Lies Our Bodies Tell
I mean to keep this short, because discussing the complete and utter shitshow unleashed by a guestblogger at Feministe really upsets me. For many reasons, I feel a sense of deep loyalty to some of the key bloggers there.
Guestblogger Erica posted a story from a friend of hers who used “months of pressuring and nagging” to get her teenage boyfriend to “finally relent” and have intercourse with her, despite his stated religious convictions and unease so great that it appears to me like he pretended to not know how to get a condom on just to get out of it.
Most of the commenters have rightly called out that behavior as unethical and coercive. But a commenter using the name “Somebody” said something that is both unspeakably vile, and yet still a common misconception. Somebody said:
Does nobody understand what heterosexual sex is anymore? Without male consent, it can’t occur. At all. Ever.
I can see more problems with that that I have time to list: the cis-centrism and heteronormativity and penetrocentrism and ableism, etc. But the core of what’s wrong with it is that this commenter believes that biology is consent, that physical arousal invalidates our rights to refuse.
Following that logic, anyone who can turn us on can do whatever they want to us. No feminist would make that claim about cis women, of course. No feminist would listen to the story of a cis woman who has been raped or molested and whose body has responded with arousal and say, “you were not raped because your body wanted it.” (Would the commenter argue for a different rule for trans women with cocks? I’m not assuming any measure of reasonableness or good faith with that asshole.)
We all know that people are not their bodies, right? Isn’t that an important general rule? Disabled people are not the limitations of their bodies and trans people are not the histories of their bodies or the anatomy of their bodies, right? Women who have uteruses and can reproduce are not their uteruses or their capacities to reproduce, right? Isn’t it always true that we are not our bodies? And when we die, we are gone, but our bodies will remain.
I am not my body, and I am not my cock, and my cock does not make my decisions for me. I do not consent to cheat on my wife because a woman I see in my professional life also makes my cock hard; I am not my cock. I make the decisions and I am responsible for them. A boy does not become complicity in his molestation because an older abuser can make a penis erect or cause orgasm. A man who sets a hard limit with a partner is entitled to set that limit, even if we don’t agree with his reasons, and he does not lose that right if he has a penis that wants different things from what he wants. Because he is not his cock.
Like so many things I say on this blog, this shouldn’t have to be said. It shouldn’t have to, but clearly it does.