sarahmichigan: (Default)
I do consider myself a feminist, and I have a lot of the same beliefs and the average "feminist on the street" as well as agreeing with much of the cultural analysis in academic/intellectual feminism. However, one area that I rarely ever agree with other feminists on is the area of sexuality, especially the public depiction of sexuality, from porn to stripping to prostitution, to how sexuality is used in advertising. Any topic on which the Christian Right and radical feminists agree, such as "porn is bad and degrading to women" is one which I tend to find myself clashing with other feminists.

It just seems to me that there can be no depiction of sexuality involving women, either in words, pictures, or video, that some feminists won't have a problem with. There's buzz-words like "objectification" and "the male gaze" and on and on. It can never be as simple as, "People like sex and are curious about depictions of sexuality." If you take this kind of criticism to an extreme, it seems like certain feminists are saying that sexuality and sexual desire are not appropriate topics for movies/photos/stories, or that there's no way to show women's sexuality in certain media that isn't degrading or demeaning to the women that do it.

With the Christian Right, there's this sense of paternalism and condescension, that women need to be saved from themselves, even if they don't feel degraded or demeaned by the sex work they do or the sexuality they are portraying.

Feminist theory uses different terminology, but there often feels like there's an ugly subtext that any woman who feels empowered by doing any kind of sex work is deluded, naive, or not very evolved. There's also the subtext that women who do sex work or who feel empowered by expressing their sexuality are somehow abetting the patriarchy or are letting the whole of the Sisterhood down. I also find myself offended by some of the assumptions about what men think and want as portrayed in many feminist critiques of sex work and sexual imagery.

I feel like I have more to say about this, and more examples and specifics I could detail, but I think I need to let this percolate a bit longer...
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I found that many Ms. Magazine stories are archived on-line! These were some of the ones that were the most fun or interesting, in my estimation:

How a male feminist got a portrait of feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft out of a closet and on display (includes a link to the full text of her treatise "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman"):

http://www.msmagazine.com/fall2004/liberatingmarywollstonecraft.asp

Why viagra or nasal sprays are NOT the answer to women's lack of libido or "sexual dysfunction":

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/viagraoranrxforsex.asp

Did you know the suffragettes used bullwhips to beat back their enemies? A history of women and whips:

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/takingbackthewhip.asp
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I recently signed up for the "Body Impolitic" feed, and I really enjoy it. In response to this post about "Female Chauvinist Pigs"

http://laurietobyedison.com/discuss/?p=68

My response is: it's all about choice, right? Isn't that what feminism is supposed to be about? It's about not allowing others to tell you what gender role you're *supposed* to follow. It's not about bashing you for being either a stay-at-home Mom or a high-powered exec, but allowing you to make the choice freely for yourself.

Same here. If you're slutting it up because you like it, you're reveling in a newly found happy body image and have decided to pass on freaking out about your imperfections (like me), then cool beans. If you're slutting it up because you feel you have no choice, because you can't make it in the world or attract a man without dressing like a ho, that could be a problem for you.

I don't think the average 16-year-old girl is wearing playboy bunny gear as a form of empowerment, but it's possible. Do I think it's possible for a 30-something woman who has formerly been really down on her body image and who is now beginning to accept herself to mindfully choose to dress like a stripper or a french maid for Halloween and not exploit herself? Sure. Do I think it's possible that one woman might hate porn but watch it with her boyfriend out of fear that she'll be considered uncool while another woman will joyfully watch porn with her boyfriend because it turns her on and she likes it? Sure.

Again, it's about your attitude and about your mindful choices.
sarahmichigan: (Default)
The sexual ignorance of some people makes me want to weep. Truly.

Sextips usually makes me laugh or want to cry. People insecure about whether they're 'normal.' Women who think it's unusual that they can't come from P-I-V sex (honey, the clit is a woman's main sexual organ!). People who think their lovers aren't dedicated to them because their lovers look at porn or have sexual fantasies. Men who think that wives are for clean and proper sex, and only sluts suck cock.

At least most of the people on sextips are there to educate themselves. Unfortunately, the people who probably most need an education about human sexuality are often the ones most insecure about seeking that information. . .

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