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I found this on Allecto’s blog:

sheila_jeffreys

I love all Sheila Jeffreys‘ books, especially The Lesbian Heresy. I am so glad she is speaking out on the suffering of millions of prostituted womyn and girls in her latest book on the sexploitation industries. Sheila is our sister!

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I had been keeping some posts I have been writing inside of this blog lately, before releasing them. . . when I will be ready. . .

I’d like to say that before I’d started this blog I didn’t expect things to be as they are. It is not that my speech is not free; it is that almost every time I speak out I get hits (people trashing me online). Not that I care much about that part: I know who I am; I know that I am not who they think I am. It is very sad though that, nowadays, contemporary malestream ‘feminism’ is now pretty much about promoting values that suit the status quo, without ever seriously challenging the system.

If you check out the “top 30 feminist blogs,” you will find on the list some people who have become extremely famous at trashing other women, especially radical feminists. It is true that I have noticed that, in a patriarchy, a woman gets some sort of popularity whenever her writing is, not only rife with patriarchal thinking, but also is about slandering other women (who dare challenge male supremacy), including slamming some radical women who have been victims of rape or prostitution. A male patriarchist gets off on watching a female patriarchist stalk, attack, slam and slander another woman, especially a rad fem; it means that he can rest comfortably: his *precious* patriarchy is being well-maintained. This actually hardly differs from the ( so much wider) malestream contemporary woman-hating in the mass-media and in everyday society — especially when you see/hear women hating or abusing other women.

Whenever a woman upholds misogyny, she gains some sort of a status. This, of course, does not change the fact that she is a member of an oppressed gender class which most men regard as inferior. But throwing hatred at or demeaning other women gives her some sort of popularity, at least in the short term.

Double standards apply: Once, not so long ago I was criticized for telling the truth: that rape can take different forms and that, because male sexual exploitation of women exists in a continuum, it is worth paying attention to ALL sorts of sexual abuse, not just the most egregious ones. Contrary to what some folks claimed, I was NOT misrepresenting the word “rape”; I was merely elaborating on the different dimensions of sexual exploitation. Yet, please do not forget that when it is men who really use the word “rape” casually, as in the ‘fun’ of a videogame, or as in the language of their BDSM ‘games’, or as in sexist jokes or fantasies, hardly anybody notices, let alone call them out on their misogyny. “It is merely a fantasy, it doesn’t hurt anybody,” “It’s just fun” or any other similar garbage the patriarchists would have us believe. Well, in real life, these “fantasies” and “fun” actually hurt other people and rape is not funny; rape harms women!

Andrea Dworkin was misrepresented and demonized. In the words of John Berger, she was “perhaps the most misrepresented writer in the Western world.”. . .

Because of her subject, because of the substance of her ideas. . . Andrea Dworkin faced especially naked misogyny: “woman hating,” which is the title of her first book. How she was treated is how women are treated who tell the truth about male power without compromise or apology. It is why few do.

— Catharine MacKinnon, “Who Was Afraid of Andrea Dworkin?,” New York Times, April 16, 2005.

Moreover, as reported on Heart’s blog lately:

“Linkfluence” is invited, you know, the company that offered us the “Top 30 Feminist Blogs”. Linkfluence’s goal is to “make finding influential communities and following their conversations easier for the greatest benefit of corporations, consultancies or survey institutes.” Just what we need! An organization working to make our feminist conversations most beneficial to corporations! As references, Linkfluence lists multinationals Nestle, Nike and Roche, among others. So I suppose we should not be surprised that among the “Top 30″ are pimps, procurers and those who blog for them, anti-feminists and misogynists. All of that notwithstanding, when companies like this create lists like this, the naive and trusting as well as the anti-feminist and capitalist are going to LINK to them which is what the real goal is. The goal is not to carefully study the influence of feminist bloggers. The goal is to rank blogs according to how dogged they are in linking — who cares WHY they are linking; perhaps they are linking in order to repeatedly launch attacks on feminists, as is very true of several on the “Top 30 list”, and which is always a good way to drive up hits and linkage; blogosphere attacks on women are such good times – because that way companies like Linkfluence and Fem 2.0 garner maximum linkage to themselves and therefore they begin to gain exposure and to influence in heretofore untapped markets.

[Thank you very much, Heart, for the amazing work you put in this wonderful piece and the other one. (I am kinda sad that Heart will not be blogging the same way anymore).]

Often, when I blog, I get some people in comments (which I block) who are stubborn enough to try to shove malestream values down my throat, like “women choose to enjoy torture,” “prostitution is a wonderfully ‘feminist’ thing,” etc, etc and other similar propaganda, blah-the-fucking-blah. . . I am not surprised. It is hard to be open-minded to radical feminism when you live in a patriarchy. You constantly get malestream beliefs reminded to you. They keep controlling you. I used to feel that way. But some people really need to understand that I have been fed malestream values, I have heard them, my whole life; I hear them everyday, which is why I’d rather protect my blog, and whoever comes here with friendly intentions, from the same ol’ patriarchal porn/prostitution/rape apologies I hear every single fucking day.

The language of “choice” and “agency” from the ‘sex work’ standpoint perfectly suits the economic politics of neo-liberalism. Spokeswomen for Coalition Against Trafficking in Women have previously explained that pro-prostitution advocates have organizations that take money from the sex industry (e.g. source: Mediawatch audio podcast). I disagree with the pro-prostitution position which unfairly accuses us of not listening to women who say they love their ‘sex work’ job. It’s not that we’re not listening to them; it’s just that we happen to have understood some simple facts. Women are not valued for their talent or intelligence in this patriarchal society, but for their bodies or how ‘good’ they are as “sex-objects” who service men, hence obviously we understand that some women, more than others, will conform to this patriarchal plasticized ideal of ‘how we should be’ and they will promote the ‘sex’ industry. But we have been informed about the ongoing abuse of other women. And we have concluded that the prostitution industry is inextricably linked to this abuse and there are simply no acceptable losses, as Biting beaver once explained. Therefore, our priority must be to understand what prostitution really is: an appalling abuse of women’s rights to their own bodies and self-determination.

The worst thing is that people who harass rad fems online probably know that our little feminist community is at the margin of patriarchal society. Patriarchists’ views are mainstream; but that does not seem to be enough for them: they need to persistently attempt to silence the few dissenting voices, the few heretics. We, radical feminists, are heretics, mainly because we despise this whole culture and all its diverse forms of misogyny and we will not agree with views that purport that most women or all women enjoy being degraded in every possible ways. Female psychology is a lot more complex than this and women have restricted autonomy within the boundaries of patriarchy.

Lately, I seriously thought about blogging ‘Comments Off’ (with just leaving the survivor thread open for survivor to speak out) as I’d read about the fact that there may be some advantages in doing so. But I changed my mind: I might now use some of those hostile comments sent to me (before deleting them) as a way of observing the raw aggressiveness in supporters of porn & online stalkers to prove my point on the negative effects of pornography.

One thing is for sure: the people who persistently stalk me online will never make me regret to have created this blog. I have full control over my blog and I fully enjoy the luxury of having my right to push the ‘reject’ button whenever someone comes here with totally unfriendly intention and merely a goal of trying to pick up a fight in comments. I will release more and prospective comments will be thoroughly moderated as well as monitored. I will recognize people who are not genuinely interested in radical feminists views and who are merely trying to pick a fight. . .

Comments are closed on this post in order to (at least, temporarily) avoid online harassment. People who are friendly readers of my blog can always check out my Contact Page.

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Seduction is the rapist’s sleazy sales pitch.

If I don’t want you without tapping the vast reservoir of conditioned responses to dominance-submission-paradigm eye dances/gender performances/body festishes then our physical transaction amounts to nothing more than a hazy reification of woman-hating. And no person, except a raging sexist and rapist, believes women knowingly consent to these measures.

Pisaquari, in a comment to this post.

When I think about seduction, a couple of words come to my mind: exploitation and manipulation, ‘sexploitation’ to boot. These words actually bring up vivid memories in my mind: about someone whose name started with a D, who was male. I don’t think I’ve been talking about this to anyone for years, not even to my most recent partner. Tears come to my eyes each time I remember D’s seduction of me, his sexual exploitation and manipulation of me…

For sure, I did not mean to somehow ‘shock’ some readers with my broader definitions of rape in that post here. I can understand why, to some women (who often come from mainstream society & culture), some radical feminist thoughts may sound strange or crazy, etc. Hell, I would have confused my younger self had I been reading something similar to this – a radical feminist writing – a few years back, when I was being manipulated by D, for instance.

I will talk about this younger self of mine as she were like a few years back exactly at the time I was seeing D: I was this rather ordinary girl, ordinary but ‘sexy’, ‘beautiful’ (according to him) and naive – or at least behaving in a very naive way ’cause it was ‘fun’ and it made me smile. I remember that before I met D I had been raped – though I never called it rape. When I had been raped, coerced into sex, harassed, harangued, over and over by my first boyfriend (before meeting ‘seductive’ D), I had never called my experience rape, not once. All that was “just life” and I deserved it: sometimes I blamed the pain I’d experienced in my first relationship on the fact that “I hadn’t been listening to my Christian parents and all their moralistic advice” (now I know differently: Woman-hating, whichever side of the patriarchy it comes from, is woman-hating)…

Back to where I was: When I met D, I had come from a very hard, very painful relationship and I wanted to get over it. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to be free. My first boyfriend had been real evil to me but surely not all men were assholes, were they?

Okay, let’s talk about seduction then… as it happened to me on a personal level…

I used to be this girl who loved going clubbing, drinking booze, smoking pot, wearing ‘sexy’ high heels, stockings, skirts; this girl often dressed in black, wearing loads of makeup and often hoping, with a huge smile on her face, that D would love her as much as she loved him. Nowadays, I don’t club, don’t drink, don’t smoke (it’s been years…), don’t wear high heels or stockings or skirts or makeup, and I sincerely don’t give a shit if D ever loved me: he was an asshole that used me, used my body, played on my feelings, tried to fuck up my mind…

D once came to me. I remember he was so ‘charming’. I remember sitting next to him while he was playing guitar one of the first times I’d met him. Dunno if I’d fallen for him yet at that time but I did have a crush on him. He was so chivalrous, you know, he kept telling me I was gorgeous and all the words that many women have been influenced to buy as a way to happiness in a patriarchy. He made me sleep with him. I remember thinking during a minute that he may have been bragging about it to his friends the next day but then I fell back into denial, even though I’d briefly heard rumors about it. [Denial is a powerful part of the conditioning you get under male supremacy. The culture had taught me that denial of some behaviors of the men you like or love was healthy, it makes you happy, but I did not know that at the time – or only in the back of my mind…]

I came back to D later on. I so much wanted to see him again. He was so kind; he’d even bought me flowers. I had been told once that when a man bought you flowers it truly means something, and my first boyfriend had never bought me flowers…

One day, when he thought he’d finished with using me as a sex-object, he threw me out of his place while I was staying there for a few days. But he came back and he kept seducing me. And I was weak. I know malestream society would, with no doubt, put the blame on me for going back to him but he was capable of being so kind, so polite, so seductive and, like all the ‘good girls’, I had been taught to forget and to forgive…

He was so skilled at seducing me, manipulating me, looking at me with his seductive eyes, making me believe that I was being valued in his heart while, as a matter of fact, I was just “another girl” to him. Sometimes, I’d believe him, I’d fall for his “sleazy sales pitch”. Other times, I wasn’t sure and thus I’d go away, just for a while to not be hurt in case I was being manipulated… The situation was extremely difficult because I loved him, I think…

Another day, after he’d used me again, he said, “I’m sorry, I’d told you that I loved you just to have sex with you one more time.” He just wanted my body to use for his own purpose, his own gratification…

Then, at some point, when we were just friends, him and I, he’d left me alone drunk at one of his pals’ who’d then tried to fuck me that night. He’d wanted his friend to use me too; I’d overheard them talking to each other earlier that night…

Last time I saw D, I remember him telling me what an asshole he had been to me but, in hindsight, I believe he was trying to excuse himself for all the times he’d fucked me over… I felt terribly used and abused. I had gone through his seduction of me…

. . . How then do we define rape?
Rape is a crime against women.
Rape is an act of aggression against women.
Rape is a contemptuous and hostile act against women.
Rape is a violation of a woman’s right to self-determination.
Rape is a violation of a woman’s absolute control of her own body.
Rape is an act of sadistic domination.
Rape is a colonializing act.
Rape is a function of male imperialism over and against women.
The crime of rape against one woman is a crime committed against all women.

. . . Rape occurs when a man, who is dominant by definition, takes a woman who, according to men and all the organs of their culture, was put on this earth for his use and gratification. . .

— Andrea Dworkin, “The Rape Atrocity and the Boy Next Door”, in Our Blood, p. 32 & p. 46.


The thing is that when I eventually opened my mind to radical feminist thoughts, even some that I’d initially found strange or confusing, I noticed a great feeling: I finally had some sort of a power, the power of knowledge; I was able to see the dominant system with all its intricate parts, to understand how the world works, to know how much women have been culturally brought into submission by patriarchy (through pernicious ideologies, behaviors, attitudes fully internalized through socialization), to be aware of how relationships between men and women are all, to some extent or another, exclusively set within the boundaries of patriarchy. And that kind of knowledge, that kind of feeling I never, never ever, wanna give up on.

Apart from the power of knowledge, radical feminists have very little power. We are a little handful of women living on patriarchal Planet Earth and publicly striving for the good of womankind. And we are hated. We are so hated that constant insults and misrepresentations get thrown at us. For the little number we are in the female population, such an amount of hatred seriously looks to me like an overkill.

When we speak of rape while using wider definitions than malestream culture, we sometimes confuse people and even drive them mad. That reminds me of the expression “Not my Nigel” aimed at describing many women’s denial of malestream institutionalized misogyny and abuse of females. The fact remains that men of course ARE the ones who perpetrate rape and who also condone pro-rape attitudes, especially within their pornified male circles. And they get away with it. “Not my Nigel” notwithstanding: the vast majority of men 1) hate women, 2) participate in rape culture and/or 3) have been conditioned to get off on the oppression of women. Here is an interesting feminist article on women, heteronormativity and the socialization of men:

Women do not live in a benign or even neutral society. Most of us move through this culture in denial of its prejudice because the reality is too horrible to bear: the absurd injustice of a caste system based on gender. Feminism teaches us ways to recognize this prejudice in institutions, systems, and individuals around us; to understand how we have internalized the prejudice; and finally to acknowledge that our private, personal relationships are affected by it. Yet whether or not we call ourselves feminists, we know this caste system exists. All of us, women and men alike, are conditioned to conform to this culture. Men are trained to be dominators, women to be subordinates. No one is exempt. Everything we do, think, and feel takes place in this context of male supremacy and climate of woman-hating.

— Kay Leigh Hagan, in Orchids in the Arctic.

I can understand why some women (coming from mainstream thoughts and ideologies) would feel seriously confused by this post here. But to me it is no longer so hard to connect the dots, i.e. to be able to see what happened to me as I understand it now thanks to radical feminism:

First of all, my first boyfriend – with his repeated mistreatment of me, of my body, of my mind, of my soul – had fully trained me to submit to patriarchy and all its supposed charms. I had never dressed provocatively or been involved in sexually submissive behavior before I had been sexually abused for the first time. I had never been conditioned to let myself be used before that had happened to me, or to let myself be fucked over in order to be loved. And I do not believe that I am to be blamed for what happened to me (Any other woman whose personal experience may have been similar is not to be blamed either, for that matter).

Second, I’m sorry if rape comes across as a bit of a strong word to some women, especially considering the fact that all of us have conformed and internalized the patriarchal values of this culture, yes, including me (in the past). I have been raped and it is not in my intention to minimize anyone’s experience of sexual coercion by arguing that rape can take different forms – hell no, I am a survivor myself! I am merely arguing that sexual abuse and male sexual exploitation of women exist in a continuum: Some are blatantly violent while others are subtler but still cruel ways of making someone your submissive ‘object’. That is, for instance, while my experience with D may not have been as bad as the living hell I’d been going through with my first partner, what D did to me was literally using me as an object in order to get his rocks off, using me again and again.

Third, was it sexual abuse I felt at any point when I was with D? The ‘seduction’ part, I mean? Well, I may not have felt any crime or aggression; I may not have felt any contempt or hostility at all when he was seducing me. But, looking back, do I think there was a violation of my right to self-determination when he was manipulating me with his words, his ways of looking at me? Hell, yeah! Do I believe it was sexual exploitation? Hell, yeah! Do I perceive men’s seduction of women as a colonizing act? Hell, Yeah! Did I feel there was a sadistic domination in his seducing of me? Hell, yeah! Do I believe that seduction is part of male imperialism over and against women? Yes, I do!

However, that does not change the fact that I did feel aggression, contempt, hostility, sadistic domination and violation of my right to self-determination, and much more when I was being raped by my first boyfriend… I felt all that too later on in life, when I was living in domestic violence…

p.s. Still preparing my post on masochism. I will need just a bit of time before it is released, but not too much…

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. . . is now up at the Spinning Spinsters’. Enjoy!

And I still blame the porno-iarchy. . . and the patriarchy!

ETA (08/22/2008)= I just read this today: Radical feminist Jenn has done a wonderful job with her critique of a pro-“feminist porn” article. Go read it!

And thanks a lot, Laurelin, for your support. 🙂

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Introduction

This post is a follow-up to my previous (March 2008) post On Choices.

A couple of important points I had made in that post:

1/ Prostitution is a global industry of sexual exploitation in which sex is traded for money, clothing, food, drugs, shelter, or favors. Prostitution includes strip bars, lap-dancing clubs, massage parlors, brothels, saunas, adult and child pornography, street walking, live sex shows, phone sex, prostitution rings, Internet pornography, escort services, peep shows, ritual abuse, and mail order bride services.

2/ The ‘sex’ industry has done a great job in focusing the debate on “women’s choices”, while the focus of any discussion on the subject should be on the consumers who CHOOSE to use pornography, and, in the case of prostitution, on the johns who CHOOSE to buy women for sex.

 

Agency: Who really has it?

One of the most common misrepresentation and accusation that gets thrown at radical feminist who take a stand against pornography and prostitution is that we’re somehow “denying women’s choices” or that we’re “ignoring women’s agency” in all this.

I know that in my previous post I stated that I acknowledged the lack of choices that most women who enter the ‘sex’ industry have. I still do. I meant that, in a patriarchy, women in general have more or less limited choices and that our agency is often shaped by patriarchal logic, by male supremacy. I meant that most of the women and girls who end up in prostitution are the female human beings with the most limited choices.

Still, I’ll tell you what I think of this “rad fems deny women’s choices” accusation:

Rad fems do not “deny women’s choices.”

Yes, we, women as a class, do have agency, but it is somehow more or less restricted within the boundaries of patriarchy. The male-supremacist system is not here to benefit us, which always more or less limits our choices.

Accusatory people haven’t properly read our work or haven’t paid enough attention to all our words. I, myself, in my post On Choices, wrote:

“I believe it is possible that there are a few women out there who do freely choose to enter the industry, are fully aware of what’s involved and/or make a lot of money. Still, I do not believe it is honest people focusing all their attention on those few somewhat privileged women while ignoring the vast majority of prostituted women who never got the chance to choose a better life, who are being controlled and mistreated by pimps, and who are used and abused by johns.”


In another post, Prostitution, Trafficking and Law, that came after that, I wrote:

“Never will I stop being on the side of the overwhelming majority of prostituted women who never got the chance to get a better life and are suffering unbearable pain and injury on a daily basis!”

The fact is that Melissa Farley, a feminist researcher on prostitution, and some colleagues of hers conducted a large-scale study interviewing 854 people (who were in prostitution) across nine countries. The results of this research can be found here. 89% of those prostituted or prostituting people (most of them women) stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately. Which makes it obvious that their choices and agency were limited within this cruel industry.

Farley has carried on researching on prostitution ever since, one of her most recent studies being on the ‘sex’ industry in Nevada. Farley was repeatedly slandered and misrepresented by the pro-prostitution lobby and its followers. She was repeatedly slandered and misrepresented by some women who claimed they advocated “the rights of women”.

But what was most unfair and disturbing was that the voices of the 89% of those prostitutes who said they wanted out of prostitution were denied and silenced by the pro-prostitution lobby. People who claimed they “defended sex workers’ rights” refused to hear those important voices. The voices of those so many prostitutes, who’d made it clear that prostitution is not a “career choice” but abuse and violence on a daily basis, were silenced by the pro-prostitution lobby in order to try to promote their agenda (i.e. “prostitution as work”).

“Melissa Farley is lying”, “Biased research” or some other foolishness, the pro-prostitution lobby and its followers said. No, there was no way that lobby was going to believe such a comprehensive research and the voices of the so many prostitutes who had been interviewed in it. . . because, obviously, there was so much ‘vested interest’ in protecting the ‘sex’ industry for those pro-prostitution folks, right? (rhetorical question)

Recently, I left a comment on Rebecca Mott’s blog, telling her that she was NOT the only ‘example of the harms of the sex trade’ (as she put it). I’ve met women in the radical feminist movement who are survivors of the sex trade. I’ve been in touch with an anti-prostitution organization that helps women exit the sex trade. And most of the members of that organization are radical feminists and they are very pro-Swedish model abolitionists because they have worked with so many prostituted women and girls who wanted out of the sex trade, not “better working conditions”.

I also said to Rebecca:

“You are far away from being the only survivor of prostitution. I’ve read and heard so many stories similar to yours. These important stories have so much educated me on the harms of prostitution. Two years and a half ago, I was ignorant, i.e. I had no idea that all of this was happening in prostitution ’cause I had never read nor heard stories like these.”

I love Rebecca. She’s one of my favorite writers. And, by speaking out her truth, she’s hoping to help many women who are or have been in the sex trade to be heard and/or speak out on the harms that are inherent in prostitution.

Thing is that when we criticize pornography and prostitution, we sometimes hear (but not always) someone say “But my friend does porn or strips or prostitutes and she likes it”. Well, here is how I would respond to this: I would never judge your friend for her choices and I don’t know her exact circumstances or what the experience really means to her. I think she is an exception because the circumstances within which most women and girls who enter prostitution and pornography are as follows:

— past experience of child sexual abuse, rape or physical abuse; because when a woman or a girl has been raped or molested (sometimes repeatedly) in childhood, she is more likely to be re-victimized, and more vulnerable to recruitment for pornography and prostitution. By this, we do not imply that a woman who has been abused in the past is incapable of making choices, but we are just trying to shed light on all the complex feelings that abuse (especially rape) entails: it is very traumatic and it can make you believe that you’re just a “sexual object” or a “thing”, that it is your only value or purpose in this world. Abuse in general often leads to self-hatred in the victim, and the victim sometimes needs to find a place where they can have a feeling of “being loved” or “empowered” (even if it’s fake). All these feelings and more. To summarize study findings, research carried out interviewing prostitutes (some of whom had pornography made of them) and clinical literature on different types of prostitution, it is estimated that between 65% and 95% of those in prostitution were sexually assaulted as children;

— poverty, economic hardship, or homelessness; because, yes, serious money problems can lead some women to entering the ‘sex’ industry;

— international and domestic trafficking; because some women are transported by pimps from one place to another for the purpose of prostitution. And many of the practices systematically used by pimps to control women in prostitution — sensory deprivation, dehumanization, threats to family, deliberately induced exhaustion — are the same as those used by military torturers, as also recently reported in Traffick Jamming;

— and socialization to the pornified culture; because we, radical feminist, do acknowledge that some women choose to enter the ‘sex’ industry but also acknowledge that most of the choices of those women are probably uninformed, i.e. some young women have only seen the “glamorization” side of the pornstitution industry and are not fully aware of what it entails.

As I wrote in On Choices:

“There are many agencies that specialize in recruiting young women to the porn industry with the promise of making big money and becoming a star. Indeed, the money is an attraction for mostly young, working-class women who face limited choices in a harsh economy. Given those economic realities and the glamorization of pornography, it’s not surprising that some young women will see this as a viable career option. Undeniably, the whole culture promotes the “porn star” job as a glamorous job. In TV shows, the image of the “porn star” is shown as “liberating” and “empowering” for women.”

We do not imply that every woman who makes certain choices is poor, uneducated, and/or horribly abused. We are not saying that every single woman or girl in the ‘sex’ industry has had exactly the same experience. We just want to point out to the fact that most women in prostitution (i.e. that includes pornography) are the female human beings who have entered the ‘sex’ industry with choices that are not really free. We are saying that their agency, in general, has been somehow unfortunately constrained, limited or influenced by patriarchal (il)logic and we deeply empathize with them.

And we, radical feminists, sincerely empathize with those women because WE KNOW they are being terribly harmed in the pornstitution industry. Here is another page on things to know, based on research, not mere guesses.

Now, the REAL question is: Who really has agency in this patriarchal society?

I will tell you who really has it in a patriarchy:

It is the john who really has it, the porn user, the strip club patron, etc. It is HIM.

He has the agency of buying a female body, the body of another human being, and do whatever he wants to her, whether she wants it or not.

He has the agency of buying, renting or downloading movies that contain images of her naked body wounded or hurt, her personality dehumanized, her self humiliated and degraded, her mind so harmed (sometimes beyond recovery), her face sometimes shown onscreen as enjoying the torture because the pimps control the script and run the show for the johns. Movies and images of her to which the john/porn user cruelly jerks off to.

He has the agency of going to clubs where her body is exposed, objectified and degraded for his own selfish pleasure.

He has the agency of creating the demand for an industry within which she, for the most part, will not have full agency and will be hurt.

He can insult her. He can beat her. He can rape her. He can tie her up. He can throw money at her and say “That wasn’t rape ’cause I paid you”.

He can reproduce the image of her being degraded, tortured and/or hurt, this image being used as a ‘jerk-off’ material, and share it with other men at an exponential rate, technologically speaking (i.e. internet porn, etc.).

He can do anything to her. Because HE has the full agency to do so.

Within patriarchy, his agency is, more often than not, unlimited. Because the patriarchy works toward his advantage. Male supremacy serves him, fulfills his purpose.

He’d rather try to prove his “masculinity” to his male friends by using porn or buying prostitutes. He’d usually rather go toward that direction instead of questioning the whole concept of masculinity altogether. Generally, he doesn’t even know that masculinity is not innate, that he could choose humanity instead.

His agency is thoroughly defended in a patriarchy. However, within a society that purports to be egalitarian, the patriarchal defense of his agency to use and abuse women has to be implicitly expressed under the cover of “her agency”, i.e. framed in arguments such as “That woman, she wants it, they all do” or “women freely choose to prostitute” and blah, blah, blah. . . ad nauseam. . . ultimately tacitly meaning (in fact): “I, the man, want to degrade her and use her for my own pleasure, thus I have the ‘right’ to do so” or “I, the man, freely choose to have her as my prostitute, my ‘fuck object’ or my property”. This is what you hear when you get to the core of his thinking.

 

“Subhumanity”: Who really sees prostituted women as ‘subhuman’?

I already explained why we, radical feminists, refer to women in the ‘sex’ industry as ‘prostituted women’ somewhere in there.

There is an unfounded accusation that has been thrown at radical feminists and that stuns me: “Radfems see women in the sex industry as ‘subhumans'”. Blah-the-fucking-blah.

I will tell you who really sees prostituted women (“sex workers”) as ‘subhuman’:

The male with the pornographic mind does, NOT radical feminists.

As Rebecca Mott recently posted on her blog:

“When men rape prostitutes, it is not real. How can there be a rape, when he has paid.

Injuries on prostituted women and girls don’t matter, it just rough sex. Men know her fear or lack of reaction is just part of the act.

Hadn’t he seen in porn over and over that women like her like to be raped. Women like her enjoy violence with sex.

Didn’t porn say that whores will do anything for money.

I know in my body as it remembers the tortures men did to me, that they saw me as real-life porn. I know as I remember their contempt, their laughter at my injuries and not believing that I could feel pain.

God, I remember those men posing me on the bed, against the wall, in alleys, on top of graves, in back rooms at the club. At those times, flashes of photos from the hard-core porn went over me.

I know I was infected by porn, as I became a robot performing the sex acts the men wanted.”

I certainly do not believe that the men who bought and abused Rebecca were seeing prostituted women as real human beings. I believe that they saw them as ‘subhuman’.

It is not uncommon to encounter this type of men. The men with the pornographic mind. Many non-prostituted women frequently meet those men in real life. But prostituted women, unfortunately, are the ones who are the most horribly abused by these men.

These men believe in the sexual philosophy of the Marquis de Sade (whether they know it or not), which is, to quote:

“. . . there is no more selfish passion than lust; none that is severer in its demands; smitten stiff with desire, ’tis with yourself you must be solely concerned, and as for the object that serves you, it must always be considered as some sort of victim, destined to that passion’s fury. Do not all passions require victims?”

