PERVOCRACY
October 12, 2011 9:18 PM   Subscribe

The Pervocracy is a kinky, feminist sexblog. Holly writes about her experiences as an active member of the BDSM community, a partner in a polyamorous relationship, and an all-around completely horny slut. She also writes editorials from a sex-positive feminist perspective, advice on sexuality and kink, and humorous critiques of sexism online and in the media.

About

Rape Culture:
Posts about the feminist concept of a "rape culture" and the creation of a "consent culture."
Consent.
What is Rape Culture?
Defending the Indefensible.
The People You Meet When You Write About Rape.
A Grand Game.
Seven Points On Rape, Prevention, and Blame.
Supply-Side Rape Prevention.
"Why does she stay with that jerk?" (Of previous Metafilter awesomeness)
Hope.

Sex Tips:
Advice on sex, dating, and related matters.
Some Points on Social Skills.
The Best Advice I Ever Got.
How to Give a Blowjob.
How to Have the Big O.
The Gentleman's Guide to Ogling.
The Gentleman's Guide to Sending Dick Pictures to Random Women on the Internet.
How to make your own simple strap-on harness: a photo guide!

BDSM 101:
Educational posts about kinkiness and the kink community.
How to get into BDSM (the short version).
Getting into BDSM Part 2: Your First Play Party.
Getting into BDSM Part 3: Safety.
How to go to a play party (and not play).

True-Life Erotica:
Sexy stories from her life.
Rhythm.
Deeper.
The Dance.
First Spanking.
How to Have Sex on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Anatomy of a Scene.
posted by Blasdelb (86 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not a woman, so I guess my opinion is of limited value here, but it annoys me when people equate being "an all-around completely horny slut" with "feminism". Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the club to find me some feminists!
posted by GIFtheory at 10:07 PM on October 12, 2011


Sex-positivity is a major focus of feminist efforts.
posted by prefpara at 10:14 PM on October 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the club to find me some feminists!

Just because some women are horny and want to have lots of sex, doesn't mean that they want to have sex with you.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:23 PM on October 12, 2011 [44 favorites]


it annoys me when people equate being "an all-around completely horny slut" with "feminism".

I have to ask, is this because you think women shouldn't have or enjoy sex, and certainly shouldn't be honest about it? Or because sex is degrading? Or because, wait, no, this is my favorite one, even if women like sex they certainly shouldn't ever talk about it, heavens!

Please. There is nothing wrong with sex, nothing wrong with liking it, nothing wrong with wanting it and it is very goddamn feminist to admit that you're -way- into having a whole mess of sex all the time.

I'd excuse myself to go have a whole bunch of sex, but my partner's still on his way home and we have yet to eat dinner.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:27 PM on October 12, 2011 [18 favorites]


I'm not a woman, so I guess my opinion is of limited value here

While both statements are true, I'm afraid they're unrelated.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:33 PM on October 12, 2011 [40 favorites]


Feminism is a big tent, so I think taking any very specific set of beliefs and calling them "feminism" to the exclusion of all others is nonsense.

That said, I don't think she's doing that. And I can thoroughly recommend the blog. It's been on my reading list for a while.
posted by Zarkonnen at 10:33 PM on October 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh man, can we please start making trigger warnings like this (except the missing alt text, obvz) standard everywhere?
posted by NoraReed at 10:44 PM on October 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


She actually started as a sex blogger and the feminism is secondary but growing in importance as she begins to grapple with serious things in her life and in the world in general. Her being a feminist isn't based on her being poly and kinky, though; she has a solid outlook and tackles some serious and fundamental issues like rape, consent, equal rights, violence, and what being a woman is and means.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:50 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I knew I'd seen this blog before, a while ago: I Love Men
And... response (from Twisty): It's All About Me

Frankly I have to say I get uncomfortable with, well, Sexy Feminism. This is still the standard societal narrative of sex: horny slut, blowjob tips, here's ways to respectfully ogle women so that they might even like it... she's young and she doesn't feel oppressed. Okay. Slap "feminism" on that and people feel comfortable: see, the standard narrative is okay as long as it's respectful and consensual and clearly this is a strong woman who identifies as a feminist, so it's all good!

I don't know. I can't get on board with that. I think the intersection of sex and feminism is just a lot more complicated and requires a lot more thought and depth.
posted by flex at 10:52 PM on October 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


Please. There is nothing wrong with sex, nothing wrong with liking it, nothing wrong with wanting it and it is very goddamn feminist to admit that you're -way- into having a whole mess of sex all the time.

Although there is something wrong with conflating the concepts of feminism and sexual freedom, or whatever you want to call it. The danger being that anyone who disagrees with your concept of sexual mores is subject to branding as an anti-feminist. "Oh, you disagree with me on topic-x-unrelated-to-feminism? THEN YOU MUST BE AN ANTI-FEMINIST!"
posted by GIFtheory at 10:53 PM on October 12, 2011


"Oh, you disagree with me on topic-x-unrelated-to-feminism? THEN YOU MUST BE AN ANTI-FEMINIST!"

Except that's not what I'm doing. If woman don't want to have sex, okay, that's totally fine and a perfectly feminist act. If they do want to have sex, same applies.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:57 PM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Oh, you disagree with me on topic-x-unrelated-to-feminism? THEN YOU MUST BE AN ANTI-FEMINIST!"

Sexual mores are in no way unrelated to feminism.
posted by Justinian at 11:02 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the club to find me some feminists!

i've met some wonderful, sexy, feminists at the bar (who i later had wonderful, feminist sex with). i would wager that your approach as illustrated here isn't likely to attract many, though.
posted by nadawi at 11:02 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good work, GIFtheory, you sharted the thread.

Can we get a do-over?
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:02 PM on October 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Except that's not what I'm doing. If woman don't want to have sex, okay, that's totally fine and a perfectly feminist act. If they do want to have sex, same applies.

In that case, it sounds like we're in agreement that feminism and sex-positivity are orthogonal concepts that should be treated as such. Q.E.D.
posted by GIFtheory at 11:07 PM on October 12, 2011


Sex-positivity is a major focus of feminist efforts.prefpara
Well, it's a major focus of the efforts of some feminists.

I've been sex-positive, though I had no name for it, for longer than I've been a feminist—which is just slightly less than thirty years, now. There's as wide a range of attitudes about sexuality within feminism as there is in the wider culture and, unfortunately, there's definitely been a substantial history of a minority of very sex-negative feminists.

Worse, the issues involved in this conflict go to the heart of some key feminist concepts and so differences of opinion often lead to claims of pseudo-feminism, of being a Bad Feminist.

Susie Bright has always been at the vanguard of both sex-positivity and LGBT-rights within the context of the feminist movement. She's had to learn to live with being regularly attacked.

I actually disagree with Susie on a key point; I've argued about it with her on her blog and in correspondence on numerous occasions. Like many sex-positive activists, not including myself, Susie strongly believes that an active and enjoyable sex-life, particularly being orgasmic in the context of women's sex lives, must be a primary aspect of of a healthy individual's quality of life. This often translates to being more sexually active, more diversely sexually active, ostentatiously so, for those who share Susie's view of sex-positivism. This can and does often strike people the way that this blog struck GIFtheory.

Now, I think these preferences and this lifestyle is wonderful in its own right and I very, very strongly support someone's right to live it, especially women, free from the criticism and shaming of a sex-negative, sexist culture. But I also think that sex-positivism, especially in conjunction with feminism, is most essentially about celebrating individual people's, especially women's, right to choose what and how and who and how often they have sex—including not having sex at all.

Neither sex-positivism nor feminism require women to be "horny sluts", as flex describes the "standard" societal narrative about sex. But they both require that women not be shamed and shunned as such.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:08 PM on October 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good work, GIFtheory, you sharted the thread.

I can't say that I'm familiar with the verb "to shart", but I'm flattered nonetheless. Thanks.
posted by GIFtheory at 11:08 PM on October 12, 2011


shart: a small, unintended defecation that occurs when one relaxes the anal sphincter to fart (blend of "shit" and "fart")

I sharted at the party last night and went home pronto to change my clothes.

posted by wemayfreeze at 11:10 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Okay, enough of this. GIFtheory, you sharted the thread; I'm not deleting all the comments at this point, but this will not become a thread about GIFtheory's thoughts about sex/feminism. Please carry on.]
posted by taz at 11:11 PM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Actually, one of the things I like about Holly is how quickly she responds to critique. Happened recently on one of her blogs about "what is a woman" where she over-generalized her own feelings of all aspects of femininity being annoying and restrictive and otherwise her not really feeling like a woman. She ended up pulling back to examine her own relationship with gender when people pointed out she was painting with two broad a brush.

