Saturday, November 20, 2010

What is Feminist Sex? Good Sex Advice and Feminist Sex Tips here, from Cerien

image of not-good food is from here

Julian here, before getting to Cerien's latest guest post. Some herstory/history here on the matter of "what is feminist sex?" It ought to go without say that radical feminists have been having sex for a long time. Like, for decades and longer. And many have "played hard" to figure out how to not engage in the same OLD CRAPpy sexual dynamics that racist heteropatriarchy endlessly, relentlessly sells to us as "good sex"--which, if we're going to call it like it is, is really boring, dull, inhumane sex. Even when it produces orgasms. The idea that sex can suck doesn't really register in the minds of many liberals. "Sex" by definition, is "good". If it produces sexual sensation, arousal, and orgasm, it is "good" without question or qualification. This makes for a very sexually illiterate and erotically ignorant society; one that takes what CRAP offers as "the best we can do and be".

Radical feminist women have described feminist sexuality and eroticism in their writings. In prose, poetry, plays, and non-fiction. The problem is that by the late 1980s in the West, "pro-sex" became fused to being "pro-pornography" because--note the logic here: being anti-pornography got equated with being "anti-sex". And as anyone who sees enough pornography knows, there's not a lot that's "pro-sex" about it. The industry doesn't exist to teach us what's good about  sex, after all; it exists to profit off of racism, misogyny, and heterosexism and to repackage shame-as-sex, sex-as-dirty-and-disgusting, this time without a parentified authority telling us "you're bad if you like it". What the pornographers already worked out is that people will be degraded and dehumanised in the production of it, or will feel bad for using it because it's so degrading and dehumanising. (Patriarchal capitalism demands that we love CRAP and call it GRRRRRRRREAT!)

Why people think industrially mass produced sexualised white het male supremacy = good sex is one of the many issues before us. One answer is, "It's the only sex that is visibly out there." So we take what we know and call it good. If all you've ever eaten is McDonalds, you're likely to say, if asked what good food is, "McDonalds". But there is non-commercially grown organic food, and there is non-commercially produced sex too. And societies existed way before pornography did, and some of those folks had good sex. So the idea that we need the pornography industry to know what good sex is, is a preposterous and pro-pimp notion. And corporate pimps and pornographers work damn hard to get us to believe we can't live without their fucked up products, and without them. The first thing pimps do when they find a runaway teen is to convince her--usually a her--that she needs him. She needs him like she needs to be raped. For those of you who are confused, what I mean is this: SHE DOESN'T NEED HIM. He's got nothing good to offer her at all. Pornography is BAD SEX. Pornography is ANTI-SEX. And the sooner we collectively realise that, the better sex and society will be.

Here's the latest from A.R.P.'s guest blogger, Cerien:

I was re-reading that bit about the "pro-sex" advice list and wondered briefly why radical feminists don't have any "sex advice" lists, so I came up with my own. I thought you might like to see it.

Sex advice nowadays is dumb and creepy. Sometimes it can even be dumb, creepy and triggering. So, in fact, you could argue I am anti-sex, as long as you point out that I am anti-dumb, creepy, triggering sex.

I found Julian's post originally on XY Online [dot net]. I loved the commentary, but wanted to put together a list of sex tips for the egalitarian-sexual set. (Egalisexual?)

The first sex tip I have is that consent can actually be pretty fucking sexy, but it can be awkward to try to discuss and hash out everything you're going to do before you start having sex, especially since sex is amazingly spontaneous if you're not working off a porn script. So discuss sex while having sex. Say, "Would you like me to touch you here?" Or, "I want to see what you do if I stroke here..." Maybe even, "Can you get up on my stomach?" Wait for a response before actually doing it.

Do it even if you blush. Especially if you blush. Do you know why people react with cooing and giggles when someone blushes? It's because you're fucking cute when you blush. Wanting to hug someone who's blushing is actual human nature.

With time, it will get easier.

