The current box office champ is Fifty Shades of Grey, produced, directed, and written by women, and based on a bestselling book written by a woman. The topic: a submissive woman falls in love with and loses her virginity to a powerful man who insists on ‘dominance and submission’ role-playing, and with a taste for rough sex. (If this took place in Canada, he’d have his own show on a government-funded radio network, but I digress.) By all accounts, the overwhelming majority of the fans who made the book and movie so popular are women.
By feminist theory, this does not compute. According to the Gospel According to Germaine Greer, the film should have instead been popular with heterosexual men, as the film affirms the Patriarchy (as feminists imagine it to be in their nightmares). Rather, the husbands and boyfriends try to ditch their wives and girlfriends at the Cineplex to see American Sniper instead. What is happening here is the type of cultural event I look forward to, and that I savour like a fine wine when it happens: a contradiction in left-wing ideology played out in the media.
The contradiction in question is the fact that a woman is programmed by nature to be attracted to a powerful, successful, dominant man, much the same way that a man’s mind has been hard-wired to find young, fertile, and healthy young women to be the epitome of sexiness. This fact directly contradicts a basic tenet of Feminism, namely the equality of the sexes, which many of the movie’s fans would no doubt agree with, if you were to survey them. This is the contradiction.
This is also the reason why I believe so many feminists are miserable. Their core beliefs directly contradict their inner desires. The root cause is that the feminists have gone too far in trying to regulate society. A lot of the sensible things that Feminism championed – the vote for women, political equality, equality in the workplace – have been enacted, enough so that there are few legitimate jobs left for feminists to do, aside from mopping up operations here and there. But, feminists don’t want to lose their jobs, so they champion crusades that take Feminism too far.
In taking the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture debate, they thought they could remold humanity through legislative fiat, Political Correctness, and tendentious Hollywood movies-of-the-week. Men and women could be made – through force of will - to have the same personality type – not dominant, nor submissive, but neutral and reasonable. It was at this point where Feminism became a force of oppression. One popular way we deal with repression when it contradicts our desires is to mouth the Political Correct platitudes when required while living out our true nature while nobody is looking.
Except that every now and then a cultural event comes along to expose the hypocrisy.
Cultural conservatives are mostly clued out about this sort of thing, except that the institutions we champion (e.g. traditional marriage) have real knowledge about human nature baked into the cake, thanks to millennia of trial and error. A typical off-the-mark take on the Fifty Shades phenomenon is provided by Rich Lowry, who titled his article, “Creep Meets Girl, Fifty Shades of Grey: The proper response to Christian’s obsession would be a good kick in the groin.” The operative word here is ‘proper’. The improper – but instinctive – response of a woman facing a dominant alpha male is to fall in love with him and try to have his child. Much as a man’s improper response to a floozy with a set of implants and blonde dye-job is to have quick sex with her.
OK, I hear all my conservative female readers out there screaming, what do you know? I am a woman, and I don’t want to have anything to do with this BDSM garbage.
I hear you, and for what it’s worth, I have no use for it either. But here’s the thing: BDSM is a caricature of male-female relations, and that is the reason it is popular in certain quarters. Dominant-submissive role-playing is a normal man-woman relationship taken to an extreme. In other words, it is a reaction to the joyless, sexless Swedish ideal of equality where the man does macramé and the woman pumps iron. And like any reaction, it goes too far. (Go see the great Norwegian comedy series Lilyhammer on Netflix for a hilarious send-up of Nordic culture.)
What traditional morality does is to employ the woman’s natural abhorrence of female promiscuity to channel her sexuality towards a father-knows-best, pillar-of-the-community type of respectable alpha male. A woman who falls for the Christian Grey-type is shamed. Therefore, women end up shunning him (even if they secretly love him). Instead of being a winner, Christian Grey is turned into a sexual loser, and therefore becomes the butt of other men’s jokes, instead of an object for their admiration. At that point, the women no longer secretly love him. This is the way sexual regulation used to work.
More than anything else, traditional marriage is a compromise between the interests of men and women. As a result, nobody gets everything he or she wants but everybody gets something. And most importantly, everybody gets someone. The latter is the real reason for the prohibition on polygamy and extramarital sex. The only winners with those pursuits are alpha males and (to a lesser extent) alpha females. The rest end up as sexless chumps, which is what you see on the college campus today. The beta-males (aka the nerds) are ignored, while the alpha males (the jocks and players) live like Hugh Heffner. Unfortunately, it is the beta-male provider types who form the backbone of modern society.
The thing about compromises, even good compromises like traditional marriage, is that they often don’t look that great at first glance. All the customs and traditions making up the institution of marriage look like a patchwork of contradictions and antiquated habits. The hard-won empirical knowledge behind the rituals only becomes obvious after they are removed.
Many of our sexual customs were overthrown in the sixties. The reason for their existence is only becoming apparent now.