Doing Work for Patriarchy

3 Mar

After seeing this poster at this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151502804657110&set=a.51895502109.87823.684087109&type=1&theater;  The poster states:

“Pussy Power, Slut Nation is Here and We Are Pissed Off. Run and Hide You Misogynist Crusty Fuck Heads!”

I was immediately struck by two emotions, on the surface I wanted to raise my fist and yell, “yeah, you fuckers!” and then my secondary more deeper response was sadness. I agree that women need to get very angry and to express their anger and this poster connected with my own rage as a woman; however, I take issue with using the words, “pussy” to define female power and “slut” to describe the nation of women.  Both pussy and slut reduce female power to their sexuality, which is exactly where patriarchy and men want our (false) power to remain. Because women have had no power historically, they have had to use their sexuality in an attempt to gain admittance into a male dominated society. This type of sexual “power” is dependent on men therefore it is not true power.  Woman must use their pussies (allow men to penetrate them) to gain favor with men, which is not real power at all. When the men leave, the power leaves with them, without men giving the favor, women have no power.

Moreover, in patriarchy, female sexuality has been forced into heterosexuality because this is the only sexuality that is enforced; therefore, female sexuality in patriarchy must be very different then female sexuality in an egalitarian society. The word “slut” is used to define women who have sex with a lot of men (not women) therefore to claim the word “slut” or to use it to define a nation of women continues to force women into heterosexuality, into having sex with not just one man exclusively but with a lot of men — a patriarchal wet dream.

Historically, women have had to use sex to temper male violence in an effort to survive.  How can this type of sexuality be empowering? Female power is female power, independent of sex and independent of men.  Women are powerful because they are women, because they are human beings, not because of our pussies or because we are “sluts” who choose to have sex with many men. I understand that our pussies are a biological part of us and we need to accept this part of ourselves; however, limiting the discussion to our pussies and naming ourselves sluts, makes a mockery of women as human beings.  Men have power because they are considered to be autonomous human beings in our society– unlike women who are considered to be men’s sexual property. We never talk about men’s penises or their promiscuity when we talk about male power– so why are we focused on a woman’s sexuality when it comes to claiming female power?

I understand the desire to take back our pussies from men—& the merit in celibacy because quite frankly it makes good sense to do so; men disrespect women and they do not deserve our attention, sexually or otherwise; but I do not agree that a woman’s power is in her pussy or because she “chooses” to be sexually liberated. If women claim “pussy power” and at the same time also claim that they are “sluts” aren’t they sabotaging the power of their pussies by claiming to be sluts?  I understand wanting to emphasize the power of the pussy, if the pussy stood alone on its own merit because I agree, pussies are powerful independently (without men or their penises), much like women are powerful independently.  But to also claim to be a slut, negates this independent power because the word “slut” defined is a woman who has sex with many men; consequently, to be a slut you must also be sexually dependent on men. In my opinion, women claiming to be sexually liberated or claiming to be a slut, choosing to have sex  with whoever she desires, is merely patriarchy entering through the back door.  If heterosexual sex has been and continues to be one of the ways men control and violate women, isn’t women having more sex with men, a win, win for men and patriarchy?

Graham wrote in, “Loving to Survive”

“Women’s sexual organs may be the essential battlefield on which the war for male domination is fought. The more violent a sexual crime against women, the greater the social distance between men and women, and the more clearly that distance is emphasized. Male sexual violence against women and “normal” heterosexual intercourse are essential to patriarchy because they establish the dominance of the penis over the vagina, and thus the power relations between the sexes. The sexualization of people and male/female interactions is central to the practice of patriarchy because it keeps group membership (and thus power relations) salient. Thus, when a male sexualizes and interaction with a female, he is doing work for patriarchy.”

As long as there is a difference in status between men and women and as long as men dominate women, heterosexual sex will be a vehicle for men to oppress and control women.  Heterosexual sex in patriarchy cannot be equal.  Because of the power dynamics of the gender roles in our society, men approach sex with women in a very different way than how women approach sex with men.  Whether this is subconscious or otherwise, women have been forced, due to there being no other vehicle available to them, to use sex as a vehicle to gain favor or power and men use sex as a vehicle to control women. When women depend on their sexual interactions with men to gain favor or power, they become inadvertently dependent on men and this allows men to control them, quite the opposite to what women believe the situation to be.

This of course was set up by men, a patriarchal sleight of hand. Men cause a deficit for women by dominating, violating and oppressing them and women respond to this by behaving in a specific way to make up for this deficit.  Of course this is the dynamics of what we consider to be “healthy” heterosexuality and not the dynamics of rape and sexual abuse which has nothing to do with women trying to gain power or favor and everything to do with male domination and control.  Consequently, if it is true that the male sexualization of females works for patriarchy, isn’t it also true that women equating power to their pussies and claiming words like “slut”,  words that sexualize females, also doing work for patriarchy? By focusing on female sexuality (predominantly heterosexuality) aren’t we glorifying having sex with men and thus inadvertently doing work for patriarchy?  How does either further the cause of female liberation?

By Michele Braa-Heidner

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8 Responses to “Doing Work for Patriarchy”

  1. thentheysaidburnher March 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    This is perfect and powerful. (ps please don’t think I’m rude; it’s sleight* of hand)

    • mbraaheidner March 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      Thank you Hecuba and Thentheysaidburnher! I appreciate your feedback and no worries–I have no problem with you pointing error in spelling because correcting it, can only help my writing. Thanks again!

  2. Hecuba March 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Women aren’t pussies or sluts because both these misogynistic terms were created by men to make the false claim women are just men’s disposable sexual service stations not autonomous human beings.

    Reducing women to ‘sluts and pussies’ is colluding with men and their women-hating claims that women are indeed dehumanised sexual service stations.

    Why not merely state – ‘women we are angry and will no longer be men’s disposable sexualised commodities.’ Oh but wait – that would upset men because this statement would challenge men’s misogynistic dehumanised view of women.

    Or why not focus on men and call them sluts and dicks because patriarchy consistently engages in reversals and subverting men’s claims would cause shock waves amongst men.

    • Kimberly Smith March 4, 2013 at 12:26 am #

      I think its time for a response to the abuse we are finally acknowledging. Let’s do it, and let’s educate our daughters and other women who aren’t getting this yet.

  3. loveangellove March 4, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    Reblogged this on loveangellove.

  4. M.K. Hajdin March 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    I hate the word “pussy” and always have. It’s a slur and there is no way to reclaim it.

  5. asukamiyuke March 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Reblogged this on Sifting Through The Pulp.

  6. coconutpie12 September 29, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    I am SO happy to have found your blog. I have the same sentiment but it is blocked by almost every woman in my circle. It just doesn’t make sense that being “sexually liberated” is confined to the idea of cock-serivicing many men who have no respect for you as a human being because they were taught that you were just an object. The way some women flaunt this as a strength boggles my mind and disturbs me. They are playing into the patriarchal sex trap. I believe sexual liberation simply means having the ability to CHOOSE who you want to be with, and that can mean ONE partner, especially one who understands your struggle as a woman, appreciates you as a human being, and does not see you as an interchangeable part that they can replace at the drop of a dime. I am all for people doing whatever they want as long as it doesn’t affect me but going through college and after I have seen just how much I am EXPECTED to act like these so-called “liberated” women, and I am condemned for wanting to exercise my sexual choices wisely. Let’s face it, the majority of men in any bar or nightclub will be misogynistic and sexist in some way shape or form because tradition has taught them that that way of thinking is natural for a man. So the majority of random hook-ups will undoubtedly be with someone who does not respect you. Why would women continuously subject themselves to that? What is so wrong with getting to know the people we choose to be intimate with. How powerful are we, when we choose to please the people who have their boots on our throats? That to me sounds like the loyal house slave, who is so content that they were allowed to live in the house with their master, that they turn their noses up at the field slaves and warn their master of any signs of uprisal. Media and pop culture portrays this behaviour as glamourous so young girls growing up fling their bodies at the male gaze, oblivious of the fact that they are helping to make things worse for women everywhere.

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