Lord Bobo’s Sexist Boo Boo

Pang penetrates into Lord Bobo’s penile anxiety and masculine privileges.

Dear Lord Bobo, indeed you have blasphemed, not against royalty, but all women. I refer to your column published on The Malaysian Insider on 20 December 2013. Here, a woman asking for advice for Christmas gifts for her lawyer boyfriend was told by you that she should consider sucking her boyfriend. This is no different from when the rakyat asks the government to lower living costs, and the Prime Minister tells us to get down on our knees and suck his kangkung.

In your article your advice to the girl assumed too much. You assumed that she should be game and consenting to the idea, that he is entitled to it. This suggests you accept unquestioningly that her consent is contracted automatically by the fact of their relationship, that fellatio is indeed a privilege of men.

Though you are addressing a woman, you are addressing her merely as an object for men’s pleasure and laughter, and therefore your real audience are other men. Here, women are both objects for your humour and your sexual privileges. Let me assure you, they are not. They are laughing instead at your penile anxiety.

(I had posted this originally on my Facebook wall, and one commenter believes that the girl wanting to give a gift implies her consent. And as Lord Bobo was referring to her using her mouth and not her vagina, this makes it okay, because it’s just her mouth, which has no clitoris, therefore producing no pleasure for her. In his words, “Of course it’s a gift. It’s one way. It’s not fucking. It’s sucking.” There is no clearer illustration of sexism than the assumption that a woman’s idea of a gift to her male partner should include parts of her body — and that her pleasures from performing oral sex are inconsequential to the man’s pleasure in receiving it. When a woman’s mouth is construed as a gift she is effectively reduced to an amalgamation of different ways to please a man, that her entire person simply a transformer all-in-one sex toy. For the sake of spelling this out to men, a person’s mouth is very much a part of the wholeness of a person. Unless you hear clear unambiguous consent from her like “let’s fuck”, you shall not even assume you get a suck.)

Let me break down some of the assumptions you have made that made a fool of you (and you only). This article reveals the kind of male privileges and power dynamics that men assume in public spaces that allow us to simply stick our appendages and our dickish humour into any orifice we like. The sexism is in the assumption that all spaces are orifices for you to insert your masculinity and your penile obsession. Your assumption, therefore, that such a forum is your right to penetrate with your sexual humour is no different from the assumption that a woman’s mouth is a gift for a man’s desperately diminished dong, or vice versa (that a man’s dong is a gift for a woman).

You see, society is structured by men to privilege his penetrative position. It configures all the ways he fantasises about his penetration into society. He is the conqueror of lands, the invader of countries, the commander of wars, the explorer of outer space, and lord over women. Towers are erected and rockets ejaculated to mark his territories. So far reaching are masculine assumption of penetrative conquest of all spaces that it is often assume that women’s bodies, by being a part of the space, is subject to his penetration.

Hence, a man’s dick becomes him. That is why he is constantly showing anxiety about being penetrated or castrated or domesticated. Cut him off, tame him, penetrate him, and he panics because he imagines these castrate his social penetrativity. They cockblock his assumed leadership. He doesn’t like it when his dickishness is not fellated. Even among other men. So men become competitive with one another, battling over who is the more powerful penetrator, who has the biggest dick. Some men do this with swords and drones, some with words and humour. They are all but extensions of his penis, desperate cries of the fear of impotence.

The gendering of spaces that allowed men to assume power over women is similar to the assumption of political hegemony over others in racial politics. Men presume power over spaces and position themselves as representation of their groups, even humanity. Racial identities are expressed through warriors and kings, who conquer and tame the feminised land and country. Thus, masculinity and racial identities are often conflated to invest power in masculine symbols of the nation. Cut that away, or disrespect the symbols, and you elicit much anxiety from an entire race. Hence, there is a lot of anger over Lord Bobo’s alleged insult to royalty, a symbol of the race.

So, dear Lord Bobo, the way you brandish your dick in a kind of sword-fight of machismo-compensating competitive sexual humour is not unlike the way chimps show off their dicks at the zoos to visitors and grimace. It’s cute, but you’re still in a cage of your own device. You are perpetuating the kind of assumptions of power, entitlement and privileges men have over space and each other.

