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Wow.

I'm finally at a point in my life where I can honestly say that this is not just annoying to me, but terrifying.

Well, not exactly terrifying -- I'd have to think this was a widespread meme, and I know it isn't.

But really, how is this positive for women (each paragraph from a different comment)?:

My first response was to say essentially what bewilderness said - if you're involved in a patriarchal relationship with a man, there's no way to keep patriarchy out of the bedroom. I personally have only managed to pull off the no-man-in-the-bedroom scenario for about 6 months, because I'm definitely heterosexual. And sorry, but it's not really about the sex for me, so a vibrator wouldn't do the trick. It's the need for physical affection, snuggling, and intimate contact with another human.
On one hand, I don't want to agree with Nigel that being a radfem made me hate sex. What I will say is that being awakened and seeing all of the misogyny embedded in our everyday lives has made me profoundly anxious, depressed and hopeless. I'm hoping this is a temporary shock and that someday I will recover my old, completely vanilla and mildly horny ways. I used to be the person who advocated a nice, lusty, egalitarian roll in the hay as the solution to life's problems -- it floods you with happy brain chemicals, raises your heart rate, it is good exercise -- what more could you want? I have no idea if I'll ever be that person again.
And another, same person:

I agree with Gumbercules and I think that my Nigel does not suggest things for the purpose of degrading me, except I will admit that I just don't recognize some things as patriarchal and degrading at first. The list of things that make me feel like a sexbot, which we will not do again, grows ever longer.
Personally, I can't imagine why it's feminist and positive when the things that make you feel dirtied "grows ever longer." I can't imagine that it's positive to be hetero and celibate for reasons like these. Hell, we holler at the Pope when he says gays and lesbians should be. But suddenly, a straight woman fighting not to have sex with men is feminist and laudable?

And the feminist "c-r" giving you anxiety issues? Well, the same thing happened to me, and for me, it was a sign that I was unhealthy. That I was denying myself pleasure and comfort for the sake of ideological purity. Even when I realized that it wasn't healthy or positive for me, I feared being thought of as a backslider. I feared losing some friendships. I feared being labeled a "choice feminist" who didn't realize that "not every feminist's choice is a feminist choice."

It sounds like a silly thing to worry about now, looking back on it after having been away from that whole school of thought for a while. But at the time, those were dirty words, words that really could hurt. They were an epithet that meant you'd let anyone get away with anything, no matter how sexist. They meant you were a complete idiot trolling feminist space.

I was frightened I'd end up breaking ties with an important support network, and that I'd be alone with only some porn for company. I still worry sometimes, posting my honest opinion now. A lot of the people that believed things I don't believe, or don't quite agree with, now, were good friends, people I still value. I don't like the thought that some of those friendships may die in anger now I'm talking about why I left.

People, believe it or not, are better than porn. Most porn users, I'd wager, know this -- despite the moral panics claiming we use it precisely because we want to distance ourselves from humans.

Of course, I had the BDSM community as a support net, and knew it. -- but the "c-r," as well as some ill-timed community drama, had made me doubt them. I rarely went to meetings. When I did SM, it left me feeling empty and numb. I lost touch with a lot of people who could have helped me rediscover myself, and feared reconnecting with them.

Of course, I had other friends who had never even heard of radical feminism. But could I really explain the bewildering mass of theory that holds up a more radical feminist worldview? Most people don't even think of sexism as prejudice + power and would get stuck on the idea that women have a different consciousness, or should, at all. They'd scoff at the weird cultiness of some of these folks with me, yeah, but would they understand why it had become important and how anxious and isolated I felt now?

I felt isolated and powerless and it took a long time to realize that this kind of "feminism" was a downward spiral for me.

When feminism makes you hate life, that to me is a sign that your feminism has taken a very wrong turn somewhere.

I'm not saying anyone should have sex that makes her uncomfortable. But I am saying that as long as "examination" is the order of the day, I think some women should "examine" why their desires are shrinking, and whether that's really making sexuality less fraught for them.

