An (((Asshole Feminist’s))) Guide to the Alt-Right: Part 1

kek

We were seeing the attempt of a handful of pathetically unequipped children to create a community in a social vacuum. Once we had seen these children, we could no longer overlook the vacuum, no longer pretend that the society’s atomization could be reversed. This was not a traditional generational rebellion. At some point between 1945 and 1967 we had somehow neglected to tell these children the rules of the game we happened to be playing. Maybe we had stopped believing in the rules ourselves, maybe we were having a failure of nerve about the game. Maybe there were just too few people around to do the telling. These were children who grew up cut loose from the web of cousins and great-aunts and family doctors and lifelong neighbors who had traditionally suggested and enforced the society’s values. They are children who have moved around a lot, San Jose, Chula Vista, here. They are less in rebellion against the society than ignorant of it, able only to feed back certain of its most publicized self-doubts, Vietnam, Saran-Wrap, diet pills, the Bomb.

 

— Joan Didion “Slouching Toward Bethlehem,” 1967

People are still flailing around trying to understand “how this happened.” How did the US elect a (rich) bowling league captain from Dayton into the most powerful political post on Earth? As usually occurs when they don’t get their way, liberals have decided that rural working class whites have been duped into voting against their own interests. The only problem with that explanation is that economically insecure rural white people only account for 17% of the electorate.

What actually occurred belies that explanation: every honky in the United States who wasn’t actively campaigning for Clinton and Tim Kaine voted for Trump, many Bernie Sanders supporters included. The DNC and the average urban leftist have done little to counter the image the right and the alt-right have created of the derisive Democratic elitist who spends half their time blaming rural whites for all of the country’s ills and the other half shopping for faux-folksy luxury goods while completely ignoring the realities of the people whose lives they’re romanticizing. That’s a level of full-of-shit that very few people can stomach, much less identify with.

But that isn’t enough to explain why so many white people of every social class and age decided to overlook or — in most cases — embrace the racism, misogyny, and xenophobia of the MAGA crowd. Bernie Bros and the actual left argue that this was a vote against neoliberalism; how many people you know know what the fuck neoliberalism is? How many people you know give a fuck about neoliberalism? (Say that like Steve Harvey.)

They also argue that this vote was a reaction to Obama’s failure to address the root causes of the economic crisis of 2008/9. Uh huh. I mean, he did fail to do so, but no one who voted for Trump could tell you what the root causes of that crash were or who Obama kept around despite their obvious complicity in the crash. Further, the idea that a billionaire would step in and break the bond between Wall Street and Washington, DC is too absurd even for a Trump supporter to take seriously.

Then there’s the theory that people were tired of the status quo and chose Trump because he was an outsider once Bernie Sanders lost the primary. That part may be true, but not in the way it’s usually presented. It isn’t as if Joe Six Pack is sitting in the Oval Office right now. A rich, old, white man is not capable of being an outsider in an old, rich, white man’s FUBU system. The only thing that makes Trump an outsider is his willingness to make brazenly racist and sexist comments in public. (Oh, that and the fact that he’s probably mentally disabled. But that criterion would make Ronald Reagan an outsider in US political culture, so nah.)

No one is confused about why old white men voted for Trump. The world is changing, their position at the zenith of the social hierarchy seems imperiled, women and people of color are getting WAY too uppity, and they weren’t about to see a woman take the place of a black guy in the White House. (If you’d like to learn which variant of Stockholm Syndrome drove old white women to vote for someone who openly admitted to sexual harassment and assault, read Right-Wing Women by Andrea Dworkin; I don’t have time to get into that here.)

But, again, old white people couldn’t have done this by themselves. The DNC was so sure it had a lock on the youth vote that no one bothered to pay attention to what young people are even up to these days. And that’s what we’re here to discuss.

I’ll begin with a few caveats. First, I’m not a beta cuck, so I don’t spend 27 hours a day consuming media. That means that I’m not familiar with every layer of the inside jokes on 4chan, YouTube, and Reddit, so please forgive any minor gaffes I may make by dint of not being a complete dork.

Second, I’m not a millennial. I was born at the tail end of Generation X (thank Christ), which means the Internet and POV video games have only existed for half of my life. I had complex thoughts and experiences before the rise of interactive, neurologically manipulative media platforms, unlike people born, say, ten years after me. Who cares, right? Well, the world mistakenly believes millennials hold a patent on “irony” in the sense that the term is currently used, which is incorrect. Gen X counterculture in the early 90s created that phenomenon. Irony, as it developed in the 90s, consisted of making an ass of oneself on purpose in order to take away the power of materialistic, authoritarian bullies. It worked. That being said, it has gotten away from us and has morphed into the opposite of itself; rather than poking holes in conformity and undermining philosophically empty modes of living, it has been taken up by people who are missing the fundamental understanding of its usefulness. In other words, one of our most effective weapons against political and cultural authoritarianism now serves to further them both, whether on purpose or as a result of the clueless nihilism of those who deploy it (more on that later).

Third, I’m not a liberal. What used to be the party of Mr. Rogers types has become a competitive credulity and self-effacement league that is so repellent to anyone with any common sense or self-respect that I’m surprised there are any members left. Remember, shortly after the election, when Colin Jost joked on Saturday Night Live that Tinder now offered users 37 gender options and that the program was called “Why Democrats lost the election”? Well, that was fucking funny because it’s true.  At some point, Democrats are going to have to confront the reality that ideologically and legally dicey propositions such as subjective self-reporting on “gender identity” are going to drive even diehard liberals out of the tent. I mean, really, who can tolerate listening to some North Face prick make hackneyed, obvious jokes about the stupidity of American Christians he’s completely unfamiliar with and then — in the next breath — demand that everyone show respect to Islam? The Democrats are literally playing themselves and feeding ammo to the alt-right like it’s their raison d’être. Any party that operates on game theory without any cognizance of the aims of the players is bound to lose.

With that shit out of the way, let’s get to lumping people into broad and blunt categories. Everyone’s favorite gay, half-Jewish, Supreme-sponsored misogynist, Milo Yiannopoulos (who would be a misceginator if he weren’t gay), in his “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right” divided the alt-right into “Intellectuals,” “Natural Conservatives,” “The Meme Team,” and “1488ers.” I’m going to largely ignore most of these people for a few reasons.

“Natural Conservatives” and “1488ers” are nothing new. Radical-right white separatists have been around for decades, as have the wide array of non-ironic neo-Nazi organizations everyone is pretending just emerged onto the political scene. No one in, say, North Idaho is surprised at the disillusionment of white separatists with the pro-immigration stance of a Republican party that exists to serve the interests of corporations who need immigrants to suppress wages. The only new development in the world of earnest far-right white separatists/supremacists is that they’ve been given the signal that it’s OK to make a scene of themselves in public again for the first time since the 80s.