— Sade, in Juliette, p.269.

I totally disagree that “all passions require victims.” There are many sexual and sensual passions that can be enjoyed with the inclusion of the respect toward another person’s dignity, the inclusion of the caring, the connection, the equality and the mutuality.

Sade was a rapist, a batterer, a child abuser and the world’s foremost pornographer. Sade has his apologists and his ‘libertarian’ defenders who mistakenly portray(ed) him as an “avatar of freedom”. Sade helped pave the way for the unfair ‘leftist’ defense of pornography we’ve been confronting for years.

Here is de Sade’s conception of sexuality served to the male pornographic mind (translated in its full cruelty): “All that matters is your own selfish male pleasure. Do not care about being cruel to women or treating them as objects. There is nothing more important than your orgasm even if it requires necessary victims.” Cruel conception indeed.

As Andrea Dworkin wrote in Pornography: Men Possessing Women (p.100):

“[Sade’s] convictions are ordinary, expressed often in less grand language. . . they are fully consonant with the practices. . . of ordinary men with ordinary women. . .”

It is to wonder what those ordinary men are influenced by?

Dworkin also wrote:

“. . . pornography and prostitution were one and the same thing. We know that the world’s foremost pornographer, the Marquis de Sade, tortured, raped, imprisoned, beat, and bought women and girls. We know that influential male thinkers and artists who enthused about rape or prostitution or battery had, in many cases, raped or bought or battered women or girls and were also users and often devotees of pornography.”

Seriously, I will tell you who sees prostituted women as ‘subhuman’:

Not radical feminists, we fully empathize with women in the sex industry. We realize that most of them have had a somehow limited agency in patriarchy and that they are being terribly abused by abusive johns.

The johns, the tricks, the porn users, the strip-club patrons, etc. are the ones who really see prostituted women as ‘subhuman’.

They are the ones who think it is their “male right” to treat women in the sex industry as ‘subhuman’ objects.

They are the ones who have the, barely questioned, agency to see women in the sex industry as ‘subhuman’ through pornography, in the act of prostitution or at the strip club, etc.

They are the ones who believe there are necessary victims required for their self-centered orgasm.

They are the ones who create the demand for these widespread crimes against women that are called pornography and prostitution.

They are the ones who believe it is their “male right” to use, objectify, degrade, hurt, harm, abuse, rape, beat up, torture and/or (sometimes) kill women.

They are the ones who believe it is ‘male nature’ to do so, without seriously thinking about how culturally trained their porn use, etc. have been within a culture that unfairly condones such an unfair abuse of female human beings by describing it as “adult entertainment” or “sex work”.

These johns, tricks, porn users, strip-club patrons, etc. are the ones who have to stop seeing prostituted women as ‘subhuman’ and who have to stop creating the demand for a brutal misogynistic and racist pornstitution industry that relies on the discrimination and the ill-treatment of half the world’s population to cater to its consumers/johns’ cruel appetite for the degradation of women and girls.

Postscript: for another excellent resource on prostitution, please see also my previous post Prostitution, Trafficking and Law.

ETA (08/25/2008): For another excellent resource on prostitution, please see also Heart’s new post Voices of Survivors of the Sex Trade: Prostitution Is Sexual Slavery, Gang-Rape, Sexual Abuse.

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Intro/Definitions

As I define those terms (dunno how other radical feminists define them):

‘Porno-iarchy’ or ‘pornoiarchy’: a patriarchal society invaded and controlled by pornography & the culture it has pornified, as well as a society upheld by men’s cruel needs for female sexual subordination. For proper definitions of what pornography really is (stated by different feminist writers), please click here.

‘Pornified Culture’: a culture which has been invaded by the mainstreaming of pornography.

‘Sex Poz’: my light-hearted abbreviation of “sex-positive”, a label which the pro-pornstitution ‘feminists’ often use to describe themselves, while deliberately attempting to conflate pornography with sex as if they were the same thing. See one of my comments at Rage Against the Man-chine for an expression of my opinion on this lack of distinction between porn and sex.

‘Pornstitution’ (Originally coined by Sam Berg): Pornography and prostitution, both the same part of the same misogynistic ‘sex’ industry. Also highlights the fact that the sex trade is a system of interconnected misogynistic forms of commodified sexual abuse.

‘Rad Fem’: just an abbreviation of Radical Feminist, that’s all, as I learned this shortening term (‘radfem’) from my private discussions within the Genderberg feminist anti-porn forums.

‘Malestream media’: Mainstream corporate media, largely controlled by white capitalist men in suits.

‘Herstory’: the history of women (as the term is sometimes used by radical feminists) , not the history of men (which has always been more popular and talked about in a patriarchy).

 

Why do I blame the porno-iarchy?

I blame the porno-iarchy for all the sexual violence done to the women in the ‘sex’ industry.

I blame the porno-iarchy for the lack of choices most women who enter prostitution have (when I say ‘prostitution’, that also includes pornography as a form of prostitution of course).

I blame the porno-iarchy for the sexual violence perpetrated against so many women and girls who are in prostitution.

I blame the porno-iarchy for all the misogyny, degradation, abuse, and racism that are inherent and blatant in the content of mainstream pornography.

I blame the porno-iarchy for all the harms caused by pornography to women and children (and sometimes to men) in this unjust male-supremacist society.

I blame the porno-iarchy for so many women and girls having to make themselves look “sexy” or “fuckable” to men in the goal to achieve a false sense of “empowerment” (been there myself when I used to go clubbing).

I blame the porno-iarchy for the fact that so many women and girls have to force themselves to have sex when they don’t necessarily want to in order to please their boyfriends and husbands.

I blame the porno-iarchy for the fact that so many women and girls are sexually coerced into sexual acts (coming from the ‘domination/subordination’ pornographic mind) they do not really want to practice.

I blame the porno-iarchy for all the rapes, the battery, the sexual and physical violence against (mostly) women and girls that happen in this culture.

I blame the porno-iarchy for blaming the victims of rape (saying that’s “her fault, she’s responsible for what happened because blah, blah, blah. . .”) and not the rapists.

I blame the porno-iarchy for sometimes not even believing rape victims (saying that “she probably consented or enjoyed it”).

I blame the porno-iarchy for the (usual) censoring and demonizing of radical feminists in the malestream media.

I blame the porno-iarchy for accusing us of “siding with religious zealots”.

I blame the porno-iarchy for not letting us rad fems educate enough people on the harms of pornography ’cause of the malestream media being tied to the pornography industry, ’cause pro-porners are endlessly trying to silence us and ’cause of ‘leftist’ liberal stubborn pornography-protecting mind (as Gail Dines & Robert Jensen say ‘Pornography is a Left Issue‘, not a right-wing one)

I blame the porno-iarchy for some women defending pornography and prostitution in the name of ‘feminism’.

I blame the porno-iarchy for the pro-pornstitution ‘feminists’ being unfairly magnified by malestream media.

I blame the porno-iarchy for slandering us, radical feminists, and totally misrepresenting our views or simply not understanding why we’re so angry at the pornstitution industry (because of the HARMS!!!).

I blame the porno-iarchy for many other things you might also wanna mention to me here, rad fem or anti-porn readers?

 

Acknowledging Harms and Lack of Choice

“She wants it; they all do” is the biggest lie coming from pornographic misogyny.

The vast majority of women in pornstitution do not want all this degradation and torture to happen to them, but they are subject to all this because of Lack of Choice, as I’ve also already explained here and there.

I just read another interesting article, ‘You’re consenting to being raped for money’, about a prostitute who tells us about how “the life” really is like and how prostitution is glamorized in pornified media partly because “[y]ounger women are being coerced into valuing themselves by what they look like and men’s definition of how a woman should be valued. . . Women are being told that their bodies should be accessible at all times to men. . . there is a conspiracy to turn women into readily accessible semen receptacles.” A truly male-supremacist pornified conspiracy indeed!

Although I do not much like the expression “sex work” (more on that soon enough), I believe that the ‘sex’ industry is largely male-controlled (even though there are quite a few women who are now sexploitation business entrepreneurs & who abuse other women) and I do not believe that “outlawing strip clubs & porn” would address the demand for pornstitution, I find the comment that this person left in the Traffick Jamming blog nevertheless very interesting:

 

The comment by Maggie Hays sums up my experience as a stripper in many ways. The only difference is my boss and the management were women and they were perfectly content to exploit us women just as any man would. I have known women who got into porn and prostitution and I know all about how sex work often leads to violence and S/M. Sex work is inherently violent as it demands the objectification of the person, and what is happening at Kink is merely the final result of a warped and morally bankrupt industry. That is why porn should be outlawed as should strip clubs. These are only legalised forms of prostitution. I saw so much abuse and violence at [sic] criminality at my club, it was insane. Prostitution was openly being conducted as was drug dealing. And we were all regularly physically and mentally abused by the patrons and the staff. I have been viciously attacked by pro-stripper apologists on stripperweb.com for my testimony, which shows how people on the pro-sex industry side have zero compassion for sex workers and don’t want the truth about the business to be disseminated on the internet.”

 Pamela, in case you read here, I can understand that this is so terrible the abuse you have both suffered and witnessed in “sex work”. I hear you, sister. The fact that these pro-porn women (whoever they were) had no consideration for your painful experience and unpleasant feelings regarding prostitution is absolutely horrifying. And I do hope that, wherever you are, you are alright and you’re gonna be alright.

