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Thursday, 22 March 2007

Celebration of Female Desire Week

Cassandra says this is celebration of female desire week. So I thought I'd weigh in, in my own way.

It's an unfortunate fact that there are still sexual ideas out there that degrade women, that suggest that men have the most to gain from sex while women, somehow, have something to lose. It's an unfortunate fact that, while a little objectification in the form of being desired isn't harmful of itself, the extent to which women are held up as objects of desire rather than as people who desire is entirely out of proportion. It's an unfortunate fact that women still suffer from sexual violence, even if the rate of sexual assaults seems to be decreasing. And there are some who react to this by saying "stop having sex", or who denounce particular sex acts as inherently patriarchal. Sometimes they stress that it is impossible to do anything in a patriarchal society without being subject to the connotations that society attaches to particular acts. As a result, if "patriarchy says" it's degrading, it's degrading. You can't avoid it.

Well, sorry, but that's defeatist! It makes it sound like the dreaded "patriarchy" can revoke any claims you might have for strong, sexual womanhood with a single touch. I dare to claim that "patriarchy" does not have that power. I can still be strong, be whole, be a woman even if I have sex within a society that contains sexual ideas that degrade women. Indeed, finding ways to stay strong and whole under such conditions is the only way I can see of changing those attitudes. Let's not underestimate our power to resist those ideas, even if they are held by those around us - indeed, even if they still lurk in our own subconscious. Even if a man thinks he is using me, I can still be a strong woman. Even if I choose to do something perceived as an act of submission, I can still be a strong woman. And if enough of us succeed in being strong, and if we can show that to others, we will change the definitions. And if we make mistakes and fail to be strong, as all of us do from time to time, well, show your strength by being willing to take the occasional risk and picking yourself up when you fall.

Let's face it, if patriarchy forces all those of us with no convenient homosexual tendencies to hide away in extreme sexual frustration because we can't have sex with men without supporting the patriarchy, then we're not winning. We're losing, big time.


C. L. Hanson said...

Well put!!! I feel the same way.

I don't like giving women the message that when they express their sexuality they need to be constantly on their guard in case some male out there may be thinking of them in a degrading way. To me that is very limiting to female sexuality, and hands power and control over to the wrong people.

Lynet said...

Well, you did have an influence on my thinking that way in the first place :)

But yeah, once you think about it, it's just too sensible.

Alon Levy said...

Thank you.

Thoughts don't have that much power. I mean, when they do, say when a man rapes a woman, the actual problem is with the action.

I tend to think people can make their own choices about sexuality. In an earlier post, you said you don't want to have sex with someone who thinks he's degrading you. I'm fairly similar in the sense that I don't want to have sex with someone who thinks she's degrading me age-wise. But I know people who aren't like that, and I know that they don't feel degraded, that they have sex with those people because they want to.

Lynet said...

In an earlier post, you said you don't want to have sex with someone who thinks he's degrading you.

Yeah, C.L. Hanson's reply to that post really influenced this post; there is a definite change of view on my part from that post to this one. I mean, I still wouldn't want to have sex with someone who thinks he's degrading me, but I've come to think that I wouldn't have to accept it as degradation just because the man thinks it is.

C. L. Hanson said...

Cool!!! You've made my day -- now I feel influential. :D