The Secret Sexism of Sensitivity


The last essay in which I wrote a direct response to another writer concerned religion.  For the second, I’ll be switching over to The 1585's other favorite topic, sex — and not just sex but, more specifically, the ways in which sex has been fucked up by the Bad Kind of Feminism (the academic P.C. kind, which hates all forms of power — as opposed to the Good Kind of Feminism, which is the kind that actually empowers women instead of just training them to be terrified of everything…  Seriously, how the fuck can you empower anyone if you hate power?).  

And, just to make things interesting, the article I’ll be responding to is by a man.  This not only makes things more complex, but also makes the point more clear — the point being that the Bad Kind of Feminism actually hurts women in the long run, because it only ends up reinforcing the forms of sexism that were the whole problem in the first place.  Case in point:  the below article, scanned from the “A Man’s Opinion” section of a recent issue of Glamour, is written by a guy who is under the impression that he’s being “sensitive” and saying what women want him to say — namely, that kink and aggression are terrible, and that it’s terrible how women feel all this terrible pressure to do all these terrible things just to please men, when they certainly don’t need to do all these terrible things to please a nice guy like him.  What he consistently fails even to consider for a moment, however, is the possibility that many women actually like these things — which would mean they’re not so terrible.

click to enlarge original retarded article.

click to enlarge original retarded article.

Now, I realize there’s the question of audience to consider here.  I am aware that this article appeared in Glamour, for fuck’s sake, and that actual glamorous women don’t read Glamour any more than actual seventeen-year olds read Seventeen.  As with most women’s magazines, it is a mainstream publication aimed at unremarkable people — which is the problem not only with women’s magazines, but with any mainstream medium.  Since the majority of people in any broad demographic are dumb and boring and suck, and anything that doesn’t tell those people exactly what they want to hear will not make much money, there is a pronounced tendency for media to tell people who are dumb and boring and suck exactly what they want to hear.  And, it turns out, the things that people who are dumb and boring and suck want to hear are not always 100% accurate. 

This would not be the biggest deal in the world if we were just talking about mindless entertainment — but, unfortunately for women, nothing aimed at women (or any other marginalized group) can ever be seen simply as mindless entertainment.  There is always the question of whether said thing is helping or hurting them.  Obviously, Maxim is not improving men, but men don’t have to worry about whether something is “improving” them, and women do.  Come to think of it, women also have to worry about whether something is improving men — so, apparently, women just have to worry about everything.

Except whether they like to bite people, because this is no big deal, which brings us to the response.

Jake opens by relaying (what is to him) a horror story about a date with a chick who was into biting.  At least, that’s the way we 1585ers see it.  The way Jake sees it is that he was on a date with a chick who was under the impression that men wanted her to be into biting, which is very different.  Let’s ignore our desire to rip on Jake for recoiling in panic from the bite like a prepubescent Mormon and get right to the heart of the problem:  the fact that his instantaneous appraisal of the situation was “I realized she was only doing what she thought men wanted.”

Says who, Jake?  Some people just like biting, and some of those people happen to be chicks.  If you don’t like it, then don’t date chicks who do.  Problem solved.  At least, the problem would be solved, if not for the fact that this is an article in a mainstream women’s magazine.  As such, its top priority isn’t the Good Kind of Feminism, which would seek to defend the predilections of kinky women, but rather the Bad Kind of Feminism, which seeks to tell the unremarkable majority what they want to hear — namely, that they are normal, whereas the kinky minority are brainwashed whores.

Did it ever cross Jake’s mind to give the biting a try, because he might like it?  Or to encourage the readers of Glamour to give it a try, because they might like it too?  If it did, then these thoughts didn’t make the final cut.  What did make the final cut is the “obvious” conclusion that the biting was merely a show put on for his benefit, as is nearly every other sexually adventurous thing a woman might ever do.

Sex toys are “fun, but daunting?”  No, actually, they’re just fun.  But anyway, nice job on establishing that you’re a red-blooded sexual “regular guy” while simultaneously making yourself out to be sensitively intimidated enough that your readers won’t resent you (we’ll come back to that later).

Lots of women these days have “piercings in uncomfortable places?”  So do lots of men.  Have they been brainwashed too?  News flash:  people do sexy things because being sexy is fun.

And what’s the deal with criticizing “lingerie that’s more dungeon than demure?”  You do realize it’s lingerie, right?  Do you honestly think the point is really to fucking sleep in it?  AND WHO THE FUCK CAN EVEN SAY “DEMURE” WITH A STRAIGHT FACE?!   

There’s also lots of instruction-giving (I’ve even heard 'Pull my hair!').”  Horrors!  For crying out loud, I don't think I've ever been with a woman who didn’t tell me to pull her hair.  Was this guy Amish until recently or something?

