Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Sexism and misogyny do not make for a healthy democracy.

It’s a common theme in liberal discussion online that as nations move to the right, women’s rights disappear. Rewire suggests the opposite: our democracy is weaker because it’s failing women.

Either way, it can get worse: women can still legally cross state lines to get an abortion and for some Republicans that’s a problem. I’m sure they’d be down with Poland’s new policy of government-tracked pregnancies. Or red states may go Dred Scott and try imposing their laws on blue states.

While it’s not as horrific, that Republican dominated legislatures in Florida and Mississippi are ordering women legislat0rs not to bare their shoulders feels sexist as hell.

Marital rape is illegal in all 50 states but some rapists still exploit loopholes.

For many right-wingers, the issue is still a non-existent war on masculinity. My favorite bit at the link, Jim Geraghty of National Review explaining that even when men play videogames or argue online, they do it in a very manly way, not like those chicks do. Maybe he means stuff like this?

Abortion is still legal in much of the country. Forced-birthers want to change that. And yes that includes the life-of-the-mother exemption. The life and health of women are already at risk — and exceptions to abortion bans are rarely granted.

Right-wingers still sulk that liberal women won’t bang them.

“That’s right: I totally stuck it to the patriarchy to please a male authority figure.” — from a WaPo article on the challenge of raising a feminist daughter.

“When it was time to face down Goliath, [He] sent David. Not Davita, David.” — NC Lt. Governor Mark Robson and why men get to be the boss.

Revenge porn is a problem, even for teens.

Then there’s the number of women who can’t afford pads or tampons — a discovery that convinced one young woman to work against period poverty.

 

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The perpetual motion machine of misogyny and other outrage marketing

Along with being racist and anti-Semitic, the far right has been misogynist for years. It’s partly sincere belief; it’s also a calculated strategy to bring incels and other misogynists on board with the white supremacy. Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist who got to meet with Trump recently, uses the same tactics. At a less overt level of white supremacy and fascism we see Republican leaders such as Josh Hawley embracing male supremacy: ”the deconstruction of America begins with and depends on the deconstruction of American men … The Left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic. They want to define the traditional masculine virtues—things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness—as a danger to society.”

It’s a perpetual motion machine where using your misogyny creates more misogyny. The more acceptable people like Fuentes become (he was over the moon about meeting Trump), the more mainstream their beliefs become. Having an elected leader such as Hawley complain about a war on men does the same thing. People who feel the same way feel emboldened to speak out; people who don’t may go along, or at least stay silent when someone else is being a misogynist a-hole. It’s the 10/80/80 rule — a lot of people will take their behavioral cues from the way the people around them act. If the workforce are sexist asses and the boss doesn’t speak up, everyone’s going to see what’s considered acceptable and some will adjust their own behavior accordingly.

It’s a similar pattern to the anti-vax movement. First Trump declares Covid is no big deal; his Republican worshippers agree and therefore decide preventive measures — masks, vaccines — are bad. So Republican politicians, having no spine, line up against preventive measures. So we end up with Ron DeSantis shielding doctors who give bad medical advice and a right-wing hatred of all vaccine mandates, leading to a resurgence of chickenpox and measles.

Or consider that North Dakota is now considering a bill to ban litter boxes in schools. The idea that schools are putting down feeding troughs and litter boxes for kids who self-identify as animals is a myth, but right-wingers keep repeating it (here and here, for instance). So now more and more of them are fighting a problem that doesn’t exist.

All of which is kin to Matt Staver telling Christian schools to find legal ways to exclude children of same-sex parents. If kids get to meet same-sex couples they might get unbiblical ideas like “gay people are decent and not pedophiles” and that would kill the religious right’s efforts to demonize them. Keep them in the bubble where they won’t learn any different — which is the same strategy some right-wingers advocate for women. Keep them at home, keep them from getting an education and they’ll be docile and obedient when they’re married off. Or, you know, grow up Nazi and stay that way.

