Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lag Mags, US-Style

Often seems that it's only us UK-based feminists who have to contend with the propaganda disseminated by the so-called Lad Mag culture. My views on that sort of thing are well known, having featured even on the BBC. And of course all over this blog too. Now the misogyny-as-mainstream-youth-culture movement has apparently reared it's ugly head in the US too as witnessed by the headline "Is It OK To Demand Anal Sex?"...

... well ... firstly it's not ok to demand anything sexually. Obviously.

Secondly at several points in the article the guys interviewed express sentiments that are just horrifying. That they asked women for anal sex because of the bragging rights it gave them down the pub later. That they liked anal sex because the woman was in pain. That they found anal sex less difficult to deal with emotionally than vaginal sex.

Anything you do in bed because of what your mates will think, because you enjoy watching someone suffer or because you are afraid of cunts is a mistake.

But really what we are seeing is another cause/symptom of the pornification of society. Pornography, which gets more and more mainstream by the second always tends to focus on oral and anal sex. Evolution certainly didn't mean to pre-dispose us to like these things so really this can be seen as evidence that pornography is not about sexual desire. Porn is about power, and you're getting much more power out of a situation when the other party is likely to end up in pain (or choking in the case of the sort of oral sex these sites tend to show). It's pretty hard to hurt a woman through vaginal sex - however hard you do it. No pain = no power = no fun.

And women are not immune to culture. The more these things are normalised, the more they feel they need to live up to standards we are led to believe are now universal.

The weird thing is, much as the media normalise these attitudes, there is demnad out there from guys who already think like that. Long ago when I was a single blogger I tried an online dating service and one guy I emailed back and forth a few times casually mentioned that refusal to have anal sex was "a deal-breaker"! To which I swiftly replied that sexual "deal-breakers" were themselves a deal-breaker for me. And he was still mailing me weeks later saying intelligent things like "you might enjoy it" and very much missing the point that I only date people who aim to please me in bed, not tick off a list of obscure practices I can or can't be talked into.

7 comments:

Stan said...

"Deal-breaker" ! He actually used those words ?? What a smooth-operator - what woman could possibly resist an intimate offer stated in the style of a Financial Times editorial.

I do hope I'm way more subtle when I treat women as tradeable commodities.

Kenny said...

Deal-breaker is a peach isn't it? I was trying to come up with a cryptic clue answer to one that went "Deal-breaker" but sadly my feeble mind is not exactly firing on all cylinders thanks to the NHS and their philosophy of pumping you full of narcotics rather than treating the problem. So I failed.

Sorry Cruella -- Stan and I share a crossword addiction, as well as an awful lot of morals, so we^H^H I get distracted easily.

Let's go ride bikes.

Iceman said...

Now the misogyny-as-mainstream-youth-culture movement has apparently reared it's ugly head in the US too as witnessed by the headline "Is It OK To Demand Anal Sex?"...

No, we've had a lot of this trash for a long time - Maxim, Tucker Max, and the Man Show just to name a few...

Secondly at several points in the article the guys interviewed express sentiments that are just horrifying. That they asked women for anal sex because of the bragging rights it gave them down the pub later. That they liked anal sex because the woman was in pain.

Who did they interview for this article, SBR and Grant?!

The most offensive one was the guy who suggested that it's something you get girls to do when they're really drunk - in other words, knowing that they wouldn't have consented freely when they were sober.

Long ago when I was a single blogger I tried an online dating service and one guy I emailed back and forth a few times casually mentioned that refusal to have anal sex was "a deal-breaker"!

"All right, if you insist" (snap)

"I didn't mean that way! You can take that thing off now!"

Elley said...

It's pretty hard to hurt a woman through vaginal sex - however hard you do it.

I'm sorry, I'm really not sure how anyone can say that. I guess you're really lucky, but don't apply your vagina-of-steel to every woman.

Oh, and I guess I should stop enjoying cunnilingus since appearently evolution didn't intend on me liking it. Or something. Why the fuck would you criticize oral and anal sex because evolution didn't intend for it? Evolution didn't intend for anything, it just happens.

The article was obviously hideous and reprehensible, but that's no reason to have a hate-on for certain types of sex. Have a hate-on for guys like the ones the article interviewed, but it's not like they'd be angels of equality if they were looking for vaginal sex instead of anal.

Cruella said...

I don't have a hate-on for certain types of sex. My point is that porn aims to show women being hurt, not women enjoying themselves - so it focuses on those types of sexual activity which are most likely to hurt women.

I'm not quite sure whether you've misunderstood what my post is about or whether you are just some pro-porn anti-women commenter who is trying to wind me up. You have no profile on blogger when I click on it.

Elley said...

I didn't even say anything about porn, so why would you think I'm pro-porn? I agree with you about pornotube and hustler, and I think that the vast majority of porn is horrible. But anal and oral sex do not equal porn, and criticizing them because of evolution is, well, weird, and homophobic, amoung other things.

I'm sorry I snapped at you when I saw you say that it's hard to make vaginal sex painful. It's just that I've had so much painful vaginal sex that I really can't understand why anyone would say that. Really, the problem with the Details article was not the anal. It was their attitudes. I'm sure that these guys can (or do) make vaginal sex painful for their girlfriends and it's not any better if they rape a drunk girl vaginally as opposed to anally.

I've had a lot of painful vaginal sex because when I was younger I was under the impression that I shouldn't stop a guy once he starts. So, I'd hid the pain and let him finish. I don't do that anymore, but there's a lot of women out there who still don't feel they can stop their partners part way through, even because of pain. I think that's horrible, and I think we have to change society's mindset on that. I know I didn't express my thoughts really clearly on the last post or probably even in this one, but I think that expressing the idea, especially through a feminist blog, that women don't have painful vaginal sex is really minimizing to the women who do. A young woman who's already confused about having painful sex and what to do to avoid that would read something like that and think that she's even more of a freak. We need a total shift in attitudes when it comes to sex in our culture, and it's not nearly as simple as anal=bad, vaginal=good.

I'm happy you've (from what it sounds like) never had painful vaginal sex. But, not everyone else never does, and painful vaginal sex is no better or less misogynistic than painful anal sex, and it's certainly worse than painfree, mutually enjoyable anal sex. The problem is with the attitudes in guys like the ones in the article, and fucked-up porn, and this whole attitude about sex that does not value women's pleasure at all and sees sex as something guys "take" from women. The problem is not that these messed up guys are having anal sex instead of vaginal.

I'm sorry that got kinda rambly, but hopefully you know now that I'm not some pro-porn anti-women troll just trying to fuck with you. :)

Cruella said...

Ah ok, no worries, I get pretty jumped up about stuff sometimes too when it affects me personally. I like to think at least on here it goes without saying that if it hurts - stop.

And while evolution might give us pointers to what is more or less likely to hurt, evolution gives us clues to stuff - not rules to live by. After all evolution would have us shitting in ditches!

But I do take exception to the idea that being negative about anal sex is homophobic. Being gay and having lots of anal sex are not the same thing. Some gay people do, some don't - a bit like straight people.* And I'm not really anti-anal sex I just think pornographers are drawn to it because of the greater likelihood that it will cause pain and injury to the woman.

*See here: http://commodorified.livejournal.com/136412.html