Monday, July 9, 2012

Pride & Patriarchy

So on my Internet travels today I was browsing through discussions on a desi (South Asian), radical-feminist forum. There were lots of incredibly bizarre things said. I felt I had to document them.

In case you hadn't picked up on it by now, I am a big supporter of all kinds of consensual sex. I think 2 adults should have the right to choose how, where, by who and with what apparatus they'd like to get fucked.

As long as they aren't preaching to me, I'm cool. However, lumping consenting-adult-sex with pedophiles and zoophiles is something that *always* gets me worked up... like, why do I even have to explain why that's a fucked up thing to do?

The discussion in question was about the Pride Parade, we just had ours 2 weekends ago in Toronto, and I believe London did theirs last Saturday. Hurray!! Rainbows and love for everyone. 


That is some serious rainbow swag. 

No, but more seriously, there's a lot of politics and holier-than-thou-ness surrounding the parade. It's not just from the ultra-conservatives either. Layers of issues with the Pride Parade exist even within the gay community. Some think religion shouldn't be involved, some think it should, some think it should strictly be for 'gay' people and no one else and then there's the whole Palestine/Israel conflict.... There are so many issues that come up, whoever says the parade isn't political enough, needs to take a closer look. Of course it always could be more political, but then it'd turn into a protest and not a day of fun.






Anyhow so during my discussion with a gay-supremacist radical-feminist, I heard this [paraphrased]:

"I don't like Pride, because its not *just* about being gay, its more of a queer/LGBT thing. It's perverted, commercialized and is accepting of things like 'Kink' (ie. violent and perverted sexual behaviour)."


"Not all diversity is good, because if we want to be completely diverse then we'd be including pedophiles and people who have sex with animals too..." 

Now I could write pages and pages just based on those two comments, but I'll just paste the comment I posted there:

I thought the point of Pride was diversity and acceptance. Of course everyone's entitled to an opinion, but to say that u dont understand the point of it at all.., since pride is more of a queer/LGBT thing and not 'just' a gay thing - thats a little bigoted, narrowminded and exclusive. Just a tad. 

I can completely understand disliking the commercial aspect, because really - large corporations always want a piece of everything. 



But to call it perverted? and to deem 'kink' violent perverted sexual behaviour? I mean people could just call homosexuality 'perversion' ... right? Thats exactly the kind of attitude that Pride aims to stop. 

Kinky sex is not for everyone, but if its consensual - who are you to judge what other people do in the bedroom? Sure, you can enjoy all the missionary, lights off vanilla sex you want. But in the same vein people should be free to enjoy different kinds of consensual sex as adults - is that not the basic fight for gay rights anyhow? Kink and trans and bi are all included in pride because sexuality is not a black or white thing, it is fluid, and sometimes not so easily categorized. How can one call themselves a feminist, and demand equal rights for an oppressed, marginalized group such as 'women' and then step all over the rights of other marginalized groups by calling them perverted?

I also find it particularly offensive, and ignorant to make sweeping statements like "Not all diversity is in itself good. If we're aiming for maximum diversity, then pedophiles and people who have sex with animals should also be included" because there is one major element lacking with zoophiles and pedophiles - CONSENT. To lump those groups with people who are different and like to consensually use a little whip and chain - is ludicrous. 

Im sorry if i come off as angry, trying not to be rude... but this is exactly the kind of attitude we need to change. Of course pride is OTT and flamboyant, and perhaps not for everyone... my dad hates it. So he makes it a point not to go there. Simple. It is a Pride *parade* after all, accepting of all alternative, kinky, pansexual lifestyles --- it is not the "Conservative, Fully Clothed & Serious Gay Superiority March" 

If it offends you with its nudity, then don't go. But don't bash it or call it perverted. I myself am not a fan of some of the nudist parts of the parade... I dont enjoy seeing saggy, saline-filled, ancient balls... but i don't whine about it, because Im the one who went there in the first place. 

