Good feminist/bad feminist

So there’s a blowjob war erupting in the feminist blogosphere. (Lord, how I hate that word. Blogosphere. It sounds like what comes out of my nose when I first wake up in the morning, gagging softly on the foul stench from the brewery.) At any rate, the debate is raging, the rhetoric is flying, and I’ve generally tried to steer clear of the whole situation.

Being a sex-positive feminist is sometimes really difficult. One might choose to make the audacious and daring choice to like penes and others will condemn a gal for it. But sex positive feminism isn’t just about penes–it’s about a lot of aspects of sexuality, and the strong core of anti-sex feminists is one of the reasons I hesitated for a very long time before labeling myself a feminist.

There’s a lot of prudery and sex-hatred in the feminist community, and it saddens me to see women tearing each other apart over an issue of personal choice. There are real issues going on which are being buried under the battle of whether or not women who give blowjobs should have their feminist union cards taken away. A section of the feminist community is painting all men with the same brush, arguing that because we live in a patriarchy, every woman’s relationship with every man is inherently unequal and that therefore collaboration (including but not limited to sexual activity) with men hurts the feminist cause. This is like the African American community condemning interracial marriages, kids. Not all men (or white people) are the enemy, and when you find representatives of “the other side” that are sympathetic to the cause, perhaps you should trying working with rather than alienating them.

And it’s not just blowjobs–there seems to be a general trend against sexual activity with men in general, and I cry foul. I’ve been told I’m not a “real feminist” because I have sex with men, and therefore am “lying on my back and taking it for the patriarchy.” Sleeping with the enemy, indeed. The assertions the anti-blow camp are making smack of sex bigotry to me, because they seem to follow a formula:

Practice X is something I am personally not into, therefore practice X is actually disgusting and wrong and anyone who engages in it is a tool of the patriarchy.

Let’s set aside ideas about dominance and submission and all that rot for a moment, and examine this idea. I, personally, find pickled pig’s feet revolting. I mean, seriously. I was in Harvest the other day and I happened to bump into this jar of them and there they were, floating, clacking slightly against the glass–it’s actually making me a little bit nauseous to think about it. But pickled pig’s feet are really popular in other parts of this country, and the world. The consumption of pickled pig’s feet, much like the practice of double penetration, is something that I am not personally into but I can still respect others who make the choice to engage in it.

A large number of the feminists who are decrying the blowjob appear to be asexual, because there’s a segment of the feminist community that is totally anti-sex, arguing that all sex takes place under patriarchal conditions, and so forth. It’s awfully easy to condemn someone for doing something when it’s something you don’t do, and you’re not into. I am deeply distressed by the sweeping generalizations that imply that anyone who engages in sexuality is anti-feminist, or is somehow making ouself into a tool for the patriarchy. This is fecal matter of the bull in the highest degree, and it’s disgusting. It’s not only disgusting, it’s breaking up the unified front that we ought to be projecting as a movement.

The thing is, the patriarchy is anti-sex. The patriarchy wants to control our bodies, and here are these heavy hitting feminists handing the patriarchy the tools of our own oppression. That there is some wack shit, like gays being against gay marriage. Once again, it’s something you may not personally be into but it’s something is making strides for your social status as a whole, so you should be supportive, or if not supportive at least not vocally against, because you are undermining your own movement. We certainly shouldn’t be handing the other side ammunition, eh?

The good feminist/bad feminist debate is devolving into a petty argument over sexuality. I’m not going to wear a red sash to keep up my feminist credentials, and that’s just how it’s going to be. I’m going to go right on being my slutty self and enjoying it and striking my own blows against the patriarchy (yes, even in the realm of sexuality!) It’s interesting because I hear these holier-than-thou feminists saying “you can’t do that, it’s wrong and patriarchal and hurts us all,” and I also hear the holier-than-thou patriarchal pig’s feet eaters saying “you can’t do that, it’s wrong and un-Christian and hurts us all!” (It’s a bingo when they are both referring to the same sex act, by the way.)

Why should being a good feminist involve sacrificing my sexuality on the altar of “female empowerment?” Somewhere a righteous Christian is chuckling and thinking of all the good sex feminists are missing out on, I promise you. Certainly, sexuality can feed into the patriarchy, but it can also be sneaky and subversive and splendid, and ultimately that’s something up to the practicioner. I’m going to continue joining hands with my anti-blowjob sisters because I believe in the stronger overall cause, but I am going to recommend that they wash their hands first because I hate to think they’d get boy juice on them. And I’m also going to continue working with feminist men, because I think that they strengthen rather than corrupting our ideals, and greater numbers always equals greater strength.

So let’s do please give it a rest on the blowjob front ladies, and occupy ourselves with more interesting and pressing matters like the fact that a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage almost passed, the morning after pill still isn’t available over the counter, a growing number of states are allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions, women still make less than men on average, and according to Al Gore, the world is about to end.

[feminism]