“The sexual freedom of today for most people is really only a convention, an obligation, a social duty, a social anxiety, a necessary feature of the consumer’s way of life.”—Pier Paolo Pasolini. “Sono Contro l’Aborto,” Corriere della Sera (Milan, January 19, 1975). (via konkretpolitik)
It must also be noted that glorious ancient Greece, so often cited as the ideal male homosexual society, that is, a society in which sex among men and boys was entirely acceptable, operated in accordance with these same principles: male sexual aggression against boys and among men was highly regulated by custom and in practice; sexual relations between men and boys expressed a rigid hierarchy of male power; the youth used was feminized vis-a-vis older men; sex was not consensual, that is, among peers (in fact, on Crete and in other parts of Greece, boys were kidnapped into sexual apprenticeship); the boy became the man, changed status, his reward at the end of an apprenticeship; populations of women and slaves, neither of which had any rights of citizenship, absorbed the brunt of male sexual aggression. Male homosexuality in male-supremacist societies has always been contained and controlled by men as a class, though the strategies of containment have differed, to protect men from rape by other men, to order male sexuality so that it is, with reference to males, predictable and safe. Females and devalued males who participate in the low status of women are logically the preferred victims, since male sexuality as it exists in male-supremacist contexts requires victims, not fully present equals, in order to realize itself. The devalued males can often change status, escape; women and girls cannot. And the devalued male who cannot change his devalued status can always find solace in his own rights of tyranny and privilege, however circumscribed, over women and girls in his own family, class, race, or group.
It is unlikely that male-male sexuality will be or can be tolerated by men as a class until the very nature of masculinity is changed, that is, until rape is no longer the defining paradigm of sexuality. Those gay men of our own time who offer ancient Greece as a utopian model are only confirming that, for them, the continued scapegoating of women and the sexual exploitation of less powerful males would be an insignificant price to pay for a comfortable solution to their own social and sexual dilemma. As adult men, they would have freedom as they understand it, the freedom of the sexual predator; women, girls, and devalued males would continue to be the prey. This moral bankruptcy is not in any sense unique to homosexual men; rather, it is part of what they have in common with all men.
”—Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women
Why is desire considered apolitical? What could be more political than desire? How is your exclusive preference for white sexual partners independent of white supremacy? How is your exclusive preference for male sexual partners independent of patriarchy? How are these not expressions of racist, sexist imaginations?
“The boys are betting on our compliance, our ignorance, our fear.
We have always refused to face the worst that men have done to us.
The boys count on it. The boys are betting that we cannot face the
horror of their sexual system and survive. The boys are betting that
their depictions of us as whores will beat us down and stop our
hearts. The boys are betting that their penises and fists and knives
and fucks and rapes will turn us into what they say we are—the
compliant women of sex, the voracious cunts of pornography, the
masochistic sluts who resist because we really want more. The boys
are betting. The boys are wrong.”— Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women
“…but I’m hot. I am hot. That has given me power. I don’t want to lie about that or be like I don’t know that that’s true. But on the same token, I was born like this. I don’t want to try to change how I look with how I fit in with some stereotype or try to diminish my power over something that has made me lucky. It’s given me privilege and I acknowledge and it’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s something that I’ve taken advantage of.”—Kathleen Hanna on Gawker
Fear of Flying, Jong’s first novel after publishing two volumes of poetry, turned 40 years old this year, and the celebration of its reissue reveals the sad fact that Jong’s groundbreaking work is still woefully misunderstood.
I wrote this post about Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying on the Lambda Literary blog.