Sexual Intelligence? February 19, 2011Posted by FCM in books!, feminisms, gender roles, PIV, politics.
Tags: dworkin, intelligence, right wing women
i am currently reading dworkin’s “right-wing women” and as usual, she cuts right to the chase. front and center is the issue of intelligence, which is what right-wing women are most often said to be lacking, and it is this particular alleged “lack” for which right-wing women are most ridiculed and hated. right? damn. dworkin really knew how to strip away the bullshit didnt she? it just amazes me, every time.
regarding the issue of intelligence, and womens intelligence generally, dworkin dissects the politics of it. specifically, that the male-defined concepts of “woman” and “intelligence” are contradictory, by design. this is often the case of course. when comparing the qualities of a “good woman” with those of a “good human” women always seem to come up short. regarding intelligence:
if you are female, rather than male, you are less likely to display or indeed develop what is widely known as “intelligence”. and the “better woman” you are, the more those effects are exaggerated. because not only is it unladylike to display what you know even when you know it, most women across time and place have been unable to cultivate knowing, being sequestered as women are from the larger world, and relegated to the “female” parts of it. so that, while some women may become educated, very few are ever really free to go to the ends of their thoughts. or to possess what dworkin calls a “creative intelligence” or what mary daly invoked with her 5th cause extrapolation–to jump off the cliff, and fall how you fall, and land where you land, and to be surprised and amazed at what you find there:
even if you are somehow able to exercise a degree of creative intelligence, you arent a good woman, or even a real woman, at all. which is especially evident if you arent currently being regularly fucked by a man, without charging him for it.
now, i think we can all grasp the concept of “intelligence” as well as the politics of it. this isnt exactly news: men have always defined “positive qualities” (including intelligence) to benefit themselves, based on characterisitcs that they
know believe themselves to have, and that are within their ability to develop.
but women also are not expected to have any sexual intelligence, and dworkin postulates that there is, in fact, such a thing. and surely she is right: if “sexuality” is anywhere near as important as its made out to be, then by definition, there are things there that are worth knowing. arent there? but women arent allowed to explore that either. just like every other area of knowledge, womens knowledge of sexuality is limited to their personal experience of it, being relegated as they are to a tiny portion of it, to the female-part of it, as objects used, for it. and disallowed to explore further. disallowed any real understanding of it, or forced to disown and deny what they do understand about it:
see? none of us are supposed to address sexuality, that way. we are supposed to do it, but not theorize about it. to do it, is to be liberated about it. to theorize about it is to be a dried up old hag of a sexless prude. well which one is it? are there things there worth knowing, or not? is sex important, or isnt it?
welp…not surprisingly, it looks like it is, in fact, important. so much so that embracing and cultivating actual sexual knowing might just be the source of womens liberation, from men. both a revolution of thought, and a revolution of action:
but most women arent going there. either they cannot, being unable to nurture and cultivate real sexual knowing; or they must disavow what they know, because the knowledge is too revolutionary. this is what it means, to be female, under patriarchy. this is the shared experience of women as a sexual class, around the world. even as the fun-fems deny there is any such thing as “woman,” intelligence is a political issue, and women are denied it. and sexual intelligence is most obviously and painfully beyond our reach, as members of the sex-class, being forced to endure PIV-centric sexuality, as defined by men.
of course, even as women make profound concessions with both our intellectual integrity and our actual knowing to survive, the ability to survive as a woman under patriarchy does not measure very high on the intelligence-scale. the one made by men, to serve themselves. nope! that particular skill-set just doesnt register, at all.
and with that, dworkin puts the caricature of the stupid right-wing woman to bed. intelligence is a non-issue. because by any meaningful scale, all women are fucking stupid. you know, or none of us are.
but what she also does here is call attention to “sexual intelligence” in a way that i am hoping might actually get through to someone who needs to hear it. i mean really. what feminist doesnt get that knowledge, and the making of it and the way its distributed, is largely political?