A feminist work in progress.

MEETINGS Monday at 4:30pm in Harlan House. Food and discussion. Feel free to bring a friend!

WHO ARE WE? Third Wave Resource Group is a student rights and resource group centered in Harlan House, at Cornell. We are a safe, comfortable environment for community members which provides information, equality and empowerment informed by feminism. We believe feminism is about values & ideals. Empowerment & education. Community building & understanding. (And calling people out on their bullshit).

RESOURCES WE PROVIDE Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advocacy, access to Safe Room, emergency transportation, library, kitchen, sewing room, safe zone, and confidentiality.

CONTACT 319)895-5750

Several factors cloud perspectives on BDSM and make it all the more difficult for the feminist women involved. For a start, pornography is not the most accurate portrayal of the scene. Sure it’s hot, and I’m a big proponent of porn, but it’s helpful to consider the differences between a kinky scene of whips and chains on the set of an adult entertainment film and incorporating similar stuff into a real life relationships. That is, porn will cut straight to the juicy middle of the action hot XXX material, but in reality (at least when you’re trying it out for the first time) there’s a whole lot of less sexy stuff either side. Boundaries established, safe words outlined, choices made and consent declared. Now, this can come about as a casual conversation and needn’t be a signed contract, but nevertheless it happens and makes a big difference to the personal security and state of mind of all participants.

Similarly, I doubt many practitioners of bondage and discipline get up and go about their day qualm free immediately after a session, or even roll over and go to sleep. Fetish clubs have ‘aftercare’ rooms for a reason. Sex involving BDSM is bound to be intense, and as part of a relationship where the ‘normal’ power dynamic is very different from the ‘sexual’ one even more so. The sex I have with my partner is genuinely scary, genuinely painful and I couldn’t be happier with this. But it means the attention I need afterwards is heightened and different from more typical sex. I need reassurance and comfort, and my partner knows this and will always provide.

As I traveled around the country, I found that when girls did identify as feminists, they did not identify with the official leadership. The younger feminists I encountered wanted a sharp departure from the “sex-positive” or pro-porn feminism of years past. They wanted a movement that stressed dignity more than rights. Growing up in a culture saturated with pornography, they consider it impossible that feminism should mean more of the same, even in a bid for equality. Many of them said things like, “I do agree with the initial meaning of feminism, which was that women have power by virtue of being women”; and, “I don’t think the first feminists wanted us to be more like men.” In ‘New Moon,’ a feminist magazine for tween girls, Krystie, eleven, from Illinois, tells this story:

“I was listening to a Chicago radio station; they were having a contest to win a pair of tickets to something. In order to win the tickets, a woman had to show the DJs her breasts. The woman who had the biggest breasts would win tickets. That is one of the sickest things I’ve ever heard. I don’t think I’ll ever listen to that station again. Neither will my friends.”

Will this girl grow up to believe, like [Jennifer] Baumgardner, that “dancing at a strip club” can “radicalize” women? Probably not. As the third-wavers continue to advocate a public, crude sexuality and younger girls feel oppressed by how public sexuality is, the two sets of women are on a course for an inevitable collision. In talking to them, I came to think of these younger feminists as part of a fourth wave, since their beliefs tend to distinguish them from the third-wave feminists who are usually quoted in the media.

The fourth-wavers question pornography instead of wishing to star in it. They are more likely to be fans of Florence Nightingale than Nina Hartley. They are most taken with earlier feminists, the nineteenth-century women who were temperance advocates as much as suffragists. The suffragists argued that women should own property and have the right to vote precisely so that they might improve society with their moral perspective and their feminized heroism. The early feminists also believed in the sacredness of sexuality, it’s interesting to note.

So do these young women.

Shalit, Wendy. Girls Gone Mild:Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect & Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good. Random House; New York. 2007. (pg. 218 - 219)

What do you guys think of this? 

I think it’s degrading to women to say porn is inherently degrading to women. Of course, not all women choose porn out of desire or free agency, and especially during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we should be cognizant of this fact and the institutional factors that make it so. But many women consume and/or participate in porn actively and frequently, with enjoyment and discerning ethics. Discounting our participation erases our sexual agency and restricts our free sexual expression.

The reality of what women, even feminists, find pleasurable is not always politically correct. Sexuality is not neat and clean. I have talked to many feminist women who struggle to balance what really happens behind closed doors and what they feel the bedroom politics of a “good feminist” should be. Enjoying BDSM, strap-on sex and sex toys, genderplay, rape and incest taboo, mainstream pornography, and other “deviant” sexual taboos with a consensual partner does not make a person a “bad feminist” or a hypocrite. To the contrary, feminism is what gave me permission to love sex, with myself and with others, to embrace my sexual orientation, and find out what turns me on. Pro-sex feminism argues that recognizing the role of fantasy in sexual arousal and coming out of shame about sexual desires opens the door to a more frank and honest discussion about women’s bodies, consent, and safer sex. And that leads to better, safer sex that encourages communication and complete, enthusiastic consent to sex that is fulfilling and healthy. How is that not feminist?

Feminist Porn: Sex, Consent, and Getting Off  (via butchrag)

Not super into fawning over the 2G feminists as per the rest of this article, but this particular quote highlights a nice point

(via youdontlooklikeafeminist)

(via sluteverxxx)

I am a feminist, and because I’m a feminist I critique every medium of media I come across on how it treats women, racial minorities, people with disabilities, other religions and cultures, people who aren’t straight or cisgender or sexual, and people who aren’t upper class. Pretty much every media is horrible towards all of those people. For some reason people don’t see that unless it’s porn.

One thing about porn that I like to point out is that the people involved in porn have given their consent. There are women, and feminists, who like to be submissive sexually or who are involved in S&M in that way. There’s a huge difference between how you want to be treated sexually and how you want to be treated as a person. …

letthetruthlaugh:

PETA is planning to start a porn site to advocate veganism. What does porn have to do with being vegan? Absolutely nothing, but PETA just has a long history of using sex and exploitation to send out their message because otherwise no one would give a fuck about anything these assholes had to say. 

Like always, if you have to use fat shaming and the objectification of women to sell your ideas, your ideas aren’t any good. 

(via leonhascal)