Friday, January 25, 2008

it's been a bit of a while since I've done an "I'm a bi-sexeee first-amendment-is- hawwwt sexpozzie, hear me roar" type post. I guess I just haven't been particularly inspired in that direction - I mean, haven't I said just about every swinging thing I possibly can on the subject, at least twice? what a yawn. (not that it was so compelling the first time around...)

also, factor in all the warm fuzzy peace-and-harmony maternal hormones that seem to be kicking in with gusto lately, and it makes me kind of bovine and not really into being all aggressive and fighty. No real reason for me to be an instigator, I guess.

(unless, of course, you happen to be living in my house and you finished all the lemon sherbet. in which case, pistols at dawn, motherfucker!)

alas, all good things must come to an end, y'all.

I recently discovered this blog here by a blogger named pisaquaririse - and I have to say that the blogger made a point that really resonated with me:

I am anti-sexy.

Anti ANYTHING that takes a form as sexy or trying to be sexy, or, only-succeeds-when-found-sexy. I am anti use-sexy-to-get-rewards sexy. Anti want-to-be-considered-sexy sexy. Anti want-to-consider-others-as-sexy sexy.

(snippage here, for focus. I suggest you go read the whole thing if you haven't already, for context.)

Sexy is not in your hands. Sexy is the invasive appropriation of each others’ bodies and externalities. Sexy is the lens you are forced to look through. Sexy is the lens your are forced to be seen through.

Sexy is a constant state of against-your-will, without-consent, what’s-yours-is-mine, without-permission.
(emphasis mine)

I don’t need to hear how you feel sexy when you are reading a good book. I don’t need to hear how your so-and-so thinks you’re sexier when you don’t have on make up or haven’t worked out in a little while. Sexy does not care. Sexy is only accounting for the role you play when you ignore your full human capacity. Sexy assumed your role all along. Sexy will still be there when you want out.

I don’t need to hear how you are helping young girls who have otherwise been abused and tortured and slain by patriarchy regain their “sexiness.” Sexy will not help. Sexy entitles our pleasure centers to others.
(again, emphasis mine.) Sexy is the visual rape primaries.

Stop with the Sexy already.

To those caught up in trying to Save the Sexy, reshape The Sexy, regain, reclaim, refresh The Sexy—please, we are feminists—we’ve got enough to do.

To those enslaved by sexy, beaten by sexy, afraid because of sexy, hidden by sexy, appropriated by sexy, employed by sexy, abused by sexy,… my sincerest apologies. We are working on it.

so. here we are.

at least, I've been here - "enslaved by sexy, beaten by sexy, afraid because of sexy," etc. I have. I didn't like it.

Sexy is a constant state of against-your-will, without-consent, what’s-yours-is-mine, without-permission.

that part there? yeah, it sucked. I almost didn't make it out alive. and the whole experience left me with a dislike of artifice, props, "scenes", that occasionally resembles a straight-up fear or revulsion.

I'm not a big fan of sexual manipulation, "flirtyness" in general, so-called "feminine wiles", cosmetics, uncomfortable shoes, binding or itchy clothing, or needless removal of body hair - it's just not my thing, sexpozzie or not.

yeah, the "sexy" game is hijacked, as Ice-T might say. sure. What is commonly held to be "sexy" is often not intimacy, but a burlesque of intimacy.

But here's the problem - I do think that sexual arousal is innate in the human animal. People want to fuck. They just do, as a general rule.

I mean, not every living soul at every minute of every day all around the world at the same time, but in general, the sexual urge is present in Class People. Men, women, people under eighteen, people over eighty, people who look different than me, people people people of all sorts feel that warm tingly feeling and want to engage in sexual activity with others.

And trying to sort out whose sexual urge is acceptable (in this blogger's case, natural? un-messed-with? un-corrupted-by-the-Patriarchy?) and whose sexual urge is unacceptable ("pornified", so to speak, or "patriarchy-fied", maybe) is a fool's errand at best, and damaging at worst.

