Oh yes, Twitter is burning with anti Fry backlash. Usually a darling of the masses, it seems that he has made some unfortunate statements this week and people are ready to crucify him. His statements, for Attitude Magazine, now quoted left and right, are being called “misogynistic” and “typically male queer”:
Stephen Fry says he feels sorry for straight men because women only want sex in order to have a relationship.
The gay broadcaster and writer, speaking to Attitude magazine, said that women want commitment and if they wanted sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas.
He said: “I think most straight men feel they disgust women. They find it difficult to believe that women are as interested in sex as they are. For good reason. If women liked sex as much as men there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas.
“I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want. They want a boyfriend and then they want commitment.
“Of course a lot of women will deny this and say, ‘Oh, no, but I love sex, I love it!’ But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?
“Gay men are the perfect acid test. If they want to get their rocks off, they go into a park where they know they can do it.”
But here’s what’s not mentioned in the outrage: context. Fry, undeniably British and as much part of his country’s culture as the Big Ben, didn’t say this in a vacuum. His statements should be evaluated (and condemned if need be), within the context of his culture’s current mainstream discourse, which happens to be staunchly anti sex and anti porn. I have taken stabs at Object UK, Feminism in London and generally all of mainstream feminism anti sex stances before. I have even called it “restraining feminism”, with attitudes and initiatives that seek to eliminate porn (not replace it with sex positive, inclusive forms of erotic expressions but eliminate it altogether). To both the untrained eye and some journalists keen on sound bite statements, the current UK feminist scene might give the impression that women, in their (our) totality, do not like sex at all. I have even contended that this current paradigm (of which Murdoch owned media is very fond of lending a voice to) serves the patriarchy very well because it is restrictive of pleasure and because it keeps sexuality forbidden and hidden. As long as these are the only voices heard, is it a surprise that people not very familiar with the movement’s diversity might be inclined to believe that the totality of women are not very sex positive?
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