Another feminist carnival!

// 16 March 2008

We’ve had the Feminist Carnival, we’ve had the Carnival of Radical Feminists, the Carnival Against Sexual Violence, the Radical Women of Colour Carnival, and now there’s going to be a Feminist Carnival of Sexual Autonomy and Freedom.

The first Carnival will be held at the blog Uncool, and it looks like it could be really interesting.

I have some reservations with how they’ve described the carnival as sex positive (I know this is not a new point, but I do find it a bit passive aggressive to use this term – implying that anyone who doesn’t agree with you isn’t a sexual person, or has some kind of moralistic, puritanical attitude to sex), and the image they’ve used, of a woman’s silhouette under a spotlight (does sexual autonomy and freedom have to equal performance on a stage?! Or perhaps this just means putting women’s sexuality centre stage?). But I’ve had plenty of problems with other feminist carnivals, and they’ve proved to be full of interesting and provocative material, as I am sure this one will be.

Comments From You

Tazia // Posted 16 March 2008 at 8:31 pm

Has Camille Paglia been to Bosnia or Cheb? The last time I was in her vicinity she had never even met a prostitute (to speak to). She talked about them, the same way Lady Docker use to talk about dockers.

The Sex Positive Feminists simply don’t have a working model, their contribution to the non-partisan agencies (ILO) who really wanted to help them so very badly was largely risible.

If you have an idea, one has has to go out and find if it works somewhere. What SPF was good for was the creation of celebrity feminism. The challenge to validate still remains.

The other side of this is dead simple.

Dworkin advocated, or instructed zero-compromise in relation to other positions. The ideology was simple, understandable, and it allowed for very little flexibility.

The SPF side is celebrity driven.

The SPF have a problem, it is the failure to buy into a reality that exists. The consuming market for female friendly pornography via global credit card analyis (for example) is nil, and it has always been non-existent.

That is something that is about hard cash, VISA, are not obfuscating, if there was profit in it, they’d be looking to get it. Where is the precise market for this newish kind of feminism?

Feminists in the Ukraine view SPF as neo-colonialism, where precisely is the legitimate pornography business east of the Oder-Neisse line?

There isn’t one, there is no distinction between adult and child pornography. SPF is in a rich western bubble and there is no SPF working model in the west (or in sight) to export elsewhere.

tom paine // Posted 16 March 2008 at 10:27 pm

Being “sex positive” is an important moniker, given that some feminists insist that sex or being sexual is bad, or that women who enjoy porn and sexual freedom are somehow not feminists. I happen to know the creator of this new series, and she has been keenly aware of this debate.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say I have agreed to host a future rendition of the carnival, and I hope your readers will enjoy the participation of folks who are very actively involved in matters sexual.

As to the image chosen, it could also be interpreted to mean a woman these days can announce to the world that she’s a free and autonymous being when it comes to sex. Still not an easy thing in this world of “bitches and hos.” Just ask any teenager about the boundaries of sexuality and freedom.

Tazia // Posted 16 March 2008 at 11:29 pm


In the interest of full disclosure there are very few major pornographers I haven’t met in person.

There is no discoverable female purhasing demographic for pornography visible in the transaction processing business.

That’s banking, credit cards, and the captured data via policing. It really doesn’t exist.

Female consumption in Holland in the heydoay of the COC sub-cultutre was also totally not there.

Show me the money, I can prove females buy SUVs, what can’t be proven is even a tiny bit of pornography.

Look, if females bought porn, people would sell it to them.

What we have is a range of porn industry lead initiatives, and one or two fringe items.

In terms of revenue, or the pornography industry, not a fraction of one percent. That really is the way it is.

AJL // Posted 31 March 2008 at 5:02 am

I instinctively liked the picture when I saw it, and your post has inspired me to analyze what I like about it:

-As you mentioned, there is a dual meaning with the spotlight: women’s sexuality at center stage in their own lives, and sexual performance — which is one of the subjects at issue in this Carnival, so it’s suitable for the topic.

-All we can see from the picture is that she’s a woman with a somewhat slender frame. We can’t see if she’s naked or clothed, light- or dark-skinned, whether she’s carrying some extra weight around, whether her physical attributes are magazine-standard or not. It reminds me that whatever we project onto womanhood, and onto the lives of women in and out of the sex industry, the ultimate knowledge is experiential and the only person who knows what the details of that body signify is the person who lives in it. In short, it questions objectification both from the consumers and the critics.

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