I too am a man and have made sexist assumptions before and may do so in the future. Let us learn to listen to women when they tell us they have been hurt, their integrity compromised by our careless assumptions. If you believe we are all equal, then behave like it. Our bodies are part of the same space shared by women. Women also penetrate the same spaces as men, and they also envelope these spaces. Here, nobody is a conquerer. We are all equal travellers, equal rulers of our own sovereign bodies. We invite into our inner spaces only those to whom we have given consent. We honour the borders of each other’s body, and give each other rights in order to protect ourselves. We are each other’s shield.

So be careful where you stick your little man and his flaccid humour. Otherwise, women will chew it up and spit it out. Now, suck on that.

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Pang Khee Teik is a freelance arts consultant, curator and writer. He is known as the co-founder of the sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka and former Arts Programme Director for The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. In 2013, he completed an MA in Gender, Sexuality & Culture at Birkbeck College, University of London, under the Chevening Scholarship.

Posted on 4 February 2014. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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9 Responses to Lord Bobo’s Sexist Boo Boo

  1. Kazimir

    Dear Pang, Kris thinks you're obsessed with the dick of his cartoon mascot/ deity. This is discourse.

  2. Kris

    Dear Pang,

    You seem to suffer from a serious penile/penetration fixation. I could of course pass a puerile (but pertinent) observation here that you are suffering from a lack in the trouser department as your entire argument, and your outlook on life on life in fact, is that men walk around penetrating everything around them with their penises (metaphorically or otherwise). But that isn't the case. Men are capable of empathy, intellect and rationale. We are not one dimensional (as evinced by Khabir's brilliant piece above) much as you would like to pigeonhole us to be. By putting forth your argument in such a manner you paint men as grunting neanderthals. Such shallow reasoning and the obvious oxymoron here is that you wrote it in objection to a sexist piece by Lord Bobo. Your piece positively reeks of sexism.

    What's worse is the vitriol in your writing. Can you not put forward a rational argument without resorting to such ugliness (So, dear Lord Bobo, the way you brandish your dick in a kind of sword-fight of machismo-compensating competitive sexual humour is not unlike the way chimps show off their dicks at the zoos to visitors and grimace)? Whither your motive? Self aggrandizement or a genuine need to address an issue?

    Lord Bobo's original post has elements of sexism but I will not judge his eminence not least because of all that he has written before and definitely not because of just 1 post. But if we are to rid this world of ugliness we start by learning and understanding. We certainly don't add to it. That's just hypocrisy

  3. Timur

    For instance, let’s look more closely at the issue of consent here. The original article never, ever even raises up the idea of consent. Pang says this means it simply assumes it. You say a person who wants to give a gift, any gift, implies consent to giving that gift. The problem is this is not just any gift. It certainly is not a peppercorn. (Hell, if it turned out she wasn’t really comfortable giving away that peppercorn, she could ask for it back or even buy a new peppercorn. I think you’ll agree a blow job is a little different).

    The girl hasn’t said yet what kinds of things she is considering. By saying that the best gift this girl could give is a blow job, without even remotely deigning to discuss whether she might be willing to do so, is tantamount to saying that she should be game for it. By even suggesting this gift so matter of factly (over an infinite number of other choices), the writer is suggesting that this is a reasonable gift, nay a recommended gift, without so much as a wink to the idea of consent.

    I mean what if the writer had suggested that the best gift would be to help her boyfriend rape a cow? If you do not even remotely discuss the rights and wrongs of raping a cow, doesn’t that assume you think raping a cow is at least somewhat ok? I mean you are recommending it as the best gift ever. In this case, the writer is recommending giving a blowjob without considering if this is something the girl is willing to do.

    Except of course, if the writer recommended helping to rape a cow, it would just be considered a hilarious over the top joke because who really wants to rape a cow, but every guy wants a blow job regardless of whether his girlfriend is actually willing or not, right?

