A feminist friend of LoyarBurok was asked by email if she thought the Ask Lord Bobo column “What to get your man for Christmas” was sexist. Here is her reply. She has asked to remain anonymous as it may affect her job, and because the comments were sent off the cuff as an email from a friend to a friend. Yet, we thought the points raised were thought provoking enough to reproduce as is. The annotated column appears below the article.
Sigh. Using sex for humour is often tricky and risky, and I think this is one example of why.
Because of the nature of sex and how talking about it often makes people feel uncomfortable or self-conscious, something like this is likely to cause discomfort or offence even if it isn’t clearly sexist. People might label it sexist because they can’t pinpoint what their discomfort or indignation is attributable to in more precise terms.
So I’ve tried my best to set aside any prudishness, and think objectively about whether this piece is sexist.
And my conclusion is that it is sexist. Primarily because it is sexist towards women, by objectifying them ie making them into sex objects, as though their primary value is as givers of Fellatio, and if their male partners don’t think they are good at it, they will be ditched.
So I quite agree that the article does not imply that women are “only good” for Fellatio. But the point is not so much that women are “only good for” Fellatio, because they can be good at other stuff too.
The point is that the article is basically saying that what their partners value them for in the relationship (and therefore what women must be good at) is as givers of Fellatio, so if they don’t give Fellatio satisfactorily, their partners will look elsewhere.
Secondarily, because it is sexist towards men, as it makes men look as though all they have on their minds all the time is Fellatio (as opposed to only 90% of the time? But ahh, that is a sexist remark. :-p). However, I am curious if you will hear any feedback about it being sexist towards men.
“Can you please advise if it is actually wrong and gender discriminatory? Is the entire concept wrong, or the continued use of the word, or what? Is it completely sexist to suggest that men appreciate woman who perform oral sex, and can this not be written about at all?”
I don’t have any issue with pieces that talk about sex, or Fellatio, or something suggesting that men appreciate women who perform [“give” sounds better :)] oral sex, but I think here the piece goes quite a ways beyond that. As I mentioned, it’s pretty tough to talk about sex and be funny and still not be sexist.
Is it mostly women who are critical of the piece? Any men? I wonder what the reaction would be if the roles were reversed, ie a piece about a guy giving a gal Cunnilingus for Christmas. Are the famous jokes about men who are “cunning linguists” sexist?
I’ve interspersed some more specific comments throughout the piece, below. Aiyo, so many stereotypes lah! To me something like this is really what I would (stereotypically) call a “boys-will-be-boys” piece, using sex to draw laughs and throwing in a lot of stereotypes for extra “value”.
Sorry not to give this a clean bill of non-sexist health. Hope my comments are helpful.
The annotated article:
What to get your man for Christmas (The Malaysian Insider version)
DECEMBER 20, 2013
Lord Bobo, my boyfriend is a second-year lawyer, and I can’t figure out what to get him for Christmas. You seem to have some lawyer friends. Any ideas? (Clueless in Seputeh, via email)
Dear Clueless in Seputeh,
Thank you for your thoughtful question, which is entirely suitable for an awe-inspiring intellect and uncanny if not entirely spellbinding emotional intelligent being with vast experience of life, law, double entrendes, and other unspeakably sensual incidences.
Since this is a timeless question (as there will always be second-year lawyers with girlfriends who have no idea what to get their man for Christmas), we shall address it. [COMMENT: homocentric – assumes Clueless is a gal :-D]
Your use of the phrase “what to get him” suggests you are thinking along the usual line of acquiring some popular, cool or novel consumer product to satisfy his Christmas right to a gift.
We would suggest you think out of the box (or dress, or negligee, whatever) and dispense with the usual Christmas shopping madness and instead consider doing him something, or simply just doing him good. [COMMENT: homocentric – assumes Clueless is a gal, unless you want to argue that ALB was being super progressive and allowing for the possibility that Clueless-guy is a cross-dresser :-D]
For example, you could do something unheard of by young urban women (which we assume you are instead of some 53-year old Bangsar cougar driving a BMW Z3), such as giving him a foot massage (or fellatio), then set out the deliciously cooked meal you have been slaving over throughout the day (or fellatio) and then cuddling with him while feasting on the latest X-Art video clips he downloaded throughout the whole of last week (or fellatio).
