Yeah, it’s been a few days, sorry. You know how you’re not very busy, and you have plenty of free time, and then all of the sudden like a dozen projects fall on your head at once? That’s kind of where I am right now. So I may be a bit scarce for the next few weeks. The good news, though, is that I may have some good news in a few weeks, and I’m working on a new project that Agent Man and I are very excited about too, and I bought my dress for the RT Fairy Ball so hopefully it will look okay when it arrives (well, I know you probably don’t care about that, but I’m happy about it).
So I’ve been trying on and discarding various blog topics for several days now. And most of them are topics I do want to touch upon at some point–some of them are topics I’ve been mulling around for some time. And I know today’s post is about something quite a few people have already seen, but I’ve only just become aware of it (remember, the busy-ness? Haven’t been online much) and yeah, I want to say something about it.
For those who don’t want to click the link, let me tell you what this is. A group calling itself the “Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative”–which in itself is a horrible name–has produced this “funny” book, which is ostensibly the type of thing that really turns women on. And it’s a book full of handsome men vacuuming, or saying things like “I don’t need a reason to bring you flowers,” or “Gee, since the NFL playoffs are today, I bet we’ll find lots of parking at the craft fair,” or whatever.
Yes, that’s right. Yet another group of women have decided to make money off of the “Tee-hee we like chocolate and bubble baths and darn, we just can’t resist dessert and I’d rather be shopping,” stereotype of women.
I get that it’s a joke. It’s just not a funny one. It’s degrading to both women and men, frankly.
First, it implies that women are not sexual creatures, and that instead we use sex as a reward we give to men in exchange for them toeing the (domestic) line. That to us sex isn’t an act of pleasure or of love but is instead that horrible messy thing we do for him, in order to keep him around. That while men enjoy pornography which is actually, you know, porn, women don’t like to see those awful naked people doing That Dirty Thing We Must Endure To Get Babies, and so our idea of porn involves eunuchs just being nice to us.
See, if you think women are whores who put out to get what they want and/or are so desperate for affection that they’ll trade their bodies for flowers or a nice dinner, you’re right, according to this book. If you think woman’s sexual responses aren’t tied to sex or affection but to how much money a man spends on us or how many favors we can make him do for us, you’re right again, according to this book. In this book, a man who buys a woman flowers or takes her to a craft show has evoked a sexual response in her; therefore, yes, she does owe him sex if he buys her dinner, because he’s just done something pornographic. Something guaranteed to turn her on. It has nothing to do with body types or even sexual parts or prowess; we’re so pitiful and desperate that just having a man take out the trash makes us slavering sex-beasts. (Yes, I am stretching the point, but so? So did the people who wrote this book.)
The second level of offense is, yes, the idea that all women, because of their teeny brains and silly hormones and That Menstruation Thing, share exactly the same opinion of what’s sexy and what isn’t. This infuriates me in exactly the same fashion that those damn “Holiday Gift Guides,” with their insistence that what women really want for Xmas is bath gel, make-up, spa treatments, and New Age music, do. You know what? I don’t give a shit who takes out the trash. I enjoy watching sports. Most chick flicks make me feel ill, or I can take them or leave them. I don’t like to take baths; I have better things to do with my time, frankly. I don’t like being brought flowers; what the hell is the point? They die anyway. Yeah, thanks for bringing me a present that self-destructs after like a day and a half. I can resist dessert fairly easily, frankly, and do not turn into a giggling mess when confronted with one. Potpourri makes me sneeze and/or feel queasy. I hate crafty-type stuff, generally; there is no lace in my house. I do not buy useless tchotchkes. I do not obsess about the cleanliness of my home. I generally wouldn’t recognize a designer purse if you shoved it in my face, and I have no special desire for one.
And I’m not some bizarre aberration of the female gender, either. Most of the women I know–in fact, all of the women I know–do not behave in that fashion or think that way. And I resent people who treat me as if I do, or who tell others that’s how I am. It’s offensive. It implies women do not think on their own or have their own tastes or are their own people. Instead we’re just a hivemind, a large squirming mass taking over the malls and demanding flower-scented foaming bath beads. You’ve met one woman, you’ve met them all. All they really want out of a life is a man who’ll mop.
Let’s not forget the men, here, though, and the many ways this book also reduces them to stereotypes. In the “Porn for Women” world, men are brutes. They don’t do their fair share of the housework, or, indeed, any share of the housework–not even traditionally “male” jobs like taking out the trash. They don’t enjoy doing things with their women; if they did, such things wouldn’t be “porn,” right? Wouldn’t be something presented as special and guaranteed to elicit a reaction? The normal man, as seen by the “Cambridge Women’s Pornography Collective,” is just as vapid and devoid of individuality as the normal woman. He spends all day in front of the TV watching football, ignoring his wife’s desire that he pay attention to her. He refuses to help around the house at all. He never thinks of her or does anything for her just because he loves her.
And, it seems to me, he is also a brute who leaps on top of her, gives her a couple of halfhearted thrusts, then rolls over and falls asleep with no thought for her feelings.
All of this is bad enough. But along with it is the darker, more insidious implication that a woman who doesn’t find this stuff sexy, who doesn’t wish she could spend all day every day in the bath with some bon-bons, is ABNORMAL. Not a real woman, see, because she doesn’t find this stuff arousing–or this joke funny.
Just like a man who does take out the trash, or vacuum, or bring home dinner just because, or goes shoe shopping with his wife or girlfriend, is also ABNORMAL. Not a real man, because he doesn’t act like a lout–and probably not a real man because he doesn’t think this shit is funny, either.
Isn’t it time we move past this shit? Past the idea that what women really want is hugs’n’chocolate, because sex is just something we do for him? Past the idea that men only do nice things in order to get sex? Can’t we agree now that women are adults, and diverse, and so are men, and that to put out a book this simple-minded and ridiculous and call it “porn for women” is shameful, and sexist, and just plain not fucking funny?