We often think of countries that require women to wear a veil as keeping women powerless. In Muslim countries, the purdah keeps female beauty hidden, only to be shown to the selected few – who were invariably good providers. This prevented the average man from even looking at the average woman until he promised to protea and provide for her and her children for life (i. e., marriage). And until the man does this, he is deprived of her (and she of him) while traveling, eating, worshiping, etc. Her love, her nurturance, her affeaion, her cheers, even her smile, were made conditional – until he demonstrated willingness to provide, protea, and risk death for her This got almost all women, not just the beautiful ones, proteaed by someone

In the Middle East, female sex and beauty are to Middle Eastern men what oil and gas are to Americans: the shorter the supply, the higher the price. The more women "gave" sex away for free, or for a small payment, the more the value of every woman’s prize would be undermined. . . which is why anger toward prostitution, purdah violation (removing the veil), and porno­graphy runs so deep, especially among women. It is also why parents told daughters, "Don’t be cheap ” "Cheap" sex floods the market.

Think of this in reverse form, if women had to promise to provide for a man for a lifetime before he removed his veil and showed her his smile, would we think of this as a system of female privilege?

To this day, when we talk about someone giving sexual favors, we never speak of the man’s sexual favor; therefore only women expea something in return. Billions of dollars are spent by men every year to uncover women’s bodies, while men who expose theirs are put in prison. We call her exposure a centerfold, his Ls exhibitionism, we give her money, him a prison sentence Her sexual power meant sexual payments. He learned to earn more to pay more; so he was surprised when he was told his need to earn more was a refleaion of his greater power.

Are Power, Patriarchy, Dominance, and Sexism Actually Code Words? 65 Sex In alternating supply, American style

In the United States, when feminists in the late 1960s believed women’s economic freedom would lead to women’s economic abundance, they advocated sexual freedom When it was discovered that divorces led to economic obligation, feminists, fundamentalists, and women’s magazines all moved toward closing off sexual freedom. Headlines in Cosmopolitan read "Sex: Make Him Earn It"52 even before the herpes scare. A careful analysis of the sexual revolution’s decline helps us see why, if it hadn’t been herpes and AIDS, it would have been something else.53

This need for economic security preceding female sexual openness is probably unconsciously reinforced by our tradition of a man taking a woman out for dinner and drinksyfrs/. The more traditional the woman, the more dinners, the more drinks, and the less she feels sexually open until she receives a commitment – in essence, a commitment from him providing for life.