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Hugo Schwyzer wants to jizz on the face of feminism, but not why you’d think

Jizz on your face! A FACIAL! Let your guy cum on your rosy cheeks because it is the latest act of feminist empowerment! Moreover, IT’S CLEANSING! Didn’t you hear? Jizz on your face is better than a detox diet! It has “purifying” properties. Or so says Hugo Schwyzer, Professor Feminism extraordinaire in his latest installment at Jezebel, He Wants to Jizz on Your Face, but Not Why You’d Think:

A female student turned to the guy who’d brought up the topic of semen and validation and asked him, “So you’re saying that when a man comes on a woman’s face, it’s not about making her dirty — it’s about making him feel clean?” The young man blushed, the class tittered. “Yes,” he said, “that’s it. And that’s what makes it so hot.”

Only oh, I forgot to mention, the purifying act is not for you, feminist woman, target audience of Professor Feminism’s column. The cleansing is for him!

Wait. Cum again? Exactly how is this defense of the act feminist? Or how is this justification for the act based on its benefits for women? Or how is this a pro woman stance?? HOW DOES THIS JUSTIFICATION PUT THE FEELINGS, WELL BEING AND SEXUALITY OF THE WOMAN INVOLVED AHEAD OF THE “PURIFYING” PROPERTIES FOR THE JIZZER? It doesn’t. And that’s because in spite of all his claims, all his protestations and even his academic position, Hugo Schwyzer is not a feminist. He is a feminist poseur. Which is a very different beast.

I suppose most people are, by now, aware of the very first blogging opprobrium of 2012 involving Hugo Schwyzer and Clarisse Thorn. For those who might not have followed it, it started at Feministe when Clarisse Thorn published an interview with Schwyzer. Harsh criticism over the figure of Schwyzer poured in the comment section; specifically, over his past attempted murder of a former girlfriend. Ms. Thorn closed the thread and a very vocal disagreement over her silencing followed. Caperton published an apology on behalf of all writers at Feministe and allowed the comment section to remain open so that people could continue discussing the issue. Maia posted a response to these events at Alas! and some subsequent discussion ensued there as well.

So, one would expect that this would have died the natural death that follows such storms in the feminist blogosphere. I thought nothing else could be added to the topic by now. However, because Schwyzer strives for the spotlight; and because he seems to need the spotlight, is that I feel compelled to challenge his latest post at Jezebel. Because I am a woman and a feminist, and a writer to boot, it is that I must challenge his androcentric, cis-centric, heteronormative, chauvinist, faux feminism. After all, I am as equipped as he is to claim the label, even if I lack the institutional and media backing that is afforded to him.

Because, unlike him, I do not refer to my participation in feminism as “Herding sluts”. I do not view women as cattle or as receptacles for a man’s semen in some faux empowering act that gives prevalence to a man’s sexuality. Because unlike Schwyzer, I do not seek to profit from a movement towards whose members I show, again and again, nothing but racist contempt.

And since we are on the subject of racist contempt, I’d like to point out a bit of contextual background here. Jezebel was founded by Anna Holmes, a Woman of Color. The Jezebel stereotype often wielded against Black women, portraying them alternatively as sex starving sluts, dangerous, oversexualized and a whole host of other negative characteristics. The fact that Schwyzer published this trite on a site bearing such name, without including any kind of racial context in his promotion of “cum in the face” sexuality is doubly offensive. Because such denigrating acts have been used on WoC for centuries, and while members of the dominant culture can now reclaim it as “empowering”, there are still entire groups of people trying to battle the stereotypes associated with the “Jezebel” label. However, Professor Feminism does not need any racial or sociocultural context in his ideology. Because, as he has already informed us, he is WASPiness incarnated! (and he also has contempt for non WASPs appropriating signs of his culture)

This is also the man who wrote a column nonchalantly outing a woman’s infidelity and his possible paternity of a young boy who is being raised by someone else. PROFESSOR FEMINISM IS REALLY PRO-WOMAN! At least for as long as women can serve his self centered purposes.

That someone who has a predatory past, who has on numerous occasions displayed very racist ideas and who called his participation in women’s rights events as “herding sluts” is allowed to lecture people on what constitutes a healthy expression of sexuality is alarming. And it is shameful that more feminists are not clamoring for his silence on these topics. And if we had any doubt about the nepotism operating in contemporary, mainstream feminism, in his Jezebel article he rewards Clarisse Thorn for the grief she endured through the recent scandal by referring to her as an authority on the subject of female sexuality. Because Professor Feminism wants us all to know that those who stick for him will be rewarded with exposure in mainstream media.

Some feminists cannot understand why many people refuse to be affiliated with feminism. They cannot possibly conceive why someone would feel that they do not belong to a movement that is supposed to be about empowerment, equality and utopia. For as long as we collectively allow someone like Hugo Schwyzer to take central roles as spokespersons for feminism in mainstream media, we should not be surprised when people have nothing but disdain for our movement. If this is the face of feminism that is allowed to lecture women on what constitutes rights, sex and relationships, then we might as well close shop and call it a day. Because we have collectively failed. When someone like Professor Feminism is allowed to declare himself a “leader”, then we might as well acknowledge that the patriarchy and the kyriarchy are running our movement. And nothing would please the patriarchy more than to jizz on our faces.

70 Comments

  1. sossajes wrote:

    it always comes back to his dick, and what he did with it, who he wants to stick it in or on, and about how it’s so EXTRA important for women to validate it, otherwise they are misandrists forever and ever amen.
    i take so much umbrage at feminist spaces giving him a soapbox to mouth his possessive, entitled views, so i am delighted to see a take-down on TBD.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  2. Schnurrgeruest wrote:

    Spot-on. Thank you so much.

    On top of that, they don’t allow negative comments on his article. Mine got deleted after some minutes and some others seem to have disappeared as well. How dare people criticise his fauxminist hero complex?
    What a joke.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  3. Mary Tracy wrote:

    I honestly fail to see why the (apparent) “fact” that men feel “clean” when they come on a woman’s face must invalidate the (rather well established) fact that women feel degraded.

    I mean, if I have a dog turn in my hand and I throw it to someone, my hand is now clean (yay!) but the person I threw it at isn’t.

    Is this what passes for rational thinking?