If it is, if it's about no longer doing things that they never liked but felt they were supposed to, super duper. If it's not, is that really positive and healing? I have a hard time seeing how it could be.

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
miz_evolution
Jul. 16th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
exactly...
That hits me too, Trinity. Examine? Yes, examine this, that and the other thing until the cows come home, but when it poisons you, how healthy can it be? I for one do not want to find myself pondering the political implications and degradation factor of EVERY sex act I engage in, especially with a loved one. I don't want, every time I put on heels or a low cut shirt, to think about the deep feminist politics of doing so. I don't want to feel guilty about being thin, going to the gym, liking anal sex. I don't want to look at every man I pass on the street, wondering if he's a rapist. I don't want to be There. I don't want That Much Examination, because I think is poison...

When you are thinking about the feminist implications of having consenting, what used to be enjoyable sex with your partner? Yeah, something is off there....
fierceawakening
Jul. 16th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
Re: exactly...
*nodding vigorously*

I mean it just breaks my heart. "I will admit that I just don't recognize some things as patriarchal and degrading at first." Like she needs someone to tell her what's good for her and what isn't.
miz_evolution
Jul. 16th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
Re: exactly...
Well, it goes back to that whole bullshit of "some sex acts being inheriently degrading" and see, I don't buy that. SEX ACTS in and of themselves are not degrading. That attitudes of those doing them, what is said, yeah, that can be, but the ACT itself? No.

And they aren't no matter how much anyone says otherwise.
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
Re: exactly...
One of the things that finally did it for me was, well, I'm a gamer, and although I'd heard a lot of feminist complaints about people using the word "rape" as casual slang, I really do hear, say

"this card totally rapes control! it's awesome!"

frequently.

hell, in the last multiplayer game, I got killed v quickly and one of the people around us (not sure if he was in the big game or not) could hear that someone launched a crushing attack but didn't know at whom, and, well: "Whoa! Who got raped?"

Really common. And the thing is, yeah I get the feminist critique of that. But some months ago when I was really getting back into gaming and getting excited that I could be competitive again and "Yeah, and I've got that in there, and it totally rapes control... I mean um... well..."

and I'd keep thinking it and the slang wouldn't go, so I was all "Oh, I'm horrible"

and then suddenly it dawns on me that, hey, the feminists who say this are perfectly fine with saying "fuck you" as a cuss

and, well, "fuck you," near as I can tell it, is NOT wishing consensual pleasant intercourse on whomever is being thus addressed.

And that kind of "wait, this policing doesn't work and eventually eats everything" made the whole foundation begin to crumble for me.
miz_evolution
Jul. 17th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
Re: exactly...
Trinity...well, as you might have guessed, the sense of humor around my house is a little...off...both myself and Mr. E are, well, pretty harsh and vulgar in the humor department. It was, for a long time, not all that unusual for one of us (yes, me as well as him) when in the mood to look at the other and just say "Consent, dammit!" before jumping them...and yes, it was an out there joke, between the two of us, on the style of sex we have, blah blah blah...

and sure enough, i spent time thinking "Wow, maybe that is a really sick, wrong, evil unfeminist thing for myself and my parter to share, even as a personal inside joke..."

Then I thought "what the hell am I thinking? FFS...it's between us, we're not actually raping each other, I, the female of the pair, started it, and it's inspired a few laughs between us...well, more than a few"...and further more, it's hurting NO ONE....

I will not be poisoned, sorry.
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
Re: exactly...
*nods* I personally do still dislike thigns like the tasteless "Stop Rape - Consent!" t-shirts. It just seems like too harsh a joke to expose the general public to, to me. And in those cases part of why that's being made and sold is to offend.

But I'm fine these days with personal in-jokes being harsh and crude.

And y'know, being as I have rape fantasies and all, there are plenty of odd little personal jokes and references to it that I've made with people who accept that part of me or are interested in that too.

