Friday, March 11, 2011

Assange fails masculinity test, or the gendering of impotence (by Suzie)

What can bring down the most dangerous man in the world? A little bit of latex.

After police interviewed Ms. W, a report was written that included Julian Assange's first attempt at sex with her: He had made out "heavily" with her in public. Back at her apartment, however, the excitement was gone. They brushed their teeth.
When they went back in the bedroom Julian stood in front of [Ms. W] and grabbed her hips and pushed her demonstratively down on the bed, as if he was a real man.
He didn't want to use a condom, but she insisted.
They carried on for hours and Julian couldn't get a full erection. Suddenly Julian said he was going to go to sleep. She felt rejected and shocked. It came so suddenly, they'd had a really long foreplay and then nothing. She asked what was wrong, she didn't understand. He pulled the blanket over himself, turned away from her, and fell asleep. She went out and got her fleece blanket because she was cold. She lay awake a long time wondering what had happened and exchanged SMS [text] messages with her friends. He lay beside her snoring.
It's no wonder that Nick Davies of the Guardian cut short this part, saying only that Assange had "lost interest." In a previous post, I quoted his editor, David Leigh, saying: "Nick left out a lot of graphic and damaging material in the allegations because he thought it would be too cruel [to Assange] to publish them."

Omitting this information, however, omits a good explanation for why Assange might have used force and trickery, as his accusers say, to avoid wearing a condom or to damage one enough that the head of his penis could poke out.

I figured "lost interest" was a euphemism for failing to maintain an erection, but I couldn't find the full transcripts online until last week, when I stumbled upon them on a site venomous to the women. Instead of discrediting the women, however, the full transcripts indicate how sad, angry, disgusted and bewildered the women were, even before they found out about each other.

We already know that Ms. A called her experience the worst sex ever. In another interview, a colleague of Ms. W remembered the gist of her text messages: "That it had been bad sex, that Julian was nuts. That she has to go test herself because of his long foreplay."

Even though the Guardian went soft on Assange, he was still furious that the guys would publish leaked government documents. How could he possibly have predicted that? On March 2, I wrote about how he said the Guardian journalists had failed his "masculinity test" by acting like "gossiping schoolgirls," according to Private Eye.

In my masculinity test, the less masculinity, the better. I certainly don't measure men by their hard-ons. But in Assange's 1950s version of a masculinity test, I'm guessing you don't score too high if you can't score. You can't get hard despite rolling around with a beautiful blond Swedish woman about 15 years younger than you? That has got to be an automatic F, if not a WTF.

Like W, I didn't understand the first time a man couldn't come in bed. He fell asleep, perhaps on top of me -- I can't remember. But I do remember blaming myself. He was older, and the next week, I discovered that he was an alcoholic who often drank until he passed out. This wasn't Assange's problem; there are plenty of reasons why a man can't get it up. I'd like a special shout-out to two good friends who had prostate surgery last year, as well as friends felled by antidepressants.

Impotent means powerless, but I rarely hear anyone use it to describe women. Women who lack power are still women, and for some men, they are more feminine if they are weak and need protection. But a powerless man, a man who isn't dominant, may find himself compared to a woman. The idea that men can prove their power by f*cking women is a dangerous concept that fuels rape culture. As long as men use "girl" and "woman" as an epithet, we will not have equality.

Assange seems in a state of homosexual panic, as defined by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, the queen of queer theory. Because he spends so much time working with men, he may feel the need to differentiate himself from gay men.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, once his closest colleague, close enough that they shared a bed at times, both praises and criticizes Assange in his book "Inside WikiLeaks." Assange and some supporters have snickered about his masculinity. For example, Ramon Glazov calls D-B a pussy in the Exiled.
And just in case you didn’t know what a perfectly bland, politically-correct teacher’s pet he is, Domscheit-Berg dedicates his book to “My wife Anke, who is my equal.”
What an insult! D-B is equal to a woman, not like Assange, who Glazov calls "a genuine Ubermensch."

In other Assange news, he's in a tizzy that Steven Spielberg bought the rights to D-B's book as well as "WikiLeaks: Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy" by the Guardian's David Leigh and Luke Harding. (Assange used "tizzy" to describe the complaints of his Swedish accusers.)

I wonder if Assange trademarking his name will affect the movie. Perhaps the filmmakers can use one of his pseudonyms, as described by Domscheit-Berg. My favorite is "Julian D'Assange," a name befitting such a drama queen.

I vote for Tilda Swinton (in the photo above) to play him in the movie being produced by DreamWorks. Like Assange, she has performed as a man before. She was one of the suggestions from the Guardian, as was Jon Inman, if he were still alive. The lanky Neil Patrick Harris would also be a good choice. I like the idea of a gay actor playing Assange.

ETA: I've written a lot on Assange. An easy way to see my past posts is to go to Feminist Blogs. If you know anyone who is writing regularly on the rape case from a feminist perspective, please leave the link in comments. I've seen essays here and there, but nothing comparable to the widespread and daily antifeminist stuff. Assange partisan Greg Mitchell gets paid to write a daily roundup of news on WikiLeaks for the Nation, and he'll include laughable crap like Glazov's piece, but not feminist analysis unless it's in a major publication.