Thursday, May 25, 2006
if by this: nectarine voiced her concerns about the sexually negative connotations in language used by pro-pornstitution 'feminists' in that post she made at the weekend and, hey, guess what, she's been labelled as aligning with the right wing religious fundies! Of course! (Well, it's got to be either that, or she's a prude...)
you mean that someone here labeled her as such, I believe you are mistaken. actually, what was said in the comments was
No, nectarine, I recognize you as *not* being a supporter of the religious right.
What I am saying is: the fact that the religious right has made and *is* making a crusade against such things as porn and "alternative" forms of sexuality (including, but not limited to, BDSM) might ought to give one some pause before jumping on the anti-porn bandwagon, flags a-waving and guns a-blazing. Particularly if one is going to paint in huge, broad strokes about what "porn" is; and even more particularly before one decides how one is going to go about one's attempt to rid the world of it.
I don't recall anyone saying anything dismissive, insulting or slanderous about nectarine or her position on pornography and/or prostitution. But the comments are pretty dense. if someone can point out where I may have missed something, please feel free to call it to my attention and I'll try to make it right.
Further, it may be worth restating the first couple paragraphs of my post as inspired by nectarine:
Though I am not a hardline anti-porner, I do respect the position anti-porn feminists take, and I realize it comes from a place of love and empathy for women.
Further, I understand that being anti-porn does not necessarily indicate a distaste for sexual activity.
what part of that calls her a prude? what part of that is disrespectful of her position?
On such an emotionally-charged subject as this, it's easy to get carried away and let good points get crushed under the weight of perceived insults and personal attacks. I hate to see that happen, so I feel that I should point out where I feel people are mistaken.
Mistaken - not juvenile, idiotic, or unfeminist. just mistaken.
More to the point, as regards the christian right/radfem unholy alliance, such as may be, here's what I wrote in one of the comments sections:
The christian right position seems to be that porn is bad because women are involved in it and women are shameful and sinful vessels of evil and anything that women do/see/touch is stained and corrupted by womanhood its very self. Therefore we should work hard to rid the world of pornography.
On the other hand, many (though not all) radical feminists seem to be saying, in essence, that porn is bad because men are involved in it and men are never to be trusted because they are representatives of the most contemptible Patriarchy and anything men do/see/touch is stained and corrupted by manhood its very self. Therefore we should work very hard to rid the world of pornography.
So that's how I feel about that.
is anyone going to get around to answering any of the three questions I asked? I'll ask them again:
Is it possible to be kinky (engage in BDSM) and anti-porn?
Is it possible to be kinky (engage in BDSM) and feminist, if you are also anti-porn?
Do you think that if the BDSM community as a whole worked to end the international female sex slave trade (however that may be accomplished), radical feminism would still be anti-BDSM (if indeed radical feminism is anti-BDSM)?
Yeah, just for starters: please to be explaining how gayboy porn exploits and objectifies women?
'cause you know, unlike lesbian-made porn, there's rather a lot of it about.
AH: What is pornography? What do we define as pornography?
GR: I have a three-part definition. One, the legal definition, is that it's sexually explicit material designed to arouse prurient interest. I think that definition, at least for this historical time and place [1980, U.S.], is the most useful one. We should remember that porn is not legal; by this definition material that has no focus but to arouse is not legal. [referring here to obscenity laws, I believe]. In other words, *a sexual aim is not considered legitimate in this country* [emphasis mine].
But we also need a historical definition; that is, porn as we know now it is widely available, commercial erotica as opposed to the older erotica that was hand produced and was mostly something that rich people collected. In the middle of the last century, mass production of erotic materials started to take place, resulting in the cheap, printed dirty book.
Third, I have a sociological definition: pornography is a particular industry located in certain places, with certain kinds of shops which tend to put out a product with certain conventions. One convention, for example, is that the man's orgasm never happens inside the woman. Pornography has a concrete existence that you can define sociologically. But that's not the current, so-called feminist definition of porn.
AH: What's that--"what we don't like is pornographic?"
GR: The definition used in the antiporn movement is that pornography is violence against women and that violence against women is pornography. There are several problesm with this. One is a replacement of the institutional forms of violence with representations of violence. That is to say, there's been a conflating of images with the thing itself. People really don't talk about the institutions; they talk about the images. Images are important, but that's not the whole thing.
Actually, if you walk into an adult bookstore, 90 percent of the material you will see is frontal nudity, intercourse, and oral sex, with no hint of violence or coercion. There are specialty porns. There's gay male porn; that's a big subgenre. There used to be a genre of porn that featured young people, although that's now so illegal that you don't see it anymore. And there is a genre of porn that caters to sadomaschoists, which is the porn that they focus on when you see a WAVPM (Women Against Violence is Pornography and Media) or a WAP slide show. They show the worst possible porn and claim it's representative of all of it. The two images that they show most are sadomasochistic porn and images of violence that contain sex. For instance, the infamous "Hustler" cover with the woman being shoved through a meat grinder. An awful picture, but by no means a common image in pornography.
DE: It was self-parody. It was gross, but it was actually satirical, a self-critical joke, which a lot of people didn't get.
GR: They include images that are not pornographic that you cannot find in an adult bookstore. For instance, the stuff on billbards, the stuff on record covers, the stuff in "Vogue." None of it has explicit sexual content. At most, it's covert. And what they do is draw in images they consider to be violent, or coercive, or demeaning, and call that pornography. That definition enables them to avoid the empirical question of how much porn is really violent. Their analysis is that the violent images come out of porn and into the culture at large, that sexism comes from porn into the culture. Whereas it seems to me that pornography only reflects as much sexism as is in the culture.
