This commentary is coming from a subject I have been thinking about lately in regards to female nudity and pornography but in connection to our ideas about magick (sex magick or not): female pleasure and anatomy are still taboo, no matter how much men (and some women) believe the sex industry is subversive and sexual liberalism is empowering or even liberating. The confusion here is that more genital sexual freedom is confused with liberation from gender roles and actual political activism and social change.
As far as speech goes, we cannot talk about vaginas in politics; the word (as well as “vulva”) is taboo. On the other hand, men refer to women as “cunts” in porn, the only part they desire (yet they do not value women as human beings), reducing women to fuckholes, the gendered term intended as a slur to degrade. The clitoris is the only part whose sole function is pleasure, and yet it is the most neglected by men. It has been found that most women do not orgasm from PIV alone. Given the above, it makes sense to conclude that we are currently living in a woman-hating culture which raises them into suffering and masochism. Some laws have changed; the system, and people’s prejudices, have not. Here is the etymology behind the word “cunt.”
There’s something so fucked up about a worldview that has no problem at all associating lipstick with women, but has the biggest problem in the world associating a vagina with them.
Even feminism is not safe from traditional gender roles. Third-wave, liberal feminism is explicitly associated with femininity, the sex industry and hetero sex-positivity. When “feminism” is used to not mean “for women” but “for femininity” (redefining what the “fem” in it means), then it is easy to accuse women criticizing femininity as being misogynistic. This is not the case. Femininity can exist in males (including gay men and m2t), and it has nothing to do with femaleness. It is a man-man concept intended to condition and keep women subordinate; constrictive clothing and shoes that limit mobility, masochistic beauty practices, and the pressure to wear makeup before going outside, give the message that women cannot simply exist as they are. They also contribute to the stereotyping of women as lazy – for example, high heels imply that women do not have to stand or walk for long periods of time. This was the idea of the ‘kept’ woman or the married woman dependent on and supported by her husband.
“Makeup and heels or corset were still the prerogatives of women when we couldn’t vote, own property, go to university. What power have they brought concretely? Why haven’t men ever claimed that power for themselves? Why aren’t MRAs fighting for men to wear makeup and heels, denouncing the sexism of marketing that excludes them and highlighting this oppression that denies them a claim to space and power?” (Missfit)
Becoming more and more plasticized, women in porn have had vaginoplasties; their vaginas no longer look natural or normal, while men internalize those images and encourage the women in their sex lives to do the same. This is female genital mutilation. Their vaginas are also expected to be completely hairless and have little to no scent. These men don’t “love” women while they compartmentalize “good” women for relationships and marriage and “bad” women for masturbation and sex (the virgin-whore dichotomy); they don’t “worship” them or pleasure them in their claim of the “power of the pussy.” Lesbians do. Straight men can bear to take several tips from them instead of being bitter women-haters. Maybe if they gave women orgasms instead of being selfish pricks they’d have more success in their relationships, even in casual sex.
“How can you proclaim to be a heterosexual man when you don’t know which anatomical structure gives women an orgasm? How can you be into women when you’re really not into vulva and all its details?If you are honestly attracted to women and not just into causing pain and egoboosting from dominating an acceptable subhuman target, how can you not care about how to give pleasure to a woman?Are most men really straight? I’m not saying they’re gay, but are they really het in the way lesbians are homo?Because their sexuality and female homosexuality should look the same for the most part, even in a patriarchy, no? Maybe some differences could be explained because they’re assholes, but the basic sexuality should be somewhat similar. The overall way we are attracted to women and the ways we want to express that should be analogous. But they aren’t.And they don’t sound attracted to women the same way gay men are attracted to men either. Imagine a gay man not wanting to worship dick or thinking male genitals look weird. Difficult to accept that happens often. Now imagine a straight man only wanting to stick it in a vagina, but not wanting to actually worship a vulva or thinking it looks/smells weird. It’s way easy to accept that as a reality for many straight men.So what gives? Do they really like female bodies or what?”—lesbx and I have had this conversation so many times that we now just shorthand it to our consensus (“all men are obvs conflicted gay”) without feeling the need to explain further. It just seems so self-evident.
Also, whenever hets claim that lesbians are “just like men”, I immediately think, “No, we’re not — because for one thing, we know where the clitoris is.” And that’s just the beginning.”
Ironically, the word “vagina” means “sheath,” as if for a sword. The phallic implications of this have not been lost with men insisting that women are holes needing to be filled up by men’s penises, or with the “neovaginas” of m2t. cf. More than just a hole. In Liber AL, there is the “woman girt with a sword,” but this is not the same meaning. This symbolizes a woman who is expressive about her sexuality and pleasure, who is independent from men. A virgin, sotospeak (not necessarily a literal virgin). The sword symbolizes Mars; it could also be Mercury or Air, the sword of the intellect and reason and the power of discriminating taste. The mind – or rather, brain – is connected to the genitalia by way of the spine, the spine which serves as the conduit for Kundalini yoga and tantra. A woman “girt with a sword” has realized her animus and become aware of the shackles of feminine gender conditioning around her, her own biological reality of sex informing her body and mind, yet conscious that “biology is not destiny” (i.e. having to procreate or be feminine or heterosexual). Sexually, much of the female organs (including the sensitive parts of the vulva) are concealed as the “unseen,” including the clitoris (partially), sheathed.
There is also this symbolism for “vulva”; I am reminded of the bearing of a lotus wand mentioned here:
The Online Etymological Dictionary (which admittedly makes leaps from time to time), calls a helix, “a spiral thing. . . related to eilein ‘to turn, twist, roll,’ from PIE . . . *wel– ‘to turn, revolve’ (see vulva).” It also suggest that helix is, “from Gk. Helikon, mountain in Boeotia, sacred to the Muses.” Makes sense when vulva is fromvolva [the Latin form, not the Norse or Old English form, Völva, which means “staff (or wand)-carrying woman”], “lit. ‘wrapper,’ from volvere ‘to turn, twist, roll, revolve,’ also ‘turn over in the mind,’ from PIE root *wel- ‘to turn, revolve,’ with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects” among these being, “eilein ‘to turn, squeeze,’” and, “Goth. walwjan ‘to roll;’. . . [and] O.H.G. walzan ‘to roll, waltz;’ [and] . . .Welsh olwyn ‘wheel.’” (cf. The Helix and the Xiphoid)
We can consider being “girt with a sword” even in a literal sense. Female soldiers, even if they were very attractive, managed to repel admirers who wanted to sleep with them, and would-be rapists. They knew how to kill, and so men feared no longer having any power over them (cf. Liber Oz: “Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.”). This comes along with hardening one’s heart.
Yet in writings about Babalon or the Scarlet Woman, the sexual appeal to men is for her to be their wet dream; worshipping an abstraction, while in everyday life reserving their scorn for women. Then there were Crowley’s Scarlet Women: they were treated as mere receptables, vessels, mediums (as scrollofthoth wrote,”disposable sidekicks”). cf. Whores as the Other. And in India’s famous “abused goddesses” campaign the motto was: No woman is safe, not even the ones we pray to. “The campaign simply and effectively captures India’s most dangerous contradiction: that of revering women in religion and mythology, while the nation remains incredibly unsafe for its women citizens.”
This leads me to my next point, the fetishization of female power. It is understood that men can only conceive of women in power as having sexual value for them. If they don’t, the women leaders are seen as bitches, stuck-up, prudes, man-haters, etc. who must have slept their way to the top. Hence why in their fetishization they conceive of such women as ultimately succumbing to them sexually, becoming subordinate once again. Nothing pisses men off more than there being women – outside the bedroom or in it – as exercising their right to reject them sexually and otherwise. If such men really respected a woman’s right to consent, then they’d also acknowledge situations where there is a lack of consent, and respect women’s refusal. cf. my writing Fetishization of female power.
Finally, female nudity as political protest has also been derided. There was a nice quote going around about how you can buy breasts in America (i.e. on a magazine or pay a stripper to see them) but you cannot “wear” breasts. Women also cannot publicly breastfeed. Men are angry that they have to see boobs they did not pay to see and therefore cannot lay ownership over. They insist on sexualizing breasts whose primary function is to feed babies. I don’t recall political activists being prostituted in order to show their breasts, since once you commodify a body or part of a body you assign a price-value to it and take any real political subversion out of it; consumerism is meant to distract the masses via the delusions of choice/identity politics. Free toplessness is political. It is women insisting they can “wear” breasts without sexualization and commodification. cf. my writing Female nudity as political protest.