Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I can't believe I'm paying for this crap 

The following excerpt is from Chapter 7 of Catharine A. MacKinnon's Toward a Feminist Theory of the State:
To be clear: what is sexual is what gives a man an erection. Whatever else does this, fear does, hostility does, hatred does, the helplessness of a child or a student or an infantilized or restrained or vulnerable woman does, revulsion does, death does. Hierarchy, a constant creation of person/thing, top/bottom, dominance/subordination relations, does. What is understood as violation, conventionally penetration and intercourse, defines the paradigmatic sexual encounter. ... All this suggests that what is called sexuality is the dynamic of control by which male dominance -- in forms that range from intimate to institutional, from a look to a rape -- eroticizes and thus defines man and woman, gender identity and sexual pleasure. ... Male sexual desire is thereby simultaneously created and serviced, never satisfied once and for all, while male force is romanticized, even sacralized, potentiated and naturalized, by being submerged into sex itself.
I spent three hours in the library trying to wrap my head around just 28 pages of feminist text. It was quite frustrating. What's especially challenging is resolving the seemingly legitimate criticisms:
Men force women to become sexual objects, "that thing which causes erection, then hold themselves helpless and powerless when aroused by her." ... This elaborate projective system of demand characteristics -- taken to pinnacles like fantasizing a clitoris in a woman's throat so that men can ejjoy forced fellatio in real life, assured that women do too -- is surely a delusional structure deserving of serious psychological study.
With the truely insane:
Once an act is labeled rape there is an epistemological problem with seeing it as sex. Indeed, this is a major social function served by labeling acts rape. Rape becomes something a rapist does, as if he were a sperate species. But no personality disorder distinguishes most rapists from normal men.
Her observations on pornography are particularly persuasive when one considers some of the creepier fads in pornography (Warning: That is a direct link to a porno site), but I can't help but be truely offended when she suggests I'm a whim away from raping someone.

Let's not forget some of the hallmarks of feminism from around the blogosphere these last few months.
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