many favors.

  13. When was the last time you heard “slut” used as a pejorative against a man, versus the last time you heard it against a woman?

    I think the tide is turning. I do hear it used for men almost as much as women. And there are other words for promiscuous men (and women).

    Which do you think is considered the most airheaded by the mainstream: a female exotic dancer, or a Chippendale?

    Speaking as a man (but not as “MainstreamMan”), c’mon – us guys all know male dancers are dipshits. I have, however, met lady strippers in my travels, and I know they are very smart. They know all about separating the men from their money.

  14. “Speaking as a man (but not as “MainstreamMan”), c’mon – us guys all know male dancers are dipshits.”

    I thought all male dancers were gay, seriously. To give a counter example, who is a bigger laughingstock Ron Jeremy, John Homes or Jenna Jamison? I think Jeremy and homes win handsdown. Jamison seems to be accepted in polite company these days.

  15. Jamison [sic] seems to be accepted in polite company these days.

    Oh, how very big of polite company, to let such a sleaze feel “accepted.”

    When an accomplished pole dancer can stand up next to a burger flipper and have her superior skills respectfully acknowledged, then we will have gotten somewhere.

    At the moment, this society’s still so fucked up regarding sex that the drooling burger flipper would be considered more acceptable by most “polite” company.

  16. “I don’t see how anybody’s sexual habits, fantasies or desires can have any appreciable impact on the rest of one’s life unless you bring it up in the office or at church.”

    i can think of two different divorce proceedings (friends of friends of friends, thankfully) where the placement of children hinged on one partner’s nonstandard (but legal) sexual practices. so it does have a real-world impact.

    “Women suffer the consequences of a sexually liberated society much more so than men. ”

    it’s not just about babies and families anymore, sorry. this is more or less crazy.

  17. Clean Hands: I think that’s a fair point. If you saw Florence Henderson’s attitude toward Andrea Lowell on the latest season of The Surreal Life there’s a perfect bloody example. I think Flo was just envious because she was never that hot. Although, truth told, I’ve never been interested in strip clubs because if I need to see naked women I’m not going to have sex with there’s the internet.

  18. “it’s not just about babies and families anymore, sorry. this is more or less crazy.”

    Really DHEX? How so? I have never known one guy who seemed to be in any way psychologically worse off or more unhappy for having slept with a large number of women and I have known a lot of men who fit that description. I have known any number of women, who were totally screwed up in the head over sleeping with large numbers of men. Not every woman I have ever known who slept around felt bad about it, but most of them did. If you have a society where everyone sleeps around, men have a great time and women end up screwed up by the experience.

  19. …the latest generation of scolds and alarmists, writers like Ariel Levy (Female Chauvinist Pigs), reality show rabbi Shmuley Boteach (Hating Women: America’s Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex), and Pamela Paul (Pornified)

    But does anyone actually read this stuff? Who are these people? I’d guess that most of America has never heard of them, couldn’t care less what they think and will continue to have sex any way they please.

  20. I don’t see how anybody’s sexual habits, fantasies or desires can have any appreciable impact on the rest of one’s life

    Then you must have a very limited experience with sex.

    Sex can either uplift and enrich your entire life, or utterly destroy it, depending on where you let it lead you.

    As an example of the latter, consider sexual habits, fantasies or desires that are directed at grade-school girls. Or, less stereotypically, directed at men/women who are demonstrably bad for you. Over and over again.

  21. Jenna Jameson is so accepted by the mainstream that when she recently purchased a strip club that had been open at least a decade in the same location, the city government of Scottsdale felt it was necessary to rewrite the laws dealing with strip clubs to try to put her out of business. The previous male owners had no problems running the exact same club for years but as soon as a female with a reputation as a slut and a career as a pornstar got involved the prudes had a meltdown.

  22. yes dhex, but the article isn’t talking about divorce and child custody. Secondarily, as I said, if you don’t broadcast your proclivities, it’s not likely to come up during discovery.

    Besides, the court bias in custody is always in favor of the woman as is the child support payments. While it has become more equitable it isn’t anywhere near co-equal. For a guy to win a custody battle the ex better be on camera doing a donkey with a coke spoon up her nose. And he better not be gay.

    I am also aware of several attorneys who have a standard clause in the divorce papers alleging the father molested the kids. Again, exceptions don’t make the norm.

  23. The previous male owners had no problems running the exact same club for years but as soon as a female with a reputation as a slut and a career as a pornstar got involved the prudes had a meltdown.

    Scott,

    But that’s good, old-fashioned misogynism, not feminism. I wouldn’t even qualify that as anti-feminism, since last I checked, Jenna Jamison isn’t an official spokeswoman for that shapeless blob labeled “feminism”. Heck, that doesn’t even qualify as anti-sex, since as you already said, the town had no problem letting men run the strip club for years. Still, what does it have to do with this twit’s column on BDSM and other private sexual choices?

  24. For whatever reason, socialization, genetics who knows, generally men and women view sex differently. The fact is that when it comes to casual sex it is usually women who end up on the loosing end.

    And if they have any brains they’ll figure this out and stop having casual sex. (And for what it’s worth, I’m not recommending anyone go out and have anonymous sexual encounters.) My complaint–and I’d guess Bussel’s as well–is with those who say “this didn’t work for me so it clearly won’t work for anyone else, so I’ll yell at anyone who thinks it does.”

    I do not trust anybody who says “You must alter your behavior and I’m saying this because I have such respect for you.” Uh-huh. I’ve heard Saudi guys seriously argue that women have to wear abayas because the women are so respected. I recall that dipwad Tom Cruise saying that Scientologist’s insistence on “silent births” is because they have such respect for the woman.

    When an accomplished pole dancer can stand up next to a burger flipper and have her superior skills respectfully acknowledged, then we will have gotten somewhere.

    Damn right. Better to be a respectable burger flipper making five bucks an hour and using food stamps to eat, than to make damn good money letting men look at your body, right?

    I’ve worked as a burger flipper and as a topless dancer, and the fast-food gig was far more degrading. Thank Zod I could upgrade to a better unskilled job once I turned eighteen.

  25. Scott,

    In your anecdote, it seems like it was the woman’s success that people are taking issue with. And yes, that is an ongoing problem for women trying to get a piece of the action, so to speak. There was some upper-level director of research at some California college who apparently killed herself because she claimed it was “lonely at the top”…I wonder if her success as a female had anything to do with her ostracism and feelings of abandon. (That, or it may have been a Freemason conspiracy to seize her wealth).

  26. Still, what does it have to do with this twit’s column on BDSM and other private sexual choices?

    The point is that just because a woman might like a man to be domineering in the bedroom, doesn’t mean she wants it to extend beyond that. Hell, I’ve actually been criticized by Dworkinites because almost all of my boyfriends have been considerably larger than me; I guess the idea is a man can’t really respect me unless I can pin rather than be pinned in a wrestling match. Either that, or I’m supposed to date Gary Coleman. I don’t know what the hell point they were trying to make.

  27. Oh come on RC, you’re out of context entirely. Not that I disagree with your points (I rarely disagree with your points btw). But that’s not what I’m talking about. Perhaps I should have used the term negative but I thought that was implicit in the question and in the article.

  28. My complaint–and I’d guess Bussel’s as well–is with those who say “this didn’t work for me so it clearly won’t work for anyone else, so I’ll yell at anyone who thinks it does.”

    Well, it’s a free country, last time I checked. I have a right to yell “slut!” at anybody I want to. If she doesn’t like it, she is always free to move to Amsterdam or Slutsville.

  29. Jennifer,

    I am not saying we should coerce people into doing anything. That said, if I have a daughter I will not encourage her to be a pole dancer. There should be some way to stay out of either ditch. No question, the middle east has some serious issues with female sexuality. No way would I want to live in a society where female sexuality is completly condemed and written out of the public arena the way it is in a lot of the middle-east. At the same time, I think it is equally unhealthy for a society to celebrate and encourage women to view their sexuality and sexual attractivness as the sould point of their power and existence in society, which is what I think a lot of our pop culture does. If you as a woman are dressed like a slut and dancing on a pole, is there really anything being projected about you to the rest of the world other than your sexuality? Can you really expect anyone to take you seriously beyong your appeal as a sex object?

  30. In your anecdote, it seems like it was the woman’s success that people are taking issue with.

    More like the field in which she became successful.

    I would believe that if Jenna wasn’t a porn star, but some other successful businesswoman (in a more mainstream industry) there wouldn’t have been as much, if any opposition

  31. If you as a woman are dressed like a slut and dancing on a pole, is there really anything being projected about you to the rest of the world other than your sexuality? Can you really expect anyone to take you seriously beyong your appeal as a sex object?

    As opposed to the intense intellectual respect I received wearing a polyester uniform and pulling French fries out of the oil vat, you mean?

  32. Smack, didn’t you hear? It was the vast right wing conspiracy under the auspices of Michelle Malkin that foced that college prez to eat her pistola.

  33. I am not saying we should coerce people into doing anything. That said, if I have a daughter I will not encourage her to be a pole dancer. There should be some way to stay out of either ditch. No question, the middle east has some serious issues with female sexuality. No way would I want to live in a society where female sexuality is completly condemed and written out of the public arena the way it is in a lot of the middle-east. At the same time, I think it is equally unhealthy for a society to celebrate and encourage women to view their sexuality and sexual attractivness as the sould point of their power and existence in society, which is what I think a lot of our pop culture does.

    I fully agree with John up to this point in his paragraph. (The reason I disagree with the last two questions he raises is that it is a stripper’s perogative if she chooses to strip. And I would hope that she can be taken seriously as something other than a sex object, provided that she spends her time off the pole projecting herself as something other than a sex object. Writing a column about how you like to take it up the ass, for example, is just trashy, though.)

  34. “As opposed to the intense intellectual respect I received wearing a polyester uniform and pulling French fries out of the oil vat, you mean?”

    I am not an elitist. To me you in the polyester uniform projects an image of someone doing an honest job that needs to be done and wholly worthy of respect. Anyone who is born with the right assets can sell themselves. It takes guts to get up every morning and go to a lousy job because you have to feed your kids or keep a roof over your head.

  35. John: I challenge you to dance well on a pole. But away from me, in private, because I don’t need to see.

  36. If you as a woman are dressed like a slut and dancing on a pole, is there really anything being projected about you to the rest of the world other than your sexuality? Can you really expect anyone to take you seriously beyong your appeal as a sex object?

    Another thought occurs to me, John–why must it be all or nothing? After I’d been dancing for a couple of years I made a big change to my on-stage persona; at first, I was “fluffy Southern cutie-pie who’s nowhere near as smart as you are, big boy,” but after awhile I realized there were men who actually craved more than merely sexual stimulation when they went out to the clubs. So I totally played up the “intellectual student in genteel poverty” routine, kept my glasses on until just before getting on stage, wore (relatively) conservative clothes until going on stage, and discovered a great many men who really, really liked a long-haired redhead who could have an earnest discussion about medieval literature and then writhe around a pole at the drop of a hat–er, I mean dress.

    One of the biggest money-making nights I had was the time I walked onstage, climbed to the top of the pole and said, “I do celebrity impersonations. Free table dance to the first man who figures out who I am.” Then, keeping my thighs locked around the pole, I hung upside-down, with my eyes shut and my arms dangling just above the floor, and when all the men finally gave up I said “Mussolini.”

  37. Smacky,

    The Jameson story is simply one incidence where a woman’s character and ability to run a business were criticized based on how often and with whom she had chosen to have sex. The sexual activities of the dozens of male strip club owners in the same area were never even an issue. As soon as Jenna became involved it was necessary to rewrite the laws in an emergency fashion in order to protect the community from a strip club owned by a woman that would dare exhibit her sexuality so openly.

  38. Jennifer,

    Good point. I have no doubt you made a lot of money when you had nice conversations with the men in those places. I guess I am thinking more in society at large. Women and do have tremendous power over men through their sexuality and attractivness. Smart women know how to use this. The problem I guess is that if things get out of hand and society encourages women to totally flaunt their sexuality at all times in all places, their sexuality starts to dominate everything else. In addition, women who are older or overweight or for whatever reason not attractive are at a tremendous disadvantage. My mother who was always very slim and attractive said she faced more descrimination over the fact that she was old than she ever did for being a woman. Had she not been attractive, she might have suffered a lot more descrimination from men than she did.

    Someone above talked about how the only reason some women hate strippers is because they are not good looking enough to do it. There is some truth in that. The problem is that the more you sexualize everyday society, the more people are judged by their looks. Since men generally judge women by their looks by their looks much more than women, attractive women win in that society and unattractive ones don’t. Since everyone eventually gets old and unattractive, it is a dead end for women.

  39. If you as a woman are dressed like a slut and dancing on a pole, is there really anything being projected about you to the rest of the world other than your sexuality? Can you really expect anyone to take you seriously beyong your appeal as a sex object?

    Why can’t you take someone seriously who dances on a pole for a living? It’s a job, nothing more — it doesn’t define you as a person. It doesn’t encompass all of your morals, beliefs, intelect or capabilities.
    Yet for some reason you seem to hold someone’s legal line of work against them.

    Of course a stripper / dancer can expect to be taken seriously beyond appeal as a sex object. Why wouldn’t they?
    Is there something inherently wrong with dancing on a pole for money?

    As for what else can be “projected to the world” via dancing other than sexuality…let’s see :
    Confidence, creativity, rhythym / dancing ability to name a few….

    If you think that being a stripper defines you as a person, and that a stripper has no right to be “taken seriously beyond” their sexual appeal, then it is you shouldn’t be taken seriously

  40. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with being a stripper Tom. It was a bad example and not quite what I was getting at.

  41. The problem I guess is that if things get out of hand and society encourages women to totally flaunt their sexuality at all times in all places, their sexuality starts to dominate everything else.

    I only flaunted mine during those times and in those places where I was paid to do it. The rest of the time I dressed pretty conservatively–my clothes were sometimes tight, but not particularly revealing. (This had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with mystique. Plus I’m prone to sunburn.) You would never guess I was one of those poor exploited women who made more money in one night than the average college student made in a 40-hour week.

    Confidence, creativity, rhythym / dancing ability

    And a complete lack of tan lines.

  42. Think about it this way Jennifer. The woman who wrote this article is young and appears to be damned attractive. If she was in her 60s or really over weight or both and didn’t have so much physical attractivness, do you really think that she would think it is so wonderful to dress like a slut?

  43. I think Flo[rence Henderson] was just envious because she was never that hot.

    Are you nuts?!

  44. Women and do have tremendous power over men through their sexuality and attractivness. Smart women know how to use this.

    Objection! So women who choose not to use their sexuality and attractiveness as power over men are stupid? Or even less smart for that matter? I don’t agree with that.

    (If that’s not what you mean, John, then you need to take a writing course.)

  45. If she was in her 60s or really over weight or both and didn’t have so much physical attractivness, do you really think that she would think it is so wonderful to dress like a slut?

    I have no musical abilities whatsoever, but I think it’s great that some women do and do well for themselves as a result.

  46. Jennifer,

    I guess I am thinking more of how women dress and are portrayed in society at large, not in dark bars where everyone knows what they are getting into. Ultimately though, adults are adults and should be free to dress as they like, needless to say.

    That said, if the fashion industry wants to sell slutty clothes to women and they want to buy them, good for them. The only real problem here is that the desire to dress like a slut is being marketed to younger and younger women, to the point that we are totally sexualizing young girls and that is just sick. There was a comment on Anne Althouse yesterday that went as follows:

    “While shopping for my ten year old niece one day I overheard one mother
    say to another, of her eight year old daughter (standing right beside
    her) “she has a sexy little body, why shouldn’t she show it off?”

    The mother was busily looking through racks of ‘ho clothes for her
    child. Blew my mind.”

    I have a terrible feeling that this is not as uncommon as I would hope. If it is common, something has gone completely off the rails in your society.

  47. This had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with mystique.

    It also has something to do with the fact that you seem to have a sense of good taste and propriety, if I may say so, Jennifer.

    Sexual liberty (although it does not ban such behavior) does not equal acting like a rutting goat in public at all times, to prove how liberated you are. Methinks some of these bitches need some psychological counseling.

  48. “Sexual liberty (although it does not ban such behavior) does not equal acting like a rutting goat in public at all times, to prove how liberated you are.”

    “Rutting Goat”. That is funny.

  49. It also has something to do with the fact that you seem to have a sense of good taste and propriety, if I may say so, Jennifer.

    Thank you, Smacky. And I think you’re right, with the small exception of a couple dozen thousand things I’ve said on this here chatboard from time to time. But in real life, outside of my immediate circle of friends, I’m almost formidably respectable.

    Sexual liberty (although it does not ban such behavior) does not equal acting like a rutting goat in public at all times, to prove how liberated you are.

    On the one hand, yes, I look at some of the things girls wear these days and think “Oh, come on.” In all seriousness, I wouldn’t have even worn that as a cover-up in a dance club. On the other hand, might it not simply be that mores are changing?

    I know I’ve said this before, but consider the character of Peggy Hill from King of the Hill. Like most cartoon characters, she wears the same outfit most of the time–above-the-knee culottes and a sleeveless top.

    The outfit was designed (along with her hairstyle and other things) to portray her as this frumpy, dull, unattractive woman. Yet a century ago, if you wanted to see a woman display that much skin you’d have to go to a burlesque house.

    I read a “dress for business success” article that said skirts should be of a modest length–no more than two or three inches above the knees. Yet that was considered obscenely short when my mom was a teenager.

    People a century ago would be apoplexic at the thought of Peggy Hill, yet for all America’s problems I don’t think any of them trace back to “I can see that woman’s knees just as clear as day!”

  50. Jennifer-I’ve always wondered: how do dancers do that thing where they hang upside down just by clamping thier theighs around the pole? I’ve got fairly strong legs, and I don’t think I could do that if my career as a Chippendale guy depended on it.

    Just more evidence for my theory that women are proportionally quite a bit stronger than men.

  51. Jennifer,

    Agreed. But I wasn’t taking an issue with clothing styles. I was taking an issue with the pointlessness of the linked column. Also, it’s more people’s behaviors and attitudes that disgust me than the way they decide to dress. But this wasn’t meant to digress to my personal opinions about other people’s sexuality.

