I haven’t blogged step-by-step about all the things that have changed in my brain over the last couple of years with regards to the work and activism I’ve been involved with for the last decade. But things have shifted a lot for me, and hopefully also in how I do my work (forget about intentions, its all about actions). Lists are hip on the internets these days, right? So here’s some things:
- Feminism: Once upon a time, “feminist” was my main self-identifier, the word I held onto above all else. Now I feel sort of embarrassed to admit that. Yeah, and don’t tell me that feminism can be a good thing! I know that parts of it can. But when people whom your ideology fucks over -in the case of feminism, especially people of color and transgender women- tell you that your ideology is fucking them over, you should shut up and listen. And excuses about intentions are still excuses. Feminists largely remain cissupremacist, racist, classist, and too obsessed with my next point…
- The Idea of Choice: the concept of “choice,” as in being free to choose something or other, is a fallacy that rests on middle class ideals. The choices of most people are not free, they are constrained by something, shaped by the circumstances of one’s life. (But this is slippery thing: to say that there’s no such thing as choice is close to saying that when people do things that others may regard as a bad idea, they were duped into doing them, and perhaps aren’t responsible.)
- Proving That I Like the Sex Industry and It Hasn’t Done Me Any Harm: I used to try really hard to prove that I was a healthy, well-adjusted person and sexual being both before and after working in the sex industry. Neither is really true, and I still don’t entirely understand the lines of causation and correlation. But it used to be really important to me to prove my wellness, which I saw as defending myself and maybe even defending the sex industry. The two narrative options available for people to tell stories about their experiences in the sex industry are: “I was a happy hooker!” vs “The sex industry ruined me.” So I opted for the first, even though it didn’t fit. But it sure sounded better. The reality is much more complex. I think that space for these realities is starting to be created, and I hope I am part of creating those spaces, and making it possible for people of many experiences to talk about their stuff.
- Sex Positivity: So, I like sex. I like it more now than I have in years and years. And although a lot of sex positive culture has queer rhetoric all over it, its become clear to me that so much of sex positivity centers around unchecked, gleeful privilege. I’m only interested in a sex positivity that has a racial and economic justice frame, and that’s most definitely not what I’m seeing.
There’s definitely a lot of intersection among the shifting, mostly that I’ve gained a different kind of race, class, and gender analysis and have started to take a harder look at things that were once precious to me. Which is, you know, hard. But proceeding and doing things as I’ve built them because that’s how I’ve built them is shitty, if the foundations are corroded with racism, classism, and cissexism - as I’ve found they are.