Milo’s “Intellectuals” don’t really merit the label, either. Steve Bannon may be a wet-brain alcoholic, but he isn’t stupid. Nor was Andrew Breitbart. But their attempt to coat extremely stupid far-right ideas with a veneer of intellectualism wasn’t working when I wrote about it a few years ago:

I wouldn’t know who Breitbart was had I not seen Dylan Ratigan interview him — and even then I could scarcely pay attention because I lost the ability to be amused by conservative commentators years ago — but apparently he makes the claim that objectivity is a falsehood propagated by the “liberal media” in order to cloak its agenda in an air of factual empiricism, when in reality they approach current events with just as much bias as Rush Limbaugh or any other right-wing demagogue. The debate over whether there is such a thing as a “liberal media” is beyond hackneyed and boring at this point, but it is rather amusing to hear a conservative public “intellectual” question the existence of true objectivity. It sounds oddly reminiscent of, oh, I don’t know, let’s say post-modern liberal academics. That isn’t an accident…[It’s] a new trend among conservative commentators, which is to jettison the Glenn Beck-esque hysteria that has characterized conservative media since Obama’s election and replace it with a faux-intellectualism that will allow even the borderline-illiterate to feel like top shelf political analysts.

And it isn’t working now, either. No actual intellectual is buying into the biological essentialism of the Bell Curve crowd or the theories of female inferiority that emerge from the “manosphere.” These arguments may be compelling to those who have never read anything longer than a Tumblr post, but there really isn’t an intellectual arm of the alt-right that has been anointed as such by anyone but themselves.

That leaves “The Meme Team.” If you ask me, they’re the only sub-group in Milo’s taxonomy that warrant examination, since they’re the ones the DNC are so thirsty for (never mind the GOP, who rightfully fear the alt-right that appears dangerously nihilistic and incomprehensible to them).

Millennial Men in Contemporary Political Culture

Neither political party has the ability to connect with millennials of any stripe because they’re both run by Baby Boomers and a few sellout Gen Xers who have no idea what life is like for a huge generation emerging into adulthood in a world that offers almost zero hope. Given that millennials are the most babied demographic in US history, it’s no surprise that they’re disillusioned with the reality of their lives when compared to what they had come to expect from the worlds their parents curated for them.

The economy has yet to recover from the 2008/9 financial crisis, and the “job growth” since the crisis consists of part-time positions for little (or no) pay and no benefits or security. Even the privileged millennials who manage to finish college are faced with the choice of defaulting on their student loans and borrowing money from their parents so they can intern for no pay or taking a service-sector job that will prevent them from ever pursuing a career position. Why bother? The ones without rich parents might as well throw in the towel now and start popping oxys.

Male millennials have a unique set of problems. They grew up on violent internet porn, music that celebrates money and fucking, movies and television shows that assured them that they needn’t do anything but sit and wait for a girlfriend to materialize and fulfill all of their bizarre fantasies, and violent video games that taught them to take anything they wanted by any means necessary (and to worship the military, if only for their masculine prowess as portrayed in these fantasy-lands). The world taught them to be lazy and incompetent, then didn’t deliver on the promise that being lazy and incompetent is no barrier to achievement. They also have no idea what’s going on, having fallen victim to the decades-long Republican offensive against public education, and have no social skills because they’ve lived their entire lives being coddled by their parents and interactive media designed to flatter their unwarranted arrogance. Given the growing gender achievement gap, it’s not surprising that young women are choosing to stay single rather than hitch their wagon to some entitled loser.

That leaves young men with two options: become a manipulative, faux-feminist, hipster fuckboy in order to use and abuse women, or — if they’re not handsome or “cool” enough to do that — retreat further from the hopelessness of reality and into the weird, stupid, dark circles of internet culture. It’s no surprise, then, that the “Meme Team” turns to “irony” and anonymous bullying to soothe their bruised egos. Young men have nothing to lose, nothing to hope for, and no ethical reference points. That’s a recipe for pointless chaos.

No one knows for sure what percentage of dudes in their 20s sincerely believe in the alt-right platform of white male supremacy, Libertarianism, and isolationism. No one knows what percentage of them promoted and voted for Trump and his looney message for the lulz. No one knows what percentage of them supported Bernie Sanders and then gave up and became nihilists when he didn’t magically turn the US into Denmark. No one knows what percentage of them place the entirety of the blame for the sorry state of their lives on women and/or feminism (though that’s likely upwards of 80%).

Millennial alt-right internet culture is amorphous and atomized, but the thread that seems to tie everything together is anti-feminism, mistaken self-perceived intellectual superiority, and trolling both for its own sake and as a protective measure for the ego. Oh, and the fact that every single one of these guys is a complete fucking dork. Let’s break it down a little, but keep in mind that there is massive overlap between all of the categories below.

Asshole Atheists

Dear lord, fucking atheists. Is there anything more irritating than a newly-minted atheist basking in the glow of self-satisfaction of having arrived at a conclusion most of us reached before junior high? Self-proclaimed inheritors of the virtues of logic, facts, and objectivity who display none of the above in their arguments, online atheists overlap so hard with incels and internet racists that I doubt there’s one dude out there who is one and not all three.

As Alex Nichols points out, atheism was annoying enough when deployed in response to the evangelical turn during the Bush years, but once intelligent design faded from the political scene, the genius brigade turned their jaundiced eyes on women and feminism:

New Atheism and the Gamergate movement of 2014—which sicced vicious online mobs on female journalists and game designers based on spurious allegations of media corruption—overlapped in several ways. They were both male-dominated, the latter almost exclusively so, and they both festered on nerd-oriented internet forums. Both movements resented women and minorities who asserted themselves within those spaces, ostensibly because it provided an unimportant distraction from their respective goals of destroying religion and uncritically consuming entertainment products. The difference, though, was that Gamergate had no basis in reality. The central allegation of that controversy, that a developer slept with a Kotaku writer in order to secure a positive review of her game, was blatantly untrue. No such review existed, which posed a problem for anyone who viewed himself as the protagonist in a battle “vs. FEMINISM.” In order to continue this all-out war on feminists—the curious replacement creationists for a new decade that lacked for them—these New-New Atheists had to break with reality altogether…

 

The only surprising thing about this marriage of convenience between the most irritating rhetorical style and the dumbest possible ideology is that it took so long to come about. Whatever merits anti-theism may have with regard to social issues, humanism was never the prime mover for New Atheism’s most devout adherents. They were after the burst of dopamine that comes from feeling smarter than other people, from exercising some pathetic simulacrum of masculine power, from seeing someone else feel bad and knowing they were responsible. Strangely enough, this is also the goal of modern right-wing politics. Just as conservatives discovered they could skip straight to the “angry liberal” portion of the argument by electing Donald Trump, the worst New Atheists discovered they didn’t need atheism at all. They could be just as insufferable alone, on Youtube, spitting nonsense into the vacuum.

There’s no telling whether these fools believe their arguments hold water, but at least some of them have to. Otherwise, I’d be forced to believe they’ve all got unlimited time on their hands and don’t mind wasting it on making YouTube videos from their filthy bedrooms affecting aggressive sincerity just to see how much of other people’s time they can waste.

Ironic” Racists, Anti-semites, Misogynists, and Homophobes

Milo, though he’s disingenuously sanguine about the real motives of the “Meme Team,” makes a point:

Millennials aren’t old enough to remember the Second World War or the horrors of the Holocaust. They are barely old enough to remember Rwanda or 9/11. Racism, for them, is a monster under the bed, a story told by their parents to frighten them into being good little children.

