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Posts tagged ‘sex’

The Alpha Rapist in Popular Culture

What is this crap I keep hearing from MRAs about “alpha men” and “beta men?” Are these people living in another universe? Assuming that “alpha” and “beta” are taken from the social structures of wolf packs—which undoubtedly they are, since humans have this unexplodey fetish for comparing themselves to the species, complete with ridiculous misconceptions—the assumptions involved are… unrealistic.

First! It’s irrational and tellingly biased that alpha and beta only get applied to those who are or who we’d like to imagine as predator-types. So there are references to “alpha men,” but very few to alpha women—who, in a strict hierarchal power-structure, would by necessity have to exist.

Second, it assumes characteristics that aren’t necessarily present in wolf packs. Humans like to believe that “alpha” means an aggressive, assertive power that commands everyone else to submit or they’ll rip you apart… but that isn’t the case in wolf packs: alpha wolves are actually the most social and are only rarely involved in a dispute. Actually, alpha wolves are alpha wolves not because they’re the biggest and meanest, but because they are the most charismatic—others want to follow them, trust them, and do what they say. I’ve met only a few alpha humans by the actual wolf definition of “alpha,” and that trait doesn’t have anything to do with looks—although it helps, given the persistent disregard and dismissal of those who aren’t freaking Barbies and Kens.

The MRA definition of alpha seems to be: aggressive, powerful, threatening rapist. Let’s talk about how far these types of individuals get in any social species outside of a civilization and imposed societal structure that prevents them from being straight-up disposed of because homigosh murder!!1

Then there’s the slander against “beta males.” Eh? Betas are actually those who work very well with everyone in the group, and are usually arbiter/secondary-Mommy role, and get this: they’re actually not that maligned or disempowered in wolf society because, hey! They are the second highest-ranking!

Actually, as a whole, the rage about alpha males and beta males and how those stupid beta males give in to the evil feminists is based on the idea that if the feminists weren’t around, women wouldn’t be able to stop men from getting their dicks wet whenever they wanted. Which doesn’t do much to convince me that MRA isn’t all about “those bitches won’t spread their legs for me!” Which speaks of entitlement, and guys… entitlement doesn’t come up in a society where you are underpowered and disenfranchised: nonwhites and women actually have to struggle against the idea that they aren’t as worthy, good, or smart as whites and men (and white men).

On the other hand, what’s the problem? Nobody but the alphas get to breed—ever. Betas, regardless of what sex they are, do not get to breed—it is one of those fundamental laws of wolf society: you don’t get to do this. That it’s a social tenet is underscored by the fact that wolves raised outside of wolf culture—by humans, for example—have no qualms with mating even though they’re not alphas.

… So, ironically, the MRAs have nothing to complain about: men and women are already equal, unless you count men’s disproportionate presence and representation inside politics, high-paying and high-prestige jobs, etc. They’re fine to object to that if they want—I agree, capitalism is fucking awful and drains your soul, and I’ll be happy to welcome them over to the anarchist side of things as soon as they get rid of their patriarchal, white and human privilege.

I do have a further problem with the idea of alpha as it is applied to humans: “alpha” standards for men and women differ, massively, in ways that are not borne out by personality differences between men and women. Men are supposed to be hyperaggressive, warlike rapists—chill, I said supposed to be, as in by society, and I appreciate your agreement that men are not inherently rapists and shouldn’t ever be—but women’s “alpha” status is… appearance. You have to be thin, made-up, perfumed, conventionally attractive—and silent, apparently, because no mention of women’s personalities are ever made in “alpha” standards. Because to men, women are fuckholes. Wait, I missed the part where society is supposed to value women more than men again, I think.

In conclusion, shut the fuck up and stop slandering other species you honestly know jack shit about. They do not support your concepts of how the world is supposed to be run, and if you weren’t constantly using only the measures of your paradigm on them, you’d know that. But what is carnism if not exploiting animals’ lives to reinforce your own sense of superiority?

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Identity/Fat

It’s been noted before that female-coded clothing is never neutral: no matter what tone you may be wearing or what cut or style, there is no point where that clothing will not be perceived as saying something about you. Large, gaudy necklaces tag you as “artsy”; short skirts, breast-crushing shirts and stockings mark you as misogynistic fratboy fuck-target. Mismatched clothing tags you as “punk,” pathetic, or hipster. Batik clothing makes you a New Ager or middle to upper class trustifarian. Sneakers means you’re desperate to fit in. High heels? Asking for it.

Female-bodied people have virtually no ability to control how they are perceived. Being able to say, “this is the kind of person I am” is something exclusively reserved for men—who, while they may have typed clothing, also have neutral clothing available to them—because women are property, and the kind of “packaging” they have defines what kind of product they are. Maybe you’re an S&M product? Or a Happy Hooker product? Perhaps you’re the Feisty Prowler type—what about the Shy Bookworm? Your identity—who you are as a person—is not as important as what kind of front you present, because your personality cannot be fetishized and objectified: your appearance can.