Now, one would think that the very act of typing the sentence “there’s also lots of instruction-giving” might have made Jake consider the possibility that the point of said instructions is to inform him of what will please the woman giving them.  But one would be wrong, wouldn’t one?  The only explanation Jake considers is that the women are instructing him to do things that they think will please him.  Some “sensitive” guy!

Inevitably (as is the case with all Bad-Kind-of-Feminist harangues, be they written by woman or man) Jake blames the media — specifically, the internet… because no-one was ever kinky before the web was invented (you know, just like how no-one ever had sex at all before movies and TV were invented).  What’s a woman supposed to think,” Jake asks, “when she finds out her boyfriend spends hours every night watching barely legal girls stripping in their bedrooms on YouTube?  Well, there are any number of possible responses here.  We could ask the woman from this couple why their sex life is so boring that her boyfriend needs to do this.  Or we could ask the man from this couple whether he’s aware that there are way, way better things to spank off to on the web than fucking YouTube.  Or we could ask Jake whether it occurred to him that the girls stripping on it are women themselves, and why he apparently decided that they don’t count as such for some reason — I have many friends of whom there are YouTube stripping videos, and they are much smarter, nicer, and more socially aware people than whoever the fuck it is that reads Glamour.

Yes, yes, I know:  Jake is trying to make the women who aren’t cool enough to act like this feel better about themselves, and that’s “nice,” right?  Wrong.  Because this paragraph ends with the sentence “But that’s not necessarily what your boyfriend wants you to do—that’s why we have YouTube in the first place.”  First of all, yes, it is what your boyfriend wants you to do — unless he’s one of those guys who buys into the Good-Girl/Bad-Girl dichotomy so hard that he has to mentally shuffle the girls he respects over here and the girls he can get his rocks off to waaaaaay over there.  So, we’re back to “Good Girls” who deserve respect and “Bad Girls” who don’t?  If that’s Feminist sensitivity, then what’s sexism?


Now, of course, it isn’t Feminist sensitivity — it’s simply what the majority of women want to hear.  And I’m spelling this point out because it’s vitally important that people — especially those who write for women’s magazines — realize that what ultimately helps women and what the majority of women want to hear are not necessarily always going to be the same thing.

As for Jake’s pals Scott and Brian, I’m not 100% sure they exist (“I was psyched that she wanted to use a condom, but I wish she’d said ‘Can I do this for you?’  I would’ve felt more involved” doesn’t exactly sound like a real person talking), and if they do, they have a serious problem with false dilemmas:  A woman doesn’t have to offer me a lap dance to be desirable — I think it’s hot when she just comes up and talks to me.”  Well, women don’t “offer you lap dances” to be desirable — they offer you lap dances because you’re in a strip club and they’re strippers and it’s their job.  Didn’t someone explain this to you at the door?  Yes, obviously it is awesome when a woman comes up and talks to you — but how is this mutually exclusive to doing hawt stuff?  I find it hard to believe that these three guys are so awesome that women are always just coming up to them and giving them lapdances without even saying anything — on the other hand, however, I find it easy to believe that the type of woman who reads dumb women’s magazines thinks that other women are doing this; hence the presence of nutjob rhetoric like this in one of said magazines.

The main focus of the next paragraph, aside from subtly re-establishing how sensitive Jake and his made-up friends are (Brian is turned on by “big teeth,” which is something about a woman’s face!  And they waited “a few weeks” to have sex and had “about 20 all-night conversations” first!  Awww…), is establishing that “the librarian who waits to get to know you, then takes out her bobby pins, shakes loose her hair and ravages you” is the “quintessential male fantasy.”  Now, I'm totally into the sexy librarian thing — but this is because I dig intelligence, glasses, and business suits, not because I only respect women who wait several weeks before having sex.  If she wants to wait, that’s fine, but why should she have to if she doesn’t want to?  Just to please you, because that’s your fantasy?  I thought the ostensible point of this article was that women don’t need to do things just to please you  Oops! 

And while we’re on the subject of “waiting a few weeks,” we might point out that it apparently also never occurred to Jake, Scott, or Brian that any number of these poor, brainwashed-by-YouTube women may have simply considered them to be one-night-stands, because they were just horny and that’s it.  Nope — these three guys are so fucking awesome that every woman in the world obviously wants to marry them, but is just going about it the wrong way, hence all the women who keep walking up and giving them lapdances in the street. 

Jeez, at least we 1585ers are totally open and self-aware about the fact that we have a high opinion of ourselves.

And the fact that Jake saves the whole “woman-on-top” thing for his closer is just sad.  She was a master of porn star tricks,” he empathetically laments, “yet she’d never been in the position even I had read was supposed to be the best for women?  First of all, Jake must have read that in Glamour, because no it’s not.  The position that women get off the hardest in is either doggie or the kind of missionary where she’s got her knees pressed up to her shoulders.  I've hardly ever met a chick who likes woman-on-top at all, much less the best.  It’s good if your guy has control problems, because guys last the longest in that position, but that’s about it.  A chick can get off pretty hard if she does the thing where she gets on top and then leans way back, but at that point it’s not “woman-on-top” anymore, it’s “scissors.”  Thanks for playing.

Oh, maybe he means the kind of woman-on-top where the woman faces away from the man and leans back against his chest.  That hits the g-spot pretty good, and it’s easy to reach around and rub her clit at the same time (which is really hard to do in normal woman-on-top).  But that’s called “reverse cowgirl,” to avoid confusion with the normal, boring type of woman-on-top.  He would know this stuff if he ever spanked it to something besides YouTube.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that by “the best for women,” Jake meant something other than frequency/intensity of orgasms — which is, once again, just sad.  Or the data might have been compiled from women who are so repressed that being on top is what passes for kinky with them, or from women who are used to fucking guys who are so bad in bed that running the show themselves is the only way they can make anything that feels even the slightest bit good happen — either way, that’s a big “just sad.”  Or the women they asked might have been lying, and just saying they liked woman-on-top the best for political reasons, e.g., they felt like they weren’t allowed to say doggie, and were supposed to say woman-on-top because it corresponds perfectly to the juvenile oversimplification of Feminism, i.e., “feminism means believing that men do everything wrong.”  But I don't think you can call something Feminism anymore if it's encouraging women to pretend the position that feels the least good for them is in fact their favorite — that would be the biggest “just sad” of all.

Wait a minute.  If Jake is a proponent of woman-on-top because he is under the impression that it’s the position women like best, then why did he pitch it as “I decided to show her what I like?”  Which is it?  Oh, wait, of course:  it’s both, because Jake is so sensitive that the position he likes the best is the one that he read women like the best.  Yeah, so sensitive that he had to read it, because even at his age he still hasn’t managed to somehow obtain first-hand information about what does or doesn’t get women off.

I should also probably point out that, by phrasing it this way, Jake is admitting that he likes a particular sexual activity based on the fact that it is pleasurable for the other person and he gets off on pleasing them, and enjoys feeling like an impressive, adept lover — so he should probably have figured out that it can work that way for women too, but that would have defeated the point of the whole article.

And that concluding image of the woman just chillin’ in one of his t-shirts?  Please.  Having a Girl-Next-Door fetish doesn’t mean that you don’t have a fetish — it means that you have a Girl-Next-Door fetish.

The girl next door herself, ironically, is into caning.

How could it not be readily transparent to anyone that this article bashing “Sexy 9.0” is really just “The Virgin/Whore Complex 9.0,” masquerading as enlightened sensitivity?  Regardless of the extent to which it might take the pressure off for women who are not inclined to be sexually adventurous, the Virgin/Whore Complex is not “sensitive” — it lies at the very core of misogyny, and Feminism should be more opposed to it than it is to anything else.  A female friend once told me that her boyfriend can’t get it up unless she’s wearing white lingerie — this is not “sensitive” (it is, however, the only reason I know they even still make white lingerie).  Several female friends have told me that they’ve been in early-stage relationships where the guy said they had to stop having sex once he developed deep feelings for her — this is also not “sensitive.”  If a man is not capable of simultaneously caring for a woman and acknowledging that she enjoys fucking, or that he himself enjoys fucking her, this does not mean that he is sensitive.  It means he is an even bigger sexist asshole than the guy who can recognize any porn star just from a close-up of her clit piercing.  If the Virgin/Whore Complex is sensitive, then Jack the Ripper is Phil Donohue. 

But we can’t fully blame Jake, or white-lingerie guy, or even all those “we can’t have sex anymore because now I actually give a shit about you” guys out there.  After all, the reason so many guys think that women don’t actually like crazy sex, or that we wouldn’t have any desire to fuck women if we actually cared about them, is that, starting in Junior-High Health Class, this is what the majority of women actually tell us for some reason, even though it’s not true, they know it’s not true, and they don’t even really want us to believe it anyway.  When I was in college, there were even PSAs on TV about how if you want to have sex with your girlfriend, you’re a terrible person.  Now, in keeping with the main issue here, which is the fact that this rhetoric is ultimately bad for women, I’ll skip right over how this commercial made guys feel and ask:  how do you think it made girls who actually wanted to fuck their boyfriends feel? 

Pretty fucking confused, I would imagine.

And in the cases of any cool sexy chicks who happened to come across this issue of Glamour, the same goes for Jake’s article.  If any of those chicks are reading, here is one final piece of advice for you:  stop reading bullshit women’s magazines and start reading The 1585.  We won’t judge you based on your piercings, we’re not daunted by what you’ve got in your nightstand drawer, and you can bite us anytime.

Thanks 1585!

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