Thursday, November 16, 2006

 
Finally, some buttsex!

Actually no.

What follows is a comment (bolded) from Elaina, of TrashTalksBack, as posted on Stan Goff's site "Feral Scholar", as regards Robert Jensen and buttsex, penetrated by my comments, which I make here on my blog 'cuz it's the only place I can make them:

So we have again the same circular arguments presented more as a form of brainwashing the potential reader than actually arguing anything.

If you are truly convinced of your own righteous opinion, you’re unbrainwashable. It ought not matter what I argue.

I wonder if anyone will even consider what I have to say, in the midst of so many “liberated” fuck-me feminist arguments.

I’d consider it with much more objectivity if you didn’t call me a “fuck-me feminist.” But I’ll forbear in this case.

FMF: I like DP. I’m a woman. Punto.
Random Male Lurker: See. A woman likes it. It can’t be bad.
Other FMF: I like it too. See?
Other Random Male Lurker: Now we know it must be true!
So the man dictates, via porn, what both men and women like, women speak up in support, men have what they feel is a concrete reason to argue for their “right” to porn and lack of guilty sentiment when they ask their female partners to do what they “see in the movies.”


For the record, I figured out what I liked well before being exposed to any sort of pornography. My first forays into The Anal were inspired by a novel by Lisa Alther (the lesbian feminist author).
Of course, this does not address the problem of those certain men who can't tell the difference between real life and the movies and pressure their partners to perform some kind of life-imitates-art kinky sex thing.

I’m glad for the moderator interruptions, here. I’m surprised that this space got invaded just now- stan’s been exposeeing the porn industry for a while now. The moderation clearly illustrates the circular nature of these arguments.

If ya talk until we run outta breath, it doesn’t mean you’ve won the argument.


You neither. Clearly. The pornwars have been going on for at least twenty years, here and elsewhere. But I expect you know that.

Now. I’m gonna put my “cred as a woman” cards on the table and say: I like DP.
*waits for collective gasp*
Furthermore I’ve had orgasms in the act.


Why would that shock me?

Does that mean it isn’t inherently sexist? Uh, NO.
What I “like” and or “don’t like” doesn’t make or break an act as “sexist” or “feminist.”


Neither make, nor break. You said it, not me.

Now. When women say that they 1. support pornography 2. get off on doing the stuff that’s portrayed in pornography and 3. think other women should shut up about the ills of pornography as an industry, does it get the attention of/ respect from men who have power?

I never asked you to shut up. None of my other associates around the blogosphere have told you to shut up as far as I know. I have asked, and continue to ask, for some respect from other women who seem to think that I’m a handmaiden of Patriarchy because I’m kinky. I’m not asking for anything from men, nor do I think I should stop asking for that just because random men think I’m cool for reasons of their own.

I like to eat. Eating is sometimes portrayed in media as being “decadent”, “sinful”, “dangerous” – should I therefore starve?

YES, IT DOES. Men will back you up much more easily when you say, inadvertently or otherwise, that you support their vision of you as a fucktoy, when you support an industry that very firmly and viciously holds their power still and augments it.

I don’t care what men think about it. To paraphrase Robert Jensen: Do they think I’m a fucktoy? Do they think DP is degrading? I don’t know, and I don’t need to know.

Will I ever do DP again? NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Well, just because you had an orgasm does not necessarily mean you “liked” it. Orgasm is just a response to stimuli.

Whether or not an orgasm is achieved in a sexual act is irrelevant- because, and I’m sure I’m not the only one here, in this murky wealth of sexual experience that I’m seeing unfold in this particular comments section, who knows this- it’s not at all rare or uncommon to “feel bad” or “feel weird” or whatever after experiencing an orgasm. Even a big one. Even one that makes you feel like your eyes are popping out of your head. The orgasm’s not the point. Individual satisfaction is not the point.
You’re absolutely entitled to refrain from any activity that makes you feel bad or weird. I have a long list of things that make me feel both bad and weird, which I won’t do. And the reasons you feel bad and/or weird are yours alone, and I absolutely will defend your right to them. But if it made you feel bad and/or weird, can you really say you found it satisfying?

That said, I wonder if one key reason one might feel bad and/or weird is because someone said that such an act should make one feel bad and/or weird.
But if for whatever reason one did not get that bad/weird message, how would abstaining from the activities that give you pleasure hasten to bring about the Feminist Rapture?

I think I’ve said it before; it’s like somebody’s threatening to take these women’s toys away.

