I have never been much of a fan of classical "Feminism." Too many activist women have tried to tell me what I should be, what I should do, or more importantly, what I shouldn't do. They tell us what's appropriate and what degrades us; they tell us what to think, what to feel. Frankly, I have no use for them. Early on I decided that part of liberating women is empowering us to use our own bodies the way we wish to do so.
But MacKinnon and Dworkin and their ilk don't represent all feminists. When I became aware of Sex-Positive Feminism (and read a bit of Camille Paglia) my dislike for the word "Feminism" softened a great deal. So when my friend Coro told me about the rabid anti-pornographic girls in his university class complaining about the objectifying of women in pornography, I gladly told him:
"Have they ever even watched any porn? A woman in a porn film remains a woman. We're not objectified in the slightest. You want to see the victims in a porn film? Where are the men? You know, men: the faceless frameworks on which the rigid erect cum fountains are mounted? They're nothing more than living dildos for her pleasure! Objectifying women, my ass...figuratively speaking, of course. Men should be the ones complaining, except men like being sex objects."
Therein lies the difference. The very things so many of us women complain about, men have no problems with at all. If I were to smack a guy's ass at work, I guarantee you he's going to appreciate it, rather than report me for harassment. And it is because of these differences in how men and women think, that our push for sexual equality has overshot the goal. Oh, we've done great things for women. But what about men? There's a new double standard at work, and we haven't even noticed. The most obvious place for the standard is in our sexuality. Female same-sex relationships are far more accepted than male same-sex relationships. In general, even open-minded people are repulsed by male-on-male intimacy. Intellectually, they have no problems with it; to each their own, if you're not hurting anyone else, do what you will! But they don't want to see it! But women? Well, lesbians are hot, right?
This double standard continues through less explicit categories, though. Today, thanks to the wonderful progress we've made culturally, a woman can be a CEO, a soldier, a police officer, a firefighter, an action hero, whatever she desires, and be no less a woman for it. In fact, men like the female action hero--she's sexy! But what of the man who is a homemaker, or a dancer, or a hairdresser? Why is it that those things make him somehow less manly? How is it that in our push for equality, men are still culturally denied the right to cross gender rolls, while women can do so with impunity? Of course, the truth of the matter is that men, themselves have perpetuated this. While men have chivalrously accepted us as equals, they are still brutally sexist to themselves. And when you're your own worst enemy, who is there to stand up for you?