This is my first post to Fourth Wave, and I feel a little like I'm dropping into your world in mid-sentence. I maintain a blog at papercutsandplastic.blogspot.com and I will be cross-posting feminist-y bits and pieces from that site here. Hopefully that won't make my writing here too scattered; I figured it's just best to dive right in.
That said, here goes:
I'm a huge bottom in the bedroom. My best friend calls me "Little Nelly Bottom."
Depending on what sexual subculture you spend your time in, this could mean any of a million things. I spend most of my time in the lesbian community, and a little in the BDSM world, so that colors my understanding of the term. I use it to mean I like someone else to be in the driver's seat for sex, and I like to be on the tied-down end of bondage, a little spanking, and some power play.
Now, being in the passenger's seat doesn't mean I don't communicate my needs or that I'm not contributing to the action. I just like to get fucked. I like it when my lover takes control; I like to be pushed around a little, and I like being told what to do. As I've said before in my blog, I love to tease, but then I want to be thrown down and made to stop. (With appropriate consent, of course.)
I try to be comfortable with my naughty subservience, but as a feminist and a fiercely independent person, it's an awkward thing to feel and admit to. I get this niggling sense that I should be large and in charge all the time, like my personal politics should be carrying over into my sexual preferences. I'm trying to overthrow gender roles, here. Being submissive in bed is a stereotypically feminine thing. Bad feminist!
I don't consciously subscribe to that way of thinking, but it sneaks up on me a lot. One unfortunate consequence of feminism's emphasis on the personal as political is that it becomes too easy to discriminate against people for not being "feminist enough." I think that feminism is largely about personal choice regardless of gender, and when we try to name some behaviors as always feminist and others as always anti-woman, we're losing sight of that.
It's absolutely true that the patriarchy is created and perpetuated in our personal lives and our culture. There are millions of little ways we all contribute to it every day, without even noticing. It's so programmed into us that it's nearly impossible to get rid of completely. It's good to try not to perpetuate male privilege.
I think there are as many ways to fight patriarchy, though, as there are feminists. I think I can be a sexual bottom in a feminist way. If what I want is to be handcuffed and fucked and I name that, claim it, and go out into the world trying to make it happen, that's a feminist action. Being a woman and respecting my own sexuality and honoring it is a powerful thing.
Controlling female sexuality has been a big way the patriarchy has controlled women. By resisting that and writing my own narrative of sexuality, whatever that may entail, I'm coming into my feminist own. So long as I'm conscious and deliberate, I feel good about being a bottom.
Cross-posted to Paper Cuts and Plastic.
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