by Kiersten Hallie Krum
I’d planned an entirely different post today and then this crossed Twitter feed.
Um. Wow. And also…What?!
I went from GIMME to CREEPY in a New York minute, but then I settled down to read the particulars and turned fully into hmmmmm. This is what snagged my attention: “That’s when we realized male-strippers are hand-me-down fantasies.”
I’m amused by the smug judgmental diss at the end of the ManServants video: “Ladies, if you hate your friend–and yourself–get her a stripper.” I’m all about empowering women and particularly empowering them to claim their sexuality. I’m just not convinced a male strip tease where the dude is all over you like A Night at the Roxbury does that.
Stripping isn’t organically a female fantasy, but one essentially reclaimed from men. Don’t get me wrong, we like to see guys take their kit off. (Boy. Howdy.) But male stripping as entertainment is something women have appropriated from the original male fantasy and it has very different power dynamics then its female counterpart. A bachelorette gig at a male strip club–sorry, male revue club–can be a damn good time, but it’s ultimately not so different from a trip to Medieval Times only with less clothes and no horse shit.
Well, no actual horse shit.
The ManServants web site makes it clear that’s not what they’re about. Based in San Francisco and opened for business this fall, ManServants initially positions itself as an antidote to any woman stuck on the…horns of a stripper dillema. Its raison d’être is to empower women in order to give them an experience that makes them feel worshiped and adored.
ManServants aren’t about what men think women want, or about women acting like men and objectifying men—it’s about the fantasy of finally getting the royal treatment. It’s about adoration, not domination.
With ManServants we want to empower women to define what’s sexy and make their own rules. Rules that a ManServant may then follow.
Sounding better by the minute. Though there’s still a whole “obedience” issue going on there so in that sense, somebody’s being dominated. But wait! How does an enterprising, charming, woman-loving, hot dude get to become a ManServant? So glad you asked!
As a general footnote, this is not an adult entertainment service. No nudity or illegal activities will be permitted. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not send us naked photographs. Your penis will not get you a job, but a great smile and winning personality will. Do not consider applying if you have ever been called the following: douchebag, sexual offender, sexist, creeper, nut job, weirdo, or convicted felon.
I would now like to go do tequila shots with the founders of ManServants. They had me at “your penis will not get you a job.”
ManServants can act as chauffeur, bodyguard, picture taker, purse holder, party wait staff, bag carrier, dog walker, grill master, butler, bartender, live music performer, personal assistant, cabana boy…basically whatever tasks might make you want to call out “oh, monkey boy!”, a ManServant will do. You can customize your ManServant too and choose the clothes, hair color, and even the accent of your choice! Darlings, you know how I feel about certain accents…
It’s fun to joke about the studly guy we’d get to mow our lawns and clean our floors, but do we really want to see that fantasy become reality on our doorstep like a Swifter box delivery? Mmmmmmaybe. But if we reverse the genders and make it Maidservants with similar sycophantic adoration for a fee, it shifts the entire power dynamic and becomes more derogatory, offensive, and pervy. Much like the change in power dynamics between a “male revue” strip club and a standard club with women on the pole.
Factor in that many aspects of a ManServants job are as simple as “compliment her every quarter of an hour” or “go for a walk with her” with even a massage upgrade on the offer. It seems ManServants means to make the most of the (generally true) assumption that women are just not being loved and appreciated enough by their mates or their families or both. It means to provide women with some en pointe solutions to combat that lack. Husbands and lovers take note–and perhaps take lessons.
Gotta say, while I’m not sure I’d do it (I’m fairly certain I can’t afford it), I can totally see the fun of hiring up a handsome ManServant designed and chosen specifically to my tastes whose sole duty is to make me goddess of all I survey for a day. Even if only short-lived. that would be some fantasy. Would you?
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