Eric Schneiderman (NY), perhaps the most progressive of all state Attorney Generals and perhaps the strongest male advocate of #MeToo, obviously was no proponent of the consensus feminism of Second Wave. His S-M sexuality is straight out of the liberal’s playbook. That the liberal feminists in his circle and outside it may have accepted it to some degree does not change by one iota its male supremacist origins. For a pivotal tenet of liberalism, which itself is a male construct, is that all sexual expressions, if consented to, are licensed.
If “consent” is presumed by the defense in those few rape cases that actually go to court, imagine its sway in a case involving S-M sex? But what meaning can it possibly have? And when lacking, wasn’t that part of the role-playing? And wasn’t the black eye, the busted up ear, the strangulation, play-acting too? That’s been the default claim of all defendants, Schneiderman definitively included, despite his saying, upon accepting the Choice award: “If a woman cannot control her body, she is not truly equal.”
Obviously the whole concept of “consent” here is an enormous lie as distorted as that used in pornography where the sadistic use of women is called “free speech.” In any case, nothing even resembling consent was offered by the four brave women who outed #MeToo’s progressive champion.
No consent can be given when the bedroom is a battlefield in which the demonized women get to play the beaten down enemy. As the Attorney General’s four casualties have testified, what women experience in an S-M scene is criminal, chaotic, forceful, and physically and mentally unbearable. Being choked, beaten, crushed, verbally, demeaned, judged, and controlled by a self-asserting libertine is to experience the inevitable weight of male dominance. That S-M locks women into a private, secret, isolating, devious, and twisted scenario in which she is a nonentity, only compounds the effect.
S-M is not fantasy. Its effect is literal. As one of his victims, Manning Barish said: “The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man.” She added: “Taking a strong woman and tearing her to pieces is his jam.” He controlled her dress and her diet to the point that she became emaciated. All this is to experience the full force of his liberty, his license to turn her into a sex industry prop, into what he called a “dirty little slut” and a “fucking whore.”
To Tanya Selvaratnam (Schneiderman’s other public accuser and a Sri Lankan), “it was a fairy tale that became a nightmare.” She said: “Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” She recalled that “he started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’ ”
Difference was what was at stake for him, the object being to dictate submission, and to up the ante of objectification to match arousal’s demand; because S-M sex is no different than prostitution and rape, and often combines the two. And it’s absolutely no coincidence that the normalization of S-M sex followed the lead of the normalizing of pornography (the online onslaught) and of prostitution (“sex work”), and served as one more potent weapon in the intensified war on the Women’s Liberation Movement.
Man as the sexual subject, woman as the sexual object, that’s the open secret behind that war. But if this is hidden in plain sight, it doesn’t mean the objectified don’t know and don’t resist. Submission may be a common survival strategy, but it is also one that is sooner or later relinquished. For no one knows eroticised violence more and no one resists it more than the objectified. Ask Manning Barish, Tanya Selvaratnam, Rose McGowan, or Monica Lewinski. Ask the now thousands of #MeToo notables and the countless legion of ordinary women who have bravely outed their entitled tormentors. S-M may have become the Norm for these arrogant hypocrites, but it is no longer a Reality for any of these undaunted women. To them these pornified men are frauds.