Tag Archives: Meghan Ferguson

Why I Don’t Want To Have a Threesome With You

11 Mar

by Meghan Ferguson

“So you like girls? Will you have a threesome with me?”

“Oh, you’re a lesbian? That’s hot!”

“You two should try making out with guys.”

“Can I get in on this?”

A question I’ve been asked too many times. The first reaction of several guys when they find out I’m a lesbian. Something yelled across the street at me as I was kissing a girl. A question I’ve been asked when I’m dancing/kissing/with a girl.

Calling these things questions is even being too polite – they’re more demands couched in polite terms, because, clearly, why wouldn’t I want to have a threesome with a guy? I mean, that’s always been my dream, so I should be thrilled – no, honoured – that a guy would offer me that chance.  Lucky me.

As I mentioned in a previous article, the heterosexual porn market has contributed to, if not created, this fascination with women having sex with each other, and it has leached into mainstream attitudes.  So, when a guy asks if I’ll have a threesome with him, or if he can “get in on” me dancing with another girl, that is him assuming that my relationship, my expression of my sexuality, my enjoyment of another girl’s company, is only for his entertainment and pleasure, and has nothing to do with my own desires.  Some people might think that this is just harmless fun, and sometimes the guy might just be joking, but the intent of an action can be vastly different from how that action actually plays out; in this case, what may be intended as a funny joke comes off as ignorant-sounding at best, to offensive and threatening at worst.

Another part of this culture is the assumption that all women are attracted to men.  I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been at Town, dancing with a girl and clearly enjoying myself, and some random guy has come up behind one of us and tried to start dancing with us.  I’m sorry; do I look like I’m interested? For one, I did not invite you.  Secondly, this is a gay club. As in, an establishment primarily catering to people in the LGBTQ community, so there is a pretty good chance that when you see two women dancing together, it’s because they’re queer.  Call me crazy, but it just might be a thing.  I have also heard stories of women being hit on by men at a lesbian bar. A lesbian bar.  Seriously, people?!  Now, I’m not saying that all women at a lesbian bar are, or should be, exclusively attracted to women, but when a guy does something like that, he is assuming that all the women there secretly want a man.

This pattern of behaviour isn’t just limited to the world of queer women; it’s the same thought process that fuels catcalling,street harassment, and so many other problems, this idea that our very existence as women gives men the right to objectify us and use us for their pleasure without consent. So yeah, next time I’m with a girl, know that we’re not doing it for your entertainment or to get attention, that I “just haven’t hooked up with the right guy yet”, and that no, I do not want to have a threesome with you.

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Heavy Lifting

25 Feb

by Meghan Ferguson

Let me paint a scene for y’all – it’s a weekday night, you’re at Yates and as you’re running or elliptical-ing, cursing that big lunch you had at Epi, you survey the local wildlife.  On the one side of the gym there are people doing cardio – a good mix of men and women – and then you look to the left to the weights and suddenly, it’s a sausage fest.  The weights section is filled with guys pumping iron and trying to bulk up, and there isn’t a single woman.  Maybe you’ll get the occasional woman, but in that case she’s using super light weights and isn’t there for long before crossing back to the other side.  It’s like there’s an invisible forcefield separating the two sides, and no one tries to cross it.
Our culture has decided that while men have to be jacked and have more muscles than they know what to do with, women – while being skinny and perfectly toned – cannot have muscles, or at least not very big ones.  Any women who transgress this standard do so at the risk of being called ‘un-feminine’ (ooooh, so scary), ‘butch’, or ‘dyke’.  As an athlete, and a rugger at that, I lift a lot because it’s what I have to do to stay in shape and because I straight up enjoy it, and yet when I lift to get strong many people do not recognise it as that.  My mother told me once that I shouldn’t lift too much because then my arms and legs would get too big and that’s not attractive; someone else told me that women with really muscled arms look kinda weird; I’ve also been told that obviously I’m just trying to ‘butch up’.  What I do at the gym has very little to do with my appearance or trying to fit into a stereotype, and yet society assumes that it’s the case because I’m a woman and, well, what else do we ever think about?  Even having said all this, when I do lift at Yates, every time I cross over that magic line it still feels weird, like I’m somewhere I’m not supposed to be no matter how frequently I go there and no matter how much I know what I’m doing.
On a larger scale, look at something like the Olympics, specifically weightlifting.  While I personally do not find the sport particularly riveting to watch (you’ll find me watching Rugby, Women’s Beach Volleyball, or the US Women’s soccer team), I think it’s incredible how much those people can lift and how much training went into getting there, men and women alike.  Despite my level of respect for these athletes, the rest of the world can’t quite seem to get on board and instead like to focus on women’s appearances.  For example, Sarah Robles is an Olympic lifter for the US – and a damn good one at that – but struggled to get a sponsor so she could afford to make it to London for the Olympics simply because she doesn’t look like society’s idea of an attractive woman.  Nevermind the fact that she is good at what she does and worked hard to get there, all her training and achievements are thrown out the window because of how she looks.  A super-built man does not face the same challenges, and in fact the more muscled a man is, the more acclaim he gets.  There’s a reason there’s a competition every year for the world’s strongest man and not one for women.  When men have the build of a heavy lifter, no one bats an eye because it is socially acceptable for men to look like this, because being strong equates with being more masculine.
Most, if not all, of this goes back to the whole issue of the gender binary and society’s expectations for what a “real” woman and “real” man are, and a complete lack of respect for women’s physical achievements.  As for the Yates divide, I don’t know if that is particularly unique to Georgetown because we are such a gender-normative campus, or if this is how most other gyms are, but regardless, it is still indicative of a much broader issue.  Women are strong, and we should be able to look the part too and be proud of it.

Queering Choice

18 Feb

by Meghan Ferguson

January 22nd marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the court case that legalised abortion and represented a huge step for women’s reproductive rights and health.  In my experience, abortion is one of those things that most people have strong feelings about one way or the other.  The entire debate surrounding abortion has been split into pro-choice versus pro-life, forcing people to take one stance or the other; you’re either completely against abortion, or all for it, and never the twain shall meet.  Unsurprisingly, this binary creates problems by limiting how people think about reproductive justice and abortion, and preventing any kind of constructive dialogue by pitting the two sides against each other.  My argument here isn’t a new one, but in light of this anniversary and the increasingly prominent debates about women’s reproductive rights, I feel it is an important issue to bring up.

Reproductive health – whether that’s talking about the pill, other forms of contraception, abortion, or the choice to be a parent – is a personal topic.  Last I checked, no one really wanted to hear about what’s going on with my vagina and uterus, nor am I particularly inclined to tell them, so why all the fuss now?  More importantly, what a woman does with her body and the choices she makes for herself and with her partner(s) are just that – personal choices that society has no right to comment on or control.  To that extent, people have a right to take a stance against abortion, whether for religious or other personal reasons, just as much as people have a right to be fine with abortion.  Whatever someone believes, it’s their personal choice and their prerogative to make that choice and decide with whom they talk about it.I was raised, and still am, Catholic, and so I can appreciate (if not entirely understand) the anti-abortion argument; all life is created by God, and therefore sacred.  I get it, I really do, but they lose me at forcing their ideas on the rest of society.  For one, not everyone is Christian, certainly not everyone is Catholic, and so you cannot expect that everyone is going to agree (hell, not all Catholics are even anti-abortion).  Beyond the context of abortion, pro-life encompasses things like basic human rights to gun control – it really is about protecting the life and well-being of people.  They’re just…a little old-fashioned.  Now, before you ask, yes, I am also confused as to how restricting the agency of women counts as respecting their lives; the only way I can understand this is that a foetus is more important that a woman with a life and feelings and thoughts and consequences (which still doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I’m reading the situation).  Basically, the pro-life position as it stands is that abortion is wrong, and women do not have a right to have a different opinion or any say in the matter.

The pro-choice stance, in my experience, is a slightly greyer category.  The pro-life camp likes to assert that all pro-choice people are not in fact supporting the rights of women, but are supporting abortion, that we’d all go out and have abortions without a second thought, and generally lacking in some sort of moral fibre.  I’ll go ahead and add it to the list of reasons why I’m supposedly going to hell.  Based on my own feelings on the matter and conversations I’ve had with friends, I can say that this is not the case.  My own opinion on the whole matter stems mostly from my lesbian identity.  As a lesbian, I have a very different relationship with pregnancy (and also abortions) than heterosexual women.  On an everyday level, I don’t have to worry about if I remembered to take my pill that day, or what happens if a condom slips or breaks.  My period’s a week late? Oh, I hadn’t noticed; oh well.  If I were to ever get pregnant or have kids, it would be a very conscious decision, based on a lot of thought, and a lot of time, effort, and money.  I have a choice.  I have a choice, and to me, it just makes sense that every other women should have just as much of a choice about what they do with their bodies.  Why is it that the only reason I have this choice is because I can’t do things the “normal” way?  It’s not fair, and it’s not right.
Having said all this, my position also means that I have a tendency to approach these things with a lack of gravity that they deserve.  By that, I mean that I do not always recognise that for the majority of women – heterosexual and those in the queer community – accidental pregnancy and the subsequent choices and consequences are things that they think about and are faced with on a regular basis.  Even though I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth on more than one occasion because of this, my different perspective (stupidity? insensitivity? immaturity?) has only fuelled my pro-choice beliefs.  I do not have to make these decisions and so while being a woman, I do not in any way feel qualified to tell another woman what to do or how to choose.  Most importantly – and this is the piece of the puzzle that I feel gets left out sometimes – is that when women faced with an accidental pregnancy do choose, regardless of what that decision is, they have potentially life-altering consequences and have not made that choice lightly.  I could never imagine what it’s like to have to think about these things because, to be perfectly honest, it scares the shit out of me.  At the end of the day, I don’t think any one of us is qualified to tell another woman how or what to choose, or how to live her life.
Now, here’s where I finally make my way back to my original point about the problem of the binary label system.  As I’ve said, pro-choice is about respecting the right of individuals to choose.  That includes the right to choose to be against abortion, personally or on a larger scale.  Personally, I don’t think I could ever have an abortion.  I can’t say that for definite; I just don’t know.  But the fact is, regardless of what I would choose, I still call myself pro-choice to protect the right for women everywhere to be confused and scared and choose what is best for them.

The End of Traditional Marriage

14 Feb

by Kat Kelley and Meghan Ferguson

To those in defense of “traditional marriage,” who fear the legalization of same-sex marriage threatens that sacred institution- you may just be right. Hallelujah.

The movement for LGBTQ rights, particularly the push for the legalization of same-sex marriage, has moved at an unprecedented pace. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation to grant same-sex marriages. They’ve since been followed by Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, and Denmark. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same sex-marriage, and eight states have joined Massachusetts- Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, and Washington (and of course, our District!)

And the mainstream dialogue has altered radically. While as recently as 2009, Bill O’Reilly asserted that allowing same-sex couples to marry would naturally lead to interspecies marriage, he is now on the defensive, claiming that “most of the media will not even consider the traditional point of view on marriage.” Gone are the days of self-respecting figures touting slippery slope arguments or daring to use the word “abomination” regarding the LGBTQ community (just kidding, gays are apparently a bigger threat than terrorism). Now, the strongest argument against same-sex marriage, is a defense of “traditional marriage.”

“Traditional” is one of the most ironic terms in the english language. Nothing in human society is static. There is no “traditional marriage.” Marriage has evolved and changed with every generation. So yes, same-sex marriage is threatening what our current understanding of “traditional marriage” is, and that’s a damn good thing.

