So I was over at The Reclusive Leftist, where there's a fresh nearly 300-post debate/thrash/what have you about porn. I can't remember which of the comments sent me over the edge; all I know is that I did. First I wrote something a bit more level, if angry, and then I ended up writing this:
"–You want to know what my problem is? My button? My “trigger?” I’ll sum it up in a nutshell, here:
I AM SO FUCKING TIRED OF STRAIGHT PEOPLE DEFINING MY SEXUALITY FOR ME.
or anyone else. Not interested in Big Sister or Big Daddy. Fuck off.
There you go."
This whole trip, or a lot of it, was started off by my anger at having an arrogant hetboy's representation of a scene which is a part of my sexuality (BDSM; an appallingly distorted/silly dismissal of *lesbian* BDSM was thrown in) given pride of place at a highly popular (and I think influential) radical feminist's website (Twisty); and then being dismissed and condescended to again and again in the comments section. Then Twisty's "final word" on the subject, which probably looked on the surface reasonable enough to people who don't really give much of a crap about the whole thing one way or the other. It made me furious; it was dismissive, and contemptuous, and (again!) mispresentative. And people took her word for it. Sure, I have my own voice. But what does it say that a (well-respected, well-read) radical feminist will spotlight a straight boy's definition of an alternative sexuality and then shut down the whole thing after actual kinky women (queer and straight) start speaking their own experience, claiming the whole thing is making her ill? What *is* that?
And then I got into reading others, and others, and others, and...
You know, VS, I like you, and I should have paid you the respect of saying so more directly at the time, but: the last time you came to comment over here, when I was talking about this stuff? couple of months ago, probably. I said I appreciated your responding here and trying to dialogue and your overall tone (or that was my gist), and I meant it. Still do.
But something you said really pushed my button; it had to do with saying, hey, look, I like such-and-such a position in bed, but who cares what other people think if it's "feminist" or not? Why should I need a parade for ___ sex?
And I gotta tell you, that set me off wicked fierce, although it took a while for it to bubble to the surface (that happens with me sometimes, still). Why a parade?
I mean, it's great the whole "I don't care what you do in your bedroom." And--if you're straight? Most people *don't* care--these days, at any rate--what you do in the privacy of your bedroom. Especially if you seem overall respectable and so on. (assuming you *own* a bedroom, aren't fighting for custody of your kids with your vindictive ex-husband who knows about your stash of "Bad Attitude" magazines and your flogger collection, and so on).
If you're gay? Well, yeah, in theory. Sometimes. Sort of. Especially for the last--oh, what is it now? three years? since the Supreme Court finally struck down the last of the anti-sodomy laws.
But as I'm sure you know, having hashed out a bunch of this shit with radical feminists and others, Lily Law isn't everything when it comes to such intimate matters as sexuality. If 'twere, after all, assuming you (as I seem to remember you saying) are against any sort of legal censorship, along with others, then if legality was all that mattered, why, I guess the subjects of porn and so on wouldn't come up at all, then, right?
And as I'm sure you *also* know, there's a fine tradition of Gay Pride Parades. Which, I suppose, one could also ask "but, why do you need it?" (and I am of course assuming that that was *not* what you were asking). People have done just that, of me, after all. I've been polite. Sometimes. I mean, if I think it's an honest attempt to understand. To communicate.
But sometimes, you know, I get tired.
And while kink and porn and so on are certainly worth discussing in their own rights, and while by all means I think it's important to defend heterosexuals' right to pleasure, kink or vanilla, poly or straight, whatever have you--it is just an extra layer of exasperation and incredulity I am going through, when I come across a "radical feminist," of which there appear to be many these days, who is straight, even married! and their *boy* S.O's are right in there rabbitting on about the Patriarchy and oppressive male identified-behavior and so forth, rampant with unconscious male and straight privilege, taking up just as much space as ever they like--and no one says boo!! Do you even know how *bizarre* I find this? I mean, it's one thing for some granola Miz Michigan Wimmin's Fest dyke to say shit that pisses me off, which a number still do, don't get me wrong (never even mind the kink-ignorance; there's been some seriously nasty transphobic shit that I am also saddened and angry to note hasn't died *yet*). But being lectured about my oppressive/brainwashy/unconscious/whatthefuckever it's supposed to be sexuality by straight monogamous women and their men? That is just a whole nother level of my-brain-is-exploding. And I still haven't quite gotten past that, no. One more for the therapist's no doubt.
It's funny, you know--I spent last weekend at a Body Electric workshop on Power, Surrender and Intimacy (otherwise known to some as BDSM; actually I thought this was a much more accurate moniker, in this context at least). It was, as have been all of their workshops, an exhilirating, joyful, sometimes difficult, often emotionally and even spiritually profound, transformative experience. I left feeling...blessed. People have been commenting to me all week about how good I look, different somehow, as so often happens after these experiences (as someone or other noted, people often say "did you lose weight?" when they know there's something different (and good) but they can't put their finger on what. possibly a sign of something in itself; I used to bristle at that--my ambivalence about body image--and this time? shrug. it was meant as a compliment; dayenu).
Then I come back and being the squirrelly little obsessive that I am, turn on the computer and go to the same old sites, find comments from completely random strangers that I find judgmental, critical--in this case, the Dworkinites--and I'm right back into: stomach clenched, I-feel-like-crap, either get depressed and feeling small (in a bad way) or DESTROY MODE (which is more satisfying, but ultimately leaves me feeling a bit empty and disconcerted as well).
I expect that the work I was doing over the weekend and this...online habit of mine both are addressing the same wounds, at some level. And I suppose there's value in both approaches, else I wouldn't be doing it. Especially when there's actual communication happening.
All the same, I have to say: of the two approaches--endless, circular thrashes, even flamefests, with ignorant, judgmental, seemingly willfully obtuse people, or consensual kinky erotic play with wonderful people--the latter feels one fuck of a lot healthier.