We may then be especially drawn to this particular romanticized, erotically charged, semipornographic idea of female submission at a moment in history when male dominance is shakier than it has ever been. – Spanking Goes Mainstream, by Katie Roiphe
If women are drawn to “semipornographic idea of female submission,” it has absolutely nothing to do with the shaky nature of male dominance, because as precarious as their position is men still rule.
Happy Equal Pay day, with the Newsweek cover kerfuffle coming on a backdrop of a working girl in Columbia’s legal sex trade taking down the most elite escort of them all, the Secret Service, as well as Special Forces men.
Katie Roiphe, who rose to infamy through blaming women for their own rape, writes a column about the guilty pleasure reading of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, inciting feminist writers across new media to descend in derision.
Saddled with the dinosaur Newsweek brand, Tina Brown is doing her best to give it a heart beat again, though who knows if it will work. She certainly has hit a nerve with Roiphe’s piece. It’s not sin to get column bombed, as long as people don’t ignore you. Brown’s made a career out of it.
It is intriguing that huge numbers of women are eagerly consuming myriad and disparate fantasies of submission at a moment when women are ascendant in the workplace, when they make up almost 60 percent of college students, when they are close to surpassing men as breadwinners, with four in 10 working women now outearning their husbands, when the majority of women under 30 are having and supporting children on their own, a moment when?in hard economic terms?women are less dependent or subjugated than before.
I’ve done some digging around in the sex and relationship genre, including the seamier sides of sexuality in the mainstream adult world. I say “mainstream,” because I never had the stomach for hard core, so the notion of “mommy porn” intrigued me, even though I’ve barely cracked Fifty Shades of Grey.
One of the things that was easily uncovered is the penchant powerful men have to be sexually dominated in their off hours. I talked to dominatrixes whose only clients were big shot lawyers, as well as Hollywood studio moguls, as well as men who freely admitted their proclivities to surrender. In fact, I created and guided the first “alternative” section of personal ads for the LA Weekly, which was filled with dominatrixes advertising for.. ahem.. partners, shall we say. I helped these women craft the language of their sexual art so they could attract men with money who wanted what they delivered. Back in the mid-90s this was big business, because the web hadn’t exploded yet.
The American Prospect gets one thing right, through an “insider source”:
Katie Roiphe?yes, she who believes that date rape is nothing more than rough sex?has bravely decided that we?re so tired of being in charge, of our success, working gals all wanna be whipped. Somebody tell dominatrixes, who are making a mint off the high-powered men who really are in charge and do long to be whipped, or so I?ve been told by insider source…
The UK Guardian comes up with this review of Tina Brown’s efforts:
This is all purely nonsense conjured up by cynical editors to get women readers to argue among themselves and to distract them from the paucity of what else the magazine has to offer.
Considering 50% of marriages end in divorce and more single people are preferring to remain that way, I’d say there is a lot of evidence to prove that understanding attraction, sex and relationships in the 21st century is very much on women’s minds, even if men have been left confused about what it all means for a man who wants a wife and family.
Women have changed but men have not. That’s the story at the bottom of the relationship rubble. It’s the updated version of being attracted to a man for what you think you can make him become rather than who he actually is.
Romance novels had to go somewhere beyond the angst and savage dissatisfaction once women started becoming breadwinners. We don’t want what men want when it comes to erotic encounters, but it’s not so odd to think some things in sexuality are the same between us. The more power you get in your work life, the freer you become to own your previously held secret passions, acting on them no matter what stereotype it brings to your feminist mind.
For all the attention, Katie Roiphe, Tina Brown thanks you, even if you don’t quite get the subject you’re writing about.
We’re all suckers for sex, with a purposefully provocative picture of a woman in bondage predictably drawing the attention of feminists, especially when the writer of the piece has a history of pissing off women for not owning their own rape.
It is the passive sexual role that threatens us still, and it is the denial of female sexual agency that threatens to propel us backward. – Katie Roiphe, 1993
Women can’t go back even if some want to and Western women are not threatened in any new way, except through our own disgruntled discontent.
What Roiphe doesn’t know that I bet Tina Brown does is that choosing a submissive role is empowering for women today. We no longer have anything to prove or any inhibitions that threaten our attractiveness to a man, because we don’t need his money anymore.
I can only imagine what Katie Roiphe thought of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”