Thursday, 19 April 2007

Reply to Ladyfest discussion...

Following on from the discussion on the Ladyfest forums, in case what I write is triggering or offensive to some...

This is a prime example of the narrow-minded bigotry that is being expressed in the sparklematrix forum. It is so infuriating to see people expressing these lies with absolutely no facts to even support the legs they stand on!

Precisely. The whole BDSM 'cult' comment just spelled out to me how ignorant some people are regarding BDSM. It's no surprise because we're portrayed pretty poorly in the media for the most part, and the edgier queer SM scene is pretty much ignored. I genuinely think it's because 'verte' and 'elderflower' are BDSMers that we got so much beef, not because of our position on porn (which I think is fairly neutral - I'm just anti-censorship and also fight for the rights of sexual minorities). Places like Berlin and San Francisco have a 'queerer' scene, but you'll see all kinds of people of all genders, sizes, races and sexualities at bigger clubs like Torture Garden, and there are also women-only fetish nights like Purrr (yet to go, but can't wait!) where again the diversity is huge. A lot of the scene also has quite a DIY feel to it.

On the whole, I think the UK fetish scene is pretty inclusive, and the male dom/female sub stereotype is just not very accurate at all (btw, the International SM Women's Conference - again, women only - is coming up in Manchester in May). There are a lot of people into SM who have some pretty dodgy gender politics. Check out the odious takeninhand.com and it's understandable why a lot of feminists have a problem with BDSM! But it's again up to the feminist SM-positive types to challenge all that crap, and believe me we really try.

What I wonder is - do we have a 'right' to shove it in people's face? To be open about it? Is it likely to upset a lot of women or remind them of abuse or prove triggering? As a teenager I was involved in radical feminist politics and was pretty much 'shoved out' because I started going to fetish clubs. And in the 80s women who were sadomasochists were not permitted to enter the London Women's Centre or take part in feminist politics at all, really. I must admit I was quite shocked that this particular battle does not seem to have budged an inch in 20 years when I read those blogs and comments and it's partly why I'm an activist and take these opportunities where I can no matter how much crap we're likely to get (after all, many radical feminists said lesbians were a danger to their cause in the 70s, and that seems to have changed somewhat!). I went around with the Feminist Guilt hanging over my head for a very long time, though. It kind of strikes me that a lot of the more radfem stuff relating to sex is about shaming other women, which is exactly what Object is trying to do right there. It's an exercise in naming and shaming. I have real difficulty understanding how this relates to any feminist agenda. It makes me extremely uncomfortable and, frankly, livid when I see this shaming process happening to other women, even though I've grown more immune to it myself.

I think most radfems don't concede that most sexual fetishes or fantasies to do with power exchange or giving/receiving pain are 'natural' or 'normal'. They think it's because we're UBER repressed by teh patriarchy or are using BDSM as self-harm or a refuge to deal with past trauma. Well, the trauma part is right in lots of cases, possibly including my own, but it's only proportionate to the number of women who've been abused in general. And yes, I have no doubt that for some of those women SM isn't healthy, but that's not the case for most. The anti-SMers also assume we're all sub, and are therefore submissive to ALL men ALL the time, which is just nonsense. One of the most common words you see on female sub profiles is 'feisty'. Although I hate that word, most female subs I know are pretty fucking ferocious and don't sub to anyone but their partner/s (male or female - there are loads of bi/queer/lesbian femsubs out there). And another trend in femsubs is a tendency towards control-freaky-ness in the rest of their lives. Many of us (male and female subs) feel TOO dominant, find ourselves TOO controlling of other people. It's a way of negotiating a balance, perhaps. Many femsubs have powerful jobs, just as the stereotyped male sub who visits professional female dominants is a politician or a lawyer. Also, there are many, many more male subs than female subs, but I think the anti-SM feminists think female dominants are just emulating men, and male subs are just emulating feminine passivity. Can we please stop assuming that all women are and have always been passive little victims in the bedroom? It's insulting. Besides, female sadists have been around for as long as male sadists. Sappho's poetry indicates that she was quite the SM dyke!

The other critique is that we're basically a bad influence because our sexuality does not contribute to the general feminist Good. They say we're selfish, that we should take responsibility for our sexuality and become 'good girls', effectively. I have a massive problem with this because I think, through history, the idea of having 'moral' sex has always been imposed on women and never on men. We are supposed to uphold some kind of moral sexual code - whether it's about NOT losing your virginity before marriage, or NOT having rough, animalistic, sometimes anonymous sex, or NOT finding pleasure/pain combined irresistable and erotic and liberating. Some men have tried to make us into madonnas and whores for centuries and I'm damned if women are going to start doing the same thing. Can sex ever be 'moral'?

I would really, really love to know how some of these radfems have sex. I assume it involves no sex toys, no bondage, no pinning anyone up against anything or down on anything, no dirty talk, very little teasing and no oral if your partner happens to have a cock. I'm sure whatever it IS they do, it must be fucking great otherwise many of them wouldn't claim to be sex positive and make the rest of us have sex like them - I just can't envision it. Shame they don't make porn, really. I could be educated! But still, I have real difficulty understanding how we can 'politicise' our fantasies and fetishes without seeking to repress a lot of them completely. I tried doing this for years. It wasn't liberating. Through my interest in BDSM I find I am constantly exploring, negotiating and attempting to understand my sexuality a little better, as well as other people's through various means (porn being one of them). I'm endlessly curious when it comes to sex. I am aware I have some pretty dark thoughts and fantasies, some of them genuinely troubling, many that I will never enact. But I have shared all of them, attempted to understand some of them and enacted the ones that are moderately safe and sane (consensual? well, it's my fantasy we're enacting, isn't it? Of course it's consensual!). Sharing these thoughts and feelings with other women, other feminists, and them being accepted, was life-changing for me. No more shame.

I don't see why I shouldn't share this experience with other feminists. I'm not abnormal. I'm a woman who enjoys edgy consensual sex, sometimes likes really fucking rough animalistic sex, sometimes likes slow, ritualistic SM, shibari rope bondage and sometimes is even greedy enough to throw a little vanilla in with my chocolate and hundreds and thousands. No, this isn't the norm, but it's still not that unusual and it's certainly not new. Even as I write this I feel tempted to write about some of the more unusual things I get up to, but again feel like I can't. Even in my own webspace. Perhaps I'll be brave enough at some point, but at the moment there's still some shame there. STILL.

33 comments:

Renegade Evolution said...

This is a thing of beauty. You know, I too am most curious as to what approved radical feminist sex entails...I've asked...no word yet.

And yes, it does seem there is now acknowlegement of female dominants...even when females show up and say "Hello, I am dominant".

Vexing, really. Meanwhile, whilst condemning BDSM and the evils of porn...how many women are lacking decent legal representation, having the power in their homes cut off, or being sexually harrassed on the job???

Renegade Evolution said...

gah, that should be "No acknowledgement"

Trinity said...

"there is now acknowlegement of female dominants...even when females show up and say "Hello, I am dominant"."

we live in an echo chamber! hehe

Trinity said...

"I'm sure whatever it IS they do, it must be fucking great otherwise many of them wouldn't claim to be sex positive and make the rest of us have sex like them - I just can't envision it"

http://community.livejournal.com/egalitarian_sex/profile

interestingly, most of the erotica posted there recently is about gay males and written by a woman. I don't know her orientation, the looking at the rules of the community I suspect it's "Bisexual by politics". It really makes me wonder why all sorts of sexual love activities and fantasies are unacceptable, yet ogling the gay boys is acceptable.

I don't usually even see stuff like this. Most radical feminist avoid the question of how they have sex entirely.

LM said...

I looked the egalitarian_sex comm. Oh god, my eyes... The 'zomgz, why do their lives have to be all about sex?' stuff is painfully reminiscent of anti-gay rhetoric, and is based on the same double-standard. Why do your radical feminist lives revolve around sex, hmm? And I just love how they're saying 'equality! how sexy!' and never actually talking about what they like, only railing against everyone else's sexlives. The only thing we know they like is really bad, squicky slash. (Trinity said 'most'; I checked, it's 'all'. Maybe because, for some reason, it's not a very popular LJcomm.)

...srsly, doesn't reading that comm just make you want to go have a really filthy, domineering fuck? Or is that just me? ;_;

verte said...

Ren - Another radfem grievance for me, then: it's all very well critiquing other people's sexual choices but I have never once seen an alternative solution offered for what would make for great feminist sex. I don't get where this supposed sex-pos radfem stuff IS! Come out, come out, wherever you are!

Trinity - oh god, that community. I've seen it before. Again, ridden with the same stereotypes and again demanding change. There is one intelligent comment, which shows some attempt to understand BDSM relationships:

"In defense of some BDSM relationships, I have to admit that they are often a step up from the mainstream vanilla (heterosexual) dating culture. Most people eroticize such dynamics latently and aren't even aware that they are doing so, which results in these dynamics operating on a subconscious level. This is actually more dangerous than choosing to negotiate certain scenes and dynamics consciously. So perhaps in that sense it's actually better to be aware of those dynamics.

In general, though, I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with the third wave of feminism. It actually doesn't look like feminism at all to me. It's okay to choose to be enslaved. It's okay to choose to perpetuate oppressive dynamics. I've concluded that feminism was just way ahead of its time. The changes that feminism asked for were things that society was not, is not, and probably will not be, ready to do for a long, long time to come. And the fact of the matter is that some of the most intelligent women around are fine with this."

I suppose that's quite accurate. I've said this before, but I really think cajoling society towards feminist aims is likely to be more productive, while a lot of radfems advocate trying to do change society by force (censorship, etc), which has and will continue to have adverse effects on the way men perceive women. There was an interesting thread on InformedConsent about the growing rate of male suicide in the UK since 1960. The OP suggested that feminism might be partially responsible for this and another female poster backed him up on that with some clumsy Darwinist metaphor.

While I don't agree that feminism is responsible for male suicide, there are adverse effects of rad feminism. In the UK we're seen the huge rise of 'lad culture', I suppose perpetuating the myth of the so-called alpha male and all his weaker male counterparts. There was always going to be a backlash, but I think the extremity of it is in part due to the threat feminism poses. While radfeminism remains the feminist status quo over here, I don't see this changing at all.

Is there something similar happening in the US?

verte said...

I think the extremity of it is in part due to the threat feminism poses.

to clarify - the threat many radical feminist ideas pose.

Gah!

belledame222 said...

eh--I disagree with that characterization, although i can sort of see where it's coming from.

It depends who you're comparing to whom. Compare Flo Kennedy and Joanna Russ with I don't know, Tristan Taormino, and yeah, i can understand where people would see the one as having a lot more gravitas and genuine interest in changing the entire world than the other.

on the other hand, you put bloody Sheila Jeffreys or Janice Raymond or even goddam Twisty Faster up against say Dorothy Allison or even Jessica Valenti (say what you will about her, and many that i respect have problems with her, at least she actually gets off her ass and does some activism for positive change, unlike Some Bloggers who'd prefer to sit on their ass and Blame all day), not to mention some of the WOC feminists and transnational feminists who I don't even know for sure which "wave" they're in, but they had and have big, legitimate problems with the unbearable whiteness of the Dworkin/MacKinnon/Raymond/Daly set, not to mention the queer and trans and genderqueer folk who were invisible at best, actively demonized at worst;

and you really start to see where a lot of the second wave just didn't work for a lot of people, and how a lot of them still can't or won't seem to see it for whatever reason.

it's not all lipstick and leg shaving and blowjobs and the ev0l Prawn. that's exactly the problem. that shit is -trivial-, but that doesn't mean the people who indulge in suhch things are trivial, it means that people who can't or won't talk about anything ELSE are fucking trifling, in my book. and it's not just the "fun feminists" much less the "sex positive" ones, who are still obsessed with these things and can't bloody get on with it.

and the thing of it is, is--if y'ARE gonna devote so much of your time to "fun" things, at least fercrissakes ENJOY them. -I- think. seriously, how much ink and bandwidth have some people devoted to how VERY AWFUL those things and the sellout women who indulge in them--unapologetically, even!--are?

"And such small portions!"

belledame222 said...

that said, i don't really hold radical feminism responsible for lad culture any more than i do the more militant wing of the civil rights movement for the greater "politically incorrect" bollocks; or for that matter the Maoists for the John Birchers. i mean, yes, that might be part of why people in the Great Middle are turned off, but as for the reactionary fuckheads...they've never really needed an excuse. if they did, the militant shit wouldn't have happened to begin with. and so on. chicken, egg, lather, rinse...and yes, whatever else, male power, like white power, is not a "myth," whatever the eejit Warren Farrell says. doesn't mean it's particularly helpful to lump them all into a monolithic Class and otherwise oversimplify the matter, though; and it's true that a number of self-ID'd feminists online at least do this, i have seen it.

and then again, and then again, and then again: MRA's just seem like social maladjusts who are only too eager to blame the excesses of a handful of loonies on the "other side" for their own hateful looniness...and on it goes.

"if ___ didn't exist, ___ would've had to invent 'em."

lucky for all of us, we can always find a concrete form of our scarecrows to battle if we're persistent enough.

belledame222 said...

as for "shoving it in peoples' face"--well you know, i'm pretty sensitive to that, and can't understand why any self-defined lesbian doesn't see the irony in this; but then, staggering myopia is not limited to any one demographic.

but, i fail to see how holding a participation-voluntary workshop at a festival which apparently these people weren't even going to attend anyway is "shoving anything in anyone's faces."

sometimes, simply EXISTING is "shoving it in our faces," for some people.

which, well, so sorry, but--not sorry.

belledame222 said...

and feminism being responsible for male suicide is, i'm sorry, a load of crap.

that doesn't mean i don't think that individual cases of abuse by women, maybe even some who call themselves feminists, of men/boys happens, and as with any other kind of abuse, yeah, that could contribute. and tbh i have often thought that the men who seem most full of rage at "feminists"--a lot, not all, but a lot of 'em do seem to be extrapolating from personal experience, albeit not in ways that most of us would find terribly compelling as "explanations for how the world works;" then again one could also say that for a number of the more extremist feminists...

anyway.

but, a sweeping statement like that, feminism responsible for male suicide--that to me reads like the same sort of, oh whoah, boys aren't doing well in school, must be feminism's fault, or--

if anything i'd say that the cult of enforced masculinity is probably responsible for more male suicides--hell, it did Hemingway in. and that is something that is not really talked about enough, is not covered particularly well by radical feminism or most feminisms, it is true;

and that is the sort of thing that i -would- like to see more examination of, yes.

Jodie said...

I'm totally engrossed by all of this. I never would've considered that ANY of this would ever be a big deal to anyone! I'm obviously completely immune to everything ever, but feminists being anti-sexual-liberation (in whatever form that may take)? Women feeling shame for NOT being repressed enough to enjoy the kind of sex they really want?! My goodness.

Having said that, I don't think feminism has ever been inclusive of all women, and maybe post-modernism has a point in that ideology can only remain ideology, but I do agree that I certainly don't see why women should have to stop taking this crap from men only to get it from women. What is a 'good feminist'? A lot of my friends (myself included) had this problem at university with the lesbian feminists... If you didn't agree with The Word of Janie (the leader of the lezfems), you were a Bad Feminist and didn't Get It and basically got the pleasure of being bullied and outcast by a group of catty girls who apparently wanted to create a 'safe space for all women'.

And that was very little to do with anything.

SnowdropExplodes said...

On the "male suicide" issue, I think the answer has more to do with the increasing stresses brought about by the post-industrial age. Traditionally, it has always been expected that women should talk about their problems, while men are supposed to be stoical, and bear their loads without complaint.

Through the seventies and eighties particularly, the economy has shifted away from the practical manufacturing and production industries that were dominated by a male workforce, into a service industry economy; that shift over several decades has placed new concerns on the workforce (both male and female) but a corresponding shift in attitudes towards problems has been slow in coming about. To me, it is not surprising that male suicide rates have climbed since 1960, but I do not think that there is any link with the rise of feminism.

In fact, it could be argued that this effect is because feminism did not achieve enough!

belledame222 said...

yeah, SDE, i'd make that argument as well.

a note i keep hearing from the men who aren't exactly MRA's but--well, there's this whole site called "feminist critics" for example--anyway, what i keep hearing is a kind of hurt; it does seem to boil down to "what about the mens," and the thing is, yes, it's a legitimate question; just, not at the expense of stopping everything that's important to -us- (feminists)...there seems to be a combination of that sort of expectation as well as a catalogue of nastiness and ignorant shit at the hands of some of the more truculent online feminists, which, well that part, i am more familiar with.

but it really didn't say anything about "feminism" as a whole, more, "maybe best do some of that same work y'selves, mates: some of us will ally if you do, but constantly fingerpointing at "feminism" and how Bad it is is not sufficient."

belledame222 said...

...actually Susan Faludi's "Stiffed" was as good a book as any on that phenomenon, i'd say. it's about the ever widening gap between the myth of what men (white, Americans, what have you, the "winners") are supposed to be and what's actually available for the vast vast majority; people have a sense that the deck is stacked, but not really by whom or why or how to resolve it...

LM said...

I'd suggest that the connection is real, but more practical than emotional; when a huge number of women quit being dependent on men and joined the workforce, families and communities lost the backbone of trapped, unempowered women that kept them sustained and connected. That could've had a knock-on effect on many factors that influence suicide. I don't think it's male stoicism that makes men more likely to feel isolated and suicidal than once they did, I think it's no longer having devoted mothers/wives who have their care as a primary focus in their lives. Somehow I can't fault feminism for that.

belledame222 said...

right.

but also consider: the code of masculinity that leads to the "stoic" thing in the first place, which is in fact connected to the "depend on wife /mother for emotional sustenance."

That is: a culture which is both homophobic and homosocial means that outside of the socially prescribed pair-bonding, it's likely that any given "typical male" will not be all that close to anyone. It's not "masculine" to have too many female friends, as in friends, emotional confidantes, you know; and it's also not "masculine" to get too intimate with one's male buddies. So.

Honestly sometimes i think that that is a key part of the rage some men have toward women: they feel cheated out of something they've been "promised." But it isn't just sex and it isn't even just status, although those get wrapped up in it as well.

"You were supposed to love me. SOMEONE was supposed to love me unconditionally. That's your JOB. Now what do I do?"

LM said...

Belledame, I agree with you, but at the same time I don't think we should overstate the problem. Suicide might be on the rise, but it still only affects a tiny minority; the typical male is quite capable of getting on with his life, isolated or no. It's a small atypical minority who react to modern life by becoming suicidal. I guess it's better to say that there's a tiny group who are somehow prone to suicide, and that of this group, fewer have the social support to protect them from suicide than in former times.

(There's a lovely PWOT piece about isolation - entirely polemical, but lovely - that has it that most people have about two close confidant/es; the linked articles aren't available any more, but such surveys typically involve at least as many men as women).

I could wish that there were men taking part in this conversation about men, tbh; I'm finding myself wanting to turn round and ask 'are our assumptions about your gender reasonable?' My male friends have no problem with making friends with women (duh), which doubtless gives me a skewed faith in heterosociality.

SnowdropExplodes said...

LM, I'm a man involved in this conversation... although, I may be an atypical man in many respects! I have had an opportunity to observe others of my gender from "the same side of the fence", as it were.

I think it is a fair point that a small minority are prone to suicide, but I would say that it is because that minority are faced with the greatest extremes of stress. For example, it is well known that farmers have the highest rate of suicides, and farmers are at once under a great deal of economic stress, and also have a great deal of insecurity due to the nature of their work.

However, the stresses of the change in the economy and society do affect men in general, and I think belledame has identified one mechanism in which that is the case. There has been a general challenging, not by feminism but by economic and general social changes, of the male traditional roles, and there is actually a disparity between the way male roles are portrayed (often still harking back to the old forms in one way or another) and the new world, in which those forms are less stable or assured to men. Over the past 10-15 years at least (that is, all the time while I've been adult enough to be aware of these gender issues) there has been a continuous undercurrent amongst male culture of, "so what am I supposed to do NOW!?"

I think the loss of traditional working roles, and in some parts of culture, traditional social roles as well (although I would argue that the social changes are driven by the economic ones), has led to different responses. The increased suicide rate is one, but others who experience these stresses turn to other ways of dealing, and sometimes those are destructive. The "Lad culture" (typified by the aping of perceived attitudes supposedly held by our anglo-saxon forebears) is one such - I wouldn't describe it as a backlash against feminism per se, but rather a general "up yours" to a society that has largely done away with its use for men as they were brought up to be.

Incidentally, one side of this has been an exaggerated desire by the male to find himself a partner (again, the mechanism identified by belledame seems to be active there), and many of the male cultural "movements" of the past decade or two have actually been about trying to figure out what it is women want. "New man" was supposed to be the caring, sensitive man that women said they wanted, but that didn't seem to work. To some extent, when women then turned around and said, "but I want my man to be a MAN", men adopted the Lad attitude as their interpretation of what that meant. And apparently, it still isn't right. So "post-industrial man" throws up his hands, "What do you want of me!? What am I supposed to do NOW!?"

All the ingredients for stroppy behaviour are in place: loss of perceived status, loss of clearly defined place in life, not understanding what's expected of them, or really what's changed. And when Man doesn't understand, he gets his Hammer and he Hits Things. To some extent I think male culture today can be summed up as a collective cry of, "but it's not FAAAAIIIIRRRRR!!!!!!!"

Cassandra Says said...

Possible item of interest - I used to be a regular at the Torture Garden. Straight female subs were pretty thin on the ground. Lesbian subs there were more of, and plenty of switchy women. Male subs on the other hand...the place was crawling with them. Straight female doms - never enough of them to go around. Not that I disliked being in a situation where the numbers worked in my favor, I'm just saying.

"...srsly, doesn't reading that comm just make you want to go have a really filthy, domineering fuck? Or is that just me? ;_; "

No, it's not just you, and yep, me too. Time to wake up Mr Cassandra!

Cassandra Says said...

And about the serious stuff, snowdrop explodes said...
"All the ingredients for stroppy behaviour are in place: loss of perceived status, loss of clearly defined place in life, not understanding what's expected of them, or really what's changed. And when Man doesn't understand, he gets his Hammer and he Hits Things. To some extent I think male culture today can be summed up as a collective cry of, "but it's not FAAAAIIIIRRRRR!!!!!!!"
This is the core of the matter, I suspect. The thing is, I also suspect that a similar mechanism is what's triggering some radfems to act out the way they have been. They thought that they had found a nice, comfy home within feminism, within which nobody would ever disagree with or offend them again. They are realising that they were wrong, and they don't like it. I think that stuff like the workshop at Ladyfest is triggering a feeling that their place is being stolen from them.
A selfish reaction, to be sure, and politically short-sighted, but it does make a certain kind of sense.

Cassandra Says said...

OK, I'm picking up Belle's multiple posting habit, I promise to stop in a minute but...
I took a more detailed look at the stories on that egalitarian sex page and there's something I couldn't help but point out.
Those stories are all about eroticising innocence. Now, does anyone else here really think that eroticising sexual innocence/inexperience isn't all about power dynamics? Seriously?
There's also the fact that the one she has as the "innocent" is, y'know, probably dead (she's talking about Richey from the Manic Street Preachers, for anyone who isn't enough of a music geek to get the referece).
Just thought it was worth pointing out that even on Egalitarian Sex Central they're STILL eroticising power dynamics. Kinda makes you wonder if doing so is inherent, doesn't it?

verte said...

"Those stories are all about eroticising innocence. Now, does anyone else here really think that eroticising sexual innocence/inexperience isn't all about power dynamics? Seriously?
There's also the fact that the one she has as the "innocent" is, y'know, probably dead (she's talking about Richey from the Manic Street Preachers, for anyone who isn't enough of a music geek to get the referece)."

Gaaah, I can't believe I missed the Richey reference

*makes plans to go home and listen to Gold Against The Soul*

The thing is, I tend to think sexual preference IS fetishism, whatever preference that might be, so you're completely right: it's just another fetish, and another admittance that power games and the fetishisation of power is pretty intrinsic to sex and relationships in general.

Trinity said...

"Not that I disliked being in a situation where the numbers worked in my favor"

i know

mmm, popularity by default *grin*

Trinity said...

"Honestly sometimes i think that that is a key part of the rage some men have toward women: they feel cheated out of something they've been "promised." But it isn't just sex and it isn't even just status, although those get wrapped up in it as well."

YES. I think that's very much a part of it. They want that emotional support and don't realize that what many feminist women who critique that model *really* want is for everyone to give and get it.

It's interesting. I was at a MAsT meeting last night and the one gay male Master there mentioned that he found our group refreshing because the slaves (mostly straight women) expressed a serious willingness to tell their Masters if something minor was bothering them. He said that very often the gay male slaves he knew would think "I can't bother my Master with this silly thing, it's not my place" -- and of course create great drama by withholding their feelings. The guy who was telling us about it was saying "I tell these boys over and over 'Go talk to him! I guarantee he wants to know!' but they don't seem to get it."

It's interesting the various ways gender dynamics do get reflected in so much of our lives.

Trinity said...

The interesting thing is that I've never noticed this myself. I think that may be because I'm a woman, and the stereotype is that women are there to listen to people's minor emotional issues. So as soon as I say to a submissive guy "Boy, you seem annoyed/upset/whatever. Spill the beans. " it's like a sudden, relieved flood.

belledame222 said...

Those stories are all about eroticising innocence. Now, does anyone else here really think that eroticising sexual innocence/inexperience isn't all about power dynamics? Seriously?

yep. and frankly, it...squicks me out a tad.

belledame222 said...

They thought that they had found a nice, comfy home within feminism, within which nobody would ever disagree with or offend them again. They are realising that they were wrong, and they don't like it. I think that stuff like the workshop at Ladyfest is triggering a feeling that their place is being stolen from them.

The way Heart freaked out over little light's "monstrous feminism" post made me think something very similar, about her and the people who were backing her up, anyway.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cassandra Says said...

"The way Heart freaked out over little light's "monstrous feminism" post made me think something very similar, about her and the people who were backing her up, anyway."
That was what started me on this train of thought, actually. The reaction was "this is our treehouse, you can't come in", but there was this underlying sense of feeling threatened and on the defensive. And then I started thinking, why are they so defensive? Why is opening the treehouse door and letting a few more people in such a scary thing?

Cassandra Says said...

Verte, you're a Brit, how could you miss the Manics reference!
I found the fact that she had them referring to each other as Teddy and Nickly particularly cringe-inducing. Anyone have a toothbrush handy?

LM said...

*raises hand* I'm also a Brit who missed the Manics reference, and god, I feel verrry squicked now. Squicked, and confused; eroticising-of-innocence aside, how can objectifying a dead man be classed as 'egalitarian'? I don't think I get how any real-person slash can be 'egalitarian', because it is just objectifying real, unconsenting (except, infamously, Franz Ferdinand) people; bringing dead people into it has a definite frisson of necrophilia. Where's the equality here? I guess there never is any equality between writer and character; I can maintain a 'whatever floats your boat' attitude to real-person slash, but if you're laying down rules about 'good' and 'bad' fantasies, I'm pretty confused about where it fits.

Trinity said...

I personally don't think fantasizing about an actual living or dead person and writing about it is inherently creepy. I don't personally see anything wrong with "And you know, if that guy were still breathing, I'd so shag him silly."

I do think the points about eroticizing innocence are interesting, though if all the people are innocent (I didn't read them carefully, as I find them really poorly written and "Nickly" as a nickname annoys me horribly) then I don't see a power dynamic there, I see an enjoyment of exploring together.