The second, and other huge sex tip I have, is to temporarily scratch penetrative sex off the possibilities list. Positions for sex, despite what certain untested 365-day peel-off calendars will tell you, are actually really limited when you focus them around penetration. And society's penetration fetish really limits our sexual imagination.

Another really awesome part of non-penetrative sex is that you have a greater possibility of sex for hours. The idea of holding off or abstaining from orgasm for greater satiation is pretty much the only Tantric concept I agree with.

Again, these are sex tips, so there's no suggestion here that you're uptight for not being interested in or not wanting to try any of them. I chose them specifically because I've found with my lovers that they teach me more about them and the way we function together. That's what's best about sex for me: intimacy with my partner. Not a predefined list of what is "hot" or not.
    Here's the rest of the list:
  • Experiment with parts of your body and your partner's body that you've never thought could be sensitive, and ways to stimulate those areas.
  • There's more than just sucking, kissing, biting, et al.: there's "blfrrt"ing (you know, vibrating your lips? Razzberries? Fart noises?); tickling; stroking (especially with different textures); even making a whole lot of weird noises against! Or towards!
  • Find out where sex feels best for you and your partner: in small enclosed spaces? Wide open spaces with lots of rolling-around room? Linoleum floors?
  • Incorporate sex as a normal part of your life - it doesn't have to end in orgasm. It doesn't have to do more than make you and your partner feel good. Take breaks. Feed each other. Watch a movie. Sex can be present during or around all of these things; it doesn't have to be a defined, orgasm-oriented activity. It can just be messing around.
  • Avant-garde the role-play: go to the shower; you be the plant, your partner gets to be a gardener. Or you get to be Voltaire and your partner gets to be, I dunno, Victoria Woodhull. If it doesn't end up being sexy, it is inevitably fun: the entire point of sex!
  • Play with positioning. Instead of aligning your genitals or faces, one of you gets to be held from the back by your partner while you do whatever with each other's bodies: stroking, fingering, etc. Or try "grinding" differently: vulvas and penises can be rubbed against more than fingers, genitals... One incredibly fun thing was my girlfriend getting off by grinding against my chest, where I could touch her and help. And it doesn't have to be with clothes on!
  • Horizontal yourself: experiment in giving each other pleasure where neither of you is placed vertically above the other.
  • Come up with new compliments for each other. Instead of, "you're so hot," you can try, "You are like a shining, emerald-eyed flower glittering in the moonlight." Or, not so elaborate, "You look like pumpkin bread. Soft, fluffy, exquisitely spiced, and best eaten with a hot cup of peppermint tea."
And, of course, the #1 sex tip ever is always going to be: the things that make sex consistently awesome have nothing to do with sex. They have to do with getting along, consideration for each other, willingness to change your behavior, curiosity about each other as people and wanting to make that time fun for both of you, regardless of how long or short that time will last.

One of the best things I ever did for my sex life was to fuse sex with play. One of the things that concerns me about pornography is the image of sex it presents - it's not funny, messy, accidental, divine, adventurous, spirited, kooky, casually generous, or... shared. Pornsex is specifically SRS BSNZ. It cannot stop and be caught up again later, it can't be easily regained, it has to go all the way through to the end (male orgasm). It is VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOT SCREW SEX UP. WE DON'T KNOW WHY. IT JUST IS.

Part of making sex always fun for me was getting rid of the "kinkiness," too. You can argue that my sex life is kinky, if not always traditionally (that is to say, in the ways of BDSM or power dynamics). But I've made a lot of effort to get rid of the "fetish" aspect I (and, I suspect, many others) was taught by porn. As I've observed, having a "kink" is more about having a script for sex than actually liking certain things within a sexual situation, and my definition of "fetish" is where you are sexually aroused by an action not by doing it with any given person, but by the action itself. So, if you have a fetish about "whipping," for example, you don't enjoy doing it with someone else; the act and object are primary, the person secondary. When the person is interchangeable, there's not really much point in sex; you could fantasize and masturbate and be doing essentially the same thing. Fetishism ruined a couple relationships because I wasn't having sex with a person: I was doing it for the fetish. And, as much as it seems dumb to pontificate about the healthiness of a particular kind of sex, it's true, and not just for sex - if you are doing something for a reason other than someone, it's unhealthy.

