Millions of Peaches, Peaches for me

14 Jun

So I was watching So You Think You Can Dance last night…(and OMG-did anyone else start crying at the piece Lacey and whatever his name is did? It was incredible!) and watching the one hip hop piece, the gyrating hips and asses of the couple and wondering, why is it only offensive to people when the girl is doing it?

The girl, Fania? (I’ll call her F since I don’t remember) was obviously VERY uncomfortable with the dance she had been given. She had to gyrate and pulse her way through certain segments of the piece, and one look at her body language could tell you it was like watching a rape. I had to look away after awhile. She was that uncomfortable with it.

I started thinking about the common suggestion that women are degrading themselves with this type of thing, that they’re exploited yadda yadda yadda. I’ve heard it all frankly, and it smacks me of Dworkinism. It’s like the assumption that no woman likes porn, that it’s all BAD BAD BAD and only horrible animal low life men could possibly like it. Women cannot handle it-women are only pieces of people, figments who do what they’re told, and shake their boot at whomever is around. It is the woman’s job to carry the moral bank on her shoulders.

Funny. Men don’t seem to carry this huge load around about dancing or porn, or their sexuality. If the guy is gyrating, shaking his thing, watching dirty movies, it’s ok. He’s with it. He’s adventurous. He’s one of the guys, and no one bats an eye. Put the same kind of in control, my body, my time attitude on a woman though, and it all goes to pot. She doesn’t know she’s being exploited or ruined. She’s not smart enough to get that she’s not supposed to enjoy it. She can’t possibly understand what she’s doing to herself.

Women have been polarized, while men are free to enjoy themselves, their sexuality. Women are told that they aren’t “really” in control of their sexuality, since they are “doing what men want.”

At what point is a woman allowed to take control of herself, for HERself? At what point are we allowed to act like men in terms of being unapologetic for our sexuality, for using our bodies as men sometimes do? When does F get a chance to shake what she’s been given and not be so patently uncomfortable with it? When do we get a chance to be just as free?

I haven’t believed in “feminism” strictly speaking, in a very long time. It segments what I’m allowed to enjoy, what I’m allowed to be, or at the very least, the common thread of feminism does. I rarely identify as feminist because I find it a limiting label. Within it I can’t enjoy “male” porn. (I’m supposed to be offended because it’s too “hardcore”. Give me a fucking break. I’m so sick and tired of hearing that.) I can’t be outwardly flirtatious or sexual since then I’m just “playing into the patriarchal stereotype”.

My belief is that women should be able to be just as sexual as men, even if it’s to the point of degradation. Why? Because unless we understand where everyone stands, we’ll never find a middle ground. If there is always this unspoken assumption that my “purity” as a woman is more important than any of my needs, we will never find that place where women can interact with men on the same level. We will forever be uncomfortable objects, since we’ll never be allowed to be anything more.

Look at someone like Peaches. She drives me nuts, but I respect that woman immensely. Because she is breaking that wall between gender, between the expectations of sex and girlhood. Because she is unafraid to “fuck like a man” and put it all out there. We can pretend all we want that what’s between our legs doesn’t make a difference, but it does until we acknowledge it, and explore what it means when a man and a woman do the same dance, and the woman is a whore, and the man is just another guy dancing in a club.

10 Responses to “Millions of Peaches, Peaches for me”

  1. Jason Dufair June 14, 2007 at 9:40 am #

    I always love your perspective, Thor. Fresh and original.

    I stumbled across Peaches maybe 4 years ago on emusic – some sort of mix of Women’s Hard Rock. I really liked her. The music is solid and hardcore lyrics are… entertaining. Haven’t listened in years. Should dig those tracks out.

  2. Netter June 14, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    I think that string of feminism you discuss is the same part that said women couldn’t be fulfilled as SAHMs. Just trying to break the previous mold created a new one. Even with the all the progress we made women are not viewed as sexual beings. We’re still sexual objects. It’s the hypocrisy and prudery that what I want to do in my bedroom with whomever I want subject to someone else’s morality. Just another way of keeping the “other” as an other. Keeping parts of our sexuality dirty keeps us outside the male circle of “in”.

  3. Jhianna June 14, 2007 at 1:33 pm #

    Very well said – and me too. I’ve not called myself a feminist in a long time for pretty much the same reasons.

    The other thing that kills me is when someone says something isn’t “Ladylike” or feminine. I’m a woman, right? Then by definition, whatever the hell I feel like doing is feminine. As for “Ladylike”, how many gentlemen do you know these days? If they’re not going to be gentlemen, then why do you think I aspire to your idea of ladylike?

  4. Bromac June 14, 2007 at 3:12 pm #

    I am a feminist. But I don’t think I am a feminist in the terms to which you are referring. I regard feminism as the empowerment of women. That women have the knowledge and opportunities to accomplish the same as men.

    What they do with that knowledge and opportunity is not for me to decide. I fight only for their opportunity.

    I watch porn. I am quite a dirty girl….with my husband. That’s my right, just as much as my husband’s. It’s my right to make those decisions for myself… it should be for every woman. That’s my feminism.

  5. radicalmama June 14, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    There are feminists who are pro-porn. As a feminist, I am against porn in every way, but that doesn’t mean I am with the conservatives lobbying for anti-porn laws. I think in terms of social and feminist theory, not legality.

    If you enjoy orgasms and feel entitled to them (I do and I do), you can thank feminism for it. If you don’t enjoy orgasms and never want to have sex again if you so choose, than you can thank feminism for that as well. Feminism is about choice for women. The whore/good girl is a binary created by patriarchal structures to control female sexuality. Feminism did not create that duality. It’s been around since Eve and Lilith.

