This last month I went to get a haircut, naturally I chitchatted a bit with the stylist. As we were talking, she said she is not a feminist and believes in gender roles. My jaw must have dropped because she started to rationalize this statement, using horrifying example after horrifying example of times in her personal relationship where they used gender roles. I was too stunned to speak and I honestly didn’t know what to say. So I said nothing. I laughed in discomfort, we finished the cut and I left. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. How could anyone, especially a woman, not believe in gender equality? Being me, I decided to comment about it on my Facebook. The majority of my friends have a similar mindset to my own, surely we were all about to have a great conversation on feminism and banishing gender roles.
Oh how wrong I was. Instead I was sent down a deep rabbit hole to redefine my moral conduct and what the sexual revolution looks like to me.
So I posted my post and continued about my day when bing! a notification came through;
“The whole point of the sexual revolution and gender equality is to give people the choice to live how they want. If she wants to live a certain way, then what’s wrong with that?”
Being me, my initial response is usually emotional and all I’m thinking is EVERYTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT. It is my life’s work to change the sexual culture that plagues America so the thought of encouraging people to live as they want, even if it goes against my moral values, threw me for a loop. As an activist and sexual being I have adopted the mentality that all sex is good sex as long as it is safe, sane, and consensual. At this point, I was starting to question this philosophy. If she is aware of her gender roles, wouldn’t that make it consensual? Was she not agreeing to those terms? The idea that someone can not believe in gender equality and still fall into the perimeters that I had been laying out for the sexual revolution kept me deep in my own head space for days. Yes, I believe in people living the way they chose. The idea of me trying to take away that freedom from someone left a bad taste in my mouth. Then again, so did the idea of allowing these ideas to perpetuate.
At this point in my thought process, I began to think about all the sexual activities I am into and have ‘justified’ because they were safe, sane, and consensual. Consensual nonconsent, spanking, choking, and activities like these which many others may view as dangerous, crazy, or weird I find to be ok under the guidelines of safe, sane, and consensual. The more I thought, the more I fell into these mind loops that I wasn’t being supportive, that I was going against all that I stood for till a notion dawned on me. My sexual activities are just that, activities. Others can choose, or not, to take part in them. Gender inequality however, is not an activity we just get to opt out of. We don’t get to tell everyone else if we want to use gender roles or not. When we allow these societal norms of inequality to continue, we are allowing inequality to reign over ALL of us, not just a select few. There is not a way to pick and choose this kind of matter, it is an all or nothing sort of deal. That is one deal I won’t take.
Something I have noticed in my exploration of the American sex culture, is that using the word feminism almost always gets negative comments back… and I work in the adult entertainment industry. Never once have I been put down for doing porn but as soon as I say ‘feminist’, there is an uproar. I wonder why this word causes such strong, negative reactions. Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. That’s it. Equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender. Somewhere along the way it seems this has been misconstrued. Feminists these days are made out to be unattractive, men hating woman who scream angrily and while waving cardboard signs in your face. I don’t see anything in the dictionary about that…
When I say feminism what I mean is…
I don’t want to live in a world where a short skirt makes me a whore and a target
I don’t want to live in a world where men are told they have no control over themselves
I don’t want to live in a world where boys can’t play with barbies and girls can’t play with dumptrucks
I don’t want to live in a world where a person’s birth given genitals make them superior or inferior
When I say feminism what I mean is…
As a woman, I should have the same rights and opportunities as men
As a man, I should have the same rights and opportunities as women
That’s it. It really is that simple of a definition.