Dear Anti-Radical Feminists,

First, I am using my priviledges as blogmistress to refer to you as Anti-Radical Feminists. I think this a far more honest descriptor than “pro-sex”. Why? Well, the whole thing about sex is that I’ve yet to meet a feminist who was actually anti-sex. Dworkin came close, but only if you take the misogynist proposition that the only sex that is sex is good old penis in vagina wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.

And that’s where I want to start off: your misogynist propositions that the only real sex is putting penises in vaginas or mouths or anuses and that we need to exhaust more effort to endlessly detail all the fun fantastic ways our fun feminist orgies can partake in heterosexual intercourse.

Because here’s the kicker: I’m not heterosexual. I position myself as “queer”, in that I have been attracted to men, but I find that it’s far more likely that I have relationships with other women who are typically more attractive and awesome in that way. What has been endlessly talked to death in feminist circles is all these marvelous things that we need to do to teach men about where our clitorises are, and how if we compose painful mental gymnastics we can even conceive of how M/f BDSM and ejaculating on someone’s face ceases to be a private neutral act and is actually an awesome fulfillment of feminist metatheory.

That’s all fine and dandy. I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible. What I see, time and time again, is that my experience is constantly erased. I have to twist myself in knots to find a feminist active in the blogosphere who is happily feminist and queer, and who hasn’t shacked up with a man and is presently enjoying straight priviledge. Yep, you can enjoy straight priviledge if you are queer and you live your life with a man. No shit.

But the thing is, I don’t. And there is this disgusting foul part of me that whispers when my ego is beaten and bruised that it would all be alright if I could just find some man, any man, and settle down with heterosexual privilege and pretend that I never did nasty horrible things like fall madly in love with my best female friend or find the back of the girl who sat in front of me in Astronomy lecture endlessly more fascinating than the modest amount of dick I’ve come across.

This horrible part of me rears its head often. I live closeted to all but my close friends and my father. So pretending to be straight means I’m very often suppressing the majority of my identity—namely, the majority that finds women really fascinating. Stumbling across yet another “pro-sex” defense of porking, blow jobs, anal sex, BDSM, and penis in vagina goodness exacerbates this to the nth-degree. It’s very easy to stumble across feminist defenses of privileged expressions of sexuality. Those feminists avow how happy they are with penis, how marvelous penis is if you’ve cured yourself of the Dworkin-induced paranoia of men, and how talking about heterosexual sex is a big no-no because it’s akin to homophobia and racism and you’re not really a feminist at all you fucking dyke, are you?

So this endless parade of “heterosexuality is so much fun” really isn’t much fun. Especially when I feel so goddamn alienated because of it. What really chaps my hide and blows all sorts of brain lobes is the assertion that I’m a massive misogynist bigot, like homophobes, if I question putting penis in vagina in the usual matter, or with a kink or two.

Assholes. Fucking shitbag assholes! The entire reason I tire of this endless fuckbag wankery over how blow jobs are so empowering is because it’s disgustingly homophobic and the biggest exercise of heterosexual priviledge in an ideology that thinks itself so much better than that. Shit. As a Big Bad Radical Feminist, I’m lumped in with 2nd wave relics who were, reportedly, big horrible homophobes who hated all transsexuals and maybe tossed around racial epithets in between dismantling all that is good in the universe.

Which is absolutely hilarious, thanks. 3rd wave feminism, if it’s really the driving force behind all this endless pontification about how dick is awesome, seems to me to be way more self-aggrandizing and privileged than any of the crouchity old radical hags that authored the texts that pepper my shelves.

I’m not talking about 3rd wave academic feminism, which is really all kinds of awesome and a godsend. I’m talking about blogosphere “hey, my boyfriend came on my face and I’m empowered!” feminism. It just seems to boil down to a bunch of women in their twenties and thirties who’ve settled down with a man (or have before or will), who like penis, and who really really want to talk about how Radical feminists are outdated harpies and they’ve seen the light! Evidently, the light is phallus-shaped and full of delicious bullshit, but I’m sure that you got that point by now.

So, to return to the title of this post:

Dear Anti-Radical Feminists,

You like penis. I get it. I got it on your last post about blow jobs in between how Dworkin is a total knob and you really heart Angelina Jolie and/or porn. I’m really quite happy that this endlessly self-reflecting homophobic world has provided you with endless avenues to explore your glorious and endangered heterosexuality. Please write another post on the clitoris and how to grind properly against a male pubic bone in the customary penis-in-vagina intercourse. I seem to have misplaced the two billion issues of Cosmo that do the same thing.

See, when you philosophize about how radical feminists (who apparently start and end with Dworkin, and perhaps Twisty) really hate sex, you totally erase the sex they were actually having and enjoying, which happens to be sex that I also enjoy. Thanks ever so much for ignoring my existence and the idea that sex doesn’t have to contain the almighty phallus. May I kiss your enlightened post-homophobic ass now?

See, I was laboring under the proposition that feminists were all about presenting new and ignored experiences. Dear Jesus and/or Buddha, how ignorant was I! Radical Feminism is apparently totally outdated because it’s just so damn easy to conceive of heterosexual intercourse without coercive, violent, domination/submissive narratives. Which is why nobody ever, in this enlightened age, uses their dick as an insult or weapon.

Ha! No. Thanks for playing. Seriously, where the fuck are these blow-job loving feminists finding men? I’m more likely to be whistled at on the street like a piece of meat or told that my breasts are violating dress code and distracting customers than coming across a penis-toting heterosexual specimen that doesn’t conceive of me as the very essence of filthy sexuality that needs to be contained, consumed, or denied. I engage in stupid pointless exercises daily to conceal the shape of my breasts and present myself as professional, all so the shitbag unenlightened masses don’t see my hips and boobs and equate me with a thing that exists for sex and because of sex. I do this and more, and then agonize over not doing it correctly (you never can, by the way) so I can have half the chance my male peers have just by virtue of having dicks.

If you think that you’re above that, you’re either (a) fooling yourself or (b) okay with this state of affairs because it caters to your priviledge. You can write all the goddamn articles you please about how having men whistling at you on the street is awesome and fun. Since I’m queer and have no desire to start anything with a man (thanks previous boyfriend: Mr. Fuckbag Non-Consensual Shit Is Awesome So Pretend To Be Asleep!) having men find me attractive in a predatory objectifying manner is totally not my cup of tea. Maybe it’s because I know that they think of me as tits, ass, three holes, and two hands rather than a human being. Maybe it’s because I’d like to walk around campus digesting the content of my last Ethics lecture without being reminded that my body exists for their viewing pleasure. Maybe it’s because I like to have sex with women more than men.

No, it’s not that at all. It’s actually the fact that I’m a prudish dyke of a Radical Feminist, who isn’t even properly queer (define your sexuality for me, you freak!) and has been either brainwashed by Andrea Dworkin or false consciousness theory beamed in from the USSR.

My mistake.

So, why am I so angry? It’s because I’ll find some feminist blog that seems legit and awesome, only for it to degenerate into a clusterfuck of Radical Feminists Are Horrible, or I Suck Dick and Enjoy It and Oh It’s Now a Feminist Act. I found one the other day that had an infuriatingly long comment thread of endlessly navel-gazing heterosexually privileged fuckbags that I want to take down sometime. But not now. Now, I’m too fucking angry. Maybe I’ll do it later.

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Posted on June 30, 2009, in Feminism, Priviledge. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Once again, great post! I think I never feel so simultaneously uncomfortable and interested as reading your blog… and the line “hey, my boyfriend came on my face and I’m empowered!” made me spit beer all over my monitor with laughter… Anyway, I don’t think I have anything of value to add, only to say, cooooool…

    and i’m either not sure that one can’t, or perhaps merely highly disappointed that one cannot, engage in “viewing pleasure” without viewing someone as “three holes, and two hands rather than a human being”…

    I also worry about some of the google search hits this post may bring…

    • Ha, the google hits to my blog never fail to either disgust or amuse me. Also, I’m glad that my writing is somewhat funny. I’d hate to have long posts like this that are boring to read. “Viewing pleasure”, as I was referring to it, was only addressed at male cat-callers on the street, who undoubtedly have little to no respect for women and more likely than not view women as sexual objects to blithely comment on amongst their male chums as if it was there god-given right.

      Yeah, so I watch women in public and find them attractive. That doesn’t mean I reduce them to three holes and two hands. Mainly because I don’t think that it’s approperiate to sexually harass the people I find attractive by cat-calling on the street.

      Like I’ve said before, I’m not trying to reduce us to a totally sexless chase society. That wouldn’t be very much fun. I just wish that non-consensual oogling and cat-calling would go out of style like parachute pants and pet rocks.