* entrenches stereotypes re women cooking and “slaving” and that that is their role, and re guys being hopeless X-Art video addicts (whatever those are!)
* entrenches stereotypes that all men like Fellatio (whether or not true) and that givers of Fellatio generally don’t
Forget what those rubbish “Top 10 gifts to get him this Christmas” articles say – those are just barely-disguised advertorials.
Sometimes, all a second-year male lawyer needs is something thoughtful done for him (and/or fellatio).
Okay, it doesn’t even have to be all that intimate if your relationship isn’t ready for that – you could clean his apartment/room or take his car to be thoroughly detailed (or fellatio).
COMMENT: aicks, more stereotypes!
Ultimately, you will (or you really should) know best what your boyfriend craves and needs. And if you are so creatively bankrupt, there’s always fellatio.
COMMENT: do men really really not mind being cast as so Fellatio crazy?
All right, all right, we know that all this fellatio talk will undoubtedly get many people upset (mostly women who aren’t good at fellatio).
COMMENT: implies women who are offended by this piece aren’t good at Fellatio, when women and men should all be offended because it is sexist talk
You asked, and we answered. But hey, if you’re not into fellatio for whatever reason (because there’s no way your boyfriend is not into it), there are other options.
You could do what 90% of urban mankind does – get him some gift you think he will surely like, but which he will surely not.
Or perhaps get him something you think is cute that he might like, but he will almost definitely hate and will just dump in that drawer full of random gifts from his list of ex-girlfriends (a list you will soon be on).
COMMENT: sexist against guys – if a woman isn’t good at Fellatio the guy won’t be interested in her – and again objectifies women and casts them as sex objects, because defines her value in terms of whether her partner thinks she is good at Fellatio
Maybe you can do what some women do to “ensure” that he will like the gift – ask him what he wants for Christmas, take him out to buy it, and therefore ensuring an entirely anti-climactic feel to the gift-giving process.
Sure he’ll get something he wanted (well, second on the list after fellatio), and you’re relieved because you got him something he will definitely like, but there is no magic of surprise, no tension of anticipation, no mystery to come.
COMMENT: deliberate play on words? I’ve never really been a fan of using sex to draw laughs, at least not in a setting other than one of intimacy between (generally) two persons
It’s like those lame employers who declare a “half-day” on the eve of a public holiday – agreeable, yes, better than nothing, but somewhat lacking.
If you really are that lazy and uncreative, and need a specific gift suggestion, then His Supreme Eminenceness can guarantee that any male second-year lawyer would appreciate receiving a pair of LoyarBurok cufflinks.
COMMENT: Sokong! Coz I bought a pair, probably to give away, didn’t I?
Nothing says power, love, competence, intelligence, romance, and sheer sensual legal ecstasy than having a pair of cufflinks with Lord Bobo’s most beautiful and all-knowing visage on them – though we must point out that it is just an artistic representation of Lord Bobo, as no human knows what His Supreme Eminenceness actually looks like.
Anyway, these cufflinks have been on sale to select individuals with strong connections since November, but have not been officially launched on LoyarBarang.com yet. Good things come to those who wait (this may or may not apply to fellatio).
However, you can purchase a pair by going on a great journey, a mission worthy of this most sought-after gift.
Google the location of Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok in Bangsar Utama and head over there, overcome the challenge of locating a parking spot (or take the LRT), hike up four flights of stairs (a hike which symbolises the rakyat’s struggles), gather your courage to walk past the harmless-but-topless Indian man on the second floor, enter Lord Bobo’s earthly base, find your way to the Chief Executive Minion (or one of her minions), and boldly ask: “Eh, where to buy the LB cufflinks ah?”
Make the purchase and give the gift (please note that there are no gift-wrapping services at the LoyarBurok Rakyat Centre, and certainly no fellatio).
Your man will be yours forever. Or at least until next Christmas.
COMMENT: Poor fella, must wait until Christmas and gift time to get Fellatio? Makes it sound as though women are very reluctant to give Fellatio, or they are always holding out on this, plus again casts everything in the light of Fellatio and women as sex objects.
Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate your questions by either emailing [email protected] or tweeting your question, mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #AskLordBobo.
Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! – December 20, 2013.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.