Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Article to be fisked with extreme zeal!
"What does the existence of a multi-billion-dollar pornography industry say about us, about men?"
Well Bob, I'm not a man, but it would suggest that men like to watch people fucking. Some women do too. Pretty obvious, no?
Let us move on...In this piece by Prof. Jensen, who seems to watch more hardcore gonzo porn than I do, which says something, and pays money to do it, which also says something, yet it has managed not to turn him into rapist, which also says something, we are treated first to a review of an all oral film called "Blowbang #4" (because you know, Blowbang 1-3 left so many unanswered questions!) What follows is Bob's creepily loving description of a scene in which a porn gal dressed in a cheerleader outfit performs oral sex on, gets throat fucked (presumably), and ejaculated on by six men. While being called degrading names. There is much speculation about what she's feeling at the moment, and no mention of her fee, or the consent she gave to perform this scene, nor any mention of her feelings on it, but yep, Bob talks about Blowbang 4...
Next up is a review of the Vivid film "Delusional", (ahem, another of the 15 porn flicks he paid to rent) in which a man and a woman have sex. Both give and receive oral, then PiV in several positions, there is some dirty talk (no name calling), then anal, then he cums on her tits.
Because you know, NO normal het couple in America actually ever do stuff like that, ever! Then Bob talks for a bit about how this horrible porn stuff never addresses or even scantly represents female desires (um, hello, you're a dude, what do you know about female desires? Never mind that you know, the dude went down on her too? And there was kissing and stuff?)
Bob then tells us about how the women at his speeches are so shocked and horrified and have no desire to do any of these things...(cause you know, the women at Bob's speeches are an unbiased cross section of women, and thus reflect all women) after he has described them oh so "clinically", and want to know why do men get off on this shit? Bob says that masculinity in this culture is in trouble!(breif interlude to discuss why porn is bad, from a feminist perspective...cause you know, Bob's a femanist, who speaks to and for men, even though his main audience seems to be women, and well, he never asks the porn men and women...blah blah...think of the children!)
Okay, back to bad masculinity...talk on how men are the source of violence and sexual violence, how they tease eachother as youth (hell, I never knew a boy calling another boy a fag as an insult was REALLY an insult to women!)
End all beat all: "Masculinity is a bad idea, for everyone, and it’s time to get rid of it. Not reform it, but eliminate it. "
(For our own good...)
Bob talks more about porn, admits to having used it for fun in his youth (now, only for anti-porn academic reasons, admits the shit turns him on, mourns a bit for himself, because porn makes Bob sad. (Belle, a tissue please? Um, make that two, for the tears and the um...yeah). Ah, empathy. Bob wonders if any woman could actually like porn (ayep), and yes, empathy...(more on that later...okay, Bob.)
Bob gets sad again, feels selfish, feels for men who like porn, doesn't want to live in this world where a woman gets her face ejaculated on for a fee, even if she consents to it! Oh yeah, feminists don't hate men, neither does Bob. Okay, I actually believe that. Sometimes...
HAHA, the Bob asks:"Then ask this question: Can we men acknowledge our humanity if we find sexual pleasure in watching three men penetrate a woman orally, vaginally, and anally at the same time? Can we and live our humanity to the fullest if we find sexual pleasure in watching eight men ejaculate onto a woman’s face and into her mouth? Can we masturbate to those images and truly believe they have no effect beyond the rise and fall of our penises in that moment? Even if you believe that such sexual “fantasies” have no effect in the world outside our heads, what does that pleasure say about our humanity?"
Well Bob, I think one might, if they had a penis and all, be okay with that if the woman was into it, asked for it, consented to it, enjoys it, or yep, does it as part of her chosen profession. Holy Shit, Imagine That? As for talking about humanity, well, human sexuality is a strange, diverse thing, so you know, some people, even some women, might really like and get off on that shit...even non porn women...hell why don't you ask them? As for what it says about mens humanity...if the woman likes it, I say it speaks nary a negative word about it!
Wooo, then the typical Bob line...which cracks me up, considering the paragraph before it (emphasis added by moi...):
"No matter how important you think those questions are, right now I am not asking those questions. I am asking you to think about what it means to be a human being. Please don’t ignore the question. I need you to ask it. Women need you to ask it, too.
What I am not saying:I am not telling women how to feel or what to do. I am not accusing them of having false consciousness or being dupes of patriarchy. I am not talking to women. I am speaking to men. Women, you have your own struggles and your own debates among yourselves. I want to be an ally in those struggles, but I stand outside of them."
DUDE, you just told women what to do then said you weren't telling them how to feel or what to do??? (That's it Belle, fuck the tissue, gimmie a tire iron...)
Bob then encourages men not to be men, but human beings, which, technically, men already are.(Lest we forget that, yet, apparently, not human by Bob's standards)...
My advice to Bob? Lay off the porn, it's fucking with you....and oh yeah, you want to talk about empathy and consideration, try practicing some towards the porn women you are "empathizing with"...you know, like, oh talking to them...and maybe some other women than those who attend your seminars?
"Former" Porn User turned critic, almost as fanatical as ex-smokers and born again...oh wait, they hate the comparison, so I shall refrain...
As you leave childhood, your old brain expands its focus to a new task. It urges you to get excited about girls. It hopes that someday you will pass on copies of yourself in the form of babies. As odd as it may seem, this is the number one job for the old brain.News flash: Gay boys are a myth, like unicorns and actual faeries of the winged sort.
Your old brain prepares you for this future task by making you “hungry” for anything that is related to sex.
In fact, your old brain thinks sex is way more interesting than eating. That's why sexual feelings can be much more intense than hunger.
When you stumble upon something connected with making babies – like a website with naked women on it, or some other picture associated with sex – your old brain takes over. It releases chemicals into your brain that make you feel like true happiness is just around the corner. It is like the feeling you get when you're about to open your birthday presents. This feeling is the old brain's way of giving you a big “yes!” for focusing on sex. As one man said, “When I saw my first picture of a naked woman I thought, ‘This is just wonderful!”
Monday, July 30, 2007
WHAT THIS WEBSITE IS NOT FOR:-
- Defending pornography, stripping, and/or prostitution (if you send me any of your knee-jerk lame excuses such as "Women freely choose", "Porn reduces rape", "Freedom of expression", or "you pro-censorship anti-sex prude", etc., your e-mails will be ignored -- I will feel sorry for you though, as you are ultimately using those excuses to hide the real defenses that underlies your thoughts such as "my right to jerk off to porn and/or be selfish", etc., and you are giving up on your humanity -- there's nothing more beautiful in this world than being genuinely human). Pornography and prostitution are indefensible. The level of harms done to women and children is way too high! If you want to stupidly defend pornography, there are plenty of forums and blogs for that on the Net. Come back when you're less self-centered! -
- Trying to wrap a defense of pornography, prostitution, and/or stripping in some kind of a "Fuck me" feminism; trying to show "empowerment" where there's none (such e-mails will be ignored). .....
.....-- Blaming the women in pornography, stripping and prostitution. They are not to be held responsible for the harms. The pornographers, the pimps, the johns, and the men who create the demand for pornography (especially the ones who carry on stubbornly using pornography after having read or heard about the harms) are responsible for the harms and proliferation of pornography and the sex industry.
-- Accusing us of being "anti-choice". I and many other feminists realized that women in the sex industry do not have any "real choice" in this society. Most of them have an economic necessity and a history of sexual abuse (There are plenty of studies that prove that -- check on this website). Around about 90% of them would rather leave the sex industry if they had the option. Some already have and decried its abuse (check on this website). Should we protect the right of a small 10% who'd rather stay, the rights of the few women who make a lot of money out of it instead of the rights of the overwhelming majority of prostituted women who never got the chance to make a meaningful choice and are sustaining unbearable violence and injury? I don't think so. So, do not even try to magnify the few isolated cases "of money and empowerment" here and there. It doesn't work.
-- Defending gay or lesbian pornography. Feminists respect gays, lesbians and heterosexuals. However, we believe that ALL forms of PORNOGRAPHY are harmful. This applies to gay prostitution too, for men and boys are harmed within it.
