To defend women's right to perform submissive sex acts without talking about rape and sexual abuse as the root of the degradation is like supporting women's right to be as thin as they can be without talking about anorexia and all of pressures that contribute to the push toward thinness.
What some people do in this debate is insist that some acts can only be read and experienced as degrading because they are culturally defined as such. This is what Amanda wanted to do in the original Blow Job War. It was fine to talk about your own personal experience but somehow you were being disingenuous if you didn’t acknowledge the wider context within which the meaning of blow jobs circulate. But that suggests, again, that the meanings surrounding blow jobs are monolithic in this culture. It’s simply not clear that this is the case.
The problem is that, human beings -- and this is pretty well documented in social science literature -- are simply not passive dupes of any cultural system. Ever. Not only do we know of other societies where sexual activities aren't defined that way (which means there is no meaning *in* the blow job itself, thus its meaning is malleable), we can document in our own society how people adopt a range of understandings of these activities.
Many of the acts that get so hotly debated are acts which are frequently forced on girls and women. As long as that's true, many women will have negative associations with those actions. If we want to eliminate the negative associations, the first step needs to be eliminating the true cause of the negative association.
Unwanted sexual contact.
Those who exploit others sexually and who say they did nothing wrong because they are just doing what everyone else is doing are the closest we have to cultural dupes. The same goes for those who expect women to embrace pleasuring a man in certain ways without considering whether the act is actually physically and emotionally pleasurable for that particular woman.
Making a man happy isn't, and shouldn't be, reward enough.
Rather than debating whether women can be liberated personally and submissive sexually, we should be thinking about how to help make the goal of allowing every girl and woman to freely make the choices about what type of sexual contact she wants and doesn't want -- while respecting the rights of other people -- a reality.
Since my response to Bitch Lab's post seems to be misunderstood (read Lab Bitch's comments and my reply to that response), I thought it would be helpful to include LB's definition of Sex positive feminism:
[SPF] involves a disparate group of people who share one thing in common: a rejection of universalizing claims about women’s (and men’s) sexuality such that one’s sexual practices — whether you hate sex, wank off to donkey porn, ride your cowboy or cowgirl and put her/him away wet, are asexual, like to dress up like Superman and leap off the top of the dresser on to your partner below  — do not prove or disprove your feminist street cred."
Unfortunately, this definition fails to exclude those who enjoy sexually abusing others. Those who support this movement may assume this exclusion is understood by all. It isn't.
My point was and still is that any assertion that says "whatever floats your boat" without addressing rape, sex abuse and sexual exploitation will cause some people to resist that assertion. It doesn't help that this sex positive statement echoes in many ways what some of us have heard from abusive men. They could have whatever they wanted and we shouldn't cramp their style or say they aren't great guys.
Rather than seeing any resistance to sex positiveness as irrational, it may help to understand that even extreme reactions are quite rational, but possibly outside of the other person's range of experience.
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