  52. Jennifer-I’ve always wondered: how do dancers do that thing where they hang upside down just by clamping thier theighs around the pole? I’ve got fairly strong legs, and I don’t think I could do that if my career as a Chippendale guy depended on it.

    I seriously think the fact that women are smaller than men makes it easier, because there’s proportionally a lot less weight for us to hold. Also, the fact that our naughty bits are tucked away inside our bodies lets us get much closer to the pole without causing severe pain. And the thigh muscles are probably the strongest, anyway. One more thing: I was able to do much more complex and fancy pole work than most of the dancers, due to a quirky aspect of my bone structure. But here’s how I did it:

    The pole has to be just the right diameter; if it’s too thick or too narrow it’s a lot harder, for some reason. Stand facing the pole, with your body completely against it. Then put your arms above your head, grabbing the pole as high as you can reach, and simultaneously jump/pull yourself up.

    Bring your legs forward around the pole and cross them at the knee, same as if you’re sitting demurely in a chair. Then you just lock your knees together in a certain way–I’m not sure how to describe it, but once I got my knees locked staying up there was almost effortless. For added balance, I’d sometimes hook one ankle back around the pole.

    What causes most new dancers difficulty is not the legs, but having stomach muscles strong enough that an upside-down dancer can pull herself back up to a sitting position while making it look effortless.

  53. Jennifer, I bet you looked more like Carla Petacci. Would that have won a table dance?

  54. ‘Fraid not, Creech, since her name was Claretta. But I’d maybe let you have one for half-price.

  55. What causes most new dancers difficulty is not the legs, but having stomach muscles strong enough that an upside-down dancer can pull herself back up to a sitting position while making it look effortless.

    This is true. I have never pole danced, but as a former dancer I can attest that good dancing in general has a lot to do with strong stomach muscles.

  56. I was taking an issue with the pointlessness of the linked column.

    Invariably, when I am tempted to say something like this – and it happens to me all the time – I realize, reluctantly, that I am really criticizing what was said in the article, and have gotten pissed off. And just as invariably, there turns out to have been some truth in the article. And a lot of other stuff which I want to argue with.

    And that is all well and as it should be.

    I don’t know why it has to be this way. It seems to me that it should be possible for an article to have been “pointless”. It just hasn’t been so, in my experience.

  57. I think there’s something wrong with my browser.

    I clicked on the link that reads Village Voice column, and all I could see were the words “Pay Attention To Me!” repeated over and over.

  58. Oh thank you, Larry, for clearing that up for me. I now see the error of my ways. The column must have some intrinsic value that I am simply not getting. Thank you for sharing your wise years of experience with stupid little me.

    Invariably, when I am tempted to say something like this – and it happens to me all the time – I realize, reluctantly, that I am really criticizing what was said in the article, and have gotten pissed off.

    Duh! It was poorly written and didn’t have a cohesive point. Shall I tear it apart piece by piece for you? (I don’t really have time for this, by the way):

    I encourage all men and women to make the sexual choices that are right for them, regardless of what’s “cool.” I can’t tell you how to fuck.

    Um, no one was asking you to?

    The feminist sex wars were largely fought before I was born, yet sadly, women continue to battle each other over what we do in bed, as if coming up with the most politically correct form of orgasm will automatically solve other inequities.

    I have never seen anything of the sort of thing she is talking about here in real life. In fact, I have NO IDEA what this sentence is supposed to mean.

    I don’t personally care if some trollop wants to write an online sexual tract on her personal plan for advancing her techniques in bed. I just don’t want to be subject to reading it at work under the guise of politics or feminism, neither of which category this article fits into.

  59. LOL! Good one, joe.

    This chick is pathetic. She should start her own daytime soap opera series and get out of journalism altogether.

  60. Daytime?

    I’m thinking late night cable.

  61. Anyone who is born with the right assets can sell themselves. It takes guts to get up every morning and go to a lousy job because you have to feed your kids or keep a roof over your head.

    What about a college student going to a cool job to keep a roof over her head (though I had no kids to feed)? It took a bit of intestinal fortitude to get on stage that first time, too–the manager later told me “Honey, you’re a good dancer, but you’ve got to get that scared look off your face!” And so I did.

    Jeff and I are off to a Ren fair, so I’ll talk to you guys later.

    P.S. This was a brilliant article.

  62. This chick is pathetic

    I’ll bet she’s on Howard Stern’s A list though.

  63. Oh, pole dancing is becoming mainstream.

    The dance club that I go to has had their patron-access pole for 20 years. (Of course, it’s a pole with ‘training wheels’– it’s not solid brass; it has a sleeve that does a lot of the work for you. Yeah, I’ve been on it once or twice.) And there has always been a group of the ‘pole guys’ that can do the same upside down moves as your typical stripper. The owner, Monny, is pretty damn strong on it.

    Hell, there’s even women that have come down there, LEARNED initially from the guys, and ultimately ended up teaching their own pole dancing classes.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/lifestyle/273065_poledancing08.html

  64. Ok, Jennifer. Now I’m really curious to know why you thought the article was so brilliant. Please elaborate.

    And, for that matter:

    Larry Edelstein,

    Please elucidate why this article is valuable in any way. Be descriptive.

  65. OMG.

    JULIAN!

    How do I get to be a friend of Rachel Kramer Bussel?

  66. BTW, Jennifer, that was damn hot.

    I don’t know what specifically I’m responding to, because I just got here, and I haven’t actually read the thread yet.

    But I’m pretty sure that Jennifer said something that was hot.

    I’ll backfill later.

  67. That, or it may have been a Freemason conspiracy to seize her wealth

    Why you gotta hate on masons?;)

  68. Aha! I knew it!

    One of the biggest money-making nights I had was the time I walked onstage, climbed to the top of the pole and said, “I do celebrity impersonations. Free table dance to the first man who figures out who I am.” Then, keeping my thighs locked around the pole, I hung upside-down, with my eyes shut and my arms dangling just above the floor, and when all the men finally gave up I said “Mussolini.”

    Jennifer, that was damn hot.

    Er, not because of the deathy thing, but because of the attention-getting physical position combined with the fact that it was smart and funny.

