Spinning the Thread
This text is drawn from my own spiritual spinning rather than detached academical reasoning. Its underlying questions are essentially the questions shot through the fabric of my life, the life of a Lesbian historian and writer.
Who are my godesses? Who are the females that came before me? Who are my foremothers?
If twenty-five years count as a generation, it is 81 mothers to what the West calls year zero. Roughly 282 more to the woman who gave birth to the man who ended up to be the oldest Chinchorro mummy. 9718 or so to the earliest neanderthal we know of. 118000 to Lucy. 872000 to proconsul. 11480000 to first land-dwelling vertebrates. 35520000 to the first evidence of sexual reproduction. That is not even fifty million mothers between me and that first eukaryotic cell we all came from.
Every single cell of me contains mitochondrial DNA, this heirloom of my maternal line. The bacteria in my guts, the mites I probably have in my eyelashes, we are related to each other somewhere down that line of mothers.
And here I am, not breeding.
For the first time since I have this blog, I feel the need to give a content warning. This review of a “feminist” novel is graphic and contains outright nauseating bits. I found myself walking the tightrope of any radical feminist writer: How to precisely name patriarchal horrors without using horrifically patriarchal language? I quoted parts of the book directly, since no description seemed effective enough to convey the horror sold as feminism that is this book.
So I put the rest under the cut – please proceed with caution. Continue reading
Imagine a woman. She has had a traumatic childhood, but by the time of her marriage to a divorced (but childless) man in a powerful position, she has come to grips with her past. She has an extraordinarily good education, she is a vegan, earns her own money all throughout the marriage and always remained economically independent.
She knew from childhood on she had a deep orientation toward masochism, and found her marriage a great opportunity to explore this. She and her husband (with pre-existing experience of that kind of thing) live in a 24/7 relationship. They experiment with her dressing in a special manner involving metal rings, pain play, orgasm control and submissiveness expressed through housework.
The marriage goes sour when the woman realises that her husband is isolating her from her family. She immediately pulls out and goes to live in an all-women collective, taking her adoptive daughter with her.
Who is she? Her life is not too different from a San Francisco hetero kinkster, ca. 2016. Elements of her life, and probably even the great outlay, ring utterly familiar. Continue reading
Compared to the two posts before and the next and last one, this will be a bit shorter. There is a reason for that, or rather, two.
Radical-leaning feminists tend to argue we should put the analytical focus on why men choose to do sadomasochism. On a purely practical level, I would agree: A woman whose boyfriend or husband gets off from simulating rape with her should by all means think about him, not about her own feelings of pleasure. Focus on him, and then get out. Continue reading
When I stumbled over sadomasochism in my late teens, I felt like everybody was getting something I didn’t. Why did they choose a Marquis as a symbol of the huddled masses? Why was whipping people associated with freedom for these people? Why did sadomasochists try to make themselves out as an oppressed minority and “the cool kids” simultaneously? Continue reading
Years ago I got the idea that sadomasochism was a secularised form of Christianity. The parallels are just too striking to overlook. I let the idea sit for a bit to straighten out my arguments, wrote bits and pieces of it and tossed them out again. And then I read Mary Daly. Continue reading
Niemand hat das Recht zu gehorchen.
Nobody has the right to obey.
My library has a section for feminism. It carries little to no truly radical literature, but it is quite useful for to see what’s going on in liberal feminism these days.
The last book I picked up and want to write about now is Melissa Gira Grant’s ‘Playing the Whore, The Work of Sex Work’ (Verso, London 2014). Before I get into it, I just want to add that this is the first post of what I hope will become the series ‘Radical Readings’. I want to write about books I read from a Radical Lesbian Feminist perspective. ‘Radical Readings’ will not be academical, formally coherent[i] or have an overarching content-based logic regarding the books I pick: Whatever I find in the library, whatever I like to write about.
So, ‘Playing the Whore’. Continue reading