Scorpio Risen

Some thoughts on feminism: sex-positive, and pick ‘n’ mixing.

Posted on: 28 May, 2007

This particular post, to be honest, I’m not really sure where I’m going with it. I have two ideas I want to post about, but, although they can be linked, they seem to be coming from two different directions. So, we’ll just see, yeah?

The term “sex-positive” is probably most commonly used when describing pro-pornography feminists. Now, I’m not particularly keen on this use of the term, because it implies that anti-pornography feminists are also anti-sex. Now, you should all know by now – unless, of course, these are the first words of mine which you have ever read – that I am anti-pornography. That’s not the debate here. Admittedly, I haven’t really posted much on sex/sexuality, except here. And I’m not particularly keen on going into too much detail about it in this post; let’s leave it for another time, with its own post. But I really don’t feel that you have to be pro-pornography to be pro-sex, or “sex-positive”. I really don’t feel that because I’m anti-pornography, that I’m anti-sex. I’m not really experienced, or an expert either, but, again, that is not the debate.

In fact, some anti-pornography feminists, myself included, have argued that being anti-pornography is being sex-positive.  Here, in fact, is what I have previously said on the matter:

“…And I think the claim that pro-pornography feminists are “sex-positive” is ridiculous: pornography is not the same as sex. It is certainly not equal sex: the woman is usually in submission, and there is not often mutual pleasure…It is a distorted, one-dimensional view on sex and sexuality and is packaged for marketing.”

I’m not trying to “own” the word “sex-positive”, I’m just trying to make a point that within different perspectives of feminism, there is sex-positivism, even if some of these perspectives are entirely polarised. I’m just trying to make a point that homogenising feminism is ridiculous.

Which actually brings me onto my other point. I feel somehow lucky that the points have appeared to have come naturally to meet in the middle.

Homogenising feminism. It’s often used as a tool to undermine feminism, especially using some delightful *cough* stereotypes. Some people talk as if there’s a feminist rule book. Some people even feel as if they don’t fit up to all the criteria, and so reject the  term “feminist”. As if they don’t quite tick all the right boxes.

I sometimes feel as if I’m a bit of an anomaly at times when it comes to feminism, but I don’t feel that’s a bad thing. I even know that I do fall under some of the more cliched aspects of feminism, and by that, I mean, like, the hairy legs and whatnot. The anomaly part? Well, for example, given my dedication to being hairy, I could understand that some people would expect me to be always nudey faced. But I’m not. I dye my hair crazy colours too at times; you may have noticed. Although this is usually to reflect a new phase.

I really do believe that people should stop getting such fixed ideas about feminism in their heads. It is pretty ludicrous. There are too many bloody strands within feminism. There are too many different viewpoints. And of course, it is almost impossible for any one person to agree 100% with another.

 I particularly like the way Imelda Whelehan describes feminism in “Overloaded”:

“…To take a metaphor from women’s craft, it [feminism] is a patchwork of ideas with the stamp of many individualities impressed upon it; so why do some … see it as a ready-made orthodoxy?” 

Indeed, my own feminism isn’t necessarily fixed in one place. As I learn more and more, read more about it, think more about it, experience more in life, my feminism is going to grow along with my growing knowledge and experiences. I sometimes see it as a bit like pick ‘n’ mixing feminism: I pick an issue, author, blogger, whatever, I take interesting, thought-provoking points, and I mix it with my previous opinions, beliefs, experience, and my feminism grows.

P.S. There’s an article on pick n mix feminism on the good ol’ F-word.

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1 Response to "Some thoughts on feminism: sex-positive, and pick ‘n’ mixing."

i hate the terms sex-pos/anti-sex as well. I tend to use sex-pos/anti-porn…because I think most feminsts like sex of some sort.

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