    I agree with sossajes. At the core of the “pr0n debate” is trying to remove men and their penises from the centre stage of all human sexuality. We must stop validating this delusion that what happens to men’s penises is oh-so-important and that women really-trully-absolutely-positively like whatever men want to do to them.

    It’s like trying to satisfy a child asking for candy by giving them candy. It-doesn’t-work. Because the problem is that they are demanding something else under the label “candy”. In the case of men is female approval. And no amount of conforming to pr0nographic acts will ever satisfy men’s need for approval.

    You know why? Because deep down, men don’t approve of themselves. End of.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  4. Mary Tracy wrote:

    Ehm… that should have been “dog turd”. I was laughing while I typed it…

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  5. JL V. wrote:

    Hi Flavia, thank you for writing this post. I feel like you hit on a lot of my frustrations not just with ‘Professor Feminism’ but with Jezebel’s commitment to pageviews over meaningful content. I read it because I like a little gossip with my coffee in the morning, but seeing this tool show up as a frequent feature always makes makes me feel sick. I got a little over halfway through this article before giving up out of sheer disgust. I don’t know how people keep buying into his ‘good guy’ bullshit; even worse, the few dissenters in the comment threads tend to be shut down.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  6. You know Mary, I don’t have an issue with the act itself (just like I have no issue with any expression of sexuality among consenting adults). However I do have a problem when a supposed “feminist” on such a massive platform as Jezebel, presents it as “good” because of its advantage for men.

    I mean, the entirety of media already promotes women’s sexuality as something at the service of men’s pleasure. Now we also have to take such rancid notions from WITHIN the movement?!

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  7. TheNatFantastic wrote:

    Thanks for making that clarification in the comments Flavia, as I was just getting ready for an almighty rant about sexuality and consent between partners and a whole host of other things.

    I’ve seen issues like this placed as a zero-sum game and it’s really frustrating. The thing is, just because Hugo Schwyzer (or whoever) is a dick and/or the arguments they offer in support of ‘why’ women should do a sexual act does not mean that the act in itself is inherently ‘bad’ and/or no ‘real feminist’ should do it. (Wow, I think I just used my whole 2012 ration of scare quotes)

    If I want my partner to come on my face and he wants to come on my face, that’s fine. We’re both consenting grown ups and it’s something we like. The problem lies not with the act itself but with the bullshit spouted by men like Schwyzer as to why women ‘should’ like it or why they ‘should’ do it even if they don’t. Or why it’s OK for a man to try guilt his partner into it.

    And I don’t appreciate my the fact that I’m a slightly kinky sub means that some of my ‘sisters’ try to take away my sexual agency and say I shouldn’t like something I enjoy just because of tools like Schwyzer either. As long as my partner and I fully consent and have established boundaries, it’s no one’s business how I get my kicks. This might not be a perfect article, but it fairly well sums up how I balance feminism and BDSM: http://feministsforchoice.com/bdsm-can-be-what-a-feminist-looks-like.htm

    /rant

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  8. @Nat, To be honest with you, I FULLY understand the appeal of the act. What I cannot condone is what I mentioned in my previous comment, a supposed defense on the basis that it is purifying for a dude! How is that different from the kind of sex advice promoted by AskMen and similar outlets?!

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  9. TheNatFantastic wrote:

    Flavia – hell yes, agree with you 100%. That’s just a shitty justification to try convince women who don’t want to do it. And that is NOT OK. *stern, Dworkin-channelling face*

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  10. Mary Tracy wrote:

    What would you say then to a woman who argues that she gets her kicks from being guilted/pressured into servicing a man sexually? Or a woman who argues that she gets her kicks from “purifying” a man?

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  11. @Mary, if it is consensual, I don’t see a problem. A lot of kink and BDSM is built on somewhat similar notions. And I don’t understand why it would be an issue. Again, assuming all parties involved are participating willingly.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink
  12. Mary Tracy wrote:

    Then if a woman gets off on purifying a man, doesn’t that mean that Schwyzer is right?

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  13. No. It’s about whose desire he centers in his defense. Notice how “woman” is removed from the equation here. Nowhere does he say “what matters is if the act gets the woman off”. For him, it’s about the effect it has on the dude.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink
  14. That Girl wrote:

    I have absolutely no idea how a man cuming in someone’s face purifies him. It makes no sense. You can enjoy doing something, but don’t make up bullshit reasons. However, I’m not mad at anyone’s consensual sexytimes.

    But I love it when my lady cums in my face – in part because I feel like we subvert everything porn/everydudeeverwhohitsonlesbians thinks lesbian sex is when it happens.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  15. Emily Manuel wrote:

    Oh Professor Feminism, please shoot your big theory load on my tender undergrad face…

    *ingenue*

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  16. Linnea wrote:

    I read the Schwyzer article and since I don’t have a problem with the whole act provided it is consensual, I kept reading it as his explanation of the act as trying to empower women sexually. Until I came to the end, that is. He negated the entire argument through finally adding that bit on the young man confessing it made him feel clean. And then he didn’t even attempt to get into the problematic phrasing of that or the power relations implied.
    Seriously!? After spending an entire article trying to explain that the act in itself doesn’t necessarily have to be degrading, he adds a piece that states it’s hot because the man feels clean through making parts of the woman’s body sticky with his cum. Yes, that makes sense…

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  17. P wrote:

    eh, this is the kind of thing that led to me taking him off my rss feed. that and he got boring after a while, making the same points over and over again, and i was tired of reading. as a lesbian, and as an abuse survivor, the male gaze makes me uncomfortable and i don’t really like reading stuff in that perspective, like the jizz thing you linked. the only person’s sexuality i want to know about in that kind of detail is my girlfriend’s.

    anyway, about the “nonchalantly outing [of] a woman’s infidelity”, I was still reading his blog back then so I remember it (and i followed the link again just now to check), and he did use a pseudonym for the woman. Did you feel that he gave away too many identifying details? How is it outing a woman if she’s not named?