 

As with Father Christmas, Millennials have trouble believing it’s actually real. They’ve never actually seen it for themselves — and they don’t believe that the memes they post on /pol/ are actually racist. In fact, they know they’re not — they do it because it gets a reaction. Barely a month passes without a long feature in a new media outlet about the rampant sexism, racism or homophobia of online image boards. For regular posters at these boards, that’s mission accomplished.

 

Another, more palatable, interpretation of these memes is that they are clearly racist, but that there is very little sincerity behind them.

There’s no real way to determine how many of the dipshits who spout racist nonsense online and at poorly-attended rallies are sincere believers in the “ideas” they spread, which is part of the reason most of them choose the forums they do. Maybe they’re just excited at the prospect of saying “nigger” and “faggot” in their little safe spaces under the cover of a handle. Some of them have consoled themselves with the ludicrous idea that their incel-dom can be blamed on the fact that women are out misceginating with black guys instead of staying true to their race. Some of them may even be stupid enough to have been convinced of their genetic superiority by the likes of ol’ Gavin McInnes and his Proud Boys, who hold that straight white men created everything of value in the world (though that could just be McInnes duping them into helping him salvage his career by trolling the public on a hot-button topic).

Oh, where would we be without the Mountain Dew-swilling creators of all that is civilized and worthy! Sorry, not Mountain Dew, milk. That’s right. White men are meeting up in New York City of all places to chug milk together in some kind of fucking dairy-based Fight Club to demonstrate their ability to tolerate lactose. Which, of course, proves that white people are the best people. Or that they’re just bad comedians.

I’ve seen my share of racist, sexist, and homophobic memes, believe you me. Most of the content has to be a joke, however poorly-conceived. How can anti-semitism explode in a time and place when no one can name a Jew other than Jon Stewart? Still, what the fuck is to be gained from pretending to be a racist, homophobe, anti-semite, or misogynist other than the opportunity to flex one’s waning white male privilege in a forum in which no one is around to kick your ass?

Incels and Their Svengalis

In case you’re unaware, “incel” is a portmanteau of “involuntarily celibate.” These guys are NOT kidding. One really wants to feel sorry for incels, but they’re so repugnant that it just isn’t possible. Elliot Rodger was the quintessential incel, and I hate rewriting something I’ve already written, so here’s what I have to say about that:

The culture tells all men that they are owed access to women’s bodies and energy. Sitcoms feature attractive women married to and putting up with mountains of bullshit from blundering schlubs. Movies hammer the idea into boys’ minds that young, hot women, though they may resist at first, will eventually fall into the laps of lazy, misogynistic, overgrown infants like those played by Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. Porn tells young boys with no other knowledge of sex that women are filthy pigs who just love being gangbanged and ejaculated on by abusive, sneering monsters.

 

I don’t know why girls rejected Elliot Rodger when he entered adolescence, or whether they even did. There seemed to have been a window in junior high — before he started consuming porn — when that was not the case. He might have been a little awkward, he may have lacked social skills, but it appears that his obsessive sense of entitlement to what he believed other boys enjoyed (whether that was the case or not) took over, coloring all of his interactions and probably preempting any chance he had at relating to girls. He was consumed by the foolish belief that porn and bullshit adolescent male bragging were reality for everyone but him. Once that set in, his anger and desperation probably became palpable in social situations to the point that women — who learn from a young age how to spot signs of danger in male behavior — steered clear.

 

Without any real contact with women, for Rodger, they became cartoon characters, aliens, beasts, non-human. They were an enemy to be vanquished, a prize to be collected for the achievement of having been born male, the source of all of his frustrated expectations. He absorbed those messages wholesale from mass media culture. Rodger’s memoir reads like a catalog of his consumption of popular media, from Pokemon through World of Warcraft through Halo 2, from Star Wars to the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Game of Thrones, to internet pornography, to MRA discussion forums populated by legions of men railing against women for not fulfilling the fantasies instilled in them by that same media culture.

They’re pathetically off-track and have no chance of solving what they perceive to be the biggest problem in their lives: lack of sex. They spend their days jacking off to internet porn, cultivating anime philias, pining for the day they’ll be able to afford their very own robotic sex doll, and spewing misogyny all over the internet. They’ve become a target market for pick-up artist charlatans like Roosh V who purport to teach men the secrets to transforming themselves from beta cucks into alpha pussy magnets by neg-ing and otherwise manipulating women into getting naked. Once that inevitably fails, they swarm to 4chan, YouTube, and Reddit to air their rape, murder, and necrophilia fantasies.

freemarket

Kekistani Kaos

Old white people don’t know what to make of this goofy cartoon frog in a MAGA hat, even though he helped elect their boy president. Pepe, described here by Dale Beran (who is way too diplomatic in his description), stands in for the cesspool of losers who made him famous:

Viewed through the lens of the people first posting him, Pepe makes nothing but sense. The original comic panels from which Pepe is excerpted feature him getting caught peeing with his pants pulled all the way down, his ass hanging out. Surprisingly, he is unashamed of this, “feels good man” he tells his roommate.

 

The grotesque, frowning, sleepy eyed, out of shape, swamp dweller, peeing with his pants pulled down because-it-feels-good-man frog is an ideology, one which steers into the skid of its own patheticness. Pepe symbolizes embracing your loserdom, owning it. That is to say, it is what all the millions of forum-goers of 4chan met to commune about. It is, in other words, a value system, one reveling in deplorableness and being pridefully dispossessed. It is a culture of hopelessness, of knowing “the system is rigged”. But instead of fight the response is flight, knowing you’re trapped in your circumstances is cause to celebrate. For these young men, voting Trump is not a solution, but a new spiteful prank.

This would be sort of funny if it weren’t for the utterly aimless and stupid chaos it has wrought:

At some point, someone at 4chan happened to seize on a coincidence: There was, in fact, an Egyptian god named Kek. An androgynous god who could take either male or female form, Kek originally was depicted in female form as possessing the head of a frog or a cat and a serpent when male; but during the Greco-Roman period, the male form was depicted as a frog-headed man.

 

More importantly, Kek was portrayed as a bringer of chaos and darkness, which happened to fit perfectly with the alt-right’s self-image as being primarily devoted to destroying the existing world order.

 

In the fertile imaginations at play on 4chan’s image boards and other alt-right gathering spaces, this coincidence took on a life of its own, leading to wide-ranging speculation that Pepe – who, by then, had not only become closely associated with the alt-right, but also with the candidacy of Donald Trump – was actually the living embodiment of Kek. And so the Cult of Kek was born.

Millennial male nihilism and dishonest, self-serving “irony” have managed to cohere into an Egyptian frog cult with origins in an arcane joke from a video game, the invention of a fake ancient civilization (Kekistan), and a goddamned FLAG based on the Nazi banner that these idiots wear in public as a cape. These people actually think this is funny, that this demonstrates their superior intellect, that trolling the world by inventing a cult and playing dress-up will result in anything other than further isolating them from everyone but other edgelords/shitlords. Or maybe they don’t. Who knows?

Remember when we were all making fun of LARPers? They control the political culture for the foreseeable future and have no discernible goals other than punishing women for not putting out and fomenting further dorkery and chaos, no matter what the cost. REEEEEEEEEE. We got caught slippin’ big time.