The existence of S/M porn enabled this whole analysis to proceed. IT's very disturbing to most people and contains scenes that most people don't even want to encounter in their own lives. They don't realize that S/M porn is about fantasy. What most people do with it is take it home and masturbate. Those people who do S/M are *consensually acting out fantasies* [emphasis mine]: the category of people who read and use S/M porn and the category of violent rapists are not the same. We used to talk about how religion and the state and the family create sexism and promote rape. No one talks about any of these institutions anymore. They've become the good guys!
...GR: When I went on the WAVPM tour, everybody went, and I stood in front of the bondage material It was like they had on blinders. And I said, Look, there's oral sex over there! Why don't you look at that? And they were glued to the bondage rack. I started pulling out female dominance magazines and saying, "Look, here's a woman dominating a man. What about that? Here's a woman who's tied up a man. What about that?" It was like I wasn't there. People said, "Look at this picture of a woman being tied up!"
AH: Another example in the WAVPM slide show, there will be an image from a porn magazine of a woman tied up, beaten, right? And they'll say, "Hustler" magazine, 1976, and you're struck dumb by it, horrified! The next slide will be a picture of a woman with a police file, badly beten by her husband. And the rap that connects these two is that the image of the woman tied and bruised in the pornographic magazine caused the beating that she suffered. The talk implies that her husband went and saw that picture, then came home and tried to re-create it in their bedroom. That is the guilt-by-association theory of pornography and violence. And I remember sitting and watching this slide show and being freaked out about both those images and having nowehere to react to the analysis and say, What the hell is going on? I found it incredibly manipulative.
GR: Some of the antiporn people are looking at material that is used in a particular subculture with a particular meaning and a particular set of conventions and saying, It doesn't mean what it means to the people who are using it. It means what we see! *They're assuming that they know better than the people who are familiar with it.* [emphasis mine]. They're assuming, for instance, that S/M is violent, and that analysis leads to the view that S/M people can't be the victims of violence.
AH: It also discourages anyone from making explicit any sexual fantasy which seems risky to them or from exploring a sexual terrain that's not familiar. It ignores the fact that you learn what you like and what you don't like through trying things out. What it says is that these forbidden desires are not yours but imposed on you. You never experiment sexually.
Yet most people know godamn well that their sex lives are wider than those standard notions let them play in. They may feel guilty about it, but they know it. So they don't need one more movement to tell them they can't play."
I'm gonna repost this excerpt to my own blog, matter o' fact; I am appreciating the refresher.
I hate to say this, but you're making a logical fallacy. It's called "Guilt by Association". It attempts to discredit an idea or give pause to its followers by implying that they will be like a less popular follower of said idea.
couple of examples: "The fact that Hitler made a crusade against Judaism and other "alternative" forms of religion might ought to give one some pause before jumping on the anti-Isreal bandwagon."
"The fact that Stalin made evolution a part of the USSR's school curriculum should make you wonder about supporting that."
"The KKK is a big fan of pornography. Maybe you should consider that before deciding you like porn too."
Also, you said:
"On the other hand, many (though not all) radical feminists seem to be saying, in essence, that porn is bad because men are involved in it and men are never to be trusted because they are representatives of the most contemptible Patriarchy and anything men do/see/touch is stained and corrupted by manhood its very self."
I suspect this is a fallacy as well, although I can't be sure. All I know is I have never seen a radical feminist say that, which would make it a Straw Man Fallacy. Can you point us to the exact quote so I can put that objection to rest for good?
I don't tell you not to call yourself a feminist if you're gonna align yourself with the Religious Right, after all.
this part is belledame's: "What I am saying is: the fact that the religious right has made and *is* making a crusade against such things as porn and "alternative" forms of sexuality (including, but not limited to, BDSM) might ought to give one some pause before jumping on the anti-porn bandwagon..."
and although you do a point out effectively that it may be a fallacy (with good examples), I think it's still instructive to this particular conversation in that the passage shows that belledame was not saying "you, nectarine, are a christian-right sympathizer, you prude."
this part was me: "On the other hand, many (though not all) radical feminists seem to be saying, in essence, that porn is bad because men are involved in it...etc."
I can't substantiate that claim (nor can I substantiate the claim that the christian right hates porn because women are in it). I can make assumptions based on observation. it's just a guess.
thank you STO - I now have to go do a bit of homework about the "straw (individual) argument" and what that phrase really means, so I can see whether or not I'm guilty of it.
again, nice to have you back.
about that, I was wrong. and again, I am sorry.
About other things, not so much. but about that, I was wrong.
pursuant to being able to find citations and such:
Alyx (at madsheila's musings) posted this a few days ago, and it's made the rounds pretty quickly -
"Whether it’s the Jesus Freaks reducing us to our endlessly-fertile wombs or the pimps reducing us to our endlessly-lucrative cunts, Female Oppression is Patriarchy’s chief sustenance and its oxygen. Patriarchy to Sheilas: “Suck My Dick.”"
I'm pretty sure there is no Office of Patriarchy cranking out memos to Australian women saying in so many words "suck my dick", any more than there is a Radical Feminism Bureau furiously publishing anti-porn manifestos according to what I said upthread. But in the same way as Alyx made her observation, I made mine.
nonetheless, you have me taking a second or third or ninety-ninth look at my logic - I'm still browsing through the Nizkor project. good stuff.
Now you're committing an Appeal to Common Practice. Just because Alyx or other feminists do it doesn't make it logical or good. :)
Of course, if your statement that feminists hate porn because there are men in it was simply a metaphor, the way Patriarchy is often used, then that's an alternatively-colored horse.
maybe the world would be a better place for it...