As I wrote in Undead Sexist Cliches, misogynists love to shriek that everything is feminism’s fault. Them getting raped. Men committing murder. Men not accomplishing enough. Left-wing teachers. M&M redesigns. It’s incoherent bullshit (just like the freakout over gas stoves) but for the right audience — guys who look around, realize they aren’t the apex predator in society and really resent it — it’s meaningful. And feeds rageaholic right-wingers their daily dose.

Of course most guys were never at the apex but at least they could look up at the top of the social pyramid and feel kinship with the guys who were. Men ran the country. Men ran big business. The Supreme Court were all male. At one time all the Ivy League graduates were male. Now that’s not true, and even men who never had a shot at any of those roles can feel, as they say, that “their” country has been taken away. They’re wrong — we’re a better country with gender equality — but that doesn’t penetrate the miasma of resentment.

I wish I knew what will. But I take some comfort in knowing slime like Fuentes are still a sniveling minority, even though they’re a threat. Not a lot of comfort, but some.

Undead Sexist Cliches is available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holders.

 

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The NYT adds another misogynist pundit

So the New York Times has announced anti-Trump right-winger David French will become a new columnist this year because of his “factual and intellectual clarity, moral seriousness, and a spirit of generosity toward others and humility toward oneself.” While French has been consistently anti-Trump, Roy Edroso points out that he also equates Trump to Clinton (both equally scandalous! Both equally impeached!) because French wouldn’t want to suggest Republicans are worse than Democrats).

I’ve never been a fan of the “intellectual diversity” argument for hiring right-wingers but French is also a thoroughgoing misogynist/gender essentialist. According to French, “Today’s young males don’t have common touchstones for what it’s like to grow up to be a man” because they can’t rough-house in schools any more, they don’t work tough, manual labor jobs and they play video games (as lazy a target for lazy pundits as excess TV watching was when I was young) — my god, grip-strength in men is declining! He’s strongly forced-birth, equating the pro-choice movement to Satanism, and supporting various religious organizations that complained if they refused in writing to cover birth control for employees, ACA regulations would provide employees with coverage anyway so that was just like the organization was doing it directly!

He’s also up for playing the Conservatives Are Being Thought Policed card by declaring “even expressing the idea that marriage is properly defined as the union of a man and woman was seen as too outrageous to utter.” And yet, somehow, conservatives haven’t stopped uttering it, not for one second. Saying the anti-gay minority’s view of same-sex marriage is outrageous or bigoted or whatever is a perfectly reasonable stance, certainly as reasonable as the view that gay marriage isn’t real marriage.

And then there’s consent. French is one of the many right-wingers who assume if consent matters, there are no other sexual standards: why not just ask a woman for a blow-job in the middle of a business meeting? If she consents, no problem, right? Samantha Field says this is typical purity-culture thinking: we’re all insatiably decadent, fallen sluts so if we don’t set absolute standards — no sex until marriage, say — we’ll be consenting to orgies at the drop of a hat.

Of course saving sex for marriage didn’t stop rape, harassment, or assault. If anything, “did they consent?” is a stronger, clearer standard than “did she resist hard enough?” which is monstrously subjective. The Southern Baptist Church is adamant about saving sex for marriage but it didn’t save women churchgoers from assault and harassment by members of the hierarchy.

As for French’s argument that consent makes it okay to hit on a woman anywhere, any time, no it does not (nor a woman on a man, nor man on man, etc.). Women are not means to an end, they are ends (nobody of any gender is just a means to an end). Treating a coworker or someone you meet at a business conference as if they’re only there as a potential means to an orgasm is not acceptable.

It’s not like the NYT doesn’t already have a conservative religious misogynist in Ross Douthat, who like French explains sexual predators such as Harvey Weinstein result from the sexual revolution. Because rape and the Hollywood casting couch were never a thing before the 1960s (yes, they were). And Douthat cheerfully lies about how the Dobbs victory will usher in a brave new world of more generous welfare for expectant mothers. Douthat also thinks shotgun marriages were better for women than legal abortion.

Then there’s Brett “bedbug” Stephens, who claimed in 2018 “falsely accusing a person of sexual assault is nearly as despicable as sexual assault itself” (no I’m not linking to his rape apologist op-ed)so it’s good that Trump backed Brett Kavanaugh despite Christine Blasey Ford reporting his attempted assault. If you’re accused of murder people may find reasons you’re not a bad person; there are no excuses that can save your reputation or your career if you’re accused of rape. Unless of course, you claim she was dressed too sexy. She was drunk. She’s a slut. Consent is irrelevant. Rape’s just natural. Boys will be boys. He only raped one woman. A whole bunch more that I cover in Undead Sexist Cliches (available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers.)

From my perspective, it’s hard to see what French can do for misogyny or religion that these guys can’t.

Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

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Glory Road, Robert Heinlein and the Sexual Marketplace

Writing last month about the sexual marketplace prompted me to reread Robert A. Heinlein’s Glory Road. Or try to reread it at least; after confirming I hadn’t misremembered his insights (I use the word loosely) on the subject, I set it down unfinished.

The plot has twenty-one year old veteran “Scar” Gordon (a Vietnam vet though Heinlein doesn’t name the war) unsure of where he’s going next in life. When he responds to a newspaper want ad looking for a brave adventurer he winds up on a cross-dimensional quest with the beautiful Star and canny scientist Rufo. Scar completes the adventure, marries Star but learns that while she cares for him she’s also been using him. He walks away but eventually reunites with Rufo for more adventures along the glory road (a metaphor for adventuring, not a literal location).

There are some fun bits, like Star’s matter-of-fact acceptance of what seems like magic: if that’s how the world works, worrying whether it’s scientific is irrelevant. And in fairness to RAH, something about his style never clicks with me so I might still not have liked the book if it didn’t have the problems I’m about to discuss. But it does.

The problem, for me, is that Scar is an authorial mouthpiece, sharing Heinlein’s wisdom about life with the reader — and he ain’t that wise. I’m familiar with Heinlein’s propensity to expound in his later works (Time Enough for Love, Number of the Beast) but it seems he was into that as early as 1963. The opening chapter is Scar telling us his life story. For the purpose of the book, all we need to know is that he’s a veteran and unsure of his next chapter in life, but we also learn about his military career, how he hates the draft and the educational system but he’s very patriotic and loves his country (it felt like Heinlein was carefully threading the needle in not being too radical). There’s also a rant about how his teachers tried crushing his patriotic spirit; given he’d have been in school in the 1950s when schools were hardly seething with anti-American thought, I’ve no idea what this refers to.

What got me to reread the book was to confirm a line I wrote about several years ago was really as bad as I remember it. It was. As a teen, I knew it didn’t make sense but couldn’t explain why; now I can. During a conversation with Scar, Star tells him that Earth’s sexual mores are unique in the multiverse. Marriage and prostitution (she goes on at length about how buying a woman dinner, flowers, jewelry shows marriage and sex work are two sides of the same coin), both based on “the incredible notion that what all women have an endless supply of is nevertheless merchandise, to be hoarded and auctioned.” In a healthy society without sexual hangups women could provide men with all the sex they need — how screwed up is Earth that relationships don’t work like that?

I don’t know if this was, in fact, a personal belief or Heinlein was just playing provocateur or contrarian. But I don’t care either: he said it and it’s bullshit.  As my old dungeon master liked to put it, Heinlein is not playing his intelligence here.

Even in a society without slut-shaming and similar restraints on consensual sex, the sex supply isn’t really infinite. Quite aside from physical limitations, most women aren’t into providing an “endless supply” of sex. Not because women hate sex or have unreasonable inhibitions, but because there’s not an endless number of men who turn them on.

That’s perfectly natural, just as most men don’t want to have sex with every woman who’s attracted to them. Even assuming a party full of women who are looking for sex, that doesn’t mean a specific guy can find a woman who wants to have it with him, or that she’ll be a woman he wants to sleep with or that she’ll want to have sex in the ways that scratch his particular itch. Hence prostituion (marriage is, in fact, a great deal different).

Heinlein’s not the only person who thinks women’s endless supply holds the potential for sexual utopia — Evangeline Walton takes a similar stance in Island of the Mighty (though overall it’s a far superior book) — but that’s no excuse. It’s not just that his argument is wrong, it’s very male-centric. Practically speaking, men can provide an infinite amount of sex too: sure, the penis can only do so much, even with Viagra, but we have mouths, fingers, we can work a sex toy …

Yet Star doesn’t suggest men should get over their hangups and provide lonely women (their partner’s dead, they don’t meet conventional beauty standards) with a sex supply. Glory Road‘s supposed outside-the-box sexual thinking is just a male fantasy where an endless supply of hot women are available for Scar, or any other guy, to relieve their sexual tension, just as believers in enforced monogamy focus on incel men, not celibate women..

It’s about as daring and edgy as a paperback PI novel of the same era.

For more on the sexual marketplace, check out my  Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers.

#SFWApro. Covers top to bottom by Clyde Caldwell, Bob Pepper, (I believe) Robert McGinnis and Kemp Ward.

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The new McCarthyism is funnier than the old

“The putative complaint against Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s leadership is that he advanced “incremental cultural Marxism” through government funding. Of course, no such thing exists, which means McCarthy has no way to redress the complaint. The far right is angry about the Biden administration’s continued existence and wishes to blame the leadership for this fact.” So Jonathan Chait sums up the Republican failure to elect a speaker of the house: the Democrats haven’t been crushed and in the words of Plan Nine From Outer Space, “somebody’s responsible!” (LGM has more).

This is a truly bizarre situation. At time of writing, McCarthy has lost more than a half-dozen votes; while the far right has offered alternative candidates, it doesn’t appear anyone’s aggressively running to replace him. He’s literally losing to a “none of the above” movement, and that’s after a shit-ton of concessions. I’m guessing nobody wants to step up and volunteer themselves as an alternative because the pro-McCarthy side will immediately paint a target on their back. Back in 2015 this would have been unthinkable but as Roy Edroso says, they’ve embraced gibbering madness.

I can’t decide if this is a good thing. Amusing, sure, but we do need a functional House of Representatives to get things done. On the other hand, even if the Republicans got their shit together and elected a speaker, it still wouldn’t make them functional. They’re not interested in governing, only in media attention (which seems to be Marjorie Taylor Greene’s raison d’etre), attacking their enemies and culture war. A united House Republican caucus won’t accomplish anything except hearings supposedly showing Hunter Biden’s laptop holds his dad’s secret plan to force all Americans into gender reassignment surgery.

I’m proud that flawed as the Democratic Party is, the members do grasp that elected officials have a job to do (that’s a very low bar but Greene, Gaetz, Boebert, etc. don’t come anywhere near clearing it). For example, the FDA just made abortion pills available with prescription at regular pharmacies. As the article notes, this is a limited win — will pharmacy chains want to deal with outraged forced-birthers? — and I’m sure Republicans will look for ways to scuttle it. But it’s still a win, and one that would never have happened if Trump were in office. Nor would the senate have passed bills to protect pregnant and breastfeeding workers if Republicans ran the chamber.

Republicans, alas, are organized enough to gut the operations of the House Ethics Committee. It’s almost like they’re worried they might be caught doing something unethical. Like, I don’t know, another coup? Ginni Thomas, an active supporter of the 1/6 coup, is very, very upset her seditious texts are public: “Certainly, I didn’t want my emotional texts to a friend released and made available.” Yes, quite understandable, I’m always texting to friends calling for the overthrow of the government when I’m feeling blue.

