Social Justice Through the Back Door

To understand the mind of a social justice activist, you must understand that their minds are enslaved to their Id.  One clear indication of this is the manner in which social justice activists are obsessed with sexual behavior.

A groundbreaking social justice article appeared a few years back in the American Journal of Sexuality Education written by Susan Stiritz and Jonathan Branfman.  The article is entitled, Teaching Men’s Anal Pleasure: Challenging Gender Norms with “Prostage” Education.

No, it’s not another hoax.  This is social justice “scholarship.”

Here’s the abstract:

To help students critique sex/gender norms, sexuality educators should address men’s anal pleasure. Men’s anal receptivity blurs accepted binaries like male/female, masculine/feminine, and straight/queer. By suppressing men’s receptivity, the taboo against men’s anal pleasure helps legitimize hegemonic sex/gender beliefs—and the sexism, homophobia, and male dominance they encourage. Conversely, by deconstructing men’s anal taboo and creating a new language of anal pleasure—“prostage” (pro-STAHJ)—educators can help students challenge restrictive gender norms. We base this argument on an anonymous, online, mixed methods survey we conducted with 228 undergraduate men, as well as existing literature on men’s anal sexuality.

Let’s take a look at some excerpts from this social justice brilliance below the fold.

First, the social justice activists have their eyes on teaching “men’s anal pleasure” to high school students:

While past analyses of men’s anal taboo have enriched academic discussions of gender, there has been little (if any) focus on translating theory to practice. To bridge this gap, we propose that sexuality educators employ the topic of men’s anal pleasure as a tool for social change. We offer two strategies for teaching students about men’s receptive anal sexuality as a prompt to critical reflection on gender: 1) deconstructing men’s anal taboo through historical and theoretical analysis and 2) creating new language—“prostage” (pro-STAHJ, sounds like “massage)—to facilitate easier discussion of men’s anal sexuality. We envision prostage education within high school classes, university courses, and adult sexuality education workshops—as well as articles, informational videos such as Bend Over Boyfriend (1998), and other media.

They would like to teach this to children “well before puberty” but admit that it would be a “a hot-button issue in America.”  For now.

The key thing to note about the article is that it is not scholarship.  What we have here is activism dressed up in terminology to make it appear scholarly.  In other words, cargo cult scholarship.  Y’see, true scholarship is about discovery.  A scholar attempts to discover new knowledge.  That, in of itself, is the goal.  Activism begins with the belief that true knowledge is known and its goal is to seek social change, using the supposed knowledge merely as a means to an end.

In this paper, it’s clear that Stiritz has this agenda:

While the stigma on men’s anal pleasure plainly shapes behavior, it may be less evident how this stigma also shapes gender identities and hierarchies of Downloaded by [Washington University in St Louis], [Susan Ekberg Stiritz] at 08:55 16 December 2012 Men’s Anal Pleasure 415 privilege. Below, we analyze how men’s anal taboo relates to broader issues of gender and power and why challenging this taboo can help promote social change.

Y’see, the goal here is not discovery.  The goal is to use this “education” as something to “help promote social change.”

Emboldened by their ideology, the authors plainly state the sneaky and subversive essence of their proposed high-school  “education”:

While prostage education cannot realistically abolish sexual ideology, we hope to complicate sexual categories in order to flatten the hierarchy they currently form. Education on men’s anal pleasure can facilitate this project because it challenges the “naturalness” of current sexual categories and the ways they distribute social power. To use a metaphor, prostatic pleasure is a wrench in the machinery, obstructing the smooth and automatic operation of the Western sex/gender system.

And I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know the authors buy into the crackpot notion that anatomical sex is a social construct:

Today, Western cultures work hard to maintain that only two anatomical sexes exist, male and female……On the basis of anatomical sex, Westerners build the cultural ideal of two polarized gender identities, man and woman, assumed to be natural, “opposite, complementary, unequal, and heterosexual” (Pascoe, 2007, p. 27). Like categories of anatomical sex, gender is also a social creation.

And again, pay attention how the focus here is not on intellectual discovery, but on how this “education” can bring about changes in our culture.

Thus, men’s “anal eroticism subverts categories and complicates norms of gender and power” that our society wishes to stabilize (Guss, 2010, p. 125; emphasis in the original). This challenge not only undermines accepted hierarchies of power and privilege but also upsets people’s lifelong understandings of themselves, their bodies, and their society.

We concur. By challenging conventional knowledge and the conventional gender order, prostage could potentially throw doubt on all types of limiting norms, including the notion that penetration (physical or metaphorical) is the only respectable means of relating to others. This reflection may influence how we behave as individuals, romantic partners, citizens, and global actors.

This is activism and not scholarship.

The authors conclude that teaching young men to enjoy anal sex is one way to further social justice:

As a launch pad for discussion, prostage education could perhaps play a significant role in furthering equality and justice in our society.

This concluding sentence nicely captures the non-scholarly nature of the paper.  It’s not about playing a role that helps us get closer to the truth.  The goal is all about a socio-political agenda – “furthering equality and justice in our society.”

Anyway, if you think about it, what we have here is a purity/sincerity  test that can be used on male members of the social justice movement.  Just how receptive are they to anal sex?  If they are unwilling to experience the world of anal eroticism, doesn’t that mean they are needlessly clinging to taboos that are sexist and homophobic?  That they are not being sincere and honest in their concerns for social justice?  That they refuse to purge residual elements of sexism and homophobia from their pysche?  The logic seems clear.  If you are a male member of the social justice movement, you need to bend over for the cause.  Otherwise, you are a pretender.

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4 Responses to Social Justice Through the Back Door

  1. TFBW says:

    I see what you did there with that title.

    I don’t know whether we’ve done this link before, but it seems highly appropriate, so here’s Jonathan Haidt’s presentation on “Two Incompatible Sacred Values in American Universities” — the two values being Truth and Change (activism). One hour of your life well spent.

  2. Dhay says:

    H/T Jerry Coyne, whose “What’s the goal of “women’s studies”?” blog post alerts us to a paper entitled “Women’s Studies as Virus: Institutional Feminism and the Projection of Danger”:

    This paper theorizes that one future pedagogical priority of women’s studies is to train students not only to master a body of knowledge but also to serve as symbolic “viruses” that infect, unsettle, and disrupt traditional and entrenched fields.

    Or, to severely over-summarise, the (or a) goal of “women’s studies” — and I presume its like — is to stimulate thought.

    Perhaps women’s studies could, now and in the future, embrace as a true accomplishment the infection of traditional spaces both within and outside the academy. It has, in part, already done so, but we argue that women’s studies could push this political position even further. For example, resituating women’s studies as an exuberant contagion, one that disregards a pre-determined canon of thought and instead prioritizes a fusion of activism and scholarship, could transform its self-understanding and political priorities.

    [pdf p. 95]

    Reckon this is also happening with the whole SJW field, including “homosexual men’s studies”?

  3. Dhay says:

    H/T Jerry Coyne again, whose 20 May 2017 blog post “UCLA pays students to advocate social justice and “educate their peers”” reports that university is taking on 8-10 students paid to serve as “Social Justice Advocates” who will “educate” their peers about “systems [of] oppression.”

    I note that the application form reportedly asked applicants to list their preferred gender pronouns (such as “zi” and “hir”); and being a cynic, I reckon that’s probably not so that the preferred courtesy title can be given each student in interview and letters, it’ll be there to quickly discard those applicants who don’t use “zi”, “xi”, “xer”, “hir” etc, those who don’t being probably — probably certainly — too heteronormative for the role.


    A question comes to mind: will these student SJA’s be following the advocacy advice recommended in that Teaching Men’s Anal Pleasure: Challenging Gender Norms with “Prostage” Education” paper referred to in this thread’s OP?

  4. pennywit says:

    In … high school? Has high school sex ed changed that much in the last couple decades? When I was a kid, sex ed was basically, “Here’s how the biology works, here are ways to prevent the transmission of STDs, and oh, by the way, don’t do anything unless your partner consents.”

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