However, even then, many women have the ability to skew how they are perceived—either through judicious use of clothing tags or making their own clothing. There’s one group of women who have no ability to control how they are perceived, even in the limited scope that most women have. You know them—you’ve been taught that they’re disgusting, and that their fallen state is an external sign of their personal failures: if they weren’t such horrible wastes of flesh—if they just wouldn’t keep shoving fourteen pizzas in their mouth a night*—then they’d be… um… well, fuckable, I guess. That’s about as close as any woman comes to “acceptable,” though.

They’re fat. I want to take a minute right here and give a shout-out to all my fat comrades and the strength it takes them to get through a day, let alone still challenge the status quo.

Fatness is intersectional in nature: it is bound up in body-policing, femininity (of not taking enough, let alone too much), beauty ideals, race, class, and probably a lot of other things I’m not thinking of right now. Beyond anything else, people who are thin are given more institutional power—sexual, social, economic—and those who do not meet the unreliable definition of “thinness” are continuously disenfranchised by the same system. Fat men get farther, but that’s not saying much.

I want to specifically point out how little control fat women have over their projection and acceptance of identity, though. To a point, thin women have some powers of self-identification—again, they’re limited, but still there—but fat women have none because the totality of what they are perceived to be is what could be best described as infintesimal in scope.

My fat female-bodied friends have no option and no choice. If they act happy, they’re stinky and obtrusive; if they’re feeling sexy, they’re laughable and pathetic; if they have desires, they’re gluttonous and smothering; if they’re affectionate, they’re flippant; if they’re bouncy, they’re vapid and unintelligent; if they’re cute, they’re obnoxious and thunderous; if they’re loud, they’re overwhelming and don’t know how to control themselves; if they’re sad, they’re emotional eaters; if they’re angry, they’re bitter, shrill bitches. Fat women cannot win, ever, but with a totality that most thin women couldn’t even grasp at.

One of my friends a few years ago confided to me that her social anxiety and reticence developed when she realized that no one ever saw her as cute and bouncy—they saw her as obnoxious, overbearing and stupid. Her withdrawal was a way out: because she couldn’t bear to be seen as this stupid, silly thing that was such a distortion of who she really was. It didn’t matter that she had an eating disorder, and that she was eating high raw because it was one of the few ways she could make it disappear in totality: when people looked at her, they saw fat. That was the totality of who she was, to them—unhealthy, prediabetic at best, probably cancerous, and definitely an eyesore if not necessarily contagious. Even when people weren’t making “moo” sounds at her, she could tell by their awkwardness and skepticism that they condemned the hell out of her.

She chose to withdraw because that was the only option for control she had ever known: as a child, the only way she could get away mentally from her family’s abuse was to turn to stone inside and convince everyone that nothing mattered to her. The extent of people’s judgment and prejudice against her body didn’t just make her ashamed: it made her change into a different person.

Because the person she was didn’t matter, only the packaging. In a society where your presentation matters more than your personhood, and where your packaging implicitly justifies violation regardless of its austerity… you’re not safe. As someone who is trans, I’m not safe—because my packaging matters more than who I am.

Property status—that process and underlying ideology through which you are turned into a product—must be abolished. No excuses. No mistakes. No compromise.

I want to make clear that fatphobia will not be allowed on any part of this site. Body-policing is unacceptable and only reinforces the idea that womens’ bodies are communal property for whatever reason—though I’m sure it’s just because of their “health.” In light of a history that actively encourages women to starve to fit acceptable ideals of femininity, behavioral and physical, and in light of the fact that there is no known way to make fat people into thin people—you need to do better than a 95% failure rate—you get to shut your ignorant yaps.

*Does anyone actually know someone who does this? It’s highly eating-disordered even so, but apparently I’m eating baby-flavored doughnuts every night… silly fools! I’m vegan! Don’t they know I only eat dumpstered babies?

Transactional Models of Sexuality are Anti-Sex

The transactional model of sexuality is horrendous, and we know this already. But even outside of the paradigm of straight-up rape, it creates the implicit assumption that whenever women are having sex, it’s because they got paid for it somehow, and that whenever a man does anything nice for a woman, he’s entitled to sexual activity sooner or later—justifying rape, since the fact that she accepted the gift (or that he offered it at all) is taken as prospective consent.

Yes, that little bastard of an ideology is also the culprit behind any variation of, “all women are money-sucking whores.”

And it’s also the driving force—and one of the primary justifications behind—defenses of pornography and prostitution. That payment should ever be accepted as a sign of consent is absolutely anti-feminist. This is not the radical feminist stance, it is the feminist stance: that true consent cannot exist in circumstances that require one to “consent.”

When anyone is forced to submit to sexual activity in order to fulfill their basic needs (for example, trading sexual favors for food), we consider that sexual assault at minimum. It’s not like it’s hard to see why consent is problematic in that situation.

Even aside from the sex pox redefinition of “rape” to exclude having to submit to sexual activity because you will starve or freeze, though, the transactional model of sex is harmful to women’s sexual liberation in the view of sexual pleasure at all. Rape can and has been conflated with sex, often. However, as I mentioned earlier, the transactional model of sex also includes the tenet that all women demand money or gifts—payment—for sex, because women have no fundamental interest in sex itself. Men need sex; women do not. Women have no intrinsic interest in sexual pleasure or orgasm.