Relationships are about our interaction with that person, right now, whether or not we are being sexual. Getting absorbed in the matters society overlays on our relationships (capitalism, fetishism, materialism, religion, etc...) is a death knell for those relationships. Part of a radical redefinition of relationships is to make ourselves horizontal: person-to-person, as equals, regardless of whatever measure of "worthiness" is in vogue - size, shape, appearance, genitalia, sexuality, age, just... whatever.

This is one of the central tenets of anarchism: freedom of association. We associate with people, not because we need to get money or power or validation, but because we like them and want to be around them.

And anyway, aren't we supposed to be liberating sex? What's "liberating" supposed to be if not choosing to interact with someone based on them rather than a predefined kink or script, whether from society or inside our heads?

Transgender Day of Remembrance is A Day To Remember Those Who Lost Their Lives Due To Their Gender Identity

image pf poster is from here

"Those who have lost their lives due to their gender identity" spans a huge list of people murdered primarily by male-men usually because of a combination of misogyny, homophobia, and violently enforced compulsory heteropatriarchal practices. The perpetrators, predators, pimps, and murderers act out of those institutionalised forces usually with impunity, no accountability, and no public consciousness or awareness that the crimes have occurred at all. The murderers' victims include heterosexual women and girls, bisexual women and men, queer youth, lesbians, and gay men. We are also people who are Two Spirit, genderqueer, intergender, anti-gender, gender-non-conforming, same-gender loving, transsexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual. What makes most of us vulnerable to assault is intimate contact with the terrorists, whether living on a home with them, or existing on the street where they prey on us.

We die in the context of working, living, breathing, sleeping, and surviving oppression including capitalist, sexist, and racist oppression. Some of the contexts of our deaths include in prostitution, pornography, and other male-man controlled industries and systems of gross sexual exploitation. Most women and girls are raped and murdered by men in their own families, or by men intimately known to them. Let us remember all the people we have lost who lived gendered lives, and use what we know about why we are harassed, bullied, battered, raped, trafficked, enslaved, and killed to motivate and mobilise radical activism to end all this WHM supremacist CRAP, today and every day.

From TransRespect vs. Transphobia Worldwide's website:

"Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide" (TvT) is a comparative, ongoing qualitative-quantitative research project conducted by Transgender Europe. The project provides an overview of the human rights situation of trans persons in different parts of the world and develops useful data and advocacy tools for international institutions, human rights organizations, the trans movement and the general public.

A research team from Transgender Europe is coordinating the project, which is funded by the Open Society Institute / Soros Foundations Network, the ARCUS Foundation, and partly by the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

An Advisory Board, comprised of international LGBT, trans and human rights activists from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania, will help mentor the project. The project is designed to cooperate with partner organizations in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe and Oceania.

The TvT research project is a work in progress. The data collected will be periodically compiled and updated.

If you would like to reference the published material on this website, please follow the citation instructions specified in the sections. If you want to cite the TvT project in general, please use the following citation: TvT research project (2010) “Transrespect versus Transphobia worldwide”-Website:

Indigenous Sovereignty, November 21 -28, 2010 ECD, Toronto and other Cities Across Canada

What follows is a cross post from The Speed of Dreams blog. Please click on the title just below to link back. With gratitude to Rowland Túpac Keshena.

The Indian Act

Posted: November 20, 2010 by Rowland Túpac Keshena in Ideas: History, Places: Northern Turtle Island (Canada), Struggles: Imperialism/De-Colonization, Struggles: Indigenous Struggles

As this upcoming week is Indigenous Sovereignty Week, organized in various cities across Canada, I present a short lesson on the history and uses of the Indian Act, from Defenders of the Land.

