My famous namesake Oscar once opined, “For fascinating women, sex is a challenge; for others, it is merely a defense.” He is dead on right. Enticing women with smoldering secrets and kinky desires are out there taking the sensual challenge head on, while their meek, less interesting, oppressed brethren are faking orgasms. Since Eve took that curious bite from the infamous apple, we have been conditioned to accept eternal damnation for her original ‘sin.’ But, let’s face it, forever is a long time –in cahoots with the devil or not.
From the time when Roman emperor Constantine’s brainchild, the Catholic Church, decided to dismiss Jesus’ financier and most avid supporter, Mary Magdalene, as a mere prostitute, the impassioned campaign to confine daughters of Eve to the sidelines of life has crippled our kind. Officially scorned and ferociously tainted, women have had no choice but to bear silent witnesses to a world ruled by men, for men. And the few courageous, who reared their heads slightly with indignation or rebellion (or just to check out what the hell was going on with the Renaissance, Reformation and all), were burned at the stake. The verdict was clear - any female possessing curiosity, passion, intelligence, desire and contempt for the existing order was a heretic, an enemy of the state. She had to be disposed of.
We have come along way from Salem, but female persecution continues to endure in the subtle details of post-modernity. Never mind all the attorneys, bankers, professors, publishing executives and authors bearing the double X chromosome. Americans are yet to vote a woman into the Presidential office. (I can already see a bunch of chauvinist power players contorting their faces in disgust, just because I brought up this sore fact.) Ironically, the only woman who actually has a shot at becoming the ‘Ruler of the Free World’ has had to suffer through the embarrassment of being cheated on with a silly intern; only to be further degraded by libelous accusations of lesbianism – not that there is anything wrong with it. This article is not intended to be feminist manifesto, dripping with political allegory, but let’s face the facts for a minute. Women are constantly branded, maimed and targeted for reaching beyond their grasp and often sex is the tool used to discredit them. In every other relationship some chap tries to put a woman in her age-old second-class place by accusing her of being too easy, emotional, sexy, loose, ambitious, fast, arrogant, independent, conniving, overbearing or menstrual. I am harping on these issues because it is impossible to understand the complexities of the fairer sex’ carnal dilemmas without an appropriate backdrop.
It is no wonder that centuries-long brainwashing has successfully convinced us to believe that sex is a dirty act. However, it is about time we started to think outside the crucible. As the wildly talented band Garbage’s fantastically poignant song proclaims: “No evolution / Sometimes it depresses me / The same old same old / We keep repeating history / The institution curses curiosity / It's our conviction / Sex is not the enemy.” Contrary to all teachings of organized religion, social and political institutions, sex is not degrading. It is empowering. The latent force of a possible orgasm, coupled with the female’s ability to give or withhold it, is a torrid threat to the man-centric universe. Men are afraid of female sexuality because they fear temptation will trigger them to lose control. (You see, it always comes back to them.) As long as sex is thought of as the only mechanism for women to control or dominate men, the act itself and all perpetrators will continue to be vilified.
The idea of a sexual woman is so threatening that society has exalted the idea of the innocent, pure woman. However, Elizabeth Wurtzel, the brilliant author of Bitch, a book written in praise of difficult women, points out, “Beauty is only innocent if it’s chaste – and yet, the first thing any man wants to do to a beautiful woman is fuck her silly, thus rendering her used, sullied, discardable.” Herein lays the catch-22. Men like it hot, but not ‘til death do us part. That role is already reserved for a bubbly blonde in a cashmere cardigan and ballerina flats, who dreams of her very own Volvo station-wagon filled with little rascals. As for the sizzling, voluptuous babes clad in all black, mounted atop impossibly high stilettos, kicking ass in the corporate room and taking no prisoners in bed: they are just too volatile, unpredictable and outspoken to take home to Mom. The whole ordeal is a paradox, wrapped in a contradiction, lost in absurdity. Like Sex and the City’s Samantha said, “Tell a man ‘I hate you’ and you could have the best shag of your life. Tell him ‘I love you’ and you will never see him again.” Go figure.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advising women to embark on drug laced journeys of free love or burn bras in protest of sexual oppression. To the contrary, I want them to stop competing for supporting roles in the man-show and begin marching to the beat of their own drum. Recently, some of the most intelligent, sexually appealing and complicated ladies I have ever known have been reinventing themselves in the image of Doris Day to bag a husband. Why? Because, supposedly men wouldn’t think of them as marriage material if they caught on to the fact that they had a past. Delirious with the need to beat the biological clock and conform to societal expectations, women are ready and willing to sell out and settle for a man – any man. This reckless readiness to self-edit, in order to fit somebody else’s idea of desirability, flies straight in the face of the strides made towards status quo. Please wake up and smell the coffee.
Like the infinitely wise Oscar Wilde, “I like men who have a future and women who have a past.” Men have one night stands, make stupid mistakes, fall in love, throw temper tantrums, fire subordinates, drive billion dollar companies to the ground, take young mistresses, have affairs, wage wars, fire scud missiles, throw punches, jump off cliffs and take leaps of faith all time. The rollercoaster ride is what chisels a character out of an ordinary person, not mere spectatorship. Girls, don’t let boys have all the fun and glory.