Nancy Hartsock and Catharine MacKinnon might have a hard time agreeing with each others take on sexuality. Hartsock seems to express concern that sex is always going to be an experience that is violent for women because men are brutal by nature, but MacKinnon argues that if women were to express their sexuality more and became more aggressive then rape would not even be acknowledged as rape, it would just be sex. MacKinnon believes that it is womens resistance to sex that causes rape. She thinks that men and women actually want the same thing from each other. She insinuates that women love the violation (or female masochism) just as men love to violate them during sexual encounters. She believes men would be less likely to force women to have sex if more women became aggressive lovers and had more sex with them.
Hartsock is a bit more passive in her explanation of why she sees men as assailants of womens bodies in sexual relationships. I think Hartsock would find MacKinnon’s theory false for the most part, not only would she see it as lacking in content that focused on womens bodies as instruments of production—because of child-rearing capabilities, but because MacKinnon lets men off the hook for their brutal nature and places the blame squarely on women, I think she would think MacKinnon’s argument was sexist.
MacKinnon focuses on her issue with sexuality much more directly by comparing it to pornography. Pornography, she explains, is made mainly for men, it is what men want to see in order to become sexually aroused, and what they want to see is women objectified, abused, used, degraded or defiled. MacKinnon theorizes that there is no such thing as rape because all of it is rape or it would not be sex. At least not sex that a man would be interested in. She even goes so far as to say that for gender to be fully understood than you have to look at the hierarchy of the sexes as being unequal so that men will be able to become aroused.
Both women speak about the boundaries that women face, but Hartsock takes a more timid approach to explaining what that actually means for womens sexuality. For Hartsock, women become nurturing to help their children grow, but men experience death with life because once the sperm leaves their bodies it is no longer a part of him. Women, on the other hand, experience the body with a material life that grows and becomes a unity of mind and soul within them. She theorizes that mens roles with childbirth are impersonal and so the experience for them becomes a complete dismissal from the detachment. Hartsock’s theory focuses on this reasoning and adds that this is why men refuse to feel empathy for other beings like women do.
MacKinnon, however, would dismiss much of Hartsock’s theory because, for her, it would lack relevance. She sees the reproductive process as secondary to mens reasons for sex. She says if it was the primary reason then sex would not be repeated with such frequency. MacKinnon infers that sex would only happen a couple times a month if it was the primary cause. I don’t know if she thinks it’s the primary cause for women to have sex or not though. However, I don’t think she would see that argument as relevant either. MacKinnon actually states that S & M is to sex what war is to capitalism. Profound and accurate.
After reading the last two womens theories I have decided that feminism means that women are free to choose what and whom they want, but in reality it will always be the man who chooses what and whom they want to want them.