Liberation, Patriarchy, sexism

きみはぼくの天使みたいさ!by 蒟蒻ゆっこ, on pixiv

A few articles out and about, rampaging on the internet. The first is the one which began this whole internet hop of linked articles and where most of the other links came from. You can’t just read one and not read the rest, right?

Patriarchy fears female sexuality

Why this ‘controversial story’ has gripped the minds of all the students at elite university, Duke, is beyond my understanding. While I make no judgement and my opinion of her decision to become a porn star to pay her tuition is immaterial, I think ‘Laura’ raises some good points about female sexuality.

My entire life, I have, along with millions of other girls, been told that sex is a degrading and shameful act. [..]

The most striking view I was indoctrinated with was that sex is something women “have,” but that they shouldn’t “give it away” too soon -– as though there’s only so much sex in any one woman, and sex is something she does for a man that necessarily requires losing something of herself, and so she should be really careful who she “gives” it to.

The prevailing societal brainwashing dictates that sexuality and sex "reduce" women, whereas men are merely innocent actors on the receiving end. By extension, our virginity or abstinence has a bearing on who we are as people -- as good people or bad people, as nice women or bad women.

I understand. Firstly, why is sex life or lack thereof anybody’s business, and secondly, why is something that is in fact natural and a part of life (what started your life as well) something we are all too keen to avoid. Yep, I’ve avoided blogging about things here that are apparently ‘taboo’, because I want to cater to an audience of both genders.

But not only that, why is it perfectly fine for men to sleep around and not for women to? Women have to uphold the image of modesty, and sprinkle chicken blood on their sheets in fear.

I find it interesting that porn (a billion-dollar industry) is consumed by millions of people -- men and women (and all other equally wonderful genders) alike -- yet no one is willing to consider the lives of the people behind the camera. [..]

No, all we are is "whores and bimbos."

Furthermore, they’re the one fueling this industry anyway. If they hadn’t been partaking of such content, they wouldn’t have discovered her identity at all.

While I wouldn’t personally have acted in the way she has because I don’t have the confidence she has about her body, why is it my business or anyone else’s to not only judge her but feel as if we need to give her life advice? Moving on.

Fat. Girl.

A lot of woman can spend their lives never feeling happy with their bodies. I for one would not say that I like mine, although I’m comfortable with it presently since Ruben seems to be content with it.

What she says about challenging the ideals of beauty and what is desirable is interesting, but it’s part of her philosophy I want to comment on the most.

I came to embrace the word fat, and self identify as a Fat Girl through many years of growth and self-exploration. I became comfortable with my body size in my twenties. Like I said before, I had grown up wanting to be skinny. I thought that my life would be easier and perfect, if I was just skinny.

Then, in my early twenties, I lost a lot of weight. Suddenly, I was a thin person. But I was still very unhappy. It was then that I realized that my happiness was a decision. I started to understand that if I wanted to be happy, I needed to choose to be happy in my head and not base my self-esteem on my weight.

I think part of my desires to be ‘skinny’ is that it would give me confidence. In the same way that putting on makeup to cover up your acne would make you more confident about ourselves. In some ways the use of makeup and hair dyes and the like similarly just perpetuate these ideals on beauty and what is desirable like the need for long lashes, full hair. Well, just a thought.

But then even armed with the knowledge, like April, that happiness is a choice, this hasn’t seemed to work for me. Ruben has worked this out long ago in the past, he is wiser than me, but this philosophy just has not worked for me. There are many reasons for that I won’t go into.

Skewed Portrait is Landscape?

This story relates to the first here, and there’s not much I will say other than the fact I seem to remember a lot of emphasis on the fact that Laura was ‘paid for sex’, which draws parallels to prostitution. The difference here, simply from the two stories standing parallel is that Laura says it was all consensual, she made a choice.

Do prostitutes have a choice? I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem to me like the parallel is necessarily justified.

That said, there are some good quotes from this article, from Laura though:

“I think the thing lacking in feminism is that women are making decisions for other women,” she said. “If the patriarchy is about men making decisions for women and taking away their agency, why do some feminists want to control other women’s decisions?”

Slut Shaming

I haven’t done it before, honestly I’m not too sure how. Nonetheless I gave a mental nod to the comments made in this article, which responded to an open letter of sorts about the behaviour of teenage girls.

While I agree that we can’t judge this mother’s parenting or real opinions based on this single (or pair of) posts alone, the commenters also have a valid point when they address the fact that firstly she was being contrary to her point having originally depicted her children half-dressed in swimwear, and secondly seemed to be placing no blame on guys, but pinning it purely on women.

This again goes back to that whole ‘rapist’ argument, that the woman was asking for it. She should have dressed less skankily or shouldn’t have egged them on so invitingly. They fail to take responsibility for their actions.

But ignoring all that, the biggest issue I really have is her tone of writing. It is self-righteous as she acknowledges herself, but there is somehow also an air of false diplomacy to her writing that I can’t shake. Although her replies to criticism have been largely cordial, at the same time they seem not to acknowledge any of their points, quite sure in her own correctness. But of course, that is just my point of view.

But of course, there is also her religious perspective which I admit I’m not a great fan of, but I won’t let that be the reason I can’t agree with her.

No feminism

And finally, yet another response to number 1. Let’s not talk about dear Lauren anymore than she needs to be, honestly.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a liberal feminist, or a radical feminist, or sometimes even a feminist. I just don’t particularly like being made to feel like shit for being a woman, but that’s another story.

Regardless, one idea I could probably get behind though, is the abolition of gender:

You are on your path, and I am on mine. I am a radical feminist, which means that I believe in the abolition of gender. I no longer believe in “gender equality,” and, instead, I fight for women's liberation and an end to patriarchy and sexism.

When most people are not simply XX or XY anyway, it could be said that it’s an outdated concept to so strictly place people in either category A or B. That’s not to say that I would agree that parents should treat their children as genderless, but rather give them the options of both genders and not force them into role stereotypes, even if society tries so hard to do so.

Sometimes I feel like the only thing that we could do is to something hit a reset button somewhere so that all of these things telling us that we should feel bad that we are introverted, or a little fat, or that we are inferior as human beings because we work in certain lines of work, or that we should be ashamed because we are not perfect homemakers for our often flawed husbands can just go away.

Illust by 蒟蒻ゆっこ on pixiv. Not mine.