I wouldn't make them in front of everyone and I definitely wouldn't do it to be intentionally offensive to the general public, but I wouldn't NEVER SAY IT OMFG.
miz_evolution
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
Re: exactly...
ummmmmm yeah...

I have that shirt. Before anyone stones me to death, Mr.E got it for me as a direct RESULT of our inside joke, and yeah, I only wear it to sleep in....
(Deleted comment)
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
I imagine there's comfort in finding an idealogy that allows a person to come right out and say those things without feeling strange of guilty. and in the case of the last comment, it may be very healing to this woman to finally find words to express how bad sex acts that everyone else thinks are okay or normal, make her feel.

I read the last comment as "my sexuality is shrinking. I find myself feeling 'like a sexbot' more and more often now." Because the idea that she needs other women to explain to her what degrades her -- well, that sounds like getting caught up in cultlike thinking to me. It doesn't sound like "I never liked PIV, and I'm so glad you women gave me a space where it's safe to say that."

I could be wrong, though. Somehow I don't think so.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
yeah, i don't think you're wrong either.

i'm sure that for some of the women there that IS the case (I never liked PIV, o thank goddess i'm home).

if that's really the atmosphere, though, sooner or later, betcha, there'll be something else.

meet the new boss...
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
oh yeah. when I first read "most women don't orgasm from PIV" as a youngin':

"yay! I'm not crazy! I can have a fulfilling sex life without desperately wanting to try that!"

but, y'know, very soon I learned: many many people love the penetration. which is great because giving it to them is awesome. so the assuming people are all the same thing: not so good.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
*nod nod head falls off nod*
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:06 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
yeah, i agree.

unfortunately the personality they're rallying behind is, besides the radical feminism, a very nihilistic and misanthropic one; and yeah, i do think, i've thought for a while, this. is. a. problem.

there's a fine line--whether it's your own internal voice or the voice in the collective--that hurt and hurtful voice, i think, there must be a way in which to honor it and give it space and acknowledge the wounds, and at the same time be firm that it does not get the driver's seat. that that is not a good place from which to be...making decisions, or forming any sort of leadership anything.

which is why i think the revolution crap -combined- with this..."the world is shit" attitude is so dangerous. it's that sort of thing that--oh, at a much more advanced stage, and no doubt with a different sort of ideology, don't get me wrong, but--it's that combination that leads to people drinking spiked Koolaid and flying into buildings.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
and when i say "personality," i'll be clear, and fair: it's not just one person, although at that particular site it's most clearly embodied by a particularly eloquent writer.

but there are people who don't have much truck with her and still end up singing a similar song.

yeah, call it a religion. it really is one, i think, albeit a nontheistic or even supernatural one. but it seems to serve all the same functions.

this is not what i look for in a political movement, even one i feel strongly about. this is...something else.

fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
Personally I think much of "radical feminism," at least on the Intarwebz, boils down to a couple cults of personality.
ruth_lawrence
Jul. 18th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...
Always did, says the 52 year old cynic...
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
Re: i'm giving a very generous reading here...

there's a fine line--whether it's your own internal voice or the voice in the collective--that hurt and hurtful voice, i think, there must be a way in which to honor it and give it space and acknowledge the wounds, and at the same time be firm that it does not get the driver's seat.


Yes.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)
>that, unfortunately, many women get turned on by seeing themselves through the eyes of their male partner. It's the woman's own body that really does it, not the man's. >

Uh. I don't suppose it's also possible that pssst some of those women might just be into other women's bodies?...

or, well, i don't know, maybe that's a real phenomenon, it's interesting in itself i suppose. and yeah, if you feel like you're i don't know outside yourself, maybe that's something to look at.

but um. if you have to tell yourself what it is about the guy that you...oh screw it i can't even be arsed to complete the thought actually. but, yeah. it reads like Bible study in a particularly stultifying church. just change a few words; the tune's exactly the same.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)
but yeah, bottom line: -if it feels like crap, stop doing it.-

