Okay, so I'd already seen, and felt indignation about, this: http://www.mediawatch.com/lorde.htmAnd interestingly (or predictably, depending, I've since discovered rather a bit more to be annoyed at Farley for. Ugh.
But then, apparently not having had enough of people's hatred of my sexuality:
Ten lies about sadomasochism?
- What doesn't kill us does make us stronger. Think of all the brave feminists who've seen, and fought, and won. Are they not strong for being our warriors? For another take on this: many people of all kinds of genders like the feeling of ordeals. They like to set challenges for themselves, do something really difficult, and succeed at it -- whether that be a sport, a career goal, a ritual, or whatever else. This isn't about long-suffering women being socialized to endure what men throw at them. It's about choosing which demons to face, doing it, and feeling pride. Men do this quite a bit too.
- Destroying the self is one thing. Letting go of the self in a controlled manner is something else. Haven't you ever had moments in which you've freed yourself from your ego and felt peace? That's not death.
- First of all, though I would defend people's right to do this, the scene is not solely about people who do this kind of roleplay. Many sadomasochists are as offended by it as you are; I'm bothered by it myself. My guess as to why people do it is that it's not about history, but about the simple fact that the Nazis are the ultimate "bad guys" in our cultural consciousness. A top can use that symbol to project a villain-persona easily. Is that a wonderful thing to do? Maybe not, but that's most likely the reason for doing it.
- If consent were truly impossible, how could we account for the choices we make in our lives that aren't sex-related? Humans are choosers. While it's true that there's likely no such thing as perfectly free consent to anything at all, that doesn't make choosing freely any less a true part of our lives. Besides which, how can a feminist sexuality unfettered by patriarchal oppression ever come to exist if we've presupposed that women's consent isn't real? It's only if we believe that women can be choosers that we can have faith in the idea of a feminist sexuality's coming to be at all.
- You're underestimating people's capability to understand behavior appropriate to circumstances. I do not hit random people on the street because I take tae kwon do, which can and does involve things like kicking and hitting people (while they hold targets against their bodies). Nor do I hit random people because enjoy impact play as a sexual act. (Oh, and those "intimidating" women who stood around during your meeting? Maybe that's not intimidation; maybe it's a fun little thing called "nonviolent protest".)
- I think it may be the case that there are more female bottoms because of our social history. But this does not in any way mean that they cannot create rich, vibrant sexualities for themselves. (Keep in mind, also, that many people come into SM thinking they have a fixed role, but come to enjoy switching, whether occasionally or often.) I believe that some of our sexual patterns are fixed (how, I'm not sure) and that some are created by us. The fact of someone's being a bottom and being unable to change that about herself does not mean that she cannot have a rich sexuality, or have a feminist understanding about her place in the world. The fact that there are more bottom women than top women also could show not that women can only think of bottoming, but that our social history pressures female tops, keeping many from coming to accept themselves. Either way, it's the cultural norms that are bad, not the sadomasochists.
- I cannot speak to lesbian realities, as I am not a lesbian. But I do not think that heterosexuality or heterosexual activity precludes feminist understanding. My desire for men is not an unreflective desire that I simply adopted because of the culture; it is something I've thought about, wondered about, and acknowledged. Accepting heterosexuality because one is supposed to be straight is bad. Being straight (or bisexual) is something else entirely.
- I agree that this is a myth, because I think SM can be liberating for me, and I am not a lesbian. I think that discovering, exploring, and understanding our sexualities can be empowering for anyone of any orientation.
- This can easily go wrong, but sometimes staging a re-enactment of things that have traumatized us in environments where we know we are really safe can indeed help. After my surgeries, I was obsessed with certain aspects of the experience. I did a scene involving those aspects, and it helped me to put some of my fear and pain from that horrible time behind me. (I bottomed. I am a top. These roles, like I said, are not necessarily rigid.) It also allowed me to let go of the fixation I had on the horrible things that happened to me.
- If sadism comes from het male power and privilege, and I am a female sadist, does that not mean that I have subverted something? I think it's right to say that power in the bedroom won't necessarily equate to higher paychecks or less poverty among women. But claiming, fiercely and bravely, our right to or own sexuality, standing up and saying that we can and do consent and that our voices HAVE NOT BEEN silenced, seems like true power to me.
Ms. Farley, you told more than ten.
Friday, 8 August 2008
Let's do the time warp... again? Uh, for the first time?
Kind of strange to think I've been fussing about all this since 2003: