On Monday, I was on the Gavin McInnes Show, which is hosted on the subscribers only Anthony Cumia network, so Gavin can pretty much say any damn thing he likes. It’s fun being on his show. I rucked up the $8/mo fee, and subscribed, and I was listening to the show yesterday when Gavin asked an interesting question: are there women who might benefit from being slapped on occasion? He played a video clip of a song with the lyrics ‘he hit me and it felt like a kiss’ by the Crystals. Lana del Rey updated the song, calling it ‘Ultraviolence’.
Let me preface this column by saying my husband has never hit me in any context that wasn’t erotic and consensual. Tim has never made a move that even threatened or suggested he might be violent, but thinking about Gavin’s question made me realize that even though my husband has never, ever acted aggressively towards me in that way, I very much assume that he would, and further, that in certain situations, he should.
There are all kinds of reasons I don’t cheat on my husband, but an important one is that I assume he would beat the shit out of me if I ever did. And I would bloody well deserve it. There is an important distinction to be made between whether one should hit women versus do women ever deserve to be hit? Those are two entirely different questions. Let’s take the latter first. Do women ever ask for it?
Hell yeah. Bill Burr has a great skit about it:
I think about it like this: if I walk up to US Marine, throw the American flag at his feet and wipe my dirty boots off on it, I deserve to be punched in the mouth. Yes, it should be legal for me to do that. I don’t want to see free speech limited by rules around how you treat important symbols, but at the same time, I understand that wiping my boots on the Stars and Stripes in front of someone who has pledged his life to defend the freedom the flag represents is profoundly disrespectful, and deserving of complete and utter contempt, including a smack in the face.
Should it be legal to punch someone wiping their feet on a flag? No. If punching flag abusers was legal, that would effectively make abusing the flag (or any other symbol) illegal, because few people are going to engage in speech that guarantees they’re gonna get punched in the face. It should be a mitigating factor when it comes to meting out punishment, for certain. But it should not be legal to assault people, no matter how disrespectful they happen to be. It’s not illegal to be an asshole, nor should it be.
Let’s go back to the hitting women issue. There are many things I would simply never dream of doing to my husband, because I assume I would get a slap or worse, if I did. All of those things are linked to respect. To be clear: all of this comes from me. Tim has never said “Don’t ever think of doing x because I will hit you.” That has never happened. I just feel that he would, and he would be perfectly justified in doing so. There are a multitude of reasons I wouldn’t be disrespectful of my husband, especially in public. The possibility of taking a well-earned beating just happens to be one of them. It’s not even the most important reason, but it is a reason.
Fortunately, I am not a person who lives on drama and adrenaline, so I don’t go around inviting my husband to slap me by screaming at him in public or humiliating him by flirting with other men. But lots of women do. How much of domestic violence is caused by women pushing men into hitting them because that level of domination is familiar, and in a fucked up way, deeply erotic for the women?
Look at the lyrics to the Lana del Rey song – it’s exactly what she is talking about:
He used to call me DN
That stood for deadly nightshade
Cause I was filled with poison
But blessed with beauty and rage
Jim told me that
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
Jim brought me back
Reminded me of when we were kids
With his ultraviolence
I can hear sirens, sirens
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
I can hear violins, violins
Give me all of that ultraviolence
He used to call me poison
Like I was poison ivy
I could have died right there
Cause he was right beside me
Jim raised me up
He hurt me but it felt like true love
Jim taught me that
Loving him was never enough
Stephen Smith of ESPN got himself in a ton of hot water when he commented that women can and often do provoke men into violence. It’s not politically correct to say that, but I believe most women are exactly like me: they know precisely what they would have to do to provoke a violent response from their man. The choice is then relatively straight forward: do that thing and get hit, or don’t do that thing, and never get hit.
For lots of women, submission to a violent man is a bonding experience. A profound one. There are whole communities dedicated to ‘spanking your wife’ techniques. Most of these communities are pretty specific on the consensual aspects (don’t hit your wife if she doesn’t like it), but it’s incontrovertible that many women find violence erotic and even comforting. How many women feel this way, but have no way to articulate it, and thus end up provoking violence that can easily get out of hand?
Gavin wants to know why we can’t talk about women who might actually benefit from getting slapped every once and again. I’d kind of like to know, too, not just for the sake of titillation, but because being unwilling to talk about women who do indeed derive physical and emotional benefits from violence is dangerous. It’s dangerous for the women, who may provoke more violence and anger than they intend, and thus end up getting really hurt, and it’s dangerous for the men, who might carry out that violence, well beyond what is beneficial or wanted.
The solution is not to say ‘don’t hit women ever’. Women are adults, and they are allowed to like sexual domination and being spanked or hit by men. They are allowed to be fucked up drama queens who demand to be taken in hand violently. They are allowed to crave leadership, boundaries and enforcement. The key is to discuss it openly, and to understand provocation as a mitigating factor when the drama queen tries to use the violence she provoked to punish the man who has now disappointed her in some way.
Should it be legal to hit women? No. Should provocation be a mitigating factor? YES! Even to the point that provocation results in dismissed charges. Male violence towards women in intimate relationships is not nearly as straightforward as feminists and the law like to pretend it is. Women absolutely provoke violence from men, and I defy anyone to show me a woman who doesn’t understand what will push her man over the edge.
Most of us prefer to not cross the line, unless it’s in an explicitly erotic context. Women without the vocabulary or assumed authority to express their desires will still attempt to derive the benefits of male violence by provoking it. Deliberately. We could make that a safer experience for both men and women by talking about it.
Yes, Gavin, some women do benefit from being slapped around. Some women crave it. The truly frightening thing might be just how many women.
Lots of love,