I struggle with feminism on a daily basis. This is mainly because I don’t feel it should be an “ism” at all. How can anyone NOT be a feminist? Oh I know they are out there, but let’s just say I haven’t been convinced they’ve built their castle on anything but loose sand. I mean, there is no formal “Masculist” movement. Certainly, it hasn’t been required, historically speaking. Nor have men had to fight for certain “inaliable” rights (i.e. voting). So it’s not that I don’t understand why Feminism is an “ism,” it’s that I choose to lead by example instead of doctrine. Who am I leading? I have no idea. I just am.
This isn’t to say that I don’t have copious amounts of respect and reverence for the struggles that generations of women have made before me. I do. I’m humbled by the suffragettes. I think Margaret Sanger should cannonized. And I’m not so naive as to think the battle has been won. But I think we’ve moved out of traditional warfare. It’s time for some new techniques. Lobbying and protests are all well and good, but they don’t make me feel any safer walking alone at night (although if I was to be attacked sexually, on some level I’d certainly be happy someone was fighting for my reproductive rights.)
I blogged earlier this week about the movie The History of Violence. No, I didn’t like it. I had issues with the plotline and direction. BUT I don’t want to talk about the movie so much as the sex scenes. Now, I posted a little blurp on facebook where I said in so many words, “Wow I hate that movie but the sex scenes were hot.” Now, generally speaking, I got some agreement there. One friend (and he is a friend, so I don’t want to be attacky…but his comment irked me) said that he liked the movie, but thought the sex scenes were “kind of gross.”
I hazzard to guess that instead of focusing on the female body as vehicle for arousal, it actually showed the female body BEING aroused and certain techniques used to arrive at that point. These are rarely seen in standard filmmaking. So I found it refreshing in SO many ways. 1. A married couple having great sex. 2. The woman being not a passive participant, but an active initiate without having to resort to any psuedo or actual domina behavior. I.e. she was in charge and fully feminine at the same time.
Basically what I’m saying is this: while I am always going to be a high-heel, makeup wearing girly girl, I’m tired of feeling (on a cultural level) that TRUE female sexuality is “gross.” No it’s not. Well…no more gross than male sexuality. Our bodies do some weird animalistic things whether we want them to or not. We’re already concerned with the appearance of our bodies, we do not need to be embarrassed by the function. I’m talking to myself here more than anyone.
I guess what I’m saying is that there is a cultural black hole where female sexuality should be. What turns us on? I think, generally speaking, we don’t know. We gain satisfaction by turning other people on, and I think we mistake that satisfaction for actual arousal. Sure, Giselle is hot. And if I looked like her, I would have some serious power over men. But who cares? What turns Giselle on? It’s not that I want to KNOW…it’s that we’ll never know. Not really.
The fact that Playgirl exists doesn’t mean we’re equal. Because a. Ewww. I’m not saying ewww because of the male body. I’m saying eww because they take the male body and just stick it where a naked female body would be.
Now, I’m very lucky. I have a wonderful husband and he gets it. In fact…every day I realize how lucky I am on so many levels. So let this not be mistaken as some sort of misplaced aggression. I’m angry as an adult American woman in the year 2009. I’m angry that an actual multi-billion dollar industry exists to make the female body “less gross” for all intents and purposes. It’s sick. Sure I’ve had a brazilian wax, but let it be known I did not go “all the way” because looking like a 12 year old and having THAT be a turn-on is real realllllll f***-ed up, my friends.
After much reading and research, I heartily believe that the feminine aspect of ancient religion has been systematically removed. Just watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow can occasionally show this. Just a couple days ago, I saw someone bring in a buddhist figure, and it was appraised to be a “Guardian” or “war figure” or “war god” when it had breasts, a pregnant belly, and a VAGINA with prayers inserted into it. Yes, the face was angry and had a full and “masculine” jaw line but I assure you at that moment, so did I.
I guess what I’m saying is that I see similarities between the “new” form of warfare we are seeing in Afghanistan compared to the old WWII battlefronts and marching battalions and the 70’s era bra-burning and picketing and legislation compared to today’s requirement for a more elegant approach to teaching both our boys and girls about real sexuality. Therein equality lies.