22.10.17

faux feminism strikes again - opinion

Mayim Biyalik spoke the truth when she pointed out the specific abuse of beautiful young women in Hollywood. It is a well-known fact that patriarchy (as a hierarchy whereby male gender uses female gender to enact their sexual entitlement) punishes women who don’t conform to "fuckable" standard of beauty, either through gift of their genetics or through choice. And while it’s true that any woman can be raped, regardless of her appearance or age, patriarchy’s entitlement specifically depends on providing men with boners and eye candy, by forcing women to do whatever is necessary to appear “fuckable".

“Fuckability” aka beauty standard is in that sense equivalent to the concept of “male gaze” - what men find erection-worthy, and while that in itself is a form of power play and subjugation, it's also the one quality women are told to acquire if they want to win a mate who will love and protect them (from violence of other men). Also, “fuckability"is often a prerequisite for getting a job, getting jury or even general public to empathise with you, or indeed to believe your words, whether you are stating your professional opinion or telling your story of abuse.

Rape is a related phenomenon but it’s not synonymous with “fuckability’, because rape is often used to punish and dominate - in that sense, men can rape any woman or child, and even another man, the rapist's erection doesn’t occur as a consequence of sexual desire but in response to power it affords them and the pain it causes the victim.

Sexual harassment lies somewhere between “fuckability” standard that is dictated by male gaze and rape. On one hand, it can be used like rape, to control and put a woman "in her place” - to force her to withdraw from competition (for jobs, popularity, empathy) and to ruin her good mood and self-confidence, but also it can be an expression of sexual desire - the popular explanation of “boys will be boys” when we are excusing a boy grinding against an unwilling girl on the playground, or a boss who went “a bit too far” admiring a secretary’s ass or a college professor staring at the cleavage of a young female student. When the staring becomes unashamed and deliberate, in order to take a talkative, confident student “down a notch”, or when the professor starts using sexual analogies in order to teach his subject, but such analogies are obviously directed at female students, the motivation for his sexual harassment crosses over from the male gaze into domination and power play which are more synonymous with rape. This is why sexual harassment often feels violating and violent, even though no physical harm has actually occurred. It’s the threat that counts.

So the nuance is easily lost. Some people like to focus on what the rape (or sexual harassment) victim was wearing and how sexually desirable she presented herself, in order to analyse these events. Others tend to evangelise how “appearance has nothing to do with rape of harassment” and in both arguments, a lot of women and their experiences are lost. Moreover, the dictatorship of male gaze as expressed in “be fuckable or else” versus “you are so fuckable, what did you expect him to do?” is excused and removed from the discourse.

I’ve read lots of different accounts of Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulting beautiful young women in Hollywood, and let’s face it - they were all young and beautiful. And even if he assaulted a woman who wasn’t “fuckable”, his overwhelming modus operandi is one of predating on “fuckable" women. To say that beauty had "nothing to do” with how he chose his victims is as deluded as insisting that we refer to pregnant women as ”pregnant people” because a vanishingly small percentage of pregnant women decided to socialise into male gender.

So one of his victims has summarised this by saying that actresses in Hollywood are paid to represent this beautiful and desirable standard, but that they aren’t paid to provide men in charge with sexual access to themselves, something a lot of men in Hollywood seem to expect. And she absolutely nailed it. Sexual harassment and rape, as well as male gaze in Hollywood, are mainly directed at the kind of women Hollywood insists on employing - young, beautiful and “fuckable”.

Likewise, on the streets, at Universities, in the workplace and even in social circumstances, while any woman can be a target of all three prongs of male sexual entitlement, the young and “fuckable” women get targeted the most. If this wasn’t the case, then male gaze wouldn’t really be a thing, and even if there was pornography, there wouldn’t be a huge saturation of it by women who all look a certain way. Same goes with media and any “visible” position or industry. In other words, if you are young and beautiful, you have more opportunities as well as a bigger target painted on your back (or front). The fact that patriarchy dictates to every young girl and woman that she must be “fuckable” at all costs, is typical gaslighting, where women and girls are blackmailed and socialised into a “preferred" victim role. The outcome? Men can go around this world with boners galore, as their eyes rest on a sea of women and girls who are all made up, starved, operated on, women and girls who move and pose in a way to appear more “fuckable”, women and girls who wear clothing that makes them look more “fuckable” from high heels to tight clothing, plunging necklines and push up bras. It’s male privilege to go around like a well-fed cat, purring at all the flesh at their disposal. And even if technically the said flesh isn’t simply waiting for them to call at it, grope it or penetrate it, it certainly fires up their imagination, and should they “lose control” well, then, what was she wearing? Why was she looking so “fuckable”?

So when Mayim spoke about this, internetz faux feminists tore her down, why? Because faux feminism of the 21st century male-owned media is mainly concerned with protecting male sexual entitlement, and if women get an idea that perhaps they should stop pandering to male gaze so much, then men would have access to a lot fewer boners in their day to day life, and we can’t have that, now can we? So girls, feel free to dress into skimpy clothing, emphasise your secondary sexual characteristics even during events and tasks that do not require your sexuallity at all, even during tasks where being dressed to give a random man a boner can hinder your physical ability, compromise your health or put you in danger by inviting the “wrong kind of attention”. Keep spending extraordinary amount of time and money on buying and wearing uncomfortable, bad quality clothing and footwear because it’ll make you look more “fuckable” and let’s not forget that you are telling the world how you just don’t care about yourself, your job or people around you, unless you make yourself look more “fuckable” with poisonous makeup full of endocrine disruptors and heavy metals. Because what you look like has nothing whatsoever to do with it...


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