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.