Gee, think if I, a woman in the business went over there and defended it, I'd get "blamed"? Anyone wanna take that bet????
And she's bringing her new ride with her.
Yes, that is a monster truck that Gina is riding....and it's not just for show, either.
Just deal with it.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
One of the main overgeneralities and mythologies passed on by antiporn activists (and especially antiporn feminists) is that the men who view porn are either invariably full of nothing but hate and loathing of the women they see on explicit sexual media; or that they are merely imposing their perverted and misogynic sexual beliefs and practices on such women. The notion that these women might actually have feelings and desires and motives of their own and actually get off on performing sexually, or the fact that men could actually give respect and admiration to a woman who freely acknowledges and plays to a man's sexual desire for her, seems to be simply beyond the pale of comprehension for such activists. In their already made up minds, women in porn are only computerized sexbots implanted with the chips of evil, dirty men who use them to impose their violent will on the rest of humanity.
Well....as a man who has seen more than his share of porn and erotica, and who appreciates the physical and erotic beauty of women who perform in hardcore -- whether in a Chatsworth studio or a camshow in her own bedroom -- I can simply call bullshit to such nonsense.
I'm not saying that there aren't some individual men who do think like those stereotypes; who are into porn for the loathing and misogyny, mostly because they have so internalized the usual antisexual and antifeminist folkways about "dirty sluts" and "whores" being so defiled and degraded...while still desiring nevertheless to fuck them all the same.
But...some of us -- indeed, I'd say the overwhelming majority of us who consume porn as a recreation -- happen to have a distinctly different idea about women and men who perform in the "sex industry". Contrary to popular myth, it is possible to actually respect and admire and even adore porn performers for their skills, both sexual and acting..and even see them as....
I am often fascinated (in the way that a 60-car pileup is "fascinating") by the line of thinking so often spouted by some antiporn activists that people who do or watch porn are so controlled by their dicks and clits that they absolutely, positively, 24/7/52, must be thinking only about getting laid or masturbating 50 times a day, without a care in the world for more "substansial", more "meaningful" things like work or a steady relationship or family or friends. As if porn -- if not sex as a whole -- is so "addictive" like crack cocaine or heroin that it overwhelms any other human desire.
These fools never met the performers or the fans I have....and if they did, they would have those myths exploded in their faces in a New York millisecond.
Now, not that there is anything even relatively wrong with people getting themselves off to porn or thinking about sex more than on occasion; that's part of being human. I'd rather roll with someone who is open and honest about his/her desires and owns them than with someone who denies them and decieves him/herself. After all, the fundamental purpose of porn in the first place is to entice sexual fantasy...which, ultimately leads to people getting themselves off anyway either by themselves or with other likeminded horny people.
But to say that those who do porn aren't capable of doing other things, or are so oppressed that they must "degrade" themselves for sheer survival, flies in the face of actual reality. A few examples of popular porn performers and their past lives or current endeavors will suffice:
- Keisha (: Bachelor's degree in Psychology; considering pursuing Masters' degree
- Johnni Blank: US Army Special Forces; served in first Iraq war
- Vicky Vette: Various supervisory positions in major corporations; home-building (link possibly NFSW)
- Nina Hartley: Bachelor's degree in nursing
- Ron Jeremy: Taught adult education classes
(Unfortunately, those were the only few I could retrieve off hand, feel free to add others.)
The point being that even professional sex artists and performers have other interests besides sex, and that they can freely pursue other goals just as easily.
Which brings me to the related question often asked: If these folk are so capable of pursuing other goals, then why go into porn and sex media to begin with??
Well, there's the quick and easy money, of course. Not many businesses can offer such a quick payday for doing things that you would probably enjoy already for free.
But for me, there is a much more substansial and meaningful purpose for making porn and hardcore sex: Because you get pleasure from it....and from getting people off, including yourself.
The best performers who do sex work -- and the ones who attract my own attention and desire the most -- are the ones who really do love what they do, who take pride and detail in their craft as sexual performers, and give the full respect to their fans and consumers who pay their subscriptions.
But mostly, they seperate themselves from the pack on one important detail: they really do get into, get turned on, and ultimately get off on what they do. In short, they love sex as much as -- if not more than -- they love the paycheck.
Forget about the "real" versus "fake" boobs, or the circus sex antics, or how big an object you can put up your ass, or whether you like getting spooged by one person or one hundred. If you can wake up the morning after you do a sexual performance (or any sex act, for that matter) and smile and get off on the dirty deeds you did, then you can be truly considered a legitimate "sex-positive" performer.
And those are the performers who will get my support -- and my full attention, if you catch my drift -- every single time.
In MacKinnon and Dworkin, for example, a woman who sees porn sees what she is "for," learns how men want to use her. In a lot of personal accounts I've read from women who don't like porn, a woman sees "what her man really wants." She finds herself thrust into competition with another woman, this one a too-perfect foil to heterosexual male desire. She's invariably found wanting, and this is a deeply stressful experience.
I see it assumed that even among women who like porn, the woman viewer "identifies" with the woman in heteroporn. (What about lesbian and faux lesbian porn?) But I wanted to question this -- personally, as a top, I tend to identify with the top, regardless of gender. Especially since the camera generally focuses on the bottom anyway. You tend much more often to see more glancey glimpses of the top (with occasional focus) -- which is vaguely, well, like what you see of your own body if you're doing it yourself! ;)
But I know I'm somewhat statistically odd in what I like, and also bisexual. So there's all of that.
And I'm sure that identifying with the bottom is equally complicated and interesting, particularly coming from women, who indeed aren't the target consumers of most porn. I'd love to hear about that. :)
And I also wanted to think a bit about the term "identify." I tend to put myself in the role of the top, yes, and imagine doing the same (or similar -- an image may help to shape but does not constrain my imagination) things to the bottom. But I'm not sure that's "identification." When you identify with someone, you understand them, take on their point of view, sympathize with their goals.
Sure I'm in a sense taking on that top's "point of view" -- I'm wanting to do what sie is doing. But I'm not really endorsing what that person endorses in a serious way. I have no idea who sie is. Or even who hir character is. It's not, in the average porno movie or set of digicam pictures, spelled out much at all who that character is supposed to be. Maybe some vague hints, and yes, maybe I'll think of being that character as I imagine the sex/BDSM/whatever I'm looking at.
But is that really "identification?" It seems to me "identification" with a character in, say, a novel, implies a lot of investment. If I identify with Harry Potter, I see some of myself in the character or some of the character in me. Yes, that's how it feels to lose loved ones so young. Yeah, I was a bit of a child celebrity and my friends weren't and it made things tense. Yeah, people expect me to do Big Important Shit and y'know, I feel a little like I'm seventeen and unready sometimes. Yeah, that one science teacher I had had it in for me, and hated kids. What a drag that was! Wow, I can really identify with this character.
I don't really have any conclusions to draw from any of this. But I did want to call attention to the complexity of all this and to ask other women: what DO you experience when you use porn, a medium which is supposedly not designed for you?
And heck -- men, go ahead and answer too if you like. I'd rather hear from women just because porn is so often assumed to be used by men, but I'm sure you've got interesting stories too. (Any of you ever "identify with" the people being penetrated? *grin*)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
"Self-righteousness has always been a feminine weapon, a permissible way to make men feel bad. Ironically, it is socially acceptable for women to display fierce aggression in their crusades against male vice, which serve as an outlet for female anger without threatening male power. The temperance movement, which made alcohol the symbol of male violence, did not improve the position of women; substituting porn for demon rum won't work either."
– Ellen Willis, "Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography" (1979), in Beginning to See the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
From an excellent online study guide:
The sub-theme of this tangled debate which seems to have particularly interested and alarmed Atwood is the tendency of some feminist anti-porn groups to ally themselves with religious anti-porn zealots who oppose the feminists on almost every other issue. The language of "protection of women" could slip from a demand for more freedom into a retreat from freedom, to a kind of neo-Victorianism. After all, it was the need to protect "good" women from sex that justified all manner of repression in the 19th century, including confining them to the home, barring them from participating in the arts, and voting. Contemporary Islamic women sometimes argue that assuming the veil and traditional all-enveloping clothing is aimed at dealing with sexual harassment and sexual objectification. The language is feminist, but the result can be deeply patriarchal, as in this novel.