I’d be worried about government scrutiny too, given the high conviction rate for the seditionists — though I doubt any elected officials who supported the attack will see jail time or even house arrest.

“Conservative complaints about Big Tech are only superficially distinct from their grievances with the so-called liberal media. That is, those frustrations are really about the failure of large media organizations to uncritically repeat right-wing propaganda, as more conservative media organizations do. ” — Adam Serwer on the conservative claims that freedom of speech is about their right to say anything without consequences (including loss of money).

In other news, Tucker Carlson proclaims “my tolerance for atheism has really dwindled to nothing.” There’s something almost comical about this, as if any American atheist cares what Carlson thinks of them.

Roy Edroso blogs about right-wingers eternal homophobia,

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Well everyone else is blogging about their 2022 stats, so …

While I check to see how many visitors I get day to day, I don’t think much about yearly performance. But a couple of other bloggers were discussing Most Popular 2022 posts, so why not?

The number one stat in 2022 is people just arriving on my home page rather than looking for a specific post. I don’t know if you’re here because you read something of mine or you’re just bouncing around the Internet and landed here, but welcome!

As for specific pages and posts, the Hellboy Chronology is still top dog, 900 hits more than the second place winner. As a Hellboy fan, I created for my own use but I love other people have found it handy too. I’m a little behind with the new TPBs coming out, but I’ll read and enter them all over the next month or so. By which point I think something else will be out, darn it!

The number two post in 2022 was about Alexandra Erin’s Shirley exception — “Well yes I support an abortion ban with no rape exception but surely they’ll make an exception if it’s a ten-year-old raped by her father.” Thus allowing them to support draconian laws while pretending they don’t support the consequences (I think state politician Neal Collins may fall in this category.

This one wasn’t anywhere in the top 10 in 2021. I presume it’s the relevance in the post-Dobbs world and some Republicans enthusiasm for abortion bans that don’t even allow mother’s life exceptions that got people checking it out.

My Sherlock Holmes quotes applying to writing have been popular — I really should do another of those — and “there is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact” came in at number three. “Any truth is better than indefinite doubt” was at eight; “insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories rather than theories to suit facts” was nine (or ten if you count my home page as one).

Fourth was my About Me page. Fifth was my discussion of Alan Moore’s clunky effort to rehabilitate golliwogs. After #6 on misogynist Matt Walsh, we got a general discussion of racist tropes in LXG.

I would draw some conclusion from this, but I don’t have one to draw, sorry.

Cover by Mike Mignola, all rights remain with current holder.

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Assorted examples of shitty behavior, including misogyny

A college shuts down the faculty union claiming that its Christian beliefs (a rather mangled interpretation of a verse in Jeremiah) mean it’s exempt from recognizing the faculty’s right to unionize.

Sexual harassment is allegedly rife at the famous Julliard College. I don’t doubt the allegations.

“You signed your own warrant,” Mr. Lindner allegedly said, again naming the doctor. “Castrating our children.” Fortunately Lindner has been arrested for making death threats.

“Last week, police charged suspect Allen Tayeh, 65 with fatally shooting attorney Douglas Lewis at his Lawrenceville, Ga., law office and then setting the building on fire. Court records show Lewis represented Tayeh’s ex-wife in a divorce case this year. ”

Ron DeStalinist is unsurprisingly pro-gun but against the right not to be pregnant. Yet some people still fantasize the anti-abortion movement will suddenly want to throw cash at pregnant women.  So the indictment of this anti-abortion activist is good news.

We can blame Donald Trump’s dismissal of the covid threat for opposition to covid vaccines, which has increased opposition to vaccine mandates in general. Oh, and DeSantis wants to launch a completely unbiased (sarcasm font) investigation into damage done by covid vaccines.

As the GOP pushed the culture war and gay-bashing, the Proud Boys fell in line. Unsurprisingly, so has Kellyanne Conway.

At this point we can assume anything Tucker Carlson says is a lie.