The Indian Act is one of the cornerstones of Canadian colonialism. Some of the main points we need to remember about the Indian Act are:
  • It imposes a foreign system of government on First Nations in which accountability is to colonial masters in Ottawa, not to our people
  • The government controls the disbursement of federal money to band councils and uses this as a means of controlling band councils’ political decisions.
  • Through the Indian Act, the government gives itself the power to determine who is an Indian and who is not.
  • The Indian Act was imposed on First Nations without our consent and it has no basis in treaty
  • Its fundamental purpose is not protection, but assimilation and termination of Indigenous Peoples.
History of the Indian Act
Before Confederation, legislation had been passed in Upper Canada dealing with the protective duties of the crown in relation to Indigenous Peoples. As Canada increasingly sought to open land for settlement and resource extraction, Indigenous peoples were seen as a barrier that had to be overcome. This drove a new approach to Indian policy by the Crown: assimilation and termination. These policy objectives have driven federal Indian policy from that time until the present. The first legislation to reflect this shift in policy was the Act for the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes of the Canadas (1857).  The purpose of this Act was the “gradual removal of all legal distinctions” between Indians and settlers, and it provided criteria for so-called “enfranchisement”. This marked the beginning of intrusive legislative measures which began to interfere in the internal affairs of the Indian nations. At the same time, these pieces of legislation increasingly contradicted the nature and scope of the treaty relationship, and the terms of the treaties themselves.

The first Indian Act was passed in 1876.This Act embodied all of the contradictions of previous legislation, only more so. On the one hand, there were sections which highlighted the protective duties of the Crown, and provided a legislative base for the implementation of the treaties. On the other hand, there were sections which were highly intrusive and which focused on the government priorities of assimilation, “enfranchisement”, and “civilization”. This Indian Act was the model for colonial laws in Australia and for the Apartheid system in South Africa. Under the Indian Act, the government assumed control of and responsibility for Aboriginal lands. The Indian Act unilaterally gave the government the power to deem who was a “status Indian” and who not.

During the early years of the Indian Act, First Nations persisted in electing their customary leadership, who generally proved more stubborn in resisting the changes Ottawa was trying to impose. As a result, the Indian Act was amended and tinkered with to produce a leadership selection process that would favour leaders more pliant to Ottawa’s will. The imposed system of governance also disenfranchised women, who had played important roles in government in many nations. Fierce resistance in some nations was put down by force.

Over the next 80 years, the Act was amended numerous times, focusing more and more on intrusion, control, and assimilation, and less and less on protection and the treaties. Controls and prohibitions were placed on ceremonies, leadership selection, mobility off-reserve, trade & commerce, and the raising of funds for claims. Government was given increased powers to break up Indian reserves and Indian Bands. In 1884, companion legislation was passed - An Act for conferring certain privileges on the more Advanced Bands of the Indians of Canada, with the view of training them for the exercise of municipal powers. Among other things, it provided for Band Councils to levy taxes from Band members. This was the first example of government policy which persists to this day – the attempt to assimilate First Nations by turning them into municipalities “like others” and calling this “self-government”. The real objective is to strip First Nations of their Aboriginal and collective rights.

