Fantasy and frustration is the mark of the madness.
Length: 2,550 words
Reading Time: 9 minutes
Video Length: 10 minutes
Although Slavoj Zizek is ostensibly deceived into thinking that feminist culture is a good thing, I do recognize him as a brilliant thinker and incisive philosopher. However, I have some deep disagreements with him about this piece.
Slavoj Zizek — Consent, incels, pornography & feminism (2020 June 10)
A full transcript with my commentary follows.
Do you know what I find sad about…
I totally support the goals, the political cause of Political Correctness, #met00, and so on.
What I find problematic is that they like to emphasize that, “Don’t refer to psychoanalysis. Freud is outdated.” and so on and so on.
But I think that what too many of them are effectively doing, is repressing Freud’s basic insight. That of a split or divided subject and that of the unconscious.
The fact is that people in general don’t know what they want, and don’t want what they desire.
The above line in bold indicates a curse is present. Having peace with God entails a state in which one’s wants, needs, and desires are all in cohesive agreement with both God’s covenant Law and reality.
This is why — I like to provoke you a little bit — This is why one of the big politically correct models [is] to [insist] on explicit free consent ahead of every sexual act. Of course, it should be done, I’m not crazy. For rape, I’m not opposed to it. But I think we should be aware of all the ambiguities that come with it…
Zizek is acutely aware of the fallen human nature, and he correctly identifies this as the basic reason why liberal independent feminists demand consent legislation.
But you can’t get consent from a masturbating monkey suffering from delusions of grandeur.
Do you know incidentally that now they are punished by this, by all those bushfires in New South Australia.
Is Zizek, who is presumably an atheist, alluding to divine justice or that there is a vengeful god?
The state enacted this — a friend told me — you are legally obliged to somehow register your [consent]. But I claim that if there is violence in sexuality, you will not prevent it in this way. Because again, sexuality for me is constitutively the domain of fictions, of ambiguities, and everything can be, for this reason, perverted, used against.
I believe that Zizek is right – that sex is ambiguous and laden with power plays – but not because of the reason he states. The reason is because legislation cannot prevent people from exploring and expressing their sexual desires, and some people actually like it rough. Legislation only determines what is acceptable or punishable by law.
For example, I will tell you a story which really depressed me.
One of the politically correct rules is, at any point in sexual interplay, all of the partners, both of the partners, [should] have the right to say, “Sorry, I no longer want to do it. I’m stepping out.”
Another similar situation is where one person is strongly attracted to another who fails to have any feelings of attraction.
OK, I’m sorry to say, I know women and men who use this in an extremely brutal way as a further means of humiliation. For example, an ex-friend of mine, who is for this reason no longer a friend of mine, likes to seduce a woman, and when she is totally excited in it, he says, “Oh sorry, I no longer feel it.” And so on and so on.
Of note, a person who chooses to be obedient to God by turning down an invitation to illicit sex could also be seen as cruel by the person who made the advance. This has happened to me a few times.
So you know, that’s the reality of sexuality. Don’t fall into this trap [of thinking] that sexuality is in itself the domain of being gentle, gentle activity, being nice to each other, and those external relations of power corrupted.
Zizek has an accurate view of raw, unmitigated, non-negotiated sexual desire. But the people who are turned on by the rough fantasy game play are a small subset of the population. If we interpret this as a form of projection, then we can presume that Zizek likes role playing, and he likes it rough.
If there is a lesson from Freud, it is that sexuality is, in itself… permitted by power plays, sadomasochism, and so on.
Aside from Freud’s eccentric psychoanalytic explanations, this bit is true. All the hype over 50 Shades of Grey only proves that women get Tingly wet for, and offer sex to powerful, charismatic men.
Let me exemplify this with a beautiful example I found in media.
