"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spanking Goes Mainstream

"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley


Working Women’s Fantasies

"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. In the realm of private fantasy, the allure of sexual submission, even in its extremes, is remarkably widespread...

Even though fantasies are something that, by definition, one can’t control, they seem to be saying something about modern women that nearly everyone wishes wasn’t said... why, for women especially, would free will be a burden?... it may be that equality is something we want only sometimes and in some places and in some arenas... is there something exhausting about the relentless responsibility of a contemporary woman’s life, about the pressure of economic participation, about all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world?...

Over the years researchers and psychologists have theorized that women harbor elaborate fantasies about sexual submission because they feel guilty or skittish about claiming responsibility for their own desires: they are more comfortable being wanted than wanting, in other words. But more recent studies show that the women who fantasize about being forced to have sex are actually less prone to guilt than those who don’t...

Feminists have long been perplexed by our continuing investment in this fantasy, the residual desire to be controlled or dominated in the romantic sphere. They are on the record as appalled at how many strong, successful, independent women are caught up in elaborate fantasies of submission (and realities, of course, but that’s another story). Gloria Steinem writes that these women “have been raised to believe that sex and domination are synonymous,” and we must learn to “finally untangle sex and aggression.” But maybe sex and aggression should not, and probably more to the point, cannot be untangled.

Recently on talk shows there has been a certain amount of upstanding feminist tsk-tsking about the retrograde soft-core exploitation of women in Fifty Shades of Grey, and there seem to be no shortage of liberal pundits asking, “Is this what they went to the barricades for?” But of course the barricades have always been oddly irrelevant to intimate life. As the brilliant feminist thinker Simone de Beauvoir answered when someone asked her if her subjugation to Jean-Paul Sartre in her personal life was at odds with her feminist theories: “Well, I just don’t give a damn ... I’m sorry to disappoint all the feminists, but you can say it’s too bad so many of them live only in theory instead of in real life”...

If I were a member of the Christian right, sitting on my front porch decrying the decadent morals of working American women, what would be most alarming about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, what gives it its true edge of desperation, and end-of-the-world ambience, is that millions of otherwise intelligent women are willing to tolerate prose on this level. If you are willing to slog through sentences like “In spite of my poignant sadness, I laugh,” or “My world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed,” you must really, really, want to get to the submissive sex scene."
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