Archive for Pornography

Stuff We Forgot

Have you seen the BBC 4 three part documentary “Women”?
If you haven’t, you should. After all, it’s not everyday that we get to see feminism on the telly. And we should really make the most of it while it lasts.

The Guardian has published a critique of the programme’s third part, “Activists”, titled “Enough middle-class feminism” and written by a middle-class feminist. Her words seem to have struck a chord. Her intentions were probably good, as evidenced by this line:

“They have lots to say about the media objectification of women but, bizarrely, little to say about consumerism or capitalism.”

Unfortunately it goes downhill after that.

We’ve been here before, and I’m sure we will be here again. Every time feminists attack the sex industry somebody is compelled to butt in and tell us that “we are not dealing with what really matters”. My opinion on the subject hasn’t changed: the sex industry, especially in it’s everyday manifestation of pr0n, advertising, entertainment, media, et al, and it’s spilling over as the “beauty” industry, that’s fashion, dieting, looks, et al, is the only remaining ideological tool with which women are being oppressed in the realm of the superstructure. (And all this theory is way out of my league!). What on Earth am I trying to say? Simple. The message still is “women, stay in your place”, because women must, at all costs, stay in their place. But now they can’t come out and say it like that. The religious arguments don’t hold much water in rich, liberal democratic societies. The biological determinist idea that women are just not good at the “big stuff” has been reduced to shreds through decades of feminist theorizing, researching and probably Margaret Thatcher. The arrangement of woman as “mother and homemaker” can’t apply anymore, because now every adult human is needed in the labour market to keep productivity high and wages low. To recap. “Women are not as good as men because Christ wasn’t a woman”, crossed. “Women are just not as good as men, they are not rational, intelligent, whatever”, crossed. “A woman’s place is in the home”, crossed. What are we left with? “Women are just good for sh*gging”. Or pretty things to look at.

Back to the article, I have to say it does bring up something that crossed my mind when I was watching the documentary: sure, sure, the sex industry should be killed with fire, but… what about the other stuff? There’s not even a hint of a critique of capitalism. I can’t remember anyone acknowledging that not every human being, or every feminist for that matter, lives in London.

That said, I am getting increasingly tired of everyone and their dog using the “where are the working class women” card to attack feminism, of the second wave or the third one. Feminism doesn’t have monopoly rights over forgetting the working class. And it most certainly isn’t the only movement to forget working class women. To put it bluntly, feminism forgot about the working class just as the Left forgot about women. There’s enough guilt to spread around.
And if we’re going to be painfully honest, the Left has forgotten about the working class as well. Deprived of its core ideology, that is, the economy, it has been left rumbling about like an undead corpse, kept alive exclusively by debates over politically correct language and multiculturalism. Hardly conducive of revolutionary change. And if you ask uneducated, ignorant, old me, this is too similar to what feminism has been reduced to, that is, focus on the culture and the ideas, the “superstructure”, and leave the “base” intact.

What we have in our hands is the conflict of how to go about changing the root of the problem when all we can see is its effect on the surface. Feminists attack the discursive ideas of women as sex objects because that’s where we see misogyny and oppression taking place. In reality it stems from some place else, but what that is or where exactly it’s located, we have no clue.
The traditional Left, however, has known what it needs to do to revolutionize society for more than a century. What’s their (our) excuse?

I’m beginning to think that women’s oppression and worker’s oppression share a common root, and that both should be tackled at the same time. These ideas are too fresh in my mind, however, to write about them as of yet.

Before you go, take a look at this article on a seemingly entirely unrelated topic, “Yes, striking is a human right”. There’s this one word that got me thinking…

“The real question we should be asking is not why do people strike, but why they do not do so more often? To respond by saying that workers are all happy bunnies compared with their forebears would not be the right answer.”

Could the sex industry and capitalism have more in common than we previously thought?

