Get Real!

Oh my! Will Laura Woodhouse and I ever agree on something?

“While many women in the sex industry are not there out of choice, some of them are and, while some of us may not support or like these women’s choices, it does not mean we can go around disregarding their feelings, attacking their right to a voice and accusing them of encouraging rape.”

Except that they do encourage rape. Or rather, THE SEX INDUSTRY ENCOURAGES RAPE. And the women working in it are accomplices. That’s the way it is.
Jebus, haven’t we been over all this already? If Andrea Dworkin were alive today, she’d be killing herself. “Porn is the theory, rape is the practice”. “Porn influences men’s attitudes towards sex”. It’s been proven over and over. But you know what? Don’t take my word for it. Just go and ask the women who have been raped by a man who wanted to “act out” porn in real life. Better still. Go to those women who have had the “luck” to have a camera record their rape only discover that, when presenting said video in court, they have their screams for help and cries to stop dismissed as a sign of her own enjoyment in the act.

I’m gonna say it once again. I don’t care if one, two, a thousand or ALL women in the sex and porn industries are “happy” to do their “freely chosen” job. Because what these women do AFFECTS MEN’S ATTITUDES TOWARDS ALL WOMEN. That’s ALL OF US. That includes ME. Get it? It affects ME. Personally.
This is HALF of the argument against the sex and porn industries. The other half tells us that they are damaging to the women who work in them. But even if THE WOMEN THEMSELVES weren’t damaged, WE, that’s the rest of us real women on this planet, ARE. Because we all have to deal with the men who engage in prostitution and porn. Because we all have to deal with the impact that the very existence of porn and prostitution have on this society.
This is all quite straightforward. It gets muddier when we consider what is actually going on in the minds of the women who “happily” embrace such “work choices”. And I have absolutely no problem in pointing out that they are brain washed. Why? BECAUSE WE ALL ARE. I repeat. EVERY PERSON IS BRAINWASHED. Including ME. By the mere fact of LIVING in a society, you will be brainwashed into thinking whatever that society teaches you. And unless you actively challenge that brainwashing, you are condemned to carry it in your brain. Hell, even when you DO challenge it, it’s still bloody hard work! The examples of this range from active feminists who still wear high heels and cannot tolerate the sight of their hairy legs to Muslim women who stand against the most extreme misogyny in the Islam while retaining the rest. And this is what makes feminism and all other political movements so difficult. That everyone is brainwashed into ascribing to the status quo. And this is precisely why the number of people thinking one way or another doesn’t guarantee one bit that they are right. Democracy might work that way, but science and morality don’t.

Note: I’m only focusing on porn because that’s what’s seen as the most “harmless” and because it’s the only topic I know anything about. I am not familiar with the way prostitution affects a society’s attitude towards women, probably because proving any theory on it would be very difficult, considering how ALL societies purport prostitution. But Rebecca, who has escaped prostitution, can tell anyone who is remotely interested why we should all be against it, based on her real world experiences.

Note 2: Why do we value so highly the opinion of those people inside the sex and porn industries who are so peachy about it all? As I said above, they might not suffer any damage, but the real women out in the world do. What can these women say about how their “work” affects us? It’s like asking the tobacco companies if they think their product is bad for non-smokers!

Note 3: And this assumption that whatever a woman does is “her choice only” just SCREAMS of Rightwing mentality of the “There’s no such thing as society” kind.


28 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Debs said,

    Yes, yes and yes again. I saw that piece at the F-Word earlier on, and it really annoyed me. I basically thought all the things about it that you have articulated here.

    I felt like blogging about it but thought I’d probably irritated the F-Word women enough already this week – looks like it’s your turn!

    One thing I do have to say about Laura’s writing – it’s very good and she makes her points very well (even if they are sometimes wrong :)), but she does have a tendency to try and Speak For All Feminists, which really grates.

    And this worries me because the F-Word is aimed at young women who are perhaps only just coming to feminism (I think), and they may read some of the stuff there and think that it represents everything that feminism has to offer, because that is the way it’s presented, and it just doesn’t. There is a lot more to feminism that what you will read on the F-Word. As I have made clear on my blog before, it doesn’t speak for me, or hardly any of the feminists I choose to call friends, and I find myself disagreeing with a fair proportion of what is written there.

    The F-Word provides a good resourse, and up-to-date news and all of that, but this Speaking For All Feminists thing isn’t healthy.

    Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rant!

  2. 2

    Maia said,

    Yes – what you said 😉

    And as for “attacking their right to a voice”, who’s doing that exactly? It’s the women who aren’t “there out of choice” who have their right to a voice attacked. Day in, day out.

  3. 3

    marytracy9 said,

    “I’d probably irritated the F-Word women enough already this week – looks like it’s your turn!”

    LOL! I’m happy to help 😛

    “And as for “attacking their right to a voice”, who’s doing that exactly?

    Maia, thanks for pointing that out, it has escaped me. You are right, it’s precisely the women who experience the bad side of the sex and porn industries who are silenced. Meanwhile, the women who are “choosing” that “career choice” and “loving every minute” get to publish books, appear on tv programmes and become pseudo-famous.

  4. 4

    Sera said,

    This blog continues to thrill me. As someone who was in the sex industry for much less time and apparently at a much more privileged place than Rebecca, I can say that I have been and have known these pseudo-famous sex workers. They are pulling a stunt typical of ultraconservatives on Fox News when they complain of being silenced and underprivileged in order to silence those who are actually underprivileged.

    And what’s even more awesome is that nobody accuses the wealthy, white, educated, conventionally attractive, upper-class, and/or American women who make up what appears at first blush to be about 90% of the privileged class of sex worker for being RACISTS WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT POOR AND UNDERPRIVILEGED PEOPLE when they go around telling everybody that sex work is okay.

    The sex industry systematically pushes women like the ones I just described to the top while it pushes women of color, lower-class, uneducated, poor, non-American women to the bottom. The reason that the women who purport to love the sex industry love it is intertwined with the abuse of these other women. The market force that makes it okay for some people is exactly the same thing that makes it bad for the majority of them. To not realize this is an exercise in self-deception.

  5. 5

    rmott62 said,

    I wanted to say thanks for saying about my blog. I am sorry it has taken me so long to see it, but I have been going in and out of PTSD.
    I feel the pro-porn and pro-prostitution “feminists” are a tiny minority, but have a loud and dangerous voice,
    They do encourage rape, torture and mental of the majority of women and girls in the sex trade. Porn and prostitution is organised around the threat of violence to the majority who have to “work” for it. Whilst , encouraging a tiny amount of very privileged women can be spokewomen.
    These women appear to be the stereotype of the “happy hooker”. They claimed that the sex is rarely violent. That they have chosen to enter the sex trade, and can leave at any time, That the men treat them with respect and dignity.
    Now, I find it hard to believe that expeiences were long-term in the sex. Sometimes, I wonder if they are being paid by the sex trade to say such dangerous rubbish. There words are heard and believed.
    But the words of exited women from the sex trade are disbelieved, it is even ridiculed. Often when women speak out very strongly, they treated as a sad case study. All this silences women who voice is so important.

  6. 6

    Maia said,

    “But the words of exited women from the sex trade are disbelieved”

    Against my better judgement I went through the comments to some posts about prostitution / porn, on a supposedly feminist blog.

    One commenter, one only, stood up to condemn prostitution / porn outright for the harm it does to most of the women involved. She was asked repeatedly – in a condescending way that suggested she knew nothing about what she was talking about – how she knew this, what prostituted women she talked to – the implication being of course that she was some anti-sex harpy making up stories to support her prudish agenda.

    When she referred to her experience of working with women exiting from prostitution, she was told that this was not good enough. Talking to ex-prostitutes, hearing their words, meant nothing in the face of “actual” prostitutes still in the trade, as though exited women were the unhappy exception to an empowerfullizing rule. The fact that those women who have a voice while they are still in the trade are the privileged ones, that the non-privileged women, whose voices cannot be heard until they have escaped, might have useful insight… nobody was willing to consider exited women as having relevant testimony. I guess it was because their testimony did not fit the story that these “feminists” wanted to tell.

    It was horrible.

    Mind you, the fact that the commenters kept saying things like “prostituted women/men” probably tells you everything you need to know.

  7. 7

    Holly said,

    I wonder how many drugs the women who actively play a part in the sex industry are on…I mean, I would surely have to be on high levels of very hard substances in order to feel so desperately low about myself or be that hard up for money.

    Oh, and what really gets me is when people say that sex workers and “stars”, “pseudo stars” or whatever have you feel empowered by what they are doing is a load of crap to me.

    “Hi, I feel so great about myself and I’m a goddess so let me take it up the ass by 8 men I don’t know and show all the women in the world just how happy I am!” In the end, porn and the sex industry as a whole hates women and hurts women who work or have worked in it for any reason.

    I love your site, I feel as if there is finally someone out there not so damned uptight about being brutally honest, or in a word I am more famously called–“an asshole.” Thanks for this!

  8. 8

    oneangrygirl said,

    hi, i just found you. good stuff. have you seen my site?

  9. 9

    KH said,

    “… I would surely have to be on high levels of very hard substances in order to feel so desperately low about myself or be that hard up for money.”

    This is at least different from the usual account, according to which some addicts are prostitutes just because only drugs make prostitution bearable. Putting aside the questions whether addiction really is the only thing that could make Holly feel that bad about herself, or make her need money that badly, & whether Holly’s tastes are universalizable (whether people prostitute only because they feel bad about themselves or desperately need fast money), it’s true that addiction + prostitution is a serious problem for the people involved. The question is what to do about it.

    I’ll only note that one (partial) approach is to treat the addiction. It’s certainly true that, it being one intended effect of drug policy to keep the price of drugs high, people with a developed taste for them need ready money, & that prostitution is one way to get it. But efforts to foreclose that option don’t help make their addictions go away; they just make them harder on them & everybody else. (Addict who leave prostitution often go into other kinds of petty crime, like boosting.) On the other hand, when people who prostitute to support, for example, an opiate addiction are availed of (& willing to start) substitution therapy (buprenorphine, methadone), they tend to stop prostituting.

    This ought to be something that people on all sides of the sex-work debate can agree about.

  10. 10

    […] this post from Mary at Beyond Feminism. I’ve read Mary’s about page, and she immediately struck […]

  11. 11

    apostate said,

    Came here via Natalia’s blog. Mostly agree with you — I’ve said similar things myself and been roundly attacked by the “sex-positive” feminists (yes, you’re right, what’s up with that label anyway?).

    Great blog; thank you from this young sex-loving sex-industry-hating feminist.

  12. 12

    Mainstream porn does not cause or encourage rape. Rapists cause rape. Rapists are apologists for rape.

    “Jenna Jameson made me do it, Your Honour” would not be an acceptable defense in any civilized courtroom in the world.

    If we are going to employ this logic, we might as well side with the MRA’s when they argue that a short skirt and the like are also encourage sexual assault and/or harassment.

    • 13

      Emily said,

      Mainstream porn encourages rape- just because you are in denial about this doesn’t mean that you should throw a blanket over the discussion here and claim that women here are blaming porn stars, because if that is what you think, you completely MISSED the point!! Pornography encourages unhealthy sexual attitudes- I’m no prude- been there. That’s not to say that people are still not excited or interested in sexy or sensual photos, film, and books, but the heavy prolonged use of porn actually diminishes sexual gratification so that the users need to find more explicit means of “getting off”. Porn trains your mind to need those things to have orgasms, promote lust toward other people- it shapes what you desire like a drug and it does, in fact, condone and utilize the concept of the ‘unwilling who are willing’ to do sex acts. This is a trick to get you to keep watching hardcore- and more and more of it. Instead of training people to pleasure each other, it satisfies a selfish need first. Short skirts and skimpy clothing have been used in court rooms to pin the blame on the victim, so it is a poor comparison.

      • 14

        lonesomefeminist said,

        This was an excellent reply, Emily! I know I’m late to this post, but I just wanted to show support. It’s no use arguing with Natalia Antonova, she deliberately misconstrues radical arguments and runs to her blog to write “see, the radical feminists are as bad as nazis/Stalin/insert the worst person ever!” The worst part is that she calls radical feminists man haters, “sex negative,” fascistic, as if that’s never been said before and she’s the most nuanced and groundbreaking writer ever.

  13. 15

    Debs said,

    Excerpt from Diana Russell’s “Pornography as a Cause of Rape”:

  14. 16

    marytracy9 said,

    Cheers, Debs!!!

    Natalia, we do believe that pornography encourages rape. But we are talking about social forces here. Porn promotes violence against women as a class by men as a class. This doesn’t excuse the rapist, of course, but it makes it easier for them to get to that state of mind. Why? Because porn has already de-humanized women and it has condoned violence against them. At any rate, the rapist has made a conscious choice to use pornography.

  15. 17

    Ladies, you may consider Russell to be definitive, but I simply cannot. Although I readily agree that she may have tapped into just how screwed-up the views toward women, especially sexualized women, truly are.

  16. 18

    Debs said,


  17. 19

    […] under Pornography, Sexsh If you have been following this blog, you will have noticed that my post Get Real! has gathered a fair ammount of attention. Some of it has consisted of not entirely polite bashing, […]

  18. 20

    Byrdeye said,

    Actually, some studies speculate that porn might actually reduce rape frequency…as they’ve correlated internet usage with rape reduction.

    And since many folks DO use the net a lot for porn (check the industry stats), this could be a real possibility…

  19. 21

    pisaquaririse said,


    In my city it’s 1 in 4 women raped–not far from other city and national averages.
    Clearly, if you are correct, porn is shit rape prevention.

  20. 22

    Byrdeye said,

    Interesting, I haven’t found any states with that % yet…

  21. 23

    pisaquaririse said,

    Oh my byrdeye that is a rather horrendous blog post you have there.

    Why on earth have you descended upon a radical feminist space?

  22. 24

    Mary Tracy9 said,

    Pisaquari, thanks for taking your time to follow up on this. Do you think he’s a troll? Could it be my first ever troll?

  23. 25

    pisaquaririse said,

    Well…let’s see…his first comment left was linked (through name given) to an older post on rape fantasies (*pro* rape fantasies) which I find rather unnecessary and intentional.

    Then he links to a lovely post putting onus on women for rape through their relationships with people of “bad character.”

    I would guess his intentions are to be a little pain and further prove men have some seriously fucked up ideas about women.
    But we don’t need more proof of that right?

    Your call. 🙂

  24. 26

    pisaquaririse said,

    Actually, upon further review it appears he is your standard MRA.

    So Congrats Mary Tracy! You’ve got your first MRA!

    How shall we celebrate?

  25. 27

    Lara said,

    “If we are going to employ this logic, we might as well side with the MRA’s when they argue that a short skirt and the like are also encourage sexual assault and/or harassment.”

    And you just peeved an MRA troll (byrdeye) Mary Tracy!
    Ahh, the irony of it all….
    I like celebratin’ stuff with chocolate and wine 😀

  26. 28

    marytracy9 said,

    YAY! My first MRA troll!!! I must be doing something right!

    I like to celebrate with chocolate too! 😉

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