What type of feminist are you? First, second or third wave? Anarcha-feminist or Difference feminist? Anti-pornography or sex positive? And most importantly, does it really matter?
Now, before we start, I'd like to say I am fully aware of the irony involved in writing a blog denouncing feminist in-fighting by engaging in what looks suspiciously like feminist in-fighting. I'm not perfect, okay?
What has me a little riled is some of the terminology that's been bandied about in the publicity surrounding Anna Arrowsmith (AKA Anna Span, porn director) and her standing for the Liberal Democrats. I say this may look like in-fighting because I take issue with the way Arrowsmith describes herself: as a "pro-sex" or "sex-positive" feminist.
For those not au-fait with all the various forms of feminism purporting to exist, pro-sex or sex-positive feminists are generally pro-pornography and to varying degrees, supportive of the sex industry, from stripping and pole-dancing to prostitution (I don't claim to be especially well versed in the intracacies of the pro-sex movement, so be kind if you feel I'm misprepresenting you). The ideas follow largely on from those first touted by second-wave feminists.
I am, to stick yet another label on myself, anti-pornography. I do not believe that stripping or pole-dancing are "liberating" or without negative impact on women and while I agree with legalising prostitution (but criminalising men who use prostitutes) I'd be far happier if the oldest profession ceased to exist altogether. But here's the rub: I'm not "sex-negative". As Hadley Freeman of the Guardian put it in an article on the same topic today, "I've never met a feminist who was 'anti-sex'".
No one actually uses the terms "sex-negative" or "anti-sex" concerning feminism as far as I have seen, but they are implied by their positive opposites. "Pro-sex" instantly sounds argumentative and snide: if you're not "pro-sex" you must be anti, therefore your opinion on issues relating to sex and feminism is not valid because you're just an uptight prude. Maybe I'm reading a *little* bit too much into people's intentions with their terminology, but you've got to admit, the implication is there.
And it's not helpful, not in the slightest. Whether you're "sex-positive" or "anti-porn", first wave or third wave, we're all working towards the same overall goal. Why weaken the movement by dividing ourselves into little groups and cliques? What's great about your in-house bloggers here at Feminazery is that we all have different ideas and opinions about what feminism means to us personally, but we're all good feminists and largely good friends, because we know we're united where it counts - working towards equality and fair treatment for women everywhere. The detail is just a distraction.