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I have borrowed a term; “Organic Feminism” which refers to a “naïve” acceptance of our humanity unaffected by patriarchal notions of societal guilt and shame. It is an idea of humanity that remembers the idealism of the Enlightenment from which the concept of the rights of man and eventually the human rights movement evolved.
Feminism once supported ideals that recognised and accepted diversity and worked along side other groups to forge a society where ability was not limited because of gender or sexual orientation. Feminism encouraged women and men to discover sexual freedom on their own terms and to question societal perceptions of gender roles both in and out of the bedroom. Now self appointed representatives of feminism prefer to denigrate disparities within sexual orientation. and to stereotype heterosexual men as misogynists. Is it any wonder that women now refuse to identify as feminists and feel increasingly alienated from a movement that claims to speak for them?
Feminism does not have to be like this. We do have a pro sex feminist movement who support sexual liberation but is that in itself enough? How can feminism once again become an exciting and dynamic social movement that inspires women and men not by negatively demonising sex but by positively presenting diversity within sexual orientation and encouraging fluidity of thought within our perceptions of gender consciousness? It is hard now to imagine feminism as a positive and inspiring reflection and celebration of our collective humanity because it has acquired such negative connotations.
This is where “Organic Feminism” comes to the rescue. It reflects the aspirations of women and men stripped of the layers of societal guilt by which the patriarchy have governed us for generations. Organic feminism would not lay blame or find scapegoats within a damaged society but instead question societal influences upon individuals within that society. Only if we question the influence of society upon an individual’s action can we truly have a sexual and social revolution.
When so called feminists for example blame the negative influence of pornography for objectifying women and as a corrupting influence upon children we should perhaps ask are they not really reflecting how societal influences have corrupted our experience of sexual imagery. If society negatively influences individuals perceptions of their own bodies then that will be reflected on how we both as a society and as individuals perceive sexual images. Perhaps we should ask, is it society that has a corrupting influence and not the images themselves. Can an image really corrupt with out the viewer themselves having been first corrupted in their understanding and perception of that image?
Is society’s hypocritical attitude toward women a reflection of natural sexual prudery or rather the unhealthy influence of a patriarchal, society that protects male dominance through the paternal ownership of children?
If so called feminist attack men as misogynists and prostitutes as victims are they really challenging age old perceptions of good and bad women or simply re-establishing in their own terms old prejudices? An organic feminist would ask why men are trapped into accepting ideas of women as good and bad based on their sexual behaviour. Why do men assume ownership of “his” woman, “his” children? Organic feminism would recognise that you cannot change society or achieve real and lasting gender equality by simply repackaging false notions of gender roles that conveniently label men as predators, husbands, fathers or abusers or women as mothers, virgins, whores and victims. Adopting age old patriarchal stereotypes of men and women to justify negative anti sex, anti male, anti human rhetoric is not feminism.
A real sexual and social revolution would not fear sex or the sex industry. Pornography for instance reflects the capacity of the human sexual imagination in it most varied forms and that should be celebrated. The fact that it is not reflects not human reticence but rather the reluctance of institutionalised, self appointed censors to accept sexual freedom. Sexual freedom challenges patriarchal constraints based on fear and shame by which they control a society created to maintain and control heterosexual, monogamous relationships.
There is no celebration of the diverse experiences and choices of women and men within those cliques who now claim to be feminists. What do those so called feminists who howl outside lap dancing clubs or intimidate customers of sex shops, finding scapegoats in women and men who do not share their fear of human sexual expression really say that is positive about the human sexual experience?
Women over the last few decades have rediscovered that they can both enjoy sex and use their sexuality to their advantage in a society that is less censorious of sexual imagery or sexual diversity. While so called feminists debate gender equality in negative terms of sexual objectification women are rediscovering that sexual imagery is a powerful tool not only for sexual gratification but for personal financial gain.
Many in western feminism prefer to distinguish in very simplistic terms divisions between men and women and as a result have difficulty accepting realities like women buying sex or enjoying sexual imagery because it does not fit easily into their age old patriarchal simplistic notions of gender. The truth is that human sexuality is complicated. Criminalising, admonishing and making people feel shameful or guilty about sex is not healthy either for individuals or for our society. Organic feminists do not have easy answers but do offer an alternative, non dogmatic, understanding of sexuality. It is hard to imagine feminism as an affirming model for women and men which encourages an awareness of individual sexual and social needs based not on patriarchal notions of gender and ownership but upon an understanding of individualism and of a celebration of humanity. Organic feminism as an ideal perhaps could once again excite women to engage in the struggle for equality and social liberty with out feeling censored by those who claim to represent them.