you know, the bloody Feminist Wars.
just because i've been thinking about some personal shit for a while, and a by-the-way comment in a discussion turned into a rough form of what was going to be my "why i am" for the sex-pos carnival (not yet launched). so roughly, for now: basically i was saying that wrt the whole "raunch culture, pornsick" business, that it's not that i don't see that aspect of the culture; it's that i don't relate to it as the strongest pressure in my life, sexually:
...I don't feel it: the pressure to be a "sexbot." but then I'm heading toward my mid-thirties, of a certain background; the "pressure" I feel is to -not- look too much like "that," to be "serious," to be "professional." Which you can't be, you know, and still be too sexual.
and of course, if i -am- openly sexual, it must needs be for the sake of men, always, always, always; particularly if i am drawn (as i always have been) toward a "femmey" sort of expression.
and as for being openly sexual with the -actual- objects of my desire, to desire, -period,- other women, i feel strong pressure, still, to not have it at all.
and yes, there's been "lesbian chic;" i rate that about as much as i do "raunch culture." a fingernail-thin gloss of commerical trendiness over millenia's worth of the same old repressive shit.
and, even so, as i've said before; i think, when i was a kid, if i'd seen any of the "lesbian chic" that's prevalent today, stereotyped girl-on-girl or not, it'd have been better from my POV than the pretty much nothing at all i -did- see.
the -real- pressure i've always felt is to be--invisible. and asexual, since i couldn't trump up an attraction toward men. i remember wishing/praying (in a not-especially religious sort of way) that i could just stop -feeling- "this way," when i was an adolescent. eventually, i did. then i didn't feel much of anything, for a while. i guess that's a sort of freedom. then again, so's being dead.
the reason i bring up my position as a queer woman is not so much to say "look, I'm marginalized too! maybe more marginalized! I WIN;" i am trying to explain why it is such a particular hot button for me when i hear, as i often do from aniporn/radfems (no, not from everyone so identified, but enough), basically, such and such sexually is sick, or disgusting, or incomprehensible; and well you don't really NEED your selfish little orgasm, can't you ever think of?...
if desire isn't important then all of my agony during my adolescence is also unimportant. and "gay rights" is essentially fighting for...what? marriage? legal rights? that, yes, but it's also about SEX. it's about DESIRE. it's about YES this is important TOO.
that's been HUGE for me;
and when i encounter other people, other -women- especially, going on and on about oh ew ew EW, it makes me see red. Seriously. It's not because i love Cosmopolitan so much, or wanna go work for Larry Flynt, or have been brainwashed by my blowjob-demanding boyfriend.
I own my own hot buttons, mind you. This is for clarification's sake, for those who have ears and eyes.
of course, then, often, it is automatically assumed that any of the above-named scenarios, or something equally far from my actual experience and position, must needs be the case (pimpin' brainwashed patriarchy-blowing sexbot), and that not only that but when i try to explain that actually it's a tad different, try to bring in a perspective more congruent with my own, i am derailing, if not actually trolling...
I mean, look: ultimately? The people who engage in -that- level of whatever-it-is: when my head is clear, I am aware that in fact -those- people, the ones who simply can't or won't engage -at all,- are by far in the minority. And that that is a problem of not so much ideology as, well, something else.
Trouble is, those people end up prominent in the discussions i'm referring to, and sometimes they're called on what frankly i see as shocking behavior, but other times, no; and then inevitably i or someone else goes for the "well then fuck you, Mary" approach, and of course now it's cemented: we're the bad guys.
I am the Bad Guy.
Maybe I am, at that.
I am not in the motherfucking majority. 'K? I say this not because i want to be oppressed Queen For a Day; at least i bloody well hope not. Fuck me, I don't -want- to be marginalized; i do not in fact believe that there is virtue in being oppressed or an outsider merely for its own sake. Primarily because if i -did-, it'd pretty much tacitly accept that i do not believe real change is possible.
No; I am saying this because.
Put it this way, for a start:
Up until three years ago, "sodomy" (in one way or another) was still illegal in a number of states. Probably more often enforced against gay men than lesbians, much less straight people (hey, whatever you do behind closed doors, as long as you HAVE a door, can GET to a door); and yet, oddly enough, i take it rather personally when say Catherine MacKinnon declares, as she did in the introduction to what is possible the most annoying little tome i have read in a long while ("The Sexual Liberals and the War On Feminism," ed. Dorchen Leidholdt and Janice Raymond),
These suspicions about the male supremacist nature of the privacy right were furthered by another thing some of us noticed. That was that the freedom of the penis to engage in anal penetration in the name of privacy had become a priority issue for women under the banner of "gay and lesbian rights," without connecting a critique of homophobia with a critique of misogyny."
Great, Kitty. Thanks a lot. Yes, it's all about the penis; of course you yourself i do believe, as a STRAIGHT WOMAN, continue to enjoy congress with penii (you don't reveal how, much less in which orifice, but then this too is a feature of straight privilege, the automatic assumption that whatever it is you're up to in bed is probably not too freaky and Your Business). THANK you for telling me how scare-quoted gay and lesbian rights are not, should not be as important to me as whatever you deem is important, Straight Famous Feminist. THANK you.
...well, i'd meant to go on, at one point, with the fisking of that odious little book, some weeks back, but i lost heart halfway through and it's now back at the library. It kind of doesn't matter, anyway.
Yeah, I'm a woman. I'm also queer. It's really not an either-or. It's both-and; the whole is more than the sum of its parts. At times, I have felt far more at home with gay men than straight women. Hell, even other gay women, sometimes, (when I could find them); and that's yet another post.
And yet, at the end of the day, I am a woman; feminism matters to me.
Which is -why I actually pay attention to these wars in the first place.-
So, but I just wanted to say this, probably not for the first time, but maybe a bit more candidly, to... actually, no one person in particular, this is my overall impression of several dozens of discussions i have both witnessed and participated in over the past year or so, okay.
When you talk about "[straight] men want this, men think that," eventually, I glaze over.
I do not relate.
I don't -care- what they want. or, rather: certainly not in the aggregate. certainly not as explained by someone else, venting about them. endlessly, might i add.
I -might- care what -you- want, what -you- feel and think, fellow woman feminist; but see there's all this porn-is-bad and men-suck talk getting in the way, so I don't often actually know what it is. Especially the "want" part.
Yeah, that's what it is. That's one thing that really bugs me about the porn-n-men business: it -often- becomes a handy way to discharge a bunch of strong feelings without actually having to confront ourselves.
Not always; i do not say such subjects should never be discussed, NO.
But, y'know. One thing i -do- feel i often have in common with (many) straight women (as well as otherwise) is the experience of not feeling heard; of not feeling what i want is really relevant in the greater scheme of things; and especially of not feeling entitled to say "no," much less boldly go up to an object of desire and say, "I want this. I want -you.-"
And, like, maybe -that's- something we could talk about? at some point?
I was going to say something about the experience of abuse, although in a way it opens up a whole 'nother avenue of discussion, I think it's highly relevant. It's also a minefield, though. Briefly, just this:
Yeah, it's real and it's widespread, overt sexual and physical abuse. Molestation. Rape. Beatings. That is an experience that i do not share. I do however take it very seriously.
I get uneasy when i see what -to me- often looks like a conflation of very raw and personal discussions of such abuse with stuff that -to me- seems like a different subject (influences of sexist media, including or even especially porn).
That's another post.
What I was going to say was:
I have been thinking about it, and actually, you know, I'm -this- close to naming my own experience as abusive. In some murky, nebulous way.
I think internalizing that level of shame (which is, if not universal for queer kids, pretty fucking common) about one's sexual desires, and/or rather the environment that leads to such an internalization...yeah. Call it abuse. Why not. It sure wasn't Happy Fun Time, that's for damn sure.
There's also this:
Not to get too heavy into family-of-origin stuff, although i think that's actually -really- relevant, more so than all the media put together, in general, frankly; but, in mine? 'twasn't Dad who was the invasive one, or the one who screamed and raged.
which i suspect has at least something to do with both my not really relating to some peoples' experience of Class Men as well as with my knee -really- jerking when women in particular start acting in erratic and dramatic ways.