A feminist critique of "post-feminist" fetish.
March 16, 2002 12:37 PM   Subscribe

A feminist critique of "post-feminist" fetish.
"It was bad enough when so many feminists supported Bill Clinton...'Sex positive' feminism, at its root, is really just another manifestation of patriarchy, because it fully supports men's 'rights' to seek pleasure wherever and however they wish."
(Clean site, but includes subject matter and links that may not be safe for work.)
posted by bingo (18 comments total)


that was meant for http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/15564

terribly sorry.
posted by Dom at 12:46 PM on March 16, 2002

Having sex with dead women? reminds mne of Woddy Allen, who, told his ex wife got a traffic ticket noted that he was sure it was not for a moving violation.
posted by Postroad at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2002

i wish i had time right now to write a nice post here but i don't. So, read the article, and i'd also recommend an article it links to as well.

this isn't about sex with dead women per se, this article is about the ongoing battle of semantics between different feminist factions.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2002

No, Dom. Trust me. The pedophilic homosexual Jesus comment was much, much more appropriate to this thread than that one. Post feminist fetish, indeed!
posted by swell at 2:07 PM on March 16, 2002

Who are these "sex positive" (read: abuse positive) feminists? (That's not an acceptible reduction, by the way) ... Perhaps while these women want to make as much money as men, and be treated equally in court, on the street, and in the workplace, they are still afraid of men finding them unattractive.

Does that go double for the sex positive lesbian feminist set? I bet not. This is tired mudslinging.

Most disastrous about these 'conversations' is the vast amount of time and energy spent on targets like... the woman editor of the San Francisco Guardian, that bastion of patriarchy and power.

Her doublespeak recasting of sexual or nominative "empowerment" (GCW alert: Gross California Word, that empowerment) to "disempowerment" is total horse puckey. Words have a magical power only when other people use them?

Elsewhere, straw-womyn fallacies abound. On the giant "Puts Feminism Back" Clock, I give this link 2.7 years.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2002

I hope these feminists can find some common ground. I mean, they all still agree that we live in a phallocracy, right?
posted by insomnyuk at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2002

I ask this in all seriousness: Does the prefix "post-" mean anything anymore besides "the movement I attached the prefix to has moved forward whereas I have not"? It seems like it's to the point now where anyone that uses "post-x" is actually a "paleo-x".
posted by aaron at 2:35 PM on March 16, 2002

Can't you support equal rights, rethinking gender roles, etc., and still massively enjoy heterosexual sex? Saying you're just giving in to men's needs seems like a regression to Victorian-era ideals that normal women shouldn't have any sexual drive.
posted by dagnyscott at 3:44 PM on March 16, 2002

Man, she's really "uptight."
posted by Down10 at 3:55 PM on March 16, 2002

I love feminism. It gave women the sexual freedom to sleep with me on the first date.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:11 PM on March 16, 2002

I love feminism. It gave women the sexual freedom to sleep with me on the first date.

I think rodii said it best.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:00 PM on March 16, 2002

Amen, rodii and mcsweetie, even I'm starting to choke on the amount of testosterone in here lately. I thank god women do talk, if they didn't we guys would probably still be up in the trees flinging crap at eachother-which while not without it's merits, is not all there is to life. I, personally thank God for all the female freindships in my life, without 'em I'd be utterly lost.
posted by jonmc at 9:53 PM on March 16, 2002

MF collective sense of humor--
posted by darukaru at 10:18 PM on March 16, 2002

I think Newitz's response said it best -- "I think it's important that women be allowed to express their most intimate fantasies (safely!) without fear of reprisal from other women who want them to conform to some kind of politically correct sexual ideal in the name of feminism."

It is exactly the kind of narrow, in-the-box thinking portrayed by Ms. Page which "disempowers" women. By her way of thinking, any woman who dares take a non-aggressive role in heterosexual interactions is either a tool of the patriarchy or acting out from a history of abuse, she cannot be her own, actualised, self-aware person simply doing what she likes to do.