    I suspect the writer doesn’t even think about consent. He doesn’t go “maybe I should mention consent, but no, my readers will know what I mean.” He just ploughs on with it thoughtlessly because we live in a society, a time, when no thought is given to these sorts of things. This is precisely the privileged penetrative public spaces Pang mentions that women occupy. And it’s not fun. At least for us, it’s not.

    Furthermore, the whole thing is framed exactly as a “service” a girl can do for a guy (following your definition of a gift as something the giver must not enjoy more than the recipient). A service every guy wants more than anything. This is similar to saying that sex is something you buy (you know, like a peppercorn) but in this case, it’s a gift so you’re giving it away. This view of sex – as a thing girls give to boys – is endlessly shoved down women’s throats (no pun intended). Ultimately, of course, as in the case of the non-orgasmic throat you describe, the thing being given is the girl herself (or parts of her body).

    My favourite part of Pang’s piece is the last paragraph. So I ask you what he invites all men to do – will you “learn to listen to women when they tell us they have been hurt, their integrity compromised by our careless assumptions”? Or will you only listen to the ones who think your jokes are funny?

  4. Timur

    I’m not about to wade into your personal problems with each other as I have no idea about your relationship (nor do I care), but Khabir Dillon, I have to say that as a woman, Pang’s argument above represents how the Lord Bobo article made me feel. And your responses above (separate from your take on Pang’s behaviour) make me feel further alienated as a woman in society. It feels aggressive and predatory. The very fact that a blowjob is presented as if it is, not only a suitable gift, but a highly recommended one, diminishes me as a woman. It reduces my relationship with my boyfriend to a sexual one (or at least as if the sexual aspect is very important, one of the main things that defines it as a relationship at all). Sex is the only service – or at least the best one – I can possible “give” him. Not only that but I should choose a service that gives me less or no pleasure in order to ensure it remains a “gift” rather than sneakily enjoy myself (how dare I enjoy myself? What a slut!).

    You might accuse me of taking things out of context but please try to imagine how these sentences might make women feel:

    “5.1 It's not the mouth that is the gift lah dei. It's the blowjob. And she is not REDUCED to a sex-toy. She is ELEVATED to a sexual being.”

    “5.2 And in no way did I imply or suggest that she is SIMPLY a "transformer all-in-one sex toy". I am implying and suggesting that she is ALSO a transformer all-in-one sex toy.”

    So it’s not my mouth but the act of sucking dick (with my mouth) that is the gift. By gifting an action that I perform with my mouth, I am elevated to a sexual being despite the fact that I am by definition not able/allowed to enjoy this as much as the receiver because this would nullify the definition of a “gift”. So through not enjoy myself as much (or at all), I have become a sexual being. So my ability to perform a sex act (but not enjoy it as much as the other person) makes me a sexual being. How do you figure? I truly do not understand what you are getting at.

    And the second part – I am ALSO transformed into a sex toy? In addition to all my wonderful human qualities, I can now also add sex toy to my CV. I thought I was elevated to sexual being, but I’m also a sex toy. A sexual being, a human being, should not be a toy for another’s pleasure. It’s not nice. That’s why it’s called being “toyed with” or indeed “objectified”.

    Perhaps not all of women would feel like this, this is not the issue – eg in an environment of rampant, unchallenged slavery, a slave too can defend the acts of their masters as justified, in fact many fought wars to keep slavery in place.
    The point is, please can you engage in examining the arguments themselves and how they might be sexist? It doesn’t matter if no direct harm can be proved, it doesn’t matter if some/many women find it funny, it doesn’t matter if LB has been engaged in lots of good causes, it doesn’t matter if there are better issues to be concerned with than an allegedly sexist joke.

    And it’s not about curbing free speech – plenty of people make racist, paedophilic, violent, bigoted commentaries about all sorts of things.

    The question is the content. Pang has tried to show how the content of Lord Bobo’s piece is sexist. Many of us agree with his analysis. Thus the only relevant response is to the charges of sexism. Could you not for a few moments entertain the arguments that are trying to show you that this is sexist? If you disagree, fine, but show us why you do not think this is sexist.

