Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Pursuant to the whole "wearing your feminist cred on your sleeve/feet/legs/lips" issue, I thought I'd recycle a bit from a post I made sometime last week:
I was so relieved when I finally ditched the whole "pretty" lifestyle. At my peak of conformity I always felt like a fraud, like I was wearing a cheap and poorly-made woman costume. I felt like a female impersonator, like I was in drag. I hated it, not because men looked at me, but because it didn't feel authentic. I felt like a caricature of femininity. My whole body felt fragile and breakable, my hands were totally useless with the long fake nails on, those damn shoes drove me crazy and I wanted to claw my face off just to get rid of all that makeup sludge.
I guess I'm not really qualified to judge what feels or doesn't feel authentic to the individual. I guess one woman's caricature is another woman's heroic realism. That's cool with me.
but how come I get the sense that the charity and forbearance extended to leg-shavers and high-heel wearers and short-skirt choosers and cosmetics-users does not extend to those who rock such gear for the purposes of sexual arousal (of themselves or anyone else), and not in spite of it.
It's a mixed mixed mixed mixed message I'm hearing:
Wear your short skirt, as long as it isn't made of leather or latex or PVC, but don't talk about any sort of sensual, pleasurable experience you might be having as a result of wearing it.
Whatever you do, don't take a picture of yourself wearing it.
And if you do take a picture of yourself wearing it, for the love of all that's holy don't show it to anyone else.
And if you like having your picture taken while wearing it, and showing people that picture gives you further pleasure - well, nobody cares what you do in your private life, but that sort of exhibitionism is probably not so feminist and certainly not radical and hey, what do you know - here we are again...
it seems inconsistent to be pro-short skirt and still find a way to look down one's nose at one's (ahem) more twisted sisters.
well, I might even go one louder on the subject of the deeper meaning of short skirts and heels and the whole rest of the barracuda-femme drag, in that I'm not sure there's any good reason to go through so much time and trouble besides wanting to feel desirable and rock teh hawtness, and feel the pleasurable physical sensations that come from that.
My wife, herself a staunch feminist, once said "it's easy to find feminists who will say they like sex, but try finding one who will admit she likes DICK."
To me, it's just another example of how patriarchal erotophobia got projected onto the feminist movement which arose to combat it. They're diametrically opposed, but they're each hampered often by the same prudishness. What do you think?
However, the idea of recapitulating patriarchy through erotophobia is interesting.
"That's so disgusting."
"I'd never do that."
"She looks like a total prostitute." (Sir Mix is smiling)
THAT, to me, is "prude." To me, it suggests posturing, affectatiousness borne of a culturally conditioned fear of rubbing dirty bits. Nothing loaded to me, but I can see your point. Fair enough. Insert (your word) here.
It is an interesting thought, though, isn't it? We as men of Christian background have been conditioned to fear sex, so why not the similarly-raised women? They move to reject the current standard, but its conditioned responses still plague them.
so prudishness? no. not everyone is going to process sexual ideas the same way, but that doesn't necessarily mean that such differences should always have value judgments attached.
I said that a few posts ago. And I stand by it.
The assumption about exhibitionism (though it's never addressed as exhibitionism, but rather as some sort of general female malady) is that it is unspecialized (directed toward the patriarchy, rather than to a potential partner of any gender expression) and always looks the same.
What's funny about this is, and I know it's not considered cool to admit this, but I think a lot of the "sex-negative rad-fems" do feel that the women who like this stuff are ruining it for them because someone might want them to dress a certain way or act a certain way or want a certain thing, rather than assuming whatever that certain thing is is totally unusual and/or wrong. Well, they're "ruining it" for others! :)
----sorry for my inarticulateness, this stuff gets my goat----
I think that's correct. I mean, if you truly didn't think it affected you, you wouldn't care, right?
Thing is, it seems really really difficult to just get to the point where "look, this is what *I* want; you're not me, you don't have to be me. And no, I don't need to justify myself to you" starts clicking in. All 'round, that is.
Rather tangential, but this quote reminds me of an old essay my husband wrote about bacon and how the right-wing talks about homosexuality.
-- his link or my excerpt
Yep. That's the patriarchy for you.
"...these rad-fem ideas of sexuality is that they seem to believe that exhibitionism is only a turn-on if you're a tool of the patriarchy. Face up to sexism and you'll never be turned on by being looked at again."
Can I just ask - where on earth did you hear that from a rad fem? Or, maybe, have you disingenuously interpreted radfem ideas in order to discredit them? That kind of thing is happening so often these days and I'm moved to wonder why...
Maybe the sex-pos brigade could look at a less 'patriarchial positive' name for themselves? One that doesn't make 'pro-choice' equal 'pro-baby-killing'?
yeah, that would be cool.
I just tossed a Molotov into the comments section over at Witchy's blog. If they let it through, go take a look and lemme know what you think.
that, and how it is that I'm more male-identified than a "radical feminist" who's living with and fucking them (and never frigging shuts up about them), males; not to mention the "radical feminist males" themselves.
Also, whether she can play "Melancholy Baby;" but then, so few can. It is a constant source of grievous disappointment to me, that.
wtf does this actually mean?
calling myself "sex-positive" may imply that anyone who doesn't fuck how I fuck is "sex-negative", which of course is not the case.
so that's what I think she means.
then again I think asking anyone else to change their label is pretty rich coming from someone who flings about epithets like "not a feminist" and "male-identified" pretty much at will.
I am sex-positive; I am a feminist. In itself, the labels are not particularly meant as a slur against anyone else; then again, I am thinking: if the comfortable shoe fits, perhaps, wear it.
and meanwhile I quote Molly Ivins, my favorite liberal feminist (well, one of them):
"I have always felt free to tell [self-appointed police], in my politically correct feminist fashion, 'Fuck off.'"
as in, my body belongs to me.
which applies across the boards, really).
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