Friday, July 31, 2009

Intersex

So in essence you'd like for people to think of sex in the same way that we think of hair color, or eye color, or other sorts of physiological traits.

Exactly. We might say two people have brown eyes but that doesn't mean that they're brown in exactly the same way, or what is seen through those eyes is the same.

In the book you argue that we need to think of sex as being fun -- and not just for reproduction. What does that have to do with the intersex?


We have mutilated thousands of children a year [through genital surgery], and parents and physicians have felt the drive to do that because their No. 1 goal is to maintain reproductive function. If we think the sole function of genitalia is reproduction, then nonreproductive genitalia is, in some sense, a bad thing and something needs to be done about it. If we think that genitals serve a lot of functions beyond reproduction, maybe we wouldn't feel like it was so necessary to try to make people look alike.


Full article here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am a feminist.


I was scrolling through Could You Date a Man Who Didn't Call Himself a Feminist?. The article itself was disappointing, but I was excited to see it because I am dating a man who doesn't call himself a feminist. He is a feminist. He just doesn't use the word. And it bothers me. Just like it bothers me that people working in feminist organizations, literally devoting their lives to feminism (almost hostilely) reject "feminist". Just like it bothers me when I hear their justifications, like this comment from the article: "I would never attach the feminist label to myself, people already do enough labeling to each other so why do it to yourself."

Here's the thing. Labels are powerful. People place labels on others because it works. And it's powerful to subvert the meaning - make it dirty - in order to shame people away from their work. If no one wants to be labeled a feminist then patriarchy can continue on it's happily oppressive ways. It is powerful to label yourself in the ways in which the world will see you. And feminism is powerful - but it's being co-opted and "re-branded" by people who are not feminist. Of course it has a bad rap and it happens because of 3 things:
1. Feminists are too afraid of the backlash to take on the label.
2. Non-feminists get to then articulate the definition. Then it becomes not what it is (the theory that women are human beings in their own right) but what it isn't (women who are humorless/loud/bitchy/man-haters/home wreakers/ugly....).
3. Women who are not feminist take the label and further pervert the theory. (You can not be feminist and be anti-choice. If you think women are not capable of agency in their body then you do not believe in their inherent human-ness.)

I can't do a lot about what anti-feminists do to smear the label, but I can own it, wear it proudly, and demonstrate that THIS is what a feminist looks like. And if there's a backlash, that is part of my responsibility to the movement to take on.

I am a feminist. More specifically a Radical, Anti-porn Feminist. So bring on the backlash.

*Image from OneAngryGirl.