A: "Getting sex through coercion is bad."
B: "As we can all plainly see by A's own words, A hates men. Let's take a look at why it's stupid to hate men..."
In this example, B has twisted A's stated position from "coerced sex is bad" to mean that she "hates men". Then B proceeds to argue against hating men. But "I hate men" was not the position A took, therefore B's deconstruction of that position is both irrelevant and has no logical bearing on whether or not A's original position has logical merit.
So when a radical feminist says "I hate porn because it hurts women", and you say "Radical feminists hate porn because it involves men, who taint everything they touch according to this philosophy" and proceed to deconstruct the argument that "Porn has men and is therefore bad", you're not actually addressing the argument made by radical feminism, merely and argument that you created and subsequently attributed to radical feminism.
Now if your distillation is accurate, the properly logical way to express that would be to provide quotes and cites that lead you to infer that your simplification is accurate. That way your readers can determine for themselves whether you have provided a valid interpretation of their arguments.
Also, if a radical feminist somewhere has said that, but is not recognized as a legitimate theorist by the radical feminist community at large, then it could be considered a fallacious Appeal to Authority, like referring to the "science" of Michael Crichton in a global warming debate.
But since I don't know of even a rogue radical feminist making the assertion that porn = men and men = bad, therefore porn = bad, it's probably a Straw Person.
The reason it's called a Straw Person argument is a reference to combat training during the middle ages, in which squires would set up dummies made of straw specifically for the knights to knock down again. It's not a real enemy.
In the Straw Man argument, a person has put up an argument that they havee created for the sole purpose of knocking it over again, but portraying it as if they were fighting a real enemy.
So simply stating that "Patriarchy tells women to suck its dick" is not a logical construct or an argument/claim in and of itself, but a spot of literary imagry. Hopefully, the arguments that support the imagry will follow the imagry itself.
For that matter, what about slash porn written or drawn by women for a female audience?
I don't tell you not to call yourself a feminist if you're gonna align yourself with the Religious Right, after all.
Fair enough. It was meant as a general "you" and was coming off my irritation at being told (off the discussion whether one could call oneself--or "it," I suppose, "feminist," it being kink/porn), albeit indirectly (and now directly by someone else). But yes. I was irked.
I don't see anyone here aligning themselves with the Religious Right. I do see the some of the actions that MacKinnon and Dworkin took as aligning with the Religious Right, yes. Does that mean they secretly supported the Religious Right's agenda? No. Does that mean their agenda hasn't been useful to that of the Religious Right (in this case: censorship, a chilling effect particularly falling on queer people and other sexual minorities/vulnerable folk)? I would say that it has been. Could it happen again with new legislation? I worry about it. Hell, it already *is* happening; but the RR manages just fine without any further help, these days.
It's called "Guilt by Association". It attempts to discredit an idea or give pause to its followers by implying that they will be like a less popular follower of said idea.
>The fact that Hitler made a crusade against Judaism and other "alternative" forms of religion might ought to give one some pause before jumping on the anti-Isreal bandwagon."
"The fact that Stalin made evolution a part of the USSR's school curriculum should make you wonder about supporting that."
"The KKK is a big fan of pornography. Maybe you should consider that before deciding you like porn too."
Not really. I mean, putting aside Godwin's Law and the huge-ass can of worms that would open if you did try to convince some people that the first example *was* a fallacy (or not, depending on who you talk to...oh, lord, the Israel thrashes. even more fun than the porn thrashes!) The other two are more obviously fallacious.
Thing is, it's not just a hypothetical alliance; what we've been talking about in the earlier comments is how the Dworkin/MacKinnon propositions affected the public debate. And that in fact, they *did* align with the Religious Right on this issue, on several occasions. Call it "strange bedfellows" if you like, but there is and has been a dovetailing of the agendas, ultimately resulting in legislation that arguably (I would argue) was and/or would have been to the general detriment of civil liberties, queer folk, sex workers, and (yes) women on the whole.
reposted from my endless comments in the post a couple of doors down:
A quick breakdown excerpted from "Sex Wars" (Lisa Duggan and Nan C. Hunter):
1983: Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon draft a proposed ordinance to ban pornography in Minneapolis.
1984: The Minneapolis antiporn ordinance is passed by the City Council, but vetoed by (the mayor).
A revised version is introduced in the Indianapolis City Council by Beulah Coughenour, a council member who built her political career on anti-ERA work. It is passed and signed into law in Indianapolis; a coalition of media groups led by the American Booksellers Association files suit to challenege it, and wins a court order declaring it unconstitutional.
WAP [Women Against Porn, formerly Women Against Porn And Violence] endorses the ordinances.
In her June 1984 newsletter, Phyllis Schlafly also endorses the ordinances."
Dworkin testified before the Meese Commission; the general history of this is about halfway down this wiki article on Dworkin. As you'll note, Dworkin said she was against obscenity laws and was against right-wing ideology and fundamentalism in general; but, well:
" a transcript is reprinted as "Pornography Is A Civil Rights Issue", pp. 276-307). Dworkin's testimony against pornography was praised and reprinted in the Commission's final report , and Dworkin and MacKinnon marked its release by holding a joint press conference . Meese Commission officials went on to successfully demand that convenience store chains remove from shelves popular men's magazines such as Playboy (Dworkin wrote that the magazine "in both text and pictures promotes both rape and child sexual abuse")  and Penthouse . The demands spread nationally and intimidated some retailers into withdrawing photography magazines, among others . The Meese Commission's campaign was eventually quashed with a First Amendment admonishment against prior restraint by the D.C. Federal Court in Meese v. Playboy (639 F.Supp. 581).
