A Response to a Feminist Discussion

[Original post can be found here.]

YES YES YES.

For one, I really truly get annoyed when people confuse biological sex and gender.  Because biological sex can’t be controlled, and gender can because gender is the one that’s a social construct.  Refusing medical treatment based on your biological sex because you don’t believe in gender shows a basic ignorance of what each of them actually are.

I love your definition of patriarchy and how it couples with andocentrism.  What a lot of feminists don’t seem to understand is that the andocentrism is the part that hurts men.  I especially liked “assumes that male norms operate throughout all social institutions and become the standard to which persons adhere.”  That right there shows just how the patriarchy hurts everyone, male and female alike, because it makes men feel like they need to live up to these standards that are set too high to begin with and these are the standards that are made to hurt women. Doesn’t matter if it makes these men uncomfortable, they need to do it to live up to societal standards.

I also love how you realize that society as a whole – not just males, not just white people, not just [insert group here] – has created the problems we have today.  Society is huge and complex and things didn’t just become the way they are by a huge group of people (ex: all the men) with a collective mindset enforcing them that way.

I love how you talk about where the real inequality is.  Yes, under the law, women enjoy a much more equal status now than ever before.  That doesn’t mean that inequality doesn’t exist.  No one went after erectile dysfunction medication and whether or not the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should provide for it.  But there were weeks and months of debate about whether birth control (a female only drug) should be provided for.  Yes, legally we have the freedom to access an abortion.  In reality, it’s nearly unaffordable without insurance and many insurance companies refuse to cover it.  Also, depending on your state and how strict the laws are, there may only be a handful of abortion providers for hundreds of thousands of people.  Does that sound like equality?

I also saw the inequality being pushed on us in that military thing.  So very many people didn’t realize that women did not enjoy the right to fight in a combat position in war.  It’s not that we never volunteered; it’s that we were not permitted to do so due to that prevailing point of view that women are too weak to do so.  I’m sure there are plenty of (not outright) discriminatory practices that are in place so that women aren’t allowed to work some of the dangerous jobs men do because of that prevailing mindset.

And I enjoy how you talk about the fact that it’s ourselves that are our worst enemies.  I actually do not see men doing half of the slut-shaming or judging of women that women do to themselves.  None of the men I have dated (and I can count about 7 actual boyfriends) have cared about whether I wore my hair up or down, wore makeup or not, wore perfume or not, shaved or didn’t (actually the only bitch I heard about that was that I needed to maintain it because the grow-in can be scratchy.)

Women, on the other hand, are the most critical of other women.  ”She dresses like a slut” “She’s so easy” “It gives men the idea we’re all like that”… when in fact, it doesn’t.  We’re just so paranoid.  [Which, by the way, is part and parcel of the inequality we’re fighting against and the patriarchy that does, in fact, exist.]

In particular, I think it’s these radfems who spout stuff like “all heterosexual sex is rape” that gives feminism a bad name and makes women (who I would consider feminists, even if they don’t use the term) afraid to be associated with the movement.  It gives misogynistic men the evidence to point to when they say “all feminists are crazy” and it gives women such a fright that they won’t say they’re feminists for fear that they’ll end up as forever alone cat ladies because men won’t wanna be near them.

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My Feminism

[In response to this Tumblr post here.]

My feminism is sex-positive.  Sex is not the be-all, end-all of a woman and what she can do.  Who, when and how she has sex is nobody’s business but hers.  If you are safe, sane and consensual with whatever your kink is, then that kink is your own business.  Do what makes you feel good.  What you do in the bedroom doesn’t affect anyone else’s life – just yours and your partners.

My feminism believes that porn is fine, so long as it is between two consenting adults who are practicing their sexuality safely and sanely.  A woman has the right to do with her body what she wishes.  If she wants to accept money, goods or other services for sex then she should be able to – but only if she wants to.  Or hell, if you just get off on other people watching you fuck, that’s fine too.

[I firmly believe that making prostitution as safe and as legal as the porn industry could reduce a lot of problems and bring tax revenue to states – rather than costing taxpayers millions to arrest, prosecute and keep a man in jail just for wanting to pay someone to lay him.]

My feminism realizes that other factors are involved in oppression, and can result in people who are both simultaneously oppressed and privileged.

My feminism knows that gender is a social construct, but doesn’t mind if you’re a girl that likes pretty things or a boy that wants to play sports.  Embracing aspects of both gender roles, a single gender role or no gender roles is what makes us all unique and not mannequins.

