Dealing With My Deviance

I’m a woman. I’m black. I’m kinky.

Now while I’ve mostly dealt with my feelings on being a kinky woman, there’s a pretty damn significant part of my identity I’m still working to reconcile to everything else.

This is not a society that’s been kind to women, and certainly not women of color. Our sexuality is not our own, instead this is a world socialized with the idea that people of color’s sexuality does no’t belong to us, that women of color’s sexuality, my sexuality is for public consumption- everyone else gets to have a say about it but me. So when I right pro-sex posts celebrating the power of consent, the right to feel pleasure, to be kinky, sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m falling into that tired old stereotype of the hypersexual black woman.

But does the solution really lie in suppressing my desire? Should I “clean up my act” because heaven forfend there are white people in the room while I’m expressing my deviance?

Well, no (or at least I hope not) because that way only madness lies.

It certainly hasn’t done us any favors, being one of the reasons the mammy stereotype took such hold. Not to mention the fact that it split women of color up into opposing archetypes that were created to challenge each other.  There’s constant self-policing in our communities (anyone remember the Ciara ‘Love Sex Magic’ kerfuffle, or how about the more recent Rihanna S&M rumbling– though admittedly, hers is even more complicated than just a matter of race and kink); it is that horrible “there are white people in the room” mentality that keeps us repressed and heteronormative, keeping us compliant and ‘respectable’. Or at least that is what our own communities tell us, because I hope I do not have to tell you it is certainly not working for us. Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire are alive and thriving- to our detriment; our sexuality still falls at the intersection of race and gender.

I have to admit that I still hesitate before condemning that self-enforced silence. It was not born in a vacuum. The erasure of deviance (queerness, kink, anything that isn’t widely considered ‘acceptable’ or ‘respectable’)  in communities of color is an ugly scar; it is a reflection of a history of violence, slavery, and debasement. So I hesitate, I hesitate because I get it. I still live it. Though the question remains: can the solution really lie in suppressing my desire?

No- and more of us need to say this with conviction. Avoiding deviance to avoid oppression just reinforces the oppression. It has been said before, and again and again, as women we need to take back our right to pleasure, as women of color, more so. The discussion needs to start happening amongst ourselves- and not in the hushed whispers we are used to. Proudly and deviantly, let’s talk about sex, baby (and queerness, and kink, and all that’s been taboo)!

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To Be Quite Vanilla, Oh Dear.

There’s a “Vanilla Privilege Checklist” floating around. To the list, this kinky rambling feminist woman of color says, the dangers of appropriation are staggering, also erasure of marginalized identities from vanilla is not the way to go about this:

A vanilla person will have an easy time finding media that portrays people with their sexual preferences sympathetically and accurately.

Queer sex isn’t necessarily kinky. Sympathetic and accurate portrayals of queer people in the media however? Nearly non-existent.

A vanilla person will not have their being vanilla brought up during a rape investigation (either as accuser or accused)

I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to remind everyone that not all women are kinky. When they are victims in rape investigations, their being women is enough to work against them. Rape culture, anyone?

Symbols of vanilla affection/romance will not be appropriated as “edgy” fashion statements.

Someone please look up Lady Gaga’s commercializing of the gay community.

A vanilla person will not be assumed to be sexually experienced because of their vanilla-ness.

Vanilla is not taken to mean sexually available.

POC (peoples/person of color) sexuality is automatically offered to some people. It means that when I walk down the street, my sexuality is not my own, it is others’ to delegate and make use of as they see fit.

There’s another post similar to this on vanilla privilege and while it makes a good point on privilege reactions and why people shouldn’t react violently to accusations of privilege, I’m still not sure privilege is the right name to assign to “not being kinky”.

Listen.

Being kinky is not a cakewalk, I get it; I know this- but there’s a line and it is crossed at appropriating queer, POC, and other marginalized movements. You know the roots of kinkophobia?

Gender norms. Racism. Heterosexism.

POC sexuality has been corroded to the point of erasure of anything that didn’t mesh with the “pure white sexuality” within POC communities.

Homophobia is so prevalent, the queer community bends to heteronormative norms in an effort find sameness which ends up being just another oppression.

Women aren’t supposed to be vocal, dominant, or agents of their own sexuality- and kinks? No way.

This is a conversation we need to have in the anti-oppression community- of kinks and kinkophobia, and why kink has been erased from our intersecting marginalized identities- but I believe that this list does more harm than any good.

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