    Phooey, you dragged me out of my blogging hole. I must go study now. 😉

  6. thordora June 14, 2007 at 4:33 pm #

    I don’t think feminism created the dynamic Venessa-but I do think that in many ways, certain subcultures identifing as feminist support and perpetuate it. Shit, the last issue on On Our Backs I bought was full of many points of view I was uncomfortable with, because it was extreme, and in a way, unfair to the average woman who actually DOES do what she wants, how she wants to.

    I think my own experiences color my perspective. I’ve never listened to someone tell me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl-in fact, that made me do it more. I grew up in a household which never has mentioned the big O, or sex in any meaningful way. I waded through a lot of crap to find it.

    In that crap, was a hole lotta crap about the boundries of my choices. Instead of freeing me, I found many parts of feminism made me subscribe to yet another “gospel”, which I didn’t agree with either. it’s not black and white-it never was, nor will it be.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve always done my thing, without truly needing the back up of a cause that I don’t feel the love for feminism. I’ve never had the stereotypical “girl” experience because I do not interact as a “girl” is expected to-I interact as a person. I find that makes a TON of difference.

    Sure, I have more choices, but I can’t help but think I would have been one of those “odd” women doing what they wanted regardless. Because I refuse to listen to anyone tell me I can do or see something. The porn angle I use as an example-everywhere I go, I see people telling others that it’s this horrible thing that only stupid women are dragged into, that they don’t want to do it, none of them.

    That just isn’t true. And I resent being told that I’m a cheaper version of grrl because I enjoy it, and not the puffy kitten chick porn either. I resent feeling cast off into a corner with “men”. Why can’t a woman be more than what the latest cause believes her to be?

    As we crawl farther away from the first wave, I think we’re also crawling away from true choice, and getting bogged down in semantics. (The recent case where a transgender sued an agency trying to help rape victims because they believed you have to be born female to help a raped women who was born as such comes to mind

    Why are we having some of these arguments, instead of focusing on what matters-TRUE equality,meaningful equality? I want the right to be mediocre and ugly like any man. I want the right to shake my ass without judgement, from EITHER side.

    You’re on the internet everyday-you see what I see as well, but I think we’re on different sides of the same fence. I just perceive a double standard coming from as many women as men, and since I was about 17, it’s bothered the hell out of me.

    Shit, I don’t want to belong to any club that doesn’t want me anyway.

    Blah blah. I’m always a sucker for this discussion. 🙂

  7. radicalmama June 14, 2007 at 4:54 pm #

    While I see your point, I think that saying that women can enjoy porn uncritically (key word) is putting the cart before the horse. I am not against YOU enojoying porn. I am against it being accepted unquestioned and having people internalize it without being at all critical of what they see.

    [That to me is no different than watching anything else. I watch a lot of shows that irritate my feminist sensibiities, but I can still find humor in them. (I also point out sexist comments and stereotypes to everyone around me.) Awareness. That’s what I am getting at here.]

    If men and women are ever truly equals (sexually and otherwise), than porn will be enjoyed by both men and women without anyone being exploited. As is stands, perhaps some women can enjoy porn, but I don’t believe that most women can enjoy porn in a genuine, do-it-for-themselves sort of way any more than I find stripping or prostitution to be empowering for the majority of women who do it, no matter what Annie Sprinkle has to say about it.

  8. thordora June 14, 2007 at 5:30 pm #

    I guess that’s the difference-until we CAN treat our bodies with the same nonchalance as men, until we actually have the freedom to be as raunchy (or as kittenlike) as we wish with our sexuality, in private or public, I do not believe we will be equal. I find many of the woman I talk to who don’t like porn, or overt displays of sexuality have been conditioned to think like that. (and I’m SOOOO not pointing that finger at you) We aren’t supposed to like it anyway, right? But why not?

    Because we can never accept that some people, male or female, can willingly enter into a business enterprise involving money for sex(uality)? If a man enters into it, we’re a lot less likely to say he’s being exploited, whether he’s dancing, selling himself, being photographed, etc. Add boobies and a hoo-hoo, and we change our tune.

    I don’t belive that sexuality and exploitation go hand in hand-it’s been one of my big sticking points with the “women’s” movement. Some of my predilications don’t necessarily jive with said movement. That doesn’t help either.

    To me, the dangly, or non dangly bits are the great wizard in all of this. If we truly are the mistresses of our souls, then why can’t stripping not be exploitve? If I had a great body, and I stripped to pay my way through school, is that different than if I had great legs and modelled through school? Or wrote erotica for money? I have never believed that sex work was always exploitative-in some cases it is, but not all.

    The equation of sex work+women=exploitation has always smacked to me of another way to tell us that our sexual thoughts and feelings, and possibly of inclination to make money, is not valued. If a man is a sex worker, he may be percieved as a “stud” (from men and women both) A woman? A slut. I haven’t seen feminism resolve that little issue yet, and I don’t think it will so long as sexuality, in it’s many forms, is relegated to it’s BAD WRONG! arena.

  9. radicalmama June 14, 2007 at 8:23 pm #

    Are we arguing? 😉

    I think this is like the mommy wars. All the moms who work feel like they are neglectful and all the moms who stay at home are inadequate.

    You don’t think that you can like porn in this society, and I feel like I have to justify NOT liking it. It sucks for us both.

    I am not saying that it isn’t possible for people to be sex workers and not be oppressed. I am saying that it isn’t possible until all sex oppression is erradicated. Men can be prostitutes and strippers because they are privledged in this culture, not because they are essentially more sexual.

  10. thordora June 14, 2007 at 8:30 pm #

    We aren’t arguing! I’m just enjoying myself. 🙂

    But I don’t know if we’ll agree 100%.

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