Mar 212011

A very kind person mentioned my blog as one that other blogs Feministe readers should read. Thank you! So nice!

To my chagrin, though, she writes:

[Emily] mainly blogs about sex, and it is mainly hetero-normative sex, but she admits that openly. I think she does this because she scientifically studies sex. That is what the blog is about, but I still think it has feminist roots, and I think she says some noteworthy things.

Which. I mean.

(1) The blog isn’t mainly “heteronormative sex;” I checked, and during 2011 I’ve written just as many posts explicitly about gay sex as I’ve written posts explicitly about straight sex. So if heteronormative means bias in favor of opposite-sex relationships of a sexual nature, and against same-sex relationships of a sexual nature, then the blog definitely hasn’t been heteronormative in the past 3 months, at least. Indeed, given the disproportionate representation of queer sex and queer gender, I’d say just the opposite.

(2) What I admit openly is that I ground my thinking about sex in evolution, which demands a definition of sex as the genetic recombination of two individuals. This is not a heteronormative attitude, nor is it exclusionary. I’ve confronted this before and it has given rise to some pretty major ranting. A key thing to remember is that sex is inherently about DIVERSITY, and that when science says something is true about a population, it’s not saying anything at all about YOU. Just because half-baked journalism makes the mistake of conflating population level science with individual-level decision making doesn’t mean you should too. They don’t get paid enough to use insight and precision when they write about science, but don’t let that draw you into the same mistake.

(3) It’s not feminist DESPITE the science (“that’s what the blog is about BUT…”), it’s both sciencey and feminist, with no conflict between the two!

Look, can I plead with the queer folks to embrace the biology? The whole point about the biology is that the phenotype is innately VARIED. It is GLORIOUS. Sex is of, by, and for DIVERSITY and VARIATION, from its very foundations.

And can I plead with feminists to embrace the evolutionary origins of women’s sexuality, to love and cherish the fact that we’re the ones with the vaginas and the breasts, and to allow their minds to be blown by the impact of our reproductive role on the processes of natural and sexual selection?

It is a BEAUTIFUL thing, evolution, despite the fact that a lot of the science about it is terrible. We need feminists to PARTICIPATE in the science in order to disprove the bullshit and discover the truth, not to reject it whole, like a kid at the dinner table refusing in eating her Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are GOOD FOR YOU, whether you like them or not.

Science is feminist when feminists make science. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy and Elisabeth Lloyd and Lisa Diamond prove it. So yes, I am a feminist, and yes, I love the science of evolution, and yes, and there is no conflict between the two.

Will anyone ever believe this? Will anyone ever perceive a biological approach to sex as feminist and queer-friendly?

My grandmother put cheese sauce on my sprouts and then I ate lots of them. Maybe my job is to discover the feminist cheese sauce that will tempt you all to enjoy science in spite of yourselves.

(BTdubs, unrelatedly, can I register a slight gripe that, like, a little girl playing with a big gun is totally not feminist to me? No child playing with a gun is feminist.)