Because if women did have an intrinsic interest in sexual pleasure and orgasm, it would be unacceptable to approach sex without the assumption that you both were going to try to make sexual pleasure mutual… and it would be downright insulting to offer payment—whether it’s money, jewelry, clothing, relationship stability, whatever—whether sexual pleasure was going to be involved or not. Because it wouldn’t be necessary: if women are human, like men—if women belong to a species with an innate capacity for round-the-clock, non-estrus sexual pleasure—if women are human, like men, then women have an equal interest in mutual, reciprocally pleasurable sex.

Sex is pleasurable. And you can’t really argue that nature doesn’t actively encourage hedonism, even if it is tempered by empathy. Ergo, women have an interest in sex in their own right: because done right, it feels good. There is no reason for men to try to bribe women into sex—and in fact, a bribe implies that consent is not genuine.

And if men are willingly participating in and perpetuating a society that forces women to have sexual activity regardless of whether or not it’s pleasurable for them, but for survival—then men are actively encouraging sexual assault, not because women are not willing to have sex, but for only two reasons: a) men are not willing to consider women’s interest in sexual activity as just as valid as their own, OR b) men get off on sexually assaulting women, and that’s why they perpetuate a society where women must have sex for their safety and survival. Sexual assault comes in a continuum because consent does—however, unlike the sex poxes, I am absolutely unwilling to accept effectively forced consent as anything other than sexual assault.

Because sexual assault strips you of your personhood. It is perpetrated on you whether or not you like it, and often because you don’t like it. And all too often, you have to submit to it because to resist endangers your survival. This is a feminist statement: the decision to have sex should never have to be any part of a calculation on your survival and basic quality of life.

This is not sexy. Being paid for sex is not sexy. But then, anyone who’s been near a porn set knows that it is basically one of the unsexiest places in the world—hospices notwithstanding.

“Sex work is like any other job,” is part and parcel of the transactional model of sex because if you boil it down into its most succinct meaning, it is: “Sex is a job.” Or, alternately, “I have no problem with my lovers feeling as though sex is a job as long as I get laid.” It is something you do in order to get payment from it—without passion, without happiness, because it is a “choice” that is inherently forced, inherently constrained. Pleasure has nothing to do with it. You simply cannot say no.

And believing that is acceptable—that is anti-sex and anti-feminist.

I believe sex is a profoundly good and awesome thing, and that choice should mean something more than just a buzzword that allows you to do whatever the fuck you want, however exploitative, coercive, or depersonalizing it is. Your orgasms are not the only ones that matter. Welcome to women’s sexual liberation.

News: Lysistrata Stunt Suggested in Belgium, Retracted

I hesitated in writing about this. I didn’t know what to say. This article left a bad taste in my mouth, but I couldn’t quite articulate it—I still don’t know if I can, at least adequately. But I’m going to take a whack at it nevertheless.

The partners of Belgian politicians are being urged to go on a sex strike until a government is formed.

The country had general elections last June but parties have so far been unable to form a governing coalition. …

“I call on the spouses of all negotiators to withold sex until a deal is reached,” said Ms Temmerman in an article for a Belgian newspaper. “Have no more sex until the new administration is posing on the steps of the Palace.”

And I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that sex is still being used as a bartering tool and a weapon—on the State level, no less. Clearly, using sex as leverage in a transaction or bargain doesn’t impact women at all, nor does the idea put them in danger whatsoever. After all, it’s not like one of the historical traditions of marriage itself is to toss your wife aside when she stops putting out, or when you no longer find yourself wanting to fuck her.

Via the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which does extensive surveys of parliaments (legislative branches to you Yanks) including collecting data on women in government, I’ve found that roughly 38% of their government is made up of women—36% in their Senate and 39% in their House of Representatives. So, even a country that said OH NO YOU DINT to the Vatican is still strongly skewed towards men at the legislative level. Double that because the person who initially put it forth got the idea from fucking Kenya, where it’s even worse.

It’s fucking disheartening. A lot of my reaction came from—and still does, even though the Senator who made the suggestion says it was a joke—the fact that even now, women’s primary power is expected to be in manipulating powerful men. It always has been—re: Lysistrata—and then men have the gall to mock and deride women for being so manipulative, those fucking bitches, look at how much power they have over us from eliciting boners!

Why is this “progressive” country still, even today, able to “joke” about sex being used as a weapon? It has been, by men, against women—whether literally, via rape, slut-shaming and sexual harassment… or as indictment, because women have historically been forced to use sex as bartering goods for survival, by men. Get on the ball, Belgium.

On slightly lesser note, this is creeping me out, because David Cameron’s speech had a similar line in it:

“What Belgium is experiencing is a foretaste of the challenges that Europe itself is facing, because you have a prosperous north and a less prosperous south. Over the last decade they’ve really been separating themselves so they don’t have a unifying national identity,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

… I’m getting uncomfortable images of fascism because this is coming up everywhere, in these words. I do not like what that’s foretelling at all.

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