Historically – “traditionally” – marriage was was little more than a business transaction in which the woman was a piece of property, something to be bartered for the profit of her father and husband.  Women had few if any rights within marriage, and were controlled entirely by their husbands.  Society saw wives as being little more than a live-in slave, someone to cook dinner, clean the house, and raise the children, and this image was turned into the picture of the ‘ideal’ woman. There was no concept of marrying for love; that came later on in the story as society started a push for the idealisation of marriage and the “sanctity” of the relationship between a man and a woman.  The 1950’s and 60’s, for example, are filled with images of the ‘perfect’ housewife and the ‘perfect’ family – two children, a father who dutifully provides for his family, a wife who always has food on the table, is soft-spoken, and always manages to look perfectly put together, all wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy cocoon of love.  Since the 1950’s, then, this picture has become society’s idea of “traditional marriage”, neverminding the fact that even during the 50s this was an idealistic, unattainable vision for the vast majority of Americans, and that this sure as hell isn’t what families and marriage looks like now.  With the divorce rate at or above 50%, who can seriously tell me that the world is filled with families like the Wards (Leave it to Beaver, anyone?)?.  “Traditional marriage” is a historically oppressive institution, wrapped up in layers of heteronormative, restrictive gender roles and lies.  And now, with an international push for same-sex marriage, I have to ask: is this really what we want to get ourselves into?

The push for marriage equality is an important step in gaining all-around equality for the queer community, but it is important to step back and look the wider implications of what we are asking for: that the queer community wants to assimilate into the wider heterosexual, heteronormative community.  The images you see of two women in white bridal gowns or two men in tuxedos about to get married play directly into heteronormative standards of life – the idea that the only way to have a functional family or to have a ‘real’ relationship is to be married.  What does marriage even mean, and how does that one label suddenly make a relationship more legitimate than before?  Asking for the right to be married not only says that we are willing to put aside our queer identities in order to be accepted into this oppressive institution, but also that we feel the need to ask for society’s approval, literally, their blessing, for our relationships. Conforming to these standards, even in the interest of finding legal equality for the LGBT community, is still a form of oppression as it perpetuates gender stereotypes and society’s strict definitions of what a valid relationship or family looks like.  Without the freedom to explore and redefine relationships, there will always be a marginalised group, and marriage will always be an oppressive institution in some way.  We are trying to fit ourselves into an institution that is broken, that does not want us, and would not know how to deal with us even if it did.  As I said, gender norms are wrapped up in marriage, even in media portrayals of same-sex weddings, and so what happens when one or both does not identity as male or female? What happens to polyamorous relationships when we still keep marriage as something between only two people? In our fight for equality, to drag ourselves out of second-class status, we have become so desperate to become “just like you” that we are willing to throw the rest of the queer community under the bus. Instead of trying to fit ourselves into this broken system, we need to redefine it completely; destroy it, throw it all out the window, and start again.  The focus needs to shift to gaining legal equality, not institutional acceptance, and looking at how we can change other social norms and institutions to combat oppression on all levels.

This transformation, this evolution of marriage is ideal- not just for the LGBTQ community- but for all marriages and those considering marriage. The wage gap persists, and we continue to allow biology to restrict a woman’s choices. A woman’s chance of being hired drops by 44% after her first child, and her pay by 11%. Women’s (and men’s) choices are still dictated by archetypical gender roles, due to societal and familial expectations and pressures, and the lack of resources and support for mothers and those trying to avoid or delay motherhood.

Yet, in same-sex marriages, roles are not pre-determined by gender. There may still be a “breadwinner” and one spouse may be more responsible for domestic duties, however, gender roles are not the default, and gendered expectations do not determine or influence one’s role. Marriage and shared childrearing demand compromise, and consequently, in all marriages, roles can be rigid, flexible, or non-existent. And while one or both partners may make sacrifices in same-sex marriages, such choices are more thoughtful and the basis is not merely chromosomal.