The fact is that once a woman has entered the sex industry and she is harmed within it, there is no going back. The damage from past ill-treatment, the PTSD, the pain, the unsettling trauma, etc. are all there. And the pornstitution apologists would have us believe that she “chose it”, thus nothing can be said? Many (especially male) pro-prostitutionists would have us believe that once a prostituted woman has ‘chosen it’ and has been paid, the harms done to her body and mind can then all be dismissed or forgotten. What an anti-woman propaganda! 😦

Also, the ‘sex poz’ lobby would have us believe that prostitution is (for the most part) not abusive, that it is work, and that pornography is liberating or can be. . . What a rhetorical nonsense! Broken record, *yawn*. . . It is such a distressing shame that some women have been deluded into believing all this very nonsense and thus have been encouraged to defend pornstitution.

I do not believe in “sex work”, i.e. “prostitution as a good career option for women”. I believe that prostitution is an inherently harmful and misogynistic form of sexual abuse. This is why I do not call prostitution “sex work”. Prostitution is not the oldest profession, it is the world’s oldest lie.

While prostitution has existed for a very long time, slavery existed before prostitution, as feminist historian Gerda Lerner related in The Creation of Patriarchy. This is an important part of the herstory to know, just as important as knowing about the witch-hunt in early modern Europe, the mass-gynocide caused by patriarchal religion and its pornographic Malleus Maleficarum (See Dworkin’s chapter on the witches in her first book, Woman Hating, for a recap on what happened to women deemed witches during the Inquisition in early modern Europe).

And talking about herstory, prostitution and contemporary society, here is an excellent quote from Sherry Lee Short:

 

“. . . the arguments of pro-sex industry advocates and proponents have a common theme: the industry springs from a liberal mindset and frees women and men, sexually, politically, and spiritually. Part of this logic is that sexuality — particularly women’s sexuality — has been oppressed historically and that the sex industry offers women and men the liberating possibility of unbridled sexual expression. This logic ignores the fact that the use of women in prostitution as well as other forms of sexual commodification has existed for as least as long as there has been an historical record. Thus, if sexual commodification were freeing, then sexual oppression would be uncommon or, more likely, exist only as some curious historical fact. This logic also ignores the reality that the sex industry thrives where the political, social, and religious milieu is fundamentally conservative. It thrives where beliefs about women and children and their roles are the most traditional. . .”

— Sherry Lee Short in Not For Sale, Stark & Whisnant Eds., p.309.

In this patriarchy we’re living in, pro-pornstitution folks are just as reactionary as religious zealots. Both groups uphold patriarchy and perpetuate age-old woman-hating lies. They merely do it in different ways.

I do not believe in “sex work”, just like I do not believe in “feminist porn” (oxymoron). Prostitution and pornography are inherently misogynistic. If sex is about a process of discovery and connection between two people, then there can be no “cookbook”, no ‘recipe guide’ for non-patriarchal sexuality. And to not reiterate, I’ve already expressed my opinion on ‘feminist porn’ somewhere in this post here.

The idea that prostitution is “sex work” is the biggest fallacy of the pro-prostitution lobby. It has been & is being a direct cause for the ever-increasing trafficking and exploitation of women in prostitution.

We, radical feminists, generally refer to women in the sex industry as ‘prostituted women’ because (1) we acknowledge that they’ve had extremely limited choices under patriarchy & we empathize with them, (2) we realize that most of them are under the control of cruel pimps & brutal or hurtful johns, and (3) we want to emphasize the fact that most of the victims of the ‘sex’ industry are female.

More people should realize and admit that most women in prostitution are tremendously and awfully harmed within it.

There is such an incredible victim-blaming in this society and that spreads like sickness. Being a victim is not a character flaw. A rad fem friend once told me about this: Only in a society which regards women who have been abused as responsible for their own victimization, only in a culture that moans that the oppressed should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, can the word “victim” be seen as an insult.

Calling someone a victim is seen as much an insult as calling someone oppressed to some people, including in the academia. Also, the word “victim” also implies that there is a victimizer, which can be very disturbing to recognize for some women who want to feel empowered, such as the ‘sex poz’ feminists for instance.

Some women just do not want to face their oppressed status. And I’ve been there myself once, at some point in my life. I used to live in some sort of ‘denial’ ’cause I wanted to feel empowered and desirable to men a few years back. Because the reality of my inferior status to men would have been just too painful. . . to realize.

I believe that we, women, should all start understanding our inequality, we should all become aware of it in the hope of changing the world in which we live (a world ruled by the patriarchy and the porno-iarchy) and working toward genuine equality between the sexes.

As I said, I believe that discussions on prostitution should now be directed toward the johns, who always have 100% choice in this matter.

The legalization of prostitution does not work. Organized crimes and trafficking still occur in the Netherlands, where prostitution is mistakenly seen as “work”, as it has recently been reported here. There, in this article, a spokeswoman for Equality Now (an anti-trafficking organization) lately said that “[i]nstead of controlling prostitution, legalisation has led to a disastrous outbreak of increased exploitation of women in the sex trade, sex trafficking and other related crimes.”

On the other hand, the Swedish law, that prosecutes johns, pimps & traffickers and provides exit programs for prostitutes, has worked. As recently reported in the Herald Tribune:

 

“Swedish officials have vowed to step up the fight against prostitution, using a unique law that targets sex buyers instead of prostitutes. [. . .]
“Sweden is not a good place for (your) business,” Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said in a warning to those who buy sex or are involved in trafficking. “(There’s) a very big risk of getting caught, and getting caught big time.”
Sweden’s unusual prostitution law, which allows the sale of sex but prohibits the buying, faced ridicule when it was introduced nine years ago. However, other countries are now considering emulating the Swedish model, which officials say has reduced the demand for prostitutes and reshaped attitudes toward the sex trade. [. . .]
The plan boosts policing against sex buyers and expands rehabilitation centers for sex workers and trafficking victims. It also trains hospital workers and social services employees to deal with suspected cases of prostitution and trafficking.
Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni noted that men are the primary buyers of sex.
“Prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes is a serious barrier for social equality and equality between the sexes,” she said.

 

The thing is to be able to understand the Swedish prostitution law and its success, more people must understand the harms intrinsic to prostitution itself. More people must understand that prostitution is not “work”, it is violence against women, as the failure of legalization and the success of the Swedish 1999 legislation have proven.

[ETA: No, by saying “lack of choice”, rad fems do not “deny women’s choices”. We do NOT see prostitutes as “people with no agency”. Clarification of that in this new post here, On Choices (part 2): Prostitution and the Agency of Johns.]

 

Pornography: Looking into the Reflection of Porno-iarchy.

Stop Porn Culture, a feminist anti-pornography movement, has recently launched a new website, on which people (especially women) who don’t know what pornography is really about (i.e. who still believe ‘this is just pictures of people having sex’) can watch the most recently updated slide show which presents a feminist critique of the contemporary mainstream pornography industry (*you must be 18 or over to watch this – Warning: may trigger*) and then they can witness the undeniable misogyny of the content of porn.

As the creators of this slideshow said in the script for it:

“This presentation provides a critical analysis of these sexist and racist images that are so harmful to children, women, and men; to our relationships; and to the culture at large. For many, this show is an introduction to a feminist understanding of the pornographic culture, and the slides may be hard to look at. We have included these harsh images not to shock but to help us understand porn culture so that we can organize against it.”

I have seen that slideshow, I have been trained to be able to present it at some point in the future, and I do know how well-made and eye-opening it is. After projections of it in large rooms, I would always notice how (usually) more than three quarters of the audiences were horrified by this appalling abuse of women that pornography is and how this slideshow would stir anyone (who has at least a remnant of humanity left within him/herself) into action.

Although I do not visit pro-porn blogs anymore, I lately got told by rad fems about how silencing these people are trying to be and how intolerant they really are.

As it has, a few days ago, been reported by A Birch Tree, there has been a misunderstanding of the law and the blogger also said:

“I suppose what really ruffles the finches’ feathers [referring to the name of the blog Tree of Finches] is that the pro-porn lobby seems to show so much concern for the “rights” of porn participators when it comes to using their images without proper documentation, but not when it comes to, say, their terrifyingly high rates of PTSD or the fact that 80% of them don’t even get the courtesy of a condom, much less how they tend to discount the stories of any woman who has been horribly abused by the porn industry. No no, their (arbitrarily applied) concern is over documentation. That’s obviously the important issue.”

In the slideshow script, it is written:

“. . . the women’s faces are not blurred and are often recognizable. We cannot know how these women would feel about having their images used in this presentation. We have made the difficult decision to show them, because the women’s facial expressions are crucial to understanding these images. We ask you to recognize with us the moral complexity of this decision, keeping in mind that these women are human beings with dignity. “

 

As a commenter at A Birch Tree’s said:

“I don’t think that the porn slideshows are intended primarily to change the minds of porn-users – though they do (if I remember the Stop Porn Culture slideshow rightly – it’s offline) present the images with a feminist critique, pointing out the aggression and hatred in the images. The slideshows are also a way for women & other activists who don’t use porn and have had little exposure to it to get an idea of the reality of porn. It’s all too easy to assume that porn is just images of people having sex. . .”

  The matter is in no doubt complex. If you don’t show pornography, then people can just say, “Pornography is just about people having sex,” and thus easily shrug off the issue. And if you do show pornography, then you can possibly trigger some rape or prostitution survivors in the audience. But then anybody can decide to stop watching the slideshow or get out of the room (if it’s a public presentation) anytime though.

Going back to the subject of the women in the images, I remember a line of the slideshow script that says “in some DP [double penetration] films, the woman is shown grimacing, or saying things like “that hurts” or “please make it stop”; her apparent pain is part of the appeal” while at the same time on the screen the slideshow is showing pornographic pictures of women suffering, their terrible facial expressions of pain.

Once we understand that these women are victims and not “actresses”, it becomes perfectly understandable while we would show that slideshow.

Ghastly and horrendous images of military torture or victims of war have for a long time been broadcast on television and have often been recognized as being the greatest incentive behind the mass demonstrations against war and military torture.