But the heart of Page's argument seems to be the same old tired anti-pornography schpiel that we've been hearing from "feminists" for years -- which boils down to "women should have absolute control over their own bodies and do whatever they please with them unless it allows men to be gratified outside the context of an individual, one-on-one interaction, and sometimes not even then."

Page also trots out the "subjugation of women" bit -- but how are women who make a choice to pretend to be dead for their own thrills (probably a combination of a lack-of-control fantasy, an exhibitionism fantasy, and, dare I say, a modified rape fantasy) being subjugated? Just because it's mainly men who get a thrill from seeing them do it?

It's mainly men who get a thrill from a woman in a sexy outfit walking down the street, too. Maybe we should all don burqa, lest we be subjugated by a man with a "sexy women walking around" fetish. Page's arguments are simply the opposite side of that coin.
posted by Dreama at 10:21 PM on March 16, 2002

It gave women the sexual freedom to sleep with me on the first date

I also love feminism, it means I don't have to date you to sleep with you, but I digress...

I've always found the feminist and post-feminist distinction to be largely to differentiate newer pro-sex, pro-female women from their more old school counterparts who were often characterized as heavier, hairier and, in some cases, anti-men/anti-sex. But I sort of agree with Aaron that post-feminism seems to be more often used as a reactionary term by the newer vangaurd of feminists who want their feminism and high heels too.

This article doesn't seem to help the "feminist" cause much if it is -- as characterized in the post -- a feminist critique, but I think it's just a reactionary article that removes context from the larger issue of what turns people on. Rape fantasies, for example, may be anti-feminist, but leaving it at that doesn't help people understand what makes them so compelling to some, just drives the whole topic of discourse underground, like a lot of these comments do.
posted by jessamyn at 10:29 PM on March 16, 2002

Feminism, post-feminism, post-post-feminism... After all these years Hegel's conception of the dialectic process still provides the best account of these necessary convolutions. Here's a useful summary by Alexandre Kojève, for anyone interested.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:34 AM on March 17, 2002

So many things in both of those women's letters bothered me that I really can't say where I stand. I've generally considered myself a "pro-sex" feminist, and remember arguing with older women about the rights of sex industry pros when I worked at NOW almost 10 years ago, but on the other hand, I've never understood women whose fantasies and preferences tend toward the high heel / rape fantasy / boob job etc end of things. It would be a lot easier for me to relate to my gender if I could believe those inclinations were induced by previous treatment and cultural expectations.

But that's a pretty simplistic answer, and basically I've realized that just because someone's female, doesn't mean I have anything in common with them. So, if chicks wanna ruin their feet with modern day foot binding, it's their prerogative... unfortunately, they do enforce the cultural idea that high heels are attractive, which means that women feel forced to wear them to appear attractive (and if you'd argue that what's attractive is not culturally based please take a look at what people thought looked good in the 1980's and get back to me). I guess what it comes down to is, it would be nice if women weren't so focused on how they look.

I do think it's getting better in general though - younger women rarely wear high heels and little skirts to the office; pantsuits and women's (heeled/platformed) loafers look far more professional and are more comfortable, and I think eventually people will think that what businesswomen wore in the '80's was pretty weird.

Oh geez, where was I... so necrophilia and rape fantasies are not something I can relate to on either side, and the reality of either of those fantasies is criminal. I generally don't think fantasizing about criminal activity is healthy. Yes, no one's hurt when it's just acting out, so they have a right to do it, but I wouldn't write an article on it from a standpoint of fun sex games, either. What other hurtful, criminal acts can be fantasized about with no moral ambiguity? Paintball isn't about murder; it's about competition, athleticism (it could be said to be about war, but that is legal, and anyway, only in the old fashioned sense where war was a game, and that's a whole other topic so I'll stop).

I have a lot of thoughts on these things but I'm really busy and have to get back to other stuff. One other thing - when is this article from? American Psycho the movie came out years ago (and it was brilliant - but that is also another topic...)
posted by mdn at 3:24 PM on March 17, 2002

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