Sunday, March 18, 2007

I am now declaring the next week celebration of female desire week.

Don't like it? Too bad. This is my blog, and I can declare whatever I damn well please.

So I've been doing some lurking recently, and visited some new-to-me blogs, and I've noticed a few trends that irk me. And what's the point of having a blog if you can't use it to vent? So, ventage coming right up...

I'm seeing a lot of woman-as-passive, man-as-active talk about sex, and I don't like it. I don't like it a bit. And what REALLY irks me is that a lot of it is coming from women who identify as feminists.

See, here's the problem. I'm a dom. I don't do passive. Well, I do SOMEWHAT passive by my standards (which are not the same as most people's) on occasion, when I happen to be in the mood, but as a general rule? No.

According to a lot of people I apparently do not exist. You can see how this might be vexing.

Now when I see this from ye olde mainstream culture I'm not too surprised. I still don't like it, but it's not surprising. I think that the fact that most cultures encourage this view is extremely damaging to women, and to men too in the long run if only most of them had the intelligence to realise it. Who would you expect to be at the forefront of fighting this view? I would say feminists. But such is often not the case.

For the record, I think that the idea that women are sexually passive, which is inextricable tied up with the concept of womanhood as representing purity, is one of the worst things that has ever happened to women. It's been used to shut us up, to keep us secluded, to bar us from participation in public life. All in all not a good thing. It's also been used to justify rape, because if women naturally don't want sex anyway but can be persuaded to do it if they really love the guy, or if they feel obligated...

So when I see invocations of womanhood as some kind of mystically cleansing force, as a counterweight to the supposed beastliness of men, my bullshit detector starts ringing. And ringing and ringing and ringing.

And the worst thing is that that idea is EVERYWHERE. It's in every major religion, it's in every culture that I know of. In some religions and in many cultures it somehow coexists with the idea of women as dirty and base, as tied to nature in unseemly ways, which for me only proves once more that religion's primary purpose is to melt people's brains so thoroughly that any capacity for logical thought is extinguished.

As illogical as it may seem to position women as both pure and debased, in reality I think both ideas come from the same basis. They come from the idea that the body and the soul are fundamentally separate, and that one is better than the other. It's dualism - mind versus body. flesh versus spirit. And I don't buy it.

People are flesh. We're animals. Animals with big brains and nifty opposable thumbs, yes, but animals nonetheless.

This is not a man thing (note, my radfem friends, it really isn't). It's not a woman thing either. It's a people thing.

What's so terrible about admitting that we're flesh? About dumping the whole idea of purity versus corruption altogether?

It's not just feminists who do this, or just conservatives, it's EVERYONE. And I'm sick of it.
There is no idea in the history of the human race that has done more harm to women than this one. Wherever women are positioned on the scale of purity versus corruption, the one thing that never changes is the fact that it's used to hurt us.

This is why it vexes me when I see the idea of women are pure, morally upright creatures (as opposed to those nasty brutish men) being used as a reason why feminism is justified. It's playing right into the hands of people who want to hurt us. It's not some brilliant new idea that someone came up with in the sixties, no matter what the more hippie-inclined might think. It's a very, very old idea. And it's a very, very bad one.

Lust is not a male thing. It's an animal thing. And women are animals, just as much as men are. When we deny that, we deny a part of our humanity. Why the hell does anyone think that's a good idea?

The justification for feminism shouldn't be that we're better or purer than men. It should be that we're people. No more, no less.

And as for the men who cling like limpets to this idea, that you're the ones who hold all the cards and women have no libidos of their own, that they are the choosers but not the doers...sorry, but no. You think we're not looking at you and assessing you just the same way you are doing to us? Guess again, sunshine. I could make you a list right now of every man I know, and each and every one has a little mental check or cross next to their name indicating fuckable or unfuckable. I may never act on it, but it's there. And the more you cling to the idea of women as passive receptacles the more likely you are to end up in the unfuckable column, because really, who wants to fuck someone who thinks of them as a passive receptacle with no needs of their own? Are you getting that, all you "oh pity the poor shy men who just don't get laid, why do women keep rejecting us, boo hoo" guys? Maybe if you tried approaching them as people rather than as machines that will automatically dole out sex if you just figure out the correct code to enter...

Remember the old feminist adage about the personal being political? Truth starts at home, yes? Well, sex is a big part of the personal for most of us. Yes, ye of the "asexuality is the best way for a feminist to be and all this talk about sex is so trivial and yet we still can't shut up about it" sisterhood, sorry to break it to you, but the vast majority of people are not asexual, and yes that includes women. You want to be that way yourselves? No problem. I'll even go to bat for your right to be that way. But if you could stop attempting to passive-aggressively IMPOSE that way of being on the rest of us and then sneering at anyone who doesn't fit the mold it would be much appreciated. Be a pal and quit with the slut shaming, OK?
(Side note - given that about 90% of the population is heterosexual for most people "political lesbianism" IS in effect asking someone to commit themself to a life of asexuality. Since when is being a feminist like joining a monastic order? As someone who does sleep with women I hate to break it to you, but the real reason to do it is for the muff diving.)

And now I'm off to go wake up Mr Cassandra, who went to bed far too early, the lazy bum. I'm wide awake and horny, time for him to do his job...

Think that makes me a bad feminist? Or a horrible brazen hussy for those of you of the simplistically woman-hating variety?

Kiss my ass.


(PS There will be some actual celebrating later, after I get done with my own personal celebration)

42 comments:

Trinity said...

you rule & i'm linking this

Zan said...

I keep thinking you have somehow tapped into my brain and posted the things I was thinking of posting. Hmp. But yeah. To everything you said.

And Cassandra? The new picture? Damn near set me off as soon as I laid eyes upon it. Yuuuuuuummmm...

Cassandra Says said...

Trin - Why thank you!

Zan - I'm stalking your brain, babe.
PS About the new pic? It's from a music video which I love. Check it out - isn't YouTube awesome?

http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=fkvzpMtDjW4

misterniceguy1960 said...

Sounds like a swell idea -- but I have finals this week. Could we maybe postpone it?

Renegade Evolution said...

ah, beauty...linkage shall happen...

cornucrapia said...

Glorious, glorious, glorious. Bravo

Cassandra Says said...

Rather than postponing it, we could EXTEND it. Doesn't that sound like a better idea?
Basically I just want to get people talking about sex from a point of view that's positive and doesn't position women as helpless for once.

Central Content Publisher said...

woman-as-passive, man-as-active - Cassandra

I think both ideas cast their recipients as helpless, as if to say "women are helpless to their passivity", and "men are helpless to their activity" (there has to be a better word than activity). Each robs its subject of will.

If humans have done anything, we've proven our ability to assume multiple roles throughout our lives - consecutively, concurrently, and even paradoxically.

In short, it's a dehumanizing sentiment.

Excellent post.

Trinity said...

"I think both ideas cast their recipients as helpless, as if to say "women are helpless to their passivity", and "men are helpless to their activity" (there has to be a better word than activity). Each robs its subject of will."

I basically think of it as a specific pattern in compulsory heterosexuality:

MAN TOP. WOMAN BOTTOM.

Trinity said...

(in just about every sense of "top" and "bottom", though the dominance dynamics can often be light compared to explicit BDSM)

Saorla said...

I completely agree. No passivity - apart from anything else its bloody boring.

If I didn't already agree with you my own experience has been bitter. I'm living in Cambodia where there are lots of single women and few single men. As a result, women feel the desire, lust and sexual frustration of being celibate for now over a year. It is the constant topic of conversation - when are we next going to get laid. One-night stands with tourists are possible but not always desirable.

Thank Anne Summers for the Rabbit!

Cassandra Says said...

CCP and Trin - Indeed. To me it seems like a BSDM idea gone horribly wrong. I don't think that there's anything wrong with the idea of their BEING a top and a bottom as such, the problem is that mainstream society sets it up so that people aren't given a choice in which role they prefer. If you happen to be a person who doesn't like your allotted role and who doesn't get off that way, that sucks. If you're someone who'd like to try things the other way just for some variety, it sucks. If you have any curiosity or desire to treat sdex as playful at all, it pretty much sucks. For a lot of people.
I'm always surprised that so few people say "not for me, thanks, I think I'll try this another way".

Trin - I think that the explicit dominance dynamics are (sometimes) light, but they're pervasive. I look at some of the "traditional" women I encounter and feel like they're living their entire lives in a 24/7 master/slave relationship and haven't even thought about whether that works for them, or whether they might like to try things a different way. They just take that model as a given.

Cassandra Says said...

saorla - Your example proves my point most impressively. Want to stick around for a while and help me out?
I'm curious...do you know what the causes are of the gender imbalance in Cambodia? How did things end up that way? I know very little about that area, and it seems as if the time lag is too big for it to be a result of the tragedies of the past. What's producing the gender gap amongst single people?

Trinity said...

"the problem is that mainstream society sets it up so that people aren't given a choice in which role they prefer."

Uh huh. On that model I'm backwards and crazy.

It frustrates me to no end when radfems claim I'm in bed with the Pat and playing right into it, yet they're not accepted because they're egalitarian.