    Plus, I bet at least some of your customers thought to themselves, “There’s some famous exotic dance named Mussolini who’s known for hanging from her pole upside down?” — prompting them to do a little online research about Mussolini, and becoming better educated themselves in the process.

  69. Ok, Jennifer. Now I’m really curious to know why you thought the article was so brilliant. Please elaborate.

    Because it’s about damn time somebody other than me pointed out that a woman who is (for lack of a better phrase) a sexual nonconformist can still be tough, smart, funny and fucking brilliant.

    That Rennaissance Festival was awesome. It continued past nightfall, and they lit the place with candles, torches and lanterns. And there were lots of fireflies at the tree line. I’m gloriously distant from sobriety right now so I’m going to try and not post for awhile. It’s probably better that way.

  70. “I have never seen anything of the sort of thing she is talking about here in real life. In fact, I have NO IDEA what this sentence is supposed to mean.”

    smacky, i’m going to suggest you don’t because you don’t travel in those particular circles. but they do exist, especially in the academy. you’d probably be unpleasantly surprised at how accurate her description actually is. it’s a sort of collectivist circle-jerk; ms. brussel is a woman, therefore her actions reflect on all women.

    it’s far less crude than merely insane, at least as i ponder it.

    “The problem is that the more you sexualize everyday society, the more people are judged by their looks.”

    1) you don’t “sexualize” society anymore than you “light up” the sky by looking at it.

    2) people have always been judged by their looks.

    3) the “sexual revolution” was only the first step. unfortunately for conservatives, and liberals, and everyone in between we’re all going to face increasing fluidity of sexual identity and behavior. gay marriage is only the beginning. and about 500 years late, frankly, but i’m beginning to suspect i am far more libertine than libertarian, because i feel the fundamentals of sexual behavior are as central to self ownership as the shoes on your feet.

    4) would anyone here actually want to be born female in a tribal or traditionally religious society? something post-baptist with a touch of taliban? i’d rather be dead. it’s slavery beyond slavery, because it’s not even acknowledged as such.

    tradition is a vile platform from which to build the future.

  71. “I clicked on the link that reads Village Voice column, and all I could see were the words “Pay Attention To Me!” repeated over and over.”

    and oddly enough, you did.

    hmmm.

  72. From the article:

    Sara DeKeuster is one of my heroines. In 2005, in The UWM Post, an independent student newspaper, she ran a photo essay exploring her rape fantasies. The uproar was instantaneous. One blogger, Kyle Duerstein, wrote (but later deleted), “Sara DeKeuster ought be[sic] raped today. And after that, she ought be [sic] raped tomorrow, by someone else . . . she might be killed by her attacker. Maybe then, she’ll get it, and if not, she’ll be dead, and the world will be a less f*$!ed up place.” The Women’s Resource Center claimed the spread created a “hostile campus” and was “an active act of harm.”

    Sending rape/death threats to women who have politically incorrect sexual fantasies is what female empowerment’s all about, huh?

    By the way, I’ve just changed my mind about every single sneering comment I’ve ever made against the masochistic sex scenes in Ayn Rand’s novels. I’ll probably re-read them later in a more receptive frame of mind.

  73. dhex and Smacky-

    If the relevance of this article depends on which circles you travel in, then maybe Smacky is right. If Rachel Kramer Bussel doesn’t like a certain flavor of feminist, while Smacky remains blissfully unaware that they exist, then it is indeed possible to ignore them and maybe Ms. Bussel should do so.

    I’m all in favor of her right to do whatever she wants in the bedroom, but I don’t see how her right is threatened by academic feminists.

    And I would observe that large portions of our campuses are virtually devoid of the freakish form of radical feminism that dominates in other portions. A certain amount of feminism would no doubt be beneficial on all parts of campus, but not the sort of feminism that obsesses over Rachel Kramer Bussel’s sex life.

  74. I just don’t want to be subject to reading it at work under the guise of politics or feminism, neither of which category this article fits into.

    If that’s truly the case smacky, then your problem isn’t with the article, its with Julian Sanchez for posting it here.

  75. “That Rennaissance Festival was awesome.”

    GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

  76. “If the relevance of this article depends on which circles you travel in, then maybe Smacky is right.”

    well, i don’t think it does. coupled with a more common cultural attitude, as john put forth, we’re still more or less totally clusterfucked over matters of the body and the genitals. i don’t think people, even folks with genuinely transgressive sexual identities, should expect nothing but congratulations for their choice to live their lives as they will (though that be the highest coersion-free goal of man) but it’s a nice counterbalance to the insane collectivism of our culture.

    i blame the neo-osirian death cult that runs this country, but that’s me. i find they’re a handy scapegoat.

  77. That Rennaissance Festival was awesome.

    NERDS!

  78. It was, P. Brooks.

    A certain amount of feminism would no doubt be beneficial on all parts of campus, but not the sort of feminism that obsesses over Rachel Kramer Bussel’s sex life.

  79. Whoa! How the hell did I do that? Here’s the whole post:

    It was, P. Brooks.

    A certain amount of feminism would no doubt be beneficial on all parts of campus, but not the sort of feminism that obsesses over Rachel Kramer Bussel’s sex life.

    Unfortunately, the sort of feminism that would obsess over Bussel’s sex life is distressingly common these days. Perhaps, Thoreau, you haven’t noticed it because your acedemic experiences are in the hard sciences, a field where you’re highly unlikely to, for example, find a woman who will deny human sexual dimorphism because that just doesn’t fit feminist ideals. But I have had far too many run-ins with the sort of feminist Bussel complains about.

    There used to be a saying, “Feminism is all about making choices.” Unfortunately, for many people nowadays that has become “feminism is all about making the right choices (as defined by us feminists, of course.)”

    There’s no room for a lusty woman in office (never mind Mary Carey’s political ambitions), and certainly no credence given to strippers or adult performers, who they see as airheaded sluts.

    True. I don’t see how anyone here can debate that, or say with any seriousness that adult performers are viewed with any sort of respect.

    Women’s true desires may not make for perfect propaganda, but sex is justifiably complex. I may like to get spanked until I scream, but I still deserve to be treated as an intelligent human being. Submitting sexually doesn’t equal becoming a doormat outside the bedroom.

    That, of course, is the sort of comment which drives feminist prudes insane. Because, you see, in order to be a feminist, it’s just not enough to believe things like “the sexes should be equal in the eyes of the law” and “women should be allowed to control their own destinies.” You must also insist, among other things, that the millions of women who spend money buying “bodice-ripper” novels filled with sexually explicit rape scenes are betraying the worldwide sisterhood, and the only reason they find such things sexy is because they’ve been brainwashed into thinking it is.

    Smacky and friends, are y’all saying that Bussel is wrong when she says a woman can be a feminist and STILL have sexual fantasies with a distinctly non-feminist flavor to them?

    Goddammit, now I have to break up with Jeff and find some skinny little runt to replace him, because my fondness for men who tend to tower over me is clearly a “gateway sex preference” that’ll eventually lead to my wearing a burka. Or something.

  80. There used to be a saying, “Feminism is all about making choices.” Unfortunately, for many people nowadays that has become “feminism is all about making the right choices (as defined by us feminists, of course.)”

    Not really. If anyone is having influence on her decisions in the privacy of her own bedroom, then she is a collectivist, and of the most pathetic kind.

    Smacky and friends, are y’all saying that Bussel is wrong when she says a woman can be a feminist and STILL have sexual fantasies with a distinctly non-feminist flavor to them?

    Who are my “friends” that you are referring to? Certainly not the “feminists” that RCB is referring to. These are all my own opinions; I am not regurgitating anyone else’s viewpoint.
    To answer your question, no I am not saying that at all. In fact, I completely agree with her. One of the reasons I think the article sucks so bad is that that is an incredibly weak thesis to write an article on. “Gee, you mean I shouldn’t have to care about what other people think of my sexual proclivities?” If women need to be told this, they are a lot fucking stupider than I previously thought. I think she was just writing the article for attention and to be incendiary; such articles aren’t worth reading.

    I’m all in favor of her right to do whatever she wants in the bedroom, but I don’t see how her right is threatened by academic feminists.

    Thoreau is right; her webpage visitors must have been dwindling.

    If that’s truly the case smacky, then your problem isn’t with the article, its with Julian Sanchez for posting it here.

    Julian is obviously free to post anything he wants here. But I guess I don’t want to be on the recipient end of a favor for a friend who appears to desperately need hits on her personal weblog. I have no interest in what she does with her vagina, and I don’t come to Reason.com to read about that sort of thing. When I want to see/read about that sort of thing, I download porn.

    I apologize if my tone is crude and/or brief. I would like to edit this post and maybe even address my points further, but I need to shower. I am going to a Medieval Faire soon. đŸ™‚

  81. If anyone is having influence on her decisions in the privacy of her own bedroom, then she is a collectivist, and of the most pathetic kind.

    Yeah, like that woman who got all those rape/death threats after publishing her rape-fantasy photo essay. I don’t know if she allowed those letters to influence her thinking in any way, but if she did that proves she’s a collectivist bimbo. “You should go through life without the slightest consideration of what others think of you”–yes, for someone who has to earn a living rather than live off her trust fund that’s very practical down-to-earth advice, not a Randian flight of unrealistic fantasy. And if a woman is denied a job or a promotion because her boss discovers she likes to be tied up in the bedroom, she’s the pathetic one if she gets upset.

    “Gee, you mean I shouldn’t have to care about what other people think of my sexual proclivities?” If women need to be told this, they are a lot fucking stupider than I previously thought.

    Smacky, you’re missing the point. I, personally, don’t care if people know I was an exotic dancer back in the twentieth century. Or rather, I wouldn’t care under ordinary circumstances. But I HAVE to care, because the world is full of people oh-so-ready to assume that this was not only the defining experience of my life, but one which defines me as a bimbonic slut who certainly can’t be trusted with any responsibility greater than making sure my hairstyle maintains that properly sexy just-fucked look.

    I have a new career goal, which I suspect I will never meet: someday I’d like to have a job where my boss and colleagues know damn well how I paid for school, and don’t give a damn because they know it has exactly jack shit to do with who I am or what I can do.

  82. “Speaking as a man (but not as “MainstreamMan”),”

    Wow, am I a celebrity now?

    …how odd to be on highnumber’s mind when the discussion is of strippers and sluts.

  83. Blog drama alert! Blog drama alert!

  84. What can I say?

    I love sex positive feminists.

  85. Ok, I know this is an old post, but let me try and tie up some points I wanted to make.

    For starters, I am a sex-positive person. I am actually quite open-minded. I don’t understand why people assume that simply because I agree that “there is a time and a place for everything” that I am some kind of sex-hating prude. Also, I am not a “feminist” so I cannot qualify as a “sex-positive feminist” or whatever the current meaningless buzzword is. I would probably be more comfortable with certain things that would make some of these little girls cry and run home to daddy. So first of all, how about everybody stop making assumptions about my chastity.

    Yeah, like that woman who got all those rape/death threats after publishing her rape-fantasy photo essay. I don’t know if she allowed those letters to influence her thinking in any way, but if she did that proves she’s a collectivist bimbo. “You should go through life without the slightest consideration of what others think of you”–yes, for someone who has to earn a living rather than live off her trust fund that’s very practical down-to-earth advice, not a Randian flight of unrealistic fantasy.

    Did the woman in question’s career and income hinge on her being able to publish her rape fantasies in a (presumably academic) school newspaper? In other words, did her editor say, “You need to have that rape fantasy photo essay ready for print by 6pm. No substitutions are allowed and if you write about something other than your explicit rape fantasy then you will be fired and will not receive a paycheck.” Honestly, I doubt that she was even paid for her contribution since campus newspapers are usually a freewill contribution endeavor. I’m not denying that the woman has a right to freely express herself, but it’s completely unrealistic and unneccessary to believe that people should embrace other people’s explicit sexual preferences, in a publicly-read academic context no less. If y’all’s biggest goal for advancing “feminism” is to exhibit your private sexual fantasies publicly, then I think said people care a lot more about their exhibitionary hang-ups and not at all for what is called “feminism”. Moreover, fighting such a petty argument totally derails bigger and (I would argue, objectively) more important womens’ issues. Say, comparable salaries, for example. Of course, money is probably not a problem for people who have only their sexual hangups to obsess over. Were that my biggest problem…

    And if a woman is denied a job or a promotion because her boss discovers she likes to be tied up in the bedroom, she’s the pathetic one if she gets upset.