Texas AG Ken Paxton wants a list of transgender Texans. I take it as a given it’s for no good reason; as noted in the article, the DMV in Texas did not cooperate.

Trump claims the stories about collusion with Russia were a media lie, therefore the Pulitzer Board slandered him when they gave the stories awards.

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims says attorney Alan Dershowitz raped her too.

A school board candidate in New Jersey started checking out kids’ LGBTQ books so kids wouldn’t have access.

Another day, another youth pastor turns groomer. Oh, and here’s another religious conservative groomer.

The Texas school board that banned a graphic-novel adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank had no problem inviting an invocation from a rabbi accused of multiple sex crimes.

Here’s a tortured judicial argument: just the existence of family planning services for teens attacks Christian parents’ rights. And so do teachers with bad haircuts!!

Newly elected Rep. George Santos. Whatever his true story turns out to be, he seems to be full of lies.

I’m sure letting 18 year olds open-carry will have no bad consequences whatsoever, he said in Extreme Sarcam Font.

“People are just so stupid they think they were fighting for slavery” — Candace Owens lying that Confederate flags aren’t racist symbols. While it’s true that most soldiers didn’t own slaves the majority belonged to slaveowning families (sons, in-laws, younger brothers) — plus slavery was a prop for white supremacy which meant many non-slaveowning whites had a stake in it.

“Single, college–educated White women are destroying this country. The research that we have done has proven that.” Meaning they’re not voting Republican. Just one more reason to eliminate the right not to be married.

Fentanyl is bad stuff but freaking out too much about it is bad too.

Social Security routinely denies disability payments on the grounds applicants can work as a typist (at a literal typewriter) or a sack repairer.

The practice of Texas dumping immigrants up north continued last month, even in freezing weather.

As several people predicted, resistance to covid vaccine mandates has translated into opposition to all vaccine mandates. It’s not like polio or measles could hurt anyone, is it? (Yes, they really can).

Right-wing militant Ammon Bundy threatened violence against a hospital that took Bundy’s friend’s baby into protective custody. After Bundy threatened them with violence for taking the baby, the hospital sued for defamation. Bundy’s response: threaten more violence.

 

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Undead Sexist Cliches: women hate sex

As I wrote Monday, for many people sexual relations work like retail shopping: women run the store and sell sex to men, in return for money, gifts or marriage.

Of course when women give sex to men, they get sex in return but that’s not a fair exchange, it’s “giving it away.” Underpinning this is the assumption, sometimes implicit but often explicit, that women control the market because men are much hornier: “The one who is more eager to make the deal is in a weaker position than the one who is willing to walk away.”

If that were true, society wouldn’t have to slut-shame women, restrict access to birth control or employ female genital mutilation to stop them from having sex. There’s be no problem keeping women virgin until marriage. Nevertheless, many people remain convinced women only put up with sex to land a boyfriend or a husband: they can’t stand the act but they lie on their back and, as the phrase goes, think of England.

A Twitter user named Scott Gurstein, for instance, claimed a few years back that women tolerate sex “under limited circumstances and during limited time frames. That’s nature’s design.” A writer named Brad Anderson similarly says he’s “yet to meet a hetero woman who enthusiastically participates in sex.” Why yes, the jokes do write themselves. Not so funny is the argument by religious complementarian Douglas Wilson that sex is something men do to women, not with women, and it can never  “be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party.” In Wilson’s worldview men conquer, women submit.

These views aren’t as far outside the mainstream as they should be. It’s a staple of relationship-advice articles that a woman would never go to bed with a man unless they were in love or thought they were headed that way. TV writer Tracy McMillan said in 2011 (I’m not linking but you can find her Why You’re Not Married article easily enough) that marriage “involves [men] sacrificing their most treasured possession — a free-agent penis” so the sacrifices women make — cooking his meals, picking up after him, doing the laundry — are trivial by comparison. Women, of course, give up their free-agent vagina, but McMillan doesn’t see that as an equal sacrifice.

One point I make repeatedly in Undead Sexist Clichesx is that proclaiming universal rules for what women (or men, etc.) want is an exercise in futility. Sex is no different.

Some women like it a lot, some not at all or not very much. Some like it in particular ways, particular positions or with particular partners. Some women see sex and love as inseparable, some separate them quite well. Women can be polyamorous, monogamous or asex. They have exclusive relationships, open marriages and relationships that are mostly monogamous with a little straying now and again. They can be sex-positive or reject sex-positive feminism (more rejection here). None of it is because women are fundamentally and universally wiredd that way; the path depends on the individual.

Some women do have low or no sex drive, but so do some men. Some women aren’t into sex because of rape or incest trauma in their past. Many women have a healthy sex drive but can’t achieve orgasm from vaginal penetration. Some women don’t enjoy sex because they’ve been taught their pleasure is unimportant. Bad sex for men, as writer Lili Loofbourow says, means unsatisfying sex; for women it means feeling like crap either emotionally or physically: “One side will endure a great deal of discomfort and pain for the other’s pleasure and delight. And we’ve all agreed to act like that’s normal, and just how the world works.”

Or consider the argument that wives are obligated to put out when their husband wants sex. As D.C. McAlister puts it, (not a direct link) even if she doesn’t want it she should go ahead instead of refusing, which is selfish and unloving. Just lie there and think of England. Religious conservative Lori Alexander says women must put their husband’s desires ahead of their own; writer Caitlin Flanagan says 1950s marriages were happier because women did indeed make love regardless of their own wants and needs. I don’t doubt the men were happy, but the women?

It’s small wonder some women aren’t into sex if their experience consists of lying there and enduring it when they don’t really want it. She learns sex is a chore, the man never learns she’s not happy, nothing ever changes or improves.

It’s the most dismal view of consensual sex I’ve ever heard.

I go into these cliches in more detail in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

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Undead Sexist Cliches: Sex is just a form of retail shopping

This is one of those cliches I was sure I’d blogged about before, but apparently not. It’s a significant one, as witness I devote a chapter to it in Undead Sexist Cliches. It’s the belief that sex is like retail shopping in stores run by women but patronized by men.

As Echidne of the Snakes detailed some years ago, some social scientists approach sex as a form of economic theory, but it’s quite common in unscientific, pop culture views of sex. Women control the store and maintain a monopoly on the sex supply, at least regarding straight men: they have it, men want it, and the only way men can obtain it is by paying the store’s price.

This can be actual cash (for prostitutes), expensive gifts, love, or the ultimate purchase price — marriage. Less scrupulous men use lies (“You know I love you, right?”), manipulation or coercion to get sex from the store without paying.

In the real world, consensual sex is a two-way street: women who give sex get sex in return. In the sex-as-retail interpretation, this isn’t an acceptable transaction: the woman is “giving it away”, a tragic mistake that devalues her sex supply and makes her “cheap,” so no man will ever pay full price again. The guy, on the other hand, gets cool points because he obtained bargain sex, like getting Netflix of Disney + using someone else’s password.

By this logic (I use the term loosely) it’s always a mistake for a woman to put out before she has a ring on their finger. As the old saying goes, if she gives away the milk the man will never buy the cow and she’ll die alone; if she keeps her chastity belt on, the man will bid higher and higher until he finally pops the price. Though of course, other women might undercut her price, but that justifies slut-shaming — make sure nobody breaks with the sex cartel and sells cheap and everyone will benefit (except the women who get slut-shamed, but nobody making this kind of argument cares about them).

As Echidne points out, this is grade-A bullshit. A sexual marketplace like Baumeister imagines would require women have control of their sex lives, with the right to choose husbands or lovers. For most of recorded history women haven’t had that freedom. Decisions about their body traditionally belonged to a woman’s parents, her husband or her pimp. Custom and law added further restrictions on women’s freedom to have the sex life (or lack of one) they prefer.

Women would also need the freedom to refuse men they weren’t interested in, but that hasn’t always been an option either. Women in arranged matches end up the sexual property of the man their parents pick for them. Rape and coercion also restrict women’s right to refuse men. So does women’s supposed obligation to provide men with “service sex” or “duty sex.” Echidne compares women to Ming vases: yes, they command a high value in the marketplace but they have no agency in who owns, buys or sells them. And if the owner decides to smash one for kicks well, that’s his call.

The concept of the sexual marketplace tangles in with multiple other cliches. That no woman can be happy if she’s not married. That men are heartless jerks incapable of marrying for love. That women don’t have to compete for men — they can just wait passively and pick whichever man makes the best bid. And that under certain circumstances, women have no right to refuse sex. Certainly not if they’re married: if a man’s paid that much, he’s entitled to your body, 24/7 (as Phyllis Schlafly put it). Even if they’re not married, the same principle applies: if he shelled out a C-note for dinner, isn’t he entitled to something more than a peck on the cheek? According to Warren Farrell, if the woman lets the guy take her out when she has no intention of sleeping with him, that’s date fraud, and just as awful as date rape.

The reality? No man (or woman, or nonbinary) ever has a right to sex with someone else. Not to their spouse, their partner, their date, nor anyone else. Even if the woman got naked and French kissed him for an hour. Even if he has a hard-on. And sex is not a matter of economics.

I’ll return to this topic in a week or two. Until then you can read more about the sexual marketplace in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

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Matt Walsh’s vision: compulsory arranged marriages, no divorce

Matt Walsh is one of those right-wingers who thinks rape trauma is really shame because the woman doesn’t want to admit she’s become a slut. Siding with rapists is a good way to ensure women can’t refuse sex, even if the right-wing outlaws birth control along with abortion.

Apparently that’s not good enough for Mr. Walsh. Along with crushing the right not to get pregnant, he’s not fond of the right not to get married or even to choose your spouse: arranged marriage, that’s the way to go! “We would be happier — every person in the dating scene right now would be happier if they were just matched up with someone against their will.” He also advocates for the end of no-fault divorce, making it a lot harder for those matched-up c0uples to end the relationship. As noted at the link, it’s a common right-wing position; LGM points out just how hard divorce was before no-fault, even if your marriage was a train wreck.

This is the dream of many right-wingers who think wives are male property. As long as a wife has the power to walk out, their authority depends, to some extent, on her voluntarily accepting it. If she doesn’t accept it, she’s free to leave. Some men can’t stomach that — even if the spouse is abusing her, she shouldn’t be able to escape her lord and master.

Of course, arranged marriages and no-divorce bind the man as well as the woman (I guarantee you, Walsh is not looking for arranged gay marriages to become a thing). Given that misogyny is the root of their faith I take it as a given right-wingers are more concerned with binding the woman than the man. It’s the same way, as Christian feminist Samantha Field puts it, that chastity in purity culture is an obligation on both genders, but men aren’t going to be slut-shamed if they don’t bring their pure virginity as a gift to their bride on the wedding night. Boys gotta be boys, amiright?

To put it another way, even though adultery is a sin in Christianity, I doubt they’re going to object if the husband gets his sexual pleasure outside the marital bed, just as they’re fine treating adulterous womanizers Trump and Newt Gingrich as respected Christian leaders. That may be why, as EJ Dionne says, they’re outraged over gay marriage but not adultery, unless it’s by some liberal.

Being able to get ahead in this world without marrying is one of the things that distinguishes the era of modern feminism from the 1950s. Forcing women into marriage puts men back in the driver’s seat. Patriarchal blogger Lori Alexander, for example, recommends women go straight from their parents’ home to their husband’s. And the younger, the better. Even if that means marrying her rapist.

After all, if women can successfully stay single, the future of The Handmaid’s Tale will remain just a dystopian fantasy, instead of a reality.

I get into this bullshit more in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers.

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