My feminism knows that the current socialization of gender can be harmful to others, but that those with body dysmorphia are not only uncomfortable with their gender, but with their biological sex too.  And it’s okay to want to transition to the opposite sex.

My feminism knows that biological sex and gender are two different things, and one of them is constant while the other is a social construct.

My feminism also knows that acknowledging biological sex is not the same as “enforcing gender roles” and that each sex had different upkeeps and physical/medical things that go along with it.  Happy and safe and healthy includes getting the proper medical care for your biological sex, regardless of what gender you identify with.

My feminism believes gender should be abolished, but realizes that it is an idealistic/utopian goal that doesn’t necessarily work in the real world, and it doesn’t shame women who want to be feminine or men that want to be masculine.

My feminism realizes that the patriarchy hurts men just as much as it can hurt women, and that men can be allies and not enemies.  Not all men are the vocal, hateful minority.  There are many good men out there who would like to see the same rights given to women that they have.

My feminism recognizes that the patriarchy hurts men by forcing them into masculine gender roles they’re not comfortable with either and that it silences male victims of traditionally female-victim crimes.

My feminism recognizes that, just as straight people can be allies for the LGBTQ community, men can be allies for the feminist cause.

My feminism doesn’t prioritize any woman over another, because to do so would cause oppression for the women you don’t prioritize.  All women are equal.  In fact, all humans are equal.  Non-white women are not more special than other women, and lesbians are not more special than heterosexuals.  We’re all in this together.

My feminism recognizes that, while trans people who were raised male might have some male privilege, that by being trans they are subject to a lot of hate and violence and that makes them allies to the cause.  Trans people have just as many struggles as the rest of us, and to ignore or marginalize them is what provokes anger from them – and rightfully so.

My feminism doesn’t marginalize you because of your biological sex or your gender identity.  If you’re trans and you go through the long and arduous process of reassigning you’re gender, you’re entitled to be treated as the new biological sex you are.

My feminism supports gender equality, because the moment you decide that one sex/gender is superior, you have bought into the patriarchal lie that someone has to be better than another.

My feminism understands that relationships between men and women in society are complicated and multi-faceted.  Women have experienced chronic oppression in history, but that not all history treats women badly.  There have been many kick-ass and famous strong women in history.  It is something to be proud of.

My feminism supports all other forms of feminism, so long as the individuals that are a part of it don’t promote hate and violence.  There are always going to be fringe people who spout hate and violence and crazy-talk, but they are not to be taken seriously and they are not the basis by which to judge all other feminists.

My feminism understands that completely breakdown and anarchy is not the way to fix the problems of the patriarchy.  That process is long and complicated and that sometimes that change that we seek will happen slowly – by teaching your children to be better than the society they’re born in.

This is why no one takes feminism seriously

This is, in actuality, a response to another blog post that one of my *ahem* friends decided I needed to see.

The post can be found here.

Okay, so I can’t hold this in anymore.  And I’m sorry to my readers for some of the graphic things that may be in here.  I’ll try to warn you about them so you can skip them.

Are you crazy?  I mean, have you been diagnosed?  Because this, this is nuts.

For one, I’m not even going to talk about how insulting this is to men.  I mean, this insults your own father.  I don’t know your family history, and you don’t have an “about me” but I’m going to assume you have a mom and a dad like everyone else and that at some point they decided to have a child and that child was you.  So you’re saying your dad raped your mom and that your mom didn’t really want to have you as a child?  Because that’s what you’re saying.

Even if it’s not true of you.  Maybe you are the product of a rape, and that’s a hard thing to wrap your mind around.  Maybe your mom decided to do in vitro, or your dad left when you were really young.  But essentially what you’re saying is that every child that’s born (almost every child) is going to be a product of rape.  *looks at my dad sitting across from me*  Yeah that’s not happening.  I mean, look at my family.  My daddy is in a wheelchair (he has CP, been disabled his whole life.  This is not new) and my mommy has beaten up Marines.  I don’t really believe he could rape her even if he had wanted to.   My parents loved each other for a long time, and even though that didn’t last (let’s be honest, nothing in life is everlasting and unchanging) there was certainly no rape involved in the making of me or my little sister.

Not to mention the worry I have for any family you might want to start.  God forbid you end up giving birth to a boy.  What are you going to teach him?  That his penis makes him less of a person?  Are you going to be okay if the boy turns out to like girls?

So besides insulting every good man that has ever wanted to settle down with a good woman and raise a family, you’re insulting so many, many more people.

First, I am a rape victim.

If you wanna know the story, go to my blog(s).  I’ve enumerated it a lot and I’ve talked all about the fact that I put his ass in jail for 25 years too.

I am an open and outspoken rape “victim.”  To be quite honest, I’ve never personally liked the term “victim” but whateves.  I didn’t know the man.  I was 15.  I was on my way to school.  It is a moment I have never forgotten and it is a story I have told numerous times to numerous people.  I am not afraid of it.  It was never my fault, and it doesn’t define who I am.

But you, obviously, don’t know what rape is.

RAPE IS NOT AN ACT OF SEX.  IT IS AN ACT OF VIOLENCE.

While a rapist may receive some sexual gratification in the act he performs, rape is not an act of sex.  Sex is only a small part of it – like the kidnapping of a woman you plan to skin.  The actual gratification comes from inflicting the violence on the woman.  In my previous example, the actual skinning of our fictional woman would serve the same purpose.  This is why we hear about serial killers receiving some sort of sexual gratification during the act of murder.  Murder is not sex.  It is violence.  Rape is not sex.  It is violence inflicted on a woman in the same way murder is.

You cannot talk about rape if you don’t actually know what rape is.

Your definition is of rape is also all sorts of logically wrong.  A good, useful definition of rape would be “any sexual act committed against another human being without their consent.”  And I am a consent advocate so consent, to me, is defined as the presence of a yes, not the absence of a no.

For two, I am a woman and this is still insulting.

It assumes that a woman, any woman, doesn’t have any libido.  Women don’t experience any biological drives to have sex.  That’s all men.

Wrong.

So very wrong.

You can’t turn off a woman’s biological drive to reproduce.  That is how our species carries on.  That is how we populated the Earth.  Animals experience it and so do we or humans wouldn’t exist.  So before you talk about how “men have screwed science and it’s not the truth,” use the brain God gave you a little bit.

What you are saying is that any woman who is, by societal standards, normal and sane cannot possibly have a sex drive and want to a) have sex with men and b) settle down and start a family.

It is not wrong to want to have sex.
It is not wrong to want to have sex with men.
It is not wrong to want to find a partner, male or female, to settle down and have a life with.
It is not wrong to want to have children and to start a family.

None of those things make you less of a person.

It’s insulting to your own family to say that.

And obviously, from your description of sex, you’ve never had it.  (Ahem, for those who don’t like things graphic, you might wanna skip this next paragraph)

For one, I know plenty of men that don’t have anything near a “large member.”  I mean….average being about 5 or 6 inches….I have dildos larger than most of my boyfriends.  And that’s just talking about length, not width.  Width can actually be more problematic.  But I’ve been with skinny, short men and short, wide men and long, skinny men.  A man’s dick is about as different as each woman’s set of boobs.  On top of that “forcing her to be completely naked” is only really what happens in porn.  I’ve had sex outside, in movie theaters, in churches, in beds, on couches, in pools, on floors, in/on/around rolling chairs…for some of those, I was completely naked.  For others it was “pull the undies aside” and I never lost a shred of clothing.  “Banging himself against her with the whole weight of his body” is also wrong, and really only applicable if you’re talking about doggie style.  I’ve been on the bottom, where his whole weight against you would actually crush you and it’s actually hard for a guy to move like that so usually they prop themselves up.  I’ve been on top, where it’s me doing all the slamming and shaking and him mostly laying there and feeling me up.  I’ve reverse cowgirled it, where all he can do is feel my back and booty and I grind back and forth and there’s no slamming involved.  I’ve been on the bottom where I’m lying down and he’s standing up and there’s no weight on me at all.  I’ve been bent over things, I’ve been lifted and twisted in all sorts of ways.  My hunny in particular likes to have both of us laying down and him behind me and it’s a lot of back and forth grinding and no actual slamming and certainly no weight on me.  I’m tiny after all.  [I’m not actually over “shaking her like he would stuff a corpse” because WTF kind of description is that to begin with?!  How would you even know how to stuff a corpse and on top of it, I’m sure it doesn’t happen quite like that.]  “Then using her insides as a receptacle for his penile dejection” is also kinda misleading because that’s not where his cum can go.  I’ve swallowed cum, I’ve had guys jack off on me (yay titty fucking!) I’ve had boys cum in my and around me and I’ve had guys cum in condoms and towels instead (mutual masturbation can be fun too.)  And I know what an orgasm feels like, I’ve had them and nothing you say can make me think I haven’t.  Female orgasms aren’t a myth.