In this podcast, you see on the set of hardcore porn [?], a [male] actor loses his erection in the middle of the scene, and to get the erection back, he turns away from the naked woman in front of him and grabs his phone and searches for PornHub and so on. [Laughter]
I think this scene is the reality of our sexuality. The lesson of [Freud’s] psychoanalysis is precisely this. Something is rotten in the state of sex. Human sexuality is in itself perverted, exposed to sadomasochism. Even when I’m alone with my partner, my sexual interaction with him or her is inextricably intertwined with my fantasies. Every sexual interaction is potentially structured like masturbation with the real partner.
“My sexual interaction with him or her” … ??? I can’t tell if he’s speaking vicariously or not.
So I think the thing that so horrified this journalist…
“My Gott, you have a naked woman there, the thing itself, and you lose interest and you go [browsing PornHub]!”
That’s it! This is exactly how every day sexuality is structured, I claim.
I’m sure this is “every day sexuality” for some. The nature of lust renders one in such a corrupt state that the wanting is perceived as being better than the having. This is what I call a “poverty mentality”.
So we cannot reduce this gap between the bodily reality of my partner, and the universe of fantasy. We cannot reduce it to a distortion opened up by part reality and social domination and exploitation. The gap is there from the very beginning. So I can quite understand the actor who, in order to regain his erection, searched Pornhub. He was looking for a phantasmatic support of his performance. It is for this reason that, as part of the sexual intercourse, one partner asks the other to go on talking. I was never doing it, at least, I heard that many lovers, one partners says, “While we are doing it, go on talking about something dirty!” Obscentities, and so on.
It’s again, the condition that the body itself is not enough. You need a fantasy support.
The hoodwinking attraction of sexual sin is that it elevates fantasy above reality. Years ago, an obsessive preference for fantasy was once classified as a symptom of madness. But now, it is “every day sexuality”.
Do you see, one of the absolutely greatest feelings, I claim this negative dystopia in Tell Gillian’s Brazil, where they go to a group in a future totalitarian society at a restaurant, and you order food, and then what you get is on a plate, something that looks like a piece of [?], or a cake of mud, and a photo of what this really is, a beautiful steak, and so on. That is now the reality.
We never thus have, as it were, the thing itself.
This is true. In this fallen world, image is everything. In the solipsistic mind, the vain imaginings of one’s desire are everything.
Another similar example is fast food commercials. Whenever we see a TV commercial showing high resolution images of attractive, pop-eyed people holding hamburgers with their thumbs awkwardly on top of a sesame seed bun, with glistening droplets of water on the lettuce and tomato, and savoring those steamy, golden brown, salt-encrusted French fries, we suddenly feel hungry for that food. But when we pull up to the drive thru at Wendy’s or McDonald’s, we open the wrapper to find a smashed, gooey piece of processed protein, carbs, and chemicals that doesn’t at all resemble what we saw in the advertisement. But because of the deceptive mental image, combined with our ravenous desire, we naively presume it is a hamburger, shell out several hard-earned dollars to the corporation, and then defile our bodies by consuming it with delight.
This is exactly how Satan sells illicit sex.
That’s why if you ask me… The one whom I admire… Do we have them here in Sweden? …what in the United States they call incels, involuntary celibatels [sic]. Guys who openly accept that they are ugly, that they will not be able to find partners, and so on. I think they bring out some deep truth about sexuality. We are all incels dreaming about whatever… dreaming about whatever…
Does Zizek admire incels because he perceives them as dreamers who have dismissed their desire as an impossibility?
Aside from the hilarious reference to incels, there’s a kernel of truth here. People don’t know what they want, and don’t want what they desire. But they still spend an inordinate quantity of time dwelling on the wanting.
Another thing I want to very briefly emphasize here is that, not only is sexuality not something innocent in itself, thus spoiled by power relations and so on…
Zizek already said that he agrees with Freud that “sexuality is, in itself… permitted by power plays”, so I think here he is saying that there is a common belief that power corrupts the innocence of sex and should not be accepted as an inherent element in a natural sexual interaction, and that he disagrees with this.
Although an abuse of power may spoil the innocence of sex, sex in itself is good, and the mysterious power plays that enable and invigorate it are an essential element of the interaction. But it is the fallen nature in women which seeks to usurp that power and play the dominant role.