I can see how it would seem that way. Some people (like me) do a lot of complaining about it. But, if I may be allowed to speak for the entire “pro-porn posse” (such as is rumored to exist), you can pry our toys from our cold dead fingers. It would be great if the critique of dangerous exploitive practices in pornography could be separated from the condescending contempt for women who independently dig kinky sex, or want to explore, or have partners who don’t immediately beg for everything they see on TV, so that everyone who had a stake in women’s liberation could participate. As it is, your message keeps getting all gummed up in your medium.

See, the way that statement is framed, it equates the personal physical pleasure of individual women (those that are complaining, like me) with something disposable and trivial.

There’s a lot wrong with that. I shouldn’t even have to tell you what’s wrong with that.

The reason we have to look at the “why” behind men’s sexual suggestions lies in their political and institutional power over us, something that we all know cannot be wished away while we’re out here wasting time searching for the perfect orgasm.

I can’t really argue with that right now. I can argue with the assumption that I spend all my time, carrying a Fleshlight around in the dark of night, like a sexed-up Diogenes, searching for an honest orgasm.

What Jensen illustrates here, in the case of DP, is that the “why” is that the act will potentially cause pain and humiliation for the woman- and that enough men have brainwashed themselves through masturbatory practices that it’s the common denominator.

OK, but how many is “enough”? And how do they “know” it’s painful/humiliating? By what means do they get their information? The captions under photographs? Dialogue in a movie? When men talk about sex, do they say “women hate this, so we should try to get them to do it, even though the close proximity of one penis to another makes us uncomfortable in its suggestion of homoeroticism?”

If all women said “DP is painful and humiliating and we don’t want to do it”, that would be really valuable information to have. But the meme, the “women hate it so we want it” meme, seems to be passed around from (some) men to (some other) men, without any concern for what real women think. That’s also wrong, and I shouldn’t have to tell you what’s wrong with it.

The reason that so many of these trolls,
I’m not a troll, damn it. Jesus Gay. i'm just a woman with a different opinion.

who are just now chiming in on this conversation after it’s been a part of this blog’s dialogue for at LEAST a year and a half,

it’s been, as I’ve mentioned, TWENTY years, plus. I’m not an interloper. I’ve been thinking on this, and discussing it, for at least as long as some participants in the discussion have been conscious.

is that it illustrates so clearly how these WOMEN are acting in a way that supports MEN’S DOMINANCE of not just other women, but themselves as well. Folks tend to get kinda wiggly when they realize they’re active in their own oppression.

Don’t save me. Especially don’t save me if you’re going to be snide about it. And I could tell you a story or two about being active in my own oppression. It had precious little to do with making myself available to be filmed doing DP scenes.

This essay is illustrative of the NON-individualized, COLLECTIVE attitudes that men have about women and “their” sexuality. It shows us that men think that women’s pleasure should be derived from painful situations that they inflict upon us; our own experiences as such and our own individualized reactions as women cease to exist- if it’s not painful to us, it isn’t pleasurable, or isn’t as pleasurable, for the men who want to do these things TO us (note, I didn’t say with us?)


“our own experiences as such and our own individualized reactions as women cease to exist”: sure, but you’re not bothering with individualized reactions that don’t support your thesis. And there are plenty of women whose individualized reactions don’t support your thesis.

It sucks to be ignored, and speaking up is a feminist value. Ergo, some of us will continue to speak up until someone comes up with something else to say besides “go back to your perverted sex games, you counterrevolutionary falsely-conscious trollmaiden-of-patriarchy.” (yeah, okay, that was a paraphrase…sue me…)

Men still think that women’s sexual experience revolves around men’s perceptions of what “good” and “pleasurable” and “satisfying” sexuality should be- for men. Women who preach and preach about the “liberating” aspects of pornography do not/have not/will not create a “new sexuality,” because the framework from which they begin is the OLD sexuality, it’s a men’s sexuality.

I imagine that some men do think that way, and would think that way regardless of what some women preached and preached. I think it’s good and healthy to study the way sexuality evolves – and for some of us, that study involves experimentation, extensive commentary, documentary footage I suppose. But you can’t expect humanity to just sit on its collective hands and wait for the RIGHT sexuality to emerge from the ashes of the WRONG sexuality.

I bet some women feel okay, even good/positive/liberated about the films they make. I bet some women feel bad/negative/dirty/wrong about the films they make. I’d love to be allowed to critique the porn industry, and try to mitigate some of the damage done, and work towards liberating those who feel imprisoned by it – but apparently if you stick up for consenting buttsex, well, nobody important is going to listen to you.

You want to create a new kind of sexuality? Start at home, with your partner.
Don’t tell me what to do.

