Sex dolls & the unmanning of Bradley

Too right!

A regular column by John Black.

Man using blow-up sex doll as a flotation device

One can imagine the scene. Group of blokes on a fishing trip in the back of beyond. A few beers at the end of the day. Kev the ?dag? of the group opens his rucksack and pulls out a mysterious bundle. ?Meet Cindy? he announces as he starts to blow up his pneumatic friend. Hoots of laughter from all assembled as she slowly assumes her aerodynamic best. Kev tosses her to Stu, who gives her a mock spanking. Stu plonks her on Murray who bounces her on his crotch. Then Stevo pulls out?his phone and starts filming.

Something like the above occurred not long ago on an annual fishing trip organised by trades tutors at the Waikato Institute of Technology (WINTEC). Blokeish, immature and sub-Benny Hill comedically, but neither atypical for men letting loose together nor harmful in any obvious way. ?No one was harmed in the making of this film??

That is until some spiteful prude furnished management with a copy.

A four-month investigation over ?serious misconduct by some Wintec staff”. Not the ringleader being hauled into the boss?s office and reminded of boundaries, reputations and responsibilities for the moulding of youth. No, four months of puritan poking about, school marmish concern for who exactly had stopped off at a ?Peaches and Cream? store before going camping.

The mainstream press reaction has been similarly hysterical and I use that adjective purposefully.

The NZ Herald, Newstalk ZB and the Aussie Daily Mail all made it clear that it was a group of ?male tutors? who were ?understood to be drinking alcohol?. Men drinking alcohol! On a fishing trip! Perfidy of perfidies!

But then the soberer Stuff website revealed that there were also three women in attendance?one being the naughty harlot (sorry liberated, self actualised woman) who had actually brought the sex doll.

And a few vibrators as well.

So, Kev mate you?re off the hook.

And you might want to try to be there when her batteries run out.

Is it pure coincidence that the NZ Herald and Daily Mail by-lines were female and the Stuff one was male?

This overreaction and tying it to the assumed gender of the participants smacks of a fear of male sexuality. Normal male sexuality. Sex, as anyone who has misspelt ?bandage? when googling will know, has some very dark byways. Humour about it all reminds us of our absurd position ? animals with fleshy desires that embarrass our souls. A feminist reading would no doubt have it that these men (God knows what contortions it would take to include the women) were objectifying the female form. Well yes and no. Men know a blow-up woman is a poor simulacrum of the real thing and while objectification is in some sense necessary for sex to happen at all (that?s why we actually touch each other and not merely stare longingly into each other?s eyes quoting Shakespearian sonnets) it would be a harsh judgement on these men to suggest they thought there was no more to it than that. And an even harsher judgement on their wives and girlfriends.

Fear of the potency of male desire pervades our culture at the moment. Linked to ?toxic masculinity? (of bloody course) and a sense of male entitlement, this fear fuels the worse excesses of the me-too movement where the misplaced hand of a beau (or a particularly well placed one) can spark a harpy shriek of sexual assault. It is proper that law and social convention patrol male sexuality preventing harassment and worse, but let?s have a little respect for the urge that is, after all, responsible for us being here.

This week a figure graces these shores whose struggle with their sexual identity mirror these fears. Bradley Manning championed by the Left for exposing the recklessness of certain U.S military actions (most notably the Granai airstrike in Afghanistan) has been transformed via hormone therapy into ?Chelsea? Manning. (An aside: I?m in accord with the Boss, Mr Slater on the matter of Manning?s visa? let the ?lady? come, after the recent anti-free speech acts of the Left, we have the moral high ground and we should not cede it.) That he was a confused young man at the time who acted with high minded foolishness in exposing not only diplomatic cables that could harm his own country but coded communication that could endanger embedded U.S spies appears forgotten. What matters to progressives is that he shrugged off his macho military fatigues to emerge butterfly like as a champion of feminine pacifism. Its tempting to conclude that the only men some on the Left are comfortable with are those who (as ?Chelsea? is no doubt intending to do) fully emasculate themselves, keeping their balls in a glass jar on the mantlepiece where they can do no harm.