Sex-positive feminism is far from perfect when it comes to asexual inclusion – or indeed including anybody who isn’t a white, middle-class, cis, straight, fully able woman. So I completely understand why a sizable portion of the asexual community steers well clear of this movement, where too many activists are openly acephobic and dismissive of our experiences. I myself stopped engaging in activism for several years because I was fed up with spending all my energy attempting to persuade other feminists to be more inclusive of marginalized/minority groups. But still, I don’t think writing off the entire sex-positive movement is the way forward.
I still believe an ace-inclusive sex-positivism is possible (and desirable!). The asexual community doesn’t talk about sex-positive politics wildly different than the movement as a whole. We come from a different perspective and experiences – as do queer and trans* folks, people of colour, people with disabilities, and working class people. But we all speak the same language, which has always been rooted in sexual freedom, agency, and self-expression.
I love Doctor Who, and have been a fan for most of my life. Yet the show has rightly been criticized many times over its 50 year history, over its portrayal of gender, race, sexuality, and disability. And right now we have a show-runner (Steven Moffat) who faces accusations of sexism – or at best, an inability to write women characters well.
One particular trend that bothers me in Moffat-era Dr Who is non-consensual intimacy being portrayed as okay, trivial and something to joke about.
Trigger Warning: This post discusses sexual and domestic violence in detail
I am one of those rape survivors who has never experienced “proper rape”, as some rape-apologists so aptly put it. But let me assure you that I have been severely affected by it –reliving those experiences night after night; unable to sleep due to flashbacks and nightmares; panic attacks when in crowds and triggered by an unexpected touch; countless days spent in hospital receiving treatment because of self-harm or attempted suicides; and desperately trying to avoid returning to my past eating disorder or drinking problem. So don’t anybody dare tell me that what I experienced wasn’t proper and severe rape.
Rape-apologists often make the misogynistic, cissexist, heterosexist claim that “proper rape” involves a man using physical violence against an unwilling woman. The reality is that rape is traumatic regardless whether the rapist is a stranger hiding behind a bush, a date, or a partner. Rape is traumatic regardless of how much physical violence there is or if you freeze instead of fighting back. Rape is traumatic regardless of whether you are physically forced, or forced through coercion. And rape is traumatic regardless of whether the survivor is a woman, a man, or any other gender.
The UK’s media regulator Ofcom has just published research on public attitudes to swearing and offensive language, reported in the guardian.
They basically conclude that homophobic and ableist terms are acceptable whereas swearing isn’t.
Just saw this UK news article. It seems now that a woman’s past fantasies as well as her “sexual behaviour” are enough to get rapists (or gang rapists in this case) of the hook.
Her just “entertaining the prospect of group sex” was enough for the defendants to be found not guilty, without bothering to look at any issues to do with actual consent.
Yet more anti-woman rubbish from the Daily Mail, with Flic Everett comments on a soon to be published book “Why Women Have Sex”. She takes this book’s conclusion that passion and romance aren’t the only reasons women have sex, as proof that women just aren’t meant to be sexual because of our biology. Continue reading
Too often it seems that any discussion of female sexuality either disregards or ignores transgender women (e.g. here). If being female is defined by having a female gender identity and not biology, then female sexuality can’t reasonably be defined purely in terms of having a vagina either.