In Burn This, currently in revival at the Hudson Theatre, male force is the prelude, perhaps even the key, to female seduction. Here’s how I explain it: to be socialized as female is to be told that a man knows your desire better than you do. If what a man wants to do is force you to kiss him, who are you to say you don’t want to be kissed? If what a man wants to do is hurt you, who are you to say you don’t want to be hurt? I do not mean to deny female agency; I mean to contextualize it. Can a woman willingly submit to a man? Yes, and in any number of ways. But she inevitably does so under the umbrella of patriarchy, her desires not defined, but in some way colored, by its shadow.
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