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  18. I’ll tell you how I apply this “outing” in my own blogging. I blog under my government name (which I use in my every day life as well). If I out someone from my life, many people around me will immediately know who I am referring to. And the bigger my network of friends and acquaintances, the bigger the chances for that to happen. It’s different for people who blog under a pseudonym. The chances of people recognizing 1) who you are and 2) who you are referring to are smaller. But just like me, Schwyzer blogs under his name. Which means that if the woman in question or her partner come across Schwyzer’s blog, they’ll immediately know he is talking about them.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  19. Michael Bricker wrote:

    While I’ve learned several things over the past few days about Hugo Schwyzer that have put me considerably more ill-at-ease with him, I still have to wonder at a couple points.

    (Of course, this is all coming from my white, cis, het, male perspective; feel free to tell me I’m off-target.)

    First, I didn’t get the vibe from Schwyzer’s article that he thinks women /ought/ to be okay with facials. That is, I don’t see him making any normative statements about the desirability of the act. It definitely seems more of a piece about motivation; that the appeal of a facial could very possibly not be rooted in denigration. And, by extension, that it can be okay for a woman to receive one (or a man to want one) and not need to feel denigrated (or denigrate.)

    (Granted, this feels a little off to me and I think I disagree with him. Any “cleansing” feeling would have to come from a place more along the lines of “This is so dirty but they want me to do it anyway, so they must really find me desirable!” Which is, obviously I think, rooted in the denigrating nature of the act.)

    Second, several of the latter criticisms seem to be ignoring the context of his words. My jaw literally dropped when I saw “Herding sluts” attributed to him as it is a wildly offensive comment to whip out. But I clicked through and the article was about SlutWalk LA! He’s hardly referring to his “participation in feminism” as “herding sluts.”

    The article he had on clothing and class I thought was very interesting. While I had read it rather uncritically the first time I went back over it more carefully this time and, while he isn’t being terribly careful, I don’t read contempt into his words. He seems more to be decrying the fact that these students feel they have to dress to a standard they perceive. The observation that lower-class students don’t have the privilege of assuming others will think they belong is something I found very insightful the first time I read the article and again. (Though, admittedly, I have two large areas of weakness in checking myself; class and ableism. This may very well be a case of what was patently obvious to others having escaped me previously.)

    I dunno, I hadn’t know about the murder-suicide attempt before this week and that is highly troubling. Though I do feel more moved towards pity. Suicide is some bad, bad stuff.

    Am I completely off-base here? It just seems that, as problematic some of his attitudes might be, some of the criticisms you’re leveling at him depend on twisty cherry-picking.

    As always, though, thank you for writing, Flavia. I found your article illuminating.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  20. @Michael, while his writing might have value for a lot of people (I wouldn’t dare deny how people relate to a writer), my issue is around the fact that he is appointed as an “authority” in feminism. How can a man (a White, cis, heterosexual man, no less), not see that there is no room for the kind of sarcasm around “herding sluts”, especially because that’s exactly the way het, cis, white males have treated women for centuries! It’s like faux pimp talk! he cannot ignore THAT context in his rhetoric! It’s a bit like “hipster racism”. I don’t know if you are familiar with the subject. There is this phenomenon where privileged young people make “racist jokes” claiming they are not damaging because they cannot possibly be racist! Coming from people with privilege, such jokes STILL perpetuate stereotypes. We do not live in a post sexism, post misogyny world where “herding sluts” can be contextualized as a joke referring to some very distant and no longer occurring past.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  21. April wrote:

    Hugo Schwyzer makes me sick. The only thing that makes me happy about him being a major player in feminist media is that it’s opening up the conversation about what the role of male feminists is. Last week, Austin hosted a SlutWalk forum about the movement and where its going. A local bookstore hosted and had two male employees staffing the event. The male employees posted on Facebook that they were hosting the event (as opposed to staffing; they weren’t the actual hosts; three women were) and a woman wondered why men were hosting.

    She was greeted with derision from the employees and friends of the employees. That shouldn’t happen. The role of more privileged individuals (and allies) within any movement of marginalized people is and should be a topic on the table.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  22. John Horstman wrote:

    @Flavia: I went and read Schwyzer’s post, and I’m a bit conflicted here. With respect to your statement here, “What I cannot condone is what I mentioned in my previous comment, a supposed defense on the basis that it is purifying for a dude!” that strikes me as a bit of a misrepresentation of what he’s saying. What I read was that he was positing that men (or all men, at any rate) aren’t into facials so much because they intend them to degrade women, but because they experience them as accepting of male orgasm/ejaculation.

    I agree that there isn’t extensive consideration of the woman’s (or other man’s, in the case of gay porn, which is briefly mentioned) perspective/experience, but I think it’s a mistake to suggest that, because he’s focusing primarily on the male perspective that the piece can’t be feminist*. And he DOES qualify his statements: “In any case, humiliation and affirmation aren’t incompatible reactions to the same act; a feeling of indignity when your partner ejaculates on your face isn’t contingent on his intending to demean you. No one should be obligated to endure humiliation for the sake of someone else’s longing for validation.” He’s explicitly NOT arguing that facials are okay on the basis “that it is purifying for a dude”, but that the intent may not be to degrade. That’s an important difference.

    That said, I think that 1) he’s wrong, and the appeal, for most men, does have something to do with degradation (and more than that, the exercise of power in making a woman accept her own degradation, or another man accept it in the case of gay porn, is what’s implied by the ejaculatee demonstrating a positive reaction, though this is obviously complicated by the fact that some women and men DO enjoy facials, which might then imply Schwyzer’s read that a positive reaction from the ejaculatee is important); and 2) he does take this to a place of paternalistic prescription asserting how women SHOULD feel about facials: “In my conversations with Glickman and Andelloux, I shared this anecdote. Both agreed that rather than seeing the facial as rooted in the impulse to denigrate, it might indeed be better to view it as longing for approval.” This is only true if it can be demonstrated that the desire is really not to degrade in the overwhelming majority of cases, something which neither Schwyzer nor the two researchers he’s referencing have done.

    Too, more discussion of the experiences of women with respect to facials, including women who both like and dislike them for various reasons (or at least much more extensive linking to other pieces by women about facials and their experiences/perspectives), would have made the piece come off as less androcentric and/or paternalistic.