  5. Kazimir

    dear pang, you have stepped on a hornet's nest of whiners.good luck. that is all.

  6. Khabir Dhillon

    Pang

    First, let's get into your miscasting of my argument, in the same vein as many had done in the replies to my comment on your facebook update. I just can't let people go on and FUCKING LIE about what I said. Well, maybe you didn't intend to lie but were just biased in favour of casting yourself in a good light that you mis-casted me as a dumb moron. Whatever it is Pang, I shall say more about my assessment of your current state of being once I finish dealing with this dishonourable mention that you made of my argument..

    (I had posted this originally on my Facebook wall, and one commenter believes that the girl wanting to give a gift implies her consent. And as Lord Bobo was referring to her using her mouth and not her vagina, this makes it okay, because it’s just her mouth, which has no clitoris, therefore producing no pleasure for her. In his words, ”Of course it’s a gift. It’s one way. It’s not fucking. It’s sucking.” There is no clearer illustration of sexism than the assumption that a woman’s idea of a gift to her male partner should include parts of her body — and that her pleasures from performing oral sex are inconsequential to the man’s pleasure in receiving it. When a woman’s mouth is construed as a gift she is effectively reduced to an amalgamation of different ways to please a man, that her entire person simply a transformer all-in-one sex toy. For the sake of spelling this out to men, a person’s mouth is very much a part of the wholeness of a person. Unless you hear clear unambiguous consent from her like “let’s fuck”, you shall not even assume you get a suck)

    1 I do not believe "that the girl wanting to give a gift implies her consent" in the way you have casted it, ie wanting to give someone a gift implies consent to sex. That's just fucking ridiculous. I believe that when a person wants to give a gift, ANY GIFT, even if it's a humble peppercorn, then what she is giving is with CONSENT. Because she wasn't being robbed of the peppercorn. She was giving it! And therefore consent is a non-issue. It is implicit in a gift that it is with consent.

    • Khabir Dhillon

      2 "And as Lord Bobo was referring to her using her mouth and not her vagina, this makes it okay, because it’s just her mouth, which has no clitoris, therefore producing no pleasure for her."

      2.1 What a whole lot of bollocks! The mouth and the vagina does not make a difference to what Lord Bobo was saying. It certainly makes no difference to what I was saying in this regard. Lord Bobo might as well have said "fuck him" instead of "suck him". The point would have still been carried across. You ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer.

      2.2 And I never said "produce no pleasure for her" but I did in fact say "Yeah, yeah, some people “love” to suck cock but that has nothing to do with the biology of their throat. It’s a different kind of “love”." That's an outright acknowledgment that some derive ABSOLUTE PLEASURE from sucking cock. Indeed, most men fantasise about getting a blowjob from a woman who enjoys it almost as much as he does. The key word here is ALMOST. Because unless you are Linda Lovelace, a woman would not have the biological structures to allow her to enjoy it as much as the man getting sucked does. That's a scientific fact. It does not change with arguments!

      3 You have taken my statement ”Of course it’s a gift. It’s one way. It’s not fucking. It’s sucking.” completely out of its context. I did not mean that ALL WOMEN who suck do it as a gift. I am saying that this particular woman, who Lord Bobo is saying "suck his cock" to, this woman will be doing it as a gift. Because Lord Bob is suggesting to her an idea for a gift. It's one way because Lord Bobo did not suggest to her "fuck him", which would really not fit the joke His Supreme Eminenceness was making, because "fucking" can be one way but more often than not it is two way. So any reader would say "That's a stupid suggestion Lord Bobo. She's looking for a gift for him. Not a gift for herself!" Context, my dear ex-facebook friend (I noticed a minute ago that you unfriended me because of this exchange), is EVERYTHING. If you take a statement out of context, then it can mean whatever you want it to mean rather than how it was meant to mean.

      • Khabir Dhillon

        4 "There is no clearer illustration of sexism than the assumption that a woman’s idea of a gift to her male partner should include parts of her body — and that her pleasures from performing oral sex are inconsequential to the man’s pleasure in receiving it."

        4.1 What the fuck man?! Who said it SHOULD? Lord Bobo said it COULD. I agree. I give a massage to my wife all the time. It involves a part of my body, my limbs, and I do derive pleasure from it. But there's no denying who is getting the better piece of joy – the person getting the massage!

        4.2 And who said anything about it being "inconsequential"? A woman may go shopping for a pair of cufflinks, find them absolutely adorable and would love to wear them herself. But seeing that she's looking for a gift for her man, she better be thinking about how HE would like it. Her pleasure is not inconsequential but merely arranged in a priority that makes sense for the event in question – getting a gift for someone and not getting a gift for herself.

        5 "When a woman’s mouth is construed as a gift she is effectively reduced to an amalgamation of different ways to please a man, that her entire person simply a transformer all-in-one sex toy."

        5.1 It's not the mouth that is the gift lah dei. It's the blowjob. And she is not REDUCED to a sex-toy. She is ELEVATED to a sexual being. If she does consider a sexual act that is more pleasing for her man than for herself as a GIFT to him. A GIFT that she may love herself (refer cufflinks example in 4 above) but certainly a gift that he loves MORE than her.

        5.2 And in no way did I imply or suggest that she is SIMPLY a "transformer all-in-one sex toy". I am implying and suggesting that she is ALSO a transformer all-in-one sex toy. If she had a clue about the SENSUALITY OF HER ENTIRE BEING, including her mouth and what she can do with it!

        6 "For the sake of spelling this out to men, a person’s mouth is very much a part of the wholeness of a person. Unless you hear clear unambiguous consent from her like “let’s fuck”, you shall not even assume you get a suck". For the sake of spelling it out to you Pang, "unambiguous consent" does not need to be HEARD and certainly not in the words "LET's FUCK". Your qualification of the phrase "unambiguous consent" is merely self-serving and patronizing.

        • Khabir Dhillon

          Which brings us to my more important points:-

          1 You have indeed became more patronizing. It must be your MA stint on a "Chevening scholarship". It really is time to shake off that privileged middle class stink from around you, a stink that may have come from academic achievement and hob-nobbing with the privileged few who you spent the past year or so with, but a stink that smells just like the stink of the privileged middle class.

          2 I have spent the past few days since my exchange with you delving on my motives in doing what I did and I can sincerely say that it was indeed without malevolence. It was motivated by a desire to shake off that stink you are currently carrying because I have read, understood, felt and been moved by what you had written before you acquired the stink. And it is a sad thing for Malaysia and the world if you are turned into a pirouetting monkey being cheered on by a similarly stinky coterie, instead of the brilliant shining star that you are.

          3 To emphasise my point, you missed the gorilla in the middle of the room, Pang. Lord Bobo deserved a good royal shagging for alienating and marginalising homosexual and bisexual males because he assumed that Clueless in Seputeh was a woman. Why should that be the case? There is nothing in her query that gave that away. Unfortunately, your rant just came off as another piece of "meaningless anguish". It felt like you were speaking for women as if they couldn't fucking speak for themselves and required your "recently acquired academic brilliance" to have a voice. That's truly the most insulting thing a man can do to a woman. At least if you're speaking about their pain, don't pretend that you KNOW what they feel like, just because you too have been marginalised for being who you are. There is no soulfulness in ranting and raving as if you were the one being slighted. But there would have been plenty of soulfulness if your ranting and raving gave away that you were speaking for the pain of someone else.

          4 For example, if you ranted and raved about how Lord Bobo was an absolute dick for assuming the query was from a woman just because it came from "Clueless", that may have sounded sincere and struck a chord. But you ranting the way you ranted just stunk of that stink I described earlier.

          5 I'm sad that you unfriended me. If your plan was to get back at me, it worked. I didn't think a sincere exchange with a brilliant soul such as you would result in that. But I guess everybody has their own limit before they press the eject button. With friends like me, who needs enemies huh?

          Go ahead. Take it a step further and block me. You'd be the 3rd to do so because I'm just too in-your-face and brutal to handle. Have a great life and I wish you well in shaking off that stink and finding your soul again. Good luck and God bless.

          Sincerely,
          Khabir