post from Arwen, even though yes it's from the same goddam Eternal Subject and it's all over the intrablogs and we've been over this general territory a kazillion squillion times. because she sums it up so well.
(from the comments at Twisty, blogging, and devil's advocacy at Pandagon)
[quotage from another poster]
>And I don’t think that “women don’t really like blow jobs” is as offensive as people think it is. Not only because of the false consciousness thing, but more importantly because, in a sexist society, can you really say that you truly like something in and of itself, without any baggage coming from what it means/symbolizes/etc? Especially something as loaded (’scuse me) as a blow job? It’s an interesting question to entertain.>
[/quotage from another poster]
I don’t know. I’m a proud feminist. And yet, in the early days of my life, exposure to radical folks saying this sort of thing made me feel ashamed of myself, or offended, or like a bad feminist or a bad woman.
( I should say, I LOVE performing oral sex. I’m oral generally. I do find it incredibly pleasurable for me, and I’ve been saddened by partners who didn’t like to receive oral sex. )
But that’s not the point. The point is:
Feminists are my in-group.
One’s in-group, however universally dismissed, is the group whose ideas hold most sway. Twisty, Amanda, Dr.B - y’all are alphas in the internet ingrouping, relative societal power aside.
Look at Trekkies - the ingroup message to wear silly costumes overrides the societal stigma that that makes you a dork.
I’m far more likely to internalize shame at my sexual kinks based on Twisty’s mild smack down than I’m going to give a rat’s ass about what Co-Ed Dickwad number #417 thinks about me sexually: in my world, and in many other young feminists’ worlds (or young women beginning to question the system), Twisty does have more power than the Pope.
Whenever the feminist blogosphere erupts, there’s the accusation and denial: policing vs. power.
It’s as if feminists generally have neglected to understand in-grouping dynamics. We’re ingrouped. Anyone reading the advanced Patriarchy Blaming at Twisty is somewhat ingrouped: they’re more likely to care about Twisty’s opinion than about Falwell’s. That doesn’t mean that any major feminist blogger has the societal power to make South Dakota be all right again - but it does mean that there’s a buttload of personal power and ability to offend in ways emotionally deeper than the outgrouped Republicans in South Dakota’s legislature.
I have been *far* more deeply hurt and offended by feminists than by the Religious Right. Why? BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT FEMINIST OPINION. I think we’ve got to start recognizing that with each other, we do have power.
I don’t want to shut Twisty down; or any radical voice. I personally think she’s full of shit on this one, and don’t think Amanda’s saved her bacon with her analysis. However, we’ve got to leave room to acknowledge that the radical voices *do* cause pain, and sometimes can even cause people to start calling themselves egalitarians or whatever instead of feminist. We have to admit that yes; Twisty is so COOL and we want to be LIKE her and if she starts mocking the stupid-Spock-ears part of our Trekkie costumes it’s going to hurt a little for people who maybe just got comfortable with their stupid-Spock-ears lovin’ ways.
Is any sexual act empowering?
If you’ve been sexually abused or repressed, and you’ve hated your sexuality and it’s been tied up with crap-not-yours, and you’ve spent a long time healing and are finally able to hear the rhythms of your own desire, you’re damn right a sexual act can be empowering. If it’s your act, and especially if you have that history, and now you’re making your own life and story and agency and desire and love and respect central to the things you choose and do and enjoy, then you have entitlement to yourself. And that is the first and most important empowerment.
It will not, however, put a woman in the Oval Office.
I don’t expect my washing machine to make me breakfast. Even though both are domestic chores.
I especially love that last paragraph. Right on.
And I know my own buttons have been pushed for exactly the reasons Arwen says: it hurts on a personal level when someone who you've admired disdains you more than it does when someone you've already deemed an enemy does; even if in real world terms, the latter has far more power to hurt you than the former.
That said: personally? I think, maybe, you know, I'm getting over it. Sincerely. Finally.
It's Their Problem, Not Mine.
Which, if the whole endless grueling rehash has led to nothing else, maybe that alone would make it worth it.