There is nothing new, much less revolutionary, about infantilizing women in the name of "protecting" them. It's a tactic used by fundamentalist religions around the world, and one feminists should be able to spot a mile away.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Right. We know this to be true.
Except, well... sometimes it's not about the men. Or the drugs. Or [insert preferred trauma-of-the-day]. Sometimes it's about other things...
From College Callgirl:
Soberly approaching an unusual sexual experience, my stomach flips around like a young girl on the monkey bars, my breath gets short, and my bowels turn over, until I’m feeling more nauseous than aroused. In my personal life, this is the moment when I can turn around and spend the day watching America’s Next Top Model reruns on the couch. But in my professional life, I’m forced to work through the discomfort and make myself press forward like a young professional invited to a boring party with a lot of networking potential.And sometimes it can be - dare I say it? - empowering.
From Dominatrix Next Door:
You learn to turn the childhood ban on “no” around. You love your “no” utterly, foolishly, rather like your parents must have loved that child. And that gives you back your “yes,” the option of asking for things for yourself.
Via the Fleshbot Sex Blog Round-up.
Friday, July 20, 2007
The story is from the CBS Los Angeles affialate, transported by me to Nina Hartley's forum.
I'm guessing that the venereal disease she contracted was chlimydia.
Porn Star Pleased To Have Sex Toy Case Behind Her
(CBS) LOS ANGELES
A porn actress Tuesday settled her wrongful termination lawsuit against an
adult film production company, which she accused of firing her for complaining
about unsanitary work conditions.
Kira Kener, 32, alleged she was infected with a venereal disease by a sex toy she used during a video shoot, according to her lawsuit filed in January 2006 that asked for millions of dollars from Vivid Entertainment Group of Los Angeles.
Vivid Entertainment identifies itself on the company's Web site as the world's leading adult film company.
Attorneys for Kener and Vivid Entertainment told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis the settlement would be put in writing in 30 days. The terms were not disclosed.
Kener said outside the courtroom that she is pleased to have the case behind her."I'm really looking forward to getting my new Web site up and running," Kener said.
According to the lawsuit, Kener tested positive for a venereal disease after shooting a pornographic video in February 2004. The director ordered her to work first with a sex toy, then with an actor, the lawsuit stated.
Kener had concerns about working with the actor, but was told to do so by the director anyway, the lawsuit stated.
Kener came to work crying the next day and refused to work with anyone else
until she was tested for venereal diseases, according to the lawsuit.
However, another director stepped in and yelled, "There's no time or money
in the budget for testing. I'll just call someone else to come in and work with
you. I'll let that person know that you may have come in contact with something,
but it's up to them if they want to work with you," according to the suit.
Kener later tested positive for the disease, the lawsuit stated."Since then, Kener is informed and believes that marital aids are a breeding ground for diseases," the lawsuit stated.
Kener was fired by Vivid Entertainment on Feb. 26, 2004, the same day she told management she was concerned about having to work with previously used marital aids, the lawsuits stated.
The lawsuit also alleged Vivid Entertainment had not paid all the money it owed her for her video shoots and had used her "Kira Kener" trademark for financial advantage without her permission.
Vivid Entertainment lawyers maintained in their court papers that Kener was
an independent contractor and not an employee, and that their agreement with her
allowed them to use her name for economic advantage.
Kener, whose former name was [name deleted our of respect for her privacy], was working in strip clubs throughout the United States when she signed an exclusive agreement to perform in adult videos for Vivid Entertainment in 1998, according to her declaration that is part of her lawsuit.
Kira Kener is now her legal name and she lives in North Carolina, steps she said she took to protect her family from exposure to the adult entertainment industry.
Either way, it is one more example of how a progressive, sex-positive analysis of both the sex media and the talent responsible for creating it is so badly needed....neither the more libertarian Right "let 'em do it and damn the consequenses as long as they get paid" meme nor the radfem "Poor oppressed women, let us liberate them from their plight, even if against their will" doctrine can do much good to help those like Kira Kener who deserve the right to perform her craft on her terms.
BTW...Kira Kener was actually one of the porn stars featured in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' book XXX, which profiled some of the industry's top talent. She does have a MySpace page (NSFW), which will do until her new website opens, which she promises will be soon.
Yes, fine, it's been stated that it is done to show everyone the vile degrading nature of porn. But a lot of these blogs are simply plastered with the stuff. Hardcore images. Images of nude women with those oh so unrealistic unnatual airbrushed bodies. Bondage images. The language is often straight out of a Max Hardcore film. And two things roll through my head every time I see it: One- there is more free jerk off material on a lot of anti-porn blogs than you can shake a dick at, Two- it's so over the top & overdone that it actually looses the shock and awe factor. These sites become just another porn site, where a ton of people probably just look at the pictures and ignore the articles all together...seriously, I can see folks into really hardcore porn snickering about who reads antiporn sites for the articles!?
It also causes me to question the whole "trigger effect". I mean, if my blog logo(s) are triggering, if some of the photos I have up at my place, which are absolutely those of a consenting female, are triggering, then how in the hell can this not be (nsfw)? On some sites, it's just so over the top. Look, it's a horrible car crash, let's back up and stare some more! Film it, so we can see how horrible it is later, again and again and again....
Thursday, July 19, 2007
See, in any kind of job, and in any kind of relationship, there are things you like and things you don't. Even if it's a job or a relationship that you're basically happy with, there are going to be parts that are hard to deal with. What makes a job or relationship a healthy one is that the good parts make the bad parts worth putting up with -- and that you're free to make that decision.She also links to another excellent post on this topic on ErosBlog, "Evil Porn Werewolf Enslavers Debunked". I liked it so much, I thought I'd throw in a direct plug here. ErosBlog is a new one to me, but its on my regular reading list now.
And that's true for porn -- all porn, not just spanking porn -- as much as it is for any job. I think some people have a tendency to think that if every single thing on a porn shoot isn't a perfect erotic dream for every performer, it's therefore exploitation at best and coercion at worst....But if you look at making porn as (a) a job and (b) a sexual relationship, you realize that porn doesn't have to make all its performers perfectly happy in order to be a healthy job. It just has to make them happy enough. There has to be enough about it that they like, sexually and professionally, for the stuff they don't like to be worth putting up with.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I think I read on Witchy's comments recently someone mentioned the fact that the "yaypornies" aren't listening. they never listen. that's the whole problem. they don't listen.well, here - let's listen. let's listen and respond.
Here's a comment from a commenter on a recent thread at IBTP:
I hate that they pursue orgasm by degrading and harming fellow human beings.
A good phrase to translate “pro-porn”:“pro - pursuit of orgasm by degrading and harming fellow human beings “wow, y'all. really? is that really the sum total of what it means to be pro-porn? That's what it reduces to? well, yeah, that's awful. I'm not at all comfortable with degrading and harming fellow human beings.
BUT - if no fellow human beings were degraded or harmed in the pursuit of my orgasm, then what I'm using to pursue it is NOT porn? so I'm in the clear?
OR if fellow human beings were degraded or harmed, but I'm not pursuing orgasm, I'm still okay?I guess it depends largely on one's definition of "degrade" and "harm". and maybe even "orgasm". and no, I'm not merely playing semantics games. definitions are important. I know some folks who become aroused when looking at pictures of objects. not people. no fellow human beings involved at all, yet intense arousal happens, lust is inspired, orgasms occur - you know, normally object fetishists don't get no respect, but in this case maybe they've got it figured out - sexual thrills without the human cost. who's the freak NOW?
and I can see the eyes rolling, hear the impatient sighs - "you KNOW that's not what we MEAN! We mean PORN. ASSFUCKING. BLOODY BLOWJOBS. etc. ad naus." I tell you this - sitting for my FAMILY PICTURE with my abusive exhusband was exponentially more degrading and harmful to me than any bloody blowjob assfuck session. which is not to say that the bloody blowjob assfuck session is everybody's cup of tea. I get that. But I have to admit that I've had some very satisfying, very intense sexual experiences that were a bit beyond the pale, and did not leave me feeling "harmed" or "degraded." Sitting next to the man who wanted to KILL ME, and smiling like it was nothing, pretending we were Mr. and Mrs. America - yeah, that was a thousand times more humiliating. So, yeah, we're listening. and responding. but lots of us feel like y'all don't care.
The answer is simple. I want people to be able to see both sides of any argument, read various sources of information, and make up their own minds.
Child Pornography is the rallying battle cry for a great many anti porn advocates, and well it should be. Kiddie porn is not only illegal; it is not what the majority of porn watchers are buying, it is, in fact, repulsive and harshly condemned by a great many porn fans, performers and producers. It is not the product of the legal industry or those whom use porn responsibly.
Yet it is one of the chief factors used in condemning the industry as a whole.
Why is that?
Because it’s a great way to get people to hate the industry as a whole. No one here condones child pornography, nor denies its existence or the vile nature of it, but child porn and adult porn are two entirely different things, and lumping them together serves the anti-porn agenda of battling against all pornography. Kiddie porn packs one hell of a gut shot that consenting adults screwing on film does not…
And that’s why it’s so prevalent in anti-porn arguments. Take a gander at a few anti-porn sites; you will note that a disproportionate number of their stories are on child porn. No one can read those stories without their guts twisting, and for those who do not know better, child porn becomes the default thought associated with the word porn, and anyone who likes porn moves from filthy perv to filthy pedophile. And that drives up anti-porn support.
It also blurs the issue with unfortunate consequences. Focusing attention on child pornography as a problem unto and of its own is a good thing. The less child porn, the better. However, when the anti porn crowd mixes it in with a fight against adult pornography, they are dividing time and resources. They are also fostering inaccurate stereotypes of adult porn producers, performers, and consumers. They are, in essence, using fear and panic to strike out at the industry as whole, rather than at an illegal activity that could use the attention.
And who does this benefit?
No one but the anti-porn movement.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Main organizer, Sex 2.0
Web site: www.sex20con.com
Sex 2.0 "unconference" will explore sexuality, feminism and social media
ATLANTA, Ga., July 17, 2007 – Sex 2.0, a one-day conference, will offer sessions which explore the intersection of feminism, sexuality and social media. It will take place April 12, 2008 at the Spring4th Center in Atlanta. Admission is free.
"Social media has enabled fundamental changes in how people learn, grow and connect sexually," said Amber Rhea, one of Sex 2.0's organizers. "The sessions will explore what those changes mean in a safe, welcoming, sex-positive environment."
Sex 2.0 is an unconference, which means that sessions will be informal conversations organized by people attending the event. Session leaders with some knowledge in a subject area facilitate conversations among the participants.
"Everyone should feel free to share what they know, and raise any questions they may have," Rhea said. "Respecting the confidentiality and protecting the identities of participants who wish to maintain a degree of anonymity will be a top priority at Sex 2.0."
Rhea was also the main organizer of PodCamp Atlanta, a podcasting and new media conference which took place March 17-18, 2007. Her inspiration for Sex 2.0 came from the success of PodCamp Atlanta combined with a frustration with how women who use the internet to express their sexuality are portrayed in popular culture.
Several sessions have already been scheduled, including: "Erotic Writing 101" with author Rachel Kramer Bussel; "Sex Work and Online Feminism" with sex worker and blogger Renegade Evolution; "Choose Your Own Adventure: How has the escorting business changed with the advent of the Internet?" with former sex worker Kimberly Martin; and "Sexual Subculture as Internet Phenomenon" with gay blogger Joseph G. The keynote speaker will be Audacia Ray, author of Naked on the Internet and director of the award-winning film The Bi Apple.
The event is managed by volunteers and funded by sponsors. A wide variety of sponsorship opportunities are currently available.
To learn more, visit the event's Web site at www.sex20con.com. If you are interested in sponsoring Sex 2.0 or have any questions, contact Amber Rhea by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please feel free to spread this news far and wide!
On Tuesday, July 17th at noon sex workers from around the United States will converge on the San Francisco federal building at 450 Golden Gate. Prostitutes, escorts, massage parlour workers, BDSM workers and phone sex operators will be among the participants asking federal authorities to rescind the anti prostitution oath that has been inflicted upon non-governmental aids organizations around the world. Current U.S. law requires organizations receiving U.S. global HIV/AIDS and anti-trafficking funds to adopt specific organization-wide positions opposing prostitution. Health and human rights organizations are deeply concerned that this restriction will preclude recipients of U.S. funds from using the best practices at their disposal to prevent HIV/AIDS among these populations and to promote the fundamental human rights of all persons. In fact, evidence exists that these restrictions are already undermining promising interventions.
A video was created by the Network of Sex Work Projects on the effects of the pledge and will be shown throughout the rally. http://www.nswp.org/
Who- Sex Workers Outreach Project
What- Rally and showing of "Taking the Pledge" video
When- July 17th 12 NOON
Where- 450 Golden Gate Federal Building
More information on the PEPFAR anti-prostitution loyalty oath here and here.
stormy // Jul 17th 2007 at 4:21 pm
Oh, and if it is a certain narcissistic sex worker primarily behind this site, again slagging off radfems… ‘embarrassment among peers’ can be but a click away - did she not learn anything last time about constantly attacking radfems?
If ‘they’ (stupidly) want to promote ‘pro-porn activism’ (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) then that actually isn’t the same as ’slagging off radfems fest #5,327′. [....]
Well, OK, so the mere act of maintaining this blog isn't a high crime against radfemdom, but we're pushing our luck and the threat is there. Great Goddess on a pogo stick, could these people be any more fucked up?
I've got to say, of the two segments of the anti-porn movement, religious right or radical feminist, its hard to figure out who's worse. On one hand, the religious right is by far a bigger threat politically (in the US, anyway), and of course, that goes way beyond porn. On the other hand, this kind of creepy stalking behavior, internet harassment, and personal threats seem to be the specialty of radical feminists. I have yet to see some godbag pull this kind of shit.
All of these links (with the exception of the Justine Jolie one) go straight to MP3s, so right click (that's control-click to you Mac users) to download:
- Dana DeArmond, altporn actress, "The Internet's Girlfriend".
- Daphne Rose (starts 22:30), fetish model and porn actress.
- Eon McKai, altporn director.
- Joanna Angel, of BurningAngel.com fame, altporn model, actress, director, and all around nice Jewish girl gone bad.
- Justine Joli (starts:16:45m but other good stuff here), actress who truly puts the glamour in glamour-porn.
- Nina Hartley, living legend.
- Paul Thomas, long-time porn director.
- Shine Louise Houston (starts 28:40), of Pink and White Productions, porn director who's putting the lesbian back in girl-girl.
- Tristan Taormino, sex educator turned gonzo director.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I find it odd that when one points out strange bedfellows, they become, flat out, idiots...
Also, yep, emails continue between NPNH's Adam and myself...I'll keep you posted.
On that note, if you can cast your minds back to this revolutionary move by Charliegrrl, I did a bit of an investigation. I was appalled that the leafleter apparently punched, kicked and threatened her when I read her post, but given her little twisting of truths (my truths, on one occasion) in the past, I wondered if there was more to this than her account gave out. I know a little bit about the club, as plenty of my friends attend on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure, by their accounts, that the women who cage dance and lapdance are there by their own volition. They are not forced, they are not coerced.
So I wrote to the club owner, intending to blog:
I've never attended your club, but am intending to next time I'm up
north! I'm a feminist with an interest in strip clubs, pornography,
SM, etc (in that I'm pro-all these things).
However, there are a lot of anti-porn, anti-sex types out there,
and I couldn't help but notice that one of them blogged in celebration
about attacking someone who works for you, and your property:
I am intending to blog about this incident myself, and was wondering whether her little write up about the worker attacking her physically was, well, a little exaggerated. Is there any chance you can tell me the other side of the story?
They responded with the following:
Sorry, I have not responded to this earlier, I have been away. Thankyou for contacting us.The otherside of the story is : Basically we had a worker who stands in Manchester Centre promoting our Rock club, and at this point the promotion that was displayed had No Reference what so ever to lap dancing, as we didnt want to upset anybody and obviously are mature enough not to be putting this infront of minors. On the day in question, it was the worker who was approached with some force. However he was not physically attacked himself, but the girl in question made a lurch for the advertising board he was holding, and they began to wrestle over it(tug of war). In his disbelief he let the board go out of his hands, and the girl ran into H&M and hid the board. She then came out of H&M and ran off down Market st. She was no way attacked or even pushed. Our worker infact was slightly shocked but more embarrassed about the situation that he'd been setupon, infront of the busy shopping area.He is a very peaceful young lad who was merely stood there minding is own business with his Ipod on. All our promotion that is conducted in public refers to our club as a Rock venue which it is primarily. The Lap dancing is available and it is really important to point out here that we have an even split of Males and females who attend. Within the Rock community 30% of the females who attend have lap dances from the girls, some of the customers attend are Bi sexual, some lesbians, how does this fit with our said friends views. Surely it is up to the girls who decide to work and also the girls who choose to have dances from the girls. Nobody is forced. I am all for a well reasoned lively debate and think peoples opinions are extremely important and should be respected, whether they be feminist activists, the lap dancers or female or male club owners. What I cant understand is the way she conducts herself, as I am a pacifist and would rather use my brain. I am fully aware that all feminists do not conduct themselves in this manner and understand she muddies the water somewhat. I could go on a real rant about her, but honestly dont feel she is worth the time as I wouldn't expect to get a well reasoned response for her behaviour. What I will say is, I feel she is slightly displaced within herself and is obviously craving some attention to be seen as some kind of martyr.
I am always available for a converstaion and to answer any questions or concerns you may have, I would also like to extend an invitation to come and visit our establishment and would welcome you to speak to the girls who work with us and see how they feel about the job they do.
I hope this answers your question and as I said please feel free to contact me anytime. We honestly have no ill feeling towards your friend and if she wanted to come and check out the club and see how many women attend to put her mind at rest, there would be no problem.
So, we have two very different accounts here. I don't want to disbelieve Charliegrrl. I don't want to think she's lying in order to make her story there seem more dramatic, more palatable. But alas, I don't believe her. I suspect what actually happened was probably somewhere in between their stories, but it is, frankly, embarrassing, that a 'high profile' UK feminist blogger is happy to bend the truth in order to get her point across.
I'm all the way with Ren on this issue. Sure, go out there, educate people about the sex industry, post your views on a blog, set up events, argue, debate. It's all good.
But I just don't see how this kind of action, attacking publicity for clubs you don't really know anything about, and then lying about the actions of people involved in that club, is ever going to wash as exciting, revolutionary action in the name of feminism. It's destructive. It's derogatory and threatening to the women who work at or attend the club, and bewildering to most everybody else.
The wonderful Sparkle*Matrix takes apart the apologetic Myth of Porn and the Cathartic Relationship, by means of an analogy to chocolate and some scary data. NoPornNorthampton notes the underrepresentation of women in the media, remarking on how silence can be construed as lack of dissent, rather than as a result of the difficulties in speaking that the powerless have.Sparkle*Matrix's post is also impressively thin on logic, in my personal opinion (while I see the point of comparing a woman to a consumable, and it's a very common one in certain radfem circles, I find that whole analogy shaky. To truly consume a person, one would have to kill her.
But my larger point is the linking to NPNH. While I strongly suspect that many anti-porn radical feminists do (or would if they bothered to take a long enough look) disapprove of some of NPNH's tactics and justifications, here again we see anti-porn radfems allying with people who have the same goal for very different reasons.
NPNH is one of those groups that latches on to feminist criticism of porn as one of many reasons they can round up to convince people to hate porn. It sits right alongside reasoning that has nothing at all to do with feminism. As Belle has said before, NPNH seems to be more about garden-variety NIMBYism than radical feminist analysis of women's oppression.
I still can't for the life of me understand why many APRFs are so, well, okay with allying with people who have the same goal but only on a completely superficial level. How the hell can, for example, NFAM link to Enough is Enough, whose founder is also behind the unabashedly religious-based and anti-gay Protect Kids without exploding from the cognitive dissonance?
On the one hand, well, yeah, if your own base of activism is small you will have to look the other way at some things. But on the other: okay, now that you've won, once your allies can turn their efforts to other indecencies like, oh I don't know, lesbian nonmonogamy, what's your plan? Can I see it, judge it, hear it?
Or are you still caught up in TheoryWorld, where somehow political "activism" against pornography isn't actual lobbying or working for bans, but a strange and creepy kind of "education" that does... well, as far as I can see, Jack Nothing to change society as a whole or shut down the industry?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Whenever you take a public stand against traffic in illegal hardcore pornography, pornographers
and their defenders will make cliched arguments to undermine your effort. The answers published here will help you to respond. They are adapted from Morality in Media's publication Cliches - Debunking Misinformation about Pornography and Obscenity Law, which is available from MIM ($3.00 per copy)…
"Pornography is a victimless crime."
The victims of the pornography industry are strewn from coast to coast. They include sexually abused children, corrupted teens, degraded and violated women, addicted men, broken marriages, ruined neighborhoods, AIDS victims, and ultimately, the very soul and humanity of a nation.
"Who are you to tell me what I can see or read? You are imposing your morality on me!"
A. I am not telling you what to see or to read. The people, through their elected representatives in Washington, D.C. and in over 40 state capitals, have decided that obscene materials cannot be distributed in interstate commerce or in their states. The people, with the approval of the courts, have decided to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the harms associated with hard-core obscene pornography.
B. Pornography invades the home in the form of mail porn, dial-a-porn, video porn, cable porn, satellite-to-dish porn, and now computer porn. The reality is that the sex business is trying to impose its libertine immorality on an entire nation by appealing to the worst in individuals and exploiting human weakness.
C. In any society, someone's morality (or immorality) must prevail. The real question becomes, "Whose will prevail in America?" The pornographer's, leading to anarchy and decadence? Or the moral principles of those who honor the Judeo-Christian code -- a code which has been embraced, not imposed, as the cornerstone of Western civilization.
"If you'd let pornography flow freely, people would get bored and the problem would take care of itself."
A. This boredom or satiation theory is invalid. Many users of pornography do not get bored; they become addicted, seeking more and more bizarre materials. For many, pornography-fueled fantasies must eventually give way to action, which includes sexual abuse, rape, and sometimes even murder.
B. Because of a lack of obscenity law enforcement throughout the 1970's and most of the 1980's, pornography was allowed to flow freely. Yet, instead of pornography going away, it has lured more and more people into destructive addictions.
C. Remember also that new markets for the industry are being created every day as children and teens succumb to the allure of pornography.
"People who fight pornography are anti-sex, prudish, and sexually repressed."
Anti-sex? Surely you joke. The pornography business takes the beauty of real love and converts it into soulless, commercialized slime. The porn-fighters protect healthy sexuality with the key ingredients of love, tenderness, commitment, and the privacy of intimate moments. If "prudish" and "sexually repressed" are the labels attached to those who oppose the depictions of sadomasochism, gang rape, sexual orgies, bestiality, rubbing excrement on others, ad infinitum, then we will wear those labels proudly.
– Susie Bright, "The Prime of Miss Kitty MacKinnon", 1993.
On 26th June, the UK Government finally published the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill 2007 (CJB). Sections 64-66 lay out plans to criminalise possession of "extreme pornography" - in terms even more sweeping than those of the original Home Office consultation document. Rather than actions, the proposed law is aimed specifically against pictures. Regardless of what is actually shown, what "appears to be" shown will determine the legality of an image. As well as necrophilia and bestiality, this includes acts which "threaten or appear to threaten a person's life" or "result in or appear to result (or be likely to result) in a serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals".As I commented over at the other blog, this is why I personally don't believe it's cogent to be pro-BDSM but anti-porn. I don't see a practical way to end porn that won't involve crackdowns on people with BDSM interests, and I don't see how BDSM people can remain neutral with respect to things like this.
Coupled with the stricture that images must be "pornographic" in order to qualify as illegal, this means that you can watch all the gruesome cop show murders you like, but if you like pornography of consensual fisting - which could cause serious injury if not done with due care - you risk a three-year jail sentence.
BBFC classification of your favourite porn may or may not help you. You are safe watching sexual violence on an 18-certificate DVD, for example the ball-busting scene in James Bond: Casino Royale. However, if "the image was extracted" - i.e. you have made a screen grab or a clip - then you could be guilty of possessing extreme pornography.
This is demonstrably ludicrous, and the Government actually admits in the notes on the CJB that it "constitutes an interference" with the European Convention of Human Rights. However, it is necessary, we are told, "for the protection of morals".
Part of this "protection of morals" is a blatant attempt to clamp down on the BDSM community. In spite of bland assurances during the consultation process that the proposals were not intended to target anyone in particular, the actual bill drops this pretence, and explicitly refers to the Spanner trial (R v. Brown and Others) as an example of activities that are illegal in themselves and will now become illegal to film or photograph.
I know there are anti-porn BDSMers out there (does anyone know if Faith ever posted on why she is both? I know that about the time she and I had our scuffle she was thinking of doing it.) I can easily imagine a position like theirs: porn is exploitation. Do BDSM, but don't film it for any kind of profit.
Or possibly "never film it," though giving smart people the benefit of the doubt I'd assume that they'd allow for images made for private use by lovers, for example. There is that ever-thorny "porn vs. erotica" issue, and what "porn" is may hinge on who is paying.
I actually used to have serious reservations about mainstream porn. But when I look at crackdowns or hear about crackdowns, the burden tends not to fall on the back of the industry but on us. Websites with ageplay-related stories get bullied into being taken down -- not some mogul making millions selling DVD's of BARELY LEGAL LOLITAS GETTING SPANKED but regular people's erotic stories.
And the mere mention of BDSM makes it worse, according to my government, or at least what my government said a while ago.
The witch hunts target us. In the US, the UK, wherever. It doesn't matter if you're a quiet little feminist sub -- or a quiet little Christian D/ser -- within the walls of your own home or not. These people hate you. Or at the very least consider you utterly disposable in their quest for a few more votes or a few better numbers on an opinion poll in the heart of right-wing wherever.
Sure, they'll be distinctly less likely to come for you if you never film yourself fucking. But these crackdowns are never about feminism. They are about calling you and what you do obscene and a threat to others.
In college, I had a website for my art and stories. None were hardcore pornographic, but most dealt with SM as a theme and had what a vice hound might call a tasteful veneer of SM eroticism. I wanted the webspace the college would give me, but I wasn't sure if even my rather softcore sadomasochistic art was obscenity and if putting it on the university's server was a bad plan.
So I looked up the college's policy, which basically said state obscenity law applies. And so:
The word "obscene" where it appears in this article shall mean that which, considered as a whole, has as its dominant theme or purpose an appeal to the prurient interest in sex, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, excretory functions or products thereof or sadomasochistic abuse, and which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in description or representation of such matters and which, taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.Was my stuff safe as art (which I considered it to be), or was it unsafe as SM? And was there any difference between consensual and sweet SM and SM as "abuse"? I pondered this quite a while.
And yeah, went with art, and put my stuff up... but what does this really say? It says, as near as I can figure, that SM is abuse. Maybe some juries can, and maybe some do, find that some references/depictions of SM don't count as "abuse" and there's a loophole. Probably.
But in the end what this says is that "sadomasochism" and "abuse" go together.
Now, sure, many anti-porners are not for obscenity law. It's not community standards the feminist APs care about, for example.
Still, a big part of the hostility toward SM people -- including you if you are an anti-porn SMer -- is expressed in these very laws, moves, propositions. SM is linked with porn, linked with obscenity, to the public mind.
If you have some way to get them unlinked and are actually doing the necessary activism on that score, fine. I'll disagree with you but I'll at least consider your position comprehensible.
But I don't really hear about APs who like consensual beatings or role-playing or whatever who are doing that. So I really don't see how the two can converge, realistically.
In a world of theory, perhaps. But I don't live in that. I don't make art in that. I don't write smut in that. Porn actors and actresses don't make films in that.
SB: You have a new book out called Pornography, and it's part of a learning series for young adults to grapple with issues of the day, but it's a good primer for anyone who might want to look at some of the basic arguments about porn. And what amazes me is, when it comes to the huge majority of porn that is produced and consumed, it is the same banal sucking and fucking over and over and over again that dominates the market.
DN: I think the stories that you hear in the media, the gloom-and-doom, scary stories about the bukkake and the donkeys - that's all coming from the so-called clinical samples. That's coming from the people that are in therapy because they consider themselves to be porn addicts, and they've spent all their time finding the weirder and weirder stuff. That's the story, right? "I lost control of it. I wanted to see weirder and weirder and weirder stuff." And that's the porn consumer in the popular imagination now.
SB: I totally reject the notion that that's the cycle. Most people don't sit around with their porn having to have more and more and more extreme...
DN: No, but that's the clinical tale. That's the tale that the media likes, because it's the scary tale.
SB: Well, it's funny you should call it "clinical." Because it's not even accepted by most of the psychiatric profession. There is no such thing as porn addiction in the DSM manual.
DN: I know. And if you look in my book, you'll see that I debunk that. But that's the story the mass media likes to tell. That's what they hang the problem on - the weirdo stuff.
While this blog has been paying a lot of attention to head-meets-desk inducing statements of radfems and NoPornNorthampton, the religious not-so-right remains in a class by itself. I came across this post on the American Family Association website while putting together a list of anti-porn links.
Life sometimes imitates art, and in this case, life imitates Helen Lovejoy.
The Girl the Guys Lust After (But No One Wants To Marry)
by Kathy Gallagher
There’s usually at least one in every church. You know, the young woman whose clothes are a bit too revealing. You probably surmised correctly that her Sunday dress is conservative compared to what she wears the rest of the week.
This girl loves the attention she receives from guys. She has (perhaps subconsciously) learned that the tighter her dress and the lower the neckline, the more men notice her. Whether she doesn’t stop to consider how she is making men stumble, or she simply doesn’t care, the most important thing to her is that heads turn when she walks by.
Admittedly, my subtitle above is not entirely accurate. The truth is that there will be a man who wants to marry her. In fact, he may be a member of your church. Tragically, what she doesn’t realize is that she won’t be attracting a godly young man, but the guy who is secretly addicted to pornography. He is enamored with body parts, not consecration to God.
The case against pornography is two-pronged, and really involves two separate issues. The first is related to the supposed harm to the models in the production of pornography, especially women. The second has to do with the ostensible harm caused by porn as a product (and could be said to extend to porn media such as writing and comics that don't actually involve real people in their production). The fact that the two issues are conflated by anti-pornography activists, and that argument against pornography liberally slips back and forth between the two, makes their argument elusive and hard to pin down.
Taken one at a time, the arguments become clearer. First, the charge is that pornography, like prostitution and indeed any form of sexual labor, is inherently exploitative toward those who do it. It is charged that at the very least, extreme economic coercion is used to force women into porn, and at worst, its outright sexual slavery and filmed rape. Also, porn actresses are said to universally come from backgrounds of sexual abuse, and making porn is seen as a kind of revictimization.
First, I'll acknowledge that, yes, abuses do happen in what might broadly be called the porn industry. Where I differ from anti-porn activists is that I think they grossly exaggerate the amount of abuse in the porn industry. All the best evidence that I've read about the porn industry, from porn actresses and from people who have observed the industry first-hand, is that such sex work is done freely and that coercion is a rare and highly illegal exception. Also, the idea that porn actresses are from disproportionately poor and uneducated backgrounds and are therefore financially coerced does not seem to hold water. At least in the case of American, West European, and Japanese porn industries, the typical background for a porn model seems to be pretty much working- or middle-class, representative of the larger society. (In Eastern Europe, admittedly, there are a lot of women from Borat-esque impoverished rural backgrounds who go into porn as a quick ticket out – such women are also now the mainstay of the fashion modeling industry as well, and I can think of at least a few Russian and Ukrainian porn models that do both.) The "uneducated" stereotype is particularly eggregious, as its not all uncommon to find women with college degrees working in porn, as its not at all uncommon to find people with college degrees throughout the American and European workforce. (In fact, its not even particularly uncommon to find women with some background in Women's or Sex Studies in the porn world.)
Probably a note is due here about the favorite poster-girl for the anti-porn movement, Linda Lovelace. First, even in Ordeal, she never claimed she was coerced by pornographers to do porn. She claimed, rather, that her abusive pimp/husband, Chuck Traynor, forced her into doing porn, among other things. The worst thing she had to say about the porn industry is that they looked the other way when they knew Traynor was abusing Lovelace, a reaction to abuse that was not uncommon back in the 1970s. Second, in several interviews prior to her death in 2002, she recanted some of her more damning statements about the porn industry and also said that she regarded Gloria Steinem and Catherine MacKinnon as just another in a long string of people who were trying to make a buck off of her. I'll also note that Linda Lovelace's story is not at all typical of the porn world. (More on this in this in future posts – its a summer project of mine to try and get through all five – yes, five – of her "as told to" biographies and try and figure out where the truth lies.)
While I agree that any kind of coercion or exploitation in the sex industry is a problem that needs to be addressed, it is also clear to me that there is nothing inherently coercive or exploitative about porn modeling. The words of porn actresses and models who do this work by choice, and even enjoy much of what they do, are simply too compelling to make a blanket case that porn is always exploitative. (Names of some people who strongly defend their choice to work in porn – our own Renegade Evolution, Nina Hartley, Belladonna, Dana DeArmond, Justine Joli, Ron Jeremy, and Jamie Gillis, just to name a few off the top of my head.) Insofar as there is exploitation in the porn industry, this is a labor issue, and needs to be addressed the way all exploitation-of-labor issues are dealt with – by self-organization and agenda-setting of those who do the actual labor (through unions or whatever model they choose), aided by allies who accept the idea that sex workers can set their own agenda. What is not needed are would-be saviors who are more interested in imposing their own religious or ideological agenda, slaying dragons, and saving people from themselves.
From what I've heard from various porn star interviews, there may be some truth to the idea that a disproportionate number of porn actors (female and male) are survivors of child sexual abuse. However, this is purely anecdotal, and there are simply no numbers to back this up. The idea that this is universal among porn actresses and sex workers in general is pure stereotyping and related to the idea that women who are highly sexual simply must be damaged in some way. Again, I don't find this case compelling – even if someone has sexual abuse in their background, is their sexual agency as an adult null and void? I don't think so.
In a nutshell, of course I'm against exploitation and abuse, but I do not think that axiomatically leads to an abolitionist position on porn. And I'll add that the line of argument that holds if one is pro-porn, that one is automatically pro-exloitation and pro-abuse, full stop – well, that's a contemptably bad-faith argument, and a sure sign that the person that you're "debating" has their mind made up about you and your arguments already.
Next post, I'll cover the issue of the "effects" of porn.
- someone who shall remain anonymous…
Right then, let’s talk about that…responsibility. We’ve been called idiots, sickos, rapists, rape enablers, mysoginists, johns, whores, and all sorts of other things, and ah yes, irresponsible…
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had sex with anyone against their will, never pressured or coerced anyone into sex against their will…in short, I’ve never raped anyone. I’ve never abused a partner or molested a child. Why is that? Well, for as much ugly, rough, degrading and yeah, on occasion, violent porn as I watch and make, I know that doing such things to unconsenting people is wrong.
Wow, imagine that? I know it is wrong, and wow, apparent slave to my sex drive and porn sick perv that I am, I can still grasp that. I can tell the difference between right and wrong, consent and force, reality and fantasy. So, I must ask, if this horrible, degrading porn makes people rapists and abusers…why am I not in prison?
Answer, because porn doesn’t make anyone do anything. Porn cannot make a person rape, abuse, disrespect, or otherwise hurt anyone any more than a song, book, artwork, video game or television show can. Who needs to be held responisble for these sort of acts? The person who committed them, that’s who. Not the porn, not the pornographer, but the person who committed the act.
Yes, it’s easier to blame the porn (or the song, book, artwork, video game or television show). It’s quicker, it’s cleaner, it’s nicer to think that the porn made someone do it rather than that a person, a human, is capable of these things all on their own, with or without porn…but the ugly truth is, people don’t need excuses for their bad behavior, much as they’d like to use them. Marylin Manson no more caused the Columbine Shootings that porn makes people rape and abuse. Rape and abuse occur places the world over where porn is illegal. Thousands of people use porn, of all kinds, and they do not abuse anyone. Porn cannot make anyone do anything, and I believe that when tossing around words like responsibility, it is far more responsible to hold people accountable for their actions than blame those actions on anything and everything else.
What it comes to, you see, is some vices are more virtious than others:
-In the US, There were 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 – 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year. This averages out to one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes. An estimated 254,000 persons were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured approximately every 2 minutes. In 2005, 21 percent of the children age 14 and younger who were killed in motorvehicle crashes were killed in alcohol-related crashes.
-Number of 100% porn-related deaths? 0.
-Researchers have found that one fourth to one half of men who commit acts of domestic violence also have substance abuse problems. A recent survey of public child welfare agencies conducted by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that as many as 80 percent of child abuse cases are associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs and the link between child abuse and other forms of domestic violence is well established. Research also indicates that women who abuse alcohol and other drugs are more likely to become victims of domestic violence and that victims of domestic violence are more likely to receive prescriptions for and become dependent on tranquilizers, sedatives, stimulants, and painkillers and are more likely to abuse alcohol.
Now yes, you can find testimony that porn might cause abuse, can aggravate abuse; can give people ideas, but facts? Numbers? Not quite as solid. The research is a bit greyer. There are lots of words like “perhaps”, “possibly”, “may be”…and are often also linked with other factors, such as the above mention substance and alcohol abuse… the words used are nebulous, "some", "may"...these pleas are also not ones of logic, of fact, they are worded specifically to pull at the emotions, to gain a gut reaction, to get at your feelings. Not your mind, not solid fact, but heavily relying on your gut, your protective instincts, your moral center...it's impassioned, but is it proven fact? An absolute like 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005? No, it is not.
So, this begs the question, should we make alcohol illegal? Impose more regulations on its production, sale and consumption then we already have in place? Should we, due to the fact that so many others consume and use alcohol irresponsibly, take it away from those who can merely have a beer or two and remain responsible citizens? Should we rally to keep booze out of our grocery and liquor stores, out of the homes and hands of responsible adults? Should we vandalize, protest, and harass the purchasers of alcohol, and the bars and eateries that sell it? It’s been tried, you know, and all it did was create an illegal, underground crime-ridden market for alcohol, it stopped no abuse.
Or is alcohol fine and okay because even anti-porn advocates like a gin and tonic or glass of wine from time to time (or perhaps even a joint or other illegal substances)? Even though it is a factor in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, rape, and a leading factor in date rape and cases of rape on college campuses?
Responsibility? Is it the fault of the alcohol, or the abuser? Does the blame rest on the shoulders of the brewery, or the abuser? Does it rest on the media, who advertises the alcohol, the movies, which show booze as a fun, sexy, party thing, or the abuser?
The answer is obvious, isn’t it? The booze didn’t hit, harm, rape, kill, molest or disrespect anyone. The abuser did.
And so the same it is with porn. And most porn users are responsible about their behavior, just as most consumers of alcohol, and even more illegal substances, watchers of action movies, players of video games, fans of music, and other possibly “uncouth” products. Adults have the option to use both these things, and the majority can do so responsibly.
So really, are we so irresponsible, or do we merely possess the common sense to place the responsibility where it actually belongs rather than chase shadows, revel in moral panic, or seek to crusade against something we, personally, do not like, understand, or find “icky”.
Think on that, for a moment, while you consider putting the responsibility where it belongs, on the offender. Not on the porn, not on us, but where it really goes. Then think about, over a glass of wine perhaps, if you really deserve the right to call us irresponsible.
UK anti porn activist Charlie posts about Zoo Magazine and voyuerism, which is illegal in the UK- post includes screen shots of a voyuer cam website, which is illegal material she accessed for journalist reasons....is this not the same woman who posts unconsented to and unedited photos of people who work and shop in porn stores, as well as countless mag covers, club flyers, and pics of other random "pervs"?
PPA bloggers called out as being "irresponsible" by antiporn commenter elsewhere....That will get it's own post....
Why is it when things go amok, if someone whose caused trouble or pain in the life of someone else has porn, suddenly, it's the porns fault? Not the person who committed whatever act, but the porn? And why is it so often all other things that might be amiss are ignored in favor of the porn?
I remember while reading Pamela Paul's "Pornified" that all these other men she profiled had Other Issues going on in their lives, yet what was wrong with them was the porn. The porn was the problem: not the drinking, not the depression, not the drugs, the work stress, the relationship issues...but ah yes, the porn...
I noted in the information that Adam sent about crime rates in areas with porn shops (stats from 1989...) that nothing else was considered there either: not economic depression, not unemployment, not drugs or gang activity...but the porn shop.
When peoples relationships go bad, if the person is a porn user, it's the porn: not that s/he might be violent to start with, or callous, or the couple might be sexually incompatible, or that there are Other Issues there too, every sort of stress that leads people to divorce court, but no, it has to be the porn...
I mean yes, morality in the world today, it's easy, even attractive, to blame the immoral porn...but is it accurate? Can it really, always, be blamed neatly, quickly, and utterly on the porn?
I think not...not if you're going to be honest about it, or interested in what's really going on...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
And now my question: Why is the porn the issue? His throwing out her underwear or insisting on anal was somehow not a warning sign in itself. Nope, the porn made him this way. Without porn, he never would have raped.
Her husband was a huge fan of pornography. She isn’t and never has been. It went from him wanting her to wear the underwear you see women wearing in porn to actually ordering it for her. He threw out the underwear she did have and tried to fill her drawers with split crotch pants and peep-hole bras, stockings and suspender belts, lace, black and pink. Why? Hello? She’s already told him a hundred times that she won’t wear that. And then she started asking me if ‘everyone’ did anal sex because he says ‘everyone’ does it, it’s ‘all over’ the videos he watches and he wants her to do it. She doesn’t want to do it. I tell her ‘no – not everyone does that’ and she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to. But then he rapes her.
She was imprisoned in their bedroom for three days and two nights. Repeatedly anally raped, vaginally raped, orally raped and burned with cigarettes – yes, another ‘fun thing’ women are depicted as thoroughly enjoying in pornography – and gods know what else that she still can’t speak about, while her two year-old daughter and six year-old son were in the bedrooms next door.
She escaped (went to buy him a newspaper) sometime on the Sunday. The police brought her to me late that night. She couldn’t go home – it was a crime scene – and her children were with their paternal grandmother so she couldn’t exactly go there either. He was in prison on remand. She couldn’t sit down. Seriously, she couldn’t sit down. He’d hurt her so that she couldn’t even sit down. She was covered in burns, traumatised, and so brutalised she couldn’t sit down.
This man professed to love her. Even now, he still says that he loves her. He can’t love her as a person – he’d never subject her to that, surely? He may well just love her as a breathing enactment of pornography – his true love.
She is still traumatised to this day. She’s kept her life together for the sake of her kids but her self is still in tatters. She has no ‘self’ to speak of. She is broken.
This happened because of pornography.
Apologists might say “yes, but not every man who looks at porn reacts this way”.
I say “one is enough.”
The assumption is that he was transforming her into his little pornlet somehow, transfixed by what he saw on the pages or on the screen.
Why should we assume that the porn came first, that he wasn't someone who always saw women as worthless and used the excuse that porn stars do the things he likes to force himself on his partner?
Why is his behavior interpreted here as a downward spiral of porn's influence, rather than a cycle of testing behavior? "Will she wear the panties? Ah, she did if I pushed. If I throw out her underwear, will she...? Oh look, I insisted on anal and she said no but acted uncertain when I told her anyone else would, I can get her there..."
This man was testing this woman. He was "getting her ready" for the rape. The rape didn't come from the porn... it came after a series of actions designed to probe what he could and couldn't get away with, and eventually judging her a good potential victim!
Any self-defense class will tell you that stranger rapists "assess." Why not immediately realize that this guy was assessing as well -- assessing what kind of relationship he could create, such that he could progressively push boundaries and eventually rape this woman.
Why is this not blatantly obvious? Why is this "a reaction" to porn rather than extremely common, run of the mill rapist behavior from go? Why is this about the porn giving him ideas, and not about a slow, careful pattern of establishing control?
Where exactly does this idea that people would never harm others if not for porn come from? This person brutalized his victim so that she couldn't sit down: does your standard, run of the mill mainstream porn make people not only think of that, but want to do it? Does gonzo make you want to force people into it? Why? How?
I'm not claiming porn didn't influence this guy. Maybe it did. Maybe he loved and respected women until he first got a hold of girlie mags. I don't know -- though something in me strongly doubts that.
But I am saying that there are more to warning signs than PORN, PORN, PORN.
PORN doesn't make you a rapist. Making a particular choice does: the choice to rape someone.
Women who make, direct, star in, own, and profit from hardcore-gonzo pornography...who says it's all made by men?
Belladonna; Deadly Night Shade Productions, part of the Evil Angel team
Harmony Rose: Harmony Rose Productions, part of the Evil Angel team
Arianna Joile: of Mayhem XXX
Melissa Lauren: Hellfire Sex
Mason: Riot Whores
Aurora Snow: of JM Productions
Gina Lynn: Top Notch Bitches
Mika Tan: Mika Tan Production, Adam & Eve
Lizzie Borden: Extreme Associates
Audrey Hollander: Powerhouse Unlimited, Extreme Associates
So I’ll answer. No. I used to be careful about asking for permission to even comment on anti-porn spaces, quoting or linking anywhere if I was going to identify the person or persons I was talking to or about if I was going to be critical of their opinion. When I realized that sort of consideration was not a two way street and never would be, I stopped with the consideration myself.
With specific reguards to NPNH, the first time I linked to their site was as an example of how if you are going to protest porn stores and other sex related businesses /gathering in your area…well, how to do it right (and legally). It was not a critique of them in the least.
When I began to discuss this matter with Adam of NPNH, I informed him I would be making the conversation public, he did the same, and at no point did I demand he remove his link to my blog. I wanted an answer to my question as to why this tactic is used, and he gave one.
I still do not like that anti-porn advocates use the words, and specifically the images, of porn performers/sex workers without their consent or knowing- even asking- what their feelings are on the matter, but I cannot stop them from doing so, and just as they will use those things to make their arguments, well, fine, I will do the same…
With one very big difference….when linking to or quoting an anti-porner, I already know how they feel about the issue: They are anti-porn. The anti-porners do not know if the same can be said of the women they are using…and I still find it ironic that people claiming to fight the exploitation and use of women do the exact same thing they claim to oppose in order to make their arguments…and I will continue to point that out…
So, there you have it.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thought the first: Since when does all that not exist? (Barring the castration. I'm not at all convinced that actual pornography depicting real bodily harm done to women OR men has ever existed in anything close "saturating the market" level numbers. And as far as the wires go: Use sounds.)
Thought the second: I should get on that... :)
And then of course there's thought the third, which is that all this shocking description is really quite titillating. Giving anti-porners (of every stripe, not just rad fem) the benefit of the doubt, it's probably not wank material for them... still, it's the kind of copy designed, I think, to elicit a frisson of reaction. Like religious fundamentalists gathering to point fingers at the sinners because ooh! it allows us to talk about something so startlingly bad as all that!