That’s enough for now. I’m not going to start watching Rick and Morty and risk self-induced autism to further this post. Look out for a Part Two.

Nine Deuce’s pants on fire, also hanging from a telephone wire.

This afternoon, I had just gotten done telling Davetavius that I don’t want to engage in personal Internet scuffles of any kind (since it’s narcissistic, juvenile, and counterproductive) when I checked my stats and found something that nearly knocked me off my 12-pack: a Divine impersonator who can’t read has made a video about me!

Unfortunately, it’s so funny that I’m going to have to respond, even if it does make me feel like a geek (a word which still means “uncool” in my book).

In her expose, entitled Nine Deuce: Feminist or Bigot? (someone call Sundance) Little Devil (Xiao Gui, 小鬼), whose interests include Dungeons and Dragons, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Rocky Horror Picture Show, eastern religions, and Nietzsche (no, I’m not kidding — it’s as if she copied and pasted a “How to Be the Biggest Goth/BDSM Cliche You Can Be” pamphlet onto her page) claims that there are five LIES (!) contained within the first three posts in my BDSM series, and that I’m just like a Christian fundamentalist who hates the gays because I wonder whether it might not be possible that M/f BDSM relationships are problematic (guess she hasn’t seen part 5).

Her page urges us to “Carpe diem, bitches,” so let us wander through the five dastardly LIES one-by-one, yes?

  1. Nine Deuce, apparently, thinks BDSM is “all about male dominance and female submission.” Nope. The posts stated that I know that BDSM can take many other forms, but that the vast majority of BDSM relationships and encounters (and porn, natch) are M/f or recreate a M/f dynamic with things like “sissification.” I acknowledge that other forms exist, as I did in the posts, but I still wonder why we think sex and power and abuse ought to be comingled, especially living as we do in a hierarchical and oppressive society. LD thinks she’s got me because the original ads I placed were as a submissive woman and a submissive man. She’d be right if my intent in the “research” had been to prove that BDSM was all about men dominating women. The thing is, I know a thing or two about research and was well aware of the fact that my method wouldn’t have been sound had I tried to use it to prove anything quantitative scientifically. What I was trying to do was to show that the types of responses I got from men writing to what they thought was a submissive woman illustrate the kinds of attitudes that dominant men share with plain old sex abusers.
  2. Nine Deuce thinks that “male dominance is an outgrowth of our patriarchal or misogynistic culture,” which is clearly a fucking lie! Say what? How is male dominance NOT an outgrowth of a patriarchal society? For fuck’s sake, it’s the DEFINITION of patriarchy! Apparently, my assumption that male dominants might have absorbed something of a message that’s more ubiquitous than Coke ads is “pseudo-psychological drivel” akin to people claiming that male homosexuality is caused by domineering mothers. Way to try to poison the well there, LD, but I don’t think anyone’s buying that comparison. Blaming mothers for homosexuality is double-dutch-deluxe misogyny: blame a woman for a man being like a woman (which is the worst thing one can be). It’s also quite a stretch to think that a mother bossing her son around would lead directly to a hankering for dong. What you’d have to believe in order to think that a mother could make her son gay is that assertive women raise timid men, and a timid man is basically a woman, and women get fucked by men. Hence we have a hula-hoop of haterism in which the unifying feature is misogyny and woman-blaming. That’s not psychology, it’s a weak and nonsensical justification for homophobia and misogyny. Compare that to my supposition, that a misogynistic and sexually-repressed society breeds a situation in which women are rewarded for being sexually submissive and in which men come to view women with a mix of desire and sexual guilt, which leads to the desire to abuse, dominate, and degrade. LD thinks that her own experiences and those of a few people she knows disprove the idea that culture might influence sexuality, and goes so far as to suggest that BDSM might be hereditary because she’s heard it runs in families. Are you fucking kidding me? As if we aren’t absorbing messages from birth about male and female behavior from the examples set by our parents and others in the household. Why does everyone seem to think that we are immune to social messages until we reach some magical age at which we know we’re gay/straight/submissive/dominant/into jam bands? I keep hearing this nonsense from BDSMers about how they knew they had submissive desires when they were five, or ten, or whatever, as if that’s proof that these sorts of things can’t be socially inculcated. Where were they until that age, on Mars? Absolute tomfoolery.
  3. Nine Deuce thinks kink is about “cheap thrills” rather than intimacy and love. I don’t give a fuck whether it’s about intimacy or adrenaline, really. I’m sure there are BDSM couples out there who love each other and are intimate as all get down, but I do wonder why, when your average couple is having problems, counselors think it appropriate for them to suggest that the couple introduce volatile power dynamics into their sex lives, and why that so often turns into a M/f situation. (That was what part 2 was all about.) LD also claims I’m basing my understanding of BDSM relationships on porn rather than real people’s experiences, which she’d know is not the case had she read part 4, part 5, or my post about Kink dot com. I’m aware that there’s a difference between porn and real life, but I’m also aware that they have an effect on each other, and I assume everyone else is too (barring “separaters,” of course).
  4. Nine Deuce thinks she knows better than everyone else what they want out of their sex lives! She’s like a homophobe telling a lesbian she just needs some dick! I don’t remember telling anyone that I know what they secretly want, but if you can find a quote, let’s see it.
  5. Nine Deuce thinks BDSMers are unfit to have children! That argument was put to rest in the comments on part 4 and part 5. LD says that “vanilla” (retch) couples don’t fuck in front of their kids, so why should we think BDSMers do? LD informs me, in a very knowing tone, that I’ve gotten the insane idea that BDSM relationships are 24/7 from porn. I have? I didn’t get the idea  that full-time BDSM relationships exist from porn (which, if I had, would make me an idiot, since I know the difference between people fucking for money on tape and real life), I got it from the blogs and comments of real people here and elsewhere. I don’t know whether there are any people out there breaking out the gag ball in front of their kids, but I do know there are people with kids in full-time BDSM relationships in which the D/s dynamic is apparent to the children. No, that’s not qualitatively different from a traditional, patriarchal family, but I’m not wearing a t-shirt in support of that shit either.

I’m a little concerned about LD’s ability to read. First of all, are any of these things actually “lies” on my part? Four them are mischaracterizations of what I’ve said, and one (the fourth one) is a flat-out lie itself, taken as it is from thin air rather than even the most warped of possible interpretations of what I’ve written. But even if I had written all of these things, would they be “lies”? Or would they be opinions and ideas that LD doesn’t agree with?

Then, of course, she breaks out the old, “You talk about it so much, you must secretly be into it!” and compares me to the anti-gay preacher who gets caught hosing a male prostitute. You got me, 小鬼! I’ve been blogging about my opposition to porn, misogynistic advertising, fascistic beauty standards, plastic surgery, eating disorders, rape, the fashion industry, male privilege in our legal and political system, Flomax, gender roles, kids toys that limit girls’ visions for their futures, Suicide Girls, and what’s wrong with sporting culture for about 18 months, to the tune of 181 posts. I’d better come out and tell everyone the truth now: I really spend my Saturdays making amateur bukkake videos in between butthole bleaching and pube waxing sessions.  On Sundays I get Botox injections in my elbow creases and get collagen injected into my calves, then head to the mall and try on stilettos and girdles all day. Monday I get back to work, where I create ads to sell Durex condoms (you can see my work here) and help author legislation that will make it easier for rapists to evade prosecution. I head home every night and do all the housework while my daughter plays with Bratz and watches the Disney channel and my son plays with GI Joes and plastic guns, then blow my husband while he watches the NFL and drinks Coors Light. Once everyone’s gone to bed, I gorge myself on Betty Crocker Warm Delights cakes and then make myself puke them back up. I mean, I wouldn’t want to get fat and find myself in a situation in which rapists didn’t think me hot enough to rape! And believe you me, I’m into rape. If I wasn’t, why would I write about it so much?

