Rebecca Whisnant on ‘Sex-Positive’ FeminismPosted: February 15, 2011
Rebecca Whisnant on ‘sex positive’ feminism:
Now think about it: in this cultural and political context, a feminism that acquiesces to certain key male entitlements, while simultaneously presenting itself as bold and liberated and rebellious, is likely to be appealing to many women. A version of feminism that supports girls’ and women’s desired self-conception as independent and powerful, while actually requiring very little of them as far as confronting real male power, will similarly have wide appeal.
On adaptive preferences:
The basic idea is simple: if I can’t have something (or think I can’t have it), then it behooves me not to want that thing. Conversely, if I’m going to get something whether I like it or not, then I’ll be happier if I can get myself to want it and like it. So people adapt their desires to fit their situations, rather than vice versa, thus minimizing the pain and cognitive dissonance of continuing to want something that they don’t think they can get: “if you can’t have what you want,” as the saying goes, “then want what you have.”
The concept of adaptive preferences is indispensable to understanding the self-reproducing dynamics of oppressive systems. In particular, I think it can help us understand the new brand of feminism[. . .]
Quoting a blogger on that certain strain of liberal feminism:
“Fuck-me feminism … is a school of thought that suggests [women] are empowered by reclaiming and controlling our own sexual objectification, by reclaiming the power of pornography and the sex industry for ourselves, and by flaunting our desire and willingness to have sex. In other words, being a man’s sexual object can’t hurt me if I want to be objectified; pornography and the sex industry can’t degrade me if I enjoy it or if I profit from it; being used for sex can’t devalue me if I’m using him too; being regarded as nothing more than a pussy to fuck can’t dehumanize me if I want him to fuck my pussy.”