Today I was tweet refered to a superb post by Renee Randazzo (Unfortunately, no longer found). While the context was primarily from a female Feminist point of view I found the words strongly echo within me.
“Me and my sexuality have had a tumultuous relationship. I have been paralyzed by shame for the better part of my existence, thanks largely to growing up in a culture where women’s sexuality is simultaneously feared and exploited. Any expression of the ongoing process of my negotiation of my sexuality made me vulnerable to victimization, or short of that, over-simplification of my personality.” [Emphasis mine]
The shame I live within is palpable. I am a mature, white, Anglo-Saxon, male who identifies as a sadistic Dominant. I enjoy causing pain to people I love. I am one of the people who are automatically identified as an Abuser. While I accept who I am, I still feel the inborn shame that sixty-four years of living in this society has given me? Every day I look at people I would wish to meet or relatives, ones I know and love and have no question that because of who I am sexually, they will have difficulty accepting, respecting or even seeing who I am.
“The ways in which I choose to express my sexuality might look very different or very similar to the ways female sexuality has been conceptualized by our culture and our media. As much as I want to create new ways to express myself, I find that at my starting point I am given limited materials with which to work.”
I do not deny, on any level, the inequality and denigration of women created by our male centrist society. But at the same time I grew up experiencing the extremely limited choices presented young males within this society in order to “Be a Man,” at times to the point where misogyny is given as a right of passage to adulthood. Certainly it is protection against being labeled “Gay.”
“What my sexuality looks like and how it interacts with other (equally impressive) aspects of my personality changes on a daily basis. And I refuse to hide my sexuality from the world for fear of victimization, over-simplification, or shaming from feminists for another minute. My sexuality is powerful, a bright light shining from within me. If it blinds you to who I am, that speaks to a deficit in your vision, not a problem in my presentation. My advice to you is this: Put on your fucking sunglasses.”
Sex negativity damages all of us, male and female, and it often comes from the most gender supportive communities. “A Feminist can not be submissive to a Male.” “A Respectful Gentleman (is there such a thing as a masculist?) can not be aggressively sexual to a woman.” Why Not? What is required is respect for the choices of each, willing communication and negotiation, and the acceptance that anyone at anytime has the right to say no.
To say that acting or dressing like a “slut” causes rape is saying that men have no sexual control, that they are unable to resist committing abusive acts. It is just as much a condemnation of masculinity as it is of femininity. I do not accept that as a characterization of who I am. I tell you with great joy, I have gazed upon some phenomenally beautiful women in the most pornographic of attire and accepted it as a wondrous gift and thanked them with respect. Go thou and do likewise.