Among provisions of the Indian Act in these early years:
  • Under the Act, it was an offense for an Indian to retain a lawyer for the purpose of advancing a claim.
  • Under the Act, traditional ceremonies like potlatches and sundance were banned.
  • Under the act, Indians could not vote — unless they gave up status. The aim was assimilation and an end to “the Indian problem”.
  • Indigenous people were also required to get a pass from the Indian agent (a white bureaucrat appointed by Ottawa) if they wanted to leave the reserve. These pass laws inspired similar apartheid laws in South Africa.
  • After Mistahimaskwa’s Sun Dance at Poundmaker’s reserve in 1884, which was attended by 2000, Canada amended the Indian Act to make it illegal for 3 or more Indians to gather in one place.
  • Under the Act, Indians people could be jailed for drinking alcohol.
  • In 1927, Indian political organizing was outlawed.
  • Under the Indian Act, a woman who married a non-Native man would lose her Indian status, without gaining any right to vote.
Recent reforms of the Indian Act
Beginning in 1951, Canada began a series of reforms to the Indian Act. None of these, to this day, has questioned the core of government policy: maintaining the government’s fiduciary, trust, and protective duties to First Nations only until such time as the policy goal of assimilation, termination, and extinguishment has been achieved. The 1969 White Paper of the Trudeau government and the Buffalo Jump Memo of the Mulroney government define the underyling approach of Canada: Under the guise of “giving” Indigenous Peoples the “same” rights as other people, the White Paper proposed to eliminate Indigenous Peoples’ inherent, collective, and treaty rights by eliminating the legal concept of Indian Status and repealing the Indian Act. The White Paper was met with fierce resistance from First Nations, led by people like George Manuel and Harold Cardinal, who presented an alternative Red Paper proposing a new relationship based on Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The Mulroney government’s Buffalo Jump Memo adopted an even more deceitful approach, which has persisted in federal Indian policy to this day.  The memo used the metaphor “Buffalo Jump” after a Plains practice of herding unsuspecting bison over a cliff to their death. The memo proposed a series of apparently innocuous policy changes that Indians would voluntarily accept, so that Indigenous Peoples would be herded towards assimilation and extinction. It proposed a ‘management approach’ for First Nations policy & programs, which had the following intent:
  • Limiting & eventually terminating the federal trust obligations.
  • Reducing federal expenditures for First Nations, underfunding programs, and prohibiting deficit financing.
  • Shifting responsibility and costs for First Nations services to provinces and “advanced bands” through co-management, tri-partite, and community self-government agreements.
  • “Downsizing” of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) through a devolution of program administration to “advanced bands” and transfer of programs to other federal departments.
  • Negotiating municipal community self-government agreements with First Nations which would result in the First Nation government giving up their Constitutional status as a sovereign government and becoming a municipality subject to provincial or territorial laws.
  • Extinguishing aboriginal title and rights in exchange for fee simple title under provincial or territorial law while giving the province or territory underlying title to First Nations lands.
Comprehensive reforms embodying the approach of the White Paper and the Buffalo Jump Memo have periodically been put forward by Canada, notably in the 2001 First Nations Governance Act, and in a 2009 agenda of administrative reforms to Indian Governance by the Harper government to achieve most of these objectives without a political process or consultation which could block it. This agenda and its intent were leaked and blocked by widespread outrage.

To date, the government’s motives for reform to the Indian Act have not been about refounding the relationship between Indigenous Peoples on a basis of respect and responsibility, and recognition of Indigenous and Treaty rights. Amendments to the Indian Act have never seriously considered the wider issues:
  • Relationship between the Indian Act and treaty & aboriginal rights
  • Relationship between s.91(24) authority and the Crown’s trust, fiduciary and treaty obligations
  • Relationship between the Indian Act, s.91(24) authority, and the inherent right of self-government
Instead, reforms have sought to achieve the following ends:
  • Shedding fiduciary and trust responsibilities
  • Fiscal restraint and cutting the costs of Indian expenditures
  • Reducing the burden of C -31 implementation
  • Encouraging integration into the provincial mainstream
  • The imposition of taxation
  • Diluting or neutralizing constitutional and treaty protections and obligations.
The fundamental intent and effect of the Indian Act is to manage, assimilate, and terminate Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The Indian Act has been, and continues to be, an unjustified infringement on the Aboriginal & treaty rights of the First Nations. They have never consented to its application.

All The Queers are White Male Supremacist; All The Gender-Non-Conforming People are MTF Transsexuals, and Most of Us are Neither: Honoring Two Spirit, Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual, Radical Feminist Activism

image of rainbow flag is from here

From what I can tell, the term "gay-friendly" in many social spaces means this, basically: non-queer spaces and people willing to tolerate a few variations on a white heteromale supremacist ideology and practice of living socially and sexually.

My experience is that if someone is an activist working to end hetero-male supremacy, white-male supremacy, and any and every other form of male supremacy, the often-condescending "tolerance" goes down and the animosity goes up. The level of "inclusivity" goes away. "Tolerance" gets mighty intolerant. "Acceptance of difference" is no longer acceptable.

I am arguing that as long as WHM supremacy and other CRAP is dominant and oppressive, radical activism to challenge every manifestation of WHM supremacy and other CRAP will not be tolerated by the allegedly tolerant neoliberals and activist bigots among the neoconservatives.

I am positing this as a theory: dominant society will figure out ways to respect and regard a few of us who are willing to declare ourselves actively or passively, explicitly or implicitly, overtly or covertly politically supportive of (or at least not actively against) any or all of the following clusters of social-political experience:

immigration, region/hemisphere privilege, home stability, homelessness, terrorism inside and outside of one's home and region;

pimping, procuring, pornography, trafficking, sexual slavery, purchasing or renting human beings;

white-dominated forms of population control; force government interventions into the rights of women to regulate and control their own bodies; medical interventions into the rights of people to be free of undesired,

unwanted, unwelcomed, anti-holistic, inhumane surgeries, medical therapies, and unneeded or misused pharmacology;

corporate religion; anti-Muslim xenophobia; anti-Arab racism; anti-Semitism;

patriarchal warfare; militarism; imperialism; colonialism; globalisation; poverty; famine; lack of access to clean water; corporate pollution; capitalism; corporate welfare; corporate corruption; so-called "First" (read: Worst or Last) World terrorism of the Second, Third, and Fourth Worlds; wage slavery (each of these being bound to the other);

rape, sexual coercion, compulsory heterosexism, incest, "adults having sex with children", child sexual abuse, child sexual neglect;

battery, bullying, and behaving in domineering and oppressively controlling ways;

trafficking, sexual exploitation, pornography; 

genocide; racism; ecocide;

ableism; ageism;

speciesism (the belief that humans ought to hold dominion over and are more Divine than non-human animals and other Life); the commercial meat and dairy industry; speciesism; anti-organic commercial agribusiness; corporate pesticide production and sales; soil erosion and destruction; corporate ownership of seeds and other natural living things and processes;

two-party [un]democratic election and voting systems; corporate owned media; corporate advertising and marketing; commodification of everything;

the production and maintenance of cities, civilisation, and unsustainable living-on-Earth;

the promotion of CRAP's gender-as-difference at the expense of focusing on CRAP's gender-as-hierarchy; CRAPpy gender transgression over radical feminist activism against CRAPpy gender oppression;

academic and other educational promotion of elitism, abstraction, confusion, intellectual inaccessibility, and apolitical (while deeply political) nonsense.

If we center Two Spirit experience, Indigenist activism, radical lesbian feminist experience and activism, radical anti-CRAP genderqueer experience and activism, asexual experience, intergender and intersex experience over the narrowest NeoConservative or NeoLiberal understandings of "gay", "bisexual", and "transgender" experience and politics, and if we put aside the most liberal understandings of "queerness", what happens to "LGBT" political projects as they are currently manifesting socially?

I'm advocating for this centralisation of marginalised and oppressed political movements and social experiences to occur. I'm hoping that those of like mind, heart, and spirit will join in on this radically spiritually, politically transformative project to heal the Earth by getting WHM supremacy and other CRAP off Gaia's back.

I am advocating for a holistic, intersectional, sustainable Two Spirit, anti-racist, and radical lesbian feminist movement that is explicitly, centrally, overtly inclusive of asexuals, intersex people, intergender, genderqueer, same-gender loving, gender-non-conforming people. I'm advocating for a movement that welcomes rather than refuses self-questioning, self-critique, self-interrogation, interpersonal, social, and structural, systematic resistance and activism to compost WHM supremacy and other CRAP completely. The world needs healthy soil, not toxic CRAP.

I am advocating for constructive, not destructive, conversation and coalition building across many political differences, some of which require understanding where and when "difference" is "dominance". I am inviting people to come here and come out and discuss the many issues that divide us from one another which keep WHM supremacy in charge of all of our lives, and prevent CRAP from decomposing.

No name-calling. No insults to our humanity. Respect, regard, listening, hearing, interrogation, critique, and challenging is welcome.