Anita Sarkeesian runs this amazing vlog on youtube called Feminist Frequency. In a line in her video, The Evil Demon Seductress, she says, “The harmful misogynist myth that this trope reinforces is that women primarily use their so-called sexual power as a way to manipulate, trick and control men.”
The fact that she used the word “so-called” before “sexual power” meant that she does not really believe that women have a sexual power. Women’s “sexual power” is so obviously non-existent to her that she does not even think of explaining it.
Consider a normal human woman, ‘A’, and a normal human man ‘B.’ Now, A can hold power over B only if B finds her sexually attractive. Maybe, A does not even think that she is sexy. Maybe, A is just going around her day, minding her own business, and B is thinking that A is so sexually attractive, he is unfulfilled as long as he does not sleep with her. Therefore, he becomes powerless and she, the holder of the key to sex, becomes powerful. She can make him do anything she wants now in exchange for sex.
Imagine a different scenario, where a man did not want sex and a woman would do anything for him in return for sex. Would that make the man powerful? No. Because, he would not need the woman to do anything for him. A woman needs a man to get things done for her. A man is self-fulfilling.
Except for when he wants to have sex. Woman can do one thing for man and have man do everything else for her. Hence, woman becomes more powerful. Note, that women are powerful not by their own right, not by getting things done by themselves, but by having the one thing that MAN wants. She is powerful because a transfer of power takes place from man to her.
Woman, usually powerless, becomes powerful in the face of sex; man, usually powerful, becomes powerless in the face of sex. A man who does not need sex would not need anything else, he already has everything else. A woman needing sex would not have anything to offer to such a man. She has nothing else to offer. A transfer of power cannot occur.
“Sexually powerful woman” discourse assumes that power lies with a heterosexual man.
When you say that a woman is more powerful than a man because of her sexuality, you mean that a straight man has all the power, and a beautiful, sexy woman can take that away from him.
In a real life scenario, men can get some things done, and women can get some things done. That is how normal human beings work. Men, sexually attracted to women, keep doing things for them hoping to get sex in return. They do not.
Man does not understand that a real life woman does not need him to do things for her; unlike fictional women, she can do them herself. A normal human woman, not being desperately in need for man to do things for her, gets outraged by the idea that she is expected to date a man in return for some favors. Favors done by the man are a small deal to her as she can do several of them herself. In movies, the femme fatale does not mind taking part in sexual activities in exchange for getting the favors because she cannot do them by herself.
How do you know when a certain scenario is sexist? When a woman ultimately needs a man, to be successful in her endeavors.
Author’s Note: There are 11 paragraphs. All the assumptions stated from the 4th to the 7th paragraph are assumptions made by the “sexually powerful woman” discourse. They are not my personal thoughts and they are not true. In the 9th and 10th paragraphs, I am not talking about every man, and not even most men, but men who truly believe in the “sexually powerful woman” discourse.