I’ve been thinking more about the position of anti-sex-positive feminists, and I’ve come up with this analogy. Tell me what you think:
What if I told you I were “FOOD POSITIVE?” What would you assume I meant?
Me, I’d assume that “food positive” meant something like,
“I enjoy food and desire to have a positive, nourishing relationship with it, despite the fact that I live in a culture with a seriously fucked up up food system, complete with global injustice. The poorer and more disenfranchised you are, the less healthful your food environment and food culture are likely to be, but even those at the privileged end of the resource spectrum suffer at the hands of our broken system.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way. Food and an appetite for food are both gifts of being a human. Humans are capable of a variety and complexity of food that no other species can even begin to match. We can enjoy delicious, nutritious food, celebrate its abundance and diversity, and experiment with the unending potential of food in human life. We can play with our food, rejecting wholesale the notion that food should be one thing or another; we can listen to our own bodies’ needs and desires, and meet them, unashamed and unafraid. Furthermore, we can of recognizing the systemic injustice built into our food system, denying some people the right to nourishment without limit, and we can CHANGE it – but only if we recognize what else is possible!
“I believe that by promoting a food positive attitude, I can help to rectify the food negative attitudes and systems that harm so many people. I believe we can create change by recognizing what it possible and no longer accepting the dominant paradigm of processed, refined bullshit.”
In contrast, I think the anti-food-positive feminists would hear me saying,
“I enjoy food and desire to have a positive relationship with it. The food system is good the way it is and people who complain about it are food-hating whiners and probably have eating disorders or else are fat.”
Which is totally not what I meant. And anyone who read my blog would know that’s not what I meant.
Under what circumstances would someone so utterly misunderstand me?
Well, I’ve learned from various blog readers that people misunderstand, for example, my biological approach to sex as “essentialist” and “reductionist” because the language I use reminds them of other people who have made those mistakes. So maybe the anti-food-positive feminist hears me say “food positive” and hears a recapitulation of language they’ve heard elsewhere that meant something different.
That’s my working hypothesis. To test it, somebody run this by any anti-sex-positive feminists they may happen to know.
EDIT: Charlie Glickman got there before me! He wrote, “It seems disingenuous to say that my sexuality is only a personal issue, just as it seems disingenuous to say that choosing to eat fast food isn’t participating in agricultural monoculture. Many of our sexual decisions affect how we move through the world and what impact we have on other people.” And the question of who is impacted by our sexual decisions seems like a really crucial one to me.