The Prudes’ Progress is my attempt, written and published over the course of about a year, to address the question I’ve been asked so many times, which is, “If sexuality is so damaged in a patriarchy, what can we do?”
It refuses simple answers and plunges into the last forty years of work by the overlapping groups of lesbian feminists, Black feminists and trans* feminists, attempting to bring ideas together rather than tear them apart.
Rather than prescriptive, I’ve written it to be suggestive. Some problems we can see immediately. Others are hazy, and others practically invisible. Sometimes we need to speak with other women to find the way.
At every step it’s an attempt to illuminate the shape of patriarchy and shine a light on possible paths which can lead us through and around it. They’re never direct and can often only be trodden together.
It ranges from immediate issues of Self-love and love for other women, through forms of objectification, re-calls the method of consciousness-raising, even confronts the love of dominance and its deep hooks, fetishes, directly.
And finally it touches on the subject of woman-identified space and feminist desire itself, strongly linked to the continuum of female friendship, again refusing simple solutions such as “purity politics”.
Along the way it develops a language of feminist desire and of the problems feminist desire confronts, words such as instrumental sexuality, consentfulness, pornovision and pornotypes, wimminsight, sparking, stoking, shoring, sustaining and blazing.
If reading and following this Progress does a tenth as much for you as writing it has for me, it’ll be worth it. And I hope that women hungry for more will also enjoy the extensive reading list at the end of this final part.
I have a couple more projects on the go but they likely won’t be ready for a while. Until then, I’ll be here on Tumblr occasionally writing smaller things and likely continuing with the regular #feministquotes.
See you on the spiral path,