Disease as punishment
The ongoing struggle at Hugo's blog of the "but really we're not sucking up to sexist men" anti-feminist women versus the feminists is both appalling and enlightening. Just when you almost think that they are breaking out of stereotyping and misogyny and getting closer to having a break-through where thought happens, you get a bone-headed statement like this:
I wonder, if African women have such painful intercourse, then why do they have sex more than Westerners? Why is Aids rampant in Africa due mainly to unprotected hetero sex with multiple partners? You would think African women would be less likely to have sex if it were so painful. Seems there is two stories here.
A masterpiece of ignorance and bigotry! You want to savor it like a fine wine turned to vinegar. The assumptions the feed this are manifold. The one that jumps out you immediately is the racist assumption that blacks have an animalistic sexuality that whites don't have; that black women are able to work through the pain to have sex and that mutilating their bodies is no big deal.
Then there is the "two stories" statement, where she implies that we are telling her two stories--one where mutilating African women is bad and one where they love the cock and AIDS is just the natural result. The latter, of course, is all in the speaker's head. A slip of the tongue and just the same ol' projection with a bad disguise.
The racism is bald and gross and hateful. So is the sexism. So it's hard to notice the third assumption hiding under the rock like a bunch of squirmy worms. The idea is more common than the idea that sluts deserves AIDS or that black women are so horny that a little painful scarring and lack of nerve endings can't stop them. It's the idea that AIDS is a direct result of promiscuity, that it is caused by having alot of sex.
This is an idea that is really hard to shake people of, as it has a weird grounding in reality in the sense that monogamy is an effective way to avoid the disease. But that's monogamy, and monogamy is a much different thing than the "family values", aka patriarchy, that the men's rights activists and other assorted social conservatives have in mind. Under complete male dominance like the sort that the men's rights activists preach, fidelity is only a virtue in women. And, by god, keeping women at home while men sleep around isn't an effective way to curtail the spread of HIV!
In fact, it seems to me that an opposite situation where men were kept at home while women slept around might actually be safer for the faithful partners, since a man having sex with a positive woman is less likely to get the disease than the other way around. The stupid disease, alas, doesn't correspond exactly with patriarchal values.
By no means am I poo-poohing emphasis on monogamy as a way to control the transmission of HIV. It's effective, so let's go for it. But confusing effective disease control methods with "moral" values of male dominance is a complete and utter joke. All other values of a male dominant/female submissive society encourage the spread of the disease. Male promiscuity and female fidelity? That encourage positive males to spread it to women who are already subjugated. Eschewing contraception? Condoms are even more effective than monogamy as a disease preventative. Homophobia and heterosexism? The former encourages gay men to seek out anonymous sexual encounters that expose them to the disease and the latter encourages gay men who have these anonymous encounters to then have sex with unknowing women to preserve the heterosexual illusion.
I guess today is my day to be frustrated with people who can't distinguish their compelling myths from reality.