Diamonds vs Prostitution

Two weeks ago, I read this fantastic article at the Crunk Feminist Collective about the brutality of the international diamond trade. Eeshap proposes a method to end the violent conflicts and suffering this industry has caused – target the source.

“we can actually stop this. Diamonds are not food. Diamonds are not required for survival. A change in cultural attitudes can actually stop these conflicts. It can stop the violence in communities where these diamonds are found. If the desire for diamonds were to vanish, these conflicts would lose exactly what fuels them.”

“We can actually stop much, if not all, of the violence that is a result of the demand for diamonds. They way that our cultural attitudes about buying fur have changed within a generation, so can our cultural attitudes about diamonds, I propose. It’s not really going to be easy, they are a beautiful and powerful symbol of wealth and status. Increasingly, I hear many politically conscious people say they want a “vintage” diamond. This is clearly an effort towards detangling oneself from the trade of conflict diamonds. My point here, though, is about the cultural cache of diamonds. While purchasing a vintage one might not support the blood diamond industry directly, it certainly does nothing to challenge the value that diamonds have in our society.”

“Harm reduction” is not enough, and trying to find diamonds that aren’t a result of exploitation doesn’t actually do anything to help those who are harmed by the desire for diamonds.

END DEMAND.

So, this article got me thinking further about how this sort of political consciousness seems to vanish in feminist circles when we talk about prostitution. Eeshap’s words mirror abolitionist arguments almost exactly.

“we can actually stop this. Sex act x is not food. Sex act x is not required for survival. A change in cultural attitudes can actually stop the violence that happens to women as a result of this industry. It can stop the violence in communities where these women are found. If the entitlement to sex act x were to disappear, no women would have to be forced to provide them.”

“Increasingly, I hear many politically conscious people say they will only use “feminist” porn. This is clearly an effort towards detangling oneself from the trade of misogynist pornography. My point here, though, is about the cultural cache of misogynistic porn. While purchasing feminist porn might not support the mainstream porn industry directly, it certainly does nothing to challenge the value it has in our society.”

So, Eeshap, if you read this, can I ask you if your logic extends to the sex industry? If you don’t feel comfortable posting here, you can shoot me an email at othersideofporn@gmail.com.


I doubt this is what he was looking for…

Some guy got to my blog by searching for “nausea spew cry sperm cum porn”.


Violent Pornography vs. Cognitive Dissonance

Most people don’t want to be faced with criticism of pornography, no matter how mild. Men don’t want to acknowledge that they may be supporting and participating in the degradation of women and women don’t want to believe that men see them as sexual-service stations. Most people want to believe that they are good, that they only do good. Most people want to believe those they care about or admire would never want to hurt them. Porn paints a picture that contradicts these beliefs. So, what do people do? Many live in denial, but there are many others that have to actually ignore what’s in front of them to maintain their sanity.

We are inundated by media that praises pornography and shames women who struggle with the pressure to conform to its’ ever increasing sexual standards. Music is no exception, whether it be pop, rap, or rock. I was listening to System of a Down, one of my favorite bands, and revisiting some older songs. SOAD often has a political bent to its music, focusing on war, genocide, and propaganda in the media. I came upon a song called, “Violent Pornography”. It wasn’t that I had never heard this song before. I had heard it plenty of times, but this was the first time I really listened. Here’s the lyrics, without repetition:

Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody fucks.
Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody sucks.

Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody cries
Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody dies.

It’s a non-stop disco
Bet you it’s Nabisco,
Bet you didn’t know.

It’s a violent pornography!
Choking chicks and SODOMY!
The kinda shit you get on your TV!

It’s on the TV.
It’s on your TV.
Turn off your TV.

Can you say brainwashing?
Brainwashing
It’s a non-stop disco.

I couldn’t believe men wrote this. It felt..vindicating to listen to. It felt vindicating to hear guys admit that this is not just harmless fun. I was curious about people’s reactions to this song. The meaning is pretty clear, and almost every single one of the commentators MISSED THE FUCKING POINT. First, let’s take a look at the comments on Youtube Video #1. This video is comprised of live footage, interspersed with shots John Travolta dancing at a disco and clips of women who are clearly in pain. This is a fan-made video. (Anything in parentheses is my commentary.)

” i wouldn’t say its against porn. its against what they now show on tv. what SOAD are pretty much saying is that TV nowadays is like watching porn and its desensitizing people. “Turn off your TV” and “can you say brain washing” are some of the last lines in the song, and they obviously refer to TV.” (So, TV is like porn and desensitizes people….but porn isn’t bad. It’s bad that TV is like porn, but there’s nothing wrong with porn. I’m struggling to see the logic here.)

“She looks like shes in soo much pain xD”

“i had a violent pornography once..they had the nerves to call it rape”

From Youtube Video #2:

55 people aren’t kinky (55 people disliked the video. This commenter is implying that those people have a problem with violence against women, and therefore not kinky.)

BDSM is pefectly fine.

46 people hate violent pornography ;D (Same explanation as the first comment, except this was one was made when only 46 people disliked the video.)

Maybe I’d have better luck on SongMeanings.net? There was an improvement in analysis, at least. Nobody interpreted the song as pro-violent pornography. However, there was an extreme reluctance to connect the song, “Violent Pornography”, to criticisms of violent pornography:

It’s pretty clear to me that this song is basically against television, but mainly against the evils of big corporations/commercialism (constant references to Nabisco and the comparison of violent pornography to television [The kind of shit you get on your TV]). That, coupled with other lines makes me believe this song is also about how the public is being apathetic about the whole thing (“non-stop disco” makes me think they’re trying to say that everyone is just having a good time without worry).

It’s refering to the news I think. The news shows these horrific things, everyone is swallowing it up and they see it as being similar to the violent dirty porn you can get.
The whole song is a big finger up to the news corperations for showing these stories about rape and violent crimes.

The song is (imo) a rant on the media, specifically TV news, and how they show all this disgusting stuff and people just don’t care because its under the guise of news. Also, I feel the parts with “everybody everybody…etc” are a sardonic view of the media’s defense, saying well everyone does it, why is it so bad?

“I think From_Dust has hit the nail on the head; it’s about the relentless consumerism and “reality” television we have on our screens nowadays. But, it’s also occured to me; Serj uses TV as a COMPARISON…so what is he referring to that reflects the television? My best guess would have to be organised religion, or more specifically the prejudices of the Old Testament…in there, if you read carefully, it mentions sinners in hell being sodomised, abuse of women to be acceptable, and rape actually being CONDONED in some circumstances!”

” I think it goes a little further though, maybe they aren’t just saying that we are being de-sensitized, but that we are taking whatever we see on TV and taking it out into the real world. That the short attention spans we have developed through the constant barrage of commercials, programs etc through TV have made us come to expect non-stop thrills and shocks in the real world every 5 minutes thanks to MTV etc.”

“It’s about how people these says have sex orally, and anal. He’s saying they should stick with missonary, not any other violent ways. ” (What is with pro-porn people’s obsession with missionary sex??)

There were about 4 people who said that the message of the song is “obvious” and needed