Sexual Freedom and Autonomy: Worth Celebrating at a Carnival

Laurie and Debbie say:

Renegade Evolution recently hosted the 18th “carnival of sexual freedom and autonomy.” We haven’t been following this carnival, but we can sure get behind sexual freedom and autonomy. Ren provides lots of good links: we’ll give you sample tastes of a few of them.

Kiya at “Letters from Gehenna: The World on a Slant” talks about women naming our own sexuality:

After a lot of contemplation, I’m left with the feeling that it boils down to “If I don’t do it, someone else will.” If I want to leave it inchoate, unnamed, mysterious, I have to keep it entirely secret, because any sign that I have a hint of sexuality somewhere will be dragged out and assigned meaning by someone else. Even the category of being unsexed can be sexualised in some cases.

I have to make my own meanings, hold to them, define myself, or someone else will try to override me.

And she goes on to do it, very well indeed.

Ren herself talks about the range of objectifications she experiences as a stripper and Internet porn performer. The article is too long to quote at length here, but here are a couple of excerpts:

I get objectified by dudes and the occasional woman who see and enjoy seeing me in both fantasy and reality settings as sex worker/ porn whore/ stripper/ general slutty kind of gal- the whole three holes and a set of tits thing. And my, how so many people just object so heavily to that kind of objectification…but truth be known, as far as objectification goes, often times that is the sort that does not bother me in the least and hell, at least I get paid when that is the sort that is occurring.

In the minds of anti porn people (Gail Dines is a fantastic example), women in porn are not full humans with the thoughts, feelings, intelligence and whatnot that other people have- they are victims. Nameless, thoughtless victims whose images can be plastered up on a screen to illustrate a story of the anti-porners choosing.

Then there are the people who use us as demon objects. Wicked anything goes sluts who ruin marriages and destroy the moral fabric of society

Belledame at Fetch Me My Axe collected links and quotations on the trial of Angie Zapata’s murderer, recent suicides of bullied children, and the double-bind of being gay or trans in a homophobic and transphobic world. Read the whole thing. Here’s a snippet from Little Light at Taking Steps:

I remember kids beating me up with teachers watching, who’d smirk and play innocent when I asked them for help. I think they thought it would fix me, you know? I hear in so many of these bullying stories that the people who think bullying is an important part of growing up say, over and over, it teaches children how to fit in, teaches them to be better, teaches boys especially how not to step out of line, and these are important lessons somehow. They think this bullying fixes kids and teaches them not to be freaks. They know it goes on, even encourage it. And some of us survive, somehow, but some of us–like, God, these poor 11-year-old children–don’t.

After Belledame wrote this post, Zapata’s murderer was convicted of first-degree murder and commission of a hate crime. This is certainly the first time someone who killed a transwoman has been convicted of a hate crime and may be the first time that the first-degree murder charge has been upheld.

Audacia Ray at Waking Vixen is thinking about words and language with regard to sexuality and gender:

Language can be used as a weapon, as a tool of oppression and dismissal (I think of the times I’ve seen trans friends visibly wince when someone pointedly uses the wrong pronoun at them); it can be used to liberate and expand people’s ways of thinking about gender and sexuality. It can also be used to jumble a message and bring productive conversation to a standstill.

And finally, antiprincess at I Shame the Matriarchy puts a basic feminist principle into two sentences:

any thing (or thought or action) that challenges someone’s idea of what a member of Class Woman should or ought to do or be – that thing (or thought or action) is a feminist thing (or thought or action).*

it may not be a virtuous thing, or a pure thought, or a particularly bold or righteous action, but why should feminism have a skewed view of womankind?