Archive for feminism

Project August: Day 1 – “Can a Submissive Be a Feminist?”

Posted in D/s, Dominance, Feminism, Project August, submission with tags , , , , on August 1, 2013 by Xajow

What is Project August? Well, here at Liberate One World Headquarters, Project August is my plan to post every day in the month of August of the year A.D. 2013. But that is not all. Every post during the month of August will be a response to a post on some other blog. Yes, you could see your blog mentioned right here at Liberate One. Continue reading

Time Magazine, Breast Feeding and Feminists

Posted in Feminism, In the News with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2012 by Xajow

This past week a lot of noise was made over the cover of Time. Here is the cover in question:

a mother breast feeding her 3 year old son

Time Magazine cover of Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her 3 year old son

And yes, that is her son, who is almost 4 according to the Los Angeles Times. The question on the cover is interesting. “Are you mom enough?” Reading through the comments at various sites is also interesting. Some people cannot believe that the woman would allow her son to keep breast feeding. There are accusations that this will somehow give the boy a breast fixation. As if that does not already happen with boys who were weaned at an early age. And apparently some people are very squeamish about the image. Or shocked. Or both. Really? Images of women in bikinis or bra and panties (or less) are found everywhere, even on the occasional magazine cover, but this image is shocking? I don’t get it.

More interesting is the reaction some feminists have apparently had to this growing trend of some women taking their motherhood very seriously. One of the articles I came across was at the Time magazine site. It is titled “Why Breast-Feeding Isn’t the Bugaboo”. Apparently some European woman with no children wrote a whole book about how women who breastfeed and stay home to care for their children are ruining the struggle against the patriarchy.

In The Conflict, a provocative new book that was a best seller in Europe and is predictably making waves in the U.S., leading French intellectual Elisabeth Badinter argues that women have become newly enslaved by biology — more specifically, by their breasts. The ideological pressure to nurse a child — in the name of all that is natural and good — has had the nefarious effect of keeping women in their place, at home, far more effectively than any maneuver men might dream up. “Sexist men can celebrate: we will not see the end of their reign any time soon,” writes Badinter. “They have won a war without taking up arms, and without having said a word. The champions of maternalism took care of it all.”

Pooh yi. Got that, ladies? If you want to nurse and rear* your child, you’re letting the sexist men win! I said it before and I’ll say it again. That kind of talk just exchanges one kind of paternalism for another. Apparently women who want to be free to make their own choices in life have to not only fight against the patriarchy of sexist men, but now also against the matriarchy of women who know better than you do how you should live your life.

Why do some feminists try to tell women how to behave? Go read Animal Farm by George Orwell. No, it is not really a book about feminism, but it is about people (well, animals… it’s a metaphor… or a parable…  just go read the book already) who claim to fight for freedom only to end up falling into the same behavior they fought against. Anti-socialism as only a socialist could write it.

Anyway, I sympathize a little with Jamie Lynne Grumet and other “attachment parenting” mothers. They are going to get called names and have people tell them they are wrong and stupid and foolish and impractical. People do the same to libertarians all the time. I’m not advocating for “attachment parenting.” I do not know enough about it to have an opinion about it. But I know what it is like to be judged by people who do not know me or what I think, but talk and act like they do. It will thicken one’s skin. Eventually.

Oh, and, uh, happy Mother’s Day.

*Yes, I said rear. Corn is raised. Children are reared.

What Is This “Fifty Shades of Grey” I Keep Hearing About?

Posted in D/s, Feminism with tags , , , on May 5, 2012 by Xajow

Someone mentioned to me the other day something about a scene in a book called Fifty Shades of Grey. It sounded intriguing. And then my mind moved on to other things. Earlier today, my Google News page listed articles about this book. Didn’t someone mention that the other day, I thought. Yeah. So what is this? I clicked a few links, and it gets more interesting by the minute.

I don’t mean the book. I have not read it, nor even purchased a copy. But the news about this is interesting. More interesting still are the opinion articles that seek to condemn the book.

Apparently the book is a novel about a woman who ends up in a Dominance/submission relationship with a man. And not a mild one either. Apparently this novel includes some explicit BDSM scenes. The interesting part is that the relationship is not, as seems typical in fiction of various sorts these days, a Dominatrix and a man who wants to be abused. Rather this Fifty Shades of Grey book is about a woman who chooses to submit to a man as he seeks to control her almost completely, if the descriptions of the book are to be believed.

And apparently the popularity of this book has some women scared. Several of the links via Google were to opinion pieces that were swift to insist that the book was somehow a setback for feminism. Whitney Frink, over at msnbc.com, says

Some argue that the storyline (and graphic sex, no doubt) provides escapism for its readers. I would have no problem with this rationale if the book wasn’t gaining popularity on the idea that it’s both fun (“mommy porn”) and positive (“a true love story”).

[…]

I’m no Gloria Steinem (I do like a door held for me once in a while), but the feminist in me was clawing to get out as I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” If S&M is your thing, be my guest. If vapid books are your thing, to each their own. If it helps awaken your bedroom imagination, so be it. But let’s not tout this book as anything other than the big step backwards that it is.

She does not actually explain why someone should not find the book fun and romantic. She just seems to assume everyone would agree a book about a woman submitting to a man is a “big step backwards.” Though why is it is a step backwards she also does not explain.

Gina Barreca at the Hartford Courant says,

Women are pretending that they are the virginal heroine (with the all-too common name of “Anastasia Steele” — don’t you know, like, 12 women with that name?) whom he chooses as his object of desire.

Except “desire” is maybe not the right word for it: maybe “target” or “victim” would be more accurate.

And maybe “bondage” is a just sexy word for “degradation.”

1) I don’t know many women named Katie Scarlett O’Hara either. Sheesh. 2) Clearly this woman feels threatened by the book. Or at least its popularity. Apparently she is one of those feminists who cannot fathom why a woman might choose to submit. Indeed, that a woman might choose that offends her sense of feminism. She starts her column with this:

A hundred years of the women’s movement and what do we have? Women sneaking off to read “mommy porn” on their Nooks.

Wouldn’t our suffragette grandmothers be proud?

Why women choosing their own sexual fantasies and/or lifestyle is somehow anti-suffrage, Ms. Barrecca never explains.

This book must be some kind of awesome to have some women so afraid of it.

But Ms. Barreca lives in a strange place. She says also,

Women are encouraged by our culture to look for men who will provide them with an identity, even if that identity is “slave.”

They are? Where is this going on? Somewhere this must be, because over at Salon.com (where Tracy Clark-Flory talked to Dominatrices about the book) is this quote:

[Melissa] Febos, who considers herself a feminist and also has submissive fantasies, says, “I still live in a culture that floods my consciousness with instructions to be a passive, sexual object; that my only power rests in my sexuality as defined by men’s desire,” she says. [sic]

Where do these women live? In the 1950s? In the U.S. culture of 2012, images of strong women are everywhere. Very nearly the only BDSM images one ever sees in the mainstream media are of Dominatrices punishing men. There are strong women in comedies, crime dramas, sci-fi, fantasy, medical dramas. Some of the most popular authors of our day are women. Women hold places of power in politics and corporations. Yeah, I know, it’s still a male dominated society, but don’t tell me females are not told be strong independent women all the time, all over the place. Because they are.

Any feminism that does not allow for women to voluntarily choose to submit in a non-abusive relationship is not feminism. If women are to be free to choose their own lives and free to own their sexuality, then we cannot also say to them, “but these choices are unacceptable and if you choose one or more of them then there is something wrong with you.” Why should we not say that to them? Because that would just exchange one kind of paternalism for another.

I suggest those who frown upon submissive women should try not to be afraid of strong women. There is more to strength than being bossy. And not all bossy women are strong, just at not all bossy men are strong. If what I am saying offends you, I suggest further that is your problem, not mine.