    As for whether Schwyzer can claim the title “feminist” while still holding some obviously problematic, paternalistic (and sometimes racist) views, or whether “[h]e is a feminist poseur”… I don’t know. Were the Second Wavers who marginalized women of color, queer women, trans women still feminists or only feminist poseurs? Are lesbian pro-women activists faux feminists if they sometimes display aspects of transphobia, biphobia, or racism? Are you holding men to a higher standard of feminism than women, and if so, is this acceptable or even desirable? (These are honest questions, not merely rhetorical; I don’t think the answers are self-evident.) I’m not *necessarily* defending Schwyzer generally or his specific position here, but your characterization of him and especially the particular point’s he’s making in this post seems, potentially, a bit misrepresentative. I’ve disagreed with some of the things that I’ve seen of Schwyzer’s (and agreed with others, though I’m not extensively familiar with him), but being a feminist man who, I’m sure, still has a perspective inflected by privilege and its associated blindnesses and is certainly flat-out wrong about things sometimes, I’m a little taken aback. I only really encounter Schwyzer when he shows up on Scarleteen, RH Reality Check, here, or at Feministing, and don’t have an extensive familiarity with him. If the examples you cite are part of a much more extensive and consistent pattern, then I’ll defer to your greater familiarity with the guy and therefore more-informed analysis. But if these are infrequent lapses into self-uncritical/positionality-uncritical thought, it might not be a bad thing to cut him a little slack. Ideally we do want men with problematic personal histories to confront them and try to be better, even if they keep failing along the way, right? (That, too, is an honest question, not merely rhetorical.)

    *For example, I think efforts to target men with anti-rape messages that use primarily a male perspective are still feminist. Modifying male behavioral norms is important for gender equality and/or dismantling the gender binary, and one needs to consider the male perspectives/contexts/motivations informing the behaviors in order to address them.

    P.S. I think you and Sady both have been doing great things for Rookie; the existence of that site makes me deliriously happy.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink
  23. Mary Tracy wrote:

    For the record… I think the appeal for men is simultaneously a desire for validation and a desire to degrade.

    If the act didn’t degrade women, it wouldn’t be very “validating”.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  24. Liz wrote:

    Even here, the dudes just can’t shut the hell up about why their right to pornify everything about women is the best and most empowering thing ever. It’s mindboggling.

    I prescribe us all a hearty reading of The S.C.U.M. Manifesto…

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  25. Em wrote:

    I am shocked, shocked and surprised that White Dude Hugo Schwyzer still has a platform on which he can still speak, even after his predatory behavior and attempted murder came to light. And on Jezebel of all places! Shocked!

    Now that I’m done being sarcastic, that Schwyzer still receives support from notable internets feminists is just scarily reflective of shit I have problems with when it comes to white feminism.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink
  26. MC wrote:

    YES this: “It’s about whose desire he centers in his defense.” This is a recurring theme in his writing, especially considering his “Of Never Feeling Hot” piece. The gendered construction of heterosexual desire is so absurdly pervasive that to center it on men continually is unbelievable. Particularly if you call (and publish) yourself (as) a feminist. Thank you for highlighting that because it just seems so plainly ridiculous.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink
  27. kare wrote:

    If I have sex with a guy I want to make him feel happy and good about himself. I don’t accept it is wrong in a relationship you want to please your partner. If Hugo Swyzer feels his semen is dirty because of childhood brainwashing and his partner makes him feel it is not, that is a good thing people in a consensual relationship can do for each other.

    However, Hugo Swyzer is a creep and I don’t agree with any thing else he has said.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  28. @MC, did you notice that across the stuff he writes he also never mentions the possibility that some women (or some people, of any gender) might be asexual? The thought doesn’t seem to cross his mind. He writes about “low libido” and about women with higher sex drive than their partners but not about asexuality as something valid and, in fact, very real. Which for someone that teaches gender studies seems a glaring omission.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
  29. MC wrote:

    Absolutely – and it’s one thing to have a sort of disclaimer that says something like “here, I will focus on x, but y, z, etc. are all very important as well” and then treat them independently. But he doesn’t even do that! And yes, that he does not even mention the possibility of asexuality for example, is unconscionable for a teacher of that subject. ESPECIALLY when some of his students might have marginalized gender or sexual identities and might seek insight or validation from someone in his position, but he instead is silent. Wheee, fun pedagogical times in privilege-land!

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  30. KittyWrangler wrote:

    @Emily Manuel and @Mary Tracy – you’ve made me cackle out loud like a grizzly hairy-legged feminist.

    And as such I call utter BS on Schwyzer’s article. I get that some women enjoy it, that men are all different and may have their own reasons for it, that each facial between partners is unique because we’re all special snowflakes, that what happens between consenting adults is their own private wonderland to which they are entitled. AND I believe it is freaking ludicrous to argue that degradation has *nothing* to do with facials as depicted in mainstream porn and as commonly practiced. That must be why “rape” porn never has facials and male porn actors never spew a stream of jeering hate speech as they spew out their cum onto a subordinate upturned face… oh wait, that happens.

    Schwyzer brings up an interesting point of view about purification and feeling “clean,” and I would have enjoyed reading it and pondering it if it were written in good faith and published in a way that encourages thought and discussion and acknowledges that the discussion is taking place in the context of decades of feminist work and theory.

    Instead this piece practically trumpets unexamined privilege. He doesn’t address the situation as it may be experienced for any women *because cis men’s heterosexual POVs are privileged*. He, a youngish well-known tenured professor, doesn’t acknowledge the work of any feminists writing about it, many of the greatest of whom have had to claw their way out of obscurity to be taken seriously. He addresses a female audience and assumes they’ll want to read all about the male POV even on a feminist site *because male privilege expects that women will listen.* He has the privilege of ignoring rape culture, apparently believing that a one-liner about consent should take care of any concerns. He holds up an example of one of his “fragile” male students who “shyly” volunteers, with the encouragement of Professor Schwyzer, that it’s not degradation. The student presumably has male privilege which goes unquestioned in terms of invisibleizing what may be distasteful to him, the comment is then privileged in the classroom and published (there’s nothing wrong with publishing the comment but I’m pointing out the privilege at play). There is the mansplain-y tone of the piece (man enters feminist space, dashes off a quick explanation of why feminist objection to [x] is silly without really examining those objections). The piece is then published on one of the most prominent internet feminist platforms around. The publishers should recognize the issues with the piece and its author yet publish anyway.