Why does it have to bolster an industry that destroys women? Why does that industry have to be part of our sexuality? Why does a “liberated” sexuality have to consist of the same-old same-old?

I have no doubt that some acts of DP humiliate some women some of the time. I believe it hurts, and demeans, and degrades, and humiliates, and injures physically and emotionally some of the time.

But Jensen was saying that all DP is sexist and degrading because men say it is sexist and degrading. I ask again, how is that idea even remotely feminist, the idea that men get to decide what is sexist and degrading to women?

I don’t think that every act of DP humiliates every woman in the world every time it is committed. I feel like some people really do believe that any and every act of DP humiliates every woman, even those who are not being penetrated, even those who are miles and miles away, every time. So you see, I don't believe it when you claim that you think whatever I’m doing with my own partner in my own bedroom doesn’t matter – because clearly it does matter to you.

You’ve made it clear that you’re anti-porn and that’s a courageous stand to take. But it’s not the only stand to take. Again, I’m not a troll, damn it. I’m the loyal opposition.

These attitudes are not new. They are not ingenius, they do not transgress power. They uphold it. Get that through your thick skulls, then you can get on with the work of liberating women.

I guess that’s the real meat of the discussion – does being wildly sexually adventurous, pushing sexual boundaries in many different directions, being as they say “polymorphously perverse”, transgress - or uphold - or transcend power?

Any thoughts?

Comments:
I'm wondering why Mr. Jensen doesn't get a real hobby. I've read his stuff, I dont like his style and I think he needs to find a legitimate outlet for his energy. Like homelessness or even brushing up on his journalism skills so he's not so self-centered in his writings.
 
Rock the fuck on, AP

::Salute!::

She completely seemed to MISS the point that a bunch of men sitting around talking about what was, um, degrading to women sexually is STILL a bunch of men DICTATING womens sexuality.

And great jesus forbid any of us pornpossetrollhandmaiden/henchwomenkinkyfreaks disagree with her and those men!!!

Death by hanging, for all of us, in the name of the revolution!
 
FMF: I like DP. I’m a woman. Punto.
Random Male Lurker: See. A woman likes it. It can’t be bad.
Other FMF: I like it too. See?
Other Random Male Lurker: Now we know it must be true!
So the man dictates, via porn, what both men and women like, women speak up in support, men have what they feel is a concrete reason to argue for their “right” to porn and lack of guilty sentiment when they ask their female partners to do what they “see in the movies.”


Not quite, hon. A man coming to such a conclusion would be an idiot in assuming that two women speak for ALL women. Kind of like how... -well, you know the rest.

Gah, this is all SO annoying. I will have to blog about it later. Argh...
 
heh. thank you, lieutenant. carry on.

I can't knock him for being overly self-centered. I'm overly self-centered. just ask phemisaurus.
 
I guess that’s the real meat of the discussion – does being wildly sexually adventurous, pushing sexual boundaries in many different directions, being as they say “polymorphously perverse”, transgress - or uphold - or transcend power?

You know, I always find the porn arguments interesting, because in my partnership, I have always been the one watching the porn. The BF? He dislikes it (with varying degrees of intensity, depending on the quality of the porn). We both tend to find what we see (since I don't go out looking for it actively) pretty run-of-the-mill.

So I always find the perspective that he would force me to do things because of porn very... weird. First of all, while the positions sometimes look cool, we both agree that there's just no way it would be physically possible for us; secondly, the ones that are, we had tried long before I started watching porn.

From that perspective, I think that breaking out of the idea that sex is run-of-the-mill is important.

I've never watched pornography with DP, or read erotica containing it, but I was - quite independently - fantasizing about it no more than a year after I started masturbating. Not by men, but by a woman with toys. Men came into it later.

I think that maybe there is something to the idea that people are and can be influenced by ideas-not-their-own, and that some people will absorb certain cultural messages with those ideas. ("Hot sluts beg for cum on their face!" turns into "Men will like me if I let them cum on my face," etc.)

BUT, I think the solution to that is to teach self-esteem and sexual education early in life, both to boys and girls. If we teach girls how to distinguish the things they want from the things they think they should want, that goes far further than destroying the porn industry ever would. Same goes for boys. If we teach frank discussion, without all the silly giggly embarrassed-ness that tends to surround sex, I think the problem would shrink dramatically.

So I think that pushing sexual boundaries is awesome, in general. I think there are people that can't do it, out of fear or out of shame, and relieving them of that fear and shame should be our goal.

And I don't think it exactly meshes onto the idea of "power" that is usually meant in these conversations. A mentor has "power" over her protegée, but only in that experience is generally seen as a more powerful position than naivete. But she isn't wielding her power against the protegée; she's... donating it, sharing it.

And if the protegée takes that power and uses it to push and test her boundaries until she finds her comfort zone, then, well, success is achieved, and both the mentor and her protegée should, ideally, be joyful about it.

And I think that we're all both roles to everyone, or should be. That's why sharing experiences is important. To learn about others as students, and teach others about ourselves as mentors.

To me, anyway.

/end ramble
 
Well said, Alex. That was beautiful. I couldn't agree more.
 
Okay, so let get this straight, as it were: she used to enjoy DP's, but she doesn't indulge anymore, because she learned they were Bad for her. Right? So, fine. Explain to me please how this automatically translates into=bad for All Women, Everywhere. I'm afraid I never have quite parsed that one...
 
And yes, blahblah sexual act="inherently sexist;" some academic dude blathering on about womens' sexuality as though with authoritah whilst simultaneously ignoring women (the ones who don't already admire what he has to say)=perfectly feminist! Hokey-dokey then.
 
and yeah, that one doesn't seem to cross anyone's mind, does it. DP in an all-female trio, two using strap-ons or toys. Or hands for that matter. "Inherently sexist?"
 
please, women, doncha know HE and HIS FELLOWS know what's best for us?
 
Thanks, Amber.

And, Belle: dontcha know that would just be us lesbians/bigirls acting out patriarchal roles? Two butches on one femme obviously integrating sick male-inspired/male-identified fantasies that none of them really enjoy but they're just pretending they do for the gaze of... um... theoretical men that aren't there actually WATCHING, but are, um... gaining essence from the act. Somehow.

"Every time you perform DP, a man gets more sexist." *bell*


Today's word verification is: nvltip. Novel tip? Hmm...
 
oh, oh wait! internalized opression! we're supposed to google it. or something. it's homework.
 
and two femmes doing one butch?

oh wait i forgot; that doesn't actually happen. lgbt folks pretty much always play traditional male-female roles, butch top, femme bottom (gay men, too, yes!) well they do in BDSM anyway. (gay leathermen, yes!) I know this, because Dim told (us) so; and -he- knows this because um he spent a few months skulking around the corners of his college's play parties. for which he got an approving spotlight on TF's blog and a bunch of fawning and cooing; and for which the people who argued with him got just a -bunch- of offensive bullshit.

and that's how it all started, folks!
 
Argh!! Against my better judgment, I just went and read through the whole StanGoff thread. And I am so annoyed now!! I would really like to twap some people. (Metaphorically, of course. I can separate fantasy from reality.) It's infuriating! Now, what to do with all this angry energy built up inside of me... I must put it to a positive, constructive use. I know! I'll go have rough sex with the GDBF and make sure he shoves a finger way up my ass... ah yes...
 
... a bunch of men sitting around talking about what was, um, degrading to women sexually is STILL a bunch of men DICTATING womens sexuality.

All I know is that I wish I had the configuration that I could have sex with two WOMEN simultaneously.

I'm jealous! :)
 
She completely seemed to MISS the point that a bunch of men sitting around talking about what was, um, degrading to women sexually is STILL a bunch of men DICTATING womens sexuality.

Or, rather, a bunch of straight men insisting that the debate be centered around straight male perspectives, and that all women should be more concerned with them than their own desires. I don't see why we should be responsible for making sure that no one can lie about us or use us to support a warped and self-serving worldview--even assuming that there's any way to act that would prevent that kind of exploitation.
 
and yeah, that one doesn't seem to cross anyone's mind, does it. DP in an all-female trio, two using strap-ons or toys. Or hands for that matter. "Inherently sexist?"

Yes, obviously, because it involves women internalizing pornified visions of sexuality. The two tops are getting off on a brutal frame of gratification, and the bottom is getting off on being the passive servicer of their desires.

Duh.

More seriously: This triad doesn't need to be specifically named. As far as this logic is concerned, these sex acts are ritual that invoke this dynamic. The positions that the players hold within the patriarchal structure are irrelevant, because the players take on new roles within the context of the scene. And anyone performing this act is doing so in order to invoke that dynamic, period. That objective might be unconscious, but it is primary whether or not it is acknowledged.
 
Butch/femme is analyzed in exactly the same way: the two women occupy an incontrovertible place within patriarchy--that is, as members of class women--but are replicating and referencing a different patriarchal structure in their relationship--the masculine/feminine pair, with all its rules. Gay male relationships, to the extent that these people are even willing to acknowledge their existence, get the same treatment. The whole point is, you can never ever get away. Ever. Except, well, you know.
 
