"We like men. We like sex with men. We love men. We love cock. We like looking sexy and we are not ashamed to do so. And we're feminists."
So proclaims a brochure about the Milwaukee-based not for profit group Feminists For Fornication (FFF). Led by one Katinka Hooijer, these women crusade against the more traditional concept of feminism, one which rallies against pornography as degrading and exploitative. They encourage open-mindedness and individuality, urging women to make their own choices about what they do and do not enjoy, and not to feel ashamed if their desires fall outside of "acceptable societal norms".
Hooijer teaches a course called Cultural Symbols, Feminism, and Pornography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has a master's degree in Anthropology from the same institution. The original title of her thesis was "Pass the Penis, Please", but at the request of faculty she changed it to "Sex, Symbols, and Subjectivity: An Anthropological Approach to Feminist Rhetoric and the Construction of Sexuality".
The self-stated objectives of Feminists For Fornication are:
Send Out A Positive Message About Sex: We will concentrate on the positive and pleasurable aspects of sex and female sexuality while acknowledging (but not dwelling on) the negative and dangerous aspects.
Teach Tolerance: Female sexuality is thought about and experienced in many ways depending on class, religion, ethnicity, physical capabilities and sexual orientation. Women have no right imposing sexual or social norms on other women. This means recognizing the complexity and diversity of female sexualities. We encourage women to seize the opportunity to explore their bodies and pleasures.
Support And Encourage Women In Their Personal Choice To Utilize Sexually Explicit Material: Sexual categories are relative; one woman's idea of porn is another woman's idea of obscenity. In other words, what turns me on might not turn you on, and whether you call it smut, erotica, hard-core, soft-core, cheese cake, "female-oriented," violent, lesbian, gay, or S and M, it's all a matter of taste.
Women Teaching Women: We as women should be able to think and speak within our own movement about our sexual experiences, fears, desires, and pleasures without being judged. The only way to broaden the discussion of sexuality is to talk about it.
The group does not claim to be sporting any new ideas. In the past couple of decades, women have become increasingly assertive about their sexual needs, and increasingly open to new sexual possibilities. A growing number of women view "hard-core" pornography, or practice role-playing, bondage and other "fringe" sexual activities in the privacy of their own homes.
However, in our own homes we are relatively free from scrutiny and social judgement. Doing something with the doors locked and the blinds closed is one thing, but most women wouldn't be comfortable discussing these practices in mixed company, let alone standing on a street corner and shouting them at the top of their lungs. This is essentially what FFF is doing, shoving their sexuality in the faces of the people who try to restrict it, saying, "We like it, and we're normal people."
"We'd like to piss off anyone who's on one extreme or the other," says Hooijer.
They've certainly succeeded in doing that, earning more or less blanket disdain from the members of the traditional feminist organizations and movements in the area. They have been accused of wholesale undermining of the feminist movement by the Milwaukee Women's Center, a charge which they heartily deny.
"We are tired of being called sluts and anti-feminists. Our concern is that the anti-pornography feminist movement is prescribing sexual norms that will label women who enjoy sexually explicit material as deviant."
To spread their message, FFF holds various rallies and festivals throughout the year like their Sensual Assault Show, which showcased a wide variety of erotic video, film and art, as well as sexual workshops by local dominatrixes. Their Carnivalust, held last year at Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery, also featured nude tag-team oil wrestling, a continuous saturation of porn movies, and sexual games of all kinds. Free condoms are prominently available at all FFF gatherings.
FFF is at the admittedly more vocal and extreme end of a growing trend, that being women who are beginning to find that traditional feminism is too confining and doesn't realistically address all their needs or let them be who they really are. They feel that many of the original objectives of the feminist movement have been achieved, such as the collective acceptance of the fact that women are intellectually and professionally as capable as anyone else. It's their mission, then, to help the feminist ideal change with the times, rather than continue blindly crusading onward like, for example, the union movement in the US.
They're also more fun at parties than Andrea Dworkin.
As a footnote, I've tried to write this node as an objective representation of the goals and ideals of FFF, rather than a subjective expression of my own opinions. If you think it's poorly written, downvote away. If you don't agree with what it says, find some way to downvote the FFF ;).
And on the bibliographical tip, all quotes and excerpts were taken from brochures and/or handouts published by Feminists For Fornication, but the rest of the content and composition of the write-up is original.