I’m going to get right to it. My thoughts on sex positive feminism might ruffle some feathers. The term in and of itself implies something negative. If one must identify as a sex positive feminist does it mean other feminists are sex negative? Quite the contrary. Here’s a workable definition of Sex Positive Feminism:
…sex positivity is simply the idea that all sex, as long as it is healthy and explicitly consensual, is a positive thing. WGAC uses sex positivity within our programming about consent because it allows for a more nuanced understanding of how gender socialization, patriarchy and sexism have an impact on sexual violence.
Healthy and consensual? The former isn’t necessarily a component of the latter. There’s nothing healthy about sex work whether it’s consensual or not. That is probably my biggest objection to the sex positive movement. Working as a stripper, prostitute, or porn star is not a badge of honor nor should such occupations be respected. The women should be respected but not the occupations. In other words, a woman forced or willing to sell her body should receive sympathy while a woman that completes a medical degree should be congratulated. No matter how much we try, the two professions are not the same and never will be. More importantly, sex work is damaging to women which is why I will never understand why any self-proclaimed feminist would support it.
While I reject sex positive feminism, there are some issues I understand. I detest slut-shaming. Patriarchy has normalized male promiscuity while demonizing women for the same form of sexual expression. I’m going to be blunt. A so-called hoe is entitled to the same respect that a so-called chaste woman receives. She should expect to enjoy the same benefits of protection, marriage, and other things that life has to offer. The number of partners she’s had should be irrelevant. Before anyone get’s it twisted, I am not speaking as a woman with a promiscuous past. I just don’t think that my choices make me better than the so called “hoe.” Her life doesn’t hurt me personally so why should I shame her? Besides, she’s a human being, right?
Sex positive feminists must proceed with caution in terms of intersectionality. Black sex positive feminists, unfortunately, do not have the same purpose in this fight that their white counterparts do. Historically and now, we are seen as hypersexual with no moral boundaries whatsoever. Embracing “promiscuity” in the name of sexual freedom will have disastrous effects for us. It’s similar to the unfortunate reality that a black child does not have the freedom to play outside with a toy gun like a white child does. Just take a look at media depictions of sexually free white women vs black women whatever her position. Michelle Obama was bashed for showing her arms, yes, her arms!
I can get with the calls to end slut-shaming but I can’t get behind sex positive feminism as a whole. Honestly, what’s the point of it other than to legitimize actions that disempower women?