And the problem I have with all of this is not so much the idea that oppression is not something any one individual can simply escape--although the ways in which it manifests, I think, are more complex. My problem is with the fact that a bunch of largely heterosexual, profoundly heterosexist theorists trust themselves to see all of the meanings which the individual players are assigning to these acts, or indeed may insist that any other or subcultural meanings are negligible beside the dominant ones. That logic constitutes marginalization, and it means that minority interpretations will always be dismissed out of hand or chopped up for parts.
 
And yes, I'm drunk. What of it?
 
Hey--are there male radfems who are solely or primarily attracted to men? I'm familiar with a great many gay and queer male feminists.
 
piny:
"Or, rather, a bunch of straight men insisting that the debate be centered around straight male perspectives, and that all women should be more concerned with them than their own desires."

True that.
 
yay piny--getting started early on NaPoDroDo, or whatever the acronym is.

I dunno. Does one count John Stoltenberg? i thought he was gay in the same way that Dworkin was a lesbian, which is why they were living together and communing in their higher-plane-whatever-it-was. I could be wrong.

there's also Larry Kramer, I suppose, also that's probably stretching it. still, he annoys in some similar ways.
 
and well what's driving me nuts is that -both- the male and female radfems (at least the sort who think Jensen et al are the cat's pajamas) are basically saying, well, of course we don't -like- it that it's all about the mens; that's exactly what we're fighting! but you must accept that it IS about the mens! everything, everything, everything, about the mens! then the deconstruction, and then, the oral sex--no, wait. no oral sex. and definitely no spanking. ..and then, the Revolution. yeah, that.

zzz.

has anyone there ever heard of "be the change you seek?" seriously, exactly what and how is this magical transformation to this Better World supposed to occur? by endlessly scolding women to dress less sex-ay, and crusading against pr0n, and threesomes, and kink, and (u-name-it; i guess everything except a nicely tasteful monogamous duo behind closed doors, if that); and shaming men as well as women for having lusty thoughts, or at minimum, lusty thoughts outside certain narrowly and frankly arbitrarily defined parameters? Wow, where have we seen -that- before? yes, that's very radical. and also feminist. yes.

Seriously, i think men who feel -that- strongly about the evols that they and particularly the male gonads do should really show their commitment and hack 'em off. -then- i'd be impressed. i mean, horrified and sickened, but impressed.

bloviating from a comfortable seat in academia & privilege (isn't that exactly what a lot of that lot bitch about wrt the sex-pos crowd? that they're all a bunch of out of touch academics and elitists?), that's, well, that's what that is, isn't it.
 
All I know is that I wish I had the configuration that I could have sex with two WOMEN simultaneously.

I'm jealous! :)


got hands?
 
Stoltenberg, then, you're right.

there's also Larry Kramer, I suppose, also that's probably stretching it. still, he annoys in some similar ways.

Although he approaches the new queer activists in much the same way some second-wave feminists approach third-wavers, he is not a radfem. If anything, guy's pretty fucking sexist.
 
yeh, that's what I meant. wrt Kramer i mean.
 
All I know is that I wish I had the configuration that I could have sex with two WOMEN simultaneously.

I'm jealous! :)


Good luck with that. Just be sure that you verify ahead of time that these 2 women are not, in fact, out to use you as a way to get pregnant so that they can suck child support out of you.

Oh wait, it doesn't matter what they say ahead of time anyway... women are all lying bitches who can't be trusted. They might say they just want to fuck you (those sluts!!) but really they're hiding their ulterior motive - the one about getting pregnant and gettin all ur moneyz.
 
two words: tentacle sex.
 
You know what else is interesting here? She uses the word "inherently" in objective terms, even though Jensen ostensibly tries to wall it off.
 
BUT, I think the solution to that is to teach self-esteem and sexual education early in life, both to boys and girls. If we teach girls how to distinguish the things they want from the things they think they should want, that goes far further than destroying the porn industry ever would. Same goes for boys. If we teach frank discussion, without all the silly giggly embarrassed-ness that tends to surround sex, I think the problem would shrink dramatically.

spot-on, alex.

is there any place where this is actually done, I wonder.
 
The Netherlands, allegedly, where everyone has sex education classes from a really young age - often starting in primary school (under 11). It also has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in the world.
 
Read the comments in hopes of figuring out what DP was; figured it out and just had to say "YEA DP!!!!" I'm a feminist and I LOVE it.
 
hello, sue george and jennifer!

thanks for your comments.
 
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