Monday, December 16, 2002


I was going to write "I'm angry at the feminists again," but then I realized that I don't want to vilify feminism in its entirety as a movement or a culture, far from it. Right now it's just the ones who dabble in gender theory on an academic level who are annoying me.

Do you believe - and really, I want answers on this - that performing fellatio is an act of total submission? That someone (for the sake of this writing, a woman) is giving up herself to perform this act? Because reading "Postmodern Misogyny in Blue Velvet," I learned from Jane M. Shattuc (sorry - I can't find any useful links) that to fellate someone is to surrender all control and personal identity.

On a practical level: sure, ostensibly the woman is expending time and energy to provide pleasure for a man (the theory omits any pleasure the woman herself might derive from the act), but think for five seconds and you'll realize how vulnerable he is made by this event: a man would either have to trust a woman completely or be quite stupid to put himself in such a position. Not to mention that fellatio is far less potentially perilous for women than intercourse: this is perhaps the most effective occasion for a woman to use her teeth in the event of any danger.

I find it mystifying that the same group of people who are shouting that women deserve orgasms too (a stance I naturally agree with) would seemingly take that to the extreme of denying men sexual pleasure entirely. Who is served by only one person were having a good time? I know, I know, I know that for centuries it was considered sane and appropriate that women not enjoy sex or have orgasms, but does the pendulum have to swing all the way? I mean, why denounce fellatio while simultaneously demanding the reciprocal act?

This seems to be the kind of proverbial hairball coughed up from the feminism of the 1970s (even though Shattuc's piece was written in 1992), which isn't to suggest that those ideas weren't valuable, but that matters have evolved: the work isn't finished, certainly, but women shouldn't have to segregate themselves entirely from men in order to have identities, or want to make them suffer, any longer. In Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World As A Smartmouth Goddess, Susan Jane Gilman writes:

I'm not knocking the women's movement of the past years. I'm a huge advocate and beneficiary of choice, workplace-protection laws, and domestic violence legislation. But I also realize that feminism seventies-style is just about the only trend from the disco era that young women today have not rushed to resurrect. Rhetoric about "reconfiguring the phallocentric modalities of the patriarchy," just turns us into zombies.

Like Gilman, I don't know how to approach this subject without being perceived as ungrateful for the work that feminism has done. I am consistently aware of my vote, my work, and the fact that I have personally elected to not learn how to cook (...many things, anyway). In my circle of friends, my boyfriend is known as an "honorary girl," which is the highest of high praise from both sides of the fence: women perceive that he understands them, and men are jealous of him because he understands them.

So I ask you: now that he's an honorary girl, can I make an informed decision to engage in whatever sexual acts I please with him without somehow losing my empowerment?

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