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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