Note: I wrote this post last night, April 30, but for some reason it didn’t go through. Here’s take two.
It’s day twenty-seven of the Blogging “Yes” project, the final day. Thank you to everyone who dropped by to read the posts, and to everyone who picked up the book and read along with me. You can see all the project posts by using the Blogging “Yes” tag. So, today I read Jaclyn Friedman’s essay, “In Defense of Going Wild or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Pleasure (and How You Can, Too).” Not everything in this essay sat well with me, but what I do want to focus on is the correlation between male drinking and rape, and how a particular male-focused culture is partly to blame for our stigmas about girls “going wild.”
For day twenty five of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read “Real Sex Education” by Cara Kulwicki. Cara is one of my favorite bloggers because she keeps everyone updated on all the crappy victim-blaming stuff that goes on, but sex education is also one of her big topics. I remember reading this essay for the first time and being really intrigued because I knew I was for comprehensive sex education, but I had no way of picturing what that would look like. If you think about what Cara’s proposing, it really could be revolutionary.
We’re coming into the home stretch of the Blogging “Yes” project. It’s day twenty four, and I read Jessica Valenti’s “Purely Rape: The Myth of Sexual Purity and How it Reinforces Rape Culture.” This essay is basically a very bite-sized version of the argument in Valenti’s book, The Purity Myth, but what really stuck with my is an example from my own state, Maryland, of a law (no longer in force) that made rape impossible if a woman said no after penetration.
For day twenty-three of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read “The Process-Oriented Virgin” by Hanne Blank, author of Virgin: The Untouched History (and apparently a fellow Baltimorean!) I’ve blogged here before about my personal virginity definitions, so I may be rehashing a bit, but I think Blank does a good job of making a point that comes up again and again in feminist circles: there really is no such thing as a virgin.
For day twenty two of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read a conversation entitled “Who’re You Calling a Whore?: A Conversation with Three Sex Workers on Sexuality, Empowerment, and the Industry.” The sex workers in question are Susan Lopez, Saundra, and Mariko Passion, and the conversation focuses on various issues of power, control, and empowerment in sex work. As I was reading, I found myself drawing a lot of parallels with BDSM, especially when it comes to female control and empowerment, and I thought I’d comment on those here.
For day twenty-one of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read “When Pregnancy Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Be Pregnant” by Tioloma Jayasinghe. This essay was something of a revelation when I first read it, because like most (white, middle class) people I tended to have a knee-jerk reaction when I heard about “crack babies” and pregnant women drinking or doing drugs. How dare the mother? How sad for the child. Jayasinghe does a good job of pointing out the problems with this reaction, which include ignorance of the roots of the problem in racism and poverty, studies that show hard drugs actually aren’t proven to harm babies, and the lack of available treatment options for mothers who do want help with a drug problem. This is an issue that is in fact just as important to the pro-choice movement as the right to a legal and affordable abortion, but much less talked-about.
For day twenty of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read Cristina Meztli Tzintzún’s essay, “Killing Misogyny: A Personal Story of Love, Violence, and Strategies for Survival.” Tzintzún tells the story of her struggles with the cycle of abuse, cheating, and STDs, and I wanted to particularly focus on an issue she brings up towards the end of the essay, which is how the feminist movement and other progressive movements can address the involvement of abusive and oppressive men.
For day nineteen of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read Anastasia Higginbotham’s essay, “Sex Worth Fighting For.” So far, this is the essay I disagree with most in the book, because it focuses on a self-defense program that focuses on actively fighting off men. Though I recognize that some women do feel empowered by physically fighting, I would argue that both men and women need to work towards non-violence, and that fighting violence with violence is not the right solution for everyone.
For day eighteen of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read Julia Serano’s “Why Nice Guys Finish Last.” I have to admit that I had a lot of trouble with most of Serano’s argument, specifically her points about men and about nice guys versus assholes, due to my own experiences with men. So instead, I’m going to focus on what she says about the sexualization of women and the virgin/whore dichotomy.
It’s day seventeen of the Blogging “Yes” project, and today I read the short but gorgeously powerful essay entitled “Shame is the First Betrayer,” by Toni Amato. It’s hard to know what to say about this essay, because it says so much in such a concise format. It does really resonate, though, and is an important reminder of how violence creeps up in queer communities, with queer people not only as victims but as perpetrators.