Chains of oppression: Katie Roiphe, Lena Dunham and the sexual counter-revolution

Via Pennyred

Kink has been part of the sexual menu for so long that it’s hard to pretend anyone is shocked anymore when it turns up on the table. The practice of male masochism, for example, has become almost idiomatic when one is discussing Wall Street workers, or the British aristocracy – despite Rousseau and De Sade, the French still refer to sadomasochism as ‘La Vice Anglais.’

At no point, however, has anyone implied that men who want to be sexually dominated by women also want to be dominated by them socially and economically. Quite the opposite, if the long history of powerful men paying poor women to beat them up in backrooms is anything to go by. Apparently, though, a few smutty books about naughty professors wielding handcuffs are meant to prove that modern ‘working women’ (sic.) aren’t really as into all this liberation schtick as we make out.

In a cover story for Newsweek, noted rape apologist Katie Roiphe argues that the recent success of pop-porn bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ proves that even feminists secretly want to be shagged into submission by great, big, whip-wielding brutes. Not just in spite of our feminism, but because of our feminism. Roiphe argues that modern “working women” – I’m sorry, was there ever a time when women actually did no work? – find “the pressure of economic participation… all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world”…”exhausting.” Roiphe goes on to theorise, based on precisely one film, one tv show and one novel, that “for some, the more theatrical fantasies of sexual surrender offer a release, a vacation, an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality.”

[Admin note: per our posting policy, this full-length article from another site has been excerpted. Visit Pennyred for the full article.]

*Trigger Warning* Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria”- women can sexually assault men

This song just came up on my shuffle, and, although I hadn’t thought about it until now, the lyrics are really compelling. The song, written in 2004 (I believe), is narrated by a man struggling to articulate why he feels “so messed up” after a particular sexual encounter. The lyrics address a common theme in conversations about sexual assault- if I don’t say “no,” did I consent, was it my fault? What’s more unique about the song is, of course, its male perspective. Obviously, no one should have to experience the pain of rape or sexual assault, but it happens. And, it seems like, when it happens to men, especially by women, these men are often further ostracized because they are seen not only as victims/survivors, but furthermore, as emasculated or weak. 

Anyway, here are the lyrics. I bolded the parts I found most relevant. 

 

“Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades”

 

Keep the noise low.
She doesn’t wanna blow it.
Shaking head to toe
while your left hand does “the show me around.”
Quickens your heartbeat.
It beats me straight into the ground.

You don’t recover from a night like this.
A victim, still lying in bed, completely motionless.
A hand moves in the dark to a zipper.
Hear a boy bracing tight against sheets
barely whisper, “This is so messed up.”

Upon arrival the guests had all stared.
Dripping wet and clearly depressed,
he’d headed straight for the stairs.
No longer cool, but a boy in a stitch,
unprepared for a life full of lies and failing relationships.

(Up the stairs: the station where
the act becomes the art of growing up.)

He keeps his hands low.
He doesn’t wanna blow it.
He’s wet from head to toe and
his eyes give her the up and the down.
His stomach turns and he thinks of throwing up.
But the body on the bed beckons forward
and he starts growing up.

The fever, the focus.
The reasons that I had to believe you weren’t too hard to sell.
Die young and save yourself.
The tickle, the taste of…
It used to be the reason I breathed but now it’s choking me up.
Die young and save yourself.

She hits the lights.
This doesn’t seem quite fair.
Despite everything he learned from his friends,
he doesn’t feel so prepared.
She’s breathing quiet and smooth.
He’s gasping for air.
“This is the first and last time,” he says.
She fakes a smile and presses her hips into his.
He keeps his hands pinned down at his sides.
He’s holding back from telling her
exactly what it really feels like.

He is the lamb, she is the slaughter.
She’s moving way too fast and all he wanted was to hold her.
Nothing that he tells her is really having an effect.
He whispers that he loves her,
but she’s probably only looking for se-…

(Up the stairs: the station where
the act becomes the art of growing up.)

So much more than he could ever give.
A life free of lies and a meaningful relationship.
He keeps his hands pinned down at his sides.
He waits for it to end
and for the aching in his guts to subside.

The fever, the focus.
The reasons that I had to believe you weren’t too hard to sell.
Die young and save yourself.
The tickle, the taste of…
It used to be the reason I breathed but now it’s choking me up.
Die young and save yourself.

Up the stairs: the station where
the act becomes the art of growing up.

The fever, the focus.
The reasons that I had to believe you weren’t too hard to sell.
Die young and save yourself.
The tickle, the taste of…
It used to be the reason I breathed but now it’s choking me up.
Die young and save yourself.”

Awesome Sexual Violence Prevention App

Circle of 6, the iPhone app that won the White House Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge, is now available to the public!  It has some pretty awesome freatures, such as the ability to send pre-programmed texts such as “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely” with GPS coordinates and “Call me and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”  The app can be found here, and did we mention… it’s totally free!