In her testimony and replies to questions from the commissioners, Dworkin condemned the use of criminal obscenity prosecutions against pornographers, stating, "We are against obscenity laws. We don't want them. I want you to understand why, whether you end up agreeing or not" (285). She argued that obscenity laws were largely ineffectual (285), that when they were effectual they only suppressed pornography from public view while allowing it to flourish out of sight (285-286), and that they suppressed the wrong material, or the right material for the wrong reasons, arguing that "Obscenity laws are also woman-hating in their very construction. Their basic presumption is that it's women's bodies that are dirty" (286). Instead she offered five recommendations for the Commission, recommending (1) that "the Justice Department instruct law-enforcement agencies to keep records of the use of pornography in violent crimes" (286), (2) a ban on the possession and distribution of pornography in prisons (287), (3) that prosecutors "enforce laws against pimping and pandering against pornographers" (287), (4) that the administration "make it a Justice Department priority to enforce RICO [the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] against the pornography industry" (287), and (5) that Congress adopt federal anti-pornography civil rights legislation which would provide for civil damages for harm inflicted to woman. She suggested that the Commission consider "creating a criminal conspiracy provision under the civil rights law, such that conspiring to deprive a person of their civil rights by coercing them into pornography is a crime, and that conspiring to traffic in pornography is conspiring to deprive women of our civil rights..."
My question is (along with a number of peoples' at the time, more or less): why on earth would a radical feminist assume that Big Daddy Government, the *Reagan* government no less, would *not* take her testimony and twist it to suit their own agenda? Since when is porn more of a "patriarchal" threat than the Reagan government? That was in the mid-80's.
>Indeed, eighty individual feminists, along with the Feminist Anti-Censorship Taskforce (F.A.C.T.) and the Women's Legal Defense Fund, presented an Amici Brief to the Hudnut court outlining a range of feminist concerns about the anti-pornography legislation proposed by MacKinnon and Dworkin (Hunter and Law 1985). These included concerns about the political dangers of feminists aligning themselves with the conservative, evangelical right; the possibility of the legislation discriminating against minority forms of sexuality (e.g., lesbianism); interference with women's freedom to choose to produce and perform in pornography; perpetuating traditional ideas that sex is bad for women; and diverting attention and resources away from more important immediate efforts to bring an end to violence against women...
One can argue about whether they were correct in that assessment or not. But it doesn't come out of thin air either, this concern.
More data later.
1) that "the Justice Department instruct law-enforcement agencies to keep records of the use of pornography in violent crimes" (286), (2) a ban on the possession and distribution of pornography in prisons (287), (3) that prosecutors "enforce laws against pimping and pandering against pornographers" (287), (4) that the administration "make it a Justice Department priority to enforce RICO [the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] against the pornography industry" (287), and (5) that Congress adopt federal anti-pornography civil rights legislation which would provide for civil damages for harm inflicted to woman.
...even were they taken at face value, I cannot imagine how they would be helpful to anyone. Particularly the wrt distribution of porn in prison; what the hell is that about?
Pimping and pandering laws would be the sort of thing that would come in real handy, as have so many of these vaguely defined, sweeping laws that end up getting on the books and then sporadically enforced, as a handy back-door way to harass queer folk. Drawing or selling Tom of Finland style art? Soon-to-be-ex-husband find a homemade video of you cavorting drunkenly with your lesbian pals at a party? Off you go. That is more or less how it went down in Canada, at least: the harassment was directed at the small, the queer, the indie (magazines and books). You're not gonna bring down Hugh Hefner that way; certainly not first. That is how it went down and still goes down when any such law gets on the books. Public sex? They ain't going after Joe and Mary schmo who've decided to do the wild thing in an elevator; they're waiting around the park and the toilets for the furtively groping and sucking men. Cabaret laws forbidding drinking and dancing without a proper license for each? Leave 'em on the books till they get old and rusty, then haul them out when it suits your convenience and crack down on all the nightclubs that bother you, many of which just happen to be gay and lesbian bars (this is what Giuliani did). Laws that explicitly do not recognize such a thing as consensual "violence" (i.e. anything BDSM related)? Laws still on the books in a number of states forbidding the sale of sex toys, or (hilariously, in at least a couple of states) owning more than x__number of sex toys? Three guesses how and when they tend to get used. Custody battles. Targetting the already-vulnerable.
And as for this:
(5) that Congress adopt federal anti-pornography civil rights legislation which would provide for civil damages for harm inflicted to women.
...*good luck* with that, there.
(1) that "the Justice Department instruct law-enforcement agencies to keep records of the use of pornography in violent crimes"
has made it into the public discourse, if not any actual enforced legislation (that I'm aware of). That is: if you're accused of a crime (*not* just violent ones, please note) and someone finds porn in the house, this will likely make things look that much worse for you. How this has ever been helpful to anyone is another question. I mean, if you've committed a violent crime, you've committed a violent crime; that ought to be enough all by itself. if you *haven't* committed a violent crime, then what the fuck does the porn have to do with anything? Are you more likely to be guilty if you've got porn in the house? A lot of people would assume yes.
but what about Coming to Power?
by women/for women - check
more or less lez-centric - check
documenting women's experiences - check
no women were harmed in the making of the book - check
BUT full to the last oozing dripping paragraph of kinky leather sex which everyone knows recapitulates the worst parts of the patriarchy in every form...out it goes.
what about hentai? no actual human women are hurt by it, (I mean, as far as I know, no actual woman has to pose with an actual 8-ft-tall tentacle monster) but it's plenty damn lurid and prurient.
it's hard to agree on a solid definition of pornography. it's like trying to grab on to jello.
maybe it's not porn because it doesn't hurt any actual human women? maybe the written word is different somehow?
