“My sexual semiotics differ from the mainstream. So what? I didn’t join the feminism movement to live inside a Hallmark greeting card.”
-from “Feminism and Sadomasochism,” Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex, Pat Califa [emphasis mine]
It’s easy for many of us to forget how extremely intersectional feminism needs to be in order to succeed. However, we can’t avoid the fact that not everyone within any movement is going to fit into a “mainstream” idea of what it means to be a “good feminist,” a “good queer,” or a “good” anything else. In a movement which has a very radical history (bra burning, anyone?), we can’t settle down, domesticate ourselves (or let ourselves be domesticated by normative pressures), and imagine our part in the revolution is done.
“Is there a single controversial sexual issue that the women’s movement has not reacted to with a conservative, feminine horror of the outrageous and the rebellious? A movement that started out saying biology is not destiny is now trashing transsexuals and celebrating women’s “natural” connection to the earth and living things…A movement whose early literature was often called obscene and was banned from circulation is now campaigning to get rid of pornography. The only sex perverts this movement supports are lesbian mothers, and I suspect that’s because of the current propaganda about women comprising the nurturing, healing force that will save the world from destructive male energy.
Lesbianism is being desexualized as fast as movement dykes can apply the whitewash.”
-“Feminism and Sadomasochism”
Basically, my question is this: what do we lose when we try to blend in with the rest of society? And my answer is that we lose the voices everyone who’s not white or white-appearing, sexually vanilla, mentally healthy, and in a monogamous relationship, preferably with kids. We fight for equal pay and abortion rights and gay marriage because these are vital issues, but we also should not forget that there is always more, and we don’t want to turn around one day and become part of the norm without thinking very seriously about what we’re doing to the rest of the people depending on the intersectional feminist movement.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes on this subject, emphasis mine:
Of course, we too will be fighting to defeat the anti-queer marriage amendments. How can we not? But we resent having to do it, and we will not allow it to distract us from our real needs: equality, justice, self-determination and self-actualization for ALL. Just because you are not someone’s significant other, does not mean you are insignificant.