“The great industrial changes which have taken place within the last half century have brought with them a great and urgent need for sex education.”
- Margaret Sanger, Tell Girls the Things They Should Know, 1916
What Sanger said is as true now as it was in 1916. But whereas in 1916 girls needed to be educated about their own sexuality, in 2017 they need to be educated about men’s. Indeed, “[n]ever before has she worked so closely at the side of her brother,” or I would add, dude-bros who are pleased-as-pickles that their beard is finally full enough to cover over their chubbiness. ‘It worked for Commander Riker in The Next Generation,’ the dude-bros scream. Well, first, I hope you realize that there were several incarnations of Star Trek since then, nerd? And second, you’ve never commanded a starship.
I would like to take Margaret Sanger’s injunction seriously, however, and take a moment to tell the girls some of the things they should know:
Male sexuality is all a performance: For those of us who wish to really understand male sexuality, it is worthwhile to observe how they prepare themselves for this sexual tango…and by ‘tango’ I mean the looping stagger toward the door after being roofied. It’s fun to imaging yourself an ethologist, going like Jane Goodall to observe the mating habits and rituals among the chimpanzees (the truth is closer to baboons). All that work has been done already, and it has been prepared in easy, Discovery Channel-style documentaries. The secret knowledge that used to be passed along in frat house basements and titty bars is now readily available on YouTube. Hundreds of hours of Pick-Up-Artist (PUA) instructional videos are available at your convenience.
What is a Pick-up-Artist, you may ask? Well, little sister, educate yourself before college or it’ll be 1-in-4 for you. PUA’s, more than any other group on the planet, have distilled the male sexual performance down to its essential features. After watching 30 hours of PUA instructional videos and audio tutorials, I think I am prepared to adequately summarize it for a female audience.
- The male sexual performance does not come naturally to men; they must be taught.
- The male sexual performance is essentially “when men are mean to women, those men will likely get sex”.
- It works.
PUA’s might argue that there is more technique to it, and perhaps it’s so. Watch some of it for yourself if you can bear it. It is a tough thing to be confronted by the toxic hypermasculinity of an effete stickman in a fur hat and painted nails. It’s rather like the feeling when you smash your brake to stop rolling backwards only to realize it was the car next to you inching forward.
“Oh, but that stuff doesn’t work on me” you say.
Are you sure?
Society is the competition; sex is the prize. Sex is the competition; society is the prize: Here, ladies, is the central contradiction of the patriarchy. Men want to be dominant in society so that they can be mean to women, and then get sex. Also, men want to obtain sex as proof of their dominance so that they can be mean to women and dominate in society. Understand, girls, that when I say society, that does not include you. It includes all the dude-bros, their games, their exploits, their jokes, but it certainly doesn’t include you. “Reminder: In the game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team, they are the ball.” Male society is what counts, and don’t flatter yourself into thinking any of this has anything to do with you. You are the object men must be taught to abuse.
They (and we) were taught to be this way: And here we come a lesson that might not be obvious at first, but is undeniable upon reflection. None of this needs be this way. It is a social construct…this is the patriarchy. Men must be trained to mistreat women. At the same time women, starting as girls, must be trained to desire being mistreated. When we feminists speak about what the patriarchy is about, we are talking about these systems of oppression, we are talking about the system of oppression by which all men must oppress all women so that they can play their homosocial dominance-and-submission games.
No, girls, the thing you need to know—the only thing you need to know—is that you do not need to be complicit in your own oppression. To be a feminist is to be subversive to systems of oppression. To be a feminist is to be subversive to the patriarchy which oppresses you.
The thing girls need to know is quite simple:
WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS.