*This post is an introduction to your Carnival of Kinky Feminists site Admins. It is not the intent of any of us to define feminism for others, rather to express how we understand and define feminism for ourselves. This post comes with no trigger or squick warnings, but it is rather long!*
The Carnival of Kinky Feminists has four administrators; in alphabetical order they are Lissy, QuietRiotGirl, Transcendancing and Snowdrop_Explodes. All four of us identify as feminist and kinky. Of the four of us Snowdrop was able to come up with the most concise definition so he gets to go first!
Snowdrop’s Concise Definition of Feminism:
I believe that feminisms’ foundations are formed from the combination of women’s action in, and application of, social sciences, politics, philosophy, and activism to their own lives and the way those lives relate to other women’s lives. The common theme is it’s about women. Women in every walk of life have contributed to this foundation by virtue of living their lives and talking about them.
Feminisms tend to be activist both on a personal and a political level, but can be more purely academic as well. However, even the act of dispassionately and accurately recording women’s lives and experiences in terms of social science research, for example, is a revolutionary and activist thing in a world where the male is seen as the norm or default.
I believe that for both men and women, being feminist starts with listening to, and acknowledging as valid, women’s experiences and understanding the diversity as well as the commonality within them.
QuietRiotGirl: Riding the Third Wave (originally posted here)
Feminism has had a resurgence recently. The third wave is finally here! In the UK there are feminist organisations sprouting up everywhere, dealing with issues such as equal pay, violence against women, objectification in the media, sex-work and lap-dancing.
And there’s the rub. I do not identify with these feminists, because my attitude towards sex, sexuality and sex work is almost diametrically opposed to that of the ‘third wave feminists’ around me. If I feel so differently from them on these important subjects, maybe I am not in agreement on many others either.
Two new pieces of Uk legislation, achieved through lobbying by high-profile feminist groups serve to underline my point of view. The first means lap-dancing clubs now have to apply for a special ‘sex establishment’ license, which costs money to obtain. The second criminalises clients of coerced sex-workers. I oppose these laws. The feminist lobbyists did not consult sex workers about their proposals. The laws will mean sex-work will go further underground, and will probably lead to sex-workers being forced to work in more dangerous unregulated conditions. Also, these feminists seem led by puritanical motives: they feel offended by sex work, and they want to remove it from their sight, from their nice suburban neighbourhoods.
My kink has become more and more important to my feminism as time goes on. Sexuality is a vital aspect of how we express and identify ourselves. When the UK also made a law criminalising viewers of extreme pornography, which passed unopposed by most feminist groups, I realised kink is more than identity politics; it involves the politics of civil liberties and minority rights as well. So now I wear my kink proudly, along with my support of sex workers’ rights, my belief in the equality of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, and my campaigns against racism and prejudice everywhere.
Your feminism is not my feminism and that’s ok. But in setting up this Blog Carnival, I am delighted and relieved to find myself amongst people whose feminism IS similar to mine. I am also looking forward to exploring the diversity of our kinky interests in a safe and accepting space. Let’s ride the third wave together and change the way it rolls onto the shore.
Transcendancing: This is What a Feminist looks like (originally posted here)
I believe that people should get to be the best people they can be, irrespective of the labels they choose for themselves, or have chosen for them.
I believe in equality – and that we don’t yet live in a world where this exists.
I’m committed to having conversations.
I’m committed inside of having conversations to expose that which is invisibly and insidiously contributing to the lack of equality.
I delight in views that differ from my own, but reserve the right to disagree and still value you as a human being.
In March 2008 I posted this for a few of us entrenched in a particularly disheartening conversation. When applied to what it feels like to be standing for equality in a world that some days thinks we’re already there, some days doesn’t care; I feel like my voice, my love and hope is multiplied. I feel like I am one of many standing up to speak and be heard:
We will do this. We will support and comfort and care for one another throughout the process, we will have respect, and we will give it – but we will not be silenced, nor dismissed.
Lissy: Don’t quote me on that: A non-definition of Feminism (originally posted here)
Dictionaries usually define it as the advocacy of women’s rights based on a belief in the equality of the sexes, and in its broadest use the word refers to everyone who is aware of and seeking to end women’s subordination in any way and for any reason. -Lisa Tuttle.
This post is my attempt to offer up a personal definition of feminism for The Carnival of Kinky Feminists. But I’m cheating and drawing on quotes I find useful.
Does feminist mean large unpleasant person who’ll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings. To me it’s the latter, so I sign up. – Margaret Atwood.
My definition of feminism starts with the idea so simple that women are people too. As people we all, to my way of thinking, have certain human rights. And the most fundamental of those is the right to make our own choices. The oppression of women in particular is maintained in many parts of the world not just by structural inequities which privilege the men who best perform hetero-normative masculinity and prevent women from participating in aspects of the social world, but also by preventing women from developing their very ability to see themselves as being capable of making choices in the first place.
My idea of feminism is self-determination, and it’s very open-ended: every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do. – Ani Difranco
At its base my feminism is about women as individuals, about women defining for themselves who they are, who they were, and who they hope to be. This probably says more about me than feminism… I don’t like people telling me who I am, who I was or who I ought to be, it’s the sort of thing that pisses me off no end… feminism to me is women being allowed to be their own idea of themselves- not anyone else’s idea of what they should be… something that patriarchy continues to try and deny women as a group.
Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others. -Liz Stanley and Sue Wise
Nobody has the right to impose their definitions of reality on other persons… including myself … I consider doing this bad wrongsies…
I do not wish them to have power over men, but over themselves. -Mary Wollstonecraft
If there is one thing I wish I could teach the world about feminism it would be that its not about women having power over men but about women having power over themselves. There are still a great many women in this world who are denied/ have their opportunities for self definition and empowerment limited by the sneaky, tricky forces of patriarchy. Like a many headed hydra, patriarchy presents different faces at different times and in different places… some of these faces are charming and the words they speak seemingly reasonable but underneath lies the ugliness of a monster that defines humans by their genitals, all humans, including men…
Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man. -Margaret Mead
Just as I believe that Patriarchy harms women, I also believe it harms men. Patriarchy privileges most greatly those men who perform the hetero-normative masculine gender role… this role in my opinion, is just as limiting to the human psyche as the feminine one… those who don’t perform this role are punished by patriarchy… men aren’t the enemy, patriarchy is,
Women’s liberation is the liberation of the feminine in the man and the masculine in the woman. – Sister Corita Kent
Patriarchy might have tried to divide behaviours into masculine and feminine but to me they are human behaviours. We should not be privileged or damned by adherence to, or deviation from, a confining set of norms that exist solely to reinforce the privilege of the elites at the top of the hierarchy. Feminism to me, is not about women becoming like men, or men becoming like women, it is about all of us being able to just be human. To be our best selves as we define it and be able to choose to live in accordance with that self.
A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.- Gloria Steinem
But here’s the thing, while patriarchy does harm men, I don’t call myself a humanist as some people are wont to do, because the masculine continues to privileged over the feminine, because:
In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture, impeding their right to participate fully in society. – The World’s Women: Progress in Statistics 2005 UN
Women’s rights are human rights and until they are acknowledged as such I will remain a feminist… sadly I’m expecting to be one for the rest of my life.
And now get cracking on your submissions for the first carnival peoples! Submissions can be via Blog Carnival or by emailing them to kinkyfeminists-at-hotmail.com. As Lissy is overloaded with uni work the submission date has been extended to the 1st June- which was originally intended to be the publication date.