I have to confess that although I do not enter into the danger zone that is website message boards very often, I sometimes can't help but scroll down and read a few (or a few dozen) comments. For me, message boards have the same train wreck appeal that an episode of Jerry Springer does, I know reading them will be mind numbingly annoying, but I'll be damned if they aren't entertaining. My latest skip through the interwebs led me to the message boards of Facebook's "Feministing" group. The Feministing website is my favorite online hangout, and because I'm a FB group junkie, I eagerly joined up on there as well. Unnecessary? Absolutely. I popped on today to see if there's really anything on it to benefit from, or if I would be better off dumping it to make room for the bazillion other capricious, masturbatory groups I need need need to join. Then, against my better judgment, I got roped into some misguided feminist's thoughts on sex and sex work (you think "misguided" sounds cruel now, but just wait until you try to follow her train of thought from pole dancing to guys who can't "eat pussy" in just a few sentences).
I was hooked by title, "Can Sex Work Manifest Feminism?" Presumably, from reading her thoughts, she's wondering if sex work can be feminist...though it's not really fair of her to pose this as a query because she's already got the answer, and it's a big fucking (or not fucking in this case) NO! Of course, to be fair she is posing one of the hardest questions for the movement because it is one of our biggest dividing lines. There's no fantastic way to win here. Either one is anti and comes off as not validating women's choices, thus infantilizing them, as well as looking like an advocate for censorship...or one is pro and in championing a women's choice one starts to ignore all of the preordained factors (patriarchy, anyone?) that led to the decision which often make it more of an only option than a choice.
Honestly, I don't like to get worked up for either argument, as both sides can have valid points when argued well. Although, I tend to support options that will be safest for women and their health. Therefore, as long as prostitution, porno, and pole dancing have willing (not forced), adult participants, I think the responsible thing to do is to support our sisters in the sex industry and help them get better rights and representation. Just check out the mavens with moxie over at $pread magazine. This is a publication written and produced by current and former sex workers that seeks to "build community and destigmatize sex work by providing a forum for the diverse voices of individuals working in the sex industry." Women who through grassroots activism demand better treatment by the government, their male co-workers, and their clients?! Don't tell me these ladies aren't feminists.
My other gripe with this message board posting is when it awkwardly transitions from the sex work issue to her unhappy sex life. For many paragraphs and other postings she vents her frustrations with the males in her bed and their inability to tickle her fancy. Crappy sex is for sure a major reason to loose your mind, and a dude who is more than willing to push your head down on his without so much as glancing at your lady cat deserves to be kicked to the curb, no doubt. However, when a woman can count the number of partners who have chowed down on her girly bits, poorly at that, while implying that her list of gentlemen callers stretches around the block I can't help but wonder (yikes all this sex talk is making me channel Carrie Bradshaw) if maybe someone isn't speaking up and schoolin' like she should.
I'm not laying blame on this gal or any of my lusty lady friends, and I'm certainly not siding with i'll-take-my-bj-without-the-cunnilingus-please guys. However, this whole argument she makes brings up an important point that I find myself considering a lot: how much do we women blame our male-dominated culture/society for those bad in bed boys and how much personal responsibility are we willing to take for our orgasm?
Look, whatever kind of sex you're having, it requires two people and just wanting it to be good is not gonna cut it (uh, duh, remember your first time?). It's one thing to sleep with selfish assholes (did he really not seem like a selfish asshole before the clothes came off?!?!), but it's another to assume that a guy who really cares about you automatically knows your ins and outs like a Google map. There's a lot going on down there, and although we're used to poking around and knowing what's hot and what's not, the guys may need a little tutoring. Should they ask? Hell yes, but not asking doesn't make them private enemy #1, especially if we're not telling. If we're not asking for what we want and telling our partners what we need, aren't we partially to blame for bogus buggering? In addition, if we're not comfortable with asking, telling, teaching, learning, shouldn't we be asking ourselves why we're jumping into the sack with this person, instead of asking why are all men selfish slackers?
Here's an even bigger question: why are we women letting guys give us bad head? I'm sick of women being the victims of bad sexual experiences. It's time to take a stand here, and demand better, and giving up giving head is not the way to get our point across. (It's not fair to withhold sex to get sex, if a guy did that to us I'm sure we'd have even more to say about that.) So guys have no problem telling us that we're using too much teeth, and if we don't want to "go into the bathroom and masturbate after we've had sex," why aren't we telling them the equivalent? They want to know, and until we teach them what's what down there, they are either going to continue grop around like blind mice or avoid the whole thing all together. And for those who sit through class and still refuse to do the work, fail those d-bags, and tell 'em this group project just became DIY.
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10 months ago