June 16, 2008

Other people’s posts

Posted in gender, recommended reading, sexual politics at 12:00 pm by LB

I read 2 really great posts today that stood out to me.  I think that they also relate to each other, although I’m not entirely sure why.

Hoyden About Town (and Feminism 101) on problematizing “choice.” This is something that I wish everyone would understand, and not only as it relates to feminism. Time and again, people tell me that I can’t criticize representations of women in film, or that participating in “posing culture” is practically “do or die” for female celebrities, or about critiquing the sexism of/discrimination in the porn industry, etc etc because  well, women “choose” to do these things.  You’ve heard it: “well don’t be an actress then if the roles for women suck ass,” and the like. Or, “she’s choosing to pose naked, so why critique the industry? Women should just stop doing it if the industry is so male-biased”…etc, etc. This is something that I will definitely blog about in the future, but this post is a great start.

And from the F-Word, about women-hating-women. This part was particularly interesting:

Stepping outside of the designated box of what it means to be female in a patriarchal society has long been threatening, not only for the women who decide they must step out in order to be authentic, but also for the women around them. Competition and jealousy are natural reactions when women are set up to survive in a culture where they are not equal to men. Sometimes the misogynist behaviour between women can be explained (but not excused) as an act of benevolence where women teach each other the rules of survival because they don’t want them to face the consequences of breaking the rules. Mothers teach their daughters how to survive. For example, a mother may encourage her daughter to marry a man who earns a good wage and has a respected job even though he is emotionally unavailable. Or worse, a mother may not encourage her daughter to leave her abusive husband because of her own fears of survival without a man. But before we judge mothers too harshly, we need to ask where would they have been taught to expect anything different? What choices did they have to make for their own survival? After all, this is how misogyny works. By limiting women’s choices and silencing their voices, many women do not know anything different than how to survive in a patriarchal world.

(This really hits home with me especially about sexuality.  A lot of why I am so critical about women’s participation in/collusion with sex culture is that the cultural context is still so fucked up.  I want women to be able to express their sexuality in a variety of ways; I want quality non-sexist sexual entertainment for men and women and queer folk and heteros; I want men to be more sexually open and to not feel like their masculinity is tied up in sexism and homophobia; I want sexual entertainment that does not rely on power differentials and consolidating privilege…but I don’t want women to do these things because of internalized sexism.  I don’t want to embrace sexual power because I accept that it’s the only power women have.  I want it to be a real choice.)

Check them out…any thoughts?

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