I was raised, as I’ve often written, to believe that objectifying women was simply wrong. This confused me, and left me with a legacy of confusion on the subject. Is it o.k. to want to fuck a woman? Is it o.k. to tell a woman you want to fuck her? When? Under what circumstances?
I’ve mostly recovered from this, after years of work. Sometimes, though, I’m still a little tone-deaf, and/or simply dumb.
I just wrote about the cast of “Orange is the New Black,” and I shamelessly objectified ten of the women in the show. Didn’t discuss their acting, their personalities, I simply reduced them to sexual objects. I reduced them to nothing more than the objects of my desire. I ranked them. I did that thing frat boys do to sorority women, implying that, somehow, their entire worth as humans was a function simply of how much I want to fuck them.
Or did I?
I’m not sure.
When I objectify you, do I reduce you to nothing other than an object? Or, can I do it respectfully, using you to explore my own sexuality?
This was my intent. I didn’t mean to say that Laura Prepon, the woman who plays the loathsome Alex Vause (and #1 on my list), is in some way “better” or “more deserving” than, say, Alysia Reiner (Natalie Figueroa, # 10 on my list).
What I was doing was, as I do on this blog, exploring me. Exploring my reactions to the various actors, to the various characters. I like to imagine that I can do this here, that I’ve constructed a space in which it’s understood that I’m not doing that horrible thing men do when, with a simple “hot-or-not” declaration, they (we) invalidate the humanity of a woman, reducing it down to nothing more/other than her sexual appeal to us. That I’m not in any way doing anything other than describing, and exploring, my own priapic reaction, itself, a thing of interest – to me, at least, and, I hope, to people voluntarily subjecting themselves to this endlessly navel-gazing blog.
It’s a testament to the longevity and durability of my fucked-up-ness on this subject that I honestly don’t know where I land on this.
This is one of the gifts that domination gives me: a sort of permanent-get-out-of-jail-free card on the subject. Not because it’s o.k. to reduce a submissive woman to the holes she presents me for my gratification, to her compliance, but because we have a deal – that I respect all of her, but engage with that particular aspect of her.
It’s why, I suppose, dominant/submissive relationships in which I participate over the long term begin to break down, because the three-dimensionality of a woman becomes, inevitably, part of the text of our relationship, and, inevitably, as it does so, I struggle with my ham-handed attempts to reconcile all the different parts. It’s easy for me to reduce you to holes. It’s also easy for me to respect you.
What it’s not easy for me to do is to go back and forth, telling you to kneel for me me and crawl across the room for me at one moment, spanking your ass til you sting, making you beg for my cock, and then, at the next moment, say, engaging with the fact that you don’t want me to do that right now, thank you very much.
Yes, this place should be a safe place for you to explore your sexuality, your reaction to the world.
I didn’t read your post on OITNB. I never watched it and I’m lagging behind on my reading. I assume you got hell in the comments there. I suppose that writing this post will help women understand where you come from.
It should. I hope it does.
Thank you for writing it though. It is insightful as most of what you write 🙂