My initial impression of 2nd wave feminism was that it was harmful to asexuality because it was a movement that coincided with the sexual revolution which, while important and beneficial in its own ways, I feel was harmful to the idea of a person happily existing with no desire for sex. After doing some research, I discovered that the relationship between 2nd wave feminism and sexual expression wasn’t quite so cut-and-dry. What is commonly referred to as the feminist sex wars – also known as the lesbian sex wars, sex wars, and porn wars – took place in the late 70s and early 80s, and it created a huge rift between 2nd wave feminists. The main subject of debate had to do with pornography, but sadomasochism and public intercourse were also subjects of debate. Popular labels of the two sides were anti-porn feminists and sex-positive feminists. Unsurprisingly, anti-porn feminists were against porn, sadomasochism, and public sex on the ground that these things were degrading to women. While I believe that in certain situations these things could certainly be degrading, to say every single instance would be a stretch. My understanding of BDSM is that women aren’t subs one hundred percent of the time, and in order for something to be deemed degrading to women, the women in question must feel degraded. I don’t have any experience watching pornography, but again, from snippets I’ve read here and there, it seems there are discrepancies with how female actors are treated. I can’t recall the source where I read this, but Porn Hub statistics said that “teen porn” was the most searched for theme on the site. Logically, young actors would be needed, perhaps actual teens. In her book, Pornography, Men Possessing Woman , Andrea Dworkin argued that the theme of pornography is male dominance, and as a result it is harmful to a women’s mental well being. Obviously, this is a generalization, and every single pornographic film can’t be about male dominance. Ellen Willis, 1979 feminist journalist criticized anti-porn feminists for being “sexual purists, moral authoritarians, and a threat to free speech.” While is seems anti-porn feminists were fond of generalizations, the above statement seems a bit harsh to me. Pro-sex feminists clearly promoted the right to choose at a glance, but I haven’t come to a definite conclusion of if this support of sexual freedom promoted the idea that everyone wants to/ should partake in sexual activities. While this research was interesting, my opinion is more muddled than ever on if 2nd wave feminism was helpful or harmful for asexuality. I’d love to hear opinions in the comments!
This post’s unrelated but adorable picture, a bucket of baby sloths 😀
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Until next time,
Keep ooooon Aceing It!