Thursday, 25 September 2008

This is the song that never ends...

yes it goes on and on my friends...

I'm not sure if this comment is a response to this post from me, but given that it talks about female tops and there's no other piece of that conversation that does, I think it might.

Laurelin:
Obviously, my remarks re: the morality of harming others do not apply to such situations in which women are pressured into being 'tops'. It is abusive to pressure others into performing acts which they consider repugnant or contrary to their dignity; the pressures on women to behave in certain ways are so strong that I would not presume to judge women 'tops' on this basis. Men have physical, economic, social and sexual power over women in this crappy patriarchal world, and their power to coerce women through emotional blackmail or violence should never be underestimated. Even when the man is not intentionally pressuring a woman into certain actions (he may perceive himself to be making a simple request which can be declined), the internal and external pressures that work on women may make them feel that they can't refuse.

http://archiveofthebitingbeaver.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/sm-story/ is worth reading. Hell, everything by the wonderful BB should be read.

Okay, will stop talking to myself and go and do some work. Really! :)
Me:

I'm not at all sure where this "pressure" thing is coming in. A charitable reading would assume that she has experience with this pressure, either because someone pressured her into being a top or knows people who have been pressured into it. A less charitable reading would be that she's claiming that Suzanne or I was pressured into being tops, and that she sympathizes with us and "doesn't judge us" (right) for going along with the patriarchy.

Except that, well, I can't speak for Suzanne, but that never happened to me. What I do in sex was, believe it or not, my own idea.

Which is where this whole brand of "feminism" falls apart for me. There's this strong assumption that women can't have their own desires and their own needs and pursue them. If your desires don't fit the theory they like, you must never have had them. You must be hiding the truth about some man that made you do it. Or you must have been pressured somewhere in your childhood, some time you can't remember, that shaped, warped, and destroyed you. Your own words about your own life simply cannot be trusted.

Which is very odd to me coming from "radical feminism", considering that radical feminism's roots, as I understand them, were very centered around listening to women's lives and experiences. Consciousness-raising was all about letting women sit and talk and name their experiences for what they were. That space to be heard and trusted and to be taken as telling the truth about yourself and what you wanted and needed did great things for women. Battery became something that society took seriously, rather than just something the king of the house did in his private castle that wasn't anyone else's business. Marital rape was named for what it was: not a husbandly right, but a violation like any other.

Yet here we are, mumblemumble years later, and suddenly feminism is about assuming that someone is lying when she says she knows what she wants, or when she says she wasn't pressured or harmed. Funny, that.

I am not lying. I do not care whether enclaves of feminists find me distasteful, feel that I am confused, or think that I should stop. That's all fine with me.

I do care about the implication that I could not possibly know my own mind, or that I am lying about it.

For all the good it will do: Laurelin, stop. You have every right to express your opinion, but no right to talk over other people describing their own experiences.

(Also, if "everything BB has written should be read," let me add something of hers that I believe everyone should read, too.)

ETA: The post this comment comes from has been locked. I think the part I quoted is the entirety of her comment, but I don't remember.

20 comments:

hexy: hexpletive said...

Wow.

I find this even more offensive than the invisibility.

I know women who have been pressured into topping... hell, I know men who have. Pressuring anyone in any way to do ANYTHING they don't want to do in a sexual context is one hundred percent not OK. The issue there was the pressure, and if that's all she's objecting to than I agree with her. But I definitely see erasure of genuine female tops there, or of women who occasionally like to top. And it's not like we aren't invisible enough.

Trinity said...

Oh, yeah, pressure is an awful thing. And like I said to you over at my spot, I've had people try to pressure me into topping in the way they wanted me to do it, and it sucked. So yes, I am sure that some men do pressure some women into becoming their dream "dominatrix" or whatever, and that's a bad thing.

But the way she words it suggests that actual female tops who chose it for ourselves don't exist and are just people who men have pressured who gave in, and that just *really* pisses me off. (Where are the dykes in all this, by the way?)

If she only means to limit her discussion here to women who are pressured, she shouldn't put "tops" in quotes like that. It makes it at the very least ambiguous whether she thinks there is any such thing as an authentic female top, and it definitely reads to me as more than that.

auntysarah said...

Apparently the message to take home from this is that women are incapable of enjoying a sexually assertive role, and the only reason they'd ever do it is because of pressure from men, and then they'd hate every second of it.

From the "lie back and think of England" school of "Feminism".

Trinity said...

"Apparently the message to take home from this is that women are incapable of enjoying a sexually assertive role, and the only reason they'd ever do it is because of pressure from men, and then they'd hate every second of it."

Yeah, that. I can't figure out how the hell that's supposed to be feminist, though. Isn't "women are frigid bitches but that's okay because they're just there to spit cum into anyway" classic misogyny, rather than feminism?

I don't see how you can be at all feminist about female sexuality if you reduce it to something men made them do.

Debs said...

Re: the Biting Beaver thing - I followed your link and although I have heard it mentioned here and there I had never actually read any of that post before. I'm shocked (and very insulted that someone once mistook me for her!) - and I think she needs to seriously look at her parenting skills because that poor boy is going to be a mess if she continues like that.

Sorry, not trying to derail or anything, but reading that was just *jaw-drop* - it's a sick way to treat/speak about any human being, never mind your child. Sick.

Trinity said...

Yeah, it was jaw-dropping to me when I first found it, too. I always find myself stunned when I see people say that BB is a wise godmother of feminists, even the sort of radical feminist with which I totally disagree. That is just vile. There are so many ways to make rules around porn use in the house that are not that completely... well, vile and incomprehensible.

Thaddeus said...

In high school, a girl I was fooling around with bit me - hard - and it was really hot. I didn't know why it was sexy, and I thought it shouldn't be, but it was. I couldn't "decide" that it wasn't sexy, any more than I can decide to enjoy key lime pie (and believe me, I've tried).

Conversely, the anti-sm/anti-porn types have a subjective reaction of disgust when presented with BDSM, and then try to come up with reasons why it's objectively bad - and, moreover, that your subjective experience is somehow wrong, or that you are merely confused.

I think that's a big error in reasoning these people have. They muddle subjective experience and objective truth. And while they can't decide to be not disgusted by us and what we do, I wish some of them would stop groupthinking long enough to realize what a futile, absurd endeavor it is to try to prove BDSM is bad, let alone discredit your subjective, wonderful experiences, along with everyone else's.

Thaddeus said...

Oh, and I found the BB thing totally nuts too. I know I'm not the first one to remark on this, but her tirade is just a standard fundie narrative Mad Libbed for radical feminism.

"The child is inherently misogynistic/sinful. There is an evil force (the Patriarchy/Devil) with minions (porn/demons) who will tempt him to watch porn/sin. The only path to redemption is Feminism/God, whose wisdom may be accessed by reading the inerrant criticism/Bible. But once he masturbates/sins enough, he will be a misogynistic pig/heathen, totally beyond redemption, and will eventually rape women/go to hell."

If it wasn't intentional on her part, it sure is telling.

thene said...

I just don't understand the double standard.

If a man wants to top, it's because it gratifies him. If a man wants to bottom, it's because it gratifies him.

And if a woman wants to do either of these things then...she doesn't really want them? Can't really get anything out of them? Can't possibly be wired in such a way to enjoy them? But either orientation is clearly feasible for a man?

What.

Trinity said...

Thene: Yeah, that's what puzzles me about the radfems. Men get to want things and like things and enjoy things; women get programmed and are inauthentic, pretty much no matter what.

I can't imagine actually ascribing to their worldview about men and women and not desperately wanting to be a man. Sexual pleasure, enjoyment looking at people, a whole world catered to you: who would be a struggling sister at all?

LaurynX. said...

Where are the dykes indeed...?

We're here, we're queer, and we like topping! I hate how these conversations surrounding BDSM always seem to be heterosexist. Of course I think that they would inevitably say that the desire to top was "interalized misogyny towards women" ...whatever.

Renegade Evolution said...

Don't forget, women aren't allowed to really want to be bottoms either...

pretty much, unless you are into Loving So Peacefully, you don't know what you want, have been forced, and have no clue about knowing your own mind and desires.

That is a massive erasure of not only agency, but humanity. And it's abusive bullshit.

Also real damn cowardly to lock the thread and take it friends only...as Jill B said, the only way to get heard by these people is to essentially be on your knees...

So yeah, who is the abusive dominator again?

Ellie said...

Oh jesus this makes me even more angry than the usual strain of stripping agency from women. I can see how a bystander could see female bottoms as victims but now women have no agency? Even if they are tops, the radical feminists can't call them shitty, repugnant human beings (within their own framework). Are women so supremely weak and victimized that we can't even be villains. . .ever? Such an offensive line of reasoning.

iamthelizardqueen said...

I have nothing much to add (without going into, like, my whole life story); just wanted to say WORD. Thanks for doing what you do.

Trinity said...

"We're here, we're queer, and we like topping!"

Yes! Indeed. *misses topping girls now, 's been WAY too long since I did that*

It always totally boggles me the way feminists like this want to shoe-horn everything into M/f hetero dynamics.

If you're an F/f couple the top is acting like a man.

If you're an F/m couple you're doing what the guy wants and he's topping from the bottom, always and ever, amen.

WHAT THE FRIG.

Trinity said...

"I can see how a bystander could see female bottoms as victims but now women have no agency? Even if they are tops, the radical feminists can't call them shitty, repugnant human beings (within their own framework). Are women so supremely weak and victimized that we can't even be villains"

Yeah, exactly. We're not human, we're like... fragile doilies. That some dude came on. That's our claim to fame: someone else's cum.

Yeah, who has the low opinion of women here? It's not us, from my perspective.

Zula said...

Oh, Biting Beaver. She's like the poster child of "How Not To Be A Feminist."

Trinity said...

Yeah, Zula, but apparently a few people out there still find her inspiring.

Ve said...

Yet once again a brilliant post.

I can't understand all the do and don't s of that part of feminism. I cannot understand why I need to convince so many people daily.

Any one else who get's sad, mad and tired in the same time? Or do one just get jaded after a while?

Now, I need a cookie.

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