Gabriella Razzano

Open season on open legs

Gabriella Razzano

Gabriella Razzano

By Gabriella Razzano

On Wednesday I read, perhaps, the most painfully terrible article I have every read. Promoted by Women24 actively on the main news page, the piece was by a Michael Kennedy with the already vomit-inducing title: Are you getting laid?

According to Michael, women in this country are frustrated because we are not fucking enough. I think Michael may have gotten confused between ‘getting fucked over’ and fucking. To suggest, even for a second, that the general frustrations of women may be because we aren’t having enough sex is so enraging I don’t know who to throw my Birkenstock at.

To be less trite, the assault on women in South Africa is pervasive and obvious. There is not a day that goes by when I am not sexually harassed in some form by a stranger on the street. More horrific are the endemic sexual assaults and incidences of rape perpetuated on our gender. The bodies of South African women are the property of South African men.

Yet the subjugation of our physical bodies extends even to the very websites claiming to forward our interests. That Women24 think its is in the interests of women to read an article in which the male author admits it is based on the perceived ‘problem’ that most of his male friends aren’t getting shagged enough (although for depth of his research cases he does helpfully note “reading the Women24 Forums, it is clear a lot of women aren’t getting any either”), only contributes to the state of atrocity.

As Michael notes, a healthy sex life is good for relationships. However, it becomes very clear that there is no desire to examine what is good for women generally, or even what is good for their sexual selves. This is of course validated by his conviction, blatantly false to many women, that our sex lives would be best advanced through more sex with men (as opposed to women, or ourselves).

He provides no actual knowledge about what is happening in the sexual lives of South African women, although he does seem to find time to read a lot of News24 comments, which already indicates a form of sociopathic tendencies. Nor does he provide any solution to our apparent ubiquitous frigidity outside of “[women should] take their cues from men – don’t over evaluate or examine sex”. Instead, his incisive commentary notes:

“Why would men not get any if women are so openly accepting of 50 Shades [of Grey]?”.

And therein lies the rub (excuse the pun): at its heart, his article is about the audacity of South African women to not allow open season on our open legs. This is making everyone frustrated and that, apparently, is just not on.

This is part of a broader damaging discourse, which seeks to re-wrap the subjugation of women as ‘sexual liberation’, most often for purely male benefit (such as the benefit of Michael’s mates). It is often motivated too by profit, which when given the fact that Michael’s twitter says he wants us all to have “happy sex”, and he is clearly the visionary here to help us with that, is apparently at work here too. What is perhaps the most revolting aspect of this piece is the underscoring motivation revealed from the first lines when Michael describes the ‘patently’ sexually frustrated woman who had the cheek to cut him off in traffic: Michael doesn’t want any form of female aggression to hinder his drive home. So we should open our legs, dammit.

If Women24 really cares about the sexual needs of its female readers they might be better disposed to sourcing an article, from its female readers, entitled: “The actual things that dry up my vagina”. I think  “men like Michael Kennedy” may end up being one of the submitted answers.

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7 thoughts on “Open season on open legs

  1. Mrs Kennedy says:

    I read your article with great interest. If I can add fuel to the fire here, I was actually raped and sexually assaulted and it took a long time and therapy to differentiate between the two and a lot of support from the better half – and I am not going to feel guilty about having a healthy sex life with the man I love. You do make a valid point, but I don’t think Michael put his point across properly but I get what he is trying to say. We each have a load of friends whose physical relationships have fizzled out with their husbands/wives and Michael is trying to ask why. I must just add that I do infact wear the pants in the house!!

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  2. Gabriella Razzano says:

    Dear Mrs Kennedy – of course you shouldn’t feel bad. My point is simply that an article claiming to be about advancing womens sex lives needs to properly consider what women need and want, and the real reasons for why it isn’t happening. By glossing over the actual sexual needs of the women, means women’s sex is being exploited for another agenda while cloaking itself in language of ‘sexual liberation’. This may not have been his intention, but it is his language.

    On a personal front, I high five your sex life. My house is a total pants-free zone, but thats largely just to avoid doing washing or getting red wine stains.

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  3. Michael Kennedy says:

    Let me say from the outset, having spoken to some women about this, I was wrong.

    I was wrong to link an incident of road rage to a lack of sex. I made a connection that was probably construed as sexist which it was not meant to be, but I accept that I don’t think of male road ragers to be sexually frustrated so I should not have made a link at all.

    I don’t apologise for trying to get women to think less about their sexual hang-ups and try to work through them. A healthy sex life assists in healthy mental well-being.

    I understand that there are major problems between men and women and that they are NOT the same.

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  4. Claire says:

    His reaction to her “road rage” reminds me of the time my boyfriend asked me if I was angry because I had my period. He asked me if I could take a pill or something.

    My second response is this: what is his obsession with 50 shades of grey (has to read it under the covers perhaps and thought that it was sufficient stimulation for his wife to start salivating for some action?) and why does he think a good sex life comes from a book? Goes to show what kind of sex he thinks all women want. I also find it so insulting on behalf of men as he makes it seems that sex is all they can think about. His generalisations are ridiculous.

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  5. Gabriella Razzano says:

    Dear Mr Kennedy – thank you so much for this. I think the issues, as you see them as well, are two-fold. One, that beginning any article about women by trivialising womens’ frustrations is a no go.

    Two, that if you do wish to help women get over the sexual hang-ups, it is not good enough to tell them to think of sex like men. What needs to be examined is what women enjoy or don’t enjoy about sex; and that the fact that they may require something else from sex than men does not need to be apologised for. It does need to be accounted for. It is great that you agree.

    While it is good that at least discussions have been opened, I don’t agree with Women24’s position that creating debate is enough. Your article created the framework for the discussion and, unintentionally, then limited it within a patriarchal framework (not because you are a man, but because of the focus taken by the language). I know that this wasn’t your intention. I still think that discussions about the exploitation of ‘sexual liberation’ to advance agenda’s that aren’t for the benefit of women is a very serious undercurrent that bears future examination.

    I would like to publicly announce that you are no longer the man who ‘dries up my vagina’. That title is now reserved for the majority of my ex-boyfriends, and Justin Bieber, who’s sexual androgyny is to me more disturbing than titillating. Also, it would be old and creepy of me.

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  6. Michael Kennedy says:

    “I still think that discussions about the exploitation of ‘sexual liberation’ to advance agenda’s that aren’t for the benefit of women is a very serious undercurrent that bears future examination.”

    Believe me when I say I have no agenda. I am not repressed and frustrated and nor is Mrs Kennedy. I am merely trying to advance “liberation” within the context of the ‘Sex and Sizzle’ section of Women24.

    In terms of this article, I got it wrong and that was wrong and as I did above, I grovel in apology.

    But many men and women come from repressed childhoods, and sadly, there is a serious ‘culture’ of female exploitation and abuse which I do not want to be associated with, despite my caveman ideology.

    I am thrilled to be known as NLTMWDUMV.

    In future, I will attempt to be clearer without pissing off the female readers.

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