  2. Once again, great post! I think I never feel so simultaneously uncomfortable and interested as reading your blog… and the line “hey, my boyfriend came on my face and I’m empowered!” made me spit beer all over my monitor with laughter… Anyway, I don’t think I have anything of value to add, only to say, cooooool…

    and i’m either not sure that one can’t, or perhaps merely highly disappointed that one cannot, engage in “viewing pleasure” without viewing someone as “three holes, and two hands rather than a human being”…

    I also worry about some of the google search hits this post may bring…
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  3. Love this! Agree with Jenn. I think I’ll use your quote about the “…boyfriend came on my face…” to my students this next semester. Especially the students that really feel strongly about how “empowered” they are because of Facebook…really? really!

    • That’s pretty funny to me. I was introduced to feminism, like a lot of women, in a Women’s Studies class. Now I look back on it and cringe because of the number of “anti-radical” feminists who really really wanted to distance themselves from my evil agreement with both Marxist and Radical feminism (I was pretty firmly Radical from the get-go. And outspoken about it. Lucky me). Being mentioned by someone who teaches a class on it is like “ha, I was right all along you ’empowered’ feminists who just think the big mean dyke doesn’t like dick because she secretly hates men and all straight people”.

  4. Love your blog! When you go off, you go off in style. I’m long-time admirer. Anywho, enough gushing, I have a serious query that I hope doesn’t come across as an attack. I’m just wondering what the difference is between “watching women in public” and “non-consensual oogling”. Personally, I find the male gaze as threatening and dehumanzing as the overtly misogynistic behavior of the cat-caller, so I wonder where that magical line between acceptable viewing pleasure and male/female gaze is. Goodness knows I’ve struggled with this issue every time an attractive guy crosses my path. The occasional attractive woman, too, since I’m straight but not narrow!

    On the subject of sex pozzie blogs, aren’t they a hoot? A *headdesk* kind of hoot, but a hoot nonetheless. They’re a little schizophrenic with their Down With Patriarchy! Up With Dick! mentality. I mean, yeah, I love cock, too, but only when it’s attached to a feminist ally and, sorry, ladies, feminist allies aren’t going to be into recreating power dynamics in the bedroom. I don’t have to prove my heterosexuality by shouting about cock from the rooftops, either. The patriarchal force is strong with these gals, you know? Maybe sex positive feminism is like feminism training wheels. Thinking of it that way keeps me sane, at any rate.

    • I think, truly, that what separates looking and such is consent and power dynamics. For example, if you’re out by yourself and you see someone that you’re attracted too, even if they are a stranger, and you approach them by yourself earnestly without invading their space, making overtly sexual come-ons, and do so in the right venue and situation… then the interaction doesn’t demean their abilities in what they are currently doing (as coming on to someone at work does), gives them reciprocal chance at response, and makes yourself vulnerable to their rejection. I think a huge part of an acceptable public interaction with someone that you’re attracted to is equalizing the power dynamics as much as possible. Shouting at someone about their “fine titties” with five other grunting he-men at your side is obviously not anywhere close to equal power dynamics. The chance of response is null, the comment was not invited in the first place, and doing so loudly and in a group constitutes a threat.

      As for looking, I guess it’s a question of power-dynamics as well. One really ought not to stare or make other threatening or inappropriate gestures or invade another’s mental or physical space with an unwanted gaze. Others may beg to differ, but the other day I watched a very attractive woman with striking facial features get up from her seat and thought to myself, “wow, her backside is almost as good looking as her front!” I hardly stared or shared with my chums my 1 to 10 evaluation of her secondary sexual traits. I think that that is a perfectly acceptable way to go about things. But getting up after class and asking a professor about a problem, only to catch him looking down my shirt, isn’t what I’d call approperiate by any stretch of the word.

      I tend to think that it mostly rests on place, situation, power dynamics, and respecting another’s space. I’m sure that someone has done a much better evaluation of the nuances that I did. If I’d have to sum my position in one sentence, it’s “act as if people have the right to totally ignore your sexuality by default, and imposing that on them when they do not have the chance to rebuke it or when it is obviously unwanted is to treat people like objects”.

      • Undercover Punk

        Jenn, I like this description of how to respectfully enjoy the aesthetic presentation of women! I wish I knew where else to read about this–please let me know if you do. Lesbianism is sorely underrepresented everywhere. I’m glad that you feel comfortable enough to be out to your close friends and your father.