No, honey, I'm Uber-Anomaly as well.

belledame222 said...

awesome.

Cassandra Says said...

Trin - Oh yeah, The Pat just loves female doms (rolls eyes). Especially when they're into bloodplay. I'm sure the Christian Coalition would love you to join them.
At this point I'm fairly certain that most people who write about BSDM are basing their arguments on bad late-night cable. That's the only explanantion that makes sense, really.

Cassandra Says said...

Also, Zan, or Ren if she's around - how do you embed YouTube links in the text of a posting? As in so that the reader will actually see the YouTube pic and can click on it directly?

Cassandra Says said...

Belle - Smooches, babe.
BTW, if you were to decide to enlighten us as to who your own lust objects are I, for one, would be interested in that.
That's part of what I'm getting at, here. I feel like I hear LOTS of talk about what men want and what men like, sexually, and then as to what women like? Nothing except crickets chirping. And that's just sad.

R. Mildred said...

I hate to sound like a really off topic nit-picker, but when you say "asexual" you mean "celibate/celibacy", it's a small point, but full blown asexuality is an actual sexuality type, and goes along with actually not having the urge to fuck other people, rather htan being a case of people supressing and repressing their desires.

It's a teeny tiny itsy bitsy and largely pedantic point, but I thought I'd make it anyway for accuracy's sake. Full apologese if i'm being intrusive because it doesn't moderate the post much because, obviously, I get what you meant, as did everyone else.

What's so terrible about admitting that we're flesh?

because it still maintains to some small degree the mind/body dichotomy (and remember that within that paradigm, the western thing is to state and stereotype men as being "of the body" and stereotyping woman as "of the mind/spirit"), and emphasises body over spirit/mind when, imho, the sane and non-problematic thing is to emphasise both, simulataneously.

I've had a post brewing on that issue for ages but I never seem write it for some reason, I will have to do it I guess (And hope bfp doesn't shout at me for being frivolous in the wake of the mass. slavery issues).

when my head stops throbbing.

Also, Zan, or Ren if she's around - how do you embed YouTube links in the text of a posting?

Copy the embed url from the youtube page, and paste it into your post - that's all, you'll be able to see if it works in the preview.

For the record, I think that the idea that women are sexually passive, which is inextricable tied up with the concept of womanhood as representing purity, is one of the worst things that has ever happened to women.

Ah, the interesting thing is (and bellatrys talks about this alot) is that prior to the so called "enlightenment" and the rennaisance (you see this in chaucer for instance, and even earlier european writers, as well as in various other non-europeanised cultures across the globe) the dominant patriarchal paradigm for normative female sexuality was that we were out of control and too sexually active and so needed controlling!

And this still exists to some extent in the fetishisation of Other women by various racists (though the funny thing is that some of the fetishisation is that the Other is, not only highly sexually active, but also highly sexually passive, depending on what point the racist patriarch is trying to make.

I've personally got a pet theory that the modern conception of the rape culture is linked into that "woman passive" paradigm to such a large degree that prior to its normalisation the rape culture was either very very different in form, or not actually a rape culture per se - rape as genocide or as a result of inter-tribal conflict is very old, but rape as interpersonal and intergender form of normative terrorism committed by the patriarchy?

That's what I'm really kinda curious to figure out if it existed in cultures that didn't practice the "women are naturally sexually passive" myth.

Of course data is scant, so no luck either way so far...

R. Mildred said...

that comment looked smaller in it's pants I swear.

Cassandra Says said...

R Mildred - In the case of some (Twisty comes to mind) I actually did mean asexual. If that's not actually the case, she certainly presents herself that way. I suspect that there are a few prominent figures who really are more or less asexual, and have somehow generalised their own lack of interest in sex as being "the way women are". This is not the case with political lesbianism, necessarily, which is why I think in most cases it makes people miserable.
So glad you mentioned Chaucer...it's always amusing to see teenagers react to the Wife Of Bath for the first time.

I think that Western civilisation labels women as mind or body depending on what's most convenient, honestly. The way the labels are applied seems pretty self-serving most of the time. I think that fundamentalists of all flavors tend to view women as body and therefore corrupted and likely to corrupt others.

"I've had a post brewing on that issue for ages but I never seem write it for some reason, I will have to do it I guess" Please? Your sarcasm mojo is better than mine.

About this..."I've personally got a pet theory that the modern conception of the rape culture is linked into that "woman passive" paradigm to such a large degree that prior to its normalisation the rape culture was either very very different in form, or not actually a rape culture per se - rape as genocide or as a result of inter-tribal conflict is very old, but rape as interpersonal and intergender form of normative terrorism committed by the patriarchy?"
I'm not sure I get what you mean. Elaborate?