Often, what I find, even in a certain type of feminism — never forget that in the United States, most of the feminists supported the attack on Iraq to liberate the Iraqi women. Now the result is that woman are there oppressed more than ever, much more than under Saddam.
When ISIS dominated northern Iraq, we stopped hearing about how those women were oppressed, and we started hearing stories of western women, many who were white, who ran off to join ISIS. I think Zizek doesn’t understand the real motivation that feminists had for supporting the war. The deeper reason feminists despise western white men is because they have abandoned the patriarchy, and have substituted in its place the perverted imitation that is Chivalry. Weak men screw up feminism.
But what I want to say is that, you have also the opposite idea, that it’s not so much power relations, domination, and exploitation that we should worry about, but we [should recognize that] power relationships are good. But the problem is when they get sexualized.
Zizek makes his point clearer here. He is saying that there is an apparent contradiction in the Feminist narrative, comprised of the following two viewpoints.
- That power corrupts the innocence of sex and should not be accepted as an inherent element in a natural sexual interaction.
- Power relationships are good, as long as men are not exerting sexual power over women.
His claim that this is a contradiction only makes sense if he is alluding to two concepts that are too anti-PC for him to publicly state specifically. These are,
- The underlying Feminist belief that it’s OK for women to exert social power and sexual authority over men, but not the other way around.
- What Rollo calls Women’s Existential Fear.
For example, at universities, people get disturbed when a powerful professor engages in sex with one of his students. I’m also opposed to it. But nonetheless I don’t like the implication that as long as the professor is thus exerting all his authority it’s OK, power is OK, as long as it doesn’t get personal [sexual].
The reason this type of relationship is immoral is not because it is sexual, but because it is an abuse of power. It also destroys the trust of the other students and his colleagues, and this affects his professional image. If the professor would formally court the student with intentions of marriage, then this would not create an outrage. I know of a few teachers and professors who married one of their students, and no one batted an eye.
In fact, masculine power and authority is necessary to establish the Christian archetype of Headship.
So I don’t like, for example, the type of feminism where you are not bothered by power relations, that is [to say], “We women also want a proper percentage in it!” No?
Yes, Zizek is bothered by power and authority, especially that of women. Years ago, we had a name for people who are suspicious, distrustful, or fearful of sexual power and/or the male-female hierarchy — Qüәәrs. But these days, this word has taken on a much different connotation.
To be more generous, seeing how he grew up under a communist regime, maybe Zizek is bothered by the possibility of the abuse of said power. If this is the case, I agree that the abuse of sexual power is perhaps the most destructive force against the blessings of Shalom.
A comic version of this happened in Slovenia, my country after independence, where a leftist government organized a group for women’s rights, and the leader of that government office said as her first goal to organize a golf contest exclusively for women. Remember that golf was at that point, the sport of the ruling nomenclatura.
I didn’t like this because, you know like, it’s… the logic was clear, “I don’t care if the same power relations remain, just, I want my part of it!”
Zizek gives a lot of lip service to the moralistic goals of feminism, but I’m not sure he whole heartedly believes in them. He is profoundly intellectually incisive, so I can guess, based on a few of his statements above, that he recognizes that the underlying, unstated goal of feminism is to gain authoritative power and control, as this is the one goal with the most strategic benefit towards giving gynocentric idolaters the power to attain various other goals. But he won’t state this explicitly because that would be outrageous. So it’s hard to tell where he really stands.
What he doesn’t seem to know is that this female desire for control hearkens back to the Sin of Eve.
- Σ Frame: Authoritative Love, Marital Discipline, and BDSM (2019 March 15)
- The Arab Weekly (Stephen Quillen): Europe grapples with ISIS returnees and their families (2019 August 24)
- Σ Frame: The Dominatrix Conversation (2020 July 6)
- Σ Frame: What is a woman’s desire for her husband according to Genesis 3:16? (2020 October 23)