Flipping the two questions, there's a lot of pornographic slash artwork out there (some of it very hawt!) So the visual does exist.
Second, if the issue is not picturing any real women, then how to antiporn crusaders feel about pornographic animation/anime or comics/manga?
That may be an interesting thought experiment to draw the line, since no women are harmed in the making of it. If that's still not okay, because of risk to women who relate to men who consume such porn, then I don't know what the solution is.
[I'll also note, regarding slash, that many of the kinks decried in belledame's recent blogpost are all over in slash, particularly the more fantasy fandoms. Lots of rapefic, hurt-comfort, double-entry, slavery, prostitution, etcetera -- is it somehow better because it's two (or more) guys, rather than a woman on bottom?]
yeh, BB (along with sidekick) is the main one as far as I know who's come out with the whole "fantasize responsibly!" business. Oh, and Twisty...I'm still not clear on her take. something or other how all expressions of porn (including text?) are of necessity infused with patriarchy, so until such time as we live in a non-patriarchal society, all porn is or should be off the menu, at least from (her) feminist perspective. (Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never jam today...)
Haven't seen anyone else express it that overtly, and i know there are some anti-porn folks who're perfectly fine with text and so forth.
but often enough yeah, I think that subtext's pretty...texty. It always strikes me as a very poor understanding of how erotic desire actually works. Or the human mind in general, frankly. As you say: if it were that simple, wouldn't you expect it to work a lot more often?
But what I see at the BeebDim (again, valuable because they're balder about this shit than pretty much anyone, I think) is the *very* patriarchal (if by such you include such influences as the more Christianity, particularly the more reactionary/conservative strains, which I certainly do) notion that one can and should simply *will* oneself to be Better. More pure, even. Black and white thinking, the whole bit.
I haven't studied this in detail, but a few speculations:
In some fandoms, unlikely pairings can be extremely popular. For example, in the Harry Potter fandom, matching Snape or Draco with Gryffindors. [Frankly, I rather like the antagonistic pairings, and generally *don't* like those which sexualize canonically close friendships... but I digress.]
Given the higher hurdle of characters who start out not liking one another, hurt/comfort can be a way of throwing them together. Draco shows up bruised and bleeding and asking for help and, given Harry's "saving-people thing," Harry can't just turn him away...
That's an extremely common trope.
Also, since men are generally (perceived as being) less open about their emotions than women, the hurt can make them vulnerable and more expressive.
And don't deny the appeal of the comfort aspects, and being taken care of. Dealing with the aftermath, even if it's a rosy fluffy happily-ever-after portrayal, can be wish fulfillment for getting over one's own traumas.
Mind you, I'm pulling all this out of a hat (or my own subconscious), so don't take this as gospel truth, but those are some of my impressions.
Also, since men are generally (perceived as being) less open about their emotions than women, the hurt can make them vulnerable and more expressive.
Yah, I think that's really key, especially considering M/M slash written by (usually, not always) straight women. Makes perfect sense, in fact.
I remember one story in which Draco Malfoy was gradually revealed as bulimic, a shopaholic, and a cutter. After the third trait was added, I gave up on the story. I might've been able to buy one or two, if it had been well-written enough, but for goodness sakes, he's not a teenage girl! :}
Also see: "The Outsiders" by whatserface, along with the rest of her oeuvre.
If you're planning to do such a study, and are including W/W text as well, couldja please shed some light on the (I have been assuming) male fascination with measurements? I mean:
"She squealed with delight as she beheld her roommate's 38D breasts."
Like: who in the blinding fuck could look at someone else and accurately adjudge their bra size? Hell, it's hard enough to determine your *own* bra size (Bitch PhD had a great post on how most women were in fact wearing the wrong size). More to the point: who cares? Is there a problem with actual, you know, description? What is this, statistics class?
And, yes, the male-written stuff is definitely much more preoccupied with measurements. Fanfic sometimes puts a bit of emphasis on the characters' heights and builds (the cliche of "quidditch toning the abs"), but nowhere near the exactness of numbers in the stuff by/for the guys.
[BTW, re:my study idea, I was thinking not just of prose but also filmed depictions, since that seems to be where most of the ire over faux-lesbian portryals is directed. Finding material as close as possible in form and content where the only difference is gender of the target audience, so the distinctions really stand out.]
and then the complaints that there aren't enough representations of butches, not enough racial and body type diversity; those would be pretty common.
You know: if there were a significant body of woman-directed porn of two men getting it on...that would be something I'd like to see.
Filming costs money, so most of the free amateur women-produced slash I find is text or drawn.
However, vidding is a HUGE and growing segment of fandom. Vidders take existing films/videos and recut them to music videos or to emphasize the slashiness.
It's generally not explicit, since it's about playing with subtext rather than creating new images, but it is fun and suggestive. Think of Brokeback to the Future or I'm too sexy starring Jack Sparrow (both concepts have been remixed for almost every fandom you can imagine)
And I did recently run across this multifandom vid, which is definitely not worksafe and may be more like what you were asking for above...
yeh, I gotta say: the hobbits are a fun little package o'twinkies, aren't they?
of course as you know there is a long(ish) and proud(ish) tradition of lesbians who dig gayboy porn...
I do enjoy the boyslash thing. especially when it's dug out of "mainstream" shit like that.
Just because someone you don't like supports a position does NOT mean that the position is questionable. The position stands or falls on its OWN MERIT, not on the merits of the people who like it or dislike it.
