Dear Coquette: On context


Okay. I heard this one the other day, but from someone who is normal and did not care exactly what the argument is. “Having sex in the context of the patriarchy is inherently sexist.” I wish I could inform you more so you could shred it to pieces.

Meh. In the context of the patriarchy, you…

This quick Dear Coke Talk update hits me at an important moment. For the past couple of weeks I’ve felt like I’m reaching the end of my rope when it comes to writing about *spooky voice* soooociaaa~aaallll justiiiiice. I never want to see my own tumblr as a chronicle of established cultural racist/sexist moments, I try to break new ground in every post I make. Convincing myself that I’m “learning” when I babble for 2000 words about topics like Shibe memes normalizing violence is a big part of why I do it in the first place (it’s not like I have an audience to sway). I’m at a point where, if I’m honest with myself, I’m hitting diminished returns: the specific topics that compel me are getting too nuanced to be practical for haphazard, non-organized discussion.

The timing makes sense, as most of the faceless tumblrinas I’ve argued with over the past weeks are egalitarians: members of a movement developed in reaction to the extremism of various meninists and feminists, regardless of the moderate tenets of either. It’s hard for me to find a fresher, contemporary shift in feminism… But it’s not like it’s bringing anything new to the table. It actually signifies the end of the line, as its existence is contingent on a crop of nemeses who have taken their respective movements too far. With the egalitarians (practiced as preached), we end up with a movement that respects and enforces reasonable aims on both sides and calls out those off the deep end.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, many self-identified egalitarians join the cause because they believe that right now, while we should all be equal, women are making way more trouble than men. Egalitarians and MRAs alike will take Dworkin-esque male-genocidal theoretical concepts like the one quoted and treat ‘em as the Feminist Ten Commandments. This always upsets me, because what’s my response to that? “No, that’s not real feminism!” or, even worse, “you’re taking it too literally!!!”

But Coke Talk gets it. She reminds me that you draw your own lines, that you realize, instinctually, when someone refuses to be thoughtful. That the idea of “all sex is rape” means that humans turned sex into a power play, and not “all women think men are rapists” (that’s where I stare at the MRA/egalitarian side of the room) or “every man is a rapist” (I turn my glare toward the stewing radfems).

I should only fight for my beliefs when my beliefs are challenged, and these days it happens less and less. Perhaps that’s why I’m goading people on tumblr lately: some last, painful gasps from my self-doubt.

Dear Coquette: On context

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