        Heterosexuality is a very patriarchal (and deceptive) lens through which to view the world. I am often ridiculously frustrated (read: angered) by all the men-loving/worshipping feminists on the internet! That’s part of the reason why I’m a separatist: heterosexuality necessitates a commitment to the possibility of men’s reform and glorification of male exceptionalism. As long as women continue to desire male (sexual) attention and cater to male sexual desires, they will continue to be Fun-Sex-Positive(anti-radical) “Feminists.”

        As an aside, I found the law school environment to be extremely conservative, heteronormative (even in Boston during the year that Goodridge was handed down), and generally OPPRESSIVE. I’m hearing you!

        • I’m not separatist, but I think that the position behind it seems to have a lot more sense than the position between sex-positive feminism today.

          Yeah, I’m stumped on the lesbian feminism online. There’s been some work done on it in academic philosophy though. Cheshire Calhoun does a ton of lesbian feminist theory. There’s others, but she’s the one I’ve read the most extensively.

  5. kurukurushoujo

    I really really enjoyed this post, thank you!

    I have become really impatient with feminists usually always declaring their love of the cock when they can somehow make it in opposition to radical feminism. It always goes like “Radical feminists are this and that” and then “I LOVE SUCKING COCK HMM HMM DELICIOUS COCK”. Seriously, I read porn myself (yaoi and yuri) and I never felt the need to express my sexual preferences every second minute of my life- and specifically in opposition to anyone. I actually stopped reading a blog because the author had to talk really insistently about liking sucking clock to differentiate herself from radical feminism. I just sat there and thought: “Yes, now we all know. Can you please shut the fuck up?” Perhaps it’s just a matter of differing identities- I never built my identity upon my sexual preferences so if someone attacks or criticizes my desires I can respond calmly and collected (to everyone whose intentions are not inflammatory from the get-go)- but all the talk about radical feminists being unfunny and perpetually victimizing and joyless does not make more respectful towards certain people. It makes me more impatient and less forgiving.

    • Not to mention to the survivors of assault and rape. Shouldn’t feminism be more interested in the experiences of those women than the experiences of women who the patriarchy hasn’t harmed in that way? Talk about priviledge!

  6. Awesome post. I never really thought of it from the queer-identified perspective, what with all my straight privilege getting in the way, but it really shows just how anti-feminist the anti-rad fems are, conceiving of the only real sex as sex that is performed in service to men. Same shit, different name.

  7. Another ‘great post!’ here. I do love a good rant.

    And seriously, they/you make a difference. I have reconsidered so many aspects of my behaviour since starting to read the likes of you and Twisty. I am slowly starting to change them as well. I am becoming more aware of my own day-to-day experience of privilege (white and heterosexual) as well as my membership of the ‘sex class’.

    Y’all’s clear analyses of the motivations and misogyny behind what passes for (and is rigidly enforced as) mainstream sexuality have opened this commenter’s eyes and now they can’t ever be closed again. Sorry to make this all about me, but I just wanted you to know that you’re not shouting into the wind. All power to you queer gals, and down with the phallocentric fuckfaces of whatever kind. :-)

    • Ha, I don’t think that you’re derailing. It’s very nice to have feminists of all stripes reconsider their unexamined priviledges and try harder to make sure that their arguments and dialogs are as inclusive as possible. Warm fuzzy feelings and all. Also, perhaps is that I can identify with feeling guilty or examining straight privilege, mostly because it’s very easy to pass as a straight gal if I just don’ t make comments about women being pretty and if I’m not dating. Also, that is another kind of erasure in itself.

      Mostly, I’m just glad to provide a little food for thought that is taken seriously, especially by those that might now have the opportunity to exercise straight privilege, but then choose not to.

  8. Eating pussy and giving the kind of full scale stomach rolling orgasm to my lover is equalled nicely when the same is done for me. My current lover is conservative and I like something between wild and anarchic. She’s married straight but i want her to release that missionary shit. I suggested a female ejaculation orgy and she just about put on a scuba suit. She thinks it’s demeaning like bukkake. I found bukkake with men interesting, very thrilling like being restrained. With women it was better because women are so tender even when they are being butch. What’s your feminist thought on female bukkake.

    • Uh, I’m not one to dictate what people can and cannot do in the bedroom. I find that the social construction of bukkake is demeaning and implies violence and ownership. Replicating power structures in the bedroom isn’t my cup of tea, but I don’t exactly think you a bad person or gross or anything like that for doing it.

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