Sex-positivity =/= having lots of sex or self-identifying as a slut, by the way. Women being the sex class however (when people say "sex sells" what they mean is "pictures of women fitting a narrow set of characteristics means sex and that sells") is a deeply feminist issue, and one Holly addresses from a number of angles. It's problematic in terms of how people view women in general, how we women view ourselves, and the relationships between women and our bodies (and the right to both have sex and refuse sex without coercion and guilt).
posted by Deoridhe at 11:12 PM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


GIFTheory - will send you a memail.

flex, the "I love men" post is itself a response to this post from the same blog that posted the "It's All About Me" response.

The "I love men" post was built mostly around the following quote:
"In a patriarchy, the cornerstone of which is a paradigm of male dominance and female submission, women do not enjoy the same degree of personal sovereignty that men do. This oppressed condition obtains a priori to all other conditions, and nullifies any presumption of fully human status on the part of women. A woman, therefore, cannot freely “consent,” because her will is obviated by her status as a subhuman."
I think it's pretty safe to say that a lot of people will find this passage extremely problematic.

For example, Twisty is fairly explicit that she believes that prostitution should not exist. Or at least maybe hetero prostitution - she may or may not be ok with f/f and m/m prostition, I don't know. But she is certainly 100% against m/f prostitution.

The implications of that post are also tough for me to really agree with, if I'm reading it correctly. I mean, what is Twisty's recommendation for straight women who would like to have sex sometimes? Is she actually saying that 100% of hetero sex in a patriarchal society is rape? Can it be true that a woman can think she is giving enthusiastic consent but in fact she is unable to do so, whether she knows it or not?

Again, Twisty would have to clarify if those readings of her quote are accurate, but I think it's pretty easy to see why some of us would draw back from it pretty abruptly.

Here's a quote from Twisty's response to Holly:
"So they imagine that radical feminists hate them for wearing lipstick, or that we want them to castrate their husbands in their sleep, or that we want to turn them into dykes, or that we aspire to outlaw sex. And that all these things that they imagine we are makes us paternalistic Nazi sex cops who view all women as “brainwashed.” They all seem to be saying,”I don’t know if patriarchy even exists, but if it does, it doesn’t affect me, so fuck you.”
I feel pretty comfortable characterizing this as disingenuous strawman burning. Holly was responding to what seemed to be pretty reasonable readings of something Twisty said, and at no point does Twisty address those readings. If Holly has misunderstood Twisty, she never says how. She never says "no, what I meant with that quote is this." She simply accuses Holly of saying a bunch of things that we can see clearly Holly did not say.

She quotes an Iranian blogger saying that Western feminism is important to global feminism. Sure! Awesome! What is Holly wrong about? What has Holly actually said that Twisty disagrees with, and why?

Who knows?
posted by kavasa at 11:26 PM on October 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't really care for reading about her all-around horny slutness either, but those posts I looked at which are not related to that seem to be exceptionally well-argued, reasonable and pleasantly written.
posted by Anything at 11:31 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


'Some points on social skills' and 'Best advice I ever got' both link to the latter post.
posted by Anything at 11:39 PM on October 12, 2011


[fixed the link]
posted by taz at 11:45 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


and an all-around completely horny slut.

I know this wording is meant to get my dander up, it's a way of "owning" horniness and sluttiness so that they're no longer shameful terms, like reclaiming "bitch" or "faggot."

Thing is when someone reclaims "bitch" to mean "strong-minded woman" or Dan Savage requires his readers to call him "Faggot" to depower the word, they're taking an insult and making it mean something else. The idea is to conjure up the thought process "Why would he call himself that insult? Hmm, here is an opportunity for dialogue!"

"Horny slut" is not used as an insult. It's traditionally used as a form of appreciation for a woman who is viewed as little more than a series of holes to be offered up to a man. When a woman calls herself a "horny slut", she is less likely to bring up the "Opportunity for dialogue" thought process and more likely to bring up the "AWWW YEAH I knew the women that I see in porn movies exist in real life here is a chick who is going to give me her holes!" train. And sure, her point is "I can like sex AND be intelligent" but you start off with the "horny slut" and the second part just doesn't get through.

I consider myself to be a super-sex positive person but Sexy Feminism, as flex puts it, also makes me uncomfortable. Because it is so, so easy to just take our society's objectification of women (and its requirement that women objectify themselves) and paint that as "celebrating women's bodies" and "embracing sexual freedom." Making out at a frat party because a bunch of hooting 19-year-old boys are egging you on isn't submitting to pressures to exploit female sexuality for the benefit of the male gaze. It's just like, being totally free and awesome and comfortable with sex and stuff! It's feminist! By the way, could you guys like, turn this way so I can take a picture and send it to my buddies back home?

I dunno, you market your blog as being the musings of a totally horny slut and here are my blowjob and strap-on tips, and the posts about rape--which really are quite good--are very likely to get subsumed.
posted by schroedinger at 11:49 PM on October 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


I mean, what is Twisty's recommendation for straight women who would like to have sex sometimes? Is she actually saying that 100% of hetero sex in a patriarchal society is rape? Can it be true that a woman can think she is giving enthusiastic consent but in fact she is unable to do so, whether she knows it or not?

Also, I think Twisty's point is that if you grow up in a culture where one class is so completely subhumanized compared to another, it will so fundamentally affect your worldview that it is nigh-impossible to tease out your concept of self and choices from how society defines your self and what choices you should make. We would all like to believe we are completely autonomous beings but our culture shapes us in very deep and fundamental ways that nobody can ever fully root out. So if you're raised in a culture where you're taught women are lesser to men, that is something you'll deeply absorb and, like it or not, will affect you and yoru choices for the rest of your life.

I would like to think that there are few Americans who would argue that the deeply complex issues of race in America have not affected their worldview about race simply because they don't need to remove a burning cross from their lawn every morning and racial segregation is no longer legal. Gender discrimination is the same way.
posted by schroedinger at 12:04 AM on October 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"I dunno, you market your blog as being the musings of a totally horny slut and here are my blowjob and strap-on tips, and the posts about rape--which really are quite good--are very likely to get subsumed."
Doesn't it strike you as kind of fucked up that this is true (to whatever degree it is)?

Wouldn't it be better if a woman who felt that her sexuality was very important to her could talk about that without everyone saying things like this:
"Making out at a frat party because a bunch of hooting 19-year-old boys are egging you on isn't submitting to pressures to exploit female sexuality for the benefit of the male gaze. It's just like, being totally free and awesome and comfortable with sex and stuff! It's feminist! By the way, could you guys like, turn this way so I can take a picture and send it to my buddies back home?"
I dunno.

I think that would be pretty neat.

Also, she doesn't make out with girls at frat parties. She gets tied up/spanked/other BDSM sub stuff.

Do you think that your discomfort with "sexy feminism" might be tied up in the pathologization of female desire?
posted by kavasa at 12:05 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Kavasa, it's super late and really I should be asleep but I'll try to answer you, it's a lot to answer.

Re: prostitution she says ...I am definitely not against decriminalization... Although I do not, of course, regard decriminalization as a solution. Ideally, the status of prostitution should be “non-existent.” She is not against it, but it's not a solution. If you're looking at the big picture, it doesn't solve the big picture.

Now the "in a patriarchy..." quote, yeah, see, that is a big, heady thing to unpack. And it's depressing and it just feels yucky, it makes you want to recoil and deny it. And Holly's response does "reveal[s] a certain lack of sophistication". She's not unpacking it, she's just going no, it's not like that, of course it's not like that, this is crazypants and it doesn't even sound "feminist". And Twisty already had an answer to that in the post Holly was reacting to:
A final note: Of many the specious arguments against the Twistifesto, there is one which is most commonly posed by a certain species of “sex-positive” feminist. These well-meaning but misguided gals complain that the eradicate-prostitution position is patronizing because it presumes that women are “incapable,” as Caitlain puts it, of making decisions pertaining to the disposition of our own body parts. I am happy to report that the eradicate-prostitution position does nothing of the sort. No sane radical feminist could possibly support the assertion that women are “incapable” of making decisions; we are merely prevented by an oppressive social order from exercising our capability to its fullest extent.

I suspect that the rampant willingness among young feminists to deny this grim truth stems from the wholly untenable position into which it thrusts’em. They’re young, they’re fit, they wanna boink; who can blame them if they just aren’t ready to accept that nothing short of an exhaustive, uncompromising overthrow of the social order will put them in complete control of their own selves?
Holly draws some broad general strokes around what she perceives to be radfem arguments in her response; and Twisty draws some broad general strokes around what she perceives to be "funfem" arguments in *her* response. I mean, I could easily turn what you said around into "Holly simply accuses Twisty of saying a bunch of things that we can see clearly Twisty did not say"; but I don't think they were actually directly talking to or addressing each other there, so I don't see a problem with how either of them were writing about it.

kavasa: The implications of that post are also tough for me to really agree with, if I'm reading it correctly. I mean, what is Twisty's recommendation for straight women who would like to have sex sometimes? Is she actually saying that 100% of hetero sex in a patriarchal society is rape? Can it be true that a woman can think she is giving enthusiastic consent but in fact she is unable to do so, whether she knows it or not?... Again, Twisty would have to clarify if those readings of her quote are accurate, but I think it's pretty easy to see why some of us would draw back from it pretty abruptly.

Well now, Twisty is pretty provocative. She's hardcore. It's hard to read what she's saying and it's hard to wrap your head around and overall it's depressing. But I don't think this means she's wrong. I'll pull that quote again:
No sane radical feminist could possibly support the assertion that women are “incapable” of making decisions; we are merely prevented by an oppressive social order from exercising our capability to its fullest extent.
I don't know what she recommends to straight women who want to have sex. I don't think she actually has recommendations for straight women who want to have sex. I think that's something we have to figure out ourselves. Like I said above, the intersection of sex and feminism just isn't that easy. There's a lot of gray areas. There's a lot of balancing. There's a lot of analyzing and thinking, and most people just want to fuck. I can dig it.
posted by flex at 12:08 AM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Doesn't it strike you as kind of fucked up that this is true (to whatever degree it is)?

Oh, totally. But as I mentioned, because the term is positively dehumanizing (i.e., dehumanizing, but the people doing the dehumanizing mean it in a "good" way), by incorporating it the very people she's trying to challenge with her writing are rarely going to actually be challenged. They're just going to have their fantasies fed. I'm arguing that, unlike using direct insults like "bitch", "faggot", or the n-word, using sexiness for shock value rarely works to promote productive dialogue among the people one's trying to change. "Sexy feminism" gets attention, but is not super-effective at changing anyone's mind and at worst only reinforces women's roles as sex objects by sending the message that in order to have your intellectual stuff read you need to show your tits first.

Also, she doesn't make out with girls at frat parties. She gets tied up/spanked/other BDSM sub stuff.

Uh, that was not meant as a specific reference to her. That was meant as a general example of how society twists "sexy feminism" around to justify objectification of women.
posted by schroedinger at 12:13 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry to keep spamming this stuff up, but:

Do you think that your discomfort with "sexy feminism" might be tied up in the pathologization of female desire?

Actually, my argument is "sexy feminism" is all-to-easily twisted to perpetuate the pathologization of female desire. Your argument here is exactly what I mean when I say twisted. Someone brings up "Well, here are ways that this may become exploitative" and the response is "How dare you hate women who like sex you filthy sex-hater?!"

Suddenly, you're no longer allowed to question how female sexuality is exploited in our society because all public representations of female sexuality is labelled feminist. Any objection to exploitation is twisted as an objection to feminism itself.
posted by schroedinger at 12:25 AM on October 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


I for one am glad to have this blog as a resource for women new into the bdsm scene to make sure they feel comfortable with themselves! Whether you like it or not, it is going to happen, women are going to enter the scene, and some of them are going to be subs, and the brand of feminist narrative that prevails in this thread is going to be critical of them and that makes them risk abandoning feminism altogether. If you don't like this blog, it isn't for you. If you care about women accept them and their choices. How nice it will be when women can embrace sex and adventure with the rich history of feminism fully behind us!

I have written and deleted experiences from my life three times in this post. I shouldn't have to fucking trigger and embarrass myself in public to make a point with you people. But i want to offer contact to anyone who feels things resonate in the blog or have questions via memail. Also check out the People from Metafilter on FetLife group at Fetlife.com where you have to sign up but a free totally fake profile is fine.
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:33 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I keep imagining an alternate version of this thread where people could come out and chat merrily about their experiences and support each other and be happy and celebratory. I guess we aren't ready yet. Very disappointing.
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:37 AM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]



Actually, my argument is "sexy feminism" is all-to-easily twisted to perpetuate the pathologization of female desire.


Well, sure, but so is almost everything else, too. Any week now we will have another FPP about the continued trend for every halloween costume for women (and increasingly, for young girls) to be sexy-witch, sexy-firefighter... I mean, we've pathologized female desire in all kinds of ways, and that pathologization is powerful and flexible enough to be applied to pretty much everything.

In other words, just because you can (and people often do) twist this particular manifestation of fourth-wave feminism into "rah rah making out at frat parties!" doesn't mean that's what it really is.

(And, problematic as the making out at frat parties might be, and as distant as that is from the examples she gives in the blog, it's also not purely something imposed on a unwilling women for the sole benefit of leering men. At least for some the women I know who do those things at real-life frat parties, there's a lot they are getting out of it, too, more than just male attention, and they wouldn't do it otherwise; and yet, simultaneously, they are aware of how other women do those things unhappily or unwillingly, and at how unbalanced the situation can be. It's complicated, and I think the best fourth-wave feminism embraces that complication.)
posted by Forktine at 1:51 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I might be simultaneously sex-positive and sex-negative. I believe that everyone should have however much of whatever kinds of sex they like (subject to whatever caveats are necessary for the more dangerous sorts), and I believe this because I think sex is massively overrated and it's really just another damn hobby.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:13 AM on October 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


I love how she writes about BDSM but I bridle a little at the way she and Rowdy gurgle about "cuddling" and "coziness" and all that stuff that frankly turns me off entirely. I've never been able to understand how the lovey-dovey kissy-wissy parts of being in an intimate top/bottom relationship relate to the sexual parts - in my experience that's for afterwards, when you're both proud of having inflicted/received various marks and humiliations. But like the lady says, so long as you enjoy it, right?
posted by Mooseli at 4:49 AM on October 13, 2011


Is being gay a hobby Dash? Certain activities may be hobbyesque but it is just rude to so blithely describe stuff that involves how people may relate to their romantic partners.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:51 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Being gay" is too vaguely defined to even describe a person's sexuality, much less the way they go about it. Gay people usually aren't attracted to each-and-every member of their own sex; to say I know a person's sexuality, I've got to know what sort of person they're into, and not just what genital configuration. But hanging out and hooking up at gay bars is a hobby, as are BDSM play parties. They're activities that people do for fun.

A lot of people find and sustain deeper emotional connection through these sorts of activities. That's great. A lot of people also find and sustain deeper emotional connection through the Gathering of the Juggalos. Whatever works for you, dude.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:02 AM on October 13, 2011


I think sex is massively overrated and it's really just another damn hobby.
uhh. hmm.

Gay people usually aren't attracted to each-and-every member of their own sex

you don't say
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:18 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think sex is massively overrated and it's really just another damn hobby.

Every living higher life form has sex. Some of them die doing it.

The same cannot be said for model railroading.

Sex follows only breathing, eating, drinking and sleeping on our hierarchy of needs. People were doing it—probably in seriously kinky caveman ways—long before they even bothered building houses.
posted by pjaust at 5:44 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


yeah i mean i guess it counts as a hobby? but that is a weirdly dismissive framing. i don't really have any argument it just strikes me as strange.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:48 AM on October 13, 2011


Every living higher life form has sex. Some of them die doing it.

The same cannot be said for model railroading.


I guess that's true, but to my mind, that makes model railroading more special and interesting.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:10 AM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I didn't say that's what "fourth wave" or "sexy feminism" was. I was just stating why I was uncomfortable with it, because I've seen it twisted in ways non-fourth wave or whatever feminism has not. Saying "Feminists who focus on promotion of public displays of female sexuality should remain aware of the ways society co-opts that movement to justify exploitation of female sexuality" is not the same as "Where is this woman's chastity belt and why has her father let her out of the house alone before she is married."

I think "sexy feminism" doesn't always think deeply about its presentation and message in favor of focusing on how awesome orgasms are and learning how to do anal. For example, take an issue I've seen raised in the strength-and-conditioning community, especially in areas where women are just starting to make inroads such as lifting-related sports. In recent years the expectation has developed that women should work out half-naked. Working out half-naked is proof that you love your body--if you aren't, then you are
(a) Not loving your body
(b) Not athletic, because if you were athletic you would look good half-naked and thus work out half-naked

Now, if someone points out that abs are not always indicative of athleticism, and maybe the best way to celebrate women's athleticism is in their actual athletic accomplishments rather than how good their butt looks in Lululemon booty shorts, then that person is immediately shot down as a misogynistic slut-shamer who hates women with muscle (and is probably fat and ugly and jealous because they don't look good in booty shorts). And do not dare suggest that by working out half-naked one is putting more emphasis on the female body as a visual spectacle rather than a finely-tuned machine that can execute wondrous feats. Then you are absolutely a slut-shamer who hates women who love their bodies enough to starve themselves to have the abs and butts that will fit into the booty shorts that prove their love for their bodies.

So I am somewhat disturbed by this dichotomy I see here, where women who say "I like sex, but I worry calling myself a horny slut plays into society's exploitation of female sexuality, could we discuss this" are bad radical feminist sex-haters, and women who say "I love anal sex and here are pictures of my tits and let's not think too much about the implications of gender dynamics in sex" are good fun feminist sex-havers. It essentially shuts down any discussion of sexuality by claiming people who don't agree with your worldview are men-hating slut-shamers.
posted by schroedinger at 6:42 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


shroedinger, have you actually RTFAs? If you can find an example of how Holly Pervocracy's presentation of her site plays into 'societies exploitation of female sexuality' it would certainly be worth discussing. I'll probably make a post someday about the position of women in the bodybuilding community (It is a really bizarre and interesting microcosm) if you don't beat me to it, but somehow I have a feeling that the author of the blog would be just as uncomfortable with the short list of female narratives to choose from as we both seem to be.

"I dunno, you market your blog as being the musings of a totally horny slut and here are my blowjob and strap-on tips, and the posts about rape--which really are quite good--are very likely to get subsumed."

The posts about rape, consent, and more serious issues appear to get the most page views. It might just be that it is possible to be listened to as an unapologetic sexually active woman, in spite of slut shaming and those who play into it by anticipating and justifying it.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:00 AM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've never met anyone who couldn't benefit from being slightly more open about their sexuality, although my few friends embracing living arrangements vaguely like Holly's seem by far the best off. Wonderful blog! Thanks!
posted by jeffburdges at 7:11 AM on October 13, 2011


This argument has been going on since before Holly was born. In the early 1980's it was Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon doing the talk show circuit and writing the books and testifying before Congress that pornography, prostitution, and BDSM were inherently bad because they supported the patriarchy, and activists like SAMOIS and the amazing Pat Califia arguing the reverse, since there was no Internet, in publications like Coming to Power. Then, as now, the antisex feminists made the argument that of course women had the sovereignty to make their own choices, as long as those choices were the same ones the antisex feminists made.

Back then they got a few cities to pass strict antiporn ordinances, and then Andrea Dworkin kind of blew the whole thing up for awhile by publishing the novel Ice and Fire which was so full of BDSM imagery that Susie Bright likened it to the Marquis de Sade's Juliette. That laid the doublethink in their arguments a little too bare and the whole thing faded out of the news cycle for a few years.

But no dumb argument is so dumb that it can't come back like the first character to die in a George Romero flick, asserting that it is feminist to say women aren't free to decide what they want to do when their decisions are tainted by the brainwashing of the patriarchy. You can parse that and try to divide it into slices thin enough to insist that leaves some room for women to have what a reasonable person would call "freedom," except that it ultimately comes to a list of proscriptions of what lots of women are voluntarily doing that they shouldn't do. And I don't see how that can be called feminism.
posted by localroger at 7:24 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now, if someone points out that abs are not always indicative of athleticism, and maybe the best way to celebrate women's athleticism is in their actual athletic accomplishments rather than how good their butt looks in Lululemon booty shorts, then that person is immediately shot down as a misogynistic slut-shamer who hates women with muscle (and is probably fat and ugly and jealous because they don't look good in booty shorts).

This seems kind of left-field - I don't suppose you might have a link or two to a discussion like this? I'm not trying to poke holes in your argument, I'm really not; I've just never seen or heard a discussion like the one you're describing and I'm having a hard time getting my head around it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:31 AM on October 13, 2011


There is nothing wrong with being "an unapologetic sexually active woman".

Neither is it slut-shaming to point out that saying you're a "horny slut", giving blowjob tips, and talking about how it's okay for men to ogle women as long as they're, y'know, respectful - is problematic in a feminist framework. Doing those things is playing right into the standard societal narrative. It's disingenuous to say that it doesn't.

It doesn't mean it's *wrong* that she does that. But not every choice a woman makes is a feminist choice.

To handwave it as "you're not letting her be free to own her sexuality if you think that" glosses over everything we're trying to unpack here. Women are always going to make choices that aren't feminist, just to get by in this society. That doesn't mean we have no right to be uncomfortable about that. Talking about it, realizing how we come to those choices, figuring it out so we can get through our lives - that's important work. It's not sexy the way we've been taught what sexy is. But it's not "sex-negative" or "antisex" to think about these things - although it is "anti-the-standard-sexual-paradigm" or "here are the ways our societal view of sexuality is anti-woman".
posted by flex at 7:39 AM on October 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Slut shaming is exactly what 'saying you're a "horny slut", giving blowjob tips, and talking about how it's okay for men to ogle women as long as they're, y'know, respectful - is problematic in a feminist framework' is doing.* It plays into the inhuman idea that there is in fact something inherently wrong with being horny or willingly having multiple partners and it allows the patriarchy to continue to culturally define blowjobs as something inherently degrading. There is a better way

'Talking about it, realizing how we come to those choices, figuring it out so we can get through our lives' is of course central to feminist goals but I fail to see how it is in anyway incompatible with continuing to make healthy and informed choices. Besides just about all she does on that blog is talk about feminism, introspect about how she came to make the choices that she does, and model a way that she has figured out how to live through her life.

Of course you have a right to be 'uncomfortable' about whatever you damn please, but that doesn't mean projecting it is somehow feminist.

*Or at least the first two, I was also not totally alright with that last article, but saw it as an attempt to meet the sketchy PUA types who frequent her blog where they're at as opposed to where we might like them to be
posted by Blasdelb at 9:01 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


BDSM really does ram up against a crap ton of thorny issues when you're trying to get rid of socially accepted rape stories as part of the mainstream narrative of sexy. Leaving aside the "all porn is exploitation!" or "what sort of a sick freak gets off on this shit?!" schools of thought (which are basically identical to "all porn is sin!" and "sinners get off on this shit!"), what do you do when you are basically turned on by things that are profoundly un-human dignity friendly when they're real?

There's something a little creepy about how common consenting sexy-rape is in fiction, and yet simultaneously it's part of a bunch of people's healthy sexualities and they aren't exactly better served by say, sensitive rose petal sex or other things that make other people happy- it's sort of like how there is nothing wrong with being attracted to the skinny-with-big-boobs look, but when it becomes the culturally dominant paradigm people are gonna suffer. Similarly it is a balancing act to say "maybe we shouldn't model most of our fictional romantic relationships on rape and grey area rape" while some people can only get off on the things that are bad outside of their particular context.

There's a lot of feminist/humanist issues even within kink, much less at the ramparts. I hate dominatrix stereotypes, I hate that being kinky means cleaning vile crap out of your inbox. I hate the default female bisexuality, the over use of ladies in corsets as the defining imagery and any number of things. But I also empathize with both the "OMG, tied up woman being gang raped is NOT okay" crowd even if I also have participated in mock gang rapes as the perpetrator. It's lame, but boilerplate reminding people this isn't real is as important as condoms for porn stars and safety nets for trapeze artists.
posted by Phalene at 9:21 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is no problem with a woman being horny or having multiple partners. There is a problem with the word "slut" and describing oneself as a "slut". It's naive to think that's not a loaded word - an insult. Is she wrong for using it? No. Is it feminist? I'm in the camp that thinks it's not a word that can be honestly "reclaimed". If she wants to be told she's a horny slut while she has sex, and that gets her off? That's her choice to make. Is it a feminist choice? I don't think so. Does that mean she's got to turn in her feminist card or something? Hell no.

Blowjobs are culturally defined as degrading. "Cocksucker" is an insult for a reason. There's tons of "gag her 'til she chokes" scenes in porn. Our ideas of sexuality don't exist in a vacuum. It doesn't work to handwave "well I like to give blowjobs and it turns me on, so I'm totally choosing to do it and that makes it awesome and feminist". It's not that simple. Does that mean no one should ever give blowjobs again so we can exist in perfect feminist harmony? I certainly don't think so. But talking about why it's problematic isn't slut-shaming.

You're admitting you did find some of what she said problematic. Can you not see where I'm coming from here? I don't expect you to agree. But I'm not attacking this woman for what she says. I'm saying I have a problem with putting her sex posts under the umbrella of her feminism posts. I'm saying that holding up her sex life as an example of feminist sexuality, simply because she's happy and consensual doing the things she does, is problematic. I don't want to censor her. There's lots of gray areas in life and we all have to navigate them.
posted by flex at 10:11 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Flex is putting it a lot better than I am.

Consider this scenario:

Say a black guy starts a blog involving issues of race, sex, and cooking. And the posts about race are excellent and well-thought out. And the posts about sex and cooking are about his love for banging white women and eating watermelon and fried chicken. On the one hand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the fact that this particular black guy likes having sexual relations with Caucasian women and eating watermelon and fried chicken. Correct?

On the one hand, if you want to have a blog that emphasizes challenging racial stereotypes and making people think about race, perhaps pointing out the parts of you that make you seem to be a walking, talking stereotype is not the best method. It is hopelessly naive to expect your readers to not perceive you as a reinforcement of the stereotype through your actions.


Re: the "Hope" article:

Because one of these days (actually, one of those days, because this has already started), people are going to wise up and realize this. The fratboys of the world are going to realize that parties where the chicks want it are the sickest shit ever, dudebro--and if you don't mock "sluts" and don't take advantage of them, you get a whole lot more of them at your parties. The Cosmo girls of the world are going to realize that the number one way to please your man is to treat him as a friend and lover and fellow human being. Even the unredeemable assholes of the world are slowly and haltingly realizing that even if all you want is to get your Neanderthal rocks off, you can do it better and more often and with less trouble when you do it in an atmosphere of freedom and consent.

I think this is an example of the naivete. Rape culture has persisted through the entirety of human history. It only started to dissipate when women emphasized the ways they were different from the stereotypes and defied the expectations laid out for them. Yelling "I am a horny slut" steps right back into those stereotypes. I don't know how she expects pointing out that she loves trotting merrily back into the kitchen and that being in the kitchen is what feminism is all about is going to help the continued destruction of these stereotypes and expectations.
posted by schroedinger at 10:22 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, posted a couple longish things last night then went to bed. And now everyone's probably left the thread. I will try to not bring up things that have already been addressed or answered, but it can be difficult. Apologies ahead of time if I say something someone's already answered.
"I don't know what she recommends to straight women who want to have sex. I don't think she actually has recommendations for straight women who want to have sex. I think that's something we have to figure out ourselves. Like I said above, the intersection of sex and feminism just isn't that easy. There's a lot of gray areas."
I don't think I can really let Twisty off with this passage. Consent is one of the very few things that I treat as binary. You seem to be saying that Twisty says it is not binary, that there's a continuum of consent. Which brings me back to asking what that means? If you're going to say "women in the patriarchy can not give full consent," then, ok, you'll have to explain that. And again I'm forced to ask if this characterizes all hetero sex as rape? And if not, then ... what's going on? What does it mean to say a person consents, but not fully?

Going back to Holly, I agree that it's tough to see something titled "how to oggle ladies" on a feminist blog, but I think that a pretty decent argument can be made for it. The easiest way for me to do this is to look at it from the other perspective, in saying that I really just can't not be conscious of an attractive man. I've never been as affected by it as my boyfriend (I still treasure the memory of the time he walked into a pillar in a store because he was staring at me), but like. Dudes be hot, you know?

So there's the male gaze, sure, but there's also noticing-people-you're-attracted-to. There's very little education for hetero men out there about ok ways to notice that women are attractive, and I think you can make a pretty good argument that that's what Holly's trying to do.
"There's a lot of analyzing and thinking, and most people just want to fuck. I can dig it."
It seems like she's done a lot of analyzing and thinking. And also wants to fuck. Is this impossible, under your view? If it's not impossible, do you think she's still failed to do so? Where do you see her as having deficits in her analysis and thought?

I can actually answer the last question at least in part - she outlines radfem thought with too broad a brush. Ok, I'm down with that. That seems fair.

I also think that it's probably true that some of what she says is inline with the standard narrative. To be honest I have to think more about your posts and I have to go get my car from the shop and do some errands, so I'm going to just post this right now. I think you've said some compelling stuff but it has implications I'm not comfortable with in ways I haven't articulated yet (regardless of the hilarious beanplatey length of my posts), but yeah, have to go.
"Your argument here is exactly what I mean when I say twisted. Someone brings up "Well, here are ways that this may become exploitative" and the response is "How dare you hate women who like sex you filthy sex-hater?!""
That's really unfair. :/ That is not what I said or did at all. My question was not rhetorical. I didn't ask it trying to imply that I already knew the answer. I asked it honestly and forthrightly.

Please, please assume good faith.

The reason I ask the question is because you really haven't found any examples of what you're talking about from Holly's blog. You've said "I react badly to statements like this because things might go wrong, like they do in the lifting world". Well, Holly is not in the lifting world and I think she'd probably agree with you that a woman does not have to dress a certain way to prove she loves her body.

So, if you're not reacting to things she's actually said, and are instead reacting to imagined or unrelated scenarios, maybe there's something going on that you're not super aware of?

That's why I asked the question, because it doesn't seem like you've ever really addressed it. It doesn't help that you dismissed me with an extremely uncharitable mischaracterization of my motives.

You in fact seem pretty guilty of the very thing you're talking about in your lifting-community story, just from a different angle. I am literally questioning some things, and your response is that I can't do that.
"Uh, that was not meant as a specific reference to her. That was meant as a general example of how society twists "sexy feminism" around to justify objectification of women.
That was my point. I understood what it was a general example for, but my question is why you're making that general example in a discussion about a certain blog? You're not specifically referencing her, so... what are you doing? If she says some legit stuff and society twists that around, isn't that society's fault and problem? Why should she stop what she's doing because other people fuck it up?

And in your most recent post you seem to be pretty explicitly saying that because there are problematic aspects of her sexuality, she should I guess keep it secret? That sounds really gross to me. Like. Really gross.
posted by kavasa at 10:30 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yelling "I am a horny slut" steps right back into those stereotypes.

No it doesn't. I am also a horny slut by even the most generous culture's standards. And the implicit message in saying this is that you will respect me as an autonomous person even if I am one.
posted by Phalene at 10:41 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


So Where's the Ladies Guide to Ogling? I am lady. I like ogling people. How come a feminist blog has a guide for the fellows but not for women?
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:53 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this is an example of the naivete.

This is a perfect example of the kind of contempt that ends up being labelled "anti-sex feminism". Like a 19th century patriarch, you know, just know, that women are hopeless without someone to guide them to the right opinion.
posted by rodgerd at 11:13 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


No it doesn't. I am also a horny slut by even the most generous culture's standards. And the implicit message in saying this is that you will respect me as an autonomous person even if I am one.

The question is whether society as a whole gets the implicit message, or just stops at the "horny slut" part and high-fives their bros.

This is a perfect example of the kind of contempt that ends up being labelled "anti-sex feminism". Like a 19th century patriarch, you know, just know, that women are hopeless without someone to guide them to the right opinion.

How is thinking society is not working the way she thinks it does is being a 19th-century patriarch? And is this supposed to be a refutation of my assertion that rape culture began to dissipate when women began to resist stereotypes?
posted by schroedinger at 11:20 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But then there were just more stereotypes, new ones that popped up overnight. "Bra-burner" became a pejorative instantly. Did women who then burned their bras let down the side by playing into the stereotype?

The problem isn't that she's resisting or not resisting a harmful stereotype, it's that it's virtually impossible for a woman to avoid stereotypical hyperbole about her existence, because every action becomes a matter of public judgement on her womanness or politics or whatever. So what should she do then? What could she do, that would satisfy everyone and avoid justifying any stereotype?
posted by Errant at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Blowjobs are culturally defined as degrading. "Cocksucker" is an insult for a reason. There's tons of "gag her 'til she chokes" scenes in porn. Our ideas of sexuality don't exist in a vacuum. It doesn't work to handwave "well I like to give blowjobs and it turns me on, so I'm totally choosing to do it and that makes it awesome and feminist". It's not that simple. Does that mean no one should ever give blowjobs again so we can exist in perfect feminist harmony? I certainly don't think so. But talking about why it's problematic isn't slut-shaming."

I am a cocksucker. I enjoy sucking cock. I am also, incidentally, a faggot. Presenting as male, are the blowjobs I give from time to time just as degrading? Even if the other gentleman is going to town on mine at the same time? I enjoy giving blowjobs because it is, somewhat counter-intuitively for most, a really powerful experience; you're holding the joystick and all.* Blowjobs are only defined as degrading because we allow them to be, to continue to contribute to that cultural norm is to try to shame me, Holly Pervocracy, and all of the other wonderful cocksuckers out there.

