The libertarians continue to funnel me the weirdest shit on the internet. Sarcastro just sent me the link to that doofus in Iowa who wrote his wife up a list of rules for how she would behave in their marriage.
Little did our friend Sarcastro know that I’ve actually been following this closely, because nothing warms my cold heart more than to watch BSDM-ers complain about how people are always passing judgment on their kinks while at the same time those same BSDM-ers are making broad, sweeping generalizations about how people in Iowa are. Check out this discussion at Metafilter, to see what I mean. Apparently we all know how people from Iowa (which is near Omaha) are, but try to say anything about what a sick fucker this Frey guy is and you’re slandering a whole community.
Is this a BSDM relationship gone bad? Who the fuck knows? I’ll say this, until I read the discussion over at Metafilter, it didn’t occur to me that this was a contract between a Dom and a sub, in part because it says it’s not a contract and in part because it doesn’t outline any of the responsibilities of the Dom.
Instead, it read like all the weird evil bullshit that I faced when I worked at the family crisis center and was sorting through the files or that I heard people telling their minister about. People do a lot of strange and evil shit to each other out there in the middle of nowhere–men who molested three or four generations of neighborhood children; women who burnt their sons’ penises with cigarettes to keep them from masturbating; men who rape everyone in their families; women who rape their daughters with parts of Barbies–as they do everywhere.
I’m just saying, there aren’t a whole lot of people so hard-core into BSDM that they’re drawing up contracts and there are a whole lot of fucked-up evil people who get off on torturing the people who depend on them and so I tend to suspect he’s probably more fucked-up than kinky.
But what really struck me is that, once you get past the initial appalling-ness (and the wondering about how thick his wife’s chest hair must be for him to insist on her shaving it every three days), it’s really boring–more like accounting than fucking. She can do certain things to earn Good Behavior Days (GBDs) and there are elaborate discussions of how to earn them and under what circumstances she can turn them in and what will happen if she’s “non-compliant” and how long she’ll be raped for if she doesn’t have enough GBDs to get her out of it. Much of the rules are centered around a quarter system and she can choose between having her GBDs accounted for on paper or on the computer*.
See? Once you get down to it, it seems really more about the accounting (and the dude’s weird fixation with body hair) and controlling her behavior than anything erotic.
When Sarcastro emailed me about this, he said, “I can’t really do this justice, but I’m sure you can**. Use my link to the wife/whore thing as a tie-in and your Boaz ‘Men are pigs who need women’ as well. Check it out here and prepare to be ill.”
But I think he’s wrong. The article he links to that is really useful to this discussion is not the article on wives v. whores, but the article on academics v. whores***.
Anonymous, pour some wisdom on us.
Calling academics “whores” is a denigration of whoring. It buys into the stereotype that the prostitute is the consummate example of objectification — the idea that he or she is somehow the most objectified person in our society, more object and less person than anyone else.
This condemnation of whores ultimately boils down to the fear and hatred of sex. Our Judeo-Christian society is so ashamed of sex that it has to lock it behind closed doors and swear it to secrecy under the vows of marriage. A woman who transgresses these bounds is frequently called a “whore,” even if she’s not a prostitute. Being a “whore” — either literally or figuratively — is
unacceptable in polite society.
And, most importantly,
But it’s no coincidence that whoredom also poses a serious threat to our society’s limitations of women’s power. Many people want to see whores as victims, because they don’t want us to own our power and embody this threat. Historically the whore has always represented a danger to the patriarchy, because she does not have to depend on any one man for financial support. She makes her living off of many men. This gave her financial freedom in times when women were forbidden to work to support themselves and the wife was her husband’s possession. Dependent on no one man, the whore was no man’s property.
Keeping this in mind, what does this tell us about the situation of Frey’s wife? Or about anything?
Shoot, folks, I’ve got to tell you, I honestly don’t know. Here we’ve got Boaz saying, basically, that men are so hungry for pussy that women can withhold it from them in order to force the men to marry them and thus continually withhold it from them or grant access to it based on how well the men are coming along on with their domestication.
And yet, as Sarcastro’s economists remind us, men don’t always feel bound by marriage to stay faithful to one cooter and, in fact, will often pay other women for access to their cooters, to the point where–as both the economists and Anonymous say–it can make good economic sense for women to choose to become prostitutes instead of getting married, because they can make their own money and not be controlled by any one man (assuming they don’t have pimps).
And then we’ve got Frey with his elaborate pussy economics, with quarterly reports and credits and debits. And need I point out that being married did not domesticate Frey, but instead gave him the courage to act like a bigger asshole?
And last, we have my vagina. (Which, yes, we’re going to talk about again, because it’s the one I know best.) I’ll admit, I’m naive. I’ve never been married and I’ve never been with anyone long enough to get bored with fucking them. Maybe that happens. But I think about what it feels like to have you inside me and to hear you whispering in my ear, your breath against my skin, and I just can’t imagine. I can imagine how a girl might want to do that with everyone she can; but I can’t imagine why she’d still want to be with you and not want to fuck you, just because it’s so nice to fuck you.
And yet, Boaz, the economists, and Frey all seem to assume that a woman’s first motivation for fucking a man is not desire but something that can be reduced to some numbers on a spreadsheet–I fuck you because I want to domesticate you so that you will labor for me or I fuck you because you are a sure and steady stream of income and I’m not sure I could get that as a prostitute or I fuck you to earn GBDs.
What about the fact that I fuck you because I like you and because it feels good to fuck you and I am delighted with you and it tickles me when you’re delighted with me?
Is there room for that? Yes, it’s ephemeral–my desire for you–and, yes, it could fade or change with time.
But what I feel for you is mysterious and awe-inspiring and, sometimes I tremble in the face of it. I want you to feel that for me, too. I don’t want to fuck you as a chore or an obligation. I want to fuck you because I want to, not because I want to exchange my cooter for something from you.
That shouldn’t be such a strange notion.
*I’d hate to be one of the Frey children and come across this file while working on my homework.
**Oh, America, his faith in my blogging abilities is so touching.
***I hope it goes without saying that I’m not advocating that everyone run out and become a prostitute, nor am I saying that prostitution is a completely unproblematic profession to get into, free from guilt and shame and violence and danger. In real life, for most women who do it, being a prostitute sucks. So, we should keep in mind that many women who do it do it because it sucks less than their other options or because they figure that’s an easy way to make quick money to support drug habits and not because they’re striking out against the patriarchy.