I doubt the thousands of victims who were shown on TV, suffering or drenched in blood, would all have given their consent to the filming and photos of their bodies being used by anti-war protesters. The children burned with napalm and the victims of Abu Graib couldn’t possibly have given consent to have their photos used by journalists and anti-war or anti-torture activists.

Saying that none of the images of pornographic torture, showing the women humiliated, suffering and having their bodies being injured, should be allowed to be used by feminist anti-pornography educators within the framework of the feminist critique of the pornstitution industry is just like saying that the free speech of anti-war activists should be suppressed.

To restrict the political use of images merely because the victimized subjects did not give permission could make whole categories of journalism impossible (and I don’t care if pro-porners later on deny all the facts that I’m writing here — as denying facts and slandering rad fems is all they do anyway).

We are neither the users who cruelly masturbate to this atrocious and widespread crime against women that is called pornography, nor are we the pornographers who capitalize on women’s pornographic ordeals.

We show the slideshow because we want to stir people into feminist actions against the pornography industry. We want to stop the demand for this gruesome abuse. We want to stop the abuse itself, by educating communities and working toward reducing (largely) male demand for female sexual slavery, torture, agony and suffering.

Something tells me that porn apologists, deep down, know that our feminist anti-pornography slideshow is a powerful educating tool against their anti-woman propaganda (although it is something else that they will inevitably deny as usual, of course). That is why they’re trying to silence us. Their protest against our slideshow is nothing else but another attempt to shut us up. And it will fail! 🙂

As Diana Russell, a long-time antiporn slideshow presenter wrote in her 1993 book Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm:

“I have found that showing pornography is an effective and rapid consciousness-raiser about misogyny and male views of women. It helps to enhance women’s understanding of many males’ dangerous notions of what it is to be a man. It often also succeeds in arousing women viewers’ anger (and some men’s) at the contempt and hatred of women they see in the pictures and captions.”

Anti-porn feminist Diana Russell has been reproducing pornography in her showing of the evidence of harms for decades. There has been no legal challenge that I’m aware of.

As a formerly prostituted woman (that a friend of mine knew) once said:

“Please DO look at the photographs, which are not owned by the people depicted, but by the torturers. As long as the only people who see these and others like them are the torturers and torture and pornography consumers, women haters, abusers and traffickers win, because ordinary people will not see what pornography is really about.”

Showing the slideshow is one of the best way to make our point when we say that mainstream pornography is misogynistic. Contemporary pornography is a lot more about images and films than words, so restricting our critique to words would be inadequate.

One of the aims of the feminist anti-pornography slideshow is to encourage empathy for porn performers (whom porn consumers do not regard as human beings, but cruelly use them as “fuck-objects” instead). I remember how sad and angry I felt after I’d attended that slideshow’s screening. While the slideshow is onscreen, we witness these women’s suffering in it, which makes it known so it cannot be ignored.

If pornography is protected as “free speech”, then so should be any criticism of it while showing its images.

Seeing pornography is like looking into the reflection of porno-iarchy, taking a look into the mirror of male dominance. It is nauseating, distressing but sometimes it is necessary when we want to educate other people to combat the harms.

 

Porno-iarchy’s Influences: The Undeniable Links between Pornography, Sexual Coercion and Violence

The harms of pornography are undeniable.

Pornography increases the belief in rape myths. Examples of the rape myths that regular pornography users (and sometimes also people living in a rape culture) are more likely to believe are as follows:

[Rape Myths]

“Women are eager to accommodate seemingly any and every sexual request.”

“When a woman says ‘no,’ she means ‘yes’.”

“Women incite men to rape.”

“Women secretly fantasize about being raped.”

“Rape doesn’t happen very often.”

“False reporting of rape is common.”

“Women secretly enjoy being raped.”

“Women who are drunk are willing to engage in any kind of sexual activity.”

“Real rapes are only committed by strangers.”

“Women who are sexually assaulted ‘ask for it’ by the way they dress or act.”

“A woman who goes to the home or the apartment of a man on their first date implies that she is willing to have sex.”

“Any healthy woman can successfully resist a rapist if she really wants to.”

“Many women have an unconscious wish to be raped, and many then unconsciously set up a situation in which they are likely to be attacked.”

“If a girl engages in necking or petting and she lets things get out of hand, it is her own fault if her partner forces sex on her.”

“Being roughed up is sexually stimulating to many women.”

“Sometimes the only way a man can get a cold woman turned on is to use force.”

“Many times a woman will pretend she doesn’t want to have intercourse because she doesn’t want to seem loose, but she’s really hoping the man will force her.”

[End of Rape Myths]

There obviously are many more rape myths perpetuated by pornified culture out there that I haven’t mentioned above, but only reading those makes me understand why all my ex-(porn-using) boyfriends didn’t stop coercing me into sexual activities and carried on abusing me after I’d cried, shown my discomfort or said No. And worse still, I can understand why my story is so similar to many other women & girls’ stories.

Women’s oppression is now been kept away from public eye and pushed into the private sphere, where women are most at risk of male violence. No wonder why few rapes end up in convictions. Sexual coercion has become “sexy” in this culture, and women & girls are being trained to submit to men, in just the same way I had been trained to submit to men. During all those years, I’d been consciously ignorant of pornography’s harms while however subconsciously I knew about those harms because I’d experienced them.

Another woman wrote to me on my blog:

“I always feel bad about myself. I can not remember everything but I know I was molested by some relatives who used pornography to show me what to do. I have been sexually harassed, stalked, peeped, raped, hit, grabbed, shaken, name called by many men. I do not have one woman friend who has not had similar experiences. I am 32 years old. What am I supposed to do? I am considered abnormal because i hate pornography. I have been told I need therapy because of my views about men and porn. I am scared too death of what is happening to women. I have no support group in the area where I live for this sort of thing. There must be a better way. I appreciate this site and other sites like it because I do not feel so alone when I read these stories.”

What am I supposed to do?

Fight the lies (*) of porn culture. I hear you, anonymous sister! Don’t feel bad about yourself, you haven’t done anything wrong. I’m so sorry all these terrible things happened to you. (((Big Hugs))) I’m a victim/survivor too. Please join us if you like. The people who tell you you’re abnormal are wrong. You are perfectly normal because you hate pornography, and the folks who tell you the opposite are the ones who need therapy, or more exactly a good anti-porn ‘therapy’. Truth is that this whole fucking pornified culture & society needs a good anti-porn ‘therapy’. Although, I would definitely replace the word ‘therapy’ with ‘education’, radical feminist educational material such as books for instance. Those books educated me about the world I’m living in more than any other books I’d ever read.

The very male-supremacist system that engenders and maintains porno-iarchy has to be smashed out of existence.

No doubt we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do but we mustn’t give up, no matter how many times pro-porners slander us, call us liars, or try to silence us with their empty slurs.

We must carry on because WE KNOW about the undeniable harms that pornography causes. And nobody, no one, can take that knowledge away from us. WE KNOW.

Unfortunately, more people still have to know about us and our feminist anti-pornstitution struggle.

Meanwhile, pornography keeps harming women and children.

Women and girls are being coerced into all sorts of patriarchal sex they do not want.

Women and girls are being raped by men who use pornography.

Young girls, sometimes aged twelve, are being socialized to objectify themselves.

Young boys, as they grow up, learn how to use pornography and objectify women and girls.

Rape jokes and misogynistic jokes keep being told and laughed about.

Pornography keeps sustaining a rape culture.

Men keep using pornography as if it were “just sex” while being blind to the sheer misogyny, racism, and violence against women or, worse (in some cases), while being excited even more by those things that pornography inherently entails.

Men keep coercing their wives & girlfriends into watching pornography and into re-enacting the sexualized humiliations and degradations that are in it.

Pornography keeps influencing men’s minds and actions.

All this and more, ad nauseam. The harms carry on and on.

All this has to stop.

Pornography’s intrinsic harms and sex-based discrimination have to be acknowledged by everyone who calls her/himself a feminist or a pro-feminist, at least.

And the harms of pornography and prostitution will eventually have to be recognized by society at large.

We, radical feminists, will keep speaking out on those harms that the ‘sex’ industry generates and perpetuates.

Surrender, I will not.

Surrender, we will not.

 

(*) Heart has recently created a website “Fight the Lies,” intended to debunk the slanderous myths about radical feminists, BTW.

 

“Women must be the only group, and sex the only means, in which a form of oppression is openly defended, not to mention sold as pleasure and even accepted by some of the oppressed, as a means of their liberation.”
— Catharine A. MacKinnon, in Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking, Captive Daughters Ed., p.32.

“Sexual capitalism, which has found a way to commoditize nearly every imaginable act of sexual subordination, has even found a way to repackage and recycle some of its victims. As a result, a small number of women who have had lifetimes of abuse and learned their sexuality in the sex industry serving men are now able, often with backing from male sex industrialists, to promote themselves as sex educators in the lesbian and feminist communities. [. . .]
“[Some] formerly prostituted women who promote the sex of prostitution — but now get paid to lecture and publish — provide a message that even some feminists have found more palatable than all the visions and ideas we have shared about how to transform sex, how to love each other in passionate equality as the basis for a future in which women could really be free. [. . .]

“As feminist research. . . shows, women are aware of the threat of men’s violence and change their lives in response to that fear even though they may not have experienced serious assault. Against this everyday reality of ordinary women’s lives, the notion that an orgasm “under any circumstances” could vanquish that fear and remembered vulnerability is perhaps pseudofeminism’s cruelest hoax.”

— Sheila Jeffreys, in How Orgasm Politics Has Hijacked the Women’s Movement. [Emphases Mine]

“For the sake of argument, let’s assume that some women who perform in pornography make completely free choices to participate, as women in the industry often assert that they do, with absolutely no constraints or limitations on them. That could be the case, though it doesn’t alter the unavoidable conclusion that some number of women in the industry — likely a majority, and quite possibly a significant majority — choose under conditions that make choice much more complex (histories of sexual abuse, economic hardship, perceived and/or actual lack of opportunities, within a culture that glamorizes the sex industry).
“In most cases, the consumer has no reliable way to judge which women are participating in the industry as a result of a meaningfully free choice. When a consumer plays a DVD at home, he has no information that could help him make such a judgment. Therefore, he likely is using a woman whose choice to perform was not meaningfully free.
“But what if he had that information about the nature of the conditions, objective and subjective, under which the women made that choice? Even that is not so simple. So long as the industry is profitable and a large number of women are needed to make such films, it is certain that some number of those women will be choosing under conditions that render the concept of “free choice” virtually meaningless. When a man buys or rents a DVD, he is creating the demand for pornography that will lead to some number of women being used — that is, being hurt in some fashion, psychologically and/or physically — no matter what he knows or thinks he knows about a specific woman.”

— Robert Jensen, in Men and Pornography.

“The word pornography, derived from the ancient Greek porné and graphos, means ‘writing about whores’. Porné means ‘whore’, specifically and exclusively the lowest class of whore, which in ancient Greece was the brothel slut available to all male citizens. The porné was the cheapest (in the literal sense), least regarded, least protected of all women, including slaves. She was, simply and clearly and absolutely, a sexual slave. Graphos means ‘writing, etching, or drawing.’
“The word pornography. . . means the graphic depiction of women as vile whores. [. . .]

“Contemporary photography strictly and literally conforms to the word’s root meaning. . . With the technologically advanced methods of graphic depiction, real women are required for the depiction as such to exist. [. . .]
“In a time of widespread economic impoverishment, it is growing: more and more male consumers are eager to spend more and more money on pornography-on depictions of women as vile whores. Pornography is now carried by cable television; it is now being marketed for home use in video machines. The technology itself demands the creation of more and more porneia to meet the market opened up by the technology. Real women are tied up, stretched, hanged, fucked, gang-banged, whipped, beaten and begging for more. In the photographs and films, real women are used as porneia and real women are depicted as porneia. To profit, the pimps must supply the porneia as the technology widens the market for the visual consumption of women being brutalized and loving it. One picture is worth a thousand words.”

— Andrea Dworkin, in Pornography: Men Possessing Women, pp. 199-202.

“I [feel] deeply wounded by women who named themselves “feminists”, then say how harmless the sex trade is. I am sick of being reasonable about this.
“I say here that you cannot be a feminist and support the sex trade.

“I have said this in many ways and many times. I know that you choose not to hear. But again I say, do not call yourself a feminist and suppport the sex trade. [. . .]

“When you promote the sex trade, you are discounting a whole section of women and girls. You are placing them as sub-humans.

“For, by backing the sex trade, you [are] saying that the performers, lap-dancers, prostituted women and girls, escorts and all the other women and girls in the sex trade do not feel pain. That [they] do not have a life outside of their role in the sex trade. [. . .]

“And I do not believe in feminist porn. I thought feminist politics could go beyond the sexuality of degradation. . .”

— Rebecca Mott, former prostitute, in I Have Had Enough.

[edited to add: 07/28/2008= a while after the wonderful Biting Beaver wrote those words, Buggle reminds us of them. Truth has to be told and re-told. Thank you, sister!]

ETA: I thought about the term “PORNO-IARCHY” because it blends the two words Pornography and Patriarchy. It fuses the two, that’s how I invented it. Patriarchy invented the language. Patriarchy also sometimes controls the language (i.e. “patriarchists have the power of naming”, as I read about that before). So, I say that every radical feminists can invent their own anti-patriarchal language and words as they please. I believe it is fruitful to invent new anti-patriarchy words.

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See this? Yeah, that’s a broken record. I chose this image for this post because I sincerely believe that all the pro-porners, pro-prostitutionists, pro-sexploitation folks, pro-hate speech & pro-“sex work” activists (or whatever you rad fems wanna call them) sound like a fucking broken record with all their “same old shit” reactionary arguments that do nothing whatsoever to help women as a class, arguments that, on the contrary, bolster the patriarchal anti-woman status quo. Thus, I have decided to write a a list of the porn apologists’ bullshit arguments.

I know these are all parts of the same broken record we hear every day; I know that some people (especially some men) are so stupid and stubborn in defending such a widespread violation of women’s bodies in order to maintain their own selfish sexual pleasure, I know all this. I also know that the pro-pornstitution folks are not only folks we meet online. The pro-porners we meet online are so easy to avoid or dismiss when we want to ignore them (thank fuck for that) while the pro-porners we meet offline are most often our co-workers, classmates, friends, even sometimes partners and so on. These offline people who defend porn aren’t so easy to avoid and, more or less often, we find ourselves in a conversation on pornography with them at some point.

It usually happens like this: They suddenly bring up pornography or prostitution for whatever reason, as part of a “joke” that we don’t find funny at all (but rather sad — as we do know that there’s a terrible sexual slavery going on out there and people keep on denying it) or simply because they’ve been influenced by pornified pop culture. Then we feel like we cannot tolerate these pro-porn arguments any longer so we start informing them on what we know about the sexual slavery industry. But, unfortunately, we’re feeling so upset that we just stop talking. There is just so much to say and we don’t know where to start. And, on top of that, there they go! Talking the same old reactionary bullshit arguments we’ve heard ten thousand times again and again, sounding like the same old broken record. . . And we start losing our confidence. . . so we stop talking.

Therefore I prepared this handy “Porn Apologists’ Bullshit Arguments List and How to Respond to Them with Confidence” collection in order to help myself and other rad fems to challenge those apologies confidently IRL. I constructed it as a dialog:

Porn Apologist: Women freely choose to sell their bodies in pornography and in prostitution. How can you criticize the women’s consent to be in porn?
Rad Fem: Contrary to myths, radical feminists have never criticized women’s involvement in the pornography industry as performers. Instead, we focus on the difficulties within which they make their choice to participate. Documentaries and articles on pornography in the mainstream media (which generally pick a very small number of performers out of the so much larger number of porn performers out there) typically show pornography performers as “happy women who have made a totally free choice”. However, the reality of the circumstances within which the vast majority of those women entered the porn industry are very much different from this whole mainstream media glamorization crap. A lot of thorough research on prostitution (based on interviewing hundreds and hundreds of prostituting women) has shown that child sexual or physical abuse or neglect, poverty, economic hardship, past experience of battery or rape, trafficking, socialization to the sexist and racist pornified culture, etc. are key factors for women who enter the ‘sex’ industry. Feminists do not condemn the women who are in the industry, but we empathize with them. We understand that they are terribly exploited and harmed in this industry. As one woman who used to prostitute said that, while she was in prostitution, she would have yelled from the roof-tops how wonderful being a prostitute was, but that, while now she’s still healing from her prostitution experience, she has “found that the worse thing of exiting prostitution is seeing the real reasons [she] became a prostitute. Seeing it could of never been a choice. It was just a way to self-destruct.”[sic]

Porn Apologist: Women in porn make a lot of money anyway.
Rad Fem: Some research and testimonies have suggested that most strippers, prostitutes and pornography performers do not make a lot of money. Although some do, the idea that all of them make a lot of money is another part of the pornographers’ and the mainstream media’s propaganda. Most female porn performers do not get rich, particularly due to their brief “shelf lives” — male consumers often want to see new women being exploited — so even if pornstituted females initially command a high rate per scene or per movie, their market value as “fresh meat” declines rapidly. Thus, even if there are a few really famous porn “actresses”, the vast majority of the women in pornography leave that business feeling exploited, pained and ashamed by this terrible experience or after being considered “overexposed” by the consumers and producers. So, the pornography industry keeps using and discarding female bodies after having used those human beings as if they were pieces of meat. There have been words coming from people who have been involved in the industry to testify of this brutal reality. Besides, even if these women get paid for performing in porn, does it mean that it should excuse the extensive physical, psychological and emotional harms done to them? So, once a woman has been paid, the torture committed against her body is expiated, huh? Well, that’s an incredibly cruel and unfair way of reasoning! No amount of money whatsoever should excuse any harm done to a woman’s body.

Porn Apologist: Pornography is not prostitution.
Rad Fem: The fact is that pornography IS prostitution, plus a camera.

Porn Apologist: Look, prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. It should be legalized and regulated. That would make it safer.
Rad Fem: Prostitution is NOT the oldest profession, pimping is! Countries where prostitution has been legalized have become Number One destinations for traffickers. There is no evidence that legalization in any way benefits women in prostitution — indeed it simply legalizes the harm caused to women. Prostitution is inherently a form of violence against women and a violation of women’s human rights and dignity as persons. The belief that prostitution is “sex work” is being a direct cause for the widespread international and domestic trafficking of women and children for prostitution. The Netherlands (where prostitution is regarded as “just a job like another”) remains one of the primary destinations for victims of human trafficking (as again recently reported in the article “Home Office goes to Amsterdam for prostitution ideas” in politics.co.uk) and half the window brothels over there have been closed since 2006 because of an exponential rise in organized crime and money laundering and also the trafficking of women and children. Legalization is, in effect, a failed experiment.

Porn Apologist: Sexuality is good. Why are you anti-sex?
Rad Fem: Being against pornography and prostitution does not equate being against sex, FFS. Sexuality is just a part of being human and may involve a lot of strong feelings of affection and connection to another person when a sense of genuine care is involved. But pornography is stripped of any empathy and it fuses sexual desire with the degradation and abuse of women. Being against pornography does not mean being against sex, it simply means having recognized that there is a sexual world of imagination based on equality & respect and that goes beyond sexuality as simple “domination/subordination”.

Porn Apologist: Only conservative right wingers criticize porn. Are you a religious zealot?
Rad Fem: Radical feminists have, for a long time, opposed Christianity by recognizing it as patriarchal religion. Mary Daly, for example, is a prominent radical feminist writer of the feminist critique of Christianity. Radical feminists usually see Christianity as patriarchal and oppressive to women. So, no, I’m certainly not religious and I’m very much of an atheist. Perpetuating the myth that radical feminists “are siding with religious zealots” just because we oppose pornography has always been one of the favorite pro-porn tactics of the so-called “sex poz” lobby.

Porn Apologist: If there weren’t any porn, there’d be more rape.
Rad Fem: Do we ever suggest that the availability of loads of films showing children being beaten up would reduce child physical abuse? Of course not, because we know it’s not the case. So why would it be different with pornography? Few rapes get reported to the police and correlational studies only based on reported rapes have limits. While a few studies have shown a decrease in reported rapes, many other correlational studies, as shown here, have shown dramatic increases in sexual violence with the availability of pornography. Pornography has no “catharthic” effect whatsoever. Also, this “catharthic effect” porn apologist excuse quite sounds like a threat: “We need pornography or we will rape more!” Blah-the-fucking-blah. . .

Porn Apologist: Pornography has no effect whatsoever. It’s only a fantasy.
Rad Fem: So why do corporations spend billions of dollars each year on mass-mediated advertising if not precisely because they know ads have effects on people? Why would it be different with pornography? Pornography HAS effects, negative ones! Besides, as I said before, “an industry which relies on the suffering of half the population in order to keep catering to its ever-expanding demand is not fantasy!” Fantasy is in the head. Pornography is mediated and mass-marketed. I feel a lot more free not having my fantasies being controlled by pornography. . . Freud argued that the sexual abuse that his female patients had been experiencing in childhood (and had been telling him about) was just a fantasy. Freud knew that child sexual abuse was pervasive in his time, but he kept on denying it as “fantasy” (Source: Testimony of Jeffrey Masson, author of The Assault on Truth, in “The Los Angeles Hearing, Los Angeles County Commission for Women, April 22, 1985”; in Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin Eds., In Harm’s way: The pornography Civil Rights Hearings; 1997.)

Porn Apologist: Where is the harm in porn?
Rad Fem: The first people who are harmed are the prostituted women constantly used, abused and discarded by the industry. Then, the harms extend to the women outside of the industry. The easiest way of making violence invisible is by sexualizing it, making it appear as “just sex” to the viewer. Pornography makes rape, sexism and racism sexy. It makes force look like a thrilling sexual experience to men. Pornography desensitizes its users to female degradation, it makes them believe that women enjoy all sorts of pain and humiliation. Pornography increases the belief in rape myths. Pornography is pure woman-hating propaganda! Many women are coerced by their boyfriends and husbands into sexual acts they do not want because of those men’s pornography use. Pornography also increases the violence perpetrated against prostituted women. As reported by former prostitute J.W. in Massachusetts, for instance, she “considered the men who were into pornography to be the most dangerous and potentially violent since that is what aroused them”.

Porn Apologist: Advocating censorship is not a good thing. Pornography is free speech.
Rad Fem: Who’s talking about censorship here? You, not me. I’m talking of harms. Pro-porners often use the inaccurate word “censorship” to stigmatize any feminist work against pornography and to try to shut us up. Censorship or banning would never address the demand for pornography. Educating people on the harms and asking for an end to men’s demand for an industry that is predicated upon and produces sex-based exploitation and widespread aggression has nothing in common with censorship. Pornography is not free speech, it is hatred of women. The only freedom in pornography is the one for men to abuse women. In a male-supremacist, capitalist society, the First Amendment protects only those who can exercise the rights it protects. Where is women’s freedom of speech in all of this? Pornography keeps women and other people who have been harmed from exercising their rights to free speech.

Porn Apologist: Feminists are often man-haters. That’s why they criticize porn.
Rad Fem: In a patriarchal society where misogyny is the norm, whenever you point out to the fact of male violence against women you’re accused of being a “man-hater”, while whenever a man says a misogynist comment or laughs at misogynist jokes he’s never accused of being a “woman-hater”. Feminists aren’t man-haters and they criticize porn because it is harmful and it is strongly linked to violence against women. Isn’t it natural for men to watch porn? Pornography expresses sexual freedom and all men use porn.
Rad Fem: If it is natural for men to use porn, then how come some men have given up on their porn consumption and haven’t died? Not all men use porn. And pornography is not freedom; it is a mechanical, mindless, plasticized, inhuman, cruel and disconnected form of sexual imagery made by big corporations who only want to make big bucks. Besides, if pornography was so “natural” for men, why would it be so relentlessly misogynistic? Men have usually been socialized so differently from women that we can hardly claim anything about their nature. From an early age, males are typically trained to repress their feelings of sensitivity, care and empathy. It doesn’t have to be that way but gender roles both uphold and are maintained by male supremacist social order. And pornography typically reinforces gender, i.e. what it means to be “masculine” and what it means to be “feminine”.

Porn Apologist:

Porn Apologist: But, I don’t look at the bad and extreme stuff. Misogyny is not really inherent in pornography. And pornography is neither violent nor racist.
Rad Fem: Violence is pervasive in pornography; it is normalized because it is made to look like “just sex”. Any proper and clear-headed study of the content of the best-selling porn titles will reveal that violence and contempt for women are pervasive in mainstream pornography, as a comprehensive 2007 media research based on top-selling porn titles listed in Adult Video news (results of the research are revealed in this video here) has proven. As for the racism, pornography typically portrays black women as subhuman, dirty, primitive “ebony hoes”, black men as savage, animalistic beasts, Asian women as slavishly obedient, and Hispanic women as “hot-blooded Latinas”. If you don’t recognize these stereotypes as horrifyingly racist, then I’m afraid I can’t help you. . .

Porn Apologist: Look, women are objectified everywhere, even in the media. How is pornography different? I simply cannot imagine a world without the objectification of the female body.
Rad Fem: While mainstream media has clearly been invaded by soft-core objectifying pornography and that’s certainly not a good thing, hard-core mainstream pornography is worse. Women are not human beings in pornography, just things. . . Dare imagine a world that would not rely on the objectification of women, dare ask for justice and real sexual freedom within a new world where women would have the right to their own bodies without having to force themselves to have sex with men, where we would have true intimacy and mutuality, and where our lives wouldn’t be invaded and controlled by pornography.

Porn Apologist: Women look at porn too.
Rad Fem: While women’s use of porn has somehow increased since the Internet, the VAST majority of pornography users are men and the industry knows it (but they’re not gonna tell you). Porn producers, when interviewed at the Las Vegas porn convention, said most of the consumers of their materials are men. That is why porn is so endlessly misogynistic and degrading.

Porn Apologist: Hey, do you know that there’s also feminist porn available out there, that is to say porn for women?
Rad Fem: Women-made porn is a smokescreen to protect the largely (mostly) male-run, male-led pornography industry. It is only a small portion of the industry. The solution to ending the harms of pornography is not to create “feminist porn”. As I said before, “[m]isogynistic porn (which is the type of sexual material that most men want to see and masturbate to) isn’t going to go away so easily, and women and children will continue to be harmed. There are so many more urgent things and so many more struggles to overcome before we are able to live in a non-patriarchal society and maybe think about such things as any “egalitarian forms of erotic arts”!!! Indeed, thinking about such things before the overthrow of the whole patriarchy itself happens, is nothing other than capitulation! And it is insane! Considering and confronting the harms of pornography and prostitution to women and children, and working toward the building of a new non-patriarchal world, are paramount causes!!! As Gail Dines pointed out at the 2007 feminist anti-porn conference, we live in an “image based culture” (i.e. any thing, to be valuable, has to be made into an image) and the answer to stopping porn culture is not more images. Personally, I feel A LOT MORE FREE without having images or so-called “art” control my life and/or sexuality!”

Porn Apologist: If you don’t like porn, just don’t watch it.
Rad Fem: If this could only be that easy! Women have to interact with men who use pornography every day without knowing about the harms. I walk in the street and see soft-core porn on billboards. I cannot watch T.V. without stumbling upon a show or a film within which a joke on pornography is being laughed about. I cannot go to a party without seeing a bunch of guys laughing at the porn pics on their phones they’re showing to each others. The list goes on. . . Pornography is everywhere. What you’re saying sounds so much like saying “If you don’t like the president, then forget he is the president!” or “If you don’t like pollution, then forget it also comes from cars”.

Porn Apologist: Porn was the only sex education I had. I can’t give it up.
Rad Fem: Then you have been sexually “educated” by what is the mainstream sex miseducation for men, a form of media within which women are stripped of their own humanity and portrayed as sexual objects, as things to be penetrated. How original! Wouldn’t you be more free without having the corporate pimps mapping out your sex life? Besides, even if you’re not causing harm to women you know, by not giving up on pornography, you believe that there are acceptable losses, “necessary victims” in order to satisfy your self-centered orgasm to the sexuality of cruelty, the sexuality of disconnection from truly meaningful feelings toward another human being. By creating the demand for pornography, you generate, maintain or condone the harms it causes as well as submit to the self-objectification it creates when it controls you, shapes your sexual thoughts into a twisted manner and when you become addicted to it. So, why not giving up and have your own dreams for yourself? Why not accepting that your sex (mis)education did not involve sexual justice and equality between sexes?. . .

That’s it for now, readers. In case some of you want to add any porn apologist bullshit arguments (that I forgot to mention) to the list, please do so in the comments. Or, simply give your feedback, rad fems & pro-radfems, if you want to. . .

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