When Bad News is Good News—Notes of a Feminist News Junkie

By Robin Morgan
Cross Posted from WMC May 23, 2011

WMC Cofounder Robin Morgan on surrealism and sexual predators.

Have you been feeling the urge to wave your arms wildly and yell “We are NOT making this up!”?

First, there was the pornography discovered in Osama bin Laden’s computers —and herbal Viagra found among his medicines. Media wags smirked he had to “satisfy” his youngest wife, Amal, the Yemeni who’d been married off to him (over objections from his other wives and even his mother) at age 15, when he was 43. Don’t you bet she’s enjoyed heaps of marital satisfaction? Pundits also wondered how his fundamentalist brand of Islam’s severe repression of women—imperative because we’re sexual Jezebels—could coexist with porn and sex drugs. After all, in his 2002 “Letter to the American People,” bin Laden sneered “You plaster your naked daughters across billboards to sell a product without any shame.”  (Had a point there.)  But exposing and commercializing the female body for male titillation and shrouding it as a movable bolt of cloth to protect men from “temptation”  are flip sides of the same coin. Neither bunny suits nor burkhas factor in what women want. Porn actually needs sexual repression and demonized women in order to proliferate. Take sexuality out from under a rock and let it dance amicably in the sunlight of equality—and porn loses its audience. So, sorry guys, bin Laden’s porn stash is no contradiction.

Then there was the (now former) French presidential candidate, millionaire Socialist, and International Monetary Fund executive—the one who seems to confuse himself with Berlusconi. Where to begin here? That Dominique Strauss-Kahn (for short, DKS), 62, managing director of the IMF, allegedly did to one African widow what the IMF does to her continent?  That a 32-year-old Guinean émigré working as a hotel chambermaid while trying to raise her daughter with dignity might not burn with the mutual lust DSK’s attorneys argue was—honest-to-god—consensual? That claiming this is a set-up by DSK’s French political rivals—mais c’est absurd? That the power elite boys in global business and European politics have dismissed what they drolly termed Strauss-Kahn’s “womanizing,” for decades? That being indicted for criminal sexual assault, attempted rape, forced oral sex, and unlawful imprisonment are not the peccadilloes French men are pooh-poohing as American puritanical exaggeration? Interestingly, French women don’t agree; 1000 feminists signed a petition that ran in Le Monde, denouncing DSK’s defenders and their “sudden rise of sexist and reactionary reflexes, so quick to surface among part of the French elite.”

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