Using the shit out of the only tool you have is not exercising a special form of power.
article by Amanda Gannon
There's been a whole kerfuffle about this piece on Cracked that, at one point later on, talks about how male horniness is basically the driving force of civilization.
I think Amanda Marcotte really addresses the article itself well here on Pandagon.
So it's not specifically that article I want to discuss, it's the idea that women, because men want to fuck them, have all the power. More, I want to discuss how that idea is used to placate and dismiss genuine concerns about misogyny, and how this negatively affects pretty much everyone.
I'm not denying that attractive women have a potent advantage, nor am I denying that lust is a powerful motivating force. I'm not saying that being desired gives the person so desired no extra hold on the person that desires them. All of these things are true, but they aren't the only truth. Reducing women's power – and really, I just hate that phrase, the very idea
of it, as if women have
a special power that men do not . . . but I get ahead of myself. Ahem. Reducing women's power to sex is . . . frankly, that's a hostile act that diminishes us.
Acting as though that one power is the most important power we have is not cool
. It soft-pedals the stripping away of our sources of real power. We still have our tits and asses, so everything must be fine, right? Only it's not
all right, because things are not all right for us. Women have a hard fucking time, and free drinks really can't take the edge off of the horrifying erosion of civil rights taking place in the U.S.
Even if it could, tits and ass power is really available only to a subset of a subset of women.
One, it's only available to women who are attractive enough to pull it off; women who don't match that standard can't do it. That standard is pretty narrow, even at the wide end. A woman can be disqualified from it if she is old, fat, disabled, of a different race, or even just, frankly, not attractive
. The number of women who have full access to that power is limited, because our definition of attractive is limited.
Two, it's most beneficial to people who use it, and not everyone is willing to use it. An attractive person will reap the benefits of their attractiveness whether they try or not, or are aware of it or not, but that passive privilege is very different from actively taking that advantage and using it as a lever. Make no mistake, it's a big goddamn lever – and I'm not even saying a person shouldn't
use it, I believe that if we are at a disadvantage, using anything that gives us an advantage is good as long as we do it ethically – but it's not issued to every woman at birth, and we only get to keep it until we get fat or old or something like that.
So this pussy power thing is a sop, it's a flimflam job, it's something we're told
that we have and it's used to draw attention away from the fact that we aren't taught
or sometimes even allowed
to use other kinds of power. This leaves us open to manipulation. It leaves us vulnerable to attack. It's no mistake that even though we can't all achieve pure pussy power, we are told that it is the ultimate woman power. And many people, many, many
people, really and truly believe that it is.
There are strict limits on pussy power. Limits to how sexual we are supposed to be, and with whom, and in what way. The way I see it, it's a power that is valuable only as long as it is rare
. It depends on scarcity
. That's why women who fuck a lot are considered sluts or out of control. Women who do
use their sexy leverage are seen nearly as negatively, as manipulators, femmes fatale, as cold and calculating heartless bitches. Even when we do use our power, we're criticized for it, labeled and judged.
Making men helpless with lust is one kind of power, but it's not the only power there is.
So what else is there? Only the power that all
people have. Our cunning, our bravery, our love. Our passion. Our anger. Our wounds. Our humanity. Reducing women to a supposed ability to either provoke or manipulate men into action is doing women and
men a tremendous disservice.
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