About the youtube links...I'm a technological caveperson. Where would I find the embedded url? How would I save it?

FoolishOwl said...

One thing that struck me about what you said is that the "women are morally purer than men" argument was popular with bourgeois feminists in the 19th century. In fairness, a major issue they were contending with was that it hadn't even been established that women had the right to refuse sex.

Things got more complicated with the rise of independent working class movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, which had strong contingents of working class women, who were a bit more inclined to demand what they wanted rather than declare what other women shouldn't want.

Anyway, my guess is that a lot of the radfems, of the Heart/Twisty variety, think of themselves in a middle class/ruling class role, with regard to other women. That is, they're the rightful aristocracy, and they're the only ones with the right to think.

On YouTube, the "embed" code appears in a field in a box to the right of the top of the video. You can use that in the body of a post on Blogger, but I don't think it will work in a comment.

Laura said...

Yay for fucking! I think this is a great idea, and much needed, though I can't write about teh topic on my blog cos my grandparents have recntly come across it. Oops. But more power to those who do. Oh, and I ain't getting any for 5 months. Feel my pain. X

Renegade Evolution said...

Laura:

I will have lots of sex for you ;)

belledame222 said...

CS: well, you saw this post.

and of course the Ann Margaret thread...but, hm. more pics would be good...

belledame222 said...

Ah, the interesting thing is (and bellatrys talks about this alot) is that prior to the so called "enlightenment" and the rennaisance (you see this in chaucer for instance, and even earlier european writers, as well as in various other non-europeanised cultures across the globe) the dominant patriarchal paradigm for normative female sexuality was that we were out of control and too sexually active and so needed controlling!


yup. and that still exists alongside the "pure and virtuous" trip, even did back in the Victorian day; it's just that the scary out of control wanton women get shifted into the "lower" classes: the dark, the poor, the "fallen," and anyone else who doesn't fit the lady in the house.

Cassandra Says said...

Foolish Owl said..."Anyway, my guess is that a lot of the radfems, of the Heart/Twisty variety, think of themselves in a middle class/ruling class role, with regard to other women. That is, they're the rightful aristocracy, and they're the only ones with the right to think."
That pretty much sums it up really. And I actually AM of their class, and if they don't even speak for ME...
Well, I think you all know the rest.

Cassandra Says said...

Laura - If you want to sneakily write about it I could post it for you...
Five months? Hope you brought your Rabbit!

Cassandra Says said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cassandra Says said...

Belle - I feel like I'm neglecting the non-hetero perspective since I'm in sort of a dude-focused mood right now, so if you or Zan wanted to chip in that would be a cool thing.

Saorla said...

Well Cassandra, I should start out by saying I'm not Cambodian - I'm a development worker from Europe. As far as I know the gender balance among Cambodians is fairly equal although gender equality is not. Myself and other single expat women have analysed the situation.

The Cambodian guys are threatened by expat women. I do know of two expat women who "dated" Cambodian men. I used dated in inverted commas because the men wouldn't kiss the women or hold their hands, and I don't think that means dating. Although the women were definitely the aggressors in both relationships.

Most expat women wouldn't date/shag a Cambodian man because (a) a vast majority go to prostitutes and (b) there is a very high rate of HIV/AIDS and the men have an aversion to condoms.

The expat men can be divided into a couple of neat categories

- Married
- Gay
- Those who have been here for years and are into prostitutes, drugs, gun running, dissing expat women as uptight judgmental bitches...
- Those who only shag Cambodian girls
- And the two or three straight single men in the entire city

Single expat men in my line of work tend to go to more dangerous countries. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Sudan a woman can have her pick of men but Cambodia is not dangerous and therefore more married with children come here.

So us straight and single women feel desire and lust and we make do with vibrators!

Cassandra Says said...

Saoria - Firstly, kudos on doing the job you're doing. And I will have to pick your brain more about it later. But for now...
That situation does sound most sucky. The married and gay expats would be off limits to me, too, but surely SOME of the Cambodian guys are dating options? Hell, I dated a guy in Saudi Arabia and if you can find a guy who's not a patriarchy-worshipping fool there then you can find one anywhere.
Though the STD situation does sound scary.

Arwen said...

Hee hee.
This is a great post.

I think I know one post you're reacting to; one in which ye old evopsych canard that 'male animals flaunt and female animals choose' got presented. (I don't think the blogger in question was endorsing this, by the way, just reporting it from the book she liked for other reasons...)

Although this may be true of fish and birds and bugs and some monkeys, it is not universal, and considerably more complex in animals who have penetrative sex, live birth, rape, and female orgasm.

I remember running across the "women have often been portrayed as sexual aggressors" stuff in "Promiscuities", and having a light turn on. Of course, it's one of those thru the looking glass things, because the Virgin/Whore thing still leaves lots of room for the female as the sexual aggressor with the important caveat: She Must Not Be discerning.

Which is of course a restating of the very popular "men flaunt, women choose" thing.

The problem (as I wrote in my Sex? Anyone? post so long ago), is that women do have to be slightly choosier, in order to get have an orgasm and not just get a friction burn, a cock-punch to the ovaries, and a possible STD. This choosierness, based on a woman wanting to have fun! sexual! pleasure! as opposed to being masturbated in seems to get mistaken with women not wanting to have sex. Yes, you fucked up culture, women probably don't want to have sex where sex is only defined as "that act in which a man shoots his load". There's got to be a bit of reciprocity in the sack.

Okay, I'm being mouthy. Wow.

Anyway.

I don't tend to get het up based on looks alone, but the guy who plays the Mac in the Mac/PC ads on TV is, for some bizarre reason, deeply hot to me.
The character Jonesy from the HBO series Carnivale? Anyone? No?

(That's a series you might like, CS. The best and freakiest villian ever; some neat characters of both genders, and awesome cinematography. However, some violence, possibly triggering. Still, I loved it.)

Cassandra Says said...

"I remember running across the "women have often been portrayed as sexual aggressors" stuff in "Promiscuities", and having a light turn on. Of course, it's one of those thru the looking glass things, because the Virgin/Whore thing still leaves lots of room for the female as the sexual aggressor with the important caveat: She Must Not Be discerning. "
Yep. And that's part of what this is all about for me...we ARE discerning. Without that there's not point even talking about women and sex at all. Sex-positive doesn't mean "will fuck anyone", it means "I will fuck whomever I please and I will not fuck anyone who does not please me".

Saorla said...

Thanks Cassandra - it's the work I always wanted to do.

I thought before arriving that sex wouldn't be an issue. I've met loads of Asian men I thought were shaggable. But that was in Europe or the US. I've been here over a year now and I think I've met two Cambodians I found cute but ultimately unshaggable. There are a couple of things that turn me off

- the average Cambodian man weighs 40 kgs
- many grow one long hair from a mole on their face
- many grow the fingernails on their baby fingers long
- the prostitute visiting means not only STDs but a poor notion of female geometry.

Here's a fairly gross story - my friend is a doctor and a girl came in complaining of pains in her stomach. The girl, around 18 years old, is a sex worker. My friend examines her and finds no fewer than four condoms in her vagina. Cambodian men don't like wearing condoms and seldom do. I question their observation skills if they fail to realise they are fucking a girl with four condoms in her vagina and if they fail to notice four condoms in a girl's vagina I question their ability to please a woman sexually. I know that I have no addressed the larger issues in that story but I am using it as an example of why expat women do not date Cambodian men.

Besides working here, such stories are not the worst you hear and experience.

Renegade Evolution said...

"I will fuck whomever I please and I will not fuck anyone who does not please me".

unless they are paying me a shit load of money :)

belledame222 said...

CS: per the sapphic desire, check out this post

H said...

Good post, if one is to fuck a receptacle I suppose a fleshlight would be best and much cheaper. Active, thinking, feeling, carnal women are the only way to go. Beasts we are and always will be.

The transition to an economy that favored brains over brawn started women emancipation in the job market. Birth control began women’s emancipation from the Madonna Whore complex. Neither of these are fully realized yet, and pre-birth control sex could be very dangerous for women to enjoy, so walls were erected in the face of erections. I am of the post birth control pre-lethal STD generation so I got to enjoy sex without latex, my heart goes out to the dating scene (kids especially).

Here’s to women who know what they want.

belledame222 said...

okay, done and also done.

Tom Paine said...

Nicely said, though you come to this from a decidedly biased place (BDSM). I would take what you say further and make it a badge of honor for a woman to be a slut, tramp or whore. That's called "controlling your desire," deciding with whom and when you will have a sexual relationship.

You are free to declare this Desire Week. C. and I celebrate female desire every DAY, both in our lives and on our blog. Drop by sometime. I realize it might seem strange that "old" people (in their 40s and 50s respectively) could be as slutty and sexual as 20- and 30-somethings, but alas it's true.

sallysunshine_26 said...

Brilliant post! I'm a little late to the game, but I've linked to this on my blog too.

Cassandra Says said...

sally - Thanks! Did you post any of your own objects of desire?
(Goes to check)