Jarryd Blair’s shocker and a hurdy gurdy of double standards

Article by Lauren Rosewarne /
ABC The Drum /
March 18, 2011 /

Click here to view original /

From songs about infantilism and bisexuality through to that torch song staple of sexualised breastfeeding, Canadian electropunk musician Peaches is a vertiable treasure trove for a sex researcher like myself.

One of the Canadian’s better known songs is Rock the Shocker, a significantly salacious ditty narrating the controversial hand gesture Melbourne footballer Jarryd Blair recently apologised for. Blair daring to contort his fingers in a Peaches-like fashion has evidently stuck in somebody’s craw.

In an Age report detailing the Collingwood player’s regret, the article provided a handy line art diagram to show us just how the gesture works. At least digitally. Just to clear up any confusion between that gesture say, and anything Star Trek-ky. For those shunning Peaches’ how-to guide, in short, the Shocker is a genital manipulation done to a woman: two fingers in the vagina and the “shocker” being the little finger in the anus.

Truth be told the “shocker” name sits awkwardly with my politics: the little finger can only be shocking if there’s an element of surprise. (Personally I’m a stickler for consent when it comes to sex; personally I think “surprise” attached to anything from food to Julian Assange consistently spells trouble).

Of course, Blair wasn’t apologising for the technique’s horrible moniker. Nup, he was apologising for the proverbial offence he may have caused.

Never, not in a veritable month of Sundays, did I anticipate finding myself begging that we leave footballers alone. Just for a bit. But this intense probing of their every breath, every word, every liaison and every bloody hand gesture is hideously galling. Scrawl through the stills of anybody’s life and there’ll be imagery we’re not proud of. There’ll be something that offends somebody.

Not only does such unrelenting scrutiny of footballers trivialise their actual screw-ups, but worse, in cases like Blair’s hand gesture and we’re all supposed to actively go out and research what he was doing and then fabricate some outrage.

While I could question why we don’t all have better things to do, I’m even more inclined to admit that I actually quite like Blair’s display.

I like that in a climate so saturated with the things men do for sexual gratification, that we’re offered a taster of what they might do for their ladyfolk.

I like that in a Grand Final photo, there immortalised for generations of fans, is a footballer suggesting a sexual activity that only a woman could physically benefit from.

I like that once again highlighted is our hypocritical awkwardness about female sexual pleasure.

Yes, our culture is thoroughly intrigued by images of women’s sexual ecstasy. One even might say saturated by them. I suspect for example, that Black Swan only just eschewed a straight-to-video release because of that (ho-hum) cunnilingus scene. And as late night TV ads and internet porn a’plenty testifies, it’s the display we’re after. The performance. How women get there and we’re not all that concerned.

Unless it conflicts with our standard of what constitutes appropriate sexual expression for women.

Unless we’re forced to consider than women might actually like sex that deviates from the norm.

When it comes to the nitty gritty, the actual hurdy gurdy of what turns (some) women on, we all get a bit antsy. Apparently anything anal, anything non-missionary and we’d rather not hear about it. We certainly don’t want footballers telling us about it.

In a culture where highly sexualised and highly revolting expressions like “money shot” and “MILF” are used with gay abandon, what an interesting and yet oh so predictable double standard it is when we’re all awkward around a gesture referring to a woman’s pleasure.

© Lauren Rosewarne