Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You can’t consent to rape. End. Of. Story.

I just read the article One Rape Please (To Go): I Paid a Male Whore to Rape Me Because I Wanted To by Tracie Egan and I’m a little dumbfounded.

First off, I want to say that I found the article to be funny and narcissistically witty. I’m not even a mild fan of Tracie’s (I remember an article where someone said that her goal to be famous has turned her into a caricature of a real person and in a lot of ways I agree) but I did enjoy this particular personal story.

Now that that’s out of the way, I am annoyed at how she keeps calling this rape.

If you PAY a man to dominate you, set up boundaries, safe words, and CONSENT, then you are not being raped.

It’s pretty fucking simple.

I talked a little about rape fantasies before, but this q&a from feministing’s Professor Foxy sums it up eloquently:
Professor Foxy,

I've had submissive sexual fantasies since I was very young and it's something that I've always found really difficult to come to terms with. I'm a very assertive and driven person in real life so it's just really hard for me to accept how much I sexually enjoy giving up control and power.

I've been dating my current boyfriend for two years and we've experimented quite a bit with bondage and dominance play. It's always incredibly arousing and fun for me. And he enjoys it too because he can tell how much it turns me on.

Intellectually I understand that these feelings are just a part of my sexuality and that they don't have anything to do with who I am outside of the bedroom. But at the same time, every once in a while I just feel so ashamed and guilty. It's hard to reconcile being a feminist with my strong sexual desire to submit. What can I do to accept my sexuality for what it is?

-Conflicted feminist

Hi Conflicted –

A good step towards accepting your sexuality for what it is may be to unpack it a little bit more. I want to quote you back to you: I'm a very assertive and driven person in real life so it's just really hard for me to accept how much I sexually enjoy giving up control and power.

I'm going to come back to the first part, but first let's focus on the second part of the sentence: I sexually enjoy giving up control and power. YOU give up control and power. In the real world, power and control are taken from women in an effort to make them submissive. In your sex life, as convoluted as this may seem, you are in power because you make the choice to give up power. Your boyfriend (yay for him) engaged in this because you (still in power) asked him to engage. As much as the sex play is about you "giving up power," in reality you are still the one in control.

A friend of mine is a strong, independent, assertive woman, who, like you, enjoys being submissive sexually, says it this way, "even when I am being submissive, I know that I am the one in power. I let the person dominate me, I set what can and cannot be done, and I can call a beginning and stop to the action."

And now back to the beginning of your sentence "I'm a very assertive and driven person in real life." Sex can be a healthy way of achieving balance in our lives. Acting out your submissive side (a side every person has) allows you to unwind and let go. We all need to have a place to act out all of our different sides and it looks like you have found a place to act out one of them.

I’ve read too many articles rationalizing rape because a good portion of women has submissive fantasies (so of course we must all secretly want to be raped and therefore deserve it when it happens), but what Prof. Foxy so perfectly points out is the huge devide between giving up power and having your power ripped away from you.

And I can't help but think that throwing around this kind of language doesn’t help the situation.

When so many rape victims still have a hard time saying they were raped (I also talked my struggles with this), I find it distasteful how easily people use it for entertainment value.

I can’t see anything positive coming from the view that rape is funny and somehow sexually fulfilling when we live in a society that is quick to judge the victim and pardon the rapist.

Now obviously Egan should not be the example of how to look at these sorts of issues. She may claim to be a feminist, but she does so only as a cloak to rationalize her behavior.

She’s funny but I can’t support most of her ideas that trivialize the hard work a lot of women are dedicating their lives to and her previous attitude that she hasn’t been raped because she’s “smart” make me want to throw up (glad to know I’m a dumb ass).

More here.

Either way, this article really bothered me and I felt the need to say something.

As entertainment, the article is great. But in the context of feminist empowerment, not so much.

1 comment:

  1. I can't even comment on Tracie. I used to be an avid reader and a huge fan, but lately... eh. I do love her older stuff though and I started reading her because she reminded me a lot of myself.

    That Thinking and Drinking segment, though... oy. That was a huge mess. I remember the fallout from that and it was NOT pretty.


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