Brazen Sex-Positivity (aka “Not Being an Asshole”)

I’ve always hated dividing and subdividing political opinions and personalities and labeling everything to death as a kind of shorthand quick-reference way of understanding individuals and arguments (even though, having read my Lakoff, I know how natural it is…it’s still frustrating). As such, I haven’t really bothered to think of myself as “sex positive” or “anti-porn” or “third wave” or “post-wave” or whatever other intra-feminist label we want to work with. And as usual, this is really just kind of naive wishful thinking on my part.

I’m way late on writing this post, but as I mentioned, both me and my computer were in for repairs this week. But here’s the little corner of the “sex-pos” debate I came across last weekend, via Natalia Anatova:

  • Renegade Evolution, a blogger who does sex work, wrote about a particularly aggressive incident of harassment that took place while she was stripping
  • People can’t stop talking about it, and several “feminists” among them seem to want Ren Ev to basically admit that she deserved it and the whole thing is the fault of watered down Spice Girls sex-positive faux-feminism
  • People I tend to read and respect (being newly extra-arrogant, I’ll just refer to them, for the sake of categorization, as “not assholes”) jumped in to say “whoa, this is some crazy-ass victim-blaming going on here”

So now what I’m doing is jumping in to say “Whoa, this is some crazy-ass victim-blaming going on here”.

And if that were the only anti-sex-work bullshit I had seen in recent days, maybe the little part of me that had died would have stayed smallish, but then there was this other story, right here in Hamilton, about a 25-year-old man accused of raping several sex trade workers.

This guy wants us all to know that he’s really a good person. Nothing like this will ever happen to him (yes, to him) again. Things happen…this was just totally out of his control. The whole problem was that he trusted that kind of person. If he had just managed to avoid ending up in a car with a crazy drugged-out prostitute (six times), none of this would be happening.

Hell, presumably if they had just managed to not be crazy drugged-out prostitutes in the first place, nobody would ever get raped at all.

it is one thing to be assaulted in the daily course of an ordinary life–and here I mean even a life that a guy would count as ordinary

Oh, except that it was the feminist who said that last part. The feminist who said that there’s a difference between one kind of rape and another, or rather, one kind of victim and another. Because why should we listen to that kind of person? Brazen. If by “brazen” we mean “A woman who thinks it’s her right to define exactly how sexual she is willing to be, with whom, and in what context”.

I found myself wondering which man Dana was going to enlist in order to define that ordinary life. Based on his soft-spoken interview with the Spec, I’m fairly sure Mr. Khairzad would have a certain viewpoint on the subject. Is it fair to pick the most heinous example I happen across in order to make this point? Not really, I guess. But again, in all my naiveté, I can’t fathom how someone can fail to recognize that making these arguments–that some women just “deserve” rape more, or sympathy less, or should expect to be assaulted, or are somehow complicit in their own assault by making sexuality a part of their every day lives–is on a continuum with saying “Poor me, I’m being accused of raping people who aren’t really people in the first place”, and at cross-purposes with anything, you know, empowering.

If this makes me a twittery sex-pos moron, well, hook me up. Hearing echoes of the words of rapists from the mouths of self-identified feminists is not on my list of ways to have a good time.

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7 thoughts on “Brazen Sex-Positivity (aka “Not Being an Asshole”)

  1. purtek says:

    -waves back-

    -feels hopeful and grateful to be welcomed into the ‘not an asshole’ branch of feminism-

  2. BetaCandy says:

    I have to admit that while ideally, I’d be all for sex work and stuff, I’m not sure it can ever be what it should be until men are just as likely as women to do it and… er, I don’t know. It needs a lot of reform from its current state. We might even need to get rid of it for 20 years and then start over in a more positive way. I really don’t know.

    But I find it simple to dislike the sex work industry as it is now because of the position it puts women in… rather than dislike the women for being in that position. And as much as I think Spice Girls feminism has not helped, they didn’t invent the problem.

  3. belledame222 says:

    Thing is, who’s “we” and how exactly do we “get rid of it for twenty years,” and what do the people who do it to survive do in the meantime?

  4. Amanda says:

    Purtek,

    Wonderful.

    I wish more people had your ability to step back, get the big picture and ask the right questions.

    XX

  5. purtek says:

    Thanks Amanda. I’ve added your blog to my subscriptions, so though I may not comment often, I’m probably lurking appreciatively. It’s what I do. 🙂

  6. […] really ever declare myself “sex positive”. The closest I really came was on this post, when I said: If this makes me a twittery sex-pos moron, well, hook me up. Hearing echoes of the […]

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