***

The  response I got to it was very fucked up interesting... I'll post the parts that 'interested' me the most:

 "Its easy to see why we can't share the cause with Bisexuals (they have heterosex, and its common knowledge that most heterosex reinforces heteronormativity [i.e places woman in a position lower than that of the man]" 


Sometimes it definitely does, but not always. And there are always power dynamics involved in sex, are there not? Even in 'homosexual sex', someone at some point will take a more active/dominant role. And if there is this feeling about heteronormativity, how do you guys feel abt dominatrixes? :P 

"We don't like the 'T' alphabet either as we are trans-critical since we understand that gender-dysphoria partially stems from internalized homophobia and can be resolved (people who experience dysphoria are a product of the patriarchal society. And transitioning can be read as an extreme form of cosmetic surgery). Gender is problematic and the ideal is to be androgynous." 

Ah, a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist).....I should have known. A lovely bunch of 'feminists' who think feminism is only for people born with vaginas. Excluding people who are allies, who identify as women...makes perfect sense. Excluding people based on genitals...hmm sounds familiar.

*Shudder* at the 'and can be resolved' - What. The. Fuck. Sounds a lot like defence for corrective rape 'therapies', or conversion 'therapy'..vile stuff.

"the ideal is to be androgynous" - That might be ideal for you, but how realistic is that really? The entire world ain't dropping gender anytime soon, FYI.

I believe a *diverse* world would be best (but thats just me), part of that would be androgyny (for those who wanted it) but if everyone were androgynous, we'd be a bit like mass-produced robots. The truth of the matter is, we are born with a set of genitals, gender roles might be socialized to a great extent, but some ppl happily identify as men and some identify as women. To change everyone to an androgynous state might require socialization as well.... and how is that any different to the gender roles perpetuated now? I fight gender stereotypes for the most part, but I also like being a woman. Sue me. 

"Consent-talk is problematic because all of us have internalized patriarchy and are always susceptible to reproduce it. Ergo, its not entirely possible for someone to consent to actions that are heteronormative and reproduce patriarchy. It is important to note that what goes on in the bedroom has political implications so I, as someone who doesn't want the Patriarchy perpetuated, would not endorse these choices."

Are you for freakin' real suggesting that consent as a measure of whats ethical in the bedroom and what isn't is 'problematic'?? Are you saying that people (women) oppressed by 'the Patriarchy' (and here I just see you making a joke out of what feminism is meant to be, honestly) cannot consent, because under the patriarchy they have no agency...and so there actually aren't consenting adult women. Like.... is this really what you're saying? You're not one of the ones who thinks all hetero-sex is rape are you? Have I actually come across one of you in real life?!

Aside from the fact that this sounds like absolute crazy-talk....I'm going to try and reason here:
Of course, everyone has a right to support something or not support it. Don't support heterosex if you like... but you do ironically sound a lot like people who think homosexual sex is unnatural.

I have an issue with you demanding equal rights for one oppressed group (women) and then dismissing other oppressed/minority groups (like trans, BDSM communities, etc) . That alone is hypocritical.

Of course kinky sex, the fetish community, BDSM (bondage, domination, submission & masochism) may imitate or reproduce 'patriarchy', but they also flip it on its head. Where women are in incredibly powerful, dominant roles. Often, people in the fetish community enjoy playing with these power roles, switching them and experimenting with different dynamics. Sometimes it's even a way to challenge patriarchy and heteronormativity. 

And if heteronormativity is *so* bad...What's to say that homosexual sex involving strap-ons and dildos isn't perpetuating heteronormativity? Are you also completely against phallus-shaped pleasure aids? Do you hate cucumbers also?

There is a very fascinating crossover going on here...one between anti-patriarchy feminism and something reminiscent of pro-patriarchy puritanical religiosity....where women should not enjoy sex or phalluses.

***

What goes on in the bedroom certainly has political implications, thats why restricting it to androgynous, homosexual sex would be really quite opressive. In the androgynous egalitarian society you speak of, would people be afraid to come out of the closet as 'straight' ? would they secretly have to play dress-up in gendered clothing to express themselves? Sounds even worse than the world we live in currently, tbh. Where everyone is uniform. 

