Feminism is more than just sex positivity

By Page Forrest

Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of thebeautifulkingdomwarriors.wordpress.com

Cliteracy, free condoms, and the “Best Sex Ever?” Sign me up. All of those things are wonderful. And the Women’s Center has done an incredible job of bringing those programs and more events centered around sex positivity to the Sewanee Community. Sex positivity is important, not just for helping people feel comfortable with their sexual life, but also for reducing stigma surrounding those with active sex lives. However, during the past year, it seems as though the vast majority of the Women’s Center’s programming has been focused on sex positivity.

Within the sphere of sex positivity itself this can be alienating, especially for members of the community who are either not interested in sex, or those who have not yet had sex (penetrative or otherwise). While encouraging healthy attitudes towards sex is incredibly important, it’s also important to emphasize that it’s okay not to have had sex, and create content that is approachable and relatable for those who have not had sex or are just not interested in it.

Further, feminism is so much more complex than just sex positivity. There are several issues that could be addressed, both here at Sewanee and the world at large, but they are unintentionally overlooked in favor of more sex positivity content. The most recent campaign by the Women’s Center and the Community Engagement House to provide the women of Blue Monarch with pads, tampons, and panty liners is emblematic of an important topic worth more discussion, and the donation campaign is worth paying attention to. Most homeless women are unable to obtain adequate supplies for their periods. Stigmatization of periods contributes to lack of discussion about women’s health. Let’s talk about periods more! Or we could discuss wage inequality, discrimination in hiring practices, female representation in politics, beauty norms, international oppression, women in the military, abortion, sexist linguistic norms (“You throw like a girl,” “Don’t be a pussy”), and the porn industry. I get it. Sex is easy to talk about to college students. Most of us are interested in it. It’s an easy way to transition into discussing differences in how men and women are perceived by society at large. But it’s not the only aspect of feminism we should be discussing. There’s so much more to feminism. I’m all for sex positivity, but it’s time we broaden our horizons. As Salt and Peppa said, “Let’s talk about sex.” But let’s remember to talk about other topics too. Let’s talk about every aspect of feminism – not just the convenient ones.