“Man fucks woman, subject verb object” – Catharine McKinnon
A few weekends ago I went to a very interesting birthday party. It was the joint 21st birthday party of three acquaintances. The theme was 'XXX', in other words you better dress sexy. The hostesses 'gift' was a female stripper. From her mother no less, [not that her mother was there but she did pay for her]. (I'm not sure if that's absolutely absurd or completely awesome?) I was having multiple thoughts watching this girl dance. It is bizarre that people literally pay $200 to watch a girl take her clothes off and writhe around. And not just MEN, there were plenty of women at this party, and it was the girl’s gift. And I wonder, am I supposed to like this? Do I NOT like it? How do the other women here feel? Is this oppression or is this celebration?
Was I uncomfortable? Should I be uncomfortable? [I wasn't, because I was drunk, but bare with me here] Isn't it in the littlest bit absurd that women were essentially forced to watch another woman take her clothes off, for mainly the male benefit? I wonder again, am I uncomfortable with this? If I'm not, WHY am I not?
Earlier my group was discussing 'what if it was a male stripper?'. A male friend said, 'I don't want to see another guy's junk waving around, and I don't think women do either'. I wondered if this is a product of our male-created society or if men really are that repulsive [since apparently no one cares to see them naked]. Women were commonly referred to as 'the sex' (“scientifically proven” to be ruled by their uterus – 19th Century and before) therefore trapping them into the sexuality of their gender. And males have always dominated our species. Their wants, their needs, their desires have flooded every area of life, from then up until now. Perhaps this naked dancing woman is just a product of that? The trickle down effect of socialization perhaps?
And then I wondered if it bothered me.
I have always supported women’s expression of their sexuality. I think every woman should be comfortable enough in their bodies to do whatever they please. Dress how they please, and have sex however, and whenever, they want. (Men too of course. But this aint about the gentlemen.) A part of me believes that the stripper exemplifies a woman expressing her sexuality. She is obviously the one in control, and she appears to be the one with the power in the situation. The other part of me knows that she is not doing this for fun. She is doing this because there’s a check at the end. I am sure the majority of the males were at least a little bit turned on, and I’m sure some of them felt ‘powerless’ because she was exemplifying something they feel they have to work for. And the women? I don’t know about the women. I don’t know how they felt, I still can’t identify how I felt about it. I always really liked strippers because of what I mentioned above, I felt they were powerful, strong, and in control of their sexuality.
But now, I don’t know.
Is it still empowerment if at the end of the day you’re the one being consumed?
Weeks later, I still can't figure this out for myself. And now I'm questioning my sexuality a lot. I don't know if what I like is really what *I* like, or if it's simply the by-product of an androcentric society. Bollocks!