I am writing this post in support of a post by Kalika Gold I reblogged yesterday. You can find it here.
It seems there is a growing trend in modern feminism to treat many aspects of sex and sexuality as either wrong, or taboo or anti feminist. Now I don’t make a point of hunting for feminist literature, nor do I often feel the need to stand on a soap box and extol the virtues of feminist ideology. Generally I just get on with my life. But I have always considered myself to be a feminist in practice and I will draw attention to things which seem to be setting women back in some way. Sadly it seems that some feminists are setting back the cause by getting sidetracked into some pretty backward, conservative and reactionary attitudes to sexual behavior.
But what do I mean by feminism? I guess there are a hundred definitions and I don’t want to get into a debate about what is the most politically correct use of the term. To me feminism is a pretty simple thing; it means that women and men should have equal opportunities and possibilities in all aspects of life and that they should have equal pay and equal respect for doing equal things. To unpack that a little more I believe strongly that women and men should have equal access to education, equal access to the job market and all professions and that their sex and gender should make no difference to their rewards and remunerations. Moreover as a society we should value and respect women and men equally in all ways even when acknowledging the physiological differences between them. Following on from this it should be clear that this means I am against the unwilling exploitation of one sex by the other.
This is where the problem begins because I also describe myself as sex positive. This means simply that I have a positive attitude to sex. I like sex. I see it as a perfectly natural and healthy aspect of life. And by sex I pretty much mean all consensual forms of sex no matter what gender or mode of sexuality it is expressed in. In some ways I see sex itself as a morally neutral thing; it is a bodily function like breathing or going to the toilet; the morals we attach to it come from other aspects of life and society. In my own opinion I think western society has for all sorts of religious and social reasons had an unhealthy and repressive attitude to sexuality for a long time, made worse by a lot of hypocrisy within the power structures of society. Whatever… The point is there are a lot of us who feel that sex is good, healthy and generally positive and it seems on some issues this puts us on a collision course with a dominant quarter or feminism.
I like some forms of pornography. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with prostitution or many other forms of sex work.
“But it is exploitation of women!” Some feminists will scream. “You are being a traitor to your own sex and all the progress feminism has made!”
Well they can scream all they like. It is them who are wrong.
Yes there is exploitation in prostitution, pornography and many other jobs in the sex industry and all women and men should fight against that whether they call themselves feminists or not. Exploitation is wrong. Sex is not.
I have written about this subject before in the following posts.
(Strangely enough those are my most visited posts)!
As feminists we should be fighting to take the criminal element and all aspects of exploitation out of the sex industry. But the sex industry isn’t going to go away. There will always be a market for it. And it is not only or even mainly the proverbial dirty old men in trench-coats who enjoy the fruits of the sex industry; it is also people like me and maybe you.
As women we have waited a very long time to be able to fully enjoy sex and sexuality in a way that men have long taken for granted, free of shame and free of condemnation. Let us not allow so called feminists to drag us back into the dark ages of guilt and hypocritical Victorian values. I want a future when all girls upon reaching maturity can make their sexual choices freely and individually and enjoy their sexuality without shame. I want a future where all those who work in all branches of the sex industry do so freely within a safe, healthy and legal framework with the same perks and advantages that members of any other profession enjoy.
I want a future when the hypocrisy about sex is over. That is where feminism should be taking us.