The word feminist is so impossibly loaded for me because it comes with a list of restrictions I cannot possibly meet.
Here’s a few of the things I’ve run into:A good feminist has a career instead of a family or a good feminist stays home with her children or a good feminist nurses in public or a good feminist doesn’t shave or wear make up or have too much sex. She certainly doesn’t watch porn or read romance novels because they emphasize “strong” men and “weak” women and promote “gender norms”. Woman who write such things must then be the ultimate betrayers of our gender.
Oh and lest I forget, she always opens her own doors, doesn’t ask for help, she has to study instead of party, “slay the dragon” instead of aspiring to be “a pretty princess” because she couldn’t possibly do/be both.
I call Bullshit!
There is no good feminist or bad feminist. There’s only feminists and a feminist does whatever the FUCK she wants. Because choice is freedom and it’s not up to me or you to decide how a person should express their freedom.
As a writer of both “pornography” and romantic themes am I harming the movement? It’s a question that haunts me constantly and holds me back from sharing what I’ve crafted. How much sex is too much for the page? When do I cross the boundaries of what is acceptable to remain a “good” feminist? It stalls out my creative process and leaves me stuck holding imaginary conversations where I defend my lifestyle and my work and my motivations.
I shave my legs. Does that mean I don’t really believe in equality? How does my choice to shave or not impact the movement as a whole? Short answer: it doesn’t. The fact that I am making my own choice in the matter after weighing how I feel about the process and the result is extremely important. Literally I do it when I feel like it. My partner doesn’t demand it and I give zero fucks whether my legs meet any standard set by some unscrupulous retailer pedaling wares. I buy men’s razors because they’re cheaper and better and that is that and I really don’t need to be defending it here either but such is life.
I have found over time and experimentation that I care about my appearance even though I’ve been on a beauty media fast for nearly a decade. Putting time into my hair and sometimes makeup makes me feel like I care about myself. It’s the time invested and not so much the result that matters to me. For me that is respecting myself. For someone else the conclusion could be different and that’s also extremely important. Putting time into your appearance does not determine your self worth but I have learned that I personally need to put in that effort to demonstrate to myself by looking at myself in the mirror and embellishing my strong points that I am worthy of looking good.
Allow me some shameless soapboxing here.
This will of course vary from woman to woman because regardless of gender no two people are alike. This variance, just like all diversity of thought, intent etc is what enriches our sex as a whole. In living out our truths, whatever they may be and accepting everyone else’s right to do so, we validate shall I say, even elevate each other.
I know this. I believe this so why is it so different when it comes to pornography?
I would dare to theorize that our attitude toward porn is driven by feelings of jealousy, inadaquacy and therefore sex shaming of other women.
This is why I feel it is waspish and outdated.
The assumption I think, is that all sex work must be exploitation because it boggles the minds of many that such an activity would be entered into willingly. Well that’s just rude. Is there exploitation? Do some women turn to prostitution, porn and stripping for lack of other options? Certainly but in my book that gives us even less right to judge them. If we were willing to listen to sex workers and there are many that are vocal on the subject, their reasons for entering the profession are varied.
Furthermore whether mainstream “good” feminists want to admit it our not exhibitionists exist. That is to say for some people sexual performance comes naturally and may even be a dream come true. We all find fulfillment in different ways and some people are natural born performers in one way or another. Some women genuinely love it. Obviously not everyone does but I’m always shocked when people in my profession love being bank tellers. I find that to be unfathomable madness but I can’t deny it’s true and more power to them.
Why is it different if a woman chooses to put on heels and get down on her knees and suck cock in front of a camera. By saying that the only way for her to get there is force is to undermine her power to choose. It also reinforces the archaic notion that some very basic vanilla sex acts are taboo. I must meet this the way I do all things I find utterly preposterous, with a hearty “Are you fucking kidding me?” followed quickly by a “what fucking year is this anyway?”
Another factor lurking behind all this is the assumption that “good girls” don’t really enjoy sex or watching sex or have any sort of lust at all. Clearly we haven’t come that far from the attitude that a woman should “lie back and think of England.” I suppose a hundred or so years is a blink of an eye in terms of evolution but for those of us ahead of the curve it feels like an age.
At the root of it the attitudes are based on the flawed idea that there is a right way and a wrong way to be a woman and whether you’re a professed feminist or a total misogynist limiting woman’s behavior based on a standard of appropriateness has the same ugly result, shame for the woman in one category and smugness for the woman in the other. I just want to mention that even the woman who fit the “good” category are harmed because they can see how easy it is to fall from grace and are less likely to exercise choices that would banish them from that little box.
All of it sets us at each other’s throats and thus is not helpful to say the least. You could even say that it serves the purposes of people who want to oppress woman, so maybe we should cut it out just out of spite for them. I mean whatever get’s you out of bed in the morning right?
I used to think porn, masturbation etc who wrong and it has taken me a long time to earn my mental freedom and I will goddamned if anyone is going to put me back in the prison. I am not saying that you must enjoy porn or masturbate furiously or make porn in order to be a liberated woman, only that it must be an option for those who want it. I’m not simply satisfied that woman are no longer “treated for the vapours” or lobotomized for having sexuality. I believe we need to remove the sanctimonious puritanism that unknowingly poisons our every action.
In my book “You can suck all the dick you want and still be a feminist, Mary” and enjoy it and be filmed doing and get paid for it etc etc.
Give me orgasm or give me death!
Chanson de Tempête 24/09/2016