Holly Pervocracy is a slut, she self identifies as one, she fits just about every definition of a slut I can think off, and to define her sluttiness as problematic is to attempt to shame her for it politely. To be clear, I don't think instructions on how to give a blowjob are feminist, no matter how good they are, the difference between a good and a bad blowjob is unrelated to feminism. Defining an enthusiastically consensual sex act as 'problematic', however, I think is inherently unfeminist. It is to say that you know better than the woman performing the act which is to deny her agency and place yourself in an awfully patriarchal position of judging what women can and cannot do and remain culturally acceptable.

*You have no idea how weird this is to type sitting in front of a big class of wide eyed undergrads waiting to give a lecture
posted by Blasdelb at 11:38 AM on October 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Blowjobs are culturally defined as degrading. "Cocksucker" is an insult for a reason. There's tons of "gag her 'til she chokes" scenes in porn. Our ideas of sexuality don't exist in a vacuum. It doesn't work to handwave "well I like to give blowjobs and it turns me on, so I'm totally choosing to do it and that makes it awesome and feminist". It's not that simple. Does that mean no one should ever give blowjobs again so we can exist in perfect feminist harmony? I certainly don't think so. But talking about why it's problematic isn't slut-shaming.

I'm not seeing why tips on sexual technique for any sort of oral sex are intrinsically problematic. If the tip was "gag her 'til she chokes", yes, that instance would be problematic. But her tips for anyone giving blowjobs parallel pretty closely the advice I'd give on going down on women.

Not that I'm a self-appointed expert on that. OK, I am.

And if oral sex on a guy genuinely turns her on (my experience the other way round suggests she's not making that up), why can that act not be carried out in a loving, empowered and feminist manner?

tl;dr version. Some blowjobs are problematic. Others aren't. Let's not confuse the two.
posted by imperium at 11:40 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Psych Blasdelb! Men sucking other men's cocks simultaneously is indeed tough to characterise as exploitative, and I think that can therefore help illustrate the way in which not all women are exploited by hetero sex to the Dworkinites.
posted by imperium at 11:42 AM on October 13, 2011


As I have both a Y chromosome and dude-parts I am hesitant to do more than lurk, but I just wanted to spend some time in appreciation of content of this thread...
"Horny slut" is not used as an insult. It's traditionally used as a form of appreciation for a woman who is viewed as little more than a series of holes to be offered up to a man. When a woman calls herself a "horny slut", she is less likely to bring up the "Opportunity for dialogue" thought process and more likely to bring up the "AWWW YEAH I knew the women that I see in porn movies exist in real life here is a chick who is going to give me her holes!" train. And sure, her point is "I can like sex AND be intelligent" but you start off with the "horny slut" and the second part just doesn't get through.
Thanks Shroe, this really articulates a potential pitfall with reclaiming "slut." This is probably discussed much better elsewhere, but I feel like this problem is analogous to the problem with terminology used to subjugate women in general, namely that there are not analogous terms for men, or other groups. The C word is just so much more violent, reductive and specific than fag, nigger, etc, and there really is no male equivalent. Similarly, slut has such a specific role in shame and manipulation, and since it already has semi-positive connotations when applied to men there again is no male equivalent.
I agree that it's tough to see something titled "how to oggle ladies" on a feminist blog, but I think that a pretty decent argument can be made for it. The easiest way for me to do this is to look at it from the other perspective, in saying that I really just can't not be conscious of an attractive man. I've never been as affected by it as my boyfriend (I still treasure the memory of the time he walked into a pillar in a store because he was staring at me), but like. Dudes be hot, you know?


Yeah, I strongly agree that feminism needs a response to the objectification of women better than "just don't do it!" I say this because I am going to have an extremely hard time not doing it because, dammit, I want to be objectified too.

She actually started as a sex blogger and the feminism is secondary but growing in importance . . . Her being a feminist isn't based on her being poly and kinky


I think this needs to be restated as I feel, in this thread, Holly has been unfairly placed in a role as a stand-in for more problematic forms of "sexy-feminism." Pervocracy started as a Sex-blog first. That being said, Holly is the first person to adequately explain "rape culture" in a way that I understood what the problem was. Now, this is undoubtedly because I don't read much feminist literature, but all the same two of my long term girl friends graduated with a Women's Studies major, and neither of them did as good a job as Holly did, so kudos to Holly.
I keep imagining an alternate version of this thread where people could come out and chat merrily about their experiences and support each other and be happy and celebratory. I guess we aren't ready yet.
Yeah, I also feel like things got sidetracked by the whole "feminism vs slut" debate. I wish comments would focus more on the particular intertwining of being "thoughtful and feminism aware" and "totally into BSDM" that is more unique to Pervocracy. There's a lot of room to discuss ideas like "as a girl, sub-roleplay is fun but you sure do meet a lot of assholes when you're looking for a male-dom" or "how do I reconcile loving porn with the nigh-on-impossibility of completely avoiding porn that was likely produced in exploitative conditions" that kinky women I know run up against.
posted by midmarch snowman at 11:44 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


flex: "I knew I'd seen this blog before, a while ago: I Love Men
And... response (from Twisty): It's All About Me


It's interesting that the response ignores the "radical" descriptor in Holly's post. And I think that the radical descriptor is an incredibly important part of her argument.

The radical feminist position, in my opinion, is far more harmful to the feminist movement than Holly's position as a slutty sex-loving woman will ever be.

Why? Because the extremely rigid position of radical feminists turns so many people off on the whole feminist movement. Even those who if you questioned them actually hold quite feminist views are annoyed by the way terms like "The Patriarchy" are thrown around so casually. And by, I'm sorry, utterly bullshit arguments like this:
in a patriarchy, the cornerstone of which is a paradigm of male dominance and female submission, women do not enjoy the same degree of personal sovereignty that men do. This oppressed condition obtains a priori to all other conditions, and nullifies any presumption of fully human status on the part of women.
Seriously, that kind of starting position absolutely shuts down any meaningful discussion about women that could possibly have occurred. Stuff like that makes it harder for women like me to teach our sons, who are too young to know how bad it once was for women in this country, about why feminism is so important here, not just in places where they wear burqas and are forced into marriages when they're 13. That radical stance is what makes their friends equate all feminism to "hating men".

Young men who consider their partners their equals shut down when someone comes up with rhetoric like that, because they know they don't consider women "subhuman". A more reasoned, thoughtful approach would have easily brought those guys around to seeing that we are all basically on the same page and advances still need to be made; after radical arguments like that they will now view the whole concept of feminism with abhorrence.

So many young women today are more poised and confident than I ever was at that age. They can see that they have issues men don't--they'll get paid less, not taken seriously and have to work harder to make it in the same jobs, for instance--but they just don't get need for all the anger about it. Instead, they face each situation as it comes with calm, rational discourse and (this is essential) a sense of humor that deflects the instant defensiveness a more radical stance tends to engage by default.

So, yeah, obviously I'm siding with Holly on this one.

And for those who feel that they shouldn't have to have a sense of humor about any of this, that they are angry--that's all well and good, but what is your ultimate aim--letting everyone know you are pissed off about something, or trying to get more people to see why?
posted by misha at 11:53 AM on October 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


As a rule, we should not prevent people trying to reclaim words. I have no patience to read all the arguments about this articular case here, but personally I think the word slut has already been reclaimed far more effectively than most here realize.

In particular, I've always had more respect for women who self identify as "horny slut" or similar, which imho identifies that she's more self-aware, introspective, or whatever than average. I wish I could signal those traits so effortlessly.

I agree with midmarch snowman that Holly explanation of "rape culture" rocks.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:57 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am kinda angry with myself for buying into yet another feminist derail. None of that has anything to do with this blog.

Thanks for posting, Blasdelb, Pervocracy is awesome! Fun, informative and well-written.
posted by misha at 12:06 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


misha - i've been typing and erasing comments less awesome than your response since last night. i haven't succumbed yet, but i'm glad you did. it's a hell of a derail and i'm glad you responded.

it's a great blog. i'm glad it was posted.
posted by nadawi at 12:12 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I do not allow cocksucker to be used as an insult in my presence unchallenged, but it is a particularly easy one to challenge.

I have only ever seen it used by men who, even if they don't like oral sex, still love to brag about how much they love oral sex. If you ever run into this you can always ask the Male Gaze Beholder (MGBTM) if they appreciate cock sucking. With the inevitable affirmative answer simply ask if they appreciate those who suck cocks. Even if the MGB is homophobic and the topic has a gay bent they can presumably still use the awesome power of the male gaze to see the cock sucking from the perspective of the cock sucked. Now ask, if only from a purely strategic perspective, why insult those who suck cocks by comparing them to the present object of ire? Shouldn't they consider those who not only suck cocks but do it while providing enthusiastic consent heroes?
posted by Blasdelb at 1:30 PM on October 13, 2011


I suppose a lot of people would be able to stop arguing if we all collectively decided whether "slut" meant "I enjoy having sex, and having it often, but am selective about my partners" or "I enjoy having sex, and having it often, and I am not at all selective about my partners." There's a world of difference there.
posted by davejay at 1:40 PM on October 13, 2011


why is there a difference there? what's wrong with not being selective? how do you define selective?
posted by nadawi at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Isn't the whole problem that men are treated differently for not being selective, davejay? Isn't the whole reason for reclaiming 'slut' that a women who quits worrying so much about selectivity should not be criticized any more so than the equivalent man?

There is a separate argument between prudes and libertines about whether anyone should be criticized for relaxing their selectivity, but basically the prudes are wrong for telling the libertines how to live.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2011


"I don't know how she expects pointing out that she loves trotting merrily back into the kitchen and that being in the kitchen is what feminism is all about is going to help the continued destruction of these stereotypes and expectations."

Wait, so now only men are allowed to cook now? Or is that only men are allowed to enjoy cooking?
posted by Blasdelb at 2:00 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


When you frame the post as "[this] is a kinky, feminist sexblog" then discussing whether her sexblog posts are feminist is in no way a derail. Nothing is stopping anyone from having the discussion they want to have in this thread. I briefly gave my opinion, someone responded to me, someone else stated their similar opinion, we responded to that person, etc. The branches of this discussion are not trolling; they are sincere, they are thoughtful, and they're incredibly germane to the topic of the post - which is the blog, and how it's represented, the links that were presented to us, and so forth. I think it is going fairly respectfully, and it's certainly more in depth than many feminist discussions get around here. I'm sorry anyone finds it frustrating or depressing or whatever unhappiness there is about it, but it's not a derail.

I thought Phalene's comment was excellent. And this as well: "There's a lot of room to discuss ideas like "as a girl, sub-roleplay is fun but you sure do meet a lot of assholes when you're looking for a male-dom" or "how do I reconcile loving porn with the nigh-on-impossibility of completely avoiding porn that was likely produced in exploitative conditions" that kinky women I know run up against." I'd be very interested in reading about that. But this thread is not telling me that about the blog. It highlighted posts about blowjob tips and respectful ogling. The sexblog posts are not striking me as saying anything new; they seem to stop around "consent and happiness and I love sex so that makes it all good" when it comes to feminism.

If you want to characterize this thoughtful discussion - negotiating sexuality in a patriarchal society, owning our sexuality even as we examine the problematic issues that crop up - as some kind of kneejerk "Dworkin/MacKinnon" anti-sex unfeminist (wow actually there's a lot of misreading and talking past and, I have to say, kinda shoutiness going on here) - that's your defensiveness maybe but that's not an accurate portrayal of the issues brought up and being calmly discussed here. schroedinger's already stated this a few times: It essentially shuts down any discussion of sexuality by claiming people who don't agree with your worldview are men-hating slut-shamers. I don't see how you can get much clearer than that.

I'll try to quickly respond to Blasdelb, although, sadly, I feel at this point I've said what I can and I just end up restating stuff that seems to be misunderstood. I don't find having lots of sex problematic; I find labelling it "slutty" or labelling oneself a "slut" problematic. I find no shame in having lots of sex nor do I find shame in trying to reclaim the word "slut"; but I don't think it has the intent she wants it to have. I do indeed think labelling sex acts as "feminist" simply because they are "enthusiastic and consensual" is problematic. I don't think she's shameful for doing them or talking about them. She CAN do whatever she wants; more power to her. It's not like I can't identify with her. I am kinda laughing to see this is now a prude/libertine argument. I am hardly a prude. SHE is actually the "culturally acceptable" one right now, not me for arguing otherwise.

"Cocksucker" is historically an insult, that gay men are acting like "only women should do" (implicit: degrading themselves) by performing fellatio, and it's got quite a wallop behind it to the point that even saying "that sucks" is casual shorthand for "that's bad". Whether blowjobs are an issue between gay men is, I think, a derail; I'm discussing whether it has societal heft against it for women, as a degrading act, and yes, it does. Is this right? No. Is it how it is? Yes. Is our sexuality influenced by that? Sure. Can it be reclaimed? I don't know, but I have my doubts. Is it "empowering" to give a blowjob? I've heard that argument but it doesn't jive with me. Also I think "empowering" is losing a lot of its meaning if it applies to any old thing a woman does making her "empowered". Can you have loving, happy, consensual sex that involves blowjobs? For sure. But that's for you to negotiate, and it doesn't automatically make it feminist. Do you always have to make the feminist choices and you can't do anything that turns you on if it's not feminist? Hell no. Life would be impossible.

I don't know where misha's comments about "sense of humor" and "angry" came into this at all, for real. The only anger I'm seeing is from people who don't like this discussion and want to shout/shut it down. Shutting down a point because it's radical and "The Patriarchy" is thrown around so casually is pretty akin to knee-jerking over the word "feminist" itself. Twisty is hardcore, she makes hard points to think about but I don't see how it *hurts* things to have to think more. And "Seriously, that kind of starting position absolutely shuts down any meaningful discussion about women that could possibly have occurred"? Really? I thought kavasa and I *were* having a meaningful discussion about it...

And speaking of, kavasa, I would love to respond to your comment but this is already getting way too long and I get antsy commenting too much in a thread. Also, I have to go feed my kids. If you'd like to continue this discussion in MeMail, I'm happy to, and I'll be around later tonight.

Anyone else that wants to follow up with me can do the same. I feel rude not responding to comments that address me, but I don't have any more time to spend on this discussion, and I don't like to feel shouted at or shut down.
posted by flex at 2:02 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


feminism is partially about supporting women in the choices they make, even if they make different choices than you would.

i often find myself between two worlds. i am a liberal, childless-by-choice, submissive housewife. a lot of lefties and feminists scowl at me for being in a one income household and a lot of the other (often more conservative with kids) housewives scowl at me for being childless and pro-choice and a feminist. i can't win, it seems, unless i pick a stereotype and live it to its fullest.

i expect the derision from the conservative housewives. i hoped the liberal feminists in my life were more open minded. but, as i age, i learn more and more that "open minded" is often shorthand for "doing things a different way that i have rigidly decided is right and if you don't, you're wrong."
posted by nadawi at 2:10 PM on October 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Seriously, that kind of starting position absolutely shuts down any meaningful discussion about women that could possibly have occurred.

Nah. I read the comments on the blog. It has meaningful discussion.

Stuff like that makes it harder for women like me to teach our sons, who are too young to know how bad it once was for women in this country, about why feminism is so important here, not just in places where they wear burqas and are forced into marriages when they're 13.

So, you think Twisty's feminism makes it harder. Schroedinger thinks Holly's feminism does. Unfortunately, there is no road map for overthrowing the patriarchy.

That radical stance is what makes their friends equate all feminism to "hating men".

No, sexism and misogyny do that. Anyone who read Twisty's blog without any preconviecned notions about radical feminsm can see that she doesn't hate men.

but they just don't get need for all the anger about it.

Seriously? I see a lot of anger at the various feminists blogs I read.

letting everyone know you are pissed off about something, or trying to get more people to see why?

Sometimes, I want to do one. Sometimes, the other. Sometimes both at the same time.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:45 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


nooneyouknow: "Seriously, that kind of starting position absolutely shuts down any meaningful discussion about women that could possibly have occurred.

Nah. I read the comments on the blog. It has meaningful discussion.

From whom, though? Only the radical feminists that agree with that stance, and they don't need to be convinced.

That radical stance is what makes their friends equate all feminism to "hating men".

No, sexism and misogyny do that. Anyone who read Twisty's blog without any preconviecned notions about radical feminsm can see that she doesn't hate men.

No, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. I'm telling you about my sons and their college-aged friends, and the kind of thing that turns them off, and terms like The Patriarchy are what does it. If you don't want to accept that, fine, but you don't know them and I do.

but they just don't get need for all the anger about it.

Seriously? I see a lot of anger at the various feminists blogs I read.


You don't see the problem in that statement you just wrote--in the feminist blogs I read? Out of curiosity, how much time do you spend on sites that are not specifically by feminists, catering to feminists? Those are the people you might want to focus on.
posted by misha at 3:49 PM on October 13, 2011


Anyone who read Twisty's blog without any preconviecned notions about radical feminsm

This group of people is much, much smaller than you would like it to be.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:02 PM on October 13, 2011


From whom, though? Only the radical feminists that agree with that stance, and they don't need to be convinced.

