Your liberation makes space for my own
I’ve been having a hard time writing this. I’ve walked in circles around my apartment trying to figure out why I can’t just bloody well say it until I realized the problem is that I am writing something that is so obvious to me that I am amazed other people wouldn’t already know it and have this context. And yet, I suspect they don’t and that it bears repeating. So rather than starting with the calculated analysis I planned, let me start by saying that neither I nor any other sexual being can be truly free to express our wants, needs and desires until those around us are free as well. The reason is simple, oppression isn’t just about the people oppressed it is about the threat it poses to everyone else, the reason you stay within the lines is so that you don’t fall into the victim class. So with that in mind lets think about the subject dejure; sexually submissive men.
What I didn’t realize for a long time in looking at sexuality communities is that though often experienced in a bubble these communities are not created in a bubble, and from there the connection between the devaluation of male submission and the experiences of American girls in math courses is glaringly obvious. Deviance from gender norms scares people because it exposes them to the potential that they will accidentally fall into the victim class. Worse yet, for someone carrying their own baggage, and I would say that describes all of us, having someone lower on the totem pole is comforting. “So I like kinky sex at least I’m not one of those [fill in the blank]”
So why is this important? It’s important because oppression is a divide and concur kind of game. As a dominant woman, I have a vested interest in building a space that is open and welcoming to submissive men, but I as a woman I have a vested interest in building a deep and nuanced understanding of masculinity and seeing that injected in to the dominant culture. My goal is to create a space where in I am not one of 4 women in a graduate comp sci course of 50 people, where girls do not spontaneously lose their math skills in the fourth grade, and where my socio-sexual spaces ask me who I am rather than telling me who I should be. I don’t care, however if we accomplish this by deconstructing masculine or feminine identity, or by inviting boys to play with E-Z-Bake ovens rather than handing girls toy trucks. I believe that the deconstruction of one side of the system naturally breaks down the other by demonstrating non-catastrophic flexibility.
So why math on a sex blog? Because there has been a lot of discussion around male submission and that is fantastic. But I have also had a lot of feedback about “men are already the ones controlling sexual dialog,” and yes, in parts that is true as well, but it’s not the reason to stop this work. It is ok to give energy to making spaces for sexually submissive men to feel welcomed because the very act of doing so breaks down the structure which pins me as sub unless otherwise stated. It is good and proper to work for someone else’s benefit because every time you take down a system of oppression you take down a threat against yourself. In the end it doesn’t matter if you spend the time creating the opportunity for men to be vulnerable or for women to be strong since the real goal, my goal, is to demonstrate the possibility of strength in vulnerability.
I was going to start this post with this:
When an acquaintance dressed her newborn in a onesie that read “An owie to one is an owie to all” several years back it was cute. And when I hear the phrase “an injury to one is an injury to all” it is at once sensible and trite. Sensible because yes, while there is violence and systemic oppression be it economic, political, or social in the world we are all bound to abide by the rules lest we fall into that victim class, but also trite because it is so very obvious but in that far away never really think about it day-to-day sort of way.
Instead I’ll leave you with Euler’s identity, which is my favorite equation and which I learned from a lover in bed (the real reason I like white boards in every room of the house)…
Here’s to a world where math is sexy 🙂