One of my favourite things about science fiction is culture shock. It takes imagination and skill to flesh out a world, culture or people in a realistic, believable fashion. Seeing such skillful manipulation of a fictional culture makes me want to examine my own real culture - Canadian, North American, Western, Human - and question everything about it. Why do we act this way? Why do we value this thing? What would we be like if one belief, one opinion deep in our past, were changed?
Being also of a feminist turn of mind, many of my own thoughts turn to our culture's perceptions of gender. I frequently return to one aspect in particular: the sexual power dynamic between men and women. It is well accepted (/thought, believed) that women are on the defensive and have something to "give" or "be taken" from them, and men are aggressors that seek to possess that thing. Women are the gatekeepers of sex, and men seduce, trick, convince or fight them to get it. It culminates as the slut-stud double standard. It's terribly obvious in our language: a man "gets lucky," suggesting it's a difficult or rare act. A woman "loses" her virginity. Men are penetrators, women are penetrated - unquestionably violent, dominating imagery.
But what if there were a subtle shift in perception? What if, by a small change of focus, women were turned into the aggressors and men into the gatekeepers? It actually wouldn't be too far a stretch. The key is in eliminating the penetrator-penetrated relationship, and replacing it with something else.
What, then, could be just as powerful as penetration? What could give the aggressor a sense of power, of a weapon in some cases, and yet also forge a strong and loving bond in others? The answer is simple, and in fact many human cultures practice it, though not - to my knowledge - sexually.
That is the comsumer-consumed relationship.
Consider: what better represents a flow or exchange of power, of that intangiable something we attribute to virginity and sex, than that of consuming? Of literally taking something from one entity and giving it to the other? We even mimic this very concept by inventing an invisible, immeasurable something that women have and men take. But, in heterosexual human sex with no modifications, a literal tangible, measurable something does move from one entity to the other. Something is taken from one and given to the other.
A genetic load. Seed. During sex, a woman takes the most precious thing a body can offer. She takes the DNA of her male partner, she takes his future bloodlines out of his control. She takes half of his genetic essence. In some ways we've always recognized this fact: think of societies which place the burden of producing specific-gendered offspring on the woman, as if she has any control over the sex of a child she conceives.
When a woman has sex with a man, she temporarily brings part of him into herself and permanently takes another part of him. In a most literal sense, it is not the woman who gives something away - it is the man who gives up a part of himself.
In this light, it is completely puzzling to me that we instead settled on the penetrator-penetrated relationship as our model for sex. The consumer-consumed relationship is far more literal and accurate. As I said above: this powerful relationship is seen in several cannibalistic societies, and even non-cannibalistic hunting societies. When you eat something, the concept goes, you gain its power and knowledge. I'd say this is more powerful and provocative than penetrating or entering something, wouldn't you?
PS: LOL DICKS AND PUSSIES.