In my entry on the sense of entitlement, I explain that entitlement happens when a person believes ey is owned something due to eir social role. To bring up a simple example, a customer believes ey is owed service above and beyond a person’s job description simply by virtue of being a customer (“the customer is always right,” and so on).
As far as I can see, all social roles entail some form of entitlement, although the reason for that entitlement may be very different; for the dominant social roles, the entitlements are an expression of that dominance, and for the subordinate social roles, the entitlements are meant to make people feel better about being part of a subordinate group (on the latter, see The Culture of Conformism, p50-51).
Likewise, men, fitting in their gender role and feeling biological urges, feel entitled to sex with women. This is not just the purview of a small minority. The lure of sexual entitlement is very, very strong, and even entraps well-meaning men (including atheists, anarchists and antinatalists who otherwise hold respectful egalitarian beliefs towards women). This is not overly surprising, since we live in a society which is drenched in the evaluation of women primarily as sex objects, whatever culture or sub-culture you live in.
Of course I understand where this sense of entitlement comes from. For most men with a libido, sex is as salient a fact as eating, sleeping and breathing, and failure to obtain sex may push one to believe that not being able to obtain sex is a form of social oppression (it is not an original deduction that woman-haters must be sexually frustrated or sexually repressed). In the worse cases, mostly MRAs, complex systems of beliefs about a female conspiracy to withdraw sex, and hierarchies of fuckability (“alphas”/”betas”/”omegas”), are developed.
I am not going to address the conspiracy theories and the hierarchies of fuckability, because there’s not much point in arguing about anything made up by people for ulterior motives (and yes, I realize the hypocrisy given that I’ve written about theology for years, but at least that’s somewhat interesting). There are only so many ways you can explain that the very reason they’re alone is their hatred of women.
Instead, I do want to address the feeling of entitlement. Now, as a socialist, I completely agree that we are entitled to all sorts of things, such as clean air, food, shelter, health care, and so on. I do not agree that men are entitled to sex. The difference, I hope, is obvious: the things on the former list are all necessary for survival (if not always, then at some point), while sex is not. In fact, not having sex does not cause any physiological effects on men, for the very simple reason that they can masturbate. Although they may want it, men do not need sex for any biological purpose (and no, I don’t count procreation).
Furthermore, even if it was true that men were entitled to sex, it would be undesirable to implement it, since it would entail rape. If we have to choose between widespread rape and some woman-hating men not getting sex (unless they pay for it, but prostitution is not much better), I’m gonna go with the latter.
However, it would not do to single MRAs as an exceptional case. All present cultures, whether based on traditional marriage (Christian-style, Islamic-style, or any other religious style) or on the porn culture (liberal-style or capitalist-style), promote belief in sex entitlement. Marriage itself is a claim of sexual ownership, traditionally of men against women, and now of both sides against each other. Marital rape has only recently been banned in Western countries. We are confronted with a modern rape culture perpetuated by the dehumanization and objectification of women. The porn culture’s answer is to make women available sexually to everyone instead of making them available sexually to only one person.
As far as I can see, all woman-hating is backed and fueled by this entitlement. This is not too surprising, as abstract concepts aren’t as effective as biological desires. But we also know that woman-hating, and the sex entitlement, are not the inevitable result of human nature. While there has never actually been any matriarchal society in history (even advocates of “matriarchal” societies admit that it is really egalitarianism they are talking about), there have been many egalitarian or near-egalitarian societies (see Societies Without Government for some examples) where women lived on a roughly equal footing with men.
The more stratified a society is, and the more of an emphasis a society puts on gender roles and the monogamous family as an isolated unit, the more likely there is to be woman-hatred. Woman-hatred has to start with male perception of the female as a subordinate Other. In our societies, this happens because the male is raised in an environment where the male perspective is used almost exclusively and where females are devalued and objectified. All the way from children’s fairy tales to pornography, men are portrayed as subjects and women are portrayed as objects, objects which are generally only valuable if they are of use to men.
Now here’s another problem: when you pipe up and say that men are not entitled to sex from women, you get accused of being a bigot against men. But it is not bigoted to say that men are not entitled to sex any more than it is bigoted to say that men are not entitled to a free helicopter. Sure it would make many men happy to get a free helicopter, but hedonism (while it has its merits as part of a personal orientation) is not a sound basis for a society.
I am not denying that sexuality is a human need. Should a free society break the hold of sexual ownership? Of course. Should sexuality, especially female sexuality, be valued instead of exploited or devalued? Sure. Should we eliminate economic inequality and let everyone create new relationships on even playing grounds? Definitely. But there is a gulf between that and being entitled to sex. In fact, both are opposite tendencies: the entitlement to sex has always been associated with sexual ownership, exploiting or devaluing sex, and profound economic inequality.
We can’t talk about male entitlement to sex and sexual ownership without talking about prostitution, the commodification of sex and, through human trafficking, the commodification of human beings. People’s attitude towards prostitution depends on whether they support traditional marriage or the porn culture; the former are against the selling of sex because they believe a woman’s sexuality is owned by her husband, and the latter are in favor of the selling of sex because they believe a woman’s sexuality should be available to everyone.
In all cases, the man’s attitude towards prostitution is dictated by the kind of entitlement to sex he believes he possesses. And this is why they fail to understand the radfem position, which is strictly anti-johns (more specifically, decriminalization of prostitutes, and criminalization of johns and pimps, following the Swedish model). They cannot understand why someone would specifically blame the men who traffic in young girls, and the men who buy their sexuality, without attacking women twice as hard. Because for the Patriarchy, women are always ultimately responsible for the gender-targeted crimes committed against them.
Ultimately it is the little girl’s fault if she was the target of human trafficking. Ultimately it is the prostitute’s fault if she is beaten by her pimp or raped by johns. If the men are responsible then the woman must be doubly responsible, because she is using her sexuality to “exploit” men.
To the rare person who is not stuck in some form of woman-hating, these conclusions may be seen as absolutely fucking insane.
I think this also provides a window into the “sex-positive” mentality. Someone who’s actually “sex-positive” wouldn’t be defending prostitution and pornography, unless they were only defending sex from the male point of view. What they are really “positive” about is fulfilling the male entitlement to sex by all means necessary, including prostitution and pornography. Their primary concern is serving the male gaze and the penis, not feminism.