We have a problem. Being feminist in Britain now means you’re anti-sex work and anti-porn. The sex-negative feminists (heirs of the 1970’s radical feminists) have hijacked these debates and the word “feminism” itself. Women (and men) are afraid to call themselves feminists if they don’t share these ideas. They may feel, as I did, that because they are okay with sex work or pornography that they are not feminists.
This creates a vicious circle: when only anti-sex work, anti-pornography women call themselves ‘feminists’, they create a sex-negative public image of feminism. And so when the media portrays feminists and feminism, it is forced to portray sex-negative anti-porn women, because that’s the pool it has to choose from. So now Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista and ally of Object (an anti-sex work, anti-porn NGO aiming to make sex work a crime) is “Britain’s leading young feminist” according to The Guardian. This title implies that all feminists share her beliefs. But as we know, many feminists do not agree. Some feminists are sex workers or work in the sex industry. Some do not want to ban pornography or sex work. Yet others feel that different issues are more important and more to blame for gender inequality.
Yet, can we blame the Guardian? With only antis labelling themselves feminist, who else could they choose? If it wasn’t Banyard, it would be another with exactly the same views. Sex-positive public figures such as Dr Brooke Magnanti could never be labelled as our leading young feminist, because they reject the label of ‘feminist’.
Many sex-positive bloggers and sex activists already call themselves feminists or gender-equalists ‘in their heads’ but not publically.
So, this is a call to all sex-positive people – female, male, trans, genderqueer, whatever: CALL YOURSELF A FEMINIST! Then strippers, models, women who watch porn and sex workers can no longer be stigmatised or subjected to laws that harm them in the name of ‘feminism’, because it’ll be obvious that many feminists are against these measures. Showing publically that you are a feminist could be as simple as putting the word “feminist” in your Twitter, Facebook or blog/site profiles, or creating social media groups about sex-positive feminism, or social media groups to encourage others to adopt the label. As my lecturer said,” if you believe women should be equal to men then you are a feminist” – so millions of people are feminists but don’t accept the label because they associate feminism with people like Banyard.
Eventually, prominent feminists won’t only be sex-negative, we will have sex-positive prominent feminists! More famous people will adopt the label of feminist, and stigmatising all models/lapdancers/sexworkers as ‘slaves’, and women who like porn as ‘brainwashed’, -or even trying to criminalise prostitution in Scotland -will no longer be done in the name of feminism.
IIf all sex-positives call ourselves feminists, we remind everyone that Object, SCASE and the ever-lingering voice of 1970’s radfem Andrea Dworkin do not speak for us. And Banyard is not our leader.
Please RT, reblog etc or spread the word in your own words 🙂