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Author Topic: Anti-heterosexuality?
Luke_Skywalker
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Member # 29728

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So, I was thinking about standard relationships and such, and thinking about how much sexism seems to be involved. Sexual objectification runs rampant through our (human) society. I won't make any blanket, it's only this category, claims here, but I believe it is definitely safe to say that it is predominantly the guys mistreating the girls. Following this conclusion, I have been viewing actively amorous heterosexual couples with a sort of disdain, as I keep thinking it's like the guy is taking advantage of the girl.

I'm bi in a sort of 90% heterosexual way, but I now feel deeply ashamed of what sexual feelings I have for girls. I mean, I feel like were I to accept it and not repress it that it would be sort of like ignoring abuse. Heterosexuality feels abusive because of the sexism I know to be present.

I had an argument with my dad about it (he's into the whole transhumanism philosophy, so I thought he'd get the bit about ignoring primitive biological impulses), and he angrily compared it to radical feminism (in a manner suggesting he doesn't agree with it at all). I looked up radical feminism on Wikipedia, but it doesn't mention anything like what I was talking about, so I did a Google search. This time I found stuff on various forums/blogs where radical feminists were mentioning in passing that they had beliefs similar to what I described. Heterosexual sex was always rape because of the patriarchal pressure always present that meant women couldn't really consent (I wouldn't take it that far; I just view it as unethical), and they instead engage in "lesbianism" despite contradicting sexual orientation. This is indeed quite similar to what I came up with on my own. However, these were all passing mentions, and I couldn't find any articles on the subject.

What is the Scarleteen opinion of this philosophy? Is it, like, the secret to human ascension? Or some crazy misandry like my dad said? Thoughts would be helpful.

Posts: 8 | From: USA | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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Feminism is about promoting equality of the sexes. Are there some small groups of feminists that hold these views you describe? Yes. But on the whole, feminism is not about hating men - that would simply be more of the same. Fighting sexism with sexism isn't going to help anything.

Furthermore, heterosexual relationships are not going to be abusive by definition, and intercourse is not rape by definition. Relationships are always made up of the individuals in them, and there is no reason to perpetuate stereotypes, binary genders and sexism if you have recognized how harmful that can be.

I've found a couple of posts you might find interesting:
In this post, Heather explains "radical feminism":
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/8/t/001138.html

This post links to an article on How Men Can Prevent Rape, and has an interesting discussion:
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/25/t/000286.html

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-joey
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I think it's really, really important to acknowledge that when we're talking about interpersonal relationships, while we can't live in a vacuum, we CAN construct and nurture our relationships in ways which do not fall in line -- and counter -- cultural sexism or patriarchy.

That doesn't mean it's necessarily easy to do, or that there aren't areas where we can't really bridge those divides, but for the most part, it is doable. I'd personally say that trying to repress heterosexual feelings or avoid heterosexual relationships, when those are the things you authentically feel and want, at best will be ineffectual and at worst may just compound the problem by sending a message that sexism is something people have no power over, rather than something people actively make or enable. If men and women don't work -- be it in sexual relationships, friendships, work relationships, what have you -- to create new constructs, healthier ways of relating and thinking about each other, issues of sexism aren't going to magically be fixed by just walking around them, you know?

In other words, a man and a woman can, among themselves, work it out so that they have a relationship where there are not pressures for any given kind of sex, where the sex they are having is about both people's emotional and sexual preferences, needs and likes, where it's not directed by the male partner exclusively or primarily or informed only by male heterosexuality or masculinity ideals or constructs.

And if any two people DON'T do those things, no matter what sex or gender they are, they're not going to be likely to just happen into a healthy, egalitarian relationship.

I'd also pitch in that for you all, growing up not post-feminist (since I don't think as a culture we're anything close), but well past the advent of feminism, you have a lot more opportunities to have balanced dynamics than someone my age, and even more so, a generation older, did. When you're asking to read up on this idea, for instance, Andrea Dworkin or Ti-Grace Atkinson would be radical feminists would be two I'd say really focused on this, but in reading, you might be able to see how some of what they're writing about may feel dated to you: they're often talking about men as a class in a way which has been shifting for some time, albeit slowly.

Lastly, understand that a lesbian relationship does NOT mean there are no power imbalances. If only it were that simple. For starters, sexism isn't the only -ism, nor is male privilege the only kind of privilege out there. In a female-female relationship, for instance, where one woman is white and the other of color, one wealthy and the other poor, one abled and the other disabled, the mere fact that both are women doesn't mean that cultural issues and imbalances are moot. Even in cases where everyone is on a level playing field when it comes to different kinds of class, that still doesn't guarantee a harmonious dynamic, or mean that sexuality between women has no chance of being abusive.

(In fact, I might even go so far as to posit that "political lesbianism" -- the term sometimes used for women who choose to partner with women arising from some of the ideas you're talking about, is a kind of often unacknowledged heterosexual privilege in and of itself. Because it's "chosen" for political reasons rather than attraction to women being something a woman can't repress or deny without some measure of emotional/social pain or discomfort, it can provide a bit of an out when it comes to the homophobia others will usually project on same-sex-partnered people.)

I'm a pretty strident and active feminist, have been so all of my life. I also have had partners of all sexes and genders in my life by virtue of being strongly attracted to all genders for all of my life -- I don't choose or deny those attractions, they just are -- and I have to say that I feel strongly like the efforts we've all made -- or not made -- in those partnerships, the mindfulness we all did -- or did not -- bring to the table when it came to equality, had far more influence over the equality and balance of our relationship than what combination of gonads we had going on.

[ 05-16-2008, 11:29 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67076 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I wanted to make sure to add something else here, that also came up in that rape thread Joey included.

In this post and your other one, Luke, I hear a lot of distrust of yourself due, primarily, to nothing but your chromosomes or gender.

But really, I feel pretty clearly, and have observed fairly widely, that the guy that think about this stuff at all, let alone with as much depth as you're thinking about it, are very unlikely to abuse anyone or lord your privilege over a woman. A lot of the problem with these dynamics is both denial they exist, a lack of awareness about them, and a lack of effort when it comes to not enabling them.

I'd also say that the mindset that men (or anyone else) is powerless when it comes to choosing how they behave is a big enabler, so if a guy gets trapped in that kind of thinking -- the "this is how men just ARE" stuff -- I'd say he's more likely to wind up enabling sexism or abusive dynamics than if he realizes and accepts that how men are is how men choose to be and -- especially given male privilege -- men have a very real choice when it comes to how they are and what their relationships with women are like.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67076 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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