All Feminists Have Different Views, Here are Mine.

A feminist is someone who believes in gender equality. That’s it. So within that broad idea, different views on various talking-points reside and every feminist will have his/her own views. Since this is my first post in Feminist Friday, I thought it’d be a good idea to tell you about some of mine. A sort of introduction to me as a feminist.

Porn

It’s OK. I understand that some feminists are against pornography because it’s objectification of women and they’re right, it is, but the reason I don’t have a problem with it is that women also objectify men. Maybe not to the same extent because the female sex drive is, generally speaking, lower (and there’s scientific evidence to support that) but I think the objectification of someone you are sexually attracted to is natural. It’s part of having a sex drive. So why isn’t there much porn marketed for women? Two reasons: 1) the female sex drive is seen as less natural/acceptable somehow – it’s either glamourised or treated with suspicion and distaste, whereas the male is just accepted as something that exists; 2) men generally require visual stimulation while women generally don’t – we have less need for it because we can use our imaginations but for many men the imagination alone isn’t enough. (Guys, please correct me if I’m wrong about this.)

Having said all that…

Porn in Newspapers

e.g. page 3 of The Sun is not OK. Pornography has no place in a newspaper. A newspaper is for news. Porn should be something people specifically choose to buy (or stream/download) not something you get with a different purchase. In other words, people should be able to buy and read a newspaper without also having to look at porn. It’s too public an item to contain pornographic content, no-matter how soft-core.

Stripping/Erotic Dancing

To be honest, I’m not sure where I stand on this one. In a way, it’s just live pornography, but the idea of it disgusts me. A lot of money can be made by a dancer/stripper, so in a sense it’s the exploitation of the sex drive for financial gain but thinking about it I can’t help but see the dancer as more of a victim. I think it’s something that should be a matter of choice for the dancer/stripper. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it myself but I can understand that others might be, so as long as they have the choice not to, it’s OK.

Prostitution

Is not OK but should be legalised. It’s wrong but until there is a way of effectively supporting people who feel there is no other way of supporting themselves, it’s going to happen. Therefore to protect those who prostitute themselves, it should be legal to do so. Perhaps that could be made legal but any other involvement, e.g. forcing someone into that life; taking a cut; paying for sexual services, should be illegal. Then the focus would be on the prostitutes as the victims and the people enabling/forcing them to work in this manner as the perpetrators.

Casual/Unofficial Prostitution

For example, a girl gives a bouncer a blow-job to get into a club or a guy gives a girl a lift home and she offers him a sexual favour in return or a girl/guy asks a girl/guy for a kiss because it’s his/her birthday. This is wrong. Neither should accept/suggest such a thing. Both are equally guilty, unless one pushes the other, but then that’s harassment.

Sexual Harassment and Rape

Obviously wrong. And there’s no such thing as ‘illegitimate rape’. If there’s no consent, it’s rape, no-matter what.

Fear of Rape

Wrong. Women shouldn’t be afraid to walk alone at night, no-one should, but many men wouldn’t be comfortable with it, either. The difference is women tend to fear rape and men tend to fear other violence. Everyone deserves the freedom to walk alone at night without fear but until we wipe out crime, and I’m not convinced that’s possible, that’s not going to happen. The problem I have with it is that women are taught to fear rape, specifically, to see men as monsters and themselves as victims. It’s not good for anyone.

Treating Someone Differently Because of His/Her Gender

Wrong. Even if it’s as simple as buying a girl a drink because she’s a girl or expected a guy to buy you a drink because he’s a guy. We’re all individuals and we deserve to be treated as such.

Gender Stereotypes

Wrong. Not all women want to be wives and mothers and not all men are only after sex. Again, we’re all individuals and deserve to be treated as such. We’re all worth more than this.

Chivalry/Courtesy

It depends on whether it’s gender-based. A man holding a door open for a women because he reached the door first and is being polite is absolutely fine. It’s just being courteous. But if he does it because she’s a woman, it’s wrong. Same applies to giving up your seat on the bus/train – if the person you’re giving your seat up for needs the seat more than you, for example, is elderly or injured or pregnant or with small children, it’s being considerate but if you’re giving up your seat for someone because they’re a woman, it’s sexism. Feminism isn’t ruining anything. If you want to be given special treatment because you’re a woman, do you also want to be treated like an irrational, fragile, sexless creature who’s sole purpose in life is to raise a family and look after the home? I didn’t think so.

I think that’s it. If there are any issues you think I’ve left out, let me know and I’ll address them.

So what about you? Where do you stand on these issues?

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3 thoughts on “All Feminists Have Different Views, Here are Mine.

  1. You’re off to a roaring start there, Louise. O.k., my turn…

    Porn
    A mixed bag. Much of it is either bullshit or hurtful. Rarely is it interesting enough to be hot, and that’s usually when they’re not actors but rather real people making their own video. And then only when they’re both into it (not just the sex, but the fact that they’re taping it – they win bonus points in my book when they pass the camera back and forth to each other!).

    Porn in Newspapers
    ?!? Provocative ads are often bad enough in more a “grownup” milieu (i.e., after prime-time tv, etc.), but in general, open periodicals that any kid can get at the local library??

    Stripping/Erotic Dancing
    I think it depends on the venue, and of course the dancer (man or woman). I’ve personally known a couple of people (a man and a woman) who actually do it because they have a fun time. They work in classy clubs, too, not run-down joints.

    I don’t know about GB but here in the states there are clubs that cater to men AND women at the same time, and both have fun going together either as couples or in groups. They consider it part of their night out together and have fun chatting it up with the dancers, and the dancers love chatting it up with the patrons. This is why my friends do it. They’re hot, they know it, and they love meeting people in a sexy environment that also has RULES, so everything is safe and on the level.

    Prostitution
    This to me is a big step up the wrongness scale. This is intimate sexual contact, for pay, with the EXPECTATION that the one being paid do what the one paying expects. The prostitute has lost any and all free will, which is damaging to both parties on a deep psychological level.

    Let’s face it, some people have a fervent need to control, and other have a need to BE controlled. The world’s oldest occupation will never die, but it does certainly say something about us as a species, how low we can sink, how deeply manipulative we can be towards one another.

    Prostitution happens every day, in many lines of work, at many levels that don’t involve sex at all but is essentially the same dynamic. I’ve seen it in office jobs for years, and working in restaurants. It’s a demand by one party that the other give up their free will and take orders from another without regard for self-esteem or respect. Bullying is another way of putting it, and when the party being bullied is relying on that job to keep the roof over their head, they really do have little choice but to (pardon me) bend over and take it, or find another job.

    Casual/Unofficial Prostitution
    When it’s to get or “pay for” a favor, wrong. When there are no strings attached and the people involved are simply having fun, there are no “favors” being passed around, it’s just casual sexual contact.

    Sexual Harassment/Rape/Fear of Rape
    I have some rather harsh views on this topic, especially in terms of how to deal with those who commit this crime. I’d rather not share them in this forum.

    Treating Someone Differently Because of His/Her Gender
    For me this topic and Chivalry/Courtesy kind of go hand-in-hand. It’s generally wrong, unless, for me, it’s a simple societal thing.

    For example, I’ve seen men take work away from a woman at a job because she may have been having a shitty day. They say to each other in the bathroom (or the boardroom, same thing) that she’s “on the rag” or is too emotional, so she can’t handle the work. Bullshit.

    Another example, when I get on the train in the morning I make a semi-conscious point to stand back just a little bit if there’s a woman in front of me. I let her get on and pick a seat first, then I pick one. To me, that’s just common courtesy. But if I’m already seated, it’s a crowded train and a perfectly healthy and capable woman gets on the train? I ain’t givin’ up my seat!

    Gender Stereotypes
    An ugly side of human nature, which is to see stereotypes in general based on any kind of societal “expectation.” What I personally hate seeing is people actively choosing to live up to that stereotype.

    I once worked with a woman at an office job who was, shall I say, very “old school.” She believed the manager of the department, who was always a man, should be called “sir.” We’d have a birthday on the team and gather at a conference table to do the standard dumb-ass “Happy Birthday” song and cutting of the cake. The manager never got off his ass to join us, but this woman always made it a point to cut him a piece of cake and walk it to his office!

    She brought him his coffee, she’s rush to the common area printer whenever he printed something from his office and bring it to him, all the while calling him “Sir.” >::(

    The list of examples goes on and on, but she would actually argue with me when I tried to explain to her the concept that she shouldn’t be “playing the part” of the dutiful woman (there were a few women like that where I worked at the time). She would calmly explain to me that she didn’t know what all the fuss was about, that this is what she was there to do and she didn’t see a problem with it. It amazed me to see this poor woman who ironically, with a chiropractor for a husband, had absolutely no spine.

    So there’s my side of it (at least, some of it). Now I’m gonna sit back with a beer, watch Dr. Who, and tell my woman to go make me a sandwich. <::D

    • Thanks for sharing your views. Seems like we’re mostly in agreement. It’s interesting that you’re more anti-porn than I am but maybe you’ve have more exposure to it than me ;)! Oh and porn in newspapers exists in the UK – in fact it’s commonly accepted. Only in tabloids but still. If you don’t believe me, here’s a link to the Sun’s article ‘celebrating’ their 40th birthday: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3229462/Page-3-at-40-The-girls-we-made-national-treasures.html.

      I think in the UK stripclubs tend to be marketed at men but women are welcome as well. I wouldn’t want to go to one, myself, but like I said, if everyone involved is comfortable, then it’s fine.

      It sounds to me like the woman you once worked with was trying to suck up to the boss more than anything – playing for a promotion, maybe, although I’m not sure how making yourself out to be subservient could help you rise through the ranks. I think I’d be torn between feeling sorry for her and wanting to slap her if I were in your position!

      • That article in The Sun?!? I know it’s Europe and all but HOLY SH-T!!! There’s no way anything even close to that would fly in the U.S. Porn is porn, period, and has no place there. Wow.

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