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bihet feminism lite, you credulous troglodytes
Posts tagged "sexuality"

I can’t smash much out on the topic at the moment, but I think it would be worthwhile to have a discussion about being a bisexual woman as a distinct condition, and not as “interested in men but" or "interested in women but”, or else kind of self-minimizing by referring to ourselves as “queer women”, half-assed sort-of lesbians who regret our inability to commit fully to what seems like a more legitimately woman-centered, woman-loving position.

I did spend quite a lot of my youth self-flagellating about how I felt like I was more attracted to women, and yet I kept ending up with men! It took a while to accept that that is a honest state of affairs for my sexuality, and means nothing. Yes, men are more likely to do this, that or the other terrible thing, but I had relationships with people, not statistics.

This viewpoint has great significance to me know in light of murmurings that bisexual women may be more vulnerable to domestic violence than straight or lesbian women, and I think back to the times I recognized distant and discomfort in a relationship with a man, and instead of looking at it as an indicator of unhealthiness, I attributed to some fundamental, heterosexism-informed gulf between Man and Woman (that might somehow be resolved if I only dated women! But I wasn’t dating a woman, so I endured.)

I have had very good relationships with men, and I have had bad relationships with women. People, not statistics.

Some men I have been involved with treated me badly, but that wasn’t because I chose to enter a relationship with a man, or because I was attracted to a man, or because I loved a man when I had the option of swearing them off. We as bisexual women owe it to ourselves to talk openly about what it means to occupy this space, and stop talking about ourselves in terms of statistics or ratios or how much of this group we are or are not. This does not mean abandoning discussions about passing as straight or dominating queer spaces, but it does mean we must stop being so hard on ourselves and each other for not achieving some fantasy of perfect queer feminist love. We owe it to ourselves to talk about what it means to have relationships to men when we are also attracted to women, especially if we are active in LGB circles. We owe it to ourselves to be honest and not simply accept that violence, disrespect and hostility is the price we pay for engaging in heterosexual relationships. We are not betraying women by being honest about our desires. We can betray them by speaking about our sexuality in ways that encourage self-doubt, shame, and resignment to toxic relationships. Bisexuality is its own state in this world, not some vacillation in between others. Don’t apologize for who you choose as a result.

Between the BDSM tumblrites whining about how the bottom is obligated to speak up in order to prevent rape, and the people arguing that porn is all good fun and can be reblogged endlessly without further thought, it’s probably a damn good idea to get really hardcore about taking some goddamn ownership of your ability to sexually exploit people.

I remember a tumblr I user to follow that regularly posted nudes. One day, they posted an image of someone who looked very, very young. I would personally not have guessed her to be much older than 14. It was not overtly pornographic, but it most certainly was not an artistic nude, either. The people who ran the blog got some angry asks about that image, and dismissed it all with comments about how some grown women just look really young, okay, and someone submitted it to them and they clearly state that contributors should only submit images of people over 18, so they’re totally not responsible anyway, and that apparently included engaging in any critical thought before posting. I stopped following them after that, but it continues to bother me that I did not protest more.

I know the old, tired arguments - “women who look really young are sexual beings too, and we can’t deny them representation!” (I would argue that there’s still some fairly obvious differences between a grown woman who happens to have small breasts and narrow hips and someone in the early stages of puberty, but that’s beyond the point.) It’s laziness. If you cannot personally confirm that the person in the image is in fact an adult, what is so fucking hard about refusing to repost it? What is so fucking hard about accepting that, hey, I know a lot of ostensibly hilarious porn is created under exploitative conditions with the intent of humiliating the women involved, so if don’t know the background to a given image, I shouldn’t just shrug and hope that the people depicted don’t mind being used as a joke? What is so hard about accepting that your personal kink is not so sacred that you can’t let legitimate critique of how it enables rape and abuse go by without freaking out about how you’re being oppressed?

Rape culture has benefited enormously by appropriating concepts like body positivity and kink positivity and sex positivity and using them as way to shut down criticism. Every time I write something like this, I have to fight the urge to describe what a sex-loving, kinky girl I am, because I know that critiquing this shit will lead to attacks on my own sexuality. We are terrified of being mistaken for prudes, because to be a prude is to be judged as naive, backwards and broken, and is also viewed an invitation for sexual aggression. What is the major reason give for demonizing the entirety of second-wave feminism, after all? Those uptight old bitches hated sex! There’s a lot of critique of the second wave on Tumblr that includes throwaway references to transphobia in the movement, but this is seldom followed up with any nuanced critiques or understanding of transphobia today. Contrast that with the eagerness of many self-described feminists to assure us that they’re not ugly, hairy, lesbian misandrists who hate porn and sexy pictures. The first rule of internet feminism is to make sure no one besides certain right wing caricatures hates you.

Ending rape culture is not possible if we refuse to do things, or stop doing things, that may get us labeled as oversensitive, sex negative, or slut-shaming by people who have a vested interest in ignoring possible exploitation of others. This does not mean that one should engage in attacking or silencing sex workers or sexually active people; the goal is ultimately ensuring the safety of vulnerable parties. This may require you to feel uncomfortable about things you have uncritically accepted as sexually attractive. It may require you to stop supporting people and blogs that you otherwise like. It may require you to step back and question whether what you are doing is actually harmless fun and not abusive. It’s not fun. You’ll get a lot of shit for it. However, taking responsibility for resisting these little exploitations, even the ambiguous ones, is a huge part of fighting rape culture and restoring power to those who have been abused by it. There is no benefit in fighting for your right to passively consume the exploitation of others.

zincfingers:

greenchestnuts:

outlawroad:

If you never look at another person and think “I want to have sex with you” or experience genital arousal in response to another person’s appearance, you’re most likely asexual.

It took me years to realize that there’s a difference between an involuntary “I want to have sex with you” response, and a logical “I think I would enjoy sex with you, therefore it’s something I may pursue in the future” decision.

did you know (TM)

1. many “sexuals” are likely asexual!

2. the sexuality of “sexuals” is governed primarily by their primitive lizard brains!

3. no asexuals are ever prescriptive about who should identify as asexual!

4. but really this distinction is complete bullshit

I hope by “years” they mean “the period from 5th grade to 9th grade” because oh my baby Jesus I thought we had gone over this

(via dignified-and-old)

bb-goose:

desliz:

When I first saw this and this, my first reactions were of amused bafflement. Surely no one could seriously think the utterly unremarkable responses described were indications of a unique orientation, one so very different from that of the dirty rutting slabs of flesh who are naturally driven into frenzies by naked flesh and lip friction? I mocked it and moved on. As I thought about it more, however, I realized what’s actually going on here. Here are two people, presumably teens and/or young adults, who really do believe that most humans do not experience attraction that moves beyond mere stimulation of nerve endings, and who really do believe that every display of the human body is incredibly compelling and erotic for the “sexual” viewer. How the hell did these ideas get into their head?

The answer’s rape culture, of course, and the lack of discussion in mainstream society about what mutually enjoyable sexual contact actually looks and feels like. Rape culture presents an image of sexuality, particularly female sexuality, in which intellectual involvement is rarely discussed. Emotions are, but they generally tend to be negative, revolving around obsession, jealousy, and indifference.  Bodies, particularly female bodies, exist for the sexual gratification of others, and bodies that that are judged unappealing are stigmatized. A Martian who made observations of our media might be excused for concluding that human sexuality was an all-consuming, compulsive exercise in which all emotional connection to one’s sexual partners was shallow and highly dependent on sensory appeal.

Tumblr kids, aren’t Martians, of course. They are simply individuals who have internalized the messages of rape culture to the extent that being mentally aroused by a kiss is a revelation. Rape culture has taught them that bodies exist to be stared at and fantasized about, so therefore it’s noteworthy when they are bored by a shirtless stranger. They have been taught that sex is a dehumanizing act of rubbing together. Their feelings are not rare, though the choice to attribute what they perceive as unusual reactions to asexual identity may be. What it reminds me most of was the pre-teen and teenage girls I met while investigating child abuse. These girls were all sexually active with boys and men who were in their late teens and early twenties. What struck me was the way these girls described how the felt about sex. There was no joy, little arousal. They had sex mostly because they had learned that sex is what you do when you have a boyfriend, especially if you are lucky enough to be young girl with a super cool older guy who has “needs”. More significantly, there was no indication that that understood this was abnormal. They knew all the ways one is supposed to indicate sexual satisfaction, but it was pure pantomime. It goes without saying that their boyfriends did not care that they did not enjoy it, so long as they did it. Rape culture reinforced all of this.

Non-asexuals are perfectly aware that learning to take control of one’s sexuality is not something you learn overnight, especially if you are a woman. You will be met with constant resistance. I never had a truly coercive partner, but I spent a long time settling for subpar sex because I didn’t know what I was looking for, and my partners were not motivated to do anything other than what they had always done. While it was relatively easy for me to come to terms with the idea that I was bisexual, I spent way too much time stuck on the idea that I was only attracted to a certain kind of woman, coincidentally the kind who is also appealing to men. Very few people are lucky enough to sort out what they want sex and physical affection and their relationships to be like without at least several years of fumbling. This is especially true if you are queer and closeted. We are encouraged to settle, if settling means being sexually available. Actual pleasure is only for straight men. When you finally realize what you’ve been missing, it’s mindblowing. Why did no one tell me earlier?

The point is that it is a damn shame that people can grow up not realizing a kiss can be both emotionally gratifying and sexual. That kiss described in that post? Sexual. Say it with me. It’s not a bad word. It’s not a word that will doom you to an eternity of mindless meatpuppethood. If we don’t start confronting this shit with discussions of how damn joyous sex can actually be, of what good sexual contact actually feels like, we are only assisting in rape culture’s endurance. We cannot fight sexism by creating a neverending series of meaningless little categories like “demisexual” and “heteroromantic”. Such divisions reinforce the idea that rape culture provides truthful depictions of the human sexual experience, and there is nothing more dangerous than that.

You a clever bitch and so much of this resonates with me

But I’m not sure I agree with the idea of rape culture being at work when a self-described asexual woman brags about ignoring some ~shirtless hunk~. I see the point about rape culture reducing bodies to things that simply gratify other people, and I wholeheartedly agree with the emphasis on female bodies falling victim to this especially. But how does the internalization of rape culture come into play in this particular case? Idk but as ridiculous as I find that post, I’m not comfortable labeling her a participant in rape culture, directly or not.

I meant in the sense that sexualization of female bodies might lead someone unfamiliar with the concept of male gaze to conclude that all  images of conventionally attractive bodies serve a sexually gratifying purpose, much as you have women who point to naked man butts on HBO as some sort of evidence that men are objectified, too. Asexual rhetoric is so dismissive of sexism that “sexual” women are described as equally predatory and voracious, and thus you get posts like this, where it is implied that such women would be unable to tear their eyes away from naked manflesh (because they’re all straight, too). This would also dovetail with the practice of women being blamed for rapes perpetrated by men they had previously expressed attraction to. That’s not an element here, but the point is that rape culture can only benefit from women dismissing other women as indiscriminate consumers of male sexuality.

(via will-graham-i-am)

When I first saw this and this, my first reactions were of amused bafflement. Surely no one could seriously think the utterly unremarkable responses described were indications of a unique orientation, one so very different from that of the dirty rutting slabs of flesh who are naturally driven into frenzies by naked flesh and lip friction? I mocked it and moved on. As I thought about it more, however, I realized what’s actually going on here. Here are two people, presumably teens and/or young adults, who really do believe that most humans do not experience attraction that moves beyond mere stimulation of nerve endings, and who really do believe that every display of the human body is incredibly compelling and erotic for the “sexual” viewer. How the hell did these ideas get into their head?

The answer’s rape culture, of course, and the lack of discussion in mainstream society about what mutually enjoyable sexual contact actually looks and feels like. Rape culture presents an image of sexuality, particularly female sexuality, in which intellectual involvement is rarely discussed. Emotions are, but they generally tend to be negative, revolving around obsession, jealousy, and indifference.  Bodies, particularly female bodies, exist for the sexual gratification of others, and bodies that that are judged unappealing are stigmatized. A Martian who made observations of our media might be excused for concluding that human sexuality was an all-consuming, compulsive exercise in which all emotional connection to one’s sexual partners was shallow and highly dependent on sensory appeal.

Tumblr kids, aren’t Martians, of course. They are simply individuals who have internalized the messages of rape culture to the extent that being mentally aroused by a kiss is a revelation. Rape culture has taught them that bodies exist to be stared at and fantasized about, so therefore it’s noteworthy when they are bored by a shirtless stranger. They have been taught that sex is a dehumanizing act of rubbing together. Their feelings are not rare, though the choice to attribute what they perceive as unusual reactions to asexual identity may be. What it reminds me most of was the pre-teen and teenage girls I met while investigating child abuse. These girls were all sexually active with boys and men who were in their late teens and early twenties. What struck me was the way these girls described how the felt about sex. There was no joy, little arousal. They had sex mostly because they had learned that sex is what you do when you have a boyfriend, especially if you are lucky enough to be young girl with a super cool older guy who has “needs”. More significantly, there was no indication that that understood this was abnormal. They knew all the ways one is supposed to indicate sexual satisfaction, but it was pure pantomime. It goes without saying that their boyfriends did not care that they did not enjoy it, so long as they did it. Rape culture reinforced all of this.

Non-asexuals are perfectly aware that learning to take control of one’s sexuality is not something you learn overnight, especially if you are a woman. You will be met with constant resistance. I never had a truly coercive partner, but I spent a long time settling for subpar sex because I didn’t know what I was looking for, and my partners were not motivated to do anything other than what they had always done. While it was relatively easy for me to come to terms with the idea that I was bisexual, I spent way too much time stuck on the idea that I was only attracted to a certain kind of woman, coincidentally the kind who is also appealing to men. Very few people are lucky enough to sort out what they want sex and physical affection and their relationships to be like without at least several years of fumbling. This is especially true if you are queer and closeted. We are encouraged to settle, if settling means being sexually available. Actual pleasure is only for straight men. When you finally realize what you’ve been missing, it’s mindblowing. Why did no one tell me earlier?

The point is that it is a damn shame that people can grow up not realizing a kiss can be both emotionally gratifying and sexual. That kiss described in that post? Sexual. Say it with me. It’s not a bad word. It’s not a word that will doom you to an eternity of mindless meatpuppethood. If we don’t start confronting this shit with discussions of how damn joyous sex can actually be, of what good sexual contact actually feels like, we are only assisting in rape culture’s endurance. We cannot fight sexism by creating a neverending series of meaningless little categories like “demisexual” and “heteroromantic”. Such divisions reinforce the idea that rape culture provides truthful depictions of the human sexual experience, and there is nothing more dangerous than that.

zincfingers:

theskinofourteeth:

nicocoer:

numol:

[image: text: “THERE’S A REASON WHY ‘SENSUAL’ IS IN THE WORD ‘CONSENSUAL’”.]

eateroftrees:

ickyharry:

[snipped]

They are sending the message that people should ask for consent because it is sexy. Not because it’s the ethical thing to do. It implies that consent is less important when it isn’t sexy. When it’s not convenient and neatly packaged.

OH GOOD SOMEONE IS MAKING THIS POINT.

Maybe changing it to “There can be a reason[…]” instead of “There[ is] a reason[…]”? I mean, creating something pithy for a media campaign that utilizes viral and meme based marketing won’t get into the details. That’s why it should only be one part of the campaign.

Though for best practice purpose, any of these images with “pithy” statements that only cover an aspect of the purpose (In this case, pointing out that getting consent doesn’t have to be “unsexy” or a “mood killer” as some parts of society would make it out to be.) should link back to a larger commentary or campaign. Other wise, you are putting out Pithy statements that can be used in a way that goes against your actual intent. Which means your campaign, formal or informal, organizational or grass roots, has failed. 

This is a great example for the reasons the above posters have commented. It allows people to Imply that if it is complicated for you to give consent for whatever reason- disability, survivor status, working past taboos around that you’ve learned- that you are “doing it wrong.” Which in and of it self denies the entire purpose of consent- that we have a right to determine what happens to our bodies.

By saying our internal processes of determining that are wrong, you are robbing us of our ability to consent. You delegitimize our voices within our culture (be it the larger culture or our activist subcultures). Essentially you end up perpetuating the same sort of thinking that says that consent is a barrier rather than a matter of personal safety and respect. 

So, don’t want to undermine yourself when you are campaigning around using viral and meme stuff? Link back to more info. 

Though for best practice purpose, any of these images with “pithy” statements that only cover an aspect of the purpose (In this case, pointing out that getting consent doesn’t have to be “unsexy” or a “mood killer” as some parts of society would make it out to be.) should link back to a larger commentary or campaign. Other wise, you are putting out Pithy statements that can be used in a way that goes against your actual intent. Which means your campaign, formal or informal, organizational or grass roots, has failed. 

So, don’t want to undermine yourself when you are campaigning around using viral and meme stuff? Link back to more info. 

DUUUUDE YES.

[[At my college, “Consent is Sexy!” shit was EVERYWHERE and it always bothered me so much (in general I am not in favor of injecting happy shiny sparkly bullshit into issues that are fundamentally about respect for other human beings, idk). I always wanted to make counter-shirts that said “Consent doesn’t HAVE to be SEXY because it is FUCKING MANDATORY”.]]

fuck any campaign that implicitly puts pressure on people to consent because it’s “sexy”, as if rape culture doesn’t do enough of that already. I would also appreciate a campaign that acknowledges consent as a process that can end at any point during a sexual encounter, or as something that can be absent for a particular sex act while continuing wholeheartedly with others, or even as something that doesn’t necessarily indicate enjoyment or enthusiasm for the consenting party. Consent is simply too complex to reduce to cutesy phrases.