in my head is the concept of what it means to be “sex positive”.
I think a few people reading this blog know where I am coming from here. I have heard some very harsh and sharp criticisms w/in the feminist community lately WRT sex, hetero sex, being sex positive, being a radical feminist, supporting sex work and sex workers’ rights, and a whole slew of other things that are down right frustrating to read and think about.
Othering women is not conducive to what we as feminists or womanists are trying to accomplish. I think that the issue of being “sex positive” or not is one of those key discussions that is in fact doing more damage than it is doing good.
If the goal of feminism is to maintain a woman’s right to choose for herself what is right for her life w/ the understanding that she is equal to men who already seem allowed to make those decisions, then this othering of women based on their perceived view of feminism and sexuality is counter productive.
I am not a fan of labels. I don’t believe in stuffing ourselves into little tiny boxes of definition to fit into someone else’s idea of what we should be or how we should act. Labels have a way of dividing us. We are no more the sum of our labels than we are the sum of our jobs. When we put a label on someone (“she’s sex positive so she gives in to the patriarchy” or “she’s a radical so she thinks that sex is evil unless it is between lesbians”) we are putting a divide between us intentionally. We are making moral judgement that our opinion is better and if you do not fit into it you are not good enough, that some how, little girl, you do not know enough to make this choice for yourself. That, dear Readerland, IS giving in to the patriarchy.
I am tired of people using labels to show that our feminism/womanism is not as good as their feminism/womanism. There is too much to fight outside of this sisterhood/alliance for us to be shooting ourselves in the foot and fighting amongst ourselves. It has even gotten to the point where “your feminism isn’t good enough for me to even listen to”. If “you don’t agree w/ me you are not as good a feminist as I am”. I am even tired of the crap that men and other feminist allies are taking in feminist spaces, b/c obviously having a penis is enough to DQ you from feminist discussion. Enough is enough.
So even though I don’t like labels I do feel lucky to have found (through a few pingbacks!) Being Amber Rhea, a very obvious self labeled sex positive feminist (not a judgement), and through exploring her site a little I found the link to this.
Someone can be very sexual, talk about sex all the time, and have sex 10 times a day; when they run around deciding that how and with whom you fuck is a marker of whether you are a feminist or not (or human or not), then they are sex negative. It’s opposing those who claim that the core of feminism must and can only be about one approach to sexuality and what appropriate sex acts are and aren’t. It’s about that same dynamic as it takes place in the wider society, only there it’s about completely dehumanizing people for their sexuality, bodily comportment, and modes of representing their gender and sexual orientations.
Sex positivity has nothing to do with whether you have sex. You can be celibate for all I care. You can want to be virgin ’til marriage. If it’s your bag, go for it. It has nothing to do with whether you like sex. It has to do with accepting the wide variety of sexual practices out there and being very wary of making generalizing claims about what you think you observe. It’s about taking care not to impose your frameworks, understandings, issues on the lives of someone you do not know, whose erotic life you do not understand.
There is (a lot) more. It is a very long read, and I am going to go out on a limb and say NSFW, but it is so worth the read. So much in fact that I am adding the link to my “Good Reading” section of my blogroll.
So, while this whole deal of labels and whose feminism is the end all final word on what is or is not appropriate feminism is stewing around in my girl brain I invite you, Readerland, in a positive and conducive to education and not shaming manner to discuss anything I have discussed here in this post. The comment policy applies.
Also, resource suggestions are welcome.