Marquis de Sade is the eighteenth-century author for whom the term “sadism” is named. Though the word has become synonymous with a kink movement often described as “empowering,” “sex-positive,” and “consensual,” there was nothing sexy about Marquis de Sade’s unreadable prose, which described in detail the excruciating rape and torture of women, young boys and girls, and infants. In his books, tales of very much not-consensual sexual assaults are outnumbered by even more gruesome accounts of burning people alive, cutting off limbs, ripping open bellies and pulling out entrails (often while “libertines” masturbate to the spectacle).
In 1785, he wrote a story in which eight virgin boys, recruited “for their beauty,” are cross-dressed and anally raped. In the same story, their torturer cuts out the intestines of a boy and a girl, swaps them, stitches the children back up, and watches them die.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the world tunes into a reality TV show featuring a boy who, at the age of four, unsnapped his onesie and arranged it in a way we’re to understand “looked like a dress.” Thus, the adults in his life, overcoming any fleeting skepticism they might have felt about the motivations of toddlers who fiddle with their clothing, took it as a sign of an undeniable and strong interest in the trappings of femininity that could only dictate a permanent redirection of the course of his life.
He was thus set on a path of lifelong cross-dressing, medication, and public social pressure that would keep him virginal, fashionable, pretty, and open to the idea of having his genitals removed and parts of his stomach excised to form a different, more fuckable set of genitals in its place.
Marquis de Sade’s writing became known in the context of its appalling affront to morality. The author would no doubt literally get off on how things have changed (and would love to get his hands on Jazz, too, I suspect).
And although the “allies” swallowing the new paradigm are less sadists, and more confused by the capitalist propaganda machine that materially benefits from pushing fashion, pharmaceuticals and plastic surgery onto an entirely new and exploitable demographic, the culture in which this shift occurs is the same: a patriarchy that values youth and virginity; and a porn-saturated sexual landscape that loves gender norms and privileges erection as the gold standard of sexuality, even, and especially, at the cost of the pleasure of the submissives that it chooses and trains for its pillaging.