Have you read the blog? Or that post? I'm not a radical feminist. I read her blog because I find it amusing and she takes feminism to the edge and I find that intellectually interesting. I don't agree with much of what she says. Anyway, many of the commenters there aren't radfems either. And the infamous quote was from a a comment she made on a mainstream feminist blog, where someone asked her to expound on her ideas about consent. She posted the comment there, then reposted it on her blog.

No, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. I'm telling you about my sons and their college-aged friends, and the kind of thing that turns them off, and terms like The Patriarchy are what does it. If you don't want to accept that, fine, but you don't know them and I do.

So, where letting college age boys determine acceptable feminist discourse now? Okay, then.

I accept and agree with the fact that people find radical feminism and "patriarchy" a turn off. But sexism is what keeps them from recognizing that radical feminism is only a part of feminism. And a very minor one these days. Feminism no matter what the type has always been disparaged. The term "Feminazi" didn't come out of nowhere.

I'm glad that Holly and people like her are able to reach your sons and their friends, but they aren't the only kids out there and different people need different messages. Some young people need to hear people be angry about sexism.

You don't see the problem in that statement you just wrote--in the feminist blogs I read? Out of curiosity, how much time do you spend on sites that are not specifically by feminists, catering to feminists? Those are the people you might want to focus on.

Pervocracy is not a feminist blog? I am confused. I thought you were referring to her when you were all "anger is bad." which is why I brought up other feminists blogs who displayed anger and also managed to reach out to people who don't identify as feminists. Also, I spend most of my time on reddit, metafilter, and reading porn, so not a lot of by feminists for feminists there.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:36 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


This group of people is much, much smaller than you would like it to be.

To be clear, I'm not a radical feminist. And I do see why people think they are all man-haters, but for the most part they aren't.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:38 PM on October 13, 2011


flex, I'm sorry for being so shoutey, and I hope you don't feel obligated to respond (I have certainly been struggling to keep up with this thread during a busy day too). I also think our feeling about this have a lot in common.

Believe me, being one, I am all too familiar with the derogatory connotations of 'cocksucker'. I suppose we are in agreement that the shared act of fellatio is not inherently degrading but that many people are culturally programed to believe it is in a way that is really awful. But especially if this is the case, why should we collectively surrender the amazing and intimate act of cocksucking to such inhuman beliefs? I am not suggesting that enthusiastically consenting cocksucking in the face of these challenges is a feminist act in a way that benefits all women, but it certainly benefits by example the ability of many women to make the choices with their bodies that they want to without humiliation.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:15 PM on October 13, 2011


[a few comments deleted in a wee derail; Lovecraft In Brooklyn and Errant, memail or email for personal back and forth discussion would be better.]
posted by taz at 12:46 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I do see why people think they are all man-haters, but for the most part they aren't.

Well... I agree.

I believe misha was trying to point out some things that radical feminists do--or rather, some contexts in which radical feminists use language that doesn't mean to them what it means to others--and in so doing, reinforce those stereotypes.

And she thinks... OK, I think that it's really quite a common error to keep on using the same metaphors whenever you talk about feminism, regardless of who's listening... and this turns people off the whole idea. It's fundamentally difficult to introduce someone to a topic where "privilege" can refer to something that was not granted to you-in-particular by anyone-in-particular but which you still have in some sense; where people can be "conditioned" into modes of thinking, even though it's unlikely that anyone tried to teach them those things.

I agree with these ideas in the special, narrow way they are actually defined in feminist discourse, but only because I happen to know of those definitions and, I think, more or less understand the way they're used. Most people don't, so if you open up the conversation with that kind of jargon, they'll just assume whatever's convenient to assume about your intended meaning.

That's how people talk most of the time. It works perfectly well in conversations about shared experiences. If you want to talk about vast and intricate social systems and their consequences, you must first establish a shared experience of the system in question. That normally takes a semester or two.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:41 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe misha was trying to point out some things that radical feminists do--or rather, some contexts in which radical feminists use language that doesn't mean to them what it means to others--and in so doing, reinforce those stereotypes.

Incidentally, this is exactly the point I'm trying to make about this Pervocracy blog, but whereas in this thread everyone seems to agree radical feminists should watch their language, any suggestion that Holly may be giving the wrong impression through her choice of language has been met with cries of "slut shaming".

Wait, so now only men are allowed to cook now? Or is that only men are allowed to enjoy cooking?
posted by Blasdelb at 5:00 PM on October 13 [+] [!]


I can only imagine you're being purposely obtuse at this point.
posted by schroedinger at 4:10 PM on October 14, 2011


but whereas in this thread everyone seems to agree radical feminists should watch their language, any suggestion that Holly may be giving the wrong impression through her choice of language has been met with cries of "slut shaming".

schroedinger, I think that's because the specific language that I objected to sounded accusatory and authoritarian, like there is a definitive way to look at men and women and sex (and, in that context, the argument is that women are less than human and so never really free to consent to sex). That's why I feel it does more damage than good, because if you don't agree with that rigid stance than it seems like there is no room for you at the table.

Whereas Holly seems to be saying, "Hey, I self-identify as a slut and a feminist," not, "All women must self-identify as sluts and feminists."

So the language is important here, and the people disagreeing with Holly's stance seem to feel that her language reflects badly on all women, which is once again making that assumption that all feminists should think and act in a certain way.

I am certainly not saying that all feminists should go out and declare themselves sluts, just that I think Holly has the right to do that and still call herself a feminist.
posted by misha at 11:02 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


-"I don't know how she expects pointing out that she loves trotting merrily back into the kitchen and that being in the kitchen is what feminism is all about is going to help the continued destruction of these stereotypes and expectations."

-"Wait, so now only men are allowed to cook now? Or is that only men are allowed to enjoy cooking?"

-"I can only imagine you're being purposely obtuse at this point."

Well, yes. The answer to stereotypes in not opposite stereotypes but instead understanding and acceptance.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:34 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


About an hour after I left my last comment I had to go to the airport and since then I've been without a computer in a place with no alternative internet access. Some of this has been gnawing at me and while the discussion has petered out, there are a couple of things I would like to read into the record.

First, and most importantly, Holly is right and her critics are wrong about whether her message can be feminist and whether it is appropriate. I spent a whole decade watching people I admire treat people who hated them as worthy adversaries who might be persuaded by cogent arguments, only to see them swatted down again and again by their erstwhile "feminist" colleagues and their newfound friends on the religious right. It didn't work then and it won't work now; these people aren't interested in a dialogue. They only want to suppress what squicks them and they use whatever language might be useful to do that, and they fall in with whatever friends no matter how antithetical to their other interests those friends might be to get the results. MacKinnon and Dworkin were following an if we can't get it at the national level or the state level then we'll do every damn city one at a time program to get pornography outlawed. The funny thing is, had Dworkin not derailed the whole thing by publishing Ice and Fire the whole Internet thing totally sailed that boat.

Second, Holly herself strikes me as a bit vanilla. I think she might be more attracted to the S&M community than she is to S&M itself, in a similar way that Pat Califia found she was more attracted to "gayness" than actual female lesbianism, and following other impulses had a sex change operation so she could be a gay man instead of a gay woman. Holly's advice is all very obvious (although nobody ever explained the fetlife thing quite so well to me before, so I did learn what that's for) but it's also loaded with absolutes that can be parsed. Somebody should ask her opinion of Risk Aware Consensual Kink.
posted by localroger at 7:28 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holly's advice is all very obvious (although nobody ever explained the fetlife thing quite so well to me before, so I did learn what that's for) but it's also loaded with absolutes that can be parsed. Somebody should ask her opinion of Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

It's also seems very much written for singles or polyamorous couples. I enjoyed Economics vs. Apples.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:36 AM on October 19, 2011


jesus christ metafilter. Did SlutWalk and all the discussions around that completely miss you?

Why should someone sanitise parts of themselves just because it happens to conform to some stereotype or other? Isn't it up to people to not be bigoted and class people on stereotypes to begin with? Next you'll be telling me that I should never write about my favourite curry or post a picture of myself in a sari because that's falling for the South Asian stereotype.

And why should one mini narrative of stereotypes and politics get to decide how we work with everything? "Culturally people think XYZ" - whose culture? Why theirs? On whose authority?

And as for cocksucking: A delicate, easy-to-injure organ is in an orifice lined with sharp teeth that could go CHOMP at any moment, and as the organ is being stimulated through breath & moisture & texture, the owner is rendered helpless - and it's the cock-suckee that holds the power here?
posted by divabat at 1:46 AM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


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