So the add above comes from a New York Times video you can find here. In case the NYTimes blocks you, the video is a short exposé on the rampant sexism in the Chinese tech industry written by a Chinese woman and journalist, Lijia Zhang. In one portion of the video, secretaries(?) are on stage with two business suit-clad men who have bottles between their legs—the necks of the bottles like upright cocks—while the women on hands and knees remove the caps, so Zhang tells us, with their mouths. I find that hard to believe (since I have to use pry bars to remove those caps) but that’s besides the point. Its not like the stage is in a bar. From what I can tell, this is being acted out at a business expo or job fair.
The video begins with a pole-dancing secretary(?) and throughout Zhang points out the rampant sexism of tech industry giants, like Alibaba, running help-wanted adds that establish a preference for men. In other words, women need not apply unless you A. suck cock, B. bend over, C. wash, rinse and repeat.
Zhang urges not just the tech industry but the Chinese government to straighten out its act and, at minimum, enforce the gender rules already in place. And I couldn’t agree more. Treating women like second rate citizens is damned stupid. But I have to confess that though I know I should be deeply offended, shocked and mortified, the help-wanted poster appeals to me.
First of all, as far as seeking employment goes, is there anything more motivating?—If you’re a guy?
Second, there’s more than an element of truth to the poster. To whit, the video below is entitled “Women want workaholic men in positions of power”:
Allowing for the usual disclaimers as regards generalizations, the generalization is nevertheless sociologically valid. All you have to do is Google studies in which it is shown that women, by in large have a nose for wealth and status whereas men are connoisseurs of waist to hip ratios. Jordan Peterson would probably be the first to tell us that the poster above isn’t actually that far off. Again, this isn’t to ignore the message that the poster communicates to women when accompanied by discriminatory hiring practices. The message becomes: That’s all you’re good for. And that’s a discouraging and destructive message.
But and otherwise, all else being equal, the poster cracks me up and is, yes, subversively erotic, though I’m not sure “subversive” is the right word. It’s certainly subversive to certain kinds of feminists.
A while ago a woman wrote to Dear Prudence, or an advice columnist like hers, saying that she no longer wanted doggy-style. Her husband had lost his job and not just lost it, she intimated, but lost it due to incompetence. Why didn’t she want doggy-style anymore? Because, she wrote, she didn’t respect him. I always remembered that. There’s a psychological component to sexual positions that most of us, I think, innately understand. And so its no coincidence that the woman in the post is shown with her panties down, knees effeminately and submissively together, heels lifted, obviously allowing herself to be fucked from behind at a moment’s notice by the “high status” male—the male who took the job with the company posting the add. The message, that is, couldn’t be clearer. But, as the letter writer intimated, there’s truth behind it.
More to the point, I can’t think of any Romance novels wherein the female chased a low-status male. All of Jane Austen’s heroines, for all their candor and independence, yearned for the high-status male. 50 Shades of Grey, for all its faults, gets the meme right. The desirable male is a multi-millionaire. For him, she’ll open her legs, she’ll suck his cock, she’ll bend over and she’ll submit. Criticism of 50 Shades, from what I can tell, did not include a critique of this dynamic. That, at least, seemed realistic.
And then there’s the Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby. These relationships aren’t always sexual, but they’re all about the high status male and the wealth seeking/appreciative female who will, if not push her panties down and bend over in appreciation, do most everything short of the same.
Is it misogynistic? I’ve never been convinced that objectifying/sexualizing women is synonymous with misogyny. Men objectifying women is what men do. It’s as natural and evolutionary as men standing when they piss. Men’s cues as to women’s fecundity are visual, and women know it. It’s the reason women historically make themselves as visually appealing as possible. To call men’s enjoyment of objectification misogyny says more about the women making the accusation than the men—vilifying and hating men for being men. That’s a case of misandry rather than misogyny. A woman is no more entitled to hate or resent a man because he objectifies her (because men are aroused by their beauty, hip to waist ratio, symmetry, etc…) than a man is entitled to resent or hate women because they don’t appreciate his objectification of them, because she doesn’t want to be his submissive first and colleague second, or because she doesn’t want to push down her panties and bend over.
So, no, I wouldn’t call the poster misogynistic. Whether some women (or men) want to admit it, the poster does express men’s love and appreciation for women, just not the kind of love or appreciation women want (or should expect) in the workplace. But where then? And that’s the interesting thing about China. I have to wonder if China’s draconian suppression of sexual expression, erotica, pornography, etc… isn’t partly or wholly to blame for its appearance in, among other places, the advertising of its tech industry. Human beings need a place to role play, to imagine, to create and express themselves sexually. Human sexuality is a miracle of the imagination. But that same sexual expressiveness, when suppressed, can be made resentful and destructive. As I’ve written before: If you want to go where women’s rights and freedoms are suppressed, then go where pornography is criminalized.
To restate: I wonder if the problems outlined in the New York Times video aren’t the result of China’s suppression of sexual expression. If the natural and healthy fantasies of men and women aren’t free to play themselves out, then perhaps the suppression gives rise to the very sexism, resentment, discrimination and misunderstandings its meant to prevent.
The problem is not sexual expression; the problem is its suppression.
Will Crimson | April 24 2018
Categories: Opinion, RedBud, Uncategorized
“More to the point, I can’t think of any Romance novels wherein the female chased a low-status male. All of Jane Austen’s heroines, for all their candor and independence, yearned for the high-status male. 50 Shades of Grey, for all its faults, gets the meme right. The desirable male is a multi-millionaire. For him, she’ll open her legs, she’ll suck his cock, she’ll bend over and she’ll submit. Criticism of 50 Shades, from what I can tell, did not include a critique of this dynamic. That, at least, seemed realistic.”
Without disputing the truth to all the “billionaire who” memes and the power thing, there are plenty of romance (I don’t know if “Romance” is a term of art) novels where the high-placed woman is swept away by the lower-class bad boy / authentic male / courageous hero. Sometimes she isn’t high class but still is overcome by some in her “class.”
It wasn’t “Romance” in any traditional sense, but Lady Chatterley went for the gamekeeper. (Even if the gamekeeper had risen above his pre-War status by gaining a commission during WWI.)
Not directly on point, but in my house we are watching “Jane the Virgin,” a telenovela, true, but an intelligent one that pokes gentle fun at the genre. Class is a key plot point, but the middle class cop is holding his own so far against the rich hotel owner son. Jane herself is middle-ish class: works as a waitress, has a college degree and is in a graduate creative writing program and is writing her first novel. She can’t decide between them. Ah, the dilemma … (now in its fourth season; we’re on season 2).
//Without disputing the truth to all the “billionaire who” memes and the power thing, there are plenty of romance (I don’t know if “Romance” is a term of art) novels where the high-placed woman is swept away by the lower-class bad boy / authentic male / courageous hero. Sometimes she isn’t high class but still is overcome by some in her “class.”//
It would be interesting, if one had the time and interest, to collect these stories and really see what dynamics are playing out. For instance, it didn’t exactly end well for Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly. Her lower class lover was fired when his wife returned and exposed his love affair and the pregnant Lady Chatterly was about to lose all her status and wealth for this unemployed guy (just had to check Sparknotes) —all in the name of a simultaneous orgasm. So that’s a mixed message at best, which is how Lawrence intended it. Chasing that particular low status male ended in disaster, as far as I know.
As for other stories: Let’s say the heroine who goes for the lower status guy is wealthy. I think you have a point. The difference would be that her own status (unless the novel takes place in Victorian or Edwardian England) would remain secure due to her wealth. So, she’s not really throwing in her lot with a low status male. However, warnings abound in the literature of the 18th and 19th century, pertaining to high status women ruined by their “illicit” marriages to low status men who forthwith gambled away, frittered away, entertained away, depleted and otherwise destroyed the wealth, status and position of the women they married. You can find all kinds of examples like those in Austen’s writing.
But let’s say the “Romance” takes place in the 21st century, what I’d want to know is this: “Is the low status male really low status? Or is it really that the enterprising woman is pursuing, discovering, or recovering a high status male who has all the appearances, for one reason or another, of a low status male. Yeah, they look and behave like bad boys, but they’re really alpha, high status males just waiting to be revealed by the right woman. Think Beauty and the Beast. Right? It takes the right woman to reveal the fabulously wealthy, high status male behind the Beast.
I could be wrong, but I think that’s the plot you would find behind many, if not most, of these “bad boy” Romance novels. Otherwise, the story ends like Lady Chatterly’s — and that’s a miserable ending.
“Yeah, they look and behave like bad boys, but they’re really alpha, high status males just waiting to be revealed by the right woman. ”
If memory serves, that is almost word-for-word Harlequin’s guidance for aspiring contributors to their collection. Or perhaps in addition to being revealed, they are waiting to be redeemed by the woman.