The foundation for the marriage then is not merely familial and societal expectations or gender roles, nor normative units of social arrangement, but rather the relationship itself.

Whovian Feminism

10 Feb

by Meghan Ferguson

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Doctor Who (my sincerest condolences – you are missing out), it is the longest running sci-fi TV show ever, having started in the early ‘60s.  It is the greatest TV show ever. Full stop.  In addition to its general wonderfulness, Doctor Who (the new generation) is also the most feminist show ever; from bad-ass companions to nonchalant mentions of same-sex couples, there is just everything good with this show.

The Doctor’s companions are an integral part of the show’s dynamic.  Now, at first glance you may think that an attractive young woman flying around in the TARDIS with a Time Lord and helping him save the universe is hardly the set up for a feminist plotline, but clearly you’ve never met Rose, Martha, Donna, or Amy.  All of the companions are strong, well-rounded female characters who more often than not sass the Doctor back just as much as he sasses them.  Donna, for example, is a hilarious woman who frequently tries to wander off, causes the Doctor a lot of grief, and also berates him mercilessly when he does something stupid.  They are equals, partners in crime wandering across time and space, instead of a hero and his eye-candy sidekick.  Amy Pond – my personal favourite (though Rose will always have a special place in my heart) – is arguably the most strong-willed companion of them all.  The first time we see Amy as an adult, she’s dressed up as a police officer and handcuffs the Doctor to a radiator, and then proceeds to berate him for taking so many years to come back for her. Amy, and really none of the companions for that matter, is never one to sit back helplessly and wait for the Doctor to tell her what to do.  Granted, she does defer to his expertise (he’s a 900-and-something-year-old Time Lord who travels through time and space for kicks; who wouldn’t listen to what he has to say?), but the Doctor never condescends, never treats her as expendable; he needs her and he knows it and Amy knows it.

There has been some kind of love interest with all the companions at one point or another, but they’ve taken a very different track than what you would expect.  Rose was the only companion who the Doctor actually fell in love with (David Tenant at the end of season 2 breaks my heart every time), and even that takes an unusual twist.  Martha falls in love the with Doctor, and after a season of her obviously pining after him, she finally decides to leave because she knows that he doesn’t feel the same way and there’s no use trying; she deserves more than that.  When she gave that speech before she left, my only reaction was ‘go you!’ And well done, writers, for having a woman who doesn’t base her entire life on relationships and turn into a mindless wreck over unrequited love.

Speaking of love interests and strong women, we cannot forget River Song.  She is probably the character that makes my brain hurt the most (wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey…stuff is the only way I explain it to myself), and also possibly my favourite character ever.  She waltzes in and out of the picture, popping up in unusual places, and always, always leaving the Doctor stunned and a bit miffed at being out-done.  You think Donna was sassy?  River Song tells the Doctor that he’s flying the TARDIS wrong and does it herself.  She graffiti’s the oldest cliff face in the universe to get the Doctor’s attention, jumps out of space ships and expects (correctly) the Doctor to be there when she calls him to pick her up, comes and goes from her uber-high-security prison like she owns the place, leaves the Doctor speechless and flustered with her flirting, and somehow knows his name (how? When? Why? What is it?!? Steven Moffat, you’re killing me here).  River Song is a character unto herself, one who needs no saving, no male character to support her.  The fact that she outdoes the Doctor – the main character – on many occasions says a lot.

