The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Is Sexual Desire Dehumanizing?

Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 77 Comments

Studying feminist theory requires an ability to maintain sanity in the constant presence of madness. Today while making my rounds inside the online feminist lunatic asylum, I encountered this:

When women say “But I like to be objectified! Doesn’t everybody, sometimes?” it used to annoy me, but now it just breaks my heart a little. Because she can’t disentangle being desired or loved from being treated like a thing. And she’s right. That’s the world we live in: We cannot conceptualize desiring a woman without dehumanizing her. That is sexuality under heteropatriarchy.

Who thinks this way? What strange structures have you built into your mental universe so that aesthetic admiration or erotic interest toward another person means you have “objectified” them, reduced them to “being treated like a thing”? On what basis does one discern the difference between love/desire (good) and dehumanized objectification (bad)? Does it not occur to people who talk this way that they are simply overthinking this stuff? Only very unhappy people, deficient in ordinary animal vigor, could permit their minds to become so cluttered with intellectual theory that they view sexual attraction in such terms.

So, who thinks this way? An autistic 26-year-old white “butch” lesbian who is “still figuring out gender stuff,” that’s who.

They’re defective. Darwinian errors. “Broken people.”

Scratch a feminist and a kook bleeds.

UPDATE: How did I miss this? The same person who wrote that quote also blogs as “The Freelance Feminist,” and describes herself:

I hold a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from Wellesley College and an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies. I’m currently finishing up a second master’s in public policy because I don’t want to stay trapped forever in the echo-chamber of academia.
More importantly, I’m an autistic butch lesbian. My politics are shaped much more by my own experience in the world than they are by my academic background. My work focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, disability, and embodiment. I have extensive experience with media analysis, and in my academic life I am trying to synthesize that with policy analysis. I want to draw attention to how cultural narratives inform collective attitudes which, in turn, shape policy. Stories are vitally important, and they reverberate through every aspect of our private, public, and civic lives.

Which just confirms everything I said previously, of course.

UPDATE II: Her name is Caroline Narby:

Butch is a trickster gender — and so, in a similar way, is femme. Lesbian gender expressions do not emulate heteropatriarchy, they subvert it. Femme removes femininity from the discursive shadow of masculinity and thereby strips from it any connotation of subordination or inferiority. Butch takes markers of “masculinity” and divests them of their association with maleness or manhood.

Read the whole thing, if you can handle the insanity.



  • Bob Belvedere

    EVERYBODY’s Autistic these days!

  • RS

    We’ll start calling you Schrödinger’s Cat Lady.

  • texlovera

    Oh, I’d say Stacy has already got his PhD in that.

    And his didn’t cost him his sanity, either…

  • texlovera

    Dear lord, how did I not know about Fred until now???

    Thanks for posting this!

  • texlovera

    Heh. My resume says “analyze” and “design”.

    Plus, I get to wear this:

  • texlovera

    Guffaw, I say.

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  • Quartermaster

    I seem to recall that I was supposed to denounce you. The info as to why is lost in the mists of the past two days, so I can’t remember why. Consider yourself prophylactically denounced.

  • Quartermaster

    There seems to be some question about your last sentence. Professor Reynolds would disagree on the “not crazy” part.

  • Daniel Freeman

    I think it was on the grounds that as long as some denouncing is being done, he probably deserves some.

  • Quartermaster

    Schrödinger’s Cat walks into a bar…and doesn’t.

  • Quartermaster

    It’s worth your time. Reed is delightfully cynical. Like most of us of a certain age, he’s reached the point where his cynicism is well justified.

  • Quartermaster

    Anyone with an avatar similar to his probably rates a good bit of denouncing. But, I do judge it on a case by case basis.

  • Quartermaster

    Mine is Professional Engineer, but my BS is a BSCE.

  • Quartermaster

    That score may be an own goal, however.

  • Quartermaster

    You can see the sound ricocheting in that brain cavity!

  • Quartermaster

    heh! Unless your a Dimocrat. Then insanity is a prerequisite.

  • Daniel Freeman

    The diagnosis is up, but that’s mostly just because now we have to give each kind of difficult people a label. I don’t object, because it can actually be useful to know what kind you’re dealing with.

  • DeadMessenger

    That’s cool! I need one of those for electrical engineers. It would say on it, “If a thing’s not broken, it just doesn’t have enough features yet.”

    p.s. I designed controller chips that are in nuclear power plants. And they’re not broken. Yet.

  • DeadMessenger

    As an aside, it would be interesting to know the percentage of STEM grads/workers commenting on this site, versus, say, on Huffpo.

  • Daniel Freeman

    I think it would be huge. However, I’ve also been itching to know the shift in NFs (in MBTI terms) over the last 15 years. Each would be telling, but put together would be damning.

  • texlovera

    That ratio would approach infinity…

  • texlovera

    Heh. Same for the bridge or two I designed….

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  • Nan

    One party possessing indoor plumbing and the other outdoor plumbing notwithstanding.

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