In other words, I don't think it's a good idea to try to limit what sorts of things are okay to find sexually arousing and what sorts of things aren't okay to find sexually arousing.

in fact, I think that's how we got into this whole mess in the first place.

for one thing, it might not be even possible to "just say no" to sexual arousal. (For some people, I'm sure it is possible to do just that. and more power to them, sure. I've never been successful, myself.) For another thing, the desire to seek out that thing/idea/visual stimulus may increase proportional to the number and intensity of "just say no" messages - the fascination with the abomination, as my old english teacher used to say.

The more forbidden something is, the more delicious and desirable it is, in some cases. There are those who would seek out the forbidden not out of any real desire for it, but just because of its forbidden-ness, just because they like to be weird and out-there and "dirty". (say, for example, me.)

I tell you this - if someone had said to me, when I was thirteen or so, "oh, yes, by all means, wanting to engage in sexual behavior while tied to a tree is perfectly normal," I might not have wanted to do it so much. The fact that every sort of sexual behavior I could imagine was labeled bad/wrong/sinful/dirty/weird only increased my desire to engage in it.

I don't think it's a successful strategy to say to folks "that thing/idea/visual stimulus that inspires sexual feelings in you? it's bad and wrong and you should stop." it wasn't successful two thousand years ago - it's not successful now, even if

Frankly, I don't see where "that which is "sexy" is bad because it hurts Women" in the year 2008 is any different, in effect, than "that which is "sexy" is bad because it makes Baby Jesus cry" in the year 1898, or "that which is "sexy" is bad because it is Offensive to God" in the year 1008.

That said, one could certainly make a case for "this is bad FOR ME, because it hurts ME." Going all the way back to the place where I agreed with this blogger, I can certainly say that the relentless pursuit of "sexy" about finished me, where "sexy" equalled "be available to my abusive partner for any reason at any time".

But I think the key there is that my partner was abusive. And I've said time and time again that he'd have been abusive regardless of whether porn was nonexistent or ubiquitous. The concept of "sexy", and the quest for it, did not make him a heinous excuse for a human being. I believe that he just lacked any sense of empathy for other living creatures.

for him, art imitated life, not the other way around. If "sexy" didn't exist as pisaquaririse defines it, my abusive exhusband would have invented it.

This is kind of a crap post (done at the office, in fits and starts, and it shows), but I felt I had to respond more deeply than my comment allowed. I'm sorry, pisaquaririse - you deserve better. I hope to have time to go back and clarify.

in the meantime, comment away.

from the comments thread on the linked-to post -

In fact, antiprincess, why don’t you just chill out on the commenting for a while, yeah?
I’m not down with phonies (I know, life sux).

Figure out what you want.

jeez, now I feel all misunderstood.

"phony"? yeow. I don't know precisely what I said to deserve that.

was it imprecision of language? sloppiness of logic? bad reputation? "prior bad acts", as they say on Law and Order?

I don't feel like a phony. although I must have come across that way. I'd like to discuss it further, but you've asked me not to comment on your blog.

and your blog, your rules. I can respect that.

you, pisaquaririse (if you are reading this), and anyone else for that matter, may comment here as much as you wish.

"Figure out what you want."

in what context? how do you mean?
I read that thread, and while I have a clearer idea of what Pisaquaririse means by sexy, I see she simply didn't answer your questions very well.

Also, I don't see how finding someone sexy is oppressing or impsoing on the person you find sexy if you don't act on it or do anything to the person you find sexy. Even if you tell him or her, then said person is likely to take it as a compliment.

But then, I'm not sure that the whole thing isn't just a way to define a different set of acceptable female behaviors, which doesn't really strike me as ending oppression so much as giving it a new face.
yeah,lisa - I get what she's saying and to a point I agree. I think I made it clear where I agreed, and where I depart.

I don't think my departure makes me "phony".

I just think it means we disagree.

how does that make me a phony, again?

I'd like to think there's room in the world for sexual expression, for finding people (or aspects of people) sexually arousing. and, the way to do that without it turning into a damaging, abusive paradigm is to develop a sense of empathy and understanding that the person who is arousing you is a human being, not just an arouse-o-tron.

why can the two ideas (sexual attraction and empathy) not coexist?
There are two interpretations of what was meant by "phony," neither one of which should be all that troubling:

1) She got the sense that your views diverged from hers more than was apparent from your comments;

2) She was upset that your views diverged at all.

(1) is basically just because you're diplomatic, respectful, and try harder than others would (me for example) to understand where someone who's obviously deeply loony is coming from.

(2) is because the kind of person who feels oppressed by the "sexy" is going to feel profoundly disturbed by a smidgin of disagreement, no matter how logical.
I take it you are Infamous and run around with Dodgy Characters and hence whatever you say is suspect, no matter how deceptively reasonable you sound.

I dunno--I took one look at that mess and all I could think was... there just isn't enough popcorn in the world that would make this worth sitting through to the final reel. sorry. but as I said at RE's, it's a bit like watching Vogons declaim on the Theory of Poetry.
Hey antiprincess :-)

I think belledame hit the nail on the head there - seems like, no matter how reasonable and inoffensive your comments are, you are always interpreted as having a hidden agenda. It pisses me off - hence me commenting here.

Wrt to the original post - I think there are two issues here, one of which I agree with, one of which I do not.

1) I agree with what dephyne said - the pressure placed on women to be sexy is oppressive. This pressure for female sexiness leads to a whole host of problems, reducing women to inhuman object status where it is easy to abuse us is one.


2) Viewing someone else as sexually attractive = dehumanising objectification? No. I liked your blue boots example, antip - we can find someone sexually attractive/arousing and still respect their personhood, their subjectivity. I can spot a beautiful guy in my lecture theatre, find him 'sexy' - ie, I am sexually attracted to him - but this doesnt mean that when I later see him dancing in a club that I assume he is doing this as a sex object for my benefit.

(I think this is what the post author was implying when she said about viewing others as sexy being part of rape culture - in other words, that if you view someone as sexually AROUSING they have intentionally aroused you so you coming on to them and anything that follows after is their fault).

But that's not a problem of sexual attraction, of 'sexy'. The problem is that person's own issues (as you point out wrt your ex, antip), which, yes, may be intertwined with patriarchy etc, but it's not being sexually attracted to someone per se that is the problem.

I dislike this idea that sex has to be about love and sharing and intertwining. Great, if that's what you want, fantastic, I'm not criticising the commenter who uses the term 'intertwining', but it's not for everyone, and accusing those who like to have a meaningless, but mutually pleasurable and repespectful fuck of dehumanising each other through positing each other as an object of attraction doesn't seem particularly helpful to me.

What's that got to do with women's liberation?


(BTW, I'm not posting at the original blog as she doesn't seem to want comments that focus on these issues, which is fair enough, her blog, her space etc).


how ya doin'?
On phoniness, she clarified:

"KH, you have not been given access to all the reasons why I am calling antiprincess on the two-facedness. I have not posted them here."

So it's secret. Which seems to grant that your comments don't themselves warrant her (unevidenced) insinuations. She'd have disserved her point of view less if she'd refused to hear you at the start, rather than after fumbling attempts to respond rationally. (Presumably, whatever bad acts she has in mind predate her response to the initial comments.) As it is, there's an impression that she forwent any reasoned response because, finally, she lacked one, not because of the identity of her questioner.
And she does say, categorically, that desire - even if it's aroused by essences or whole persons, rather than personal qualities - is part of rape culture.
Hehe, hello! I'm OK, writing an essay based on sexual politics and sexuality theory at the moment so I found this topic v interesting. Am reading blogs every now and then but not getting involved in commenting much - for my sanity!
y'know, I'd say that sounds a bit like Bea/Feminist First/Phemi/aranxta/etc. etc. etc.., except she already knew who AP was and presumably might have shut her down from the git go. she is prone to reinventing herself, though, and that particular flavor of whatever-it-is feels familiar.
Am reading blogs every now and then but not getting involved in commenting much - for my sanity!

might well take a page outta your book, then...for MY sanity!
I gotta say, I'm less hurt than confused, at this point.

but there's a real limit to what secret minefields I can safely navigate through, at least at the moment.

here's to a day when we can sanely and productively work through it all.

in the meantime, well, c'est la vie.
Bea-etc had this awesome declamatory blogvoice which I thought was an amazing style.
How did you find this pisaquaririse blog? Just curious.
xochitl - I found it off another blog, I think.
Sexy is only accounting for the role you play when you ignore your full human capacity.

see, some folks perceive "sexy" (for good or ill) as part of one's full human capacity.

and some of those folks are women.

AND the issue there is, well, if you say "women who are "sexy" (or find other stimuli "sexy") are ignoring their full human capacity", that makes a real strong statement about women who feel that "sexy" counts towards honoring their full human capacity.

it says "you, "sexy" woman - your experience is counterfeit."

now, that seems inconsistent with most kinds of feminism, which (at least the way I interpret it) accepts a woman's experience as genuine.

in fact, it seems to directly contradict one of the whole points of feminism, which is that a woman's experience is generally genuine.

am I making any sense at all? I gotta stop posting from work. too distracted.
note: Pisaquaririse - I see from my stats that you (or your blog admin, if that is not you personally) have been by to visit lately.


Look - if you have anything to say, if you'd like me to explain anything, if you'd like to tell me exactly where I can cram it - this is the place. take as much time and space and bandwidth as you need.

Please, feel free. Come back as many times as you like, say what you gotta say.

part of what I like about blogging is having the opportunity to get a really good grip on other points of view. a good way to do that is to engage in conversations with people who don't agree with me.

I will answer you honestly and in a non-phony manner.

this does not mean I will agree with you on every thing, but it does mean I do not intend to mess with you or harm you in any way, or tell you deliberate lies in order to confuse you.
I like the care you used, even if it was just thrown together, to clarify what you like about pisaquaririse's post. I think you've raised some important points about exploring what's offensive to a person without extrapolating to offensiveness in general.

Well, the Holden Caulfield "critique" only goes as far as teenage minds can't comprehend that not everyone fits the model you yourself created from the bits and pieces you've experienced. Calling someone "phony" in a world where actual people who are trying to deceive you exist is code for "I don't want to deal with what you have to say."

So it's secret.

Ergo, just as "phony" as antip is supposed to be. It's an attempt to deceive and silence. I guess they didn't read Catcher in the Rye.

I haven't read the rest of the thread, but I think what is being attacked is mislabled "sexy", and should more be "SEXY". The first is a fluid idea, and has no power in and of itself, as it is individual. "SEXY" is corporate. It's capitalism using marketing and mass media to attempt to define "sexy". It can hardly be said that LGBT culture is represented by "SEXY", though it may be co-opted for heteronormative purposes, but the idea that "SEXY" is the same as "sexy" just has no basis in reality.

I guess a pertinent question would be "is said bloger anti-sex?" Not a few people have their own idea about "sexy" without it ever including enslavement of women, beating of women, kidnapping or subjugation of women, appropriation of the bodies of women, employment of women in sex work, or abuse of women.

And making every single one of these possible views of "sexy" equivalent is ludicrous. You mean "SEXY".
see, some folks perceive "sexy" (for good or ill) as part of one's full human capacity.