    Well, if she’s going to publish her private fantasies, they are no longer private, i.e. they are open to public criticism. If I have an odd sexual kink and I decide to share it with the rest of the general public, then I cease to be able to legitimately complain when people have something to say about it, be it positive or negative. Truth be told, rape fantasies are a pretty negative thing by nature. The notion to complain that other people might not be into rape fantasies is ludicrous to me. I’m sure plenty of people aren’t into rape fantasies and it’s their perogative if they don’t dig them. They also have every right to say pretty much whatever they want to morons who parade their formerly private bedroom lives around in public.

    I’d also like to make a distinction, if I may. I have no problem with someone having a rape fantasy. However, I do have a problem with that person publishing it publicly and then demanding everyone to appreciate it and respect it. I find all of these “sex-positive” “feminists” guilty of lacking in common consideration. What if some female student who was raped reads that? Don’t they even consider for a moment that, “the sisterhood” aside, someone might feel pretty godawful reading some quasi-pornographic lame account of some suburban girl’s silly fantasy? (This rant is not a call for censorship, by the way. Standard libertarian disclaimer). These women are trashy people who have no consideration for their reading audience. If she wanted to print her rape fantasies, the appropriate and considerate thing to do would have been to submit them to an erotic journalism publication, or make her own ‘zine, or something like that. Completely lacking in class, and worse, common courtesy is out the window (not to mention, goodbye sexual mystique! And farewell academia…).

  86. Addendum: The rape photo essay in question was probably just another piece of warmed-over female fantasy fiction. I would be willing to place bets that the “rape” she describes is done by an attractive white male with a full head of hair and an appealing “bad boy” look, i.e. totally unrealistic (but still appealing to the core suburban, sheltered female readership). I would be shocked (and pleasantly surprised) if her so-called rape fantasy were realisticly portrayed, with some crackhead greasy unbathed balding old man spreading his STDs and body crabs on her. That would be grand! Has anyone here seen Todd Solondz’s movie “Happiness”? With the character’s completely unrealistic expectations of a hot rapist? Then you might know what I’m talking about.

  87. Smacky, when Jeff and I come to your New York gathering this Saturday, I promise I’ll be dressed quite modestly.

  88. Jennifer,

    I am thoroughly confused by your last comment.

  89. Well, I’ve pretty much dominated this thread with the defense of a woman’s right to be a skank in some circumstances yet still be taken seriously in others. But I waive that right in my own case.

    Besides: when everybody is wearing a miniskirt and down-to-there necklines, the woman who doesn’t is the one the men are more likely to notice. That’s my main objection to dressing “in a certain way”–there’s nothing wrong with trying, but for God’s sake don’t look like you’re trying!

  90. Well, I’ve pretty much dominated this thread with the defense of a woman’s right to be a skank in some circumstances yet still be taken seriously in others.

    But don’t you see my objection? It is nobody’s right to be treated seriously if other people choose not to take them seriously. The notion of making “a right to be taken seriously” is totally subjective, and would be on the lines of social engineering, and as a libertarian, I oppose that.

    The confusing stance that she is defending is just fueling the rampant misogyny that decent women are actually struggling to combat on a daily basis. I see what she is saying, and I agree that ideally people should be able to distinguish between someone’s fantasies and someone’s actual desires. But the article conveyed that very poorly. (In short, thanks for helping to confuse everyone and for facilitating date rapes across college campuses nationwide, ladies!) Keep up the grade-school level discourse and I will treat you like you are writing at a grade-school level.

  91. But don’t you see my objection? It is nobody’s right to be treated seriously if other people choose not to take them seriously.

    And yet she made a good point, I think, about double standards. It’s perfectly acceptable–even admirable–for a young man to have the attitude “yes, mine is an enormous libido,” yet for women there’s still this idea that we must be passive and demure, can’t have any desires of our own but must merely wait to be the object of desire for someone else.

    I’ll admit–for all that I can make all sorts of wonderfully raunchy jokes here, I doubt I could bring myself to write a serious essay regarding what I do and do not like in bed. Is this because I have a greater sense of propriety, or because I am more repressed? I suspect the latter.

  92. I’ll admit–for all that I can make all sorts of wonderfully raunchy jokes here, I doubt I could bring myself to write a serious essay regarding what I do and do not like in bed. Is this because I have a greater sense of propriety, or because I am more repressed? I suspect the latter.

    But how many men do you know writing “serious essays” about what they do and do not like in bed? (I’m sure there are plenty of them writing these sorts of essays…on erotic literature sites.) I wouldn’t label a man “repressed” if he doesn’t want to share with the general public what gets him off. Society isn’t a big collective, after all… 0_^

    (…or is it? paging gaius marius…)

    — And for the record, I would give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s because the former (your sense of propriety and consideration).

  93. But how many men do you know writing “serious essays” about what they do and do not like in bed?

    Very few, for the same reason nobody’s impressed if a woman writes an article titled “I Gave Up My Career To Be A Full-Time Parent,” but it’s a big huge deal if a man writes the same. It’s a matter of something that’s taken for granted with one gender but considered shocking in the other.

  94. About rape fantasies, I make the same caveat that I do with all sexual fantasies when put in writing. (And for a lot of all non-sexual subjects)

    Do not assume that because you find this theme fascinating your readers will too. As a rule most people prefer their own fanatasies to that of others…

    So, keep it short, and get back to the main subject as soon as you can.Have some regard for your readers if you want to keep them. And don’t bore your acquaintences telling all about it when they are desperate for an opening to talk about their favorite subject: themselves and their own fantasies.

    Now, I have to get back to the story I am planning “Bene Gesserit of Gor”.

  95. I think Jennifer generally has it right. Although I think maybe Rachel Kramer Bussel’s article might be confusing some people, because I’m not sure if a certain type of feminist is coming down on women who merely like sex (with men, the class enemy of the Dworkinists, which amounts to fraternizing with the enemy), or because of the type of sex some women like to have. Those are probably two separate, but related, issues.

    I’ve personally known three (as far as I know) women who are so-called “submissive” sexually. (One I got to know better than the others.) I say “so-called” because in “real life,” two of the three were anything but.

