Monday, February 5

"You must make X% of my income to have your dick sucked"

On "Feminist Allies," Jeff cited an article he found cited on "Feminist Critics." In that article, an interviewee complained that she was very unhappy when she had to be in charge of people at work and in the household.

(Interestingly, neither site diverged onto the discussion of whether or not men "could" handle being "in charge" both at work and in the household back when that was entirely expected of them. Do Jeff or HughRistick or the interviewee in that quoted article feel that men are naturally able to juggle this, or do they feel that the years we spent making them do both were as terrible of conditions for men as women like the author of this article now think are so terrible for women?)

She implied that

  1. men who don't have some sort of status outside of the household won't act like they're in charge in the household and that
  2. to keep a heterosexual relationship happy, she and other women need to live out the [at least partly] submissive aspect of a traditional woman's role in the household.
Though she implied she was fine with being in charge at work and making a significant salary, she also seemed to be saying that it's very difficult to maintain happiness with a man who isn't even close to her outside-the-household status, not because of financial stresses, but simply because of the way his outside-the-household status impairs his ability to adopt a role inside the household that would please her.


However, I feel like she generalized her experience too far and incorrectly applied her theory about "what's wrong in my relationship with a man of this sort" to her sex life when she wrote, "I’m not going to pay the bills—I feel like his mother—and then come home and suck his dick."
Click the link to read this post in full

She generalized it too far because switching to crude language implies that you're one of the masses--that surely everyone shares your experience, right?

And why don't I think the masses feel that her theory of outside-and-inside-the-household-roles sums up the problems with their oral sex lives? Because I think that, given how it's assumed most people in 2007 feel about the merits of sex for mutual fun vs. sex for one powerful person's fun, the "normal" status of a member of "the masses" (true or not--maybe I should say the normative status, but that's why I put "normal" in quotes) is someone who has sex "because it feels good" and considers BDSM "kinky" or "weird."

This woman should think about whether she as an individual even wants to have sex orally if the only way it’s appealing to her is to think of it as a favor to a more powerful person.

I’m not saying she shouldn’t do it at all--maybe she’ll come to the conclusion that she as an individual needs a couple of power-and-submission-based sexual activities to keep her happy in a sexual relationship.** But if that’s the case, she should explain that so there’s some context. Otherwise, readers assume that she fits into that "normal" category of people--people who don’t need such things to keep them happy in a sexual relationship, and those readers read her as speaking for such people.

The thing is, if you read it as though she were speaking for such people, she makes them sound pretty fucked up. If she represents them, then even people who don’t get any sexual pleasure out of power-and-submission acts in bed somehow "need" to perform acts of submission in bed to be...happy, I guess.


**(However, if she doesn’t, AND if she also finds no purely sexual appeal in feeling her partner get sexually stimulated on account of what she’s doing with her mouth, THEN I’d recommend that she abstain from sucking dick altogether.)

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