Sunday, May 29, 2005
Max Ross and sexuality
In essence, Max Ross sketches a view of the world in which women are waiting around to be raped and ravaged by men merely acting on the imperatives of millions of years of evolution. Of course, he gets evolution wrong:
Hunt, gather, fight, copulate… these are the four basic ‘drives’ of man. Whether you believe in evolution, creation or intelligent design, the human male is uniquely designed and desirous to accomplish these tasks. In human men, sperm production is so ridiculously high that 23 men in a period of one month could produce enough gene juice to impregnate and repopulate the entire planet, currently standing at around 6 billion… Basically, the boys were designed to ‘hit’ as many females in the shortest period of time, whether the women want to mate or not. Through out human history this has been the ‘natural order.’
Because childbearing and infant-rearing is a long-term, physically laborous and, certainly in "natural" surroundings, very risky endeavour, it's generally the women who do the "selection" part of "sexual selection". Whereas men may be genetically predisposed to try and scatter their gene pool over a population of women as large as possible, women are genetically predisposed to say "No" a lot. (A commenter at Sadly, no already made the point that in most hunter-gatherer societies, it's the men that do the hunting and the women that do the gathering).
Max Ross makes a lot about rape fantasies, steering dangerously close to the "no-means-yes" excuse:
In the context of consensual non-consent, both parties are simply acting out what has been programmed into them genetically. Of course, in a modern society all of this interaction requires order… men can’t ‘have’ anyone they want, and women have a way becoming ‘control freaks’ if left to their own desires. In my own experiences, no less five lovers have confessed their desire to be taken and ravaged. Two of them wanted it at random; after work in her parking garage, the other suggested I break into her home and wait. On neither of these requests did I acquiesce. It sounded like a great way to get shot, beat up by some guy wanting to be a hero or (gasp) what if I got the wrong woman? Orange suits, cages and a ‘boyfriend’ named Bubba don’t appeal to me. Sarah and her friends are welcome to their desires and maybe someday this will be alluring, but under the current realities of gender relations, the ‘natural order’ will have to wait.
Of course rape fantasies do not mean women want to be raped. Forced-sex fantasies which are acted out in a consensual relationship have as much to do with rape as a consensual spanking session with physical assault. Max Ross' blurring of the gulf between fantasy and reality eerily mirrors that of the anti-pornography radical feminists.
And just when Ross' piece made me think that, perhaps, the latter have a point, I stumble upon this piece of tedium by one Rochelle Gurstein, which succeeds in blaming Lynndie England's escapades in Abu Ghraib on pornography, and all but excusing poor Lynndie herself. Touching.
I know of a few abandoned islands which seem like just the place for both the Max Ross-type troglodytes and the Rochelle Gurstein-style "censorship is good for you" feminists. I'd sell tickets.
- Merlijn de Smit
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