Footwear as birth control. Photo of three of the author’s lower extremities by Stingray
Linking to yesterdayâ€™s essay on misogyny in sporty-wear is this post by pro-sport-corset blogger Random Bird. I am sorry to report that Random Birdâ€™s remarks are mostly of a nature that causes bitter tears to spring to the despondent auntly eye (for example, Ms. Bird employs, without apparent irony, the hideous, superincumbent word â€˜Derrida,â€™ in conjunction with such cringingly dude-o-centric rhetoric as â€œThe vagina is empty. The penis fills it.â€).* Happily, she does discover what is perhaps the only imaginable use for a McDonaldâ€™s salad: comparing it to an uncircumcised weenie. Then she asks the very same question that blamers with the old pioneer spirit have often asked me.
â€œWhat are you wearing?â€
I kid, I kid. Everybody already knows what I am wearing: two boob scars, a pair of red polka dot boxers, a couple of Ace bandages under a giant fracture boot, one cruddy green leather oxford, and three chocolate marshmallow bonbon crumbs.
Anyway, what really interests me about the post to which I allude is that, after some blogular introspection on the subject of her â€˜blowjob dutiesâ€™ (gulp), Random Bird, who of course is 25, muses thusly:
Random Bird is onto something here (ignore the first bit—which I include only for context—where she invokes the strawfeminist; a girl who mistakes her vagina for an empty void would see feminism as the enemy of female sexuality). If Iâ€™m reading her right, sheâ€™s very sensibly curious, as have been a decent number of blamers over the years, as to just how a feminist is supposed to get off in this crazy, messed-up world.
Yall will be pleased to know that I have the answer.
A feminist gets off the only way a member of an oppressed class can get off: with extreme caution.
In other words, until the psychotic global system of dominance and submission gives way to a sane one that doesnâ€™t fetishize oppression, there is no solution to the buzzkiller political problems inherent in all heterosexual boinking. Thatâ€™s right. No solution. No happy ending. No scenario wherein prancing in a pink sportcorset can be construed as a politically neutral act. No â€˜egalitarian sexâ€™.
I can already smell the fallout; this unpleasant observation always pisses people off. Particularly women. Particularly those straight women who derive a large-ish chunk of their identity from their mad sexbot skillz and brilliantly successful assimilation of the principles of femininity, e.g. â€œpole dancing is empowering!â€, women who don’t yet grasp the scope of the hatred with which men view them. Because they are members of a patriarchal society, and because patriarchal societies always blame women for injustices visited on women, Sexy McSexersons often feel compelled, in no small numbers, to accuse radical feminists (and the occasional spinster aunt) of trying to suck all the fun out of fucking.
Not so fast, Sexy McSexersons! Whoa there, femininst-o-phobes! Radical feminists are not the enemy. Weâ€™re not even a bunch of homely old frigid prudes jealous of all the hot sex weâ€™re not getting. Patriarchy is the real sex police. By convincing you that youâ€™re hot when you cave in to its psycho demands, it has turned you into its slave. â€œWell, what of it?â€ you say. â€œWhat I choose to (a) do in the sack or (b) wear to work or (c) have implanted in my chest is none of your beeswax.â€
Perhaps not, but, well, itâ€™s just that certain of your so-called choices are making the whole group look bad. Men appear to have gotten the impression that women are not, you know, quite as entitled as men are. So theyâ€™ve institutionalized â€˜beauty,â€™ dieting, cosmetic surgery, sexual harassment, wife-beating, and rape, to name but a few of the thousand unnatural shocks female flesh is heir to. We’re blaming the patriarchy, not you, but really, mightn’t it be time to step up?
â€œExamine your lives!â€ is the Twisty refrain. Don’t forget that, as a member of an oppressed class, everything you do is political. So what say you reevaluate those phony, misogynist feminine constructs? Every tube of lipstick, every coy little head-tilt, every train-yourself-not-to-gag-while-deep-throating-a-flaccid-bratwurst session is a symbol of oppression. And not just your oppression, either, but the oppression of all women. And theyâ€™re not just symbols, either, but concrete evidence of your collaboration with the dominant culture. Every time you â€˜chooseâ€™ to totter down the street in a pair of heels and a pencil skirt youâ€™re a Yay Patriarchy billboard. It says â€œI willingly brand myself as different from and subordinate to men. Shall I bend over now?â€
Patriarchy isnâ€™t just some hollow word invented by hairy dykes with sour grapes, you know. Womenâ€™s oppression is some serious shit. The sportcorset, insignificant little bondage joke though it may seem, doesnâ€™t exist in a vacuum, ladies. Itâ€™s a part of the normativization of femininity—globally pernicious patriarchal bullshit that, if women are ever to fuck unfettered, must be chucked back into the fetid swamp of dudecrap whence it came. Nobody really looks hot working out in a human rights violation, anyway.
*A vagina is no â€˜emptierâ€™ than a leg or a dick or any other body part, but todayâ€™s empowerful woman remains unshaken in her belief that weâ€™re all tottering around town with tragic, gaping holes in our clams. The vagina-as-negative-space/woman-as-receptacle concept is one of patriarchyâ€™s more unappetizing morsels of propagandical bogosity.