    (Alas, the third had her own other issues. She should have gone looking for a nice guy who was willing to be playful in the bedroom in the way that she liked, but confusedly got the idea that she was more likely to find what she wanted in a guy who was actually borderline-abusive. In truth, she’d hook up with the kind of macho alpha male who appealed to her, and it was just as likely to happen that he preferred to be submissive in bed.)

    Anyway … I’ve never known a woman with submissive sexual tastes to be attacked for it directly and personally. Nevertheless, I have read things penned by certain feminists that attacked women who have such sexual preferences: for behaving in an “unempowering” or “regressive way,” for “catering to patriarchal power fantasies,” for “trivializing” the real horror that women have suffered at the hands of men, etc. etc.

    More about that in a second. But I think RKB’s position is analogous to someone who is gay and, even if that gay person hasn’t been personally attacked for it, has nevertheless read some commentary attacking it, or overhead spoken remarks critical of it. I don’t see anything wrong with that person writing something to defend the right to be gay. Now, you could argue that a gay person should simply keep his/her bedroom practices private and they won’t have to worry about being criticized. But I think RKB still has a right and even a need to defend her private practices if she thinks they are being criticized unfairly or out of ignorance.

    And — important point: RKB’s response might help other readers who have similar kinds of sexual preferences, and who would be unable to deal with them in a healthy way if the only things they read addressing those preferences were the guilt-inducing, puritanical-feminist screeds.

    And yeah, rape fantasies are probably going to make most people uncomfortable. Of course they have very little in common with the real, horrid experience. The fantasy is a sanitized version. Of course — that’s why it’s called a fantasy.

    Looky, by way of analogy: A lot of people (mostly men, but not entirely) like to play violent videogames based on war, or play Paintball against each other. This is a sanitized version of war. The players enjoy the stimuli they get from the game, which is similar to some of the stimuli they’d get in a real war, except it’s safer — they don’t get hurt, and don’t hurt anyone else. Even chess is a sanitized simulation of war, one where the stimulation is stripped down to the strategic, purely mental level.

    None of this means that the players really want to go fight a war, nor does it mean they are trivializing war. They have simply found a way to enjoy stimuli that is similar to what they’d have in a certain unpleasant, deadly or anti-social situtuation, but they’ve found a way to enjoy it a safe way where no one gets hurt.

    Another analogy: Do any of you guys enjoy rollercoaster rides? Has it ever occurred to you that the sensations you experience on a rollercoaster are very similar to what you might experience in a really bad auto accident? Only it’s safer, and the stresses are designed not to exceed a certain level, and you’re safely strapped in. Does enjoying a rollercoaster mean you are in favor of, or trivialize the experiences of, people suffering auto accidents?

    Heck no. Likewise, the women who have politically incorrect sex fantasies are looking for a rollercoaster ride, not an auto accident. (Well, except for maybe one woman I know — but like I said, she has other issues, and she’s not typical as far as I know.)

  96. Very few, for the same reason nobody’s impressed if a woman writes an article titled “I Gave Up My Career To Be A Full-Time Parent,” but it’s a big huge deal if a man writes the same. It’s a matter of something that’s taken for granted with one gender but considered shocking in the other.

    Actually, I think if a man were to write the same sort of fantasy and print it in a college newspaper or similar venue, my guess is that he would be expelled so fast that his head would be spinning. He’d also probably be served with a few sexual harrassment lawsuits. Talk about double standards!

    Oh, but it’s ok for a woman to do because she needs to be able to “express herself”? I bet in a few years these same ladies will be old crows demanding censorship of music, art, etc. once they start popping out kids…

  97. Actually, I think if a man were to write the same sort of fantasy and print it in a college newspaper or similar venue, my guess is that he would be expelled so fast that his head would be spinning. He’d also probably be served with a few sexual harrassment lawsuits. Talk about double standards!

    You don’t see the distinction between “I have a fantasy where I am raped” versus “I have a fantasy where I rape someone else”?

  98. Jennifer,

    I do see the difference. But theoretically speaking (i.e. talking in terms of fantasy, not reality), aren’t they eqivalent? And if women demand the right to print their sexual fantasies in inappropriate venues, shouldn’t men be allowed to also?

  99. And if women demand the right to print their sexual fantasies in inappropriate venues, shouldn’t men be allowed to also?

    After a day’s hard ride, I received my usual warm welcome at Castle Grylliade. Trumpets were blown to announce my arrival. I dismounted, and servants led away my steed to be fed, watered, bathed and rubbed down. Truth to tell, I had much the same pamperings in mind for myself, as I strode toward the Grylliadic harem. Good King David, a gracious host, always bade me make full use of the comforts therein — especially when, as now, he was away touring his far provinces. I would be acting lord of the manor for the duration of my stay.

    First, I anticipated a sponge bath — with maidenly assistance — to cleanse away the dust of the road. After allowing myself to be toweled try, I would follow this with a light repast of peeled grapes, broiled perch cheeks, and chilled wine … and then the usual four to six hours of sensuous frolic. And finally, slumber.

    As I approached the women’s quarters, I was greeted by their varied perfumes — and the cacophonous squealings of a feminine uproar. Oh, what could they be quarrelling about now? Their differing interpretations of some libertarian tract, no doubt. Whatever the cause, discipline had broken down again, and it was up to me to restore calm and order. I quickened my pace, lest the catfight escalate to the level of tugged tresses and torn silks before I could get there …

  100. BTW, regarding that “academic publication”, The UWM Post, I wouldn’t call it that, nor would the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    But while the administration disapproves of the UWM Post’s decision to run the essay, it cannot take any action against the weekly paper because it receives no funding from the university, only free office space, said UWM Provost Rita Cheng.

    “They see themselves as an independent newspaper, and we treat them as such,” Cheng said this week. “This is a very sensitive issue of independence and freedom of speech.”Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 30 Dec. 2005

    Actually, I think if a man were to write the same sort of fantasy and print it in a college newspaper or similar venue, my guess is that he would be expelled so fast… – smacky

    Uh, “the same sort of fantasy” would be one where the man was the one raped. One where he does the raping is a whole `nother smoke.

    Kevin

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