The bulk of my conversations with other women is always the question of why. Why do men hate women. Why do men treat us like a joke. Why do men enjoy harming us. Why is it even the nicest of guys seem incapable of having a relationship with women based on equal footing. Why are men so goddamned determined to have everything their way even when it’s clearly harmful for themselves as well as women and children. Many women turn to feminism to find answers to these questions, and feminism offers the answer of socialization.
On the surface this appears to be correct: there are no significant differences between men and women with regards to intelligence and there is no such thing as a “male” or “female” brain. Socialization is also skewed in men’s favor: society enables men to do whatever they want (even when they are doing their worst) while demanding women’s 100% submission in all things. Most people exhibit a clear preference for males in all things from managerial work to political representation despite the fact that males have abused power since forever and are more likely to commit crimes. This makes the case that male privilege is the product of socialization that enables male power to continue to run rampant and unchecked. There is no question that socialization is a very real problem.
However if socialization were end-all and be-all of problematic male behavior, then why do developmentally disabled males (or any male that is unable to be fully socialized for whatever reason) still commit rape? Why is Patriarchy a worldwide problem without respect for geographical and cultural differences? Why is it that no matter what language people speak, men seem to universally agree that words for vagina are always a contemptuous slur whereas words for dick are almost always associated with domination and anal rape? People preach about respect for cultural differences then turn around proclaim that all cultures socialize the same things. This makes no sense to me.
It does, however, make sense to me in context of reproductive biology: males and females experience two different realities with regards to sexual experience. By having a penis and how a penis functions, men’s perceptions of sex and sexuality are far different than women’s. Males experience “sex” as penetrative act. The act of penetrating requires exertion and force in varying degrees. A woman fingering another woman is not the same thing! No it is not. It is not the same thing as having a sensitive appendage that evolved for the sole reason to enter other people’s bodies, which results in stimulating reward centers of the brain when doing so whether it’s rape or “consensual” sex. There is simply no equivalence in women’s biology. None.
Not only are males rewarded with pleasure for thrusting their penises in anyone they want – the act of exerting physical force for penetrative purposes (rape or otherwise) – it gives them incentive to keep doing it. On the other side of the situation, being penetrated is experienced as pain and subjugation, and being on the losing side in the struggle of male domination. An obvious example is the prison system – what do males do to one another when left to their own devices? How do males establish hierarchies and settle scores with other males who wrong them? Don’t tell me you don’t know the answer to this question. In case it isn’t obvious, aside from forming gangs, engaging in skirmishes over territory, and pounding one another with regular beat downs, males will rape one another and establish dominance over other males as they always have since before recorded history. When you take away the differences of geography and culture this is universally and historically true. People often talk about male-on-male rape in terms of prison culture or during times of war when victors would rape the losers on bloody battlefields, but they do not talk about male-on-male rape in the context of everyday life. Male on male rape is severely underreported, and I suspect the men aren’t telling because admitting defeat to another man would compound the pain and agony of the rape. Male on male rape isn’t like losing a fight where a man can claim the other guy did something unfair, or puff out his chest and say that he gave as good as he got and “you should see the other guy.” In male-on-male rape, the winners is clear: the one who did the penetrating.
In the high stakes situation of male domination, penetration is a matter of brutality and winning where men must win or else and women, by simply existing without a penis, are considered the default losers. Are you beginning to understand why men hate you now? Do you now understand why men view female sexuality with contempt (hint: when you show interest in sex with them, they think you are “asking for it” to be humiliated, since penetration to them means being humiliated. Get it)? Not only do men view recipients of a penis as a loser, they also view castrated men as inferior men. Then what do you think they think about women? The vagina to them is more than just the absence of a penis – it is also a gash, a wound that bleeds once a month – the word for vagina itself comes from the word for “sheath” where a sword is put (the sword being analogous to the penis as a weapon of penetration).
Since males who are penetrated and castrated are considered defeated males, men likely subconsciously interpret women’s anatomy as evidence of our collective defeat. They interpret women’s desire for intercourse as a desire for pain and humiliation. Worse than that, most men cannot tolerate sex acts with women without elements of pain and humiliation. Pornography is saturated with women being brutalized and humiliated because that’s what men like to look at. Penis+penetration=pain=power.
There are men who might be reading this going “whoa! Not me! I certainly don’t think this way! I want my partner to have pleasure in bed,” and I’m sure that might be true. I even found a story about a man who would rather castrate himself before being expected to have intercourse with more women. Am I having a #NotAllMen moment here? Ha. However many men have not been forced to confront the darker side of male sexuality because we live in a Patriarchy where women are designated as the primary rape targets (they think we “want it,” remember?). Think back to the story of Lot and how he wanted to throw his virgin daughters at an army of would-be angel rapers.
While I have no doubt that males are capable of overriding their basic instincts for domination and submission with self-awareness and evolved understanding of what is good for society (after all, it’s men who have written the laws for thousands of years, the least they can do is follow them), however it does not change the fundamental reality that men’s sexual realities predispose them to perceive sex in diametrically opposing terms of penetration vs being penetrated. Penetration=winning, dominating. Being penetrated=losing, submitting. Women aren’t predisposed to think this way because we simply aren’t built for it. Women’s pain and self-blame is caused part and parcel because of the assumption that men and women perceive and experience sexuality the same way and we don’t. Clearly, we don’t. Unfortunately men seem content to allow women to blame themselves for everything since they consider women losers in the first place.
With all this said, this does not mean that men are helpless victims of their biology. Because men have chosen to dominate all fields of higher thinking with regards to law, ethics, morality, philosophy, ect they have also demonstrated that they are capable of rising above their animal instincts. “He can’t help it” disintegrates in the wash of human history where males sat around like lumps thinking their thoughts and waxing poetic about the meaning of existence while women did the wash and cooked the meals. Clearly men can help themselves, if they want to. It’s not like they are bereft of the opportunity to do so and that opportunity was created at the expense of women’s lives and women’s potential over the course of at least 22,000 years.
I think it is safe to say that if a male hasn’t improved himself, it’s likely because he simply doesn’t want to. He has decided that risking certain death and rape in Patriarchy survives a cost/benefit analysis. After all, male-on-male rape is being done to some other guy so it’s all worth it right? And they call me a misandrist? Oh please.
Update 9/19/2017: Literally one day after this post published, this happened. I don’t think this needs any extra commentary – the story speaks for itself, doesn’t it?