Those damn cougars just won’t lie back and think of England

Air New Zealand Grabaseat’s attempt to find cougar representatives for the Wellington Rugby 7s is over, apparently because of the “overwhelming interest” shown.

I’m guessing they don’t mean the interest from Rape Prevention experts, or feminist blogs, or opinion writers or British newspapers, or online press in India.

Which generally speaking point out that comedy about forced sex (in this case older women treating young men as “prey”) is not really, well, funny.

Grabaseat could be forgiven for this.  Last year’s Wellington Comedy Festival stand-up night featured every single male comedian making at least one rape joke. 

The joke about anally raping prostitutes.  The one about penetrating your wife while she’s asleep because it’s easier.  The one about picking a girl who’s never had sex, because she won’t know what you’re doing is illegal.

Etc Etc Etc.

But I digress.  In my opinion, Grabaseat have done something a little bit different to making fun of rape.  Because this “joke” wouldn’t work if the genders were reversed.

It only “works” because we all know how darn silly it is for men to be raped by a woman.  Because men always want sex, right?  So how can they be raped?  Especially since women are so much weaker and softer and just less than men.

And really, if an old woman comes along, you know, camouflaged with lipstick and jewellery, well, a man might give her one if he’s feeling kind, but otherwise he’d just call her an ugly bitch, laugh at her and move on, wouldn’t he? 

He certainly wouldn’t find himself bruised, humiliated, shattered, hurt, raped.

The Grabaseat “comedy” only works because it “reminds” us all of where women and men really stand when it comes to heterosexual sex.  Man active, woman passive. 

Women actively seeking sex are ridiculous, sad, tawdry, and perhaps worst of all, have to listen to Enya and the Eurythmics all the time.

As Janine Burchett, the woman who played the “lead cougar” in the Grabaseat promotion, says “I’m no cougar“.  And check out the comments on every single newspaper article about this ad to explore just what we think about those cougars.

To check out appropriate sex roles, how about turning to the bestselling relationship author of all time, Dr John Gray, of the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus series?

Dr Gray believes women and men are different, and that when it comes to sex, this difference is critical to understand for good relationships. 

Dr Gray also advises women to camouflage our own desires in favour of showing receptivity to our man’s skills, and not to talk in complete sentences during sex as it may put men off. 

Men need sex: 

“feeling that he will not be rejected is essential for a man to continue to be passionately attracted to his partner” p81

“a woman’s acceptance of occasional quickies and a positive message whenever her partner initiates sex ensures lasting attraction and passion” p88

Yes, really.

It’s enough to make you wonder if he’s one of the new board members at Air New Zealand.  I can see the new promotion now: “Men are from Mangatainoka, Women are from Wellington”.

I’ve come out before as a cougar, and I will again.  Women being in touch with our active desires – and women’s active desire being seen as an integral part of all sexual activities in which we are involved – is one of the foundational building blocks for creating a society in which rape is impossible.

Let’s rewrite Dr Gray’s guidelines:

“accepting that both people will, at times, not both want to be sexual at once is critical to long-lasting respectful sexual relationships.  After all, how much better is sex when you’re both totally into what you are doing?”

“occasional quickies – no doubt instigated by either of you – can be great fun when you’re both into it.  Knowing what you want, and knowing your partner wants you, is sexy.”

And the talking thing, John please, if there is anything sexier than talking about what you want with someone you fancy, this cougar hasn’t found it. 

Grabaseat aren’t simply promoting rape, but they are promoting a Mars/Venus world in which women lie back and think of England, by ridiculing the alternative – that women can be actively engaged in thinking about what we want right now.  And that world makes rape more possible. 

I can’t wait for the press coverage of the Grabaseat cougars at the 7s.

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2 thoughts on “Those damn cougars just won’t lie back and think of England

  1. Brilliant! I totally agree. I was quite mortified by all the wrongs in not only the ad but the way this whole issue has been covered in the media. I’d never read any of John Gray’s “advice” before now though it does sound suspiciously close to Bettina Arndt’s rape apologist spin. I would be devastated if my partner slept with me when he didn’t want to because he feared I would leave him. Just as I know he would feel the same. I don’t understand why so many so-called sex therapists encourage such awful power and gender imbalances in relationships. It’s so unhealthy.

  2. Pingback: The Down Under Feminists Carnival is here! « The Radical Radish

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