I appreciate that Jack Williamson can acknowledge that even CC needs to work on patriarchy in our school. I half-heartedly appreciate that he identifies as a “feminist ally”, although really, I wish he could just identify as a feminist. However, his article on OrgasmiCC last week clearly showed that it was time for a fun game of “check your privilege”.
First of all, Williamson obviously had not done any research into the origins of OrgasmiCC. It is a student group that originated after a sociological study on hookup culture that revealed that women of CC report unacceptably low levels of sexual satisfaction. OrgasmiCC was started in large part to promote the importance of the female orgasm.
Williamson’s article reminded me of discussions on domestic abuse or rape, in which for some reason, there always seems to be at least one man who feels the need to point out to everyone that men can be victims as well. This reflects sexist thinking, that all topics must be centered on or related back to men, as if women can only be supporting characters or at most co-stars in their own issues. Not every issue about women also needs to be about men. Expecting otherwise is a reflection of male privilege.
Williamson asserts that OrgasmiCC would be a better organization if it “focused less on one gender’s enjoyment of sex, and instead catered to all us sexually active students”. Would Williamson also prefer that the NAACP focus more on justice issues for white people, or that groups fighting for LGBTQ rights focus more on the difficulties faced by members of heterosexual relationships?
Men achieving orgasm isn’t exactly the biggest problem. Not only is masturbation vastly less stigmatized for men, but I’ve often heard people, women and men, call sex “unfinished” or even describe themselves as “kind of” having sex, if the male participant doesn’t achieve orgasm. The end of sex in heterosexual relationships is all too often male ejaculation, whether the female has had an orgasm or not.
Yes, OrgasmiCC’s promotion of its event focused on the female orgasm. This is because females are the ones missing out on orgasms more often than men. Females are the ones who may still even consider their own orgasms unimportant, who claim that masturbation just “isn’t for them,” without even trying it.
Females are more often the ones who don’t demand sexual satisfaction from their heterosexual male partners because, as bell hooks states in “Feminism is for Everybody”, “[s]exist thinking taught to females from birth on had made it clear that the domain of sexual desire and sexual pleasure was always and only male”.
I sense by his disclaimers about supporting feminism that Williamson would claim that he already knew all of this. But his complaint that OrgasmiCC’s advertising should cater more towards men suggests otherwise. Check your privilege. Societally ingrained sexist thinking makes us believe that men must be catered to and recognized in any situation in which they may have the slightest interest or stake.
I sympathize with Williamson. Everyone has moments of sexist thinking because of how they’ve been taught – that’s the problem. I don’t think Williamson intended to be sexist. The important thing is simply to be aware of ourselves, and to be ready to face it when we’re wrong and learn from it, just as we must when we accidentally find ourselves stereotyping or expecting something different from a person of color or an LGBTQ person. It’s going to happen to everyone regardless, but progress is made when we can admit it and try to fight it.
One thing that I don’t sympathize with is the tendency to expect someone else to fight that fight for you. The members of OrgasmiCC started a club in the middle of the school year, didn’t give up on it, and spent months fundraising and organizing for this event. Williamson said they should’ve done things differently. Instead of critiquing where they chose to invest their time and energy, perhaps Williamson should organize an event focused on orgasms and sexual satisfaction for people of all genders and sexual identities.
Williamson would better serve the CC population and his own opinions by taking action rather than just complaining about the actions taken by students passionate enough to try.