(Y’all squeamish people out there might want to skip this paragraph too.)  What about oral sex?  Is it okay for a woman to want to suck a man off?  What about a man who wants to lavish his tongue on my most intimate bits?  I had a boyfriend whose favorite breakfast was my pussy.  What about masturbation?  My fingers are wonderful for some things.  But fingering myself can be awkward and painful.  Yay for sex toys!  But wait!  Doesn’t that mean, if I use a dildo, I’m raping myself?  I can’t possibly enjoy being filled up, but I’ve done it to myself.  How does that fit in your little black and white sex world?  I haven’t even gone over people who like sex that’s shades less than vanilla.  Women who use strap-ons to penetrate their male counterparts as part of the game.  Women who strap a man down, put a cock ring on him and ride him until she can’t cum anymore.  The whole point is that these men are not in control.  There are also women out there who are so sick of having to be in control of everything – their bills, their house, their job – that all they want to do is give it up to someone and let it all go.  Are you saying those woman are asking to be raped because they want to give total control over to a man?

Ahem, so now that we’ve gone over the fact that you’ve never had fun sex in your life, let’s talk about your privilege a little.

See, your problem here also assumes that the only correct way to be sexually active is to be homosexual or asexual.  You believe that you should either never have sex or that you should only have sex with those of the same biological sex as you.

For one, let’s agree that your sexuality isn’t a choice.  I don’t like vagina.  I like boobies, I’ve kissed woman and I’ve been in a few threesomes.  But I’ve never gone down on a woman or fingered a woman or anything like that because I am not interested in vagina.  I like cock.  I like being filled and stretched and pounded and occasionally I want to be metaphorically ripped in half by a giant man dick.

For two, let’s check that cishet privilege.

What about our trans brothers and sisters?  What about a MTF trans who enjoys having sex with men?  Is he a gay man because he was born a boy?  Or is he now a woman who is being raped by men?  What about a MTF who enjoys sex with women?  Was he a rapist before his surgery and he’s okay now?  Or does the surgery not matter to you and even if she’s post-surgery she’s still “male” and it’s therefore rape?  What about female trans?  What about a FTM who likes sex with boys?  Was she raped before her surgery, but she’s a man now so it’s okay?  Or is it always rape because she was born a girl?  What about a FTM who likes sex with women?  Was she okay when she was biologically a girl but now she’s a rapist because she’s a boy?  Is it different for pre- and post-surgery transsexuals?

What about those with a different gender identity who don’t want the surgery?  A woman who looks like a boy, takes testosterone and still wants sex with boys.  Is she being raped?  She doesn’t identify as female though.  Or a man who identifies as females, might have the breasts and takes estrogen but doesn’t want to go through gender reassignment surgery.  If she likes women, is she raping them?

I mean, I’m a woman.  A vagina is a lot of work to begin with.  Regardless of whether or not I have sex, I should get a pap smear every year to make sure I don’t develop cancer.  After 40, I should get mammograms to make sure I don’t have breast cancer, which I could have received from hanging around my mother when she smoked and has nothing to do with whether or not I’ve had sex with a man.  Cancer itself can come from numerous sources and has nothing to do with whether or not I’ve had sex.  I will still have to deal with a monthly period.  My body, regardless of what I do, will prepare itself for pregnancy and then violently get rid of all that stuff if I neglect to get pregnant.  I will still cramp like mad, both in the front and in the back.  As a teenager, before I decided to have sex, I had a month where my cramps physically threw my back out.  Had nothing to do with a penis.  I would still experience vomiting from my cramps.  I would still experience fatigue that has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with being a woman.  Fatigue that interrupted my daily life and made it hard to stay awake for things like school and work.  The only way to stop any of that is to remove your uterus surgically.

I mean, I hate to break it to you but no one gets out of life alive.  Even if I never had sex in my life, I could die at any time.  I could have been born with cancer.  I could get hit by a car, or someone could rob my store and shoot me.  I could be knifed in a holdup by another woman.  Life is sort of a violent thing and pregnancy is not the sole killer of women.  I could have a heart attack, or a stroke or an aneurism.  All of that could kill me and none of it has anything to do with my gender.

I mean, as woman in the 21st century, we’re lucky that we don’t necessarily need intercourse for pregnancy.  Back in the day however, intercourse was really the only way to get the semen from men (which is necessary for pregnancy) to where it needed to be to get pregnant.  I mean, what was a woman going to do in Ancient Egypt if she wanted a child?  I don’t think they even had turkey basters then!  In vitro doesn’t always work either; even now sexual intercourse is the best way to assure a pregnancy.

But even more important than all of this is the fact that you, as a woman, are helping the patriarchy by saying this.

For one, it gives men an excuse to not take anyone who calls themselves a feminist seriously.  Because they will all classify us like you and then we don’t get anywhere because we’re deemed “crazy.”  Why should men listen to us, why should they work with us on anything if we spout nutty bullshit like this?

For two, it strengthens rape culture by nullifying the feelings of any woman who has actually been traumatized by rape.  Now, a woman who has been traumatized by a man taking advantage of her in any of the numerous ways that he could have done that has to sit next to a woman who hasn’t gone through any of that and hear about how she’s been raped and it’s so dehumanizing.  That other woman, the real victim?  She’s going to shut up real quick.  Well, if all sex is rape then what happened to me?  Is what happened to me what happens to every woman who has sex?  Then why should I go to the cops?  All those rapists they put behind bars doesn’t mean anything because it’s other rapists putting them there.

All you have done is give the patriarchy more excuses to ignore us, and more reasons to shut up women who have truly experienced something unforgivable.  And it’s all because you bought into the men’s idea that one gender has to be the superior one.  The moment you believe women are superior to men, and not equal to them as human beings all around, than you’ve bought the bullshit.  You bought into the lie that someone has to be better than another.  The reality is, we are all humans and we’re all in this together.

The other reality is that you bought into the patriarchal lie that sex is the be-all, end-all of male/female relations.  It’s not.  It’s really not a big deal at all.  It is one of the smallest things in the spectrum of things that needs to be addressed.

You want to be a “radfem”?  Then be truly radical.

Stand up and say that we should all, male and female, be allowed to walk around naked without fear of rape or objectification.
Stand up and say that you recognize that women can be just as violent and judgmental as men.
Talk about the fact that there are women who have raped men out there, and that rape culture has marginalized those men because they don’t fit into the ideal of what a rape victim is.
Talk about the fact that there are women who have physically and emotionally abused men, and that those men have been marginalized by the patriarchy as well.
Next time you see a woman in a bar being harassed, speak up and help get her out of there.
Next time you see a woman harassing a man, speak up and tell her it’s not acceptable.
Next time you see a woman hit a man, call the cops on her.
Realize that there are men on our side, and that they are not the enemy.
Realize that the patriarchy hurts men just as much as it hurts women by making men believe that they have to fit into an ideal of masculinity that they aren’t comfortable with.
Believe that our sexual freedom is the key to our freedom from oppression, and that means that others get the freedom to choose things we might not agree with.
Be an advocate of “Enthusiastic Consent.”
Believe that there are women out there who will enthusiastically consent to sex with men, and that’s okay
Realize that sex is complicated, full of grey areas and that none of it is black and white.
Realize that people are complicated and all of us have different kinks.
Realize that these kinks exist on a spectrum and, so long as a person behaves in a way that is a) safe b) sane and c) consensual, then you have no right to judge them for what they like.
Believe that we have the right to have a family and a career; that we don’t have to pick one or the other.
Believe that a woman’s choice to have a family is just as powerful as her choice to be a lawyer or a doctor, because she will help shape that child.
Believe that not all men will raise children to buy into the patriarchy.
Understand that there are men out there with no women to help them raise their children, and they’re doing just fine.
Understand that women can be molesters too, that they can rape children and be general scumbags.
Teach your daughters not to hit back and teach your boys not to hit in the first place.

Maybe, just maybe then I will consider you a “radfem,” if you feel you need to use that term.  I don’t.

EDIT: 

I have since learned that “radfems” tend to be “trans-exclusionary.”  This is because they feel that gender, being a social construct (it is, by the way) shouldn’t exist, and therefore, a transgendered person isn’t really transgendered.  They’re just themselves.

That’s the idealistic version of it.  Most of the time, I’ve found anyone who identifies as “radfem” is also going to be transphobic under the guise of “trans-exclusionary.”  It is not something I support.

They also seem to misunderstand “transgender” or “gender fluid” for “transsexual.”  I personally find a difference in the terms.  A transgender is one that feels trapped by their forced gender role and dresses/acts outside of that imposed gender norm.  This is perfectly okay.  Transsexuals on the other hand are those that are uncomfortable with the biological sex they were born into and wish for surgery or something to change it.  Also, totally okay by me.  Just, a minor sort of difference.

Mostly, it’s a psychological difference in my mind.  I’m a psych major.  Go ahead, ask me about Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Gender Identity Disorder as it relates to the trans community.  I’ve thought about that a lot.