Make Me Bad - Korn with Robert Smith (mp3)
Twenty percent of 18 & 19 year-old girls -- one out of every five “young women” -- have already had anal sex. Before they reach 30, that number more than doubles to 46 percent. These numbers have skyrocketed compared to a similar 1992 study. This is just one of the many titillating slash disturbing factoids available for your curious eyes in “Hard Core,” a painfully honest look at our modern culture and its connection to modern pornography in The Atlantic.
It’s written by a woman, Natasha Vargas-Cooper, and her particular take on it is unflinching and unapologetic. I don’t go around reading lots of feminist screeds on men or pornography, so it’s possible nothing Ms. Vargas-Cooper writes here is original. Some of it is either regrettably obvious or difficult to deny, but she brings an argument to the table that is ultimately fatalistic. Here’s her basic premises as best I can tell:
- The notion of sexual equality is and has always been a ruse, because women and men rarely want the same thing from a sexual encounter.
- The sex of long-term relationships is not the kind of sex craved for in fantasies. It is, however, the kind of sex a woman ultimately wants. Because fantasy sex takes the experience “outside the realm of ordinary human experiences and places it in the extreme, often beyond our control." Which is a nice place to visit, but a terrible place to live.
- Men cannot separate their aggression from their sexual appetite or fantasies.
- The omnipresence of pornography in the 21st Century has mainstreamed unhealthy attitudes that used to be in the margins.
- Almost all pornography is about what a woman will do, the lengths she will go, to please a man. The man is the simple, predictable piledriver; the woman is the Gumby doll bent a million ways.
Ultimately, we're all bigger pigs than we think we are. But guys like me can bask in our relative midget piglet status.
And then comes her kicker:
“Even the crudest of online porn captures only a slice of the less-than-uplifting aspects of the sexual experience, because porn not only eschews but actively conceals the singular truth: the most brutalizing aspects of sex are not physical.”The often incomprehensible emotional stew underneath, a broth men seem much less interested in or willing to investigate, is where the real destruction boils and bubbles, toils and troubles.
Her concluding summary of Last Tango In Paris, a film I’ve only heard discussed but never got around to watching, left me grateful I’ve never watched it. But the metamorphosis of the Last Tango relationship as she describes it sounds powerfully similar to the relationship in 9 ½ Weeks, a movie I first watched when I was an utterly-clueless, virtually-unkissed 16-year-old.
Even the Joe Cocker song "You Can Leave Your Hat On" -- a song I adored and still do -- is, ultimately, a song about a dude giving a gal lots of very specific orders and how to undress herself. Yeah, he's being fun and playful about it, but he's still giving the orders, and she's still taking them.
I suspect both movies ultimately get at the same point: men are pitiful pigs, clueless to the swill in which their heads swim, undeserving of any woman, much less the ones they somehow seduce.
Not all men, mind you. Just the ones who don’t read blogs.
[NOTE: I understand if no one wants to comment on this whole thing. God knows I'm sitting here wondering why I wrote any of this out in the first place. Or, if commenting under total anonymity makes things easier, then you have my blessing (although I'd like to know your gender).]