That goes for particular sex acts, and it goes for, well, gotta say it, internalizing particular attitudes.

weirdly all i can keep thinking of is Rosemary's Baby, you know, where she's in the early stages of her pregnancy and she just keeps getting thinner, has terrible pain, but her husband and her new doctor and all their wonderful new friends (the old ones have somehow been subtly nudged aside) keep telling her it'll pass, it'll get better, here, drink this weird green breakfast shake and wear this stinky bunch of herbs around your neck...
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
but yeah, bottom line: -if it feels like crap, stop doing it.-

That goes for particular sex acts, and it goes for, well, gotta say it, internalizing particular attitudes.


YES.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
you should show this one to Kim, btw.
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
email addy?
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
o, i guess i meant just mosey over to her blog, since it's all--oh, right, this probably isn't public, is it.

her address should be in those group emails we've been passing back and forth--i'll send it to you from there.
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
Actually it is.
athenemiranda
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
A few things really stuck out about that thread;

a) They were being coy. Really coy. The bit about clitoral stimulation was flagged as 'TMI'. There was lots of talk about 'making decisions about what I want to do' etc but they seemed very unwilling to talk about specific fantasies or acts, other than those naughty bad ones that they'd broken free of, and even then actual details were very scanty.

b) All the really bad, destructive problems described there were not about sex. There were people talking about depression, about lack of basic human respect between partners, about having their desires ignored by their partners - sex is a medium for such problems, rather than being an all-consuming problem in and of itself.

c) It sometimes seemed like they were [assuming hetero partnerships here] elevating the needs and desires of the woman above that of the man (ie, the man is just objectifying you and mimicking porn and using your body to pleasure himself, while the woman's preferences are of paramount importance. "Everything he's learned I delete, and then re educate him", etc.) I'm sure in part this is because of the same socialisation that makes them so coy about the details - the men they encounter are more likely to have accumulated a wide breadth of fantasies than they are, and so they could wind up finding themselves faced with a sort of ticklist of options before being sure of things themselves, or before they're really willing to talk about it. There's a lot of reasons to feel pressured, and pressure is a good reason to say 'no, stop that'. But I can't help but feel that they're also adopting some sort of victim status and using it as an excuse to put their desires first.

d) it's really interesting that they're not coy about discussing their boyfriends but are being defensive about praising them. Avoiding the foul tendency for het women to get smothered by their partner's identity is all well and good, but...well, if you've got a supportive partner who's important to you, it seems odd to be apologising for mentioning that. Conversely, there was nothing at all defensive or apologetic about discussion of bad partners or ex-partners. So they only apologise for speaking in detail about a man if he's not abusive? That has some pretty strange implications regarding what they think of as normal.

a)+b)+c)+d)=I'm inclined to think there's nothing particularly radical about their sexuality. It feels more like a reflection of what they're criticising than anything else.
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
All the really bad, destructive problems described there were not about sex. There were people talking about depression, about lack of basic human respect between partners, about having their desires ignored by their partners - sex is a medium for such problems, rather than being an all-consuming problem in and of itself.

Mm-hmm. Like the one woman who was so upset at her lover for wanting to try SM with her. The story is nothing but miscommunication and disrespect:

adly, I found all this out about a month before we married. Until then I had NO IDEA he wanted to do ANYTHING that was not completely "vanilla." We had many, many arguments over this. It came down to him wanting to know that I was at least "open-minded enough that I'd be willing to try many different [horribly kinky, disgusting, painful] things over the course of our marriage."

I don't like hearing about SM in those terms, no -- it's not vile, it's not cruel, and it's not bad for you. But a lot of people do think it is. The onus is on me, if I have a new partner, to be able to handle her feeling that SM is bad and vile and she'd never try it. Honestly, to my mind that's my cue to leave -- I'll never be satisfied in a relationship in which something so important to me is anathema to my lover, and I have no right and no reason to pressure someone into something she finds appalling.

It sometimes seemed like they were [assuming hetero partnerships here] elevating the needs and desires of the woman above that of the man (ie, the man is just objectifying you and mimicking porn and using your body to pleasure himself, while the woman's preferences are of paramount importance. "Everything he's learned I delete, and then re educate him", etc.)

Yeah. And that's fine with me if it's truly consensual, but it's strange to me to hear that that's supposed to be egalitarian. From where I sit it sounds like female domination to me -- and a very stressful, picky, emotionally draining form of it I can't imagine any person in the submissive role there (or the dominant one honestly) enjoying.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
They were being coy. Really coy. The bit about clitoral stimulation was flagged as 'TMI'. There was lots of talk about 'making decisions about what I want to do' etc but they seemed very unwilling to talk about specific fantasies or acts, other than those naughty bad ones that they'd broken free of, and even then actual details were very scanty.

Yes, I've noticed this a lot when it comes to the anti__ folk. As long as it's something they're getting outraged about, they can be as nasty and shocking as they want to be. When it comes to "I LIKE this," all of a sudden...cut away to the fireplace." It's...telling.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
to be blunter: i think for a lot of these people the anti=porn, etc. crusade is about having their cake and eating it too. an excuse to talk about this -really fascinating shit- in graphic detail without being considered a pervert; it's those OTHER people that are the perverts.
fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
*nods* I'm not entirely convinced it's that malicious. On some people's parts, yeah. but like waytogojeremy was saying, for some women I think it has a lot more to do with personal pain, trauma, war wounds. And as much as I think someone like BB is handling her trauma in the exact wrong way, well, for a lot of these women -- eh. some are letting their damage rule them, but that damage is still real.

I think it's more, on some of their parts, that they're attached to their negative reactions but also want to talk about titillating things. When I first started feeling drawn to SM I was that way: Oh! No one in the world could ever be HEALTHY and a MASOCHIST! How can these MASOCHISTS blah blah blee. Fight picking galore.

Because, guess what, I liked them there MASOCHISTS. But if I admitted that, well -- I'd have to worry I was bad, wrong, sick. So the endless negativity was, basically, denial. Not because I didn't want to be called pervert, but because I didn't know how to handle being pervert. Yet.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
well, I'm not saying it's consciously malicious either; it's good old fashioned projection. There's nothing that suggests that damage isn't real to that. I just think--they're not really owning their shit. Maybe they're not capable, for whatever combination of reasons; i can't really get in there and figure it out for them, you know, just: i'm sorry bad shit happened to you, but please to not be taking it out me k thks bai.
athenemiranda
Jul. 18th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
I dunno about you, but learning to not be coy when talking about what sort of sex I wanted was pretty challenging for me, and it was very worthwhile and rewarding. Reading that thread, I got the impression that most of those women, for all they talked about open communication, hadn't made the effort to break down that wall yet.

Having your cake and eating it in that way is Biblical - how can you tell people what naughty bad things they shouldn't be doing unless you've fantasised about it in detail and written it all down and told people that it's really important and they MUST read it and live their lives by it? No wonder they sit so comfortably beside the far-right.
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
"Everything he's learned I delete, and then re educate him"

I swear that all the MRA's and all the radfems who take this tone are exes of each other. that sounds like EXACTLY the sort of shit the MRA's rave about being typical of feminists or women: irrational, controlling, it's-all-about-me man-hating women. Just as the MRA hatefulness sounds EXACTLY the way these radical feminists talk about being typical of men.

fierceawakening
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
I swear that all the MRA's and all the radfems who take this tone are exes of each other.

Hee!

Yeah, they do sound frighteningly the same.

And why does "I delete all he knows and reeducate him" sound like bad science fiction?
belledame222
Jul. 17th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
it, um, also sounds like, um, well, a set-up for someone's femdom fantasy, gotta say...
queenlyzard
Jul. 28th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
yeesh-- I do agree with you entirely here. Sounds like someone needs to understand the difference between "feminism" and "man-hating"!
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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