The Prudes’ Progress: Re-membering Feminist Desire, Part VI – Breaking Old Patterns, Cultivating Freedom

This is the sixth part in an eight-part series of articles, The Prudes’ Progress, about non-objectifying, woman-identified sexuality based on ideas of equality and whole-personhood, in the tradition of lesbian feminism. For the first article in the series, which includes a table of contents, please click here. The articles don’t have to be read in order and contain many backwards and forwards links so you can follow them in whatever way is most useful for you, although forward links won’t work until the relevant article is available.

The Fifth Progression: Falling Out Of Love With Dominance

During the previous Progressions we’ve raised our feminist consciousness, prioritised the practice of love towards our Selves and other women, and tracked paths around the various barriers to becoming sexual and social subjects, in other words, more fully Realised human beings. We’re now ready to look at a core part of what makes up identity and our sexual identity in the State of Domination: the love of dominance.

Dominator culture teaches all of us that the core of our identity is defined by the will to dominate and control others. We are taught that this will to dominate is more biologically hardwired in males than in females. In actuality, dominator culture teaches us that we are all natural-born killers but that males are more able to realize the predator role. In the dominator model the pursuit of external power, the ability to manipulate and control others, is what matters most. When culture is based on a dominator model, not only will it be violent but it will frame all relationships as power struggles.

bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (Atria Books, 2004) p115

The form this takes in the world of sex and sexuality is that we are expected to get off on it. The existing system is a system of the love of dominance, in which sexual subjecthood is defined by an instrumental sexuality which takes advantage of processes of objectification in which the sexual subject uses and dominates those they are more powerful than.
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