Lighter than air

A post about “sex positive feminism” at the New Statesman.

Time was when the very word “feminist” was transgressive. These day people rarely object to it. There’s a bitter irony to the fact that “but I’m a feminist” has become one of those phrases by which male dominance can be positively reinforced. “But I’m a feminist and I don’t mind objectification / unpaid work / sexual harassment / being called a cunt!” The implication is that we’ve come full circle. Feminism has worked through all of its issues and realised that the grown-ups were right all along. All that stuff we used to call oppression? We’re totes cool with it now.

It’s certainly not true that “these days people rarely object to” the word “feminism.” Hah! If only. And usually the people who make a big show of not minding sexual harassment or being called a cunt are not people who self-identify as feminists. But other than that, yes; there’s a real point there; not a new point, but a real one. There’s a surprisingly large amount of hipster sexism out there, of people who think it’s just so last century to pay any attention to things like sexist epithets or sexual harassment, who think the only right response to such concerns is “lighten up” or “shut the fuck up, cunt.”


  1. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    While I am delighted to see more and more posts ctiricizing the many, many failings of sex-positive ideology, that one was not great in defending being actively shitty to and speaking over sex workers.

  2. says

    Agreed, @1. Glosswitch’s crap attitudes towards consensual sex work and her dismissal of those who do the actual work is one of the reasons I don’t typically bother with her.

  3. cressida says

    I love* “hipster feminism.” I’m definitely going to start using that one.

    *love the term, not the thing. The thing is fucking pernicious.

  4. Juliana Ewing says

    Yeah, if you follow her links, you get to a lot of stuff from people who somehow don’t sound at all like her summing-up. In fact they make way more sense and have way more nuanced positions.

  5. sacharissa says

    She certainly has a point there but I was not impressed by the article generally. Her dismissal of sex-positive feminism was far too generalised. It wouldn’t fairly represent people like Greta Christina or Jen McCreight.

    She says that calling oneself “sex-positive” implies other feminists hate sex but there are some feminists who take a very negative view, although I agree that these are not mainstream (In documentaries on sex feminists often have the interviewer looking embarrassed because they speak so frankly, as though sex wasn’t a dirty topic at all). Plus it’s still very common in mainstream public discourse for people to talk about sex and sexual matters as though they are distasteful, naughty or even dirty. I’m often amazed at the number of adults in long-term relationships who still see sex as “rude”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *