Until the Erasure Stops

Posts tagged ‘sex work’

Batwoman is Amazing

(Cross-posted from my tumblr)

I’m pretty happy that DC’s “New 52” relaunch has brought a stereotype-defying, awesomely independent lesbian character her own title. She’s a pretty realistic portrayal and she heralds (and has already heralded) a change in the way that LGBT characters are portrayed in comics. Kevin Keller’s early development (Archie), North Star’s marriage to another man (Astonishing X-Men #48-51), and Alan Scott’s proposal to his boyfriend (Earth 2 #2) have all taken place recently. The magnificent fauxhawk Ms. Marvel is sporting in her new tenure in Captain Marvel (Captain Marvel promotional posters) has me wondering if her apparent relationship with Spider-Man is somehow only part of her love life story. I’ve also been hoping for developments in the already-pushing-romantic interactions between Starling/Black Canary (Birds of Prey), Barbara Gordon/her roommate (Batgirl), and Huntress/Power Girl (Huntress mini-series, Worlds’ Finest). These aren’t the only magnificently progressive things that have been in mainstream comics, especially the New 52, lately—for example, Catwoman #10 makes use of the term “sex worker” in a neutral-to-positive context, and the Huntress mini-series consisted entirely of Huntress/Robin 2 shutting down a human trafficking ring. 

Even trans characters have started showing up a little bit here and there, mostly in indie comics. The best example I can think of is Image’s 1-shot “Our Love is Real,” in which a major character, Brin, is portrayed as her world’s version of a trans woman (sexuality, gender, and sex have very different meanings in a world where zoosexuals stand in for heterosexuals, vegisexuals stand in for LGB people, and mineralsexuals stand in for either trans people or the symbology that we should be willing to accept sexuality without judgment, depending on your interpretation).

I’m kind of hoping that this new wave of queer positivity in comics will lead to a trans major character cropping up in either Marvel or DC. I suppose if all else fails, I can always try to create one, right?

Transmisogyny in Action #2: Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a wonderful thing we can (largely) thank the Womanist movement for being the first to examine. It’s what happens when you stop looking at just one identity (say, woman, or trans), and you take a look at what it means to have more than one identity, and how that affects those people. Folks quick on the draw might realize that this blog consists entirely of intersectional trans + woman examination. My more deep-thinking sisters may realize that this isn’t a new realization and has in fact been the intention since before this blog existed. Still others are the reason I spelled that out. This is an intersectional blog, it always has been, and it always will be. But it seems like a nice time to talk about what that actually means for us.

Intersectionality is about adding a few fundamental rules to feminist theory. First of all, there is no such thing as one identity having it worse than another. You might have noticed I go way out of my way to avoid the very common comparisons of trans oppression and the oppression of people of color. That’s because it’s both erasurist towards and cold comfort for those people who happen to be PoC AND trans. It’s about imagining identity as a dynamic thing, and never settling on thinking something is a “women’s issue” or a “transgender issue.” There are a lot of disabled women who are transgender, so an end to transmisogyny could easily be said to be a disability issue, just as it is a transgender and a women’s issue. Intersectionality is about giving voice to those people like, for example, trans women, who get erased from ciscentric discourses on bodily self-autonomy (which fail to understand that this may entail wide, sweeping changes to the body, changes which should be free, easy, gateless and legal). (more…)

Sex Work: The Feminist Wild West

Heads up, this one starts with another history lesson. Start after the break if you feel the need.

Feminism has a long and not entirely glorious past. The original feminist movement, the first wave if you will, was focused on one thing, and one thing only–the right to vote. The second wave was focused on the rights of only the most privileged women, and later on the most privileged of lesbians and straight women. The third wave is what we’re currently chilling in, and unlike the first and second waves, the border between the second and third waves was not marked by a huge span of time in which nothing really happened. It was marked by a huge, terrifying infight between the second-wavers, who were intersectionality-unconcerned, hetero-sex-bashing, and as marked before in this blog, trans-woman-hating–and the third wavers, who were interested in intersectionality, believed that hetero sex could be feminist, and believed that trans women could be valuable contributors to feminism. In case it isn’t obvious, as I am a trans women who believes herself to be a valuable contributor to feminism, I’m a third-waver.

This is, of course, missing the big, major point that really divided the second-wavers and the third-wavers, so big that it named this conflict and to this date is used to delineate who fell on which side, even before there was a third wave to speak of. See, the second-wavers, going all the way back to one of the early greats of feminism*, Andrea Dworkin, had a few problems with commercialized sex (of any form, i.e. porn, live erotica, and paid sex acts). The idea of bodily autonomy as a fundamental feminist goal for all women (and through that, all people) hadn’t really been taken as fully to heart by second-wavers; while they weren’t exactly anti-autonomy, their argument was that people could not consent to commercialized sex because, supposedly, no woman would willingly make that choice unless circumstances necessitated it.

Sex-positive-feminists, on the other hand, would argue that the right to bodily autonomy was more important than this, and that we shouldn’t posit ourselves as capable of deciding whether other people’s actions were done under duress or not. The fundamental key point of difference between the two is that second-wavers had a viewpoint centered around “all women” (which, unfortunately, meant mostly white, middle-class, cis, vanilla, able, secular, binary-identified women), deemphasizing individual rights, while third-wavers prioritized individual rights under the presumption that there isn’t really such a thing as one monolithic “all women” and that everybody had the right to define what was empowering and liberating for themselves, as well as who they were.


>Houston, we have a problem

>(Note: I am aware this is posted late. I am totally not giving up my schedule of once every four days, however there was a little snafu with my hormones, and there was a really pretty girl distracting me. And I’m well aware that’s what they all say.)

**Note: This post was not made in such a way to avoid rape-related triggers. Please proceed with this in mind.** (more…)


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