Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ha, ha Stephen Fry!

What larks, Fry, flogging some product or other, no doubt has deigned to reveal that (straight) women-sorry lesbians, you've been overlooked-are not as keen on straight sex as gay men appear to be on gay sex, if you take his rather compulsive standard.

Women it seems only permit males to sheath their swords in order to have a 'relationship' with them. That doesn't sound right to me, I've found that if a straight identified woman doesn't want to have sex with men, she doesn't tend to want a relationship with them either.

I used to hold Stephen Fry in some esteem through a fondness for the idealism he channelled into his alter ego Donald Trefusis. That eroded significantly over the years, but held steady at respect for his undoubted intelligence, until I ran smack into his base fat phobia of the “no fatties in concentration camps" kind on Nigella’s brief incarnation as a chat show host.

That would be bad enough on its own, but given that some of his relatives perished in the Holocaust, hard to believe. That point is not why I went off him it's just that I would have expected him to be disgusted by this kind of trivialisation. I thought he would add a rare intelligence and rationality to the discussion of weight. This was the end of my belief in his ‘genius’, he was utterly shown up in my eyes and I remembered the unpleasantness of that for a long time.

A lot of folk talk about fatness flushing out the objectionable, it also flushes out those who think for themselves, as opposed to those who merely absorb and parrot what they are told. Fat phobia exposes things about people that they're used to hiding. I cannot think of anyone who's ever not been lowered in my eyes by fat hating, and the greater the expectation, the greater that effect.

I can't find much kinship with feminists’ cries of; how could he? He's usually so nice. Oh sista(hood) puhr-lease, some of us could have alerted you to his act but you had to wait until he’s up in your face. I am a bit surprised by the easily released homophobia, rather than just making the case for or against. 

He didn't mention male negativity toward heterosex he said hetero guys think women feel disgusted by them, but men go along with the idea that a woman who has pranged more than a few of them is sullied and demeaned by it. Slut shaming degrades women, sure, but what does it say about men? That they despoil the clean and the good?

This is not a WATM; it’s that the rage about this injury can be taken out on others, including women. There is a definite tang of condescension towards straight men too which seems political, almost as if he's saying; "try gay men, we really love doing it with guys, women don't!" I’ve heard it before, I suppose there’s an inevitable subterranean rivalry between groups.

Instead of solidarity in the face of a heteronormative patriarchy that oppresses all of us, there remains a chasm of suspicion and misunderstanding that obstructs genuine solidarity between women and gay men.
I simply can’t feel that rationale, are gay men necessarily allies of women and vice versa anymore than straight men? It ignores the way lesbians are shunted aside within the gay community at times. I think that gay men can and have often shown themselves to be allies of many outsiders and marginalized people, through empathy, however some haven't, just like any other men. Plenty of straight men supported full female humanity and liberation throughout the ages, sexual attraction does not preclude the self respect not to wish or need to demean others, even if they are potential lovers. And if some or all of those who are complaining would bracket themselves 'pro-sex' we have to ask why they assume it does?

I know they’ve suffered and been persecuted hugely, however, I think their relationship with women is more ambivalent than is alluded to. Clearly that's the case for some women too, judging by their responses.

“female sexuality is still a mystery to many men, gay and straight”

Include some of us women in that because having been trained to be, excuse the French, f***bags. It can sometimes become obscured from us too, this misunderstanding can cause a libido to turn unexpectedly to ashes. It’s always supposed to be about shame or female trouble, but we ignore the possibility that it’s more about the way anatomy and sexuality is described to us.

Laurie Penny talks about lack of safety being an issue for women, but that’s supposed to be what sex is all about, risk and danger, certainly for some men that is part of the attraction of this kind of free range open air sex. That smacks of trying to inject some energy into something that is not as potent as its supposed to be. And really, just how convincing is this kind of enjoyment of sex? Some men seem to pursue the possibility of sex at every opportunity as an ideal, which they claim as their own and can get very defensive about. But honestly, it often seems too pat and unconvincing, a little too ideological.

The way that it no amount of access or availability ever seems to be enough, the scent underlying panic, seem to be more than about pleasure, which is not just about frequency or amount. Its a process with some kind of start and end. There's something about this picture that doesn't quite hang together, like a jigsaw with all the right pieces but some are jammed together meaning the whole view is skewered.

Compulsion is about pursuing a pleasure deficit or trying to pursue satisfaction and/or closure. If you cannot achieve this, you can end up chasing it and if that develops a momentum of its own you end up with much chasing, sometimes manically so.

If women had this level of compulsion they would be questioned, heck, they’d question themselves. Fry's offensiveness is his misogynistic assumption that all men as the standard for human sexuality and women the offcut which all problems reside, so old fashioned it is a joke.

It is clear that many women adore sex, I’d doubt that if men could end up potentially with a baby on board every time he had sex could manage more of the absolute abandon many women do. Don't assume men personify or set the standard for human sexuality Mr Fry.

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