There are numerous reasons not to be anti-Isreal or to be anti-Isreal. That Hitler was anti-Isreal says nothing whatsoever about Isreal as a society or the viability of its foriegn and domestic policies. Only that some dickwad you assume your opponent does not like also did not like Isreal.
The first one, and the porn one, are the exact same construction.
Bad Person X takes Position Y. If you take Position Y, you are associated with Bad Person X. You don't want to be like Bad Person X, do you? No? Didn't think so. Therefore, Position Y is false.
But that doesn't prove Position Y to be false! It only proves that Bad Person X likes Position Y, and that I don't like Bad Person X! It says nothing about Position Y!
Position Y is true or false based SOLELY on the merits of the position. NOT based on who likes it or does not like it. If ten million murdering conquistadors liked the position that 1+1=2, you'd be a fool to reject that position as false just because you don't like agreeing with ten million murdering conquistadors.
The religious right hates porn. The KKK loves porn. Which side do you ally with?
STO, it's not a question of who you *like.* It's a question of: who are you willing to get in bed with, politically, to accomplish your goals?
Yes, it's true that the neo-Nazis *and* the Palestinians' rights people might have similar anti-Israel feelings. But if you're (for example) a Jew who believes in Palestine's right to exist, and you've amassed a bunch of evidence against Israel, *and*, as it happens, let's say, there's been a resurgence of neo-Nazis, many of whom have a strong influence in your current government--with what expectation do you go up in front of a task force appointed by a prominent neo-Nazi and present your evidence?
And then, when the neo-Nazis go, "yes, splendid work you've done there!" and instead of using your work to support your recommendations on supporting a free Palestine, instead use it primarily as ammunition to persecute Jews and other people the neo-Nazis don't like, here at home--d'you think that maybe it might give you a *little* pause before ratcheting up the rhetoric again? especially if the current government and zeitgeist is more informed by neo-Nazis than ever? D'you think you might at least *acknowledge* that, gee, maybe the enemy of my enemy isn't a great ally, here?
That's not a terrific analogy, but then I'm not convinced it was one to start with.
Maybe it's my male privilege, but I'm more worried about being right than being in good with the right people.
The approval of a neo-nazi does not make my data irrelevant or false. It says nothing at all about my data or my claim. If my data and my conclusions are correct, I am under no obligation to cover up the truth simply because someone else might misuse it. Down that path, Dark Ages lie. (ref: Library at Alexandria)
In the current case, if porn hurts women, and I have the data to prove it, you would tell me to shut up and hide my data (and therefore allow more women to be hurt) just to avoid helping a part of the agenda of people you hate/fear. That would tell me a lot about a person's priorities, but nothing about the strength of my data or position.
What you are doing here is another fallacy: Appeal to Consequences. "If X was true, then the Christians could use it to get into power. I don't want the Christians to get into power. Therefore, X is false." It's a kissing cousin to "I there id no God, then I can't believe in heaven. I want to believe in heaven. Therefore, God exists."
"I don't want Christians to use this to keep power. Therefore, it simply can't be true. It can't be. I won't let it be."
Again, I refer you to the "cover up dangerous truths" argument.
Putting that aside, perhaps, and pedaling back a bit: here was my original point wrt the internecine feminist business. Radical feminism (usually, classically; some peoples' mileage varies a bit, but this is Dworkin's take, at least) takes the position that the *primary* oppression is male-over-female, and that women are the "sex class." It's from this that the "patriarchy' is derived, more or less (this is a Kliff Notes' version), the hierarchical system in which we find ourselves ensonced today; and every other oppression (racism, homophobia, economic injustice, the whole "dominator" mentality, and so on) is contained within this, the "patriarchy."
My own understanding of "patriarchy" is slightly different (I tend to track a lot of it back to monotheism in particular, at least in the American/"western" version I'm most familiar with). But in real-life terms, I tend to agree with radical feminists (among plenty of other folks on the left) on a lot of positions: whatever the root of all these oppressions, they suck, and it'd be nice to have an alternative. So far, so good.
Here's where I part ways: As far as I'm concerned, if you wanna talk "patriarchy," it is hard to get more patriarchal than the Religious Right. Which is not, imo, an abstract problem or even a marginalized if still-dangerous group like the neo-Nazis (in this country, that is). A stealth movement called "Dominionism" has been on the rise in the U.S. for the past few decades, along with more overtly popular expressions of reactionary religious fundamentalism, which have already bled very heavily into government, law and policy, as well as a fair amount of cultural influence (although in that arena it's still more or less a backlash, yes). I mean, some of these are people who actually *call* themselves "patriarchal," proudly.
One of the cornerstones of reactionary Christian fundamentalism has been, and continues to be, sexual repression. I could talk for a long time about all the ways in which this works, has worked, and probably will do, separately, someday soon.
Now, there are good arguments to be made that many of the current mainstream expressions of pornography and "raunch culture" and so forth are reactionary in themselves. I agree with this, actually. Our Judeo-Christian heritage (collectively) works in strange and twisty ways. A lot of
"mainstream" porn expressions are at least partially reflective of ancient sexist and racist tropes, for instance; and, too, more important, there is cause to be concerned about exploitive ways of actually making (live-action) porn. So far, so good. And indeed there are a number of anti-porn or at least porn-skeptical feminists out there who I think I'm pretty much on the same wavelength in this regard: by all means, hold it up for critique.
However. The more extreme line of anti-porn/radical (they're not completely synonymous) feminism seems to me to be elevating pornography, any pornography, to a place in the hierarchy of Evils that I just don't think it merits. And it's at this point that I suspect, at *least,* that in fact, o irony! sneaky patriarchal conditioning has snuck in. Because some of the major cornerstones of patriarchy (American and its ancestors' style, at least), of course, are:
-Sex should not be displayed, shown, talked about, or even represented, as it is dangerous in and of itself
-Penetration (PIV intercourse)=power
-The almight Penis is an instrument of power (as opposed to just a bit of flesh like any other)
-All men are lust-crazed beasts, while women, left to their own devices, don't really care so much about sex; certainly not the more "perverted" or aggressive variations; and, on the whole, are more virtuous than men. (This is more Victorian; the "angel in the house" archetype was a reaction to the earlier "patriarchal" trope that women in fact are lustier than men and thus likely to be their ruin. as I said: this shit gets complicated).
Besides what I see as the irony of this positioning, how this plays out, *has* played out concretely in North America, at least, is cause (to me, and to others) for some alarm.
What happened with Dworkin and MacKinnon's work, for instance, is that the Religious Right not only used it to go after the more vulnerable "sexual heretics" (gays and lesbians, independent press) while essentially leaving the Big Pornographic Sexist Institutions pretty much untouched (hey, money talks, at the end of the day); but started adopting their language and framing to continue to pursue their own efforts--very effectively, one might add.
So that these days, the RRR's own antiporn and pro-abstinence campaigns tend *not* to talk so much about "morality," as they did in the 70's (that is, before the MacKinnon/Dworkin ordinances and testimony), except among themselves; they know that such talk doesn't fly with most of the "mainstream" these days. Instead, now supposedly they're all about protecting the wimmin (and children) from harm.
Mostly, I just think that a feminist putting *so much* focus on porn and so on (much less consensual BDSM), even if they're not actively pursuing legal redress--I just think, seriously missing the forest for one tree, here. It upsets me.
As for what "it" is, replace it with "X" or "gnu ranching" or "kicking puppies", it doesn't matter. The principle is the same in all cases.
Which bulleted points? The one about how male-over-female oppression is the primary one?
"Sexism is the foundation on which all tyranny is built. Every social form of hierarchy and abuse is modeled on male-over-female domination."
You can see some contemporary derivations of that in, for instance, the whole "does gender 'trump' race" kerfuffle a while ago:
Here is a contemporary radfem fisking of a Susie Bright (aka Toll Of The Patriarchy) interview with Hustler magazine; the whole things leads off with a Robin Morgan piece from 1970, Goodbye To All That:
"Two evils pre-date capitalism and have been clearly able to survive and post-date socialism: sexism and racism. Women were the first property when the Primary Contradiction occurred: when one-half of the human species decided to subjugate the other half, because it was "different," alien, the Other..."
Per the penis-as-power instrument, I could point to a number of quotes from various contemporary radfem bloggers where I think this notion has crept in; somewhere on this very blog I was commenting on...someone's saying something about how a man against rape was something like a pacifist with a gun: "You have a gun, fool." I never did get an answer as to whether I was correct in suspecting that in fact the "gun" was being reified as his actual cock, or if it was meant more...symbolically, somehow. At any rate, I (and others) have been complaining about the heteronormativity of the way sexual/power relations are often discussed on radfem blogs.
Per women not particularly needing sex and men being the sex-obsessed ones, I refer you to the collected works of Twisty Faster. Here's one sample:
Advocates of sex obsession--by whom I mean the entirety of the male population, as well as that new crop of saucy gals who believe that orgasm “empowers” them-- hype the idea that copulation is as essential to human health as pizza pie. They cite the hard-wired urge to reproduce as natural selection’s way of ensuring the success of the species. People should be obsessed with sex, they argue, because that’s what Nature intended. Sex is natural.
Yeah. Natural like a fox! The sex = health equation is a load of dicksmoke...
Nope, the global sex fetish, once you cut through all the crap about bonding and fulfilling biological destinies and making a gift of your genes to posterity--Nature could give a fig for you and your genes--is an entirely arbitrary construct used for control and ritual domination. It’s a culture virus, the egoist conceit of--that’s right--patriarchy.
Sex as the ultimate human raison d’être is, in fact, a cornerstone of the male supremacist agenda. After all, men seem to be the only ones afflicted with this overarching need to copulate...
But no woman needs sex. She may like it, and because of that she may want it from time to time, but if there were no patriarchy--by which I mean, if she were not a member of the sex class--her submission to ritual domination would remain, like the whipped cream on a mocha frappuccino at Starbucks, entirely optional. But there is patriarchy, and she is a member of the sex class, and as such, expression of her sexuality is permitted only in terms of male prurience. It is her sacred duty to prevent blueballs, and what’s more she’d better like it, or she’s a frigid crazy bitch lesbian who seems to think she’s above a good ass-whuppin.."
By the way, this "sex-positive" feminist does not base her sex-positivity on anything to do with procreation or even (physical) health. And I agree with Twisty that asexuality is a perfectly legitimate state of being/orientation, and yes, it sucks that people are trying to pathologize it (even as so many sexual minorities have been pathologized). I just wish she'd, you know, claim it, if that's her thing (I sometimes suspect that this is the case).
As for the MacKinnon/Dworkin work and its aftermath, I've posted a number of links and heavy quotage from books as well as websites twice in this blog now; I'm not going to repost those again.
By the way, out of curiousity: where are you in all of this? I mean, what's your own thinking, here? What's your investment?
That's illogical. The scariness of Christianity does not in and of itself constitute an argument against the anti-porn position's data and evidence.
I have seen a lot of evidence supporting the anti-porn position, both with regards to the "performers" and with regards to society as a whole. I'm also a metaphysical naturalist.
Thank you for pointing me to the sources for some of your bullet points, but there are others I have questions about.
"-Sex should not be displayed, shown, talked about, or even represented, as it is dangerous in and of itself"
The data I have seen are not indicative that sex is dangerous in and of itself, nor does it imply that talking about sex (ie, sex education) is dangerous. All I have seen indicates that sex when commercialized and mass-produced for the lowest common denominator reduces empathy towards women in both men and women who consume it, and that studies on it have been halted at most major universities due to the fact that exposure to pornography in study-worthy doses has unethically dangerous effects on the test subjects.
I suppose radical feminism deals with why this might be the case (women's bodies being sold creating a power imbalance, or whatever), but my interest here is purely on the evidentiary fact, not necessarily the mechanism behind it (at least in this case).
Re: The victorian angel point:
If radical feminists really believed men were lust-crazed beasts, why would they bother trying to change them? It seems to me that MEN think men are lust-crazed beasts, since they're the ones who insist that men are biologically hardwired to objectify women who are dressed in a certain way and to desire sex with every woman they come across and therefore are not to be expected to maintain fidelity (physically, mentally, or emotionally).
Re: Christian Right's use of anti-porn arguments:
How someone uses and portrays data is in no way reflective on whether or not the data is true. If the claim that "pornography is dangerous to women/children" is true, then arguing against yhat claim because of a single groups misuse of it is illogical. Data are data, after all.
It seems to me that the Religious Right is causing far more harm to the things you value than radical feminism is. Perhaps you would be better suited to either attack the evidence both groups use to come to the conclusion that pornography is bad, and/or attack the Christian Right's misuse of that evidence to further their own agenda?
It seems to me that attacking anti-porn feminists for revealing that data makes about as much sense as attacking Charles Darwin for giving the KKK ideas on how to oppress minorities (which happens all the time over at the atheist board I used to post on... but I digress).
now that sounds like a legitimate argument. got any links or citations?
that said, I'd like to think my abusive ex was abusive and lacked empathy because he was a jerk, and not because he looked at dirty pictures. but hey, who am I to argue with legitimate research?
(how did you find my blog, anyway?)
Well, that's just it. Over at bitch | lab's (and elsewhere) we'd been talking for a while about the curious disconnect in (for example) Dworkin, among other radical feminists who follow her line, roughly. On the one hand, she does go out of her way repeatedly to emphasize that she's *not* an essentialist--that is, she doesn't believe that biology is destiny; she believes that institutionalized misogyny is all about the social conditioning (which I would tend to agree with).
On the other hand: when you posit male-over-female domination as the *primary* oppression, the one that is the root of all other oppressions--at a certain point you have to ask yourself, well, how? If women are truly the "sex class," and this is truly universal, and it's been so since time immemorial, then...how does one propose change, exactly? If the physical act of PIV penetration is *so* key, in and of itself (yes, I realize Dworkin never actually said that "all intercourse is rape"--still, the *emphasis* on intercourse per se is there), then...doesn't that tend to suggest that it *does* at least partly have to do with biology? And if so: how do you go about changing it?
There's a radical feminist who wrote a book about precisely that, and as soon as I track down where I saw the reference (and, like, her name) I'll come back with it. b | l',s I think.
And then, too, especially when I run across something like, for instance Heart's or Janice Raymond's denunciation of transsexual surgery (no, not all radfems take that position on trans folks), along with discrimination against all women not "born women" at such venues as the Michigan Womens' Fest, it seems to me more than ever that there is some reification of biology/essentialism going on here. Yes, the radfem anti-trans surgery (like it's anyone else's business anyway what someone does with hir own body) position is, as I understand it, some convoluted argument about how *true* dissolution of sex roles must come some other way--I find myself really not buying it. I find myself thinking that there is in fact some investment in essentialism.
Getting back to porn, and as per data: of course you are familiar with the trope about "lies, damned lies, and statistics." But I, too, would be happy to look at some specific cites and sources.
>It seems to me that the Religious Right is causing far more harm to the things you value than radical feminism is.
Well, that's certainly true. then again, my whole beef with certain radical feminists is that they seem to be positing "the pornographers," even if only implicitly (where do you put your energy, as an activist?) as causing more harm to the things we both value than the RR. Which of course has a certain "she started it" to it, I realize. But you have to understand: this is a really emotionally charged issue, and, as always, on both sides of this issue, I think, it hurts more when people who you expected to be an ally seem to turn against you.
On the whole I put/have put a lot more energy into studying and fighting the Religious Right; and I expect to be getting back to that shortly. As I've said elsewhere, until I seriously got into Blog O'Sphere this past year or so, I'd not had any idea that the Dworkin branch of feminism still had any real influence, especially in younger women.
Allen, M., Emmers, T., Gebhardt, L., & Giery, M.A. (1995). Exposure to pornography and acceptance of rape myths. Journal of Communication, 45 (1)
Malamuth & McIlwraith (1988). Fantasies and exposure to sexually explicit magazines. Communication Research, 15 (6), 753-771.
Zillman, D., & Bryant, J. (1984). Effects of massive exposure to pornography. In N. M. Malamuth, & E. Donnerstein (Eds), Pornography and Sexual Aggression (pp. 115-142). Orlando, FL: Academic Press
Zillman and Bryant have done some absolutely impeccable controlled laboratory studies on the effects of between 1 hour of pornography a week over six weeks, and five hours of pornography a week over six weeks, with some very compelling results.
There have also been several meta-analyses of correlative census and state data, as well.
Oops, gotta go, sneaking internet time at work!