Tuesday, August 01, 2006

So, since my run-in with the feminists two weeks ago, I’ve been poking around some more into the feminist blogosphere. I’ve been reading some of the more mainstream ones, like Feministe and Pandagon, for awhile, although I never comment. Alas, a Blog is interesting too, and well-moderated, which I like.

But if you link-hop a little off the beaten feminist-blog path – wow, it’s a whole other world. I don’t know what to call it, precisely – I’ve seen some of these bloggers refer to themselves as radfems, meaning radical feminists. Whatever one calls their world, it’s a place in which the feminist sex wars of the 80‘s are apparently still raging, especially lately.

I suppose it’s like any other subculture, capable of getting obsessed with its pet issues. You can certainly find blogs for the kink community, for example, where folks get all worked up and personal about insular issues like “We’re Old Guard” vs. “That’s Pretentious Crap”, as if it was something a tiny handful of people in cyberspace could decide once and for all, for everyone.

However, even with that experience under my belt, I’m boggled by how the merest suggestion that sex work could be a free and positive choice for some people makes these women’s blood pressure skyrocket. I mean, they come unglued. And the sheer venom of their remarks to/about sex-positive feminists - it’s like Anne Coulter has been cloned or something. I’m not going to link the tirades themselves, because I don’t feel like dealing with the blowback. But here are some links to friendlier sites (or at least more neutral ones) discussing the matter, and it’s easy to hop from there to the more extreme ones, if you wish.

(Mandatory disclaimer, in case anyone new to me comes along: sex work should only be done by freely consenting adults. Like BDSM, if there is not adult consent, it’s not okay, end of story. But I think I should be able to do whatever I want with my own body.)

What puzzles me is this: sex work is, in America and many other countries as well, either strictly limited or downright illegal. There’s a social stigma attached to sex work, and sex workers themselves are marginalized. Some more than others, it’s true, but no one completely escapes it, not even women like me – white, middle class, economically successful.

So, all that being true – what exactly do these women want to do to us that hasn’t already been done? I mean, you’d think we had control of the Senate or something. The most I can gather is that they find it offensive that we write articles and books about our lives and get them published. They call that “being overrepresented” and they want us to shut up and stop talking about how happy we are.

And they talk about “eliminating prostitution” – well, I suppose if you think it’s inherently and irredeemably evil, I can see where that would be your goal. But I don’t know of any culture or any time period where women trading sex for something else they wanted has not existed. It even happens in the animal world. So when I try to imagine what these particular women would do to make that happen – given that the whole illegal/stigma/marginalized thing is already in place - I’m stumped. They don’t give specifics, so maybe the first item on the agenda is to bicker with women who ID as sex-positive feminists and post lots of judgmental, divisive comments. They’ve certainly made tons of progress in that arena.


Edited To Add: It strikes me that I’ve written about weird people several times in the last two weeks or so. I’ve just been in the mood to observe and comment on the rest of the world lately. But that’s not a reflection on my general mood, which is actually quite good, and the overall happiness of my life.

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