    I know it sounds like I’m crucifying Schwyzer but I understand that these are nearly impossible pitfalls to avoid for even the most earnest hardworking feminist man (though to their credit many manage it brilliantly). These displays of privilege don’t make Schwyzer evil. But they do clearly illustrate to me why Flavia is right that “when someone like Professor Feminism is allowed to declare himself a ‘leader’, then we might as well acknowledge that the patriarchy and the kyriarchy are running our movement,” and “while his writing might have value for a lot of people [...] my issue is around the fact that he is appointed as an ‘authority’ in feminism.” If an audience of feminist women can read this article and pick up in seconds the unexamined privilege and the very problematic framing, presuppositions and publishing issues, then why should we sit back and let him take a leadership position when there are so many other phenomenal thinkers and writers out there? Cause he simply *says* he’s an expert now?? Really??? WE have the authority to say, “no you’re not.”

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  31. KittyWrangler wrote:

    Oh and PS: It’s funny, isn’t it, how if these legions of men just want acceptance from women, porn hasn’t tried the obvious: depicting sex that is acceptable, even enjoyable, for women.

    *Yeah I know I’m massively generalizing and ignoring all the kinksters and porn-enjoying women, of whom I am one, but the male catering and non-consideration of women’s enjoyment in mainstream porn by and large seems obvious to me.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink
  32. tinfoil hattie wrote:

    Nothing brings out long, drawn out, mansplain-y comments liks threatening to take way dudes’ right to porn.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink
  33. WeinerTits wrote:

    He reminds me of a dude I know who considered himself an ally of Feminism. He’d start talking about gender roles and patriarchy but would eventually wind up talking about his latest sexual adventure and you could tell that he was only really interested in busting a nut.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink
  34. alula_auburn wrote:

    I have never read anything by Hugo Schwyzer that wasn’t, at best, horrifyingly, cringe-inducingly clueless, (I seriously can’t believe he teaches people) but my jaw is dropped through the floor. (And I didn’t even know about his personal history–although this does put a different philosophical slant on some of the WAYS he defended Amanda Marcotte.)

    Also, how amazingly, horribly condescending of Charisse Thorn to presume that many of her readers HAVEN’T, by necessity, had to deal with revelations that people they loved or respected had committed rape.

    But hey, “good” to know I was right to bail on Jezebel when I did, I guess.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink
  35. Pidgey wrote:

    The first time reading Schwyzer’s article, I found it strange that he asserted that men wanted women to “accept” them, rather than saying men wanted women to “desire” them. The whole piece sounds like those “Fond Memories of Vagina” books Garland Grey wrote about awhile ago, where women and their sexuality exist only to validate men.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink
  36. P wrote:

    That makes sense, Flavia. Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me. I don’t blog under my real name for safety reasons, and my posts are locked to a small group of online friends. When I talk about real life, I’m talking to people who are unlikely to have ever met the person I’m talking about.

    As you said, what Mr. Schwyzer did is entirely different. He did say he fudged some of the details, such as what year it was, but that’s probably not enough, which I say as someone who is well aware that I can be uniquely identified globally just by listing just a few minor details about myself, such as “country of birth and country of residence.”

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink
  37. anya wrote:

    I don’t usually read the comments on blogs because they sometimes get nasty, but this time I’m glad I did, because finding Rookie was an absolute gem. What a treat–so that’s where Sady’s been all this time!

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink
  38. Ms Snarksalot wrote:

    Thank you @kittywrangler for pointing out the cloyingly manipulative way in which Schwyzer presents the anecdote with the poor male student, simply yearning for acceptance. How could us women be such heartless harpies and not take into consideration the patriarchaly enforced hangups that men may have when it comes to their bodies??! Why, we have it so easy, being the ones who get to represent “beauty” and “desire”, while the poor menz don’t even get to feel sexy! (one of Schwyzer’s pet-causes)

    Tell you what, in order to remedy the situation, and bring the menz up to our level, I suggest that we instruct them in how to attain the privilege that women have in this area: First, start by carefully considering every bit of food that you put into your mouth. Then make sure to exercise away those unsightly layers on your butt, gut, and thighs. Next comes the “hygienic” removal of all body hair below the neck, upon which your new body is ready to be stuffed into restricting, uncomfortable clothing that shows off “the male form”. And most importantly, consult the omnipresent female-centric pornography on how to perform during sex in ways that do nothing for yourself, but are pleasurable for your female partners, including possibly painful and/or degrading acts… There, you now have the privilege that equals that of women. Feeling “wanted” yet?

    In all seriousness, I am sick and tired of “being in touch with your sexuality” and not having “hangups” for women equaling a lot of work, and no actual, you know, enjoyment of our sexuality. Hugo Schwyzer’s hand-wringing over men’s issues in this area, including this latest article, only feeds into this sentiment. As if the suffocating patriarchy didn’t issue enough edicts in that direction already.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  39. Nickel wrote:

    Great post, Flavia! Tiger Beatdown has been awesome lately. You all keep up the quality updates (even if they’re spaced out a bit more than some of us might like)! ;) Hi from Tennessee.

    As a very quiet reader who’s never commented on his blog and rarely do here, I have no personal bad will toward Hugo Schwyzer (if you’re reading!), but while I’ve admired some of his writing about enthusiastic consent in the past, I’m a lot more wary now of both men and women whose ideas I decide to follow online…I’m doing a lot more critical-eye now than I was before this came up. I know that for me, any participating in social justice has involved a lot more listening than saying/doing (the more privileges we have, the more it seems we need to do this), and I think there’s value in that. He needs to soak in this criticism for a while after he owns up to it. I’m sorry for the victims that they never saw justice, that he’s excelled in a field about and for women even when his attitude obviously still needs adjusting. Must take a lot of denial to be able to live with that.

    His students, however, deserve better — immediately. I can’t imagine feeling comfortable enough to express ideas in a (philosophy/humanities!) class with this stuff going on in the professor’s personal life, with him posting stuff online recently about a former murder/suicide attempt (in which the victim is an intimate acquaintance, framed as weak, as everyone’s pointed out by now) in hopes of redeeming himself. That would be very intimidating and disgusting to me if I were his student, especially with the position he’s in as an expert of women’s studies. Part of me hopes his students don’t read or know about any of this and that they have innate critical abilities to be able to strain out the patronizing attitudes and the self-concerned frivolities. I am really concerned about his students more than anyone else.