Prett weak sauce, 小鬼. Next time maybe you ought to put a little more time and effort into font selection and mesh-glove-to-lipstick coordination. And making sense.

Dude, did you take a picture of yourself fucking a pizza?

I’m a half-assed vegan. That means I edit the list of things I will and won’t eat at will, and that I do so frequently. But, because I sometimes stick to the rules, I’ve got a few vegan cookbooks. One of those cookbooks is Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She apparently has or had some local access show in New York called the Post Punk Kitchen (What does that even mean? Does she imbue her dishes with the spirit of Sonic Youth and The Jesus Lizard or something?), and she’s got a related website. One day I happened upon a section of the website’s forums called “Food Porn XXX.” Say what? I seriously thought for a second that I might find images therein of people committing lewd acts with seitan (Satan!). I know, I’m a dork. What it really is is a collection of photos people have taken of edible items they’ve cooked, usually based loosely on Moskowitz’s recipes. 

Then, a few years later, I came across some link on some stupid website (I’m sure it was something owned by Gawker) that was categorized as “hotel porn.” Apparently people are creaming their shorts over images of $950-a-night hotel rooms. That shit was weird enough, but what really blows my mind is “puppy porn.” You know, photos of puppies for people who really like to squeal over cute shit. I’ll admit that I don’t give a shit about puppies, but it struck me as odd for several other reasons as well. First, why are we using the word “porn” to refer to images that have nothing to do with depictions of sex (whoops, I mean prostitution)? And second, as “pornography” is basically synonymous with “obscenity,” does it really make sense to use the term to refer to pictures of lentil loaf and baby dachshunds? Third, doesn’t using the term “porn” in connection with innocuous, fairly wholesome things like vegan snacks and pets (puppy mills notwithstanding) lessen its impact and help normalize the consumption of real pornography in mainstream daily life? Actually, I think the fact that we’re using the word “porn” in so many contexts means the work of normalizing porn culture has already been done, that the acceptance of rampant porn use as a matter of course is already taken for granted.

Well, let me remind you why pictures of food, puppies, hotels, etc. do not qualify as porn. The word “pornography,” as Laurelin recently pointed out, has a very specific meaning:

 

Greek: porne = slave prostitute, raped daily in the public brothels of Athens, graphe= from graphos = I write, depict.

‘Whore’/ ‘porne’ is a misogynistic term, applied to women whom men can abuse with impunity, and near impunity. It comes from the sexual, political and economic subordination of women.

 

When we look at “puppy porn,” we are not looking at the graphic representation of a cultural hatred of puppies. When we look at “food porn,” we aren’t seeing burritos degraded, we aren’t absorbing the message that dumplings are filthy sluts that deserve to have their heads shoved into toilets and their faces ejaculated on. No one is attempting to assert their power over fancy hotel rooms by making hotel rooms suck a dick that’s already been in the hotel room’s ass, all while calling the hotel room a whore and slapping it around. And no beagle, quiche, or deluxe suite has had to pretend it enjoys undergoing serious abuse in order to excite a lascivious audience of “porn” lovers. 

I don’t mean to be gross, but I think people need reminding about what actually goes on in porn, and I think people need reminding that we ought to reserve the use of that word for describing real, actual pornography. I have a step-daughter. She likes pictures of puppies. I don’t want to hear that her desire to look at a photo of a baby dog is somehow equivalent to some piece of shit’s hankering after images of women allowing themselves to be fucked by grown-up dogs. And Moskowitz ought to be ashamed of herself. She claims to be an anarcha-feminist. Can someone tell me how photos of vegan cupcakes equate with images of women’s sexual and economic exploitation? Words matter and shit.

(Oh, and talking about “food porn” and “puppy porn” makes you sound like a fucking dork.)

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Duck season! Rabbit season!

A post at B‘s place has gotten me to thinking. “Sex-positive” types often object to my posts on porn, sexuality, etc. in comments that accuse me of being anti-sex or of attmempting to shame women. They tell me they have fought long and hard for women’s freedom of sexual expression and against the idea that women who like sex are sluts. Did it ever occur to anyone that I take for granted that women’s sexuality ought to be freed from the constraints placed on it by the virgin/whore dichotomy? That I approach everything with the assumption that women’s sexuality should not be a source of shame? It’s foundational and unassailable for me, and so I’ve moved beyond it; I operate under the assumption that we ought to be free to express our sexuality without the fear of being condemned as sluts by the agents of patriarchy. But that doesn’t mean that all sexual activity is inherently feminist. I see three stages of thinking about women’s sexuality: 

  1. Reactionary: People who have absorbed what the patriarchy has to teach about women’s sexual suboordination are frightened by women exercising their sexuality and voicing their desires, so they attempt to shame women who transgress patriarchal norms to force them back into line. 
  2. Libertarian: Anyone with a brain can see that’s bullshit, so many women have fought for our right to participate in and enjoy sex without the fear of recrimination. That’s a good thing, but women’s sexual liberation has yet to be achieved, and sexual libertarianism has led to some problematic ways of looking at things. Many women have absorbed the idea that women’s sexual liberation is the goal, and then have gone on to assume that any sex act a woman might want to participate in is liberating and thus unproblematic and/or unassailable.  
  3. Liberationist: It is taken for granted that women ought to be free to express and explore their sexuality, but that does not mean that sex is a sacred cow and that we have no right to question the morality of a sexual behavior. Does a sex act hinder the cause of women’s wholesale sexual liberation or the progress toward women’s legal, social, and cultural liberation? Does it pose the risk of harm to individual women? A sexual Liberationist would never argue that a sex act ought to be banned or that women ought to not be allowed to participate in whatever activities they deem appropriate, but she might question the choice to do so and the impact that choice has on women as a whole. With freedom comes responsibility, blah blah. 

What often happens is that sexual Libertarians and sexual Liberationists often go in circles, with the Libertarians calling the Liberationists reactionaries and the Liberationists calling the Libertarians sell-outs. I understand the Libertarian viewpoint: the smidgen of sexual freedom we do have has been hard-won, and other women coming in to question what we do with it might seem outrageous coming so close on the heels of our wresting that small bit of freedom away from the phallocrats. But Liberationists want to push things further. We’ve got the freedom to fuck, but how about the freedom to be treated like human beings with sexual desires that might not match up so well with what men want out of us? How about the freedom to develop our sexuality in a world free of misogyny and the message that we ought to be aroused by being used? I wish that these Libertarians would quit pretending they don’t understand the difference between a Liberationist and a Reactionary. If we could all acknowledge each other’s real positions and quit getting caught up in a circle of accusations, we might actually get somewhere. 

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The World Hates People with Vaginas, Part 1: The Donkey Punch

Hello, everyone, and welcome to part one of my new series that will never, ever end, The World Hates People With Vaginas. You see, I hear on an almost daily basis that women have made impressive strides in recent history, that equality is all but a foregone conclusion, that feminism is passe, that I’m living in the past and haven’t noticed just how good we’ve got it these days. We are, the story goes, living in a “post-feminist” society, whatever the fuck that means (I think it means we’re living in a society in which most women have been duped into believing they’ve gotten as much as they’re going to get and ought to be grateful they aren’t in Afghanistan).

Well, I’m here to tell you that feminism is still necessary because the world still hates women. And in order to prove it to you, I’m starting a new series in which I will present to my dear readership and to whatever random assholes get here searching for “6 year old fucking” and “slut bitch cougar fuckers” examples of the overt and flamboyant misogyny that pervades our popular culture. I warn you, this series is going to be fucked up. Real fucked up. It’s designed to force people who are putting their all into denying that misogyny is still a serious problem to consider the idea that they might, in fact, be full of shit.

So, let’s roll.

You know what I recommend you never, ever do? Peruse Urban Dictionary. I recommend that you avoid that URL for a very good reason: it’s the most terrifyingly misogynistic website on Earth. I mean it, dude. It’s nothing but page upon page upon page of descriptions of various methods of sexual assault and abuse written by fifteen-year-old rapists and voted upon by thirteen-year-old rapists-in-training. And the implication is that these miscreants have either done what they’re describing or wish they could. I understand that these things are more often than not nothing but teenage bravado and bullshit, but that somehow doesn’t decrease the “holy shit, thank god I’m not fifteen anymore” factor. Why not, you ask? Because these descriptions abound, because they’re saturated with dehumanization and hatred, and they’re clearly not arousing much disapproval, if one can judge anything by the thumbs-up vs. thumbs-down ratios the average Urban Dictionary post receives.

Let’s get an example, huh?

The entry for “donkey punch” brings up seven pages of results. Here are some samples:

while banging ur bitch in the anus u proceed to then punch her in the back of the head… if she coughs up blood thats 10 points!!
i fucked my bestfriends bitch and donkey punched the hell out of that bitch
The ratio on that one was 4:1, thumbs-up:thumbs-down. Another charmer:
The lesser known and even lesser appreciated version of the Donkey Punch, wherein you perform the normal acts of a donkey punch but then proceed to grab onto a ceiling fan and swing around over her unconscious body, trying to shit in her mouth.
“Man, sex with Michelle has been getting boring lately”
“Have you tried to donkey punch?”
“Yeah, it doesn’t help.”
“How about the donkey swing?”
“Bitchin!!”
17:9. One more:
Banging a girl doggy style and then moments before you cum, sticking your dick in her ass, and then punching her in the back of the head as hard as you can. This gives a tremendous sensation. But for it to work correctly, the girl must be completely knocked out, so that her asshole tightens up uncontrollably.
Last night, when I got back from the game I donkey punched Jenny, twice.
Apparently the correct spelling bummed people out, because that one only got a 3:2 thumbs-up to thumbs-down ratio. I did find a few posts that garnered more thumbs-down than thumbs-up votes. See this one, for example:
For anybody even remotely considering this stunt (adequately explained in the definitions) or for those who somehow think the idea of a donkey punch is amusing, I have the following opinion from a prosecutor at our local District Attorney’s Office:
Donkey punching is easily indictable as a serious felony on two counts.    First: deadly assault. A blow to the back of the head is can easily cause a severe or fatal brain stem injury; even no-holds-barred professional fights ban it.

Second: it is rape, pure and simple. The logic of this would be easily understood by any jury. The object and motivation of donkey punching is clear and unambiguous: it is to render the victim unconscious and thus incapable of saying “NO” to something the victim would ordinarily and vigorously object to.

Our office, given proper evidence would, with great eagerness and determination, prosecute a case such as this. The probability of conviction would be virtually certain. Furthermore, we could convincingly argue that the perpetrator(s) are to be regarded as dangerous sex criminals and thus pose a clear community danger while awaiting trial. Few judges would deny our argument that the perpetrators should be imprisoned while awaiting trial.

In addition, there is ample precedence for conviction of those encouraging these crimes on separate felony crimes of aiding and abetting a sexual assault. A viewing of Jody Foster’s “The Accused”, based on an actual rape conviction, should make this plain to people.

In the case of a prearranged or planned assault, an additional and more serious charge of conspiracy would be added to the indictment.

774:827. Apparently the denizens of Urban Dictionary don’t wanna hear from anyone who thinks women are human.

Do I need to analyze this little example of why this world is still a shitty place in which to be female for anyone? I realize that the majority of the people who fuck around on Urban Dictionary are adolescent virgins who listen to nu metal and run around with Aqua Teen Hunger Force t-shirts on, and hence never have and quite possibly never will have the opportunity to attempt a donkey punch on a sex partner, but that isn’t the point. These posts illustrate the fact that hating women is not only still accepted and encouraged among young people, but that it’s now become an extreme sport. There are no less than 47 gleeful descriptions on this website of an act (and it’s just one of hundreds of thousands) that is nothing short of battery and rape in language so hateful and degrading that I’ll go ahead and call it hate speech. (I know, I’m such a fag.) Even if none of the little assholes who wrote or voted on any of these posts has actually attempted to carry out the act, there’s still the little problem that people are openly encouraging rape and behaving as if it were the funniest shit of all time in a public forum that gets 12 million hits a month. One can only imagine what kind of shit the adolescent girls of the world are having to deal with these days and will have to suffer at the hands of these dicks as they get older and become sexually active. But let’s also not forget that adolescent boys alone can’t account for 12 million hits a month.

To sum up, just in case anybody missed it, the goal in this little act of sexual assault is to rape a woman anally, and then to knock her out when she protests, because it purportedly feels good. Male pleasure, once again, comes at the cost of female suffering, and, quite honestly, looks as though it also derives therefrom. I wonder, really I do: could porn have anything to do with the escalation in the violence and degradation in teenage boys’ fantasies? Nah, couldn’t be. They come up with this shit on their own, I’m sure, because adolescent boys are so imaginative and creative.

Women in our society have achieved some legal rights, so misogyny’s over, right? The widespread cultural acceptance of the hatred of women is no big deal, because we prosecute rape sometimes, right? Pornography has no real impact on women’s lives because it’s pure fantasy, completely separate from the way people think about the world and interact with others, right? Whatever, dude. Tell that to this poor woman (73:29; I’m assuming the up votes are from the few outraged women on the site and from young dudes who think her suffering is just hilarious):

first, to the one that said no one actualy donkey punches, that is not tru. when i was in colege, a guy i hooked up with donkey punched me and i had to go to the hospital. i got brain damage. thatnk you, for that. anyway, a donkey punch is when a guy punches the girl in the back of the head and its sposed to make you have an orgasam. it doesnt work, and i cant telll you enogh not to do it.

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Dimples Kids Spa, making your 6-year-old sexy as fuck.

Ugh. Do I have to admit this? OK, I’m on Facebook. I was checking my Facebook page today to see what kind of dorky shit the people I know who have Facebook pages were doing and I happened to spy a teensy little ad in the column to the right of the page. The ad was for a place called Dimples Kids Spa (nice name — pardon me while I puke), which is located in Brooklyn Heights. I love New York sometimes, but I really hate it sometimes too. If someone can come up with a disgusting, insulting way to part people and their money, it’ll happen here first. This place has been open for a bit, so I’m sure there’s something similar in LA by now, but whatever. New York is the world capital of offensive profligacy, the city that offers the rich asshole the largest variety of opportunities to communicate the fact that she/he is evil by doing things like pissing off to eat a $1000 ice cream sundae after blindly waltzing past a woman begging for change for some corporate shit-burger with no nutritional value. And what better way to tell the world and all of its poor people that they can collectively huff a dong than to throw hundreds of dollars away on spa treatments for children?

Hence we have Dimples Kids Spa. If you live in Brooklyn Heights and just can’t figure out how to waste your money quickly enough, toss your kid into your Orbit Baby Infant Carrying System (MSRP $900), stop off for an $8 non-alcoholic beverage, and then drop her ass off for a spa day (drop your son off at the park where he can exercise and develop coordination and motor skills).  At Dimples, your little girl can “indulge” in hair, nail, and facial services, and they even do parties! Their services include temporary tattoos (what your daughter really needs is a temporary lower back tattoo), manicures, pedicures, chocolate facials, strawberry honey facials, hair braiding, hair styling for the “evening”  (you know, for all of those black-tie events), and flat-ironing. Because nothing looks less sexy on a kid than wavy hair.

What the fuck!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Has everyone lost sight of what spas (massage services notwithstanding) and salons are really about? They do nothing other than enable women to waste their lives and money striving for the ever-elusive beauty standards that our society sets up for them. And whence do those standards derive? From boners. Salons and spas exist to help women  increase the number of men who want to fuck them, and that’s it. All of this bullshit about “self-indulgence” and “empowerment” and “me time” is fucking absurd. I mean, sure, it’s a good idea, if you have to waste several hours a week on your appearance, to make the wasting of those hours as pleasant as possible, but women wouldn’t do any of that shit if we weren’t told that we are blowing it as human beings if we don’t look like gold-dusted, semi-moist cartoons.

The fact that the average woman’s idea of the ultimate way to spend a day so often involves hundreds of dollars’ worth of beauty treatments ought to show you that there’s something seriously amiss with femininity, our cultural ideas of what’s sexually attractive, and capitalism. Feminity is a fucking jail sentence, not an “indulgence.”  It requires that we sacrifice our time, energy, and self-worth chasing a goal we’ll never reach, the goal of being adequate as human beings when “adequacy” for women means hotness and when the definition of what’s hot changes every second. Our social construction of what is attractive binds women into a never-ceasing downward spiral of self-hatred and doubt, because our social construction of what is attractive springs from misogyny and is abetted by capitalism. Capitalism doesn’t work if we have a sense of “good enough,” and the entire world of marketing and product development exist to remind us that there’s no such thing as “good enough.” We don’t have enough shit, we aren’t hot enough, we haven’t put forth the effort or spent the money that we need to. We have to take that next step on the staircase to nowhere in order to be a little bit less worthless.

I have a good idea! Let’s introduce our daughters into this fucking mess as early as possible so that they’ll never have a chance to escape it! Let’s make sure that they learn that their lives ought to revolve around how much sexual attention they can get from men, and quick! Get ’em started on mani-pedis, facials, and the idea that the natural texture of their hair is an abomination as early as possible. It shouldn’t be that hard to convince a female child to accompany mom to the salon in the current Pepto-Bismol environment young girls are forced to live in, just tell her there’ll be lots of pink shit and that she’ll feel like a princess. Of course it’s not inappropriate to sexualize a 6-year-old and to encourage her to objectify herself. It’s good, clean mommy-daugther bonding action!

For those of you new moms, Dimples Kids Spa has an even better option. They do baby mani-pedis, so you can get your daughter onto the femininity track as a baby so that, by the time she’s five, wearing nail polish and having facials will come as naturally to her as tilting her head and pretending to be stupid and dainty when men talk to her. Hey, if you don’t get her used to the idea early on that she exists on this Earth to be looked at and lusted after, she might get the foolish idea that she’s a human being, and we all know that leads to disappointment, frustration, and a sense of unfairness — and then on to FEMINISM! And we wouldn’t want that. Men don’t want to fuck feminists, and if no one wants to fuck you, what power have you got as a woman?

Wake up, you fucking dupes. If not for yourselves, then for your daughters. I understand that as things are, sex appeal is one of the few sources of power that women have, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to allow our worth as human beings be determined by advertisers, by the fashion industry, by how much male lust we can garner, but the only hope we have is that we start teaching young girls the right things, and the right things don’t include chocolate facials.  I didn’t start hearing that it was my responsibility numero uno to put shit all over my face, fingers, and hair every day in service of the fuckability mandate until I was an adolescent. As such, I stood some chance of seeing it for the inconvenience and outrage that it is. Had I been coated in face masks and nail polish at the age of 6, I’d have stood absolutely no chance, especially if the coating took place in a cutesty party environment and if it was presented as a bonding experience with mommy.

If anyone wants to toilet paper this place, send me an e-mail.

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BDSM (the sexual equivalent of being into Renaissance faires) Part 5: Nine Deuce, you’re a homophobe!

I’ve been catching a lot of grief lately from pro-BDSM bloggers and commenters for my posts on BDSM, and one of the most commonly recurring refrains happens to be that I sound just like one of those God Hates Fags assholes. Reader Gorgias was originally the most vociferous in his claims that questioning BDSM is akin to homophobia, and he posted several comments claiming that a large number of people in the scene report having lost their jobs and/or kids when their proclivities were discovered. I responded that I think people who are running around at work talking about their sex lives, whether their sex lives include weapons or not, are behaving inappropriately, as are people who expose children to their sexual activities. I don’t think it’s cool for people to be fired from their jobs or blackmailed because of what they do in their private lives, but I figured anyone who is being honest with themselves and who is engaging in this argument in good faith would know better than to pretend I think otherwise. Emotions are running high, everyone feels victimized, insults abound, so I suppose I can understand why things have gotten a little out of hand. But let me clarify a few things:

  1. I don’t think anyone ought to be fired from a job for what they do outside of work, as long as they’re not hurting anyone or wearing Crocs. 
  2. I don’t think anyone’s kids ought to be taken away from them unless abuse is occurring. However, I think that it is inappropriate for parents to engage in a full-time M/f relationship that is obvious to their children. Raising kids in that environment, regardless of whatever consent does or doesn’t exist between the parents (I’m going to leave that argument to others), removes consent and discussions of feminism from the equation. There’s no way a kid can grow up in that environment and not assume that a gender hierarchy is natural and normal. Adults might be able to thoughtfully make the decision to engage in such behavior and balance that with their ideas about equality and/or liberation  (again, I’ll leave that argument aside), but a kid can’t.  A parent has every right to seek custody of their child and to deny it to the other parent if they do not want the child to be raised in such an environment. 
  3. I don’t think BDSM ought to be criminalized. I’m a liberal when it comes to laws; I think the only way to combat a behavior is through changing people’s attitudes, not by banning things. I do think that serious physical damage ought to be prosecutable, whether the person suffering the damage wishes to press charges or not, because life and limb ought not to be in danger. 

There’s my position. 

As to this comparison between myself and religious fundamentalists who hate gay people, need I really explain the differences? Fine, here goes.

Let’s think first about what motivates homophobes. Men and women who are threatened by homosexuality are threatened by it because it carries the potential to disrupt their entire system of beliefs, to defy what they’ve come to see as the Natural Order of  Things (NOT).

“Nature” is a very slippery and very powerful mental construct that has been used to justify and to condemn any number of human activities. When we decide something is “natural,” it becomes fundamentally unassailable, which is why the term is thrown around so much. The problem is, there is no such thing as “nature.” Nature itself is a human psychological construct. I mean, yeah, the world is still there and the things in it exist no matter what we call them, but exactly which items and processes will be included under the term “nature” depends on who the one defining the term is. 

For western individuals who bumble around under the weight of the legacy of hundreds of years of Judeo-Christian ideas about sex and gender, the Enlightenment-era medicalization and biological essentialization of gender difference and female inferiority, and the general patriarchal tradition, the gender hierarchy is “natural.”  That is especially true of religious fruitcakes who believe what people like James Dobson have to say about what Christianity is about (sex is dirty, women ought to submit to men, everyone who disagrees will burn in hell, etc.). For these people, “natural” means “designed and sanctioned by the Big Guy,” and everything the Big Guy says goes. The problem is, the Big Guy probably doesn’t exist, and so the people in charge get to repackage their methods of protecting their place at the top of the hierarchy as what the Big Guy wants. When men get to put words into the mouth of gods, gods tend to reflect the desires of men. And thus, god wants patriarchy.

Patriarchy cannot exist without two agreed-upon sex roles arranged in a rigid hierarchy: men over women. Patriarchy, being approved by god as it is, is thus seen as the NOT. When anyone resists performing their role as assigned, they are therefore Going Against Nature. When someone defies Nature and the world doesn’t spontaneously combust, the people who are heavily invested in the maintenance of the dominant conception of the NOT freak out like Japanese girls over a Paris Hilton sighting. 

There are several ways to defy the NOT, but the most common one is to fuck the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Women who get down with other women lie on one end of the continuum; as long as they are doing it to titillate men, and as long as they remember that the party isn’t complete without a wiener, they’re tolerable. Women who get busy with other women and have no need for men aren’t. They threaten the NOT to an extent that makes men really uncomfortable, so men use what tools they have at their disposal to try to shove these women back into line, including violence, rape, and murder. But most men are content to just give lesbians the old sour-grapes routine and deny their worth as female human beings by accusing them of being unfuckable. If that doesn’t work, they may escalate. But men’s biggest fear is the male apostate. A man who fucks another man gives up the benefits of membership in the oppressor class and chooses to become, in the eyes of the average patriarchy beneficiary, just like a woman. There is no greater threat to the NOT than men who, in full cognizance of the benefits that come with being born male (that is, the privilege of using and abusing women), are content to shun those benefits in order to assume a “feminine” role. When men feel that the entire rationale behind their supremacy is in danger, they are forced to bring up Nature. “What you’re doing is against nature,” they say, and when one defies nature, the people who get to define the NOT, following another facet of “nature,” often react with violence (whether of the physical or emotional sort). 

So how do I differ from a patriarchy beneficiary or an appeaser when I question M/f BDSM? I don’t see M/f BDSM as throwing a wrench into the NOT, but rather as a pronounced and exaggerated display of the sexual hierarchy that the NOT rests upon. F/m or F/f or M/m BDSM might (MIGHT) do so, but I’m not sure that switching between the two roles does much to dismantle the roles themselves, and it’s the roles that I think cause the damage. I think male supremacy is a Bad Thing, and maybe even the Worst Thing, as so many other Bad Things seem to flow either directly or indirectly from it. Eroticizing male supremacy won’t get us any closer to destroying patriarchy or the phony, restrictive, oppressive sex roles that allow it to exist. And make no mistake, my goal numero uno in life is to do as much damage as I can to both before having my ashes scattered on Pulau Perhentian Besar. 

I think it would do us some good to look at BDSM encounters separately from D/s and/or M/s relationships. I’ve said a kajillion times that I don’t think people would be into BDSM in a post-patriarchal world, but we aren’t there yet. People might, in that world, still get excited by extreme sensations, but I don’t think that the accompanying power differential rituals would exist. So, I suppose we can leave BDSM in the context of the sexual encounter there (and open for argument).  As for relationship BDSM, I’m much more dubious. I doubt very seriously that there’d be a psychological need for power exchange in a world in which human relationships weren’t based on patriarchal hierarchies. What I’m struggling with, and have been all along, is figuring out how we can get to that place from the one we’re currently in. It’s easy for one group to say, “Hey, if you will all just stop doing what you’re doing, we’ll all get where we want to go.” But where we want to go has been defined, at least in part, by where we’re coming from, and the place we’re coming from is one in which sex and power (as it manifests in the two sex roles) are nearly inextricable.

For some people, the trouble involved in untangling the two is more than one should be asked to deal with. It might be that it’s easier to find happiness in being where the individual is than in pushing toward the place where the group wants to go. Sometimes meshing individual desires and the good of womankind (and humankind, though most men don’t know it yet) as a whole just can’t be done. Sometimes I eat chicken, sometimes I shave my legs, sometimes it’s easier to do what the NOT tells me to than to be constantly giving everyone the metaphorical finger.

The appeal to nature is a powerful one, and our ideas of what is and is not natural are deeply ingrained. When someone does something that strikes us as unnatural, we recoil with horror and want to protect ourselves, our worldviews, and (if they exist) our children from what we perceive as a foundational threat. That may not be noble or laudable, but it is nonetheless a common human trait. It takes a lot of work and critical thinking to question the received wisdom on the NOT, so it’s no surprise that not many people do. I avoid discussions of nature for just the reasons I’ve outlined above. It’s dangerous and it’s generally bullshit (ask me what I think  of patriarchiology — I mean evolutionary biology/psychology — some time), and I try to avoid it. But maybe I’m guilty of having my own NOT, one in which our current gender hierarchy is warped and out of touch with reality, one in which humanity is a given and in which sex roles don’t exist. But is that so threatening? My NOT might not be orderly or stable, but it carries a lot less potential for misery and violence than the one we’re currently rolling with. 

It may seem on the surface, when I say that I don’t think that children ought to be exposed to BDSM, or that I’m concerned about the ambiguities and potential for abuse that exist within BDSM, that I’m just like some asshole who perceives a threat to the NOT and who is lashing out at something they see as “unnatural,” but that’s a fairly shallow way of looking at what I’m saying, and I think it’s a way of avoiding the central point of contention by claiming victimhood. I’ll admit right here that I’m guilty of using inflammatory language in some of these posts (OK, in all of my posts), but my previous BDSM posts were aimed at people outside of the radfem and BDSM communities. This one isn’t, so I’ve done my best to avoid it. Now, am I still a God Hates Fags asshole? 

Here’s to civility.

I’m going to go act like a capitalist pig and conform to social expectations by drinking a bunch of beer to celebrate my impending capitulation to the patriarchy (getting married).

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