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Research Spin

If you’ve been anywhere near The Guardian for the past three days you will have come across this “intent” to curb the hypersexualisation of our beloved media.
There’s absolutely nothing in this new report or in the proposed “action plans” that we feminists haven’t seen at least a billion times since the ‘70s. This is a well known tactic used by governments when they can’t possibly avoid an “issue” any longer: they commission research. “You say there’s a problem? Don’t worry, we’ll look into it, leave it to us.” Ten years pass by and nothing gets done, on accounts that the research is not “conclusive” enough. So then more research is commissioned, another ten years pass by and the whole thing repeats itself again. This system of permanent “spin” is applied to anything that the public might show interest in, from acid rain to advertising aimed at children. The excuse for inaction is “we don’t know for sure yet”. In the meantime, the concerned public is appeased, the outrage conveniently dispersed. It’s a “safety valve” designed to stop pressure from effecting change. Or causing explosions. Both of which are dangerous to the status quo.

The problem is not lack of research, you see. We have known the harmful effects of pornography since the very invention of pornography. Not only we do not need further research, but we have never needed research in the first place. Accepting that we ever did acts to sow doubt in our minds. “Maybe we don’t know it all. Maybe the blatant truth in front of us is not quite what it seems”. So we better go to the big institutions, the big authority figures, the State, the Universities, all of which are designed to keep the status quo intact, to provide us with irrevocable proof that yes, the truth is indeed true.
We don’t need research to tell us that poisoning a river is “bad” any more than we need research to tell us that denigrating images of women are “bad”. And for good measure, we don’t need research to tell us that torture in Guantanamo is “bad” either.
The way to fight back against this “spin” nonsense is to do away with research altogether. You want proof that hypersexualisation is harmful? Our rage is proof enough. We want this to stop and we demand this to be stopped. End of story.
The way to rationalize this approach is to understand that the current state of affairs wasn’t put in place because the research proved it to be the best possible alternative. No one carried out extensive research comparing the benefits of a hypersexualised culture versus a non hypersexualised one and concluded that, yes, hypersexualisation was the way to go. If “they” didn’t need research to put it there we shouldn’t need research to take it down.
Or you can think about it this way: did the government commission studies to prove that bailing out banks was the most favourable social outcome? Thought so. Furthermore, did they go back and said “the evidence is non conclusive, come back in a year or two with better data”? Exactly.
Those in power get to call the shots, independently of whether they make sense or not. The rest of us don’t have that privilege. If we want to change something, we better justify it a thousand times over.

Just to finish this off, take a closer look at this line in the editorial article about this very topic:

“Today a Home Office report proposes action to try to reduce access to the kind of magazines and advertising that appear to objectify young girls, and more education to arm all young people against it.”

Did it occur to anyone that maybe there shouldn’t be stuff in our society for which young people should be armed against? What is this? A war?

Maybe it is. A war over who gets to decide what goes on in our minds. And we are losing.

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An Excuse To Discuss “Stepford Sluts”

I was listening to BBC Radio 4 today. Again. Because where else would you get some information about current affairs and your odd spot of comedy but in the most mainstream of media outlets in this country? It was The News Quiz. Presented by a woman, but this time only male guests participated in it. They were discussing Google’s decision to pull out of the Chinese market because of censorship… or something. One man wanted to illustrate some point about Google and he described how one can find (lots of) “D0nkey Pr0n” within some small time interval. The public, of course, laughed.
“D0nkey Pr0n”. In the bloody BBC.

What is a feminist to do upon finding out that, again, there is no place in this planet that hasn’t been polluted by pr0n? Well, go and look up what Gail Dines has been up to, of course!
Last time I blogged about her, she had mentioned the lecture she gave in the Anti Pr0nography Conference that she was about to publish a book titled “Stepford Sluts”. Unfortunately, she hasn’t. She is, however, about to publish another book titled “Pr0nland; How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality”.

So I’m left with no option but to transcript what little she revealed in that lecture about the book.

“Second wave feminism was about resistance at best and at worst negotiation with patriarchy. Third wave is about capitulation. I think much of the Third Wave feminism is the thinking woman’s cosmopolitan.
Let’s talk about what’s going on in the culture. Let’s talk about the move towards what I would call “slut culture”. Why do I say “slut culture”. To explain that I’m going to explain the title of my new book. It’s gonna be called “Stepford Sluts”. You can all guess why. Last year they re released “Stepford Wives”. The film was bombed, for a number of reasons, my main understanding is that it was a ridiculous movie to make in 2006. Why? Because the ideal woman is indeed on her hands and knees but she ain’t cleaning any kitchen floors on her hands and knees. The ideal woman constructed in patriarchy is no longer a Stepford Wife, it’s a Stepford Slut. Equally robotic, equally capitulated, equally mindless and brainless, and equally distressed internally.”

I think she’s onto something. It’s been going on in my head for some time. This “Slut Culture” is the equivalent of the 50s “Housewife Culture”. Its real objective, of course, is the oppression of women. However women see it as “empowering” and will defend it to the grave.

After “Stepford Wives” came the Second Wave. I can only hope that after “Slut Culture” we have a Wave that gets rid of it.

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“Sex And Freedom”

Some years ago I found this magazine about to be chucked in the bin. I rescued it because the issue was about “Liberty”. I didn’t know the magazine at the time, though it turned out to be “The New Internationalist”, of November 1993. In it there was this article by Catherine Itzin, titled “Sex and Freedom” which goes through the basic arguments against pornography.

*WARNING* IT MAY BE TRIGGERING

To read the article:
1) click on the thumbnail; this will open the image in a new window.
2) place cursor over image and embiggen.

freedom-1

freedom-2

Sixteen odd years, my friends. Sixteen years and things have only gotten worse. That’s the thing about misogyny; it doesn’t stop itself.
Yesterday, Jessica Valenti over at Feministing was getting her knickers in a bunch over the release of a misogynist movie whose plot seems to revolve around a misogynistic “sexual” practise. (rape, more like). I felt like crying out, “why Jessica, dawlin’, where do you think this little gem comes from?”. I was too busy booking my plane ticket to Manchester (YAY!) to post such a comment, which probably saved me from high blood pressure and bloggy embarrassment. The comments that were posted pretty much agreed that the “knickers in a bunch reaction” was the appropriate one. Though as is always the case when this topic is brought up, it didn’t take long for the “anti-censorship” bunk to appear.
I advocate censorship. I advocate a LOT of censorship. Mind you, in this particular case, I’d go further and advocate sticking dynamite up the arsehole of whoever came up with this arseholishness. But I would understand it if anyone thought this might be going a bit too far.
There are laws against speech that incites racial hatred, and I don’t hear people going “eek, the censorshipz!” about them. If you dare to deny the Holocaust in Germany, you will most likely get kicked in the butt. Speech has limits. Speech SHOULD be limited. No one has a right to hurt others, or to incite hurting of others. And this is exactly what this is about.
I wouldn’t press on this issue so much if it wasn’t because I think this will be the biggest challenge the next generation of feminists will have to face. Otherwise misogyny will keep advancing and becoming more acceptable, eroding the (few) rights we have won.

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Bin the Goddamn Bunny!

 Bin the Goddamn Bunny!

 
On Saturday 26th of July the first Radical Feminist Summer Gathering will be held in Manchester. I pray the Feminist Goddess in candy floss ceiling above that I’ll be able to go.
We are raising funds for the event by selling ‘Bin the Bunny’ t-shirts for 12£. What exactly is this ‘Bin the Bunny’ goodness? It’s an anti-Playboy campaign organized by Anti-Porn UK. How COOL is that? This information would be on my sidebar were it not because of WordPress crapulent insistence on not letting me touch the CSS code of this blog unless I pay moneys. Which I can’t. So, what better way to advertise the t-shirts AND the campaing than to make some (f)art! See, the first time I saw the logo for the Bin the Bunny campaign, I thougth “what a neat design. It’s simple, yet it says it all”. This is my way to honour, for lack of a better word, the work of the designer.

I cannot say it better than Debs:

“you get to raise money for a great event, and tell Heff where to stick it at the same time!”

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Ex-Prostitutes’s Voice

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, which I’m sure has nothing to do with anti-pornstitution feminists being the pariahs of the movement and all to do with sex-workers never being allowed to voice their positive opinions on the sex industry because of the constant censoring carried out by insensitive anti-sex feminists like me.
Since I don’t want to make a fool of myself by replying to these attacks and fuel the so called Feminist Wars, I’m going to turn this episode into something positive.

I give you the following statement by Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude. Why, you may wonder. It is old, December of 2007. It’s based in Canada. It’s about oposing the opening of a legal brothel in Vancouver. BUT I think it’s enlightening.

AND I’ve just found it.

NO Legal Brothel in Vancouver

by Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude (X-PALSS)

We urge you to oppose any attempt to introduce a legal brothel in Vancouver.

As women who have been prostituted in Vancouver and in the light of these facts:

  • That current discourse on prostitution would have the public believe that it is normal work that simply needs to be better regulated
  • That there is currently a proposal to open a legal brothel in Vancouver
  • That this proposal is said to speak for current and former prostitutes of Vancouver
  • That this proposal promises to make the lives of prostituted women “safer” at best
  • That none of us have ever met a prostituted woman who would not leave the “trade” if she had a real chance to do so
  • That we are women who have been abused on Canadian soil, by Canadian men while all levels of our Government did nothing to intervene.
  • That some members of parliament are now advocating to legalize that abuse.

We want you to know:

We are women who have been harmed by prostitution. We believe that no amount of changing the conditions or the locations in which we were prostituted could ever have significantly reduced that harm.

We experience the normalizing of that harm by calling it “work” insulting at best.

It matters very little to us whether we were prostituted on the streets or in the tolerated indoor venues and escort agencies of Vancouver. Our memories are not of the locations but of the men who consistently acted as though we were not quite human. We remember the countless other men and women who daily averted their eyes. We remember the utter lack of services or options that made any sense and the blatant denial of access to any kind of help or justice. We remember the need to “dumb down” our sense of entitlement to a better life so we could bear the one we were in. And we remember too well the numbing despair that came when we finally lost faith that there existed in this world anything decent and good.

We oppose any measure that would put more power in the hands of the men who abused us by telling them that they are legally entitled to do so. This proposal does not speak for us, would not have affected our level of safety in a way that matters, and would not have spared us the harm that is inherent in prostitution.

We are not impressed with lip service proposals to make prostituted women’s lives “safer”. Safer is not good enough. We consider it a violation of our human rights that we were abandoned to years of situations that fit the definition of sexual assault under current law. But not only is this violence not recorded, not prosecuted, not punished. We are now being told that we chose it.

We believe that, where there is public and political will, lives can be changed for the better. We do not believe the lie that prostitution is inevitable. We believe it can be abolished.

As hosts of the 2010 games, we want our city, our home, to refuse to take part in the global flesh market that is sex tourism and send a message to the world that women will not be sold in Vancouver.

We believe that every sexually exploited woman represents a life wasted. We are greatly saddened for the lives of women lost in prostitution, as well as the loss of the sum of the contributions that countless women still living would have made had they not been abandoned to sexual slavery.

We urge you all to refuse to believe that prostitution is normal or that is an equal exchange “between two consenting adults”.

We urge you to oppose any attempt to introduce a legal brothel in Vancouver.

X-PALSS (Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude), Vancouver, B.C.

All emphasis mine

(Found Via Angry For A Reason)

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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.

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