Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Female "morality" and male behavior

The whole discussion over at Alas, a Blog about the wingnut belief that boyfriends beat women but husbands don't got me to thinking about the various ways that social conservatives try to blame male misbehavior on female morality. As we all know, of course, female morality is a narrowly defined thing, and it's all about how a woman doles out access to her vagina.

I was reminded of this nauseating article I read awhile ago.

The truth is there are fewer "right men" around these days—in part because of the ways women themselves have compromised their natural modesty and the inmost promptings of their hearts. Though women can command higher salaries, they have ceased to be able to command men.

Commanding men, of course means submitting to them but only after they jump through a few hoops, the biggest being the hoop of gold. How to make them jump through those hoops? Well, by doling out or withholding sexual favors in a reward/punishment system. Men don't "respect" women naturally or even out of their own sense of right and wrong so much as they are forced into it by having access to pussy held over their heads.

And boy, if men get pussy without having to jump through the proper hoops, all hell breaks loose! They beat women, disrespect them, knock them up and leave them, and it's all the fault of women for not knowing how to control access to what should be a rare and difficult to find resource, but sadly isn't because girls just aren't brought up right anymore. It's fashionable in conservative circles to bemoan that girls won't treat their bodies as objects to barter for marriage with because they lack self-esteem. The only conceivable reason that a woman might choose extra-marital sex is because she gave in to male pressure because she didn't have the self-esteem to demand more from a man before she gave up the pussy. (Sorry to be vulgar, but the use of euphemism is one of the reasons that their arguments don't seem to be as offensive as they are.)

The profound misogyny behind this thinking is depressing. As Trish Wilson points out in the comments, people like Blankenhorn are willing to go so far as to tell women in abusive relationships that if they just get the man to marry them, then the abuse will likely stop. And, as we all know, the prescribed way to force men into marriage is to withhold sexual favors until he caves in. That this advice is putting women's lives at risk seems a small price to pay if it pushes back the clock and returns men and women to their roles as sexual antagonists.

I realize I've coughed up quite a bit of word-age on this subject, but the whole thing is just deeply offensive. It's offensive to me as someone who cohabitates to tell me I'm looking for trouble, it's offensive to women to play with our lives and safety like this, it's offensive to men to tell them they are no better than dogs who have to be controlled with sex, and it's offensive again to women to tell us the most we can hope for is to use our bodies as a bartering chips.

47 Comments:

Blogger Fred Vincy said...

You are right to expose the corrosive ideas underlying certain vocal strains of "morality". I'd like to add that I have a similar reaction to pro-lifers (and it's a majority of them) who make an exception in the case of rape. When they do that, they are in effect admitting that opposition to abortion is not about "life" -- if it were, what possible difference could the circumstances of conception make? -- but about punishing women for having sex.

9/01/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah. Whenever anyone says "Why by the cow if you can get the milk for free?", I always want to kick them. Hard. Women are not cows. And a wife is not just a socially-acceptable prostitute who trades sex for a wedding ring.

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9/01/2004

 
Blogger sofie said...

I totally agree on pro-life "morality"; there are students at my college who show pictures of aborted foetuses to everyone they know claiming abortion is akin to the Holocaust, but when faced with the issue of rape they immediately recant, saying it's only right that women should get abortions in certain circumstances. It makes no sense.

As for female "morality", I've heard the cow metaphor from my own mother too many times to count; this is one of the reasons I'm a feminist. I'm sick of being told I'm doing wrong, or being immoral, for having a sexual relationship with an older man, whilst my 19 yr old brother is positively encouraged to "sow wild oats" before University. It's seen as ok for my mother to try and regiment my sexual behaviour whilst condoning my brother's poor treatment of other girls my age. After all, women are sluts but men are studs right?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well put, Fred. I had thought something like that, but hadn't put it into words per se.

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