And if you don't believe that consent is actually 'consent', then how does one choose to have sex with someone in a certain way? How can we ever know for sure? What if androgynous, homosexual sex is just a reaction to patriarchy, what if that's not true consent either? :O
  
"I hope its clear that these are strictly THEORETICAL positions and we're challenging queer theory or transgenderism and are in no way prejudiced against Bisexuals or trans people."

"Ultimately, we're concerned with general wellbeing of all, hope to burn patriarchy and establish a genderless egalitarian society. Radfem is a theoretical lense/perspective really and may not be entirely faultless so i do not claim to have absolute knowledge."

Of  course I understand that this is all theoretical, no one's going to take this bs seriously in the real world.  You may say that you are in no way prejudiced against bi or trans people in reality.... but you kind of are if you hold these views, because you are dismissing their existence. You're saying that trans ppl can be 'cured' of their transness... are u not? how is this different from 'curing homosexuals?' This is honestly the first time I have ever encountered this weird homosexual supremacy. Where everyone else is perpetuating the most evil PATRIARCHY (muhahahah) - and only androgynous homosexuals are 'pure'. Wow.

'I'm not a transphobe, I just think trans people's entire existence is wrong, they should be 'cured'. I'm not a sexist...I just think hetero women can't consent to sex.' Smh.

Like...these are actual things that you have said. I'm quite blown away, I must admit.

***

All that said, I do still consider myself a feminist (despite the existence of feminists like the above). I'm not a radical feminist by any stretch, I happen to enjoy fetish events, I support kink rights and trans rights. I love wearing corsets, and painting my nails, *gasp* even baking cakes.... you might consider me a total victim of patriarchy.... but ya know, I'm well aware of its implications on my life. I fight what I actually consider problematic, and do not loathe having a gender.

I am sometimes political in my bedroom, but I am sometimes just about having fun. I am straight and I happily consent to sex with a man.  I resent people like you telling me whether I can or cannot consent.

Apologies for the Pakistani-centric joke here. Some of you may not fully get this.

I enjoy playing with gender roles, I love a man in eyeliner, or a kilt. Fuck me... I love gender actually. I hate that we have specific requirements and have to fit one or the other.... but I do love that its ours to play with. 

***

Dear RadFems,  fuck off.

You are doing feminism no favours.

Cheers! 
E. 



2 comments:

  1. Hear Hear! Good defense of kink and 'alternative practises' - equality is for everyone, right? And thank you for speaking out for feminists who enjoy baking and makeup. I'm sick of being marginalized as a non-serious feminist because I like baking; as political as gender roles are, my love for baking has nothing to do with society forcing it upon me.

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  2. Firstly, heteronormativity is reproduced by gay couples ALL the time. The dominant bear top man-the submissive twink bottom boy...the lipstick lesbian-the butch dyke. Why then, just hate on bisexuals? Who are actually more transient, when it comes to sexuality, sexual roles and expressions!

    "transitioning can be read as an extreme form of cosmetic surgery"
    I don't even know how to respond to this? Sounds TRANSPHOBIC! You will disregard the entire lived realities and experiences on 'internalized homophobia'. Sure ideally we could live in a genderless society. However that is not happening. Reality is ours is a gendered world. Rather than wasting time and talking about how this world of 7 billion people should be androngynous...lets be more practical and useful and talk about how to make things better for all genders. Part of living in a gendered world, is the fact that there will be people who's biological sex and gender do not match. as such they will transition to correct this birth defect! Better to accept that and help make this world a better place for them.

    And lastly, to all the people who want to see Pride as a 'gay-only' thing: FUCK YOU! If things were left up to white gay men...we wouldn't even have a Pride to celebrate. How quickly people forget...that Stonewall Riots not brought about by prissy white gay men...or radical butch lesbian women. Rather they were brought about by a group who celebrate the 'dominant gender roles, reinforce patriarchy and heteronormativity'...they were brought about by men dressed as women; in lipstick, high heels and skirts...the drag queens. They were the ones running on the streets of New York City, beating the crap out off the police with their heels. Diversity has been a part of Pride since 1969.

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