On Feminism (Plus Bloodroot food porn)

Follow me on Instagram (@zoahu) for more emo photos of canoodling cutlery and half-eaten desserts. Chocolate cake a la Bloodroot!

So many would think that because I am pro women’s rights, pro sexual liberation, and a crunchy animal loving tofu eating vegan, I’m automatically a feminist, right? Some women have issues with labeling themselves feminists, because unfortunately so many people assume feminists are cantankerous man hating activists who don’t shave their armpits.

While I’m certainly not an activist, I support feminists and feminist activists. I do have some feminist tendencies, too… If I were to take a political quiz I’m sure I would score a big fat F (for feminist, duh). And when I was 14 I dumped a boyfriend after he told me women “aren’t funny.” But I make you laugh every day! I counter argued, before spewing a litany of women who are hilarious. He stroked my cheek like I was a little puppy. “Of course you make me laugh, you’re adorable!” I’m pretty sure I pulled a Yosemite Sam, with steam pouring out from each ear as I made a high-pitched kettle cry. I’ll show YOU what’s funny, mister.

I also used to fight with a different ex on a constant basis about reproductive rights. He didn’t believe in abortion or adoption. Actually, he once uttered the sentence “I don’t want anyone’s second-hand children.” SECOND HAND CHILDREN? Okay so the fact I was dating these dudes probably proves I’m not a feminist, but I will continue anyway.

For starters, I am pro porn. While some feminists are pro porn (anti censorship!), many are not, because they feel it degrades women, portrays unrealistic misogynistic beauty standards, stunts actual sexuality, and often supports sexual violence. All of this can be true, depending on the type of porn you watch and your relationship with what you’re watching. However, porn can also allow you to become in touch with your sexuality, explore things you may never explore on your own, and, well, provide hours of enjoyment. While porn can instill unrealistic standards for sex, and people can become addicted to it, I think overall it does more good than bad. It can expose people to things they may not encounter in real life, and support a healthy sex drive. It shouldn’t be used as a replacement for intimacy, or imagination–as a masturbatory aid, I prefer my imagination and my boyfriend’s dirty t-shirt–but there’s nothing wrong with watching a bit of porn now and then. That’s like saying all booze is bad because some people are alcoholics. Sure, some will abuse it, but overall I think it’s a good thing.

I am also pro BDSM. I understand why this is often seen as anti feminist, but I think BDSM can actually allow people to break out of their typical personalities and explore new things. The meek can take on the role of the aggressor in a safe space, and someone who is always in control can succumb to submission. I don’t see one sex as the dominant and so by exploring both roles, BDSM seems–for me–less like an anti-woman thing and more about playing with power for both sexes.

I am also pro sex work, and I sometimes I make self-deprecating jokes about women and kitchens and sandwiches. So judge me as you will, but feminist I am not.

Feminist or not, I love Bloodroot, the feminist vegetarian restaurant and bookstore in my parents’ town of Bridgeport, Conn. The restaurant just celebrated their 35th year anniversary! Run by a friendly ladycouple and over-run by a ton of less friendly cats, in the 70s the place became known as a hub for feminist activities.

Recently I took a girlfriend there to celebrate the completion of her nursing program (yeahhh, big girl moves!) and we got into a discussion about feminism while we were there. While there certainly are topics I don’t understand completely myself, I was trying to explain it a bit to her and the conversation got to the point I was half worried we would be overheard and escorted out of the restaurant. “How can you be a feminist if you’re not a lesbian?” was one such question that had my insides quivering as I glanced left and right for flying forks. Not that my friend is stupid—actually she is one of the smartest people I know—but she is admittedly completely unschooled in gender politics and we were playing catch up. We eventually decided it would be safe to play catch up in a neutral area to avoid accidentally offending anyone or cutlery to the face.

So the FOOD. Bloodroot’s food is always extremely delicious. I only go there every once in a while, because my budget is sort of tight these days, but it’s always a tasty experience. Also, the place is right on the water and swarming with felines and mermaid statues. The bookstore is great, and overall Bloodroot is unique and vibrant. Love it!

salad with sliced tofu and nappa cabbage.

