Monday, June 25, 2012

Voyeurism, Feminism, and Social Justice

You can call me a creep or a pervert if you want, but frankly, my opinion is that if your panties are visible in public (that is, there exists an unobstructed line of sight from your panties to the open air, regardless of the angle you'd have to be looking at to see them), then you're exposing yourself (literally) to the possibility that someone may see them or, worse yet, get a picture of them. And that's really nothing to get upset about. I mean, who gives a flying fuck if somebody gets off on seeing your panties in public? And if you absolutely cannot stand the thought, then perhaps you should wear pants instead, or at least put on shorts underneath your skirt. It's simple logic to me.

I mean, really, it may creep you out to think that somebody would post surreptitious upskirt shots for the gratification of anonymous perverts online, but who does that really hurt? And how is it any worse than the government and business establishments spying on you every moment you stand within their jurisdiction? Why is voyeurism okay if a person is protecting his personal property or business interests, but not if he's looking for a sexual thrill? Are we all such modest prudes that we think a person is soiled and degraded and violated if somebody else finds them (or parts of them) to be sexually attractive and uses that image or thought to achieve orgasm in a way that doesn't even involve the knowledge, let alone the harassment, of the individual in question?

If you're a woman and you go out topless (assuming you live somewhere where that's legal), nobody has the right to sexually harass you or intimidate you, but you're crazy if you think men ought to be required to avoid checking out your breasts, and neither are you entitled to special protections from the rules of public photography. That's not to say that people can't cross the line into harassment in the course of checking you out and taking photographs of you, but the simple fact of being checked out or photographed (in public) does not necessarily constitute harassment in and of itself.

Wearing a skirt is absolutely not an invitation to harassment, abuse, or assault. But it may very well be an invitation for attention, even if just the visual kind, and there is nothing unjust about that.

If my dedication to feminism seems less than sincere, it's because "women" are probably one of the largest minorities in the population, and there are far more, far smaller minorities, who are being subjected to far greater discrimination and mistreatment than women are at the hands of "the patriarchy". That's not to say that dealing with women's issues is not crucial to the construction of a more just society, but I'm a little bit more concerned about those other minorities - particularly the sexual minorities, who suffer immensely at the hands of the 'morally righteous' who wield a lot of power within the current social structure (with or without constituting a strict majority, thanks to their deeply-ingrained cultural brainwashing - if you think I'm being paranoid, let me ask you this, what sort of attitudes toward sex do we teach children, both consciously and, especially, subconsciously? Not just priests and conservatives, but even the liberals and freedom fighters among us - who are nevertheless still obedient state-fearing individuals. And do we honestly expect our kids to suddenly overturn the entire developmental foundation of their attitudes toward sex the day they turn 18, or whatever the age of consent is in your jurisdiction?).

So although I have nothing but respect for the female half of the population (in fact, I generally like them better than the other half), I am particularly sensitive to attempts to liberate one subset of the population at the expense of another (like how nudists raise themselves up in the process of denigrating sexuality, so as to gain favor in the eyes of the morally righteous who wield so much power over our culture). And so if certain feminist initiatives exist at the expense of a positive sexual outlook (this is obvious in the sex-negative feminist discourse, but more subtle, and thus more concerning to me, in allegedly sex-positive, or sometimes sex-neutral, feminist discussions), I'm going to address that concern. Because, ultimately, the path towards greater social justice is going to have to embrace, sooner or later, a different approach toward sexuality than the one we currently have, and my opinion is that the sooner we deal with that, rather than allow our current dysfunction to fester and spoil every other social advancement we accomplish, the better off we'll all be.

I mean, seriously, wouldn't you rather a guy give you a thumbs up for flashing your panties rather than another woman shout "slut" at you? In what twisted universe is slut shaming no worse (if no better) than the acknowledgement of sexual excitement? Oh, that's right, a universe where sex is evil and all men are rapists. A universe where male desire is but a weapon used to degrade and objectify women, rather than one side of an equation balanced by female desire, both of which can combine, under the right circumstances, to form a beautiful union of flesh and/or soul.

But you don't even need a male and a female to accomplish that. I fail to see why, in this modern age, we are still so overly concerned with gender. Males bonding with males, females bonding with females. And all sorts of persons who don't fall into the gender binary, expressing themselves in unique and creative and sometimes unprecedented ways. If you ask me, 'feminism' is passé. That's no slight against females. It's a recognition of everything else in this radically diverse world.

How can you limit yourself so much, to the point of saying, 'it is of unique importance to focus on the plight of women' in today's society? The plight of women is no more or less important than the plight of homosexuals, the plight of transgender and transsexual individuals, and the plight of any number of minorities, the smallest of which is the individual. To be a humanitarian is not to focus on one to the exclusion of others, but to embrace them all with equal respect. Of course, I recognize that your interest and personal experience will lead you to one or another plight above and beyond the others. But in your pursuit of social justice, you must not neglect the plights of others, and be careful not to advocate change that benefits you over the rights of some others.

True equality is not gender equality but equality of the individual, whether man, woman, gay, straight, androgynous, gender fluid, republican, democrat, ex-patriot, otherkin...or anything else that exists somewhere in the grand database of human imagination.

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