    He can be more effective and more “there” for his students by not feeling like he has to win over people with his rehashing of his recovery. He needs to stop focusing on himself and start listening more; in doing this, he will be *living* his recovery. Change and recovery and being accountable is a constant battle, Mr. Schwyzer.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  40. silentbeep wrote:

    I said this on my own blog, I’d like to share it here:

    The thing about that jizz happy Hugo Schwyzer post on Jezebel that I find most offensive and baffling is this: why is this being written by a so-called feminist on a women-centered website? If it was on something like AskMen.com by someone who didn’t label themselves feminist (or worse yet, make money off of feminism like Hugo) it would be a whole lot more honest.

    I mean, really? A privileged dude (cisgenderd with a dick) telling women the intricacies, wants and desires re: cuming on someone’s face is supposed to be feminist now? Why is this here? How is THAT feminist? How is centering, prioritizing and discussing WHAT MEN WANT FEMINIST?

    It’s so fucking out of this world with it’s ridiculousness.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  41. Li wrote:

    I feel like every time I talk or think about Hugo Schwyzer I am like “Look, I know that he isn’t literally the worst person ever…” and then Hugo steps in with some additional bullshit that makes that disclaimer less and less true.

    STOP CAMPAIGNING FOR WORST PERSON EVER HUGO.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
  42. RGR wrote:

    I’m so glad you wrote this. When I was looking for links to send that campus male ally group, I went to your blog first, hoping you had written something like this! It’s definitely the best digest of arguments against Schwyzer I’ve seen in one place.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  43. Kathy wrote:

    Hugo has only been on my radar since he started posting at Jezebel. I didn’t read his blog, so I had no prior knowledge of his history of abuse, which is horrible enough without his platform and high-profile in the feminist blogging world. I don’t consider Jezebel a feminist website in the least, but I know for a lot of young women, it’s been a gateway to feminism. As Sheezlebub said on the original Feministe post, I can only image being a young woman new to feminism and seeing his words privileged over others. I’d doubt the feminist blogosphere’s credibility too. Also, isn’t it seriously unethical to write blog posts based on things your students said in the classroom? I’m decades removed from my college years but I’d feel betrayed if I put my trust in a prof only to have him turn my questions into blog fodder. Granted, it wasn’t exactly an option but it raises the “ick” factor more knowing what we know now about his past.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  44. alula_auburn wrote:

    Also–as part of my second masters degree, I’m taking a course about community college teaching, and EVERYTHING about how he describes his classes, class discussions, and his own credentials (as vividly muckracked up near the end of the Feministe thread) gives me the shudders. I went into my undergrad with at least the basics of a feminist sense of self, and a fairly solid, upper-middle-class educational and I can only imagine how uncomfortable his idea of “discussion” would have made me.

    It’s really appalling to me that he’s an instructor. Jezebel has, IMO, undermined its earlier days so much that I can’t bring myself to care too much who they promote (after the celebration of “French” sexual harassment and the validation of slut-shaming eleven-year-olds, publishing Schwyzer is just more of the same), but I’m repulsed that he has real power and direct authority over students.

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  45. Ponytime wrote:

    I also didn’t hear anyone talk about that image that accompanies Prof F’s little article – the one captioned “He needs your love.” Now I love getting facials, but that image and caption alone makes me shout in disgust every time I see it. ICK

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink
  46. ivbc wrote:

    Ummm. I don’t think I agree with this (Although I agree with how bad Hugo is acting lately. I wonder if his fail-feminism is a failed attempt at penance for his past misdeeds).

    @ Ms. Snarkalot: I am reasonably sure that is not what he meant. Didn’t he say that he had felt the gaze of a *gay man*, on his normal self? The ridiculous adornments that the male gaze demands are an injustice and an objectification, but he does not imply that they were brought on by an inconvenient level of body-shaping and fancy dress.

    Some of the women I have been most attracted to physically have at least appeared to be about as careful with their appearance as I am. I _think_ I may be above average with regards to inconvenience vs good-looking-ness of clothing I wear compared to my peers, but I really don’t know.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink
  47. superior olive wrote:

    Hi, everyone. I read Garland Grey’s awesome post on this over on Tumblr (is that right? no e? sigh, I can never keep up with the latest social media) and then this one. Thanks for posting about it, Flavia, helps to know I’m not alone thinking that guy is a major wankstain.<–see what I did there?

    The only thing I knew about Hugo Schwyzer up until a month or so ago, was that I wanted to avoid reading his posts at Jezebel. They're awful: they combine the worst parts of navel-gazing and self-agrandizing. I couldn't believe he was a prof of Women's studies. Then again, it turns out he's not! He's not either of those things! Whooops! (to be clear: I have no problem with his students referring to him as Professor in a classroom setting. But his title is apparently Instructor, not professor. big difference.)

    One thing that struck me about his Jezebel piece: he's saying that men see their semen as dirty and gross. OK, I can see that. But then he puts forth a solution for this: that women provide the acceptance through facials. Bzuh? Women have a lot of shame around their bodies and sexuality and the associated fluids, but I've always heard that acceptance comes from self-acceptance first. Yet I saw no mention of men doing some internal and with other men work on acceptance, granted I may have missed it as I"m usually rolling my eyes too hard to catch everything. This just sounds like more demanding that women do the emotional work for men. Which…no. Is not feminist.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  48. B wrote:

    And to think this man will be touring Washington high schools with his PUP and “Healthy is the New Skinny Programs”. Not exactly who you want your sons and daughters Googling (only to read his dribble) or looking up to as a mentor. I’m doubting parents or staff know what he’s writing or anything about his past. Particularly him sleeping with his students.

    http://fucknohugoschwyzer.tumblr.com/post/15803228726/found-it

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
  49. Lindsay Beyerstein wrote:

    Hugo is arguing that the true motive for facials is a desire to have someone else accept sperm as clean. (Which it is.)

    Now, if you believe your sperm is dirty, and you need to throw it in someone else’s face to feel better about yourself, it’s hardly the benign acceptance-seeking that Hugo is claiming. So, it’s important to Hugo’s argument that men who want to give facials believe that their sperm is clean and wholesome and simply want the validation of having someone else appreciate it all over her face.

    If Hugo’s theory is correct, there should be a nearly perfect correlation between wanting to give a facial and being willing to snowball. Right? The facial-givers know there’s nothing degrading about getting a little semen on their face, or their tongue. However, I suspect that most guys who are into facials aren’t comfortable licking their own cum off a girl–which casts doubt on Hugo’s benign acceptance-seeking theory.

    Motives for sex are as diverse as humans. The same act can mean different things to different people in different contexts. However, there’s overwhelming cultural evidence that facials are usually regarded as, at the very least, an act of domination, if not degradation. I disliked Hugo’s piece because he tried to explain all that away and assign a more palatable universal motive for facials.

    The reality is that a lot of people who like facials (givers and receivers) are into it because it’s associated with degradation. Consensually playing at degradation is fine, if everyone’s into it–at the end of the day, nobody has really been degraded because they freely chose to do this for fun. But let’s not draw a smiley face on what is a very powerfully symbolically charged sex act, and not in the way that Hugo wants us to think.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  50. @B, if we take his word for it, he has resigned from the project. However, going by the press release of the organization that was behind this tour, he was actually fired.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink
  51. Ashenmote wrote:

    Or maybe, if someone feels really bad about his sperm he could say so, and then his partner could say “Hey, it’s just another body fluid. You’re wonderful just the way you are.” and give him a hug or something.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink
  52. B wrote:

    @Flavia, Being that he co founded those programs and he wrote on Twitter that they have known all along about his past attemp to kill his girlfriend, I’d say HSN & PUP is just doing some major PR fixing before their NW tour. It really makes me question their authenticity, motives, and qualifications. It was okay to have him on board as long as he was popular, but not now that the tide has turned? He has been writing about his past for a long time. They can hardly claim they didn’t know. Pretty hypocritical in my humble opinion. Just another group for “girls and women” trying to make a buck and gain attention it would
    seem.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  53. cait wrote:

    “For a young man raised with the sense that his body – and especially his penis – is “disgusting”, a woman’s willingness to accept a facial is an intensely powerful source of affirmation.”

    This quote really stuck out to me as an example of what you said that it was about male validation. Men are raised to feel that their bodies & penises are disgusting?

    What about women? We are constantly bombarded through billboards, commercials, posters etc of gorgeously photoshopped women – women who look sexual, women who are impossibly beautiful, women who are young. Even though there are standards for men to be ‘masculine’, I’ve never seen such affirmation of this ideal as I have for women. & I don’t think a facial will fix that.

    I know this quote seems like a small thing to focus on in comparison with the article, but the perfect body image bombardment is something I’ve been feeling lately, which is why it jumped out at me. I rarely hear that men are disgusting. I rarely hear that penises are disgusting. What I do hear however is she’s ugly, she’s beautiful, vaginas are weird, comments about different sized labias, comments about different sized boobs, boobs are too small, boobs are too big so they must be fake, body sizes, etc. I just don’t understand where he is coming from at all, because I feel like he took sentences from an article about women’s body image and just replaced it with men, as if it were somehow the exact same situation.

    I don’t even have any coherent thoughts on this, just a lot of frustrated feelings.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink
  54. AMM wrote:

    I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone in feminist (or even just ostensibly feminist) circles is taking what HS writes seriously enough to argue the rights and wrongs of what he writes.

    Can you imagine, say, _Ebony_ magazine seriously discussing whether David Duke’s ideas are right? It’s a measure of how deeply ingrained the male supremacist ideas that HS is channeling are in our culture that there are still a number of otherwise perceptive feminists who still defend him[*], after all we know about what he has said and done.

    [*] I’m not thinking of this thread, but most of the threads on other blogs that discuss him are full of HS apologists, both male and female.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink
  55. @AMM, in fairness, we haven’t had to moderate apologia from this thread. We only had one comment that I deleted which, in retrospect, I should have perhaps approved because it was hilarious. It was from a dude complaining that this was not a safe space for men to comment.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink
  56. Xeginy wrote:

    @CAIT That part about men feeling as though their bodies and/or penises are disgusting, and positing it as a cultural thing was very confusing for me, too. Now, I’m not a man, so I don’t have that particular perspective, but I’ve never heard of anything – whether it’s jokes, ads, old sayings or stories, historical medical nonsense – that would suggest that men’s bodies or penises are in any way dirty or invalidated.

    Again, I’m not a man, so I don’t know first hand, but I would be really interested to see if this is actually a phenomenon. I always thought that one of the aspects of male privilege is that they don’t have to deal with all of body conformity nonsense that women have to deal with.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  57. AMM wrote:

    Flavia Dzodan @55

    I apologize if it sounded like I was criticizing people in this thread; I was pleasantly surprised to find that this thread is an exception.

    However, every other blog where his name has come up has had numerous commenters defending him, and some feminist bloggers have lined up on his side, too, and even given him a platform. I was including Jezebel among them, under the (perhapse mistaken?) impression that Jezebel purports to be feminist.

    My post was as much as anything an expression of frustration that this guy manages to take up so much space and attention, when I think the only place he belongs is Manboobz.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  58. belledame wrote:

    First of all: GACK UGH IGH WHY GOD

    Second: no, I don’t actually think this is some new universal revelation about the “real” motivation for the money shot. If anything, I think under the humiliation fetish, if you went far back enough to “why so many people are into it,” it’d be a more polymorphous sort of, “Wow! My body can make cool substances! I’m MAGICAL”

    which is pretty much how most small children are about such things, before social shaming sets in.

    What I think is that the “oh, I feel cleaner now” insight says, surprise, more about *Hugo* than anyone else. It’s kind of not unlike all his “dear God, why” confessionals all over the frigging Internet. The other person is left feeling soiled and gross, but the important thing is, *he* feels better now for having gotten rid of the nasty nasty dirty.

