Sunday, August 06, 2006

Patriarchy-related question of the day:

So let's say that if it weren't for the overwhelming pressure to be "traditionally feminine" from society, the beauty industry, the porn industry, various men and the brainwashed women who enable them, etc. ad nauseum, women would not in fact ever want to wear high heels, lipstick, shave, suck cock (flesh or silicone), get spanked, play the "submissive," and so on.

How then does one explain the not insignificant number of men who also do these things?

Because, while I grant that traditionally stereotyped gender narratives no doubt run rampant among many male crossdressers and submissives, same as with all of us, I seriously doubt that conforming to mainstream pressure is among the motivations in that instance.


Bitch | Lab said...

heh. when i get time to go through the rest of Radically Speaking, there are a couple of essays in there that address this one.

It is considered, ISTR, a patriarchal re-appropriation of the feminine -- an act of male power, regardless. Men still have the 'choice' so it is all just play acting.

Now, of course, the thing is -- why? On a high-level theory explanation the argument that explains why there are some great men out there or why men want to be submissive is simply that it makes the system work. People will keep holding out hope for men-as-they-exist-under-patriarchy if you can point and say, "see, they ain't so bad." or "see, men do it too."

It's just another manifestation of false consciousness.

I am not kidding. And they aren't odd for explaining it this way. All social theories that criticize contemporary society as unjust have to demonstrate _why_ most people don't see it that way. After all, most critical theories of society and their activist proponents are in the minority. Hence, how to explain conformity to the status quo?

Men want to be submissive because patriarchy must create a hierachy within the patriarchy to which men must conform.

Thus, it is patriarchy all the way down and all the way up.

Totalizing grand theory, that one.

Bitch | Lab said...

as but one example, Pauline Bart on the topic:

belledame222 said...


remind me: isn't Pauline Bart also one of the ones who defends het coupledom?

belledame222 said...

>Men want to be submissive because patriarchy must create a hierachy within the patriarchy to which men must conform.>

uh. but that still doesn't explain why anyone wants to -be- submissive (even as play) as opposed to wanting someone -else- to be submissive.

belledame222 said...

...I mean, what I'm picking up here is this notion that "femininity" is ONLY about a particular kind of power transaction; the only reward the "feminine" person gets is approval/affection/not being punished for being deviant.

so, how does this explain the "normal" guy who has all of the masculine privileges afforded to people in his demographic, and dresses up in frocks and heels behind pulled window shades and locked doors only?

in other words: what's the "reward?"

Alex said...

This is, interestingly enough, tied in with why known gay (esp. effeminate) men may be more reviled than (esp. butch/'masculine') lesbians -

Men(/the patriarchy) can understand "wanting to be mannish". Oh, it's still wrong - the little lady should be put in her place - but it makes sense, on a visceral level. Still, it's uppity and should be dealt with.

Men wanting to be feminine? What the hell is wrong with you, you freak? If men want to be like women, well then maybe being womanish isn't badwrongviledegradingicky.

Just maybe.

belledame222 said...

Yup. And why there's rampant fem/sissyphobia; whereas you do get some "no butches, please" among lipstickier lesbians; but there's on the whole a hell of a lot more ambivalence (at best) toward femmes among lesbians (hell, straight women too, for that matter) than there a corresponding ambivalence about butch/macho among most men, gay or straight.

it's part of what pisses me off so much about some "radical" attitudes toward the trappings of "traditional" (which tradition, again?) femininity/femme and the people who love them: newsflash: it's not actually all that radical a position to despise or disdain the things and people associated with "femininity." in fact, it's rather...patriarchal.

the next person who starts in on the same dreary monologue, i swear, is getting a stiletto heel right up their ass.

kactus said...

Back in my phone ho days one of the most consistent scenarios I did with my customers was me fucking them with a strap-on. Next to that was peeing on them, along with the whole clicking up to them in high heels and making them kiss my toes kind of thing. I'd say about 70% of my customers were submissive. And I had a very young girl persona most of the time, so for them to want to be subs to this girl who didn't look much over 20 was pretty telling.

belledame222 said...

yeah. it's funny; you'd think, listening to the anti-kinksters, that most if not all of it was simple re-enactment of erm patriarchal oppression (in other words: maledom/femsub, and a rather particular understanding--or lack thereof?--of that).

Which, there may be more of such couples "out" in the scene--hetBDSM and particularly that flavor is not really my cuppa so I'm not as familiar--but yeah: I don't think there's any doubt whatsoever that malesubs by -far- outnumber maledoms.

otherwise there'd be one hell of a lot more pro-subs than pro-dommes; when clearly it's the other way around.

Bitch | Lab said...

well, it's a kind of functionalist explanation -- which is much reviled as theory most of the time.

the explanation is that this culture creates both men who want to dominate, the majority, and some who want to submit.

the has the function of keeping us confused. "Oh, look, not all men are dominating!"

this is why radfems snerk like mad if anyone brings this stuff up.

Sure there are exceptions, dummies (they say), but by buying into the fact that there are exceptions, you're just engaged in male identified patriarchy fucking! you're missing the forest for the trees! (they say)

Pauline Bart is the one who was called on the carpet for being racist when she told a student in her office that the reason why she was hard on him and siding with the women in class was because he was

1. Intimidating
2. Big

When that didn't seem to get anywhere with the student in her office she said,

3. Coz he's black.

IOW, when the gay black man in her classroom objected to some of her arguments about males, patriarchy, and masculinity, she felt he was disturbing the classroom. Some of the women in the class found him troublesome too. She told the class that she wasn't going to put up with his threats, and then said something dismissive about certain gays and lesbians who were really patriarchy fuckers, in spite of being gay and lesbian. (something like that. I've recounted the story at the Lab)

This offended the black gay man, his gay white male friend, and the lesbian in the classroom who was their friend. She, as Bart described her, wore a black leather jacket.

Yes. Because wearing a black leather biker jacket and being a lesbian marks you as ... male ID'd patriarchy fucker.

Oh, and Bart described the men who demonstrated against her as Black men.

The women who demonstrated for her? They were African American women.

Yes. And they published this in that book. My ass is still chapped from reading that. can you tell?

Bitch | Lab said...


oh. i dont' think radfems see it only as about being rewarded.

they usually talk-- and rightly so -- about the doublebind. thus, femininity is both rewarded *and* punished.

men who want to be punished at 'victims' of the patriarchy, sure. but remember there's a hierchy of victimhood. so it's ok to acknowledge that they are victimized by the patriarchy. they just aren't as worthy a victim as others.

radfems have transguys backs. don't forget

belledame222 said...

maybe, but what I'm saying is:

well. you're saying this is supposedly all about socialization, right?

so what is the reward for something that -isn't- socially acceptable?

or if you never take it out in society at all?