The Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy, edition #14 is up at Silent Porn Star, and Sugarbutch is hosting the next Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy, edition #15, here.
That means, I am on the lookout for links about sexual freedom and autonomy. Email them to me to submit your site to the upcoming Carnival, which will be posted – here! – on Monday, January 26th.
That gives you almost TWO WEEKS! to write something. Get crackin’.
UPDATE: Deadline for submissions for the January 26th Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy #15 is this Friday, January 23rd. This’ll give me the weekend to read and compile the posts. Thanks!!
So, I am thinking about sexual freedom and autonomy. What does that really mean? How does that apply to feminist butches and femmes, to queers in this particular time (and place), to this community that I’m involved in of lesbian feminists exploring gender within the sexblog community?
I’m into words, so I have to start with what these terms mean.
Google helps me out with the definition of “autonomy”: personal independence; the capacity to make an informed, un-coerced decision; a person’s ability to make independent choices.
I’ve thought a lot about autonomy and choice, especially in terms of gender roles, of butch/femme, and the ways that exploring these gender dynamics often appear to be reproducing a compulsory gender hierarchy. One particular thing about choice that I want to reiterate is that I believe that all options have to be empowered and equally valued in order for it to be a real choice. The consequences to both choices have to be comparable.
If someone says, “Either you can eat this pile of dog poo, or you can eat this pile of carrots,” uh, that’s not really a choice.
So, sexual autonomy has to do with the ability to make choices based on all options being empowered, instead of having sexuality dictated upon you by cultural or gender stereotypes. Sexism is rampant, and androgyny is somewhat required in queer communities, so butch/femme roles are misunderstood, mistrusted, belittled, seen as archaic, and dismissed.
But autonomy in choosing to explore gender can come through 1) deconstructing the cultural expectations, identity alignment assumptions, and compulsory roles, especially regarding the ways that those things are destructive, hierarchical, and marginalizing; and 2) reconstructing selective parts in ways that have inner resonance, that “just make sense,” and are empowering.
I’m talking about gender autonomy here, I guess, not so much sexual autonomy – sexual autonomy would more be along the lines of … what? Choosing your sexual partners? Coming out? Claiming a kinky sexuality? The concept of autonomy automatically calls to my mind questions and issues about gender development and identity, perhaps because I feel that is more fragile than sexual autonomy – I think there is more discourse on sexual autonomy, claiming your own sexuality, learning yourself and your own sexual needs, etc.
What does this really mean? What does it mean to be “sexually free”? The stereotype that would perhaps come to mind is someone promiscuous, sexually “liberated,” who has a lot of sex. And hey, that person might be sexually free, sure, but that’s not necessarily true, and definitely not the only way to look at it. What other ways are we able to exercise our “sexual freedom?”
So, considering these two concepts – sexual autonomy and sexual freedom – I have some questions for you:
What does “sexual autonomy” mean to you? What does “sexual freedom” mean to you?
Are there any particular stories you want to tell about gaining (or losing) your own sexual freedom or autonomy?
How does your knowledge of feminism play into the concepts of sexual freedom and autonomy?
How does your sexual autonomy or freedom conflict, interact, or engage with your feminist beliefs?
Any other questions or ideas you might have about these concepts?
I’m open to all sorts of posts – your submission to the Feminist Carnival does not have to specifically answer these questions. In my ideal dream world, here’s a list of folks who I would hand-pick to contribute to this conversation. Please consider writing something on these questions – or, at least, submitting something that you’ve worked on during the month of January.
Green Eyed Girl
Femme is my Gender
Queer Fat Femme
Just Like Jesse James
Ladies in Waiting
Jess I Am
Don’t Let’s Talk
When or If
The Femme Show
(These are some of my favorite blogs, if you didn’t get that, so if you aren’t reading them already I highly recommend them. These folks keep me thinking, engaged, and conversing about sex and gender in ways that make my head twist in knots and light up and feel alive. Send my love to ‘em all.)
Let’s queer (and butch/femme) up this Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy.