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Sex and Disability, AGAIN, yo

"I am appalled that you think sex is a freedom they deserve"

I think this article, about deterring people in mental hospitals from having consensual sex, is actually rather timely given the back and forths in the blogoverse lately about "sex-positivity" and what it means.

When I say I am sex-positive, I don't just mean it in some vacuum where white girls think flashing their breasts is funny/gets attention hee hee hee. I mean it because I'm part of a world in which many disadvantaged people are denied sexualities at all. (And, as Gabe points out here, also a world in which privileged people's sexualities are assumed to be freakish and violent parodies of real pleasure or intimacy no matter what, which I also think is damaging.) I mean it because I'm a person with a disability, and we're assumed not to be sexual at all.

I mean that I have a right to do all kinds of things, including, in my view, pay for or look at erotic media whose production is iffy. I mean that I actually am someone who looks, desires, exists on a sexual level too. I don't know whether the fact that I got almost no sexual attention except online until I was around twenty was due to my disability. But I wouldn't be surprised in the least if visible disability were part of that -- especially given that people who couldn't see me found my writing sexy often.

Visuals. Visuals. Why do I care about visuals? Why do I call images free speech? Who cares about them, right?

Visibility. Sight. What do you see? What am I allowed to see?

I get that there are objectifying gazes.

There are also gazes that mean you're a child, perpetually. That mean that you couldn't possibly be sexual, that you BEING sexual is, well, only appealing to someone who goes in for pedophilia and is disgusting and needs to go away (link NWS, for a cartoon drawing of a penis, done by a MWD. Link immensely worth reading anyway.)

Is it any wonder, I ask you, you people who constantly marvel at some women for wanting feminism to be about sexuality and pleasure too, that I would be LOUD about SEX?

Or even loud about PORN -- something that even if we "pro-pornies" are right is problematic at best, and if the anti-porn people are right is a meat market in women? Is it any wonder that I would talk about things designed to arouse me, about being able to find and have those things, and keep them, because you don't have to ask anyone else's permission to buy a gorram DVD?

Is it any wonder that I would think that counts, and not automatically think that For The Good Of Women, I Must Throw This Stuff Out? Is it any wonder that I would think that asking whether we can fix some of the problems without abolishing the industry is asking a sensible question? Or that I would be asking why I can own a seriously sexist Hollywood movie and think it's got good parts and bad parts, but somehow if I own a porn movie, I must not know if it depicts sex in a sexist way -- or must not care and hate women?

I get that there are people for whom sex isn't all that big a deal. I get that our culture is overly sexualized, and if I were much less sexual than I am, yeah, maybe I'd feel a lot more like everything around me was a whole giant whoop and holler about something really boring, and why won't people shut UP it's just a breast for God's sake.

But, well, I'd like people to think about something here. When you say that an orgasm is like a sneeze, and you can't figure out how sneezing became the highest priority of feminism, think about this. Do you get to sneeze? When you sneeze, is it horrible and grotesque and inappropriate? Does the idea that someone like you really would like to sneeze now and then, especially because your nose has itched now for quite a few years because you can't let anyone know about your cold anyway, absolutely repulse people? Do they think they need to protect you from sneezing? Do they think they need to protect themselves from your sneezing? Do they feel free to sneeze on you at will, by force, and then act as if YOU sneezing is against the natural order? Do they separate you from people you sneeze with?

Well, if they did, maybe you'd care about sneezing. Maybe you'd lobby for sneezer's rights, while everyone else goes on sneezing and wondering what all the fuss is about.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Right, exactly.

Furthermore, acting as if an orgasm is the equivalent of a sneeze is all well and good . . . but then porn is really no different than any other job, is it? Prostitution is really no different than any other job, is it?

I mean, if there's nothing 'special' or 'different' about sexuality that means that we ought to have more control over it than we do over any other aspect of our lives, then jobs that draw upon our sexuality should be treated no differently than jobs that draw upon . . . jeez . . . our physical strength or analytic ability or whatever.

Of course, there is something different about sexuality, and these people recognize it, they just like to pretend that they don't when it's someone else's pleasure that's being considered. That's because it's easy to minimize and ignore the physical needs of someone who isn't you.
Jul. 30th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Agree (eleventy billion)

This post is extremely well-written, and gets the point across SO WELL.

I've read a few things about the situation surrounding that disgusting quote (which gives me the shivers in such a bad way, UGH... JUST UGGGHHH WTF AAAHHHH AAAAAAAAHHH) but I think this post explains the intersectionality in such a perfect way.
Jul. 30th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
thank you!
Jul. 30th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
and as far as intersectionality goes, surprise surprise, sexual orientation fits into it all too.
Jul. 30th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
As always, YES, SPOT ON. Have thoughts on this too, but still zombied from hospital.
Jul. 31st, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
thank you love :)
Jul. 30th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, this. Great post!
Jul. 31st, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 31st, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
thanks hexy!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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