So I stumbled across this charming advert the other day: http://www.girlfriendactivationsystem.com/10-30d/index.php?r=79402508&a=192481&o=5&s1=UK&s2=desk&s3=4&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral
It’s some pretty standard Pick-Up Artist pseudo-science bullshit, and as soon as I saw the title of the video I knew it would make me so angry and depressed about the state of the world that I wouldn’t be able to sleep but I hate watched it anyway because I have a morbid obsession with all things horrifying.
Well, I learned a lot of “science” about the “female human brain”, and the “primal reptile brain of the woman” (not even kidding you). It’s genre-fiction of the most derivative kind, featuring a hot woman who won’t look the narrator’s way because he’s too “nice” and instead sleeps with a “scrawny” badboy, a girl who he didn’t want but who – after he turned his charms on her to “test it out” – became too clingy and he had to let her down. If I were going to write a satire of all the MRA, PUA and general misogynist bullshit, I would write this and it just goes to show that the ultimate satire is indistinguishable from the real thing. We’re in Thor Lund territory here, people.
There’s a lot to object to in this disgusting ad (I’m not going to bother engaging in any of the fuzzy logic or “underpants gnome” arguments this advert employs because it’s so obvious how flawed they are), but I’m only going to focus on one thing; its use of erotica (or as the video-maker calls it “literotica”) to back up its findings about “what women want” and what women are “programmed” to respond to. Apparently this is something called the “obsession story” which is initiated in women’s brains (HE SAID BRAIN SO IT MUST BE SCIENCE YOU GUYS) when men “overcome obstacles” that women plant like MINES in a DATING MINEFIELD to “test” them.
Now this particular evil genius read some erotica and saw that the pattern was one which ignored consent. And this is where things get dark, so feel free to check out of the discussion if that isn’t for you. The undertone of this ad (which is also exploiting men by selling them the lie that they are expected to provide financially, that they are inadequate as men if lots of “hot” underwear models aren’t rubbing on them like hungry cats) is that erotica shows sexually persistent men, and erotica betrays the secrets of what women want so therefore – and here’s the kicker – women want you to ignore their resistance cues, and push them into sex.
At this point can I just say: NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
I’m so angry and disgusted that erotica is being misused (the example quoted is Fifty Shades of Grey, which IMHO has its issues but most adults who read it do understand that it’s not a “how to have sex with your lover” manual that if followed to the letter will make all women want you) in the name of rape apologism.
There are two essential things here:
1) erotica does not represent a “universal” fantasy, that is somehow biologically hard-wired into female brains. They’re actually all quite different, and the advertiser doesn’t bother to point that out because he knows his target audience aren’t going to read them.
2) (and this is the biggie) So, some erotica novels do depict rough, pushy, sex. Some even depict rape. But there is a world of difference between a safe-rape fantasy (something that hasn’t translated onto the small screen when Game of Thrones was adapted for TV, I might add) in a book, or within a consenting couple, and pressuring a relative stranger you’ve been on one date with to have sex with you. Or not asking for consent.
The most disgusting, disturbing thing is that this is being pushed, being marketed and advertised as being “women’s secret desires”. That erotica – often written by women for women, but not at all exclusively, and certainly not exclusively heterosexual or exhibiting “alpha male” behaviours – is being co-opted into this pernicious and age-old narrative that women don’t know what they want. That women “need” to be “shown” what they want by a dominant alpha male and then we will “obsess” over them.
Fuck you and your fake science. Fuck the fact that even shitty internet adverts like this are even being made. Yeah it’s the internet. Yeah yeah yeah but so what? It popped up on my computer; I’m sure it pops up on the computer of loads of men who watch it, and maybe some of them will believe it. After all, men are signing up to be pick-up-artists every day.
It’s terrifying to think that this is being sold as women’s secret desire, and it’s an affront to everything that erotica stands for – positive sexuality, enjoyment, and pleasure. I am so upset by this attitude of the battle of the sexes, that men are supposed to devise a “system” to “control” women rather than interacting with us human to human. And that erotica has got all balled up in that horrible mess. We don’t need this bullshit.