Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.

Word Up! Feminist Respect!
March 12, 2010, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Porn | Tags: , , ,

After commenting on this Critical Masculinities post about Pro-Feminism, I reflected on something I sometimes forget; When caught up in the passions of my belief, I must remember to maintain respect for other people’s positions.

See, for me, feminism is a term that I understand to be very broad in its scope. The only statement I feel assured in making is that feminism about is women’s rights. I know that’s really simplistic, feminism is far more complex than that, but sometimes I have to simplify it in my head to make sense of things.

So when I’ve heard someone say “I don’t call myself a feminist”, I prickle up a little. But I’ve realised something, I need to listen to their reasons. Because there are some very smart people with some very good reasons – pro-feminist men, former feminist women, and so on. Though their viewpoint is not my own, I think they make good arguments that make sense for them.

I guess I’m writing this article because I’ve been in a couple of feminist arguments that have gotten pretty ugly and I’ve seen some even uglier feminist flame wars. Often what the ugliness seems to stem from is people’s lack of respect for each other. A taking of sides, no finding a middle ground.

It pays to remember that each of us is on our own, unrepeatable journey. Each of us has a wealth of personal experience and knowledge. Though some of us may have more evolved, considered opinions than others, it doesn’t mean others have nothing useful to contribute. Ultimately “right” and “wrong” are slippery, tricky, abstract concepts and it’s probably more useful to realise that our version of “right” isn’t the same as everyone’s. But if we speak to each other rationally and calmly, perhaps we can come to an understanding.

I don’t always live by this mantra, I’m a pacifist with a temper. When I come home from a bad day, when being lectured by sanctimonious little vegan* girls I’ve only just met at parties about how porn by definition exploits women – sometimes I get angry, we all do, but it never achieves anything. So I try to be constructive. I really did want to slap that girl though. But I didn’t. Yay pacifism!**

* No offense to vegans, I’m vegetarian myself and respect vegans immensely. It’s just this girl just irritated me with her superior attitude and the fact that her and her boyfriend had “V” for vegan tattooed on their wrists… which wouldn’t usually annoy me but she annoyed me so it annoyed me!

** I should have called this blog The Kinky Pacifist. Spank the Kinky Pacifist. Heehee! Oh, that’s only funny to me, isn’t it? :(


23 Comments so far
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Oooh when did you become a vegetarian? Being a veggie myself, it can be a little hard, sometimes, to not make someone feel horrible about being a meat eater. It doesn’t really do any good. People should only change the way they live when they really truely want to change.

Comment by Kitty

At the start of the year. I feel a bit silly calling myself a vegetarian when I’ve only done it such a short amount of time but I feel really committed to it so yeah.

Yeah it’s interesting how self conscious and sometimes defensive some people get around me when we’re eating… I never say a thing about what they’re eating, I’m not a jerk all the time!

Comment by Nio

Neat, what changed your mind?

Comment by Kitty

To simplify it?

The realisation that I could no longer justify having creatures die for me when they don’t need to -people can thrive on a vegetarian diet and so far this is absolutely my experience.

The only argument that I had – which could not be destroyed – was “I love the taste of meat” and that didn’t seem like a good reason to ask animals to die for me.

I’m an animal too, after all. I don’t mean that in any romantic way, I’m an atheist and Darwin is my hero.

Comment by Nio

Yeah, that was prety much the same for me. I just cannot bring myself to eat meat. I haven’t eaten meat for a over a year, it would probably make me feel sick to eat it again.

Comment by Kitty

Yeah I’m craving meat less and less these days which is surprising to me because I LOVED the stuff, previously!

Comment by Nio

I know exactly what you mean! I’m vegan myself and it pisses me off the attitude some of these people have. I mean, it’s your choice, and you should be able to respect other people for it. A lot of vegan books and just people (like those two) make it like they’re superior and better than everyone just because of their choice. It makes me sick, really. It’s very sad. It doesn’t give us a good image, really. Some people I’ve talked to automatically assume that vegan=total jerk off or assume I’m going to rant at them or something, which I’m not! Except maybe about this, hehehe.

Also. Porn ftw!

Comment by Rhiannon

I suppose the points I made in this post about feminism can apply to the vegan thing too!

Lovely having you commenting here by the way. Thankyou!

Comment by Nio

I’m gonna get my head bitten off for saying this, but yeah. Feminism is more than just womens rights, it is also mens rights, and the variety of other genders’ rights.

But I think too many people (myself included) only consider it the first category. Which is why I’m very careful when using the term.

I don’t like lecturing vegans, which is why I never lecture people about my flexitarianism. But it’s not just limited to veganism, you could say the same thing about pretty much every -ism. It gets very abstract quickly though, you need to get into a lot of philosophy. Eek.

Comment by Jevon

Well I hope this is a place people can come to and express their opinions at without getting their heads bitten off – unless, of course, that’s what they want or deserve!

However, I think to say feminism is men’s rights etc etc is open to debate. Yes, feminism tackles a lot of issues that oppress us all but men are pretty much the ones who tend to generally benefit from current power structures so it IS more about women – I think to deny that would be to deny all the shit women get thrown at them.

Not to be exclusive of other genders. Just… eh, I’m too tired to talk myself in circles tonight. Thanks for commenting Jevon!

Comment by Nio

I have a hard time with the word “feminism.” To me, it sounds like it supports women’s superiority? But that’s not the case; the definition of feminism is: a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women.

So why isn’t it called Equalism?

That’s my only gripe with calling myself a feminist. Maybe you have some insight there, I don’t know. . .

Comment by letseatcake!

Yeah I understand your struggle with the term – it feels a little exclusive and nobody wants to feel that. I used to struggle with it myself.

But the reason it is called “feminism” and not “equalism”, I believe, is because historically, generally speaking, it is women who get the short end of the stick. To deny this would be to turn a blind eye to all the shit women go through, you know?

But also I’d ask you why does it sound as if “feminism” suggests women’s superiority? This is certainly not what the movement has been about and I’d go so far as to say that negative image of feminism is the fault of media portrayals of it. Feminism is not about man hating, it’s about women’s rights – something that is still relevant today.

I apologise if this is inarticulate, I’ve had a long day at work!

Comment by Nio

It’s ok, it’s way too early for me at this point, so forgive me as well :)

I can see how feminism would basically mean, “not man-ism.” Kind of like, “every day is man’s day,” in the same respect that there can be a black student union and if any asshole says, “why can’t I have a white student union?” I’ll tell them that every day is white day. Women are a minority, so to claim feminism is to say “women have as many rights as men.” And they would be right.

I think it’s the term that rubs me wrong. Feminine-ism. The definition of “ism” is: a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school.

Authoratative SOUNDS like superior. It isn’t, but if a man said to me, “I believe in male-ism,” I’d consider him a bit misogynistic.

Again, I fully support the CONCEPT. It’s the word that I’m not fully comfortable with.

Comment by LetsEatCake

Yeah I do understand what you’re saying here – and this discussion is one that people often have about the term “feminism”.

But ultimately, as I support many feminist ideals, and in respect for all the rights that women in the feminist movement have fought for that I now can take for granted – and in respect for all we still need to fight for – I use the term and find it useful. I mean, I don’t know, I just think we have bigger battles to fight than worrying about the term. I don’t think there’s a magic, better word that exists, in any case.

Then again, lately I tend to clarify my position within feminism as “sex positive feminism”. Yeah, meh, it’s complex! Haha.

Comment by Nio

Wow! I’m a sex positive feminist too! Well, now that I read that definition I am :)

I won’t be using the word though, until I can reconcile the feeling of it meaning “female superiority.”

I’ll do some research and let you know what I find :)

Thanks for the link though, I definitely feel one step closer.

Comment by LetsEatCake

Hey, cool! I don’t think you have to use the definition unless you become comfortable with it – but even just to research sex positive feminism could still be useful to help you define your own position. Or something. Woo!

Comment by Nio

Hmm just for the sake saying something, aren’t there different forms of feminism? Radical feminism, cultural, liberal? They all have their different belief systems (cultural I believe, believes that females and males are different in the way they behave and should be treated differently) and I think some are more agressive towards men than others. I’m not cool with that. I’m pro people who are not douche bags. Hmm I think I just rambled a bit, heh.

Comment by Kitty

Yeah absolutely, I tend to place myself within the “sex positive” section of feminism in an attempt to contextualize my own particular flavour of feminism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-positive_feminism

Comment by Nio

I’m always confused about other vegans that are not pro-choice or who are not sex positive. I find it is incongruent with vegan values.

I’m pro-choice and respect each person’s decision. But as a vegan, I feel that ALL sentient beings deserve the right to bodily integrity and to make decisions for themselves. So, a person’s choice to consume milk that belongs to a baby cow and is taken from the body of a female cow without her permission (while she is forceably impregnated in order to get her to produce milk in the first place) is inherently anti-choice because it violates the bodily integrity of the female cow and steals food from the baby cow (which is even worse when one considers that no adult mammal needs milk).

This is very similar to the view that rape is obviously a wrong choice because it violates the ability of the victim to choose (to consent to sex) and it violates bodily integrity of the woman.

But just because rape is (obviously) wrong and anti-choice, does not mean that all sex-workers are being violated. Not all sex workers are trafficked or doing their work reluctantly out of desperation. Women (and men, transexuals, and the intersex) who enjoy sex work should be allowed to do it, and they should be legally protected and given adequet health care.

I find that sex-positive views (such as the ones expressed in the Yes Means Yes blog) are congruent with my vegan moral standards. Except, ofcourse, the use of leather in sex toys and BD/SM.
Vinyl feels much better anyways.

Comment by Kathleen


Comment by Kathleen

** Actually, thinking in retrospect, the correct word is probably requisite.

Comment by Kathleen

I’m so sorry, I hate to be practically spamming your blog, but I would just like to note that I am writing this from an Easter/Pacific time zone. I’m not from Hawaii or Japan, or wherever it is 1:30 in the morning right now.

Comment by Kathleen

Hey! Sorry for the very late reply but I just wanted to say I enjoyed your comment and this was not spamming at all!

Comment by Nio

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