Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sex is scary (at least to some journalists)

I wonder when it will be possible for feminist journalists to write about sex without assuming the prissy Victorian attitude of beleaguered virtue in need of rescue. As I have discussed before, the words porny, pornified, porned, pornification, and any variation thereof are endlessly repeated by writers who claim to be feminists.

The most recent example of this "sex-is-bad-mean-and-scary" attitude is Tracy Clark-Flory's article "Generation XXX: Having sex like porn stars". Like many other people who write about sex today, Clark-Flory conceals her terror of human sexuality beneath the guise of worrying about teenager's unhealthy sex lives. It would be much more useful, of course, if she left the poor teenagers (whose crazy sexual excesses are wildly exaggerated anyways) alone and just talked about the reasons why the idea of sex makes her so uneasy.

Teenagers watch to much porn, suggests Clark-Flory, and as a result, pick up unhealthy, exploitative attitudes to sex: "What's most interesting to me, though, is the idea that young women of my own porned generation are embracing a sex act most often intended to humiliate the fantasy whore on-screen. Someone will surely pen a book someday soon that details how women's pornification of their sex lives amounts to shameful self-exploitation. There's another way to look at it, though: Enthusiastically engaging in that defining act, the grand finale of most X-rated fare is one way to dramatically announce oneself as a member of our dominant sexual culture -- which is the world of porn." The overused variations of porned, pornification and similar weird terminology signal the author's enjoyment of talking about pornography. Simply put, a need to play so much with the word betrays a desire - and simultaneously a fear - to play with the reality of porn.

The feminists' uneasy attitude towards sex is part of the reason why breastfeeding children more or less until they are ready to retire has become a huge part of the feminist agenda. Reacognizing that female breasts are sexual organs is too painful, so huge efforts are being made to concentrate on the purely utilitarian, asexual uses of breasts.

As feminists, we have to recognize that this fear of porn, of our own breasts, of sex in general is the legacy of the patriarchal culture. We will never be truly liberated until we reclaim sex as our own.

No comments: