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Sexy Manifesto
May 27, 2003
by "Jenny"

A few days ago someone I know called me a "hypocrite" because I like to dress attractively and can be openly sexual in my performance with the band, but claim to be a feminist. (This same person runs around in halter tops and miniskirts and does a zine largely comprised of collages from old porno mags, which is somehow okay. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.) I went livid and read her the riot act (or is that the riot-grrl act?) because

  • I don't like being insulted or having unfounded accusations hurled at me.
  • Why are my philosphies and methods of expression being judged by someone who doesn't understand the feminist movement, it's many factions, or it's history, and once told me that before she enrolled in one women's studies class "I thought feminists weren't allowed to wear makeup before now."
  • It's the year 2000, haven't we moved beyond this bullshit stereotyping yet?

    You know what I mean. The angry "women's libber" with the crew cut and khakis and the non existant libido, above all else. This asexual, curmudgeony creature has been trotted out since the days of women's suffrage, when editorial illustrators would create woodcuts of dour, cigar chomping "suffragettes" complete with facial stubble and warts. This fictitious person who's...I dunno, running around setting porn shops on fire or lobbying to have the male race banned, or whatever it is the patriarchal opposition is afraid of. Apparently since I'm wont to rail against rapists, anti-abortionists, stalkers, and the like, I'm supposed to look this way. And I'm supposed to never crack a dirty joke or flirt with a cute guy either. Trouble is, I just don't see what one has to do with the other. Or more precisely, I don't see what believing in equality has to do with compromising one's sexuality. So I decided to put my personal views on the topic up here and out into the open. Who knows, maybe I can be a beacon of light for some confused soul who thinks that demanding respect somehow means having to forfeit her favorite lipstick--ok NOW I'm being a smartass...

    I believe two things are integral to human nature. The first one is sense of aesthetics. People like things that are visually appealing to them. Especially artistic types, who think about it extra. I like to wear cute clothes, glitter, weird jewelery and hair accessories--and I like the way this stuff looks on me. Human nature. We adorn ourselves, we adorn the places we live (even the most not-vain people I have met will decorate their houses with posters and tchochkes. While my personal style is not what's considered traditionally feminine,(I hate the color pink, mostly because I feel that growing up girl it's been crammed down my throat), it's always what I find visually stimulating. Pretty. My desire to put on a mini dress to me isn't that seperated from my drive to create art, or my appreciation of a beautiful flower garden. Visual orientation. Aesthetics. Mind you though, I'm not a slave to visual pleasure, and I also think that's an important factor. What I wear may be scanty to some, but it isn't constricting. I won't wear anything that slows or constricts my movement, makes it hard to run, or hard to throw a punch or a kick. My sidekick's just as good in a dress as it is in a pair of jeans. (Actually, my sidekick isn't as good as my front or roundhouse, but hell I'm working on it.) I have fun wearing makeup (the more unnatural looking the better) but don't feel like I need it to leave the house or to impress people. I've known women who feel that they can't go to the corner for a carton of milk without makeup on, and that's where I feel one becomes a Pink Slave. What do they think will happen? Who are they feeling judged by? Societal standards in general, I suppose, but the sooner anyone frees their mind from what the status quo thinks, the sooner they'll be on the track to seriously Getting Their Shit Together, or finding their True Will, or whatever you want to call it.

    The other thing I feel is integral to human nature is Libido. Espousing a feminist philosophy does not involve having your genitals glued shut or the pleasure centers of your brain lobotomized. Just because I don't like having it forced on me against my will doesn't mean I don't like sex period. And having been raped as well as having had sex with lovers who I wanted to be with, I feel qualified in saying there is a WORLD of difference between the two! Duh.

    I'm a sexual being. I get horny. (I also get days when I just want to veg in front of the TV with a good horror video, but who doesn't?) I'm a polyamorist at this point in my life, a sensualist who responds to different sensations of touch and new experiences, and I have my various fetishes, which I may go into later. It doesn't matter what they are, the point is that I'm aware of them and I've learned to enjoy them guilt free. I'll admit that it's taken some time to get to that point, to accept that I'm not really what I've always been told I'm supposed to be. I'll never be that Disney heroine who meets the right man and suddenly weds and settles down to squirt out kids. Ok, no biggie. I've met enough people in tired-and-true marriages and relationships who are absolutely miserable to suspect that I'm not the only person like me out there, but so many women are raised from childhood being told this is what they want. Don't believe me? Go into a toy store and take a walk down the garishly pink "Girl's" aisle.

    Sometimes I feel like my sexuality is an electrically charged current crackling through my body, and it feels powerful! I believe every woman has the potential to feel this Sex Power, as opposed to being a sex object, they just have to learn how to find it. In their minds as well as their bodies. It's an energy blast from Aphrodite herself. When I'm acting bawdy or wiggling around, I'm not really wondering whether or not boys will notice or like it, I'm simply enjoying it myself! I think that's the crucial difference.

    Hey, back in the day there were Goddesses of sexuality(among other things). Aphrodite, Astarte, Ishtar --apparently there was once a time and place for this concept of female sexuality. Now it's reviled--and feminism is supposed to help women to escape from the rigid little roles of what is acceptable femininity. Which is why I feel that sexiness is completely in keeping with feminism. Now, did I leave my knife in my black vinyl garter again?

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