Time is short this morning, so today’s item will consist largely of a comment I posted yesterday on Feministing, which comment more or less summarizes my previously published ideas on the concept of “consent” as it relates to women and rape, so those of you who are tired of that crap should probably look for entertainment elsewhere.*
My remarks were occasioned by Feministinger Ann’s feminist-response-to-Spitzer roundup, wherein she somewhat mischaracterized my position on the ideal legal status of prostitution (I am so frequently misunderstood — being so obfuscatory — that I usually just shrug when it happens, but it’s been a prostitutiony kinda week, and I love Feministing, so I wanted to set the record straight, for the sake of the 8 people who will read that archive, that I am definitely not against decriminalization. By gum! Although I do not, of course, regard decriminalization as a solution. Ideally, the status of prostitution should be “non-existent.”).
Anyway, as you will perceive from the quoted text below, Feministing reader Caitlain practically offers me money to enlarge on one of my favorite topics.
Quoth Caitlain: “I do take issue with your assertion that, by default, prostitution constitutes “rape.” As others have pointed out, the mere fact that both parties agree to the transaction removes an essential component of rape; to wit, the lack of consent.”
Well, Caitlain, in a patriarchy, the cornerstone of which is a paradigm of male dominance and female submission, women do not enjoy the same degree of personal sovereignty that men do. This oppressed condition obtains a priori to all other conditions, and nullifies any presumption of fully human status on the part of women. A woman, therefore, cannot freely “consent,” because her will is obviated by her status as a subhuman.
My solution is simple: instead of women living in a perpetual default state of consent which must be specifically withdrawn as a prerequisite to rape, we simply switch it so our default state is “no”. This would allow women to define rape. Rape, as you know, is currently defined by men. Talk about a conflict of interest.
A final note: Of many the specious arguments against the Twistifesto, there is one which is most commonly posed by a certain species of “sex-positive” feminist. These well-meaning but misguided gals complain that the eradicate-prostitution position is patronizing because it presumes that women are “incapable,” as Caitlain puts it, of making decisions pertaining to the disposition of our own body parts. I am happy to report that the eradicate-prostitution position does nothing of the sort. No sane radical feminist could possibly support the assertion that women are “incapable” of making decisions; we are merely prevented by an oppressive social order from exercising our capability to its fullest extent.
I suspect that the rampant willingness among young feminists to deny this grim truth stems from the wholly untenable position into which it thrusts’em. They’re young, they’re fit, they wanna boink; who can blame them if they just aren’t ready to accept that nothing short of an exhaustive, uncompromising overthrow of the social order will put them in complete control of their own selves?
I’ve said it before and I’ll again: patriarchy isn’t some vague intellectual conceit invented by radical feminists to pass the time in between trips to the Birkenstock store. It’s an actual humanitarian crisis, and it has actual consequences, even for you, even if you say it doesn’t.
*Perhaps “The View,” where, my mother informs me, they’re talking about revelations by the new First Couple of New York State concerning their past experiences with extramarital affairs (i.e. they’ve both had’em). Or how about “The Today Show,” where two women hosts interviewing a panel of 20-something hunks endeavor to unlock for their desperate female viewers the mysterious secrets “Inside the Minds of Men.” “O Hunks, favor us with a scrap of your great infinitely unknowable essence, so that we may better serve you!” Pah.