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Ask Naomi

January 19, 2011

You might think that after our own Jaclyn Friedman stood up to Naomi Wolf on Democracy Now, she might hold a grudge.  Not so!  In fact, she’s graciously agreed to host her new (irregular and intermittent) advice column here.  In light of her recent stance, I expect this to be as triggering as everything else she has had to say, so TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE APOLOGISM.  So, without further ado, here’s the first edition of Ask Naomi:

Dear Naomi:

I’m a progressive guy, and I like sex without a condom.  My girlfriend keeps telling me she won’t do it.  I understand her concerns and all, and I want to respect her boundaries, but it just doesn’t feel as good to me with a condom on, so I really want to do it without one.  We’ve talked it to death, and she has all sorts of ideas about what to do, but all of them amount to some sort of “compromise”, and she won’t do it with me unless I’m wearing a condom, which is what I don’t want to do.  How do I get her to do what I want?

Sign me:

Progressive Dude

Dear Progressive Dude:

 If you’ve made your needs known to your girlfriend, you can’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.  Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to! Have you tried beginning your lovemaking while she’s asleep?  When she wakes up, she will be so thrilled with your intimate acts that she will likely forget whatever boundaries she previously set, and they are therefore presumptively void.

If she wakes up and asks if you have a condom on, however, you must be honest, because honesty is the foundation of communication in any relationship.  Try telling her you are “wearing her.”  At that point, if she really objects, she will punch, kick and scream “rape.”  If she doesn’t do this, she consents.  She may do other things, such as become still and silent, whine that you should please stop, or even cry.  In my more than twenty years of working with rape survivors, I have heard women say that they did each of these things while being raped.  However, I don’t believe them.  Real rape survivors kick and scream and yell, and any woman who claims otherwise is trivializing rape.  So, if she doesn’t try to tear your eyes out, you can safely interpret any reaction she may have as the throes of passion!

After you’re finished, it’s important to have some couple-time.  Get her to cook you a meal, or throw you a party, or at least spend some quality time together.  If she seems distant or difficult, you should be upfront about that, because this sort of reaction may be damaging to you, and by extension, her.  Tell her she needs to be supportive, for the sake of the relationship.

She may want to have a conversation about her boundaries.  You’ll want to put this off until you’re ready.  When you can’t put it off any longer, it’s important that you listen.  When she starts talking about her boundaries, you should calmly explain that she has to meet you half-way in the relationship by compromising whatever standards of safety and personal autonomy she has that are a problem for you.  It is important that you both remain calm when discussing such important matters.  If she becomes upset and emotional, you can declare that her position is irrational and ignore whatever she is saying or terminate the conversation.

My view reflects the feminist position, and in fact, the only reasonable position, and is based on my experience, which is more important than anyone else’s, and the fact that I’m much smarter than everyone else.  I hope this has been helpful to progressive dudes everywhere!

[Editorial note:  while this is intended as satire, Wolf’s actual statements in defense of Assange on Democracy Now (transcript in two parts, here and here) are so outrageous that the above didn’t really apply all that much torque to them.  The real satire here is context: placing her views in the format of an insipid college paper sex advice column, where these sophomoric views seem … right at home, don’t you think?]

13 Comments leave one →
  1. CoronerCountess permalink
    January 19, 2011 4:55 pm

    Like a punch to the solar plexus. But in a good way. Thanks for this. I’ve been banging my head against the wall over this thing ever since I heard about it. I wasn’t one of the feministas who was all in awe of The Beauty Myth (having not read it and all), so I guess I’m lucky to be spared that demoralizing disappointment, but still: major disappoint. I know its not possible to literally revoke someone’s feminist card, but Ms. Wolf certainly makes me want to try.

    OH! Before I forget: Be sure to read Harriet J.’s post on this Assange/Wolf clusterfuck over at Fugitivus.

    • January 19, 2011 5:11 pm

      Yeah, I spotted her post from the stat page because she noted that I had already posted on Wolf. Harriet continues to be awesome.

  2. January 19, 2011 8:18 pm

    So. Much. Win! Thank you.

  3. January 19, 2011 9:03 pm

    I laughed, in that cynical disheartend way one laughs when the only other option is to cry. The funniest (saddest) thing is that when her actual comments are compared with this, one can hardly tell the difference

  4. Mariella permalink
    January 19, 2011 10:49 pm

    If enough feminists publicly denounce her, will she decide that the movement has gone astray and willingly give up her feminist card? I’m looking for any glimmer of hope that she will stop associating herself with us.

  5. January 20, 2011 8:56 am

    While I wholeheartedly believe Naomi Wolf’s comments were dreadful and she needs to be roundly denounced by the feminist community, I didn’t like this piece. I know it’s satire, and I know that it’s not putting any words in her mouth that she hasn’t already said, but I have to admit I still think it’s a bit petty, and not as enjoyable or thought provoking as the posts I’m used to finding on this site.

    • ZaZoo permalink
      January 20, 2011 10:20 am

      Agreed. I was absolutely appalled by Naomi Wolf’s part of the discussion on Democracy Now, but I also felt that it was unfortunate that the discussion got off track as a result of more personal attacks. With both Wolf and Friedman noting numerous times how long they have worked with rape survivors and how much they can “speak” for this large difficult to represent group of people I felt that the point of the argument was lost: that enthusiastic consent is what really matter here. Lets keep focused on spreading the good words of unconditional support for rape and sexual abuse survivors and enthusiastic consent.

      • January 21, 2011 12:51 am

        That’s just it though, this is precisely HOW Wolf defined “enthusiastic consent” at democracy now and elsewhere: when someone wakes up with someone else fucking them, and doesn’t punch them. Her exact words were “it’s a model of consent negotiation” when someone awakes to find they’re already being penetrated.

  6. January 20, 2011 2:06 pm

    This is a great blog! I was appalled at Wolf’s comments on DemocracyNow! I have a blog you may want to link to: http://www.GameOverNow.wordpress.com.

    Thank you!
    Denise A Romano, MA, EdM

  7. Paul Harrison permalink
    January 25, 2011 1:15 pm

    So, Naomi Wolf’s rather egregious viewpoint notwithstanding, it was certainly nice to see two feminists called in to duke it out, rather than (say) a feminist and a conservative pundit, or even just two conservative pundits. Makes me wish the mainstream news would follow that example.

  8. Lori Adorable permalink
    January 25, 2011 2:22 pm

    Ooof. Harsh.

    The dig at college papers, I mean. Our ‘alternative’ paper is quite good, but I’m a little biased being an editor and all🙂

  9. Alex permalink
    January 27, 2011 9:13 pm

    Thomas, you’re awesome!

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