As for how the show addresses same-sex relationships, I take my hat off to the writers.  Frequently, same-sex couples or non-heterosexual characters show up, and while they are not a major part of the storyline, they are included in the storyline just like any other character.  There is no neon sign saying, ‘hey look, we have a gay couple! Aren’t we so diverse and accepting?’  For example, in season six, we are casually introduced to the self-proclaimed gay Anglican couple.  They’re only on-screen for a few minutes, and the context is a casual conversation between them and another cleric, but that’s the whole point – it’s not a big deal.  It doesn’t matter that there’s a gay couple, it doesn’t matter that Captain Jack Harkness tries to hit on anything with a pulse (or two, in the case of the Doctor), and it doesn’t matter that the Doctor himself has no particular preference for gender or species.  The way the show presents it is that it doesn’t matter who or what you’re attracted to because that’s not what defines a character, and to me, it doesn’t get more feminist than that.

The World Through Feminist-Coloured Glasses

3 Feb

by Meghan Ferguson

I am a feminist. I will (and frequently do) shout it proudly from the rooftops. Meanwhile, my family casts sideways glances, expecting me at any minute to burn my bras and run off to live in a commune, and my friends joke about me being a militant lesbian (I neither confirm nor deny any of these allegations).  The fact of the matter is, until I got to college, I don’t think I would have called myself a feminist.  My experience with the term up to then was hardly positive; yes, I knew feminists and feminism was about equal rights for women, but from what I had been told, feminists were angry, man-hating women, à la the SCUM Manifesto, and feminism was a thing of the past.  Forgive me; I grew up watching Fox News. You know what that does to a person.

I can’t tell you when the light went on for me, when I began to come to understand what feminism really is and what it means to be a feminist.  Regardless of when it happened, I know that a large part of how it happened was meeting people who shared my opinions and who thought of themselves as feminists; that was how I learned that feminism was not a thing of the past, and ‘feminist’ was not a dirty word.  From that point on, my concept of feminism has continually evolved, though I had never given much detailed thought to it until my Feminist Theory class last semester, when our professor told us we had to write a paper on our own theory of feminism.  Because after months of reading Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, amongst others, that wasn’t an intimidating task at all.

After much thought, mulling over class discussions (and arguments) and conversations with friends, I came to the conclusion that for me, feminism isn’t a set of rules or guidelines for how one ought to behave, but rather it’s a lens through which one views the world.  That is, the only way to be a true feminist is to be aware of why you act in a certain way, why certain systems of injustice are wrong, not just that they are wrong. Looking at the world through the lens of feminism involves being aware of the historical context of an institution, thinking critically about one’s actions and their potential ramifications, and actively working to combat oppressive institutions. In this way, people make informed, intellectual choices and are then in turn better able to educate other people about injustices. It’s like the ‘teach a man to fish’ saying – to think of feminism as a lens is to give yourself a way to navigate any situation in an informed, intelligent manner, instead of trying to rely on a book of set rules.  Besides, isn’t that just what we’re trying to get away from?  To that end, being a feminist isn’t just about women’s rights.  Yes, that’s obviously a big part of it, but really it’s about reimagining the world without the patriarchy and fighting the injustices that exist because of patriarchal institutions, whether that is access to birth control, the rape culture, sweat shops, LGBT equality, or worker injustice here at home.

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy by any means.  I’ll be the first to admit that it gets tiring always having to critique things, always having to double check your opinions because, oh wait, I have to check this-or-that privilege, or I only find this funny because the patriarchy has taught me to like it.  Sometimes I just want to watch a soppy romantic film and daydream about my perfect wedding, dammit.  And besides that, there are the conflicts in our lives where our feminism spidey-senses tell us one thing but another part of our brain tells us something different, and you know it’s the patriarchy talking but you just can’t help yourself.  At the end of the day, though, you’ve made a conscious, informed decision, even if it is to go see that new rom-com chick-flick about a woman who desperately wants a husband so her life can be complete, because you have the power of knowledge, and when you’re up against the patriarchy, knowledge is everything.

The Porn Wars

27 Jan

by Meghan Ferguson

The Internet is really, really great…for porn.  Or so says Avenue Q.  But let’s be real here, for as great as the Internet is for scholarly research, cat memes, and your favourite feminist blog (ahem), there’s a whole heck of a lot of porn.  And unlike in years past when the only way to acquire such materials was your local adult theatre or porn shop, the Internet provides free, anonymous, and unlimited access to any kind of porn your little heart desires.  Yippee.