Soup with veggies and chickpeas. So good I scarfed it even though it was sizzling hot outside.

Main course: seitan with mole sauce.

Ever been to Bloodroot? Wanna fight about feminism? Share stories? Have a virtual high-five? Rant away in the comments!

About the author  ⁄ Zoe

Zoe writes about food and sex on SexyTofu.com.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    June 25, 2012

    Some seriously deep, insightful thoughts here, but all I can say is YUM. I’ve only been to Blood Root twice now, but I will never forget those collard greens and black eyed peas I got back in the winter. They were simple but soul-satisfying…

    • Reply
      June 25, 2012

      Only twice when it’s in your backyard practically? I smell some vegan dates!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2012

    There are a lot of different ways to be a feminist;I think it needs to be inclusive to be powerful! I’m pro-porn (not commerical or mainstream porn usually tho) and pro-bdsm too and consider myself a diehard feminist. Even the way you described bdsm – as giving women power and doing away with a hierarchy of sex roles sounds feminist to me. Obviously you don’t need to define as a feminist if you feel uncomfortable with the label but don’t think we don’t need people like you in the ranks too!
    Anyway, the food sounds delicious – and I love the concept of the bookstore/restaurant!

    • Reply
      June 25, 2012

      Oh I’m for sure not uncomfy with the term, and I definitely think I have feministic tendencies but I’ve been “femishamed” before for my humor…apparently it’s offensive ;)

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012

    Finally someone who feels the same way that I do about feminism. Plus that food looks delicious! I really enjoyed this piece…Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012

    I am decidedly prude when it comes to porn and sex in general but I love how you put a positive spin on both porn and bdsm. Some excellent food for thought, to go along with that delicious looking seitan with mole!
    Also, I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! http://thecrueltyfreereview.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/on-lovely-blog-award/

  • Reply
    Emily
    July 2, 2012

    This makes me so sad. I had this kind of conversation a lot with girls in high school. There was a lot of “I can’t be a feminist because I like giving blow jobs! Ha-ha.”

    Even though the 70′s incarnation of radical feminism is in the past, some still equate the word “feminist” with being uptight or sexually cold. It makes it easier to discount notions of gender equality when you see the deliverer as something other than yourself. One of my closest friends is a staunch feminist who happens to love submission and BDSM. And I don’t know a single feminist today who is anti-porn, although I’m sure they do exist.

    Feminism is a broad category, held together almost exclusively by belief in gender equality. Trust me, none of your opinions or tastes are anti-feminist. In calling yourself “not a feminist” you have excluded yourself from a really important conversation about women’s roles in sex and in society. You seem so well-informed about other topics of gender and sexuality, you really disappointed me on this one.

    You should march yourself down to Bluestockings, talk to some folks, and do some reading! Figure out what feminism actually means.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2012

      Thanks for the insight Emily. As I mentioned in a previous comment, the reason I “guess I’m not a feminist” is because I have been told (quite nastily, in some cases) that I am not, by some feminists, because I support things like porn and BDSM. I suppose I may have a bit of an issue with labels; I wouldn’t call myself straight or queer, and in the first few months of my veganism I had issues with calling myself a vegan.

      I agree with you that there are tons of different shades of feminism and feminists often have opposing views. As for porn, check out the following, one a feminist defense of porn, and the other an interview with a feminist who finds porn to be male centric and a channel for female oppression.

      http://anniesprinkle.org/writings-musings/my-conversation-with-an-anti-porn-feminist/

      http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/mcelroy_17_4.html

      I took several gender classes in college and while I always have more to learn of course, I do believe I have a handle on the concept. Perhaps I should have expressed myself a bit better in the post. Thanks for reading!

      • Reply
        July 3, 2012

        Oh and one more note! I find blow jobs to be extremely empowering. It’s probably why I love them so much. :)

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