It’s funny I’m wearing a CBGB’s t-shirt in this comic and right now Eric is grousing about the high level of utter bullshit that apparently makes up that CBGB’s movie (source: other people old enough to actually remember CB’s in that era and with access to previews of the film.) Which is also kind of funny given the comic deals with fiction vs. actuality. At least the emailing acquaintance had the common sense and brass ovaries to just directly ask me. At the time we got engaged, there was a lot of hectic stuff going on – our move, a two-week band tour with Seth’s multimedia show, wedding planning, and I kind of disappeared from my social sphere. I think this allowed for a lot of rumors regarding the wedding to spring forth (especially given some of the rumors I learned had already been created by “frenemies”.) What’s gotten back to us is: the marriage was a hoax, that I was too mentally unstable to be given a marriage license, that Eric’s crooked limbs must mean other parts were too crooked to function correctly, if you catch my drift.
Never mind that it’s not illegal for mentally ill people to marry. Or that curvature doesn’t interfere with a penis’s functionality, and while I won’t disclose here whether he’s got that sort or not, I believe I’ve made it clear already that it/he performs above and beyond the call of duty.
And it still persists. A friend of a friend who knows the would-be lothario who was hoping to cuckold my husband informs us that Loth became deterred after spotting me talking with a transgendered friend and suddenly declaring that. no, no, he would not touch the lips of a girl who would go down on another woman(whom would-be Lothario took for cisgendered). Which conjures memories of Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim shouting “I’ve kissed the lips that kissed you!” or whatever it was…
Oh wait, remember when Knives did this? She’s probably doubly traumatizing for homophobes. And that can only be a good thing.
The odd thing is, I wasn’t kissing my companion, much less “going down on her”. I’ve grown resigned to the idea that some men, when seeing two women enjoying a close friendship or even just a lively conversation, assume said women are doing the deed. I believe this partly comes from social beliefs that women are always catty and hostile to each other, therefore unable to sustain friendship. And partly from an urge to sexualize anything and everything women do, and then police and cast aspersions on that sexuality. As Amanda Palmer penned recently in that letters-to-Miley shitstorm swirling around the internet; “It’s a Chinese finger trap that reflects the basic problems of our women-times: we’re either scolded for looking sexy or we’re scolded for not playing the game.”
Which is a perfect example of what I mean. For those of you not keeping score, well I don’t blame you, but here’s the jist: A former child star named Miley Cyrus got all growed up and twerked off the shroud of being a Disney corporate product in a provocative performance at some awards show. But instead of Twerkers of The World Uniting, Sinead O’Connor penned her an open letter that had some good points about the nature of the entertainment industry and sexually titillating behavior being a fleeting form of empowerment, but this got drowned in a sea of judgment calls, suppositions, and overall sounding like someone’s lecturing mother. Amanda Palmer wrote an open letter to Sinead with some good points about how adults with free will have the agency to write their own scripts, peppered liberally with anecdotes about her own controversies and fights with her lecturing mother in high school. Miley Cyrus responded to Sinead by childishly making fun of mental illness, leaving one to wonder why either of these two smart, talented women were wasting time and energy on this asshole.
I guess because women’s sexuality and what to do with it remains a problem, first and foremost for women themselves. We skate on a razor of having our sexual desires and expressions being parts of who we are as those awkward, ungainly creatures called human beings, and knowing that they are forever the grounds for others’ projections, aspersions and expectations. Along the way it becomes less about who we are and what brings us pleasure, and more about how we are presenting ourselves to meet with others’ approval.
Sex positivism initially attempted to rectify this, to remove stigmas and shames, as well as define boundaries and raise awareness. My personal philosophy would fall under “sex positivism”, though just like I’m skeptical of the “positivity movement” as a means of policing human emotions, I’m skeptical that something as nuanced and complicated as human sexuality can be filed into categories of things that are “sex positive” and “sex negative”. Sex positivism allowed me to see my expressions, kinks, desires, etc. as part of my own personal makeup, whereas others would throw out crude categorizations of “spicy” Latinas or “promiscuous” crazy girls. But even in sex positivism, as with the sexual liberation of the 60’s before it, there became a disconnect. It became less about understanding inward processes and more solely about the outward expressions, sexy pinups, burlesque culture, porn culture — it’s not that people shouldn’t do them, it’s just that more and more of the dialogue became centered solely on this surface stuff. Needless to say, this gave rise to people countering sex-positivism, sadly seldom in critiques so much as outright condemnations. Looking at the mainstream face of it, people could no longer find the aspects of inclusivity, of recovery, of freedom of choice. Some dismiss it as something that only appeals to “cisgendered middle-class white women” (this is a trope that often appears when Social Justice Warriors want to condemn something. It’s also confusing in this case because I’ve known women of color and transwomen who identified under the sex-positive banner.) It isn’t that criticism is unwarranted. I can still remember at least one detractor to my nuptuals, who identified as a pro-sex feminist saying “but he’s crippled!” and the awkward silence that followed those words sharp crackle into the air. I’ve also encountered those who would like to hide behind “slut shaming” or “kink shaming” to avoid addressing violating or mean spirited behavior. These sorts of things need to be examined for progress to be made. It’s just that I don’t think sex-positivity is a baby that should be thrown out with the bathwater.