Now, odds are, by this point you’ve fallen into one of two camps – either the mention of porn has already made you feel all of the feelings about the objectification of women, the patriarchy, and rape culture; or, you’re all excited about sex positivity and armed to the teeth with arguments about the agency of women and their free choice to be porn stars or consumers of pornography.  I fall into the latter category, but allow me to explain myself.

Pornography has been a contentious point amongst feminists pretty much since day one, with anti-porn activists like Catherine MacKinnon fighting for a ban on pornography and obscene material on the grounds that it degrades and oppresses women, and creates a culture where the abuse of women is acceptable.  Reading such arguments, you are faced with graphic descriptions of the foulest, most violent scenes from what are supposedly popular porn films, and these scenes are held up as a monolithic image of pornography.  There are also stories of women forced into the porn industry, held there against their will, and treated inhumanely.  I do not doubt the truth of such stories, and in the sex industry, the abuse, manipulation, and objectification of women is heartbreakingly inevitable at some point, as a large part of society is incapable of seeing women in a sexaul context as anything other than an object to be used.  I also do not doubt the existence of truly violent, degrading, and dangerous genres of porn.  However, I do not believe that the way to go about solving these problems is to shove all porn into this category, ban it, and then skip merrily off into the sunset knowing that you’ve done your moral duty.  That isn’t solving any problems; it means you’re doing a very good Ostrich impression, but that’s about it.  Ignoring the problem does not address the underlying causes of the violence against women, or the reasons why some women feel that sex work is their only option to making a living.

Historically, yes, pornography has catered almost exclusively to men and male desires, which has led to all sorts of problems, from expectations on what the female body ‘should’ look like, to the fetishizing of ‘girl-on-girl’ sex (All The Feelings on that later…).  Porn used to be a way to exclusively legitimise white, heterosexual, male sexuality, but that’s beginning to change (God bless the Internet).   Ah yes, our technological friend returns to save the day.  The Internet has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for pornography, the most important of which is the development of queer and ethical porn.  One of the beautiful things about the interwebs is that anyone can upload anything they want, and in our case, that means the queer community is no longer excluded from the porn industry.  In recent years, sites such as the Crash Pad Series, QueerPorn TV, FTM Fucker, and Indie Porn Revolution, to name a few, have cropped up, each offering a plethora of porn, some of it amature and some professional, catering to a wide range of tastes, and all made ethically without the exploitation or maltreatment of the performers, and all done with consent from all parties involved.  For the first time, there are positive, accurate representations of queer sex made by queer people for queer people.  No more of this two blonde, leggy, double D-cup cheerleaders hooking up with the football team watching bullshit (now it’s the women’s rugby team that gets to watch).  But I’m kidding.  The best part of this is that it’s all ethically produced.  The performers all chose to be a part of the production, they use safe sex practices, no one is forced to be there, no one is committing malicious violence against another person.  Similarly, women as a whole have been able to have a say in what porn gets created, and because of the increased access to porn, women have become a larger percentage of consumers, and now mainstream producers are listening to what we have to say.  It’s a basic fact of capitalism – you want to make the money, you listen to what your consumers want, and you do it.  Consequently, there is an increasing (though still relatively small) amount of porn that is aimed at women.

For the first time, sexually marginalised groups have a mainstream forum to express, explore, and own their sexuality, and pornography has been a major player in making that happen.  Is pornography faultless? No way.  Are there a lot of problems it’s caused that piss me off to no end? Yup.  But, like anything else in this world, porn is not a monolithic category and to disregard the many facets of it is to do a disservice to society – the only way we can fix the problems is to know what we’re dealing with, and in knowing what we’re dealing with, we can see where a broken system has gone right.