    Did I mention that I hate him? I hate him.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  59. Liz wrote:

    This whole thing raises more questions to me about who we are inviting to speak to children/teens at schools. Do schools have policies and procedures for screening groups they are hosting? I wrote a post and would love your input!

    http://secretsofmoms.com/2012/01/16/what-do-you-know-about-who-is-speaking-to-your-children-does-it-matter/

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  60. @AMM, no need to apologize! I only pointed it out in hopes to restore your faith in humanity! :)

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
  61. KittyWrangler wrote:

    @Belledame – “It’s kind of not unlike all his “dear God, why” confessionals all over the frigging Internet. The other person is left feeling soiled and gross, but the important thing is, *he* feels better now for having gotten rid of the nasty nasty dirty.”

    oh snap.

    And another thing: the “male,” aka Schwyzer, POV was “explained,” therefore, according to the tone of his article, that is the objective truth of facials. Um, no. Even IF he laid out an ironclad convincing case that men spew their cum onto ladies’ faces purely to share in the clean, clean joy of body-acceptance, that POV should carry EQUAl WEIGHT as the very common and well-documented experience of many women who feel demeaned or perceive the act as a degrading power-play. Group A experiences an act as “B,” while group C experiences an act as “D.” If the two groups are valued equally, B does not trump D.

    Re: men thinking their penises are gross, I completely agree that the lion’s share of body shame falls upon women. But I took it to mean that many guys think male bodies are gross in that homophobic, “Eew gross I’ll never look at a naked man EVAR,” attitude. I cannot know, but I’d assume that feeling that way about other men’s bodies would not lead a guy to value his own for its aesthetic appeal.

    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
  62. Anonymous for this wrote:

    @Cait, FWIW, I’m probably atypical, as a grey-asexual, virgin male. I find all penises and vagina’s, and porn especially, disgusting. It is impossible for me to imagine anyone ‘desiring’ my penis. Is that lack of self-acceptance? Is my penis not validated until I cum on some woman’s face, despite the fact that sex does not even arouse me? Thank you for mentioning the possible asexual perspective #28, Flavia. It’s rarely included in these types of conversations.

    As to the point of the article: Why is that, even for sexual men, the facial would be required for self-acceptance? Schwyzer’s article introduces the concept, but not the reasoning behind it. His male student, simply suggested the concept but not why. Neither did Glickman and Andelloux. What is so special about the face?

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink
  63. Oh good lord. WHEN will it end, Hugo? WHEN??

    Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  64. Re: your last paragraph

    While I have read many valid criticisms of HS and other topics, especially racism, from people across the feminist speculum, I have yet to unearth anything well-stated where the speaker/writer distances themselves from feminism as an idea or movement. Whenever I see people rejecting the label of feminist, no matter how good they are at the rhetorical gymnastics, I always seem to be able to determine some aspect of equality or justice that just chaps their privileged ass. Are you saying that someone out there has managed to legitimately and genuinely dismiss the ideas presented via feminism because we’re doing something wrong, like because of HS? Where is this happening? I thought I read a whole lot, but I could be wrong.

    Friday, January 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink
  65. Chai Latte wrote:

    Wow. Color me totally disgusted. I’m really not sure which grosses me out more–the idea of a facial, or the justification Schwyzer tries to give it.

    Or maybe it’s the fact that I may never be able to visit a spa and request a facial with a straight face ever again. (Sorry, I have a

    Friday, January 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  66. Elaine wrote:

    I dunno, I hadn’t know about the murder-suicide attempt before this week and that is highly troubling. Though I do feel more moved towards pity. Suicide is some bad, bad stuff.

    Yeah, the poor, poor, guy, deciding to take the life OF AN UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN WHO WASN’T REPEAT WASN’T VOLUNTARILY ENDING HER OWN LIFE. OR HIS.

    Am I completely off-base here? It just seems that, as problematic some of his attitudes might be, some of the criticisms you’re leveling at him depend on twisty cherry-picking.

    Yes, you’re off base, and no matter how you twist this, there’s a whole damned bowl of cherries. No picking required.

    Jeez. What is WITH some guys? Do their brains just not work when another guy ‘confesses’ to something horrible but seems oh-so-sad about it? Do they really forget that some guys lie or that their point of view might be self-serving?

    Anyway, thank you for this post, Flavia. The willful blindness of some people is enough to make one bang one’s head against the wall.

    Friday, January 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink
  67. Autumn wrote:

    Is anyone else confused by the overall “fact” that a majority of men find their penis disgusting/dirty? I am by no means an expert, but in all my life I’ve yet to encounter a guy who didn’t think his penis was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I also don’t think this assumption of Penis = Greatest thing since sliced bread has anything to do with the rest of their sexual expression. There’s every possibility that those men exist out there, but I’ve gotta think they’re the exception and not the rule.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  68. snobographer wrote:

    @Autumn – Not confused so much as thinking it’s just another made-up bullshit issue along the lines of bumbling sitcom dads.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  69. Will Wildman wrote:

    Is anyone else confused by the overall “fact” that a majority of men find their penis disgusting/dirty?

    Schwyzer is a skeeze and his argument is rubbish, but on this point I think there is some truth. Dudes are socialised to treat naked men and in particular other guys’ junk as the most hideous thing they could possibly see. And as noted upthread, there is a strong tendency for men to treat semen as a hideous toxic substance – I don’t think that’s just generated ex nihilo in each guy separately, it’s ‘received wisdom’ from the culture.

    I am by no means an expert, but in all my life I’ve yet to encounter a guy who didn’t think his penis was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    But that is also the approved male-cultured response to weakness: puff up and demand other people tell you how awesome you are and never indicate that you believe you might be flawed.

    Which is not to say that it compares with the sheer magnitude of body policing and image issues that women face – just that it is also a real and screwed-up thing.

    Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  70. Casey wrote:

    @Will Wildman

    I’m not surprised if that’s the case, heck even women are socialized to think male bodies are gross, albeit to a lesser extent…personally, I feel this whole “men think each other’s naked bodies and/or junk and/or semen is totally heinous” thing stems mostly from internalized and systemic homophobia rather than a weird Schwyzer-esque Puritan notion that naked bodies are dirty and wrong (although it probably plays a part). Y’know, you can’t think a naked guy doesn’t look disgusting ‘cuz THAT MEANS UR GAAAAAAY~! Then again maybe I’m just talking out my butt.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink