Last night, Michael and I were catching up on episodes of Bill Maher while we ate dinner, because nothings better for digestion than yelling at the TV over politics (please note the thick coating of sarcasm). The episode we were on was one of the thirty minute specials he did during the week of the DNC. They were discussing speeches and Bill Maher said something about how Bill Clinton probably got a really great blow job when they got home after his speech. Now, normally I'm OK with Bill Maher's blunt crassness. We mostly have similar beliefs and views, though there are times when he steps over into territory that just doesn't sit well with me. His comment about the blow job was one of those moments. I winced at the words and let me tell you why. I've got a number of reasons.
Since the beginning of written history and probably even before that, a woman's value has been based on their sexuality, their ability to have sex, their ability to bare children, their ability to be used for sex. I love how the book of Genesis, puts the whole blame for "carnal knowledge" on Eve, setting us up right from the very beginning to need to be controlled. As if a man would never have come up with the concept of sex all on his own. Women didn't have property rights, voting rights, or rights regarding her own body. It would be simplest to say that women didn't have rights, period. If you wanted something, you found a way to use your body as the bargaining chip. In some cases, the only leverage a woman had over a man was sex. The best example of this was Queen Elizabeth I who used her virginity to form and break alliances as the country needed. It is unfortunate that this has been our bargaining chip for so long because there are still women out there who feel the need to use the tactic to get their way. Sex is not a bargaining chip and continuing to use it as such perpetuates the view of women as sexual objects. We are well passed the age where a woman has to 'sleep her way to the top'. Women become CEOs of major corporations now based on their merit, education and work ethics.
Some may argue that the person giving a blow job is performing an act of submission and therefor this would be a way in which Hilary would be submissive to your husband. Because we still live in a society that thinks women should be submissive or at least give the illusion of submission. Again, I disagree. The person that allows the most sensitive parts of their body to be in such close proximity to someone else's teeth is the one being submissive. It also implies that sex is a reward. It makes sex nothing more than a gold star sticker placed on an A+ paper. So Hilary should reward her husband for doing his fucking job which is to support her because they are PARTNERS. But I suppose what really bothers me about Maher's comment is that it is the type of comment that would never have been said if Hilary Clinton wasn't a woman. Can you imagine even thinking such a thing about Michelle Obama after her 2008 DNC speech or Laura Bush's speech at the 2004 RNC? What kind of "reward" did those women get for supporting their husbands? You think they got new fancy vibrators?
One way ( of many) to achieve gender equality is for women to stop using sex as bargaining tools or a reward for some good deed and men need to stop expecting sex as reward. Taking out the trash and doing chores are not things that need to be rewarded. Supporting your spouse, the person you chose to be a partner with until death do you part, is not something you need to be rewarded for. Sure, it's great, but it's what you signed on to do when you took those vows. It doesn't matter if your spouse turns out to be a presidential candidate one day or just has a regular old job. Just stop doing it or using the language that implies it.