Central to pro-sex thought is the idea that there is a plethora of
sexual preferences and practices which profoundly violate societal restrictions.
Among these restricted sexual activities—which are seen as
wildly divergent—are cross-generational sex (to use their euphemism for child sexual abuse), fetishism, sadomasochism, and the making and use of pornography. Such deviant sexualities, so the theory goes, are at the bottom of a hierarchy of sexual privilege, which has heterosexuality, marriage, and procreation at its pinnacle, and “vanilla” homosexuality somewhere in the middle.
"Those engaging in these privileged acts," Carol Vance writes in her introduction to Pleasure and Danger, "enjoy good name and good fortune."
All of this sounds logical and persuasive until you move beyond
society’s pieties and look at what it actually practices. Then it becomes clear that, instead of being forbidden or persecuted, these frowned upon sexual activities are, in the case of men, promoted, encouraged, and rewarded, and, in the case of women, imposed and enforced.
Moreover, instead of being incredibly different from one another, they all have a common denominator: a power relationship that replicates in miniature the power relations of society.
How deviant is cross-generational sex, for example, when, laws
against child sexual abuse notwithstanding, the activity is so popular that more than a quarter of all females are sexually abused as children?
How nonconformist is fetishism when “regular guys” proudly identify themselves as “tit men” or “ass men,” and the best-selling men’s entertainment magazines devote whole glossy pages to just our genitals, just our breasts?
How taboo is sadomasochism when Penthouse boosts sales by displaying Asian women tied up like slabs of meat and strung
up from trees and trendy sportswear manufacturers successfully promote their products by showing battered-looking models in torn clothing?
How forbidden is pornography when, aided by anti-obscenity laws, the industry rakes in more than the film and record industries combined?
As for the hierarchy of sexual privilege, it too sounds convincing,
until you examine the position of women in this hierarchy: Heterosexuality, procreation, and marriage may mean privilege for men, but they mean something very different for the married woman. Her “good fortune” is a 1 out of 3 chance of being a battered wife, a 1 out of 7 chance of being raped by her own husband, and a statistically undetermined probability that she will be her husband’s domestic servant and that her identity will be subsumed in his.
The so-called good fortune of lesbian feminists is either public denigration or invisibility and often loss of jobs and family.
It’s not that “cross-generational sex,” fetishism, sadomasochism, and trafficking in or using pornography are never punished.
Sometimes they are, but never enough to dampen their popularity. Just enough to make them seem forbidden and keep them exciting.
It’s not that there are no sexual choices that truly violate society’s rules. What I am suggesting is that the “deviant” sexual practices defended and promoted by the pro-sex people aren’t really proscribed by society; they’re prescribed.
They’re not really deviant at all. They’re good soldier conformity.”
More than a third of us were sexually abused as children (Russell, 1984). For many of us, our first sexual experience was a sexual assault.
Forty-four percent of us will be raped (Russell, 1984). The environment in which we learn about and experience our bodies and sexuality is a world not of sexual freedom but of sexual force.
Is it any surprise that it is often force that we eroticize?
Sadistic and masochistic fantasies may be part of our sexuality, but they are no more our freedom than the culture of misogyny and sexual violence that engendered them.”
A Republican elected official in Maine actually said this. But what war on women? (via whitegirlpolitickin)
I think this is something I’m going to point people to when I tell them that the pro-life position is directly related to rape culture.(via stfufauxminists)
I’m so grossed out by articles and lists that use male survivors in a way to imply that women talk too much about being raped.
Like: if you think there isn’t enough discussion about male survivors (and guess what - you are right! there isn’t) the answer isn’t: women talk too much!
The answer is: there needs to be more spaces and more time for all survivors to talk. You don’t need to take away the already limited time and spaces women have or imply that we’re against male survivors when we talk.
The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
Ive had a woman grab my arm in the girls room with fear in her eyes begging for help and asked me to hide her and escort her out of the club just so she could leave without a specific guy that was harassing her all night follow her home. He was waiting outside of the washroom but I put my coat on her with the hood up and we managed to sneak past without him noticing and get her safely into a cab. This happens far too often!
Petition for sex positivity to be reframed in a way that is actually intersectional and doesn’t prioritize protecting kinks over protecting the survivors who are triggered by them.
sex positivity would be good if it was about destroying the current sexual culture and building up a healthy new one that doesn’t involve the sexualization of children, abuse, rape etc. but as of now it’s just dressing up the same harmful cultural norms as radical and progressive and ignoring the bad parts about it because that would mean people would actually have to analyze their behavior and that makes people uncomfortable