And I suppose that that is the ultimate crime here. "sexy", in the minds of every human, should equate to "forbidden". Then again, we all know where that leads. ;P
"SEXY" is corporate. It's capitalism using marketing and mass media to attempt to define "sexy".

well phrased, Jack.

and the attempt to define "sexy" is in pursuit of extracting the most money possible from the most pockets possible.

so, I totally agree that most images of "sexy" in popular culture are (or can be considered) counterfeit.

or at least, telling only some fraction of the story, and not the whole story, of human sexual experience.

but that does not mean that the sexual urge itself is counterfeit, or that the sexual urge should be assumed to be the whole story of human experience.
I think the poster is on to something...

I mean lets face it, in a perfect world sexuality, but not sex, would have to be obliderated. But the world can't be perfect, so thats not worth trying to enforce. In fact it goes far enough to say that sexuality would be such a problem that it is not even worth trying to get close to the goal because so many people would fail to hit decent margins.

So then you have to ask yourself what a better solution is... feminism and tollerance, enough said.

But because its apropriate, more will be said, even though people can technically figure it out for themselves.

Social molds are wrong, but you can't make the world perfect, but they are not such a huge problem that striving towards them will just be a crash and burn scenerio.

So I think one should do there best to break any social molds they find trying to force them to do something they don't want to do, or would rather just not do. And if they really don't care about it that much, if its that little, then ok then. And the world has very little tolerance.

There is a universal level of wrongness and rightness. People should strive to understand and follow that set level as best they can.

Obviously someone is epically failing if they are threatening to kick the crap out of the annoying kid in class.

People don't know right from wrong because their parents fail to teach them properly, and they fail to learn on there own, which isn't completely there fault. And honestly its really hard for parents to teach their kids. I realize that. But the fact is I for one know right from wrong and that is why I feel like I am qualified to say such things...

Now, of course, normally judging someone is wrong. But analyzing something and coming to a decission is a means to an end, sort of like school. I think the school system is in need of a lot of reforms right now, a whole flipping bucketfull. But thats another story. However there is one point I'd like to bring up about school. For people like me, who refuse to submit to any social mold whether it has fists or not, school has been most and foremost a place that tests my ability to deal with BS for years straight. That being said I hope my killa gangsta classmates enjoy prison... if they haven't changed by now, which I doubt most of them have sadly, they aren't going to get into a college or stay in a college if they are going to keep up the stuff they are doing.

Men find lots of excuses to bash feminism, "They're trying to be guys." is one I love to bash. Basically by saying that they are doing nothing but making some witty statement that in truth just proves that they are sexist pigs. I can translate that into, "Only guys can work out/lead/etc." because I assure you feminism has nothing to do with being a transexual.

I really love this one, this guy though he was being smart. His comment went something like this.

"Men practice masculinity because femininity is attracted to masculinity. Feminists are trying to be like guys and be masculine, why would masculine be attracted to other masculinity? Or femininity to other femininity?"

My response: Are you trying to bash gays or feminism I can't tell. But either way, all you just said was women should stay in there natural place for lack of a better term and not variate. Oh, and otherwise just keep waiting for gay people to disapear, I hope you hope you don't have a heartattack when they become common.

I think schools are part of the crime of sexism and are basically forcing kids to obey social molds. I mean seriously no matter how much you think your superman I bet not one out of a hundred people could suffer through school without bending to other peoples wills. It's just too much of a mission impossible!

If anyone would actually like to dwelve into the topic with me, my msn address/email address is
thanks for your comment, jedi jasmine. how did you find my blog?

I mean lets face it, in a perfect world sexuality, but not sex, would have to be obliderated.

Hey there, it's been a couple of years since this happened but I came to your blog from the post you're referencing. I visited because you were one of the commenters on the original post who was shushed, but I personally thought had some good stuff to say. Unfortunately, you're a voice in the wilderness.

Radical feminists drive me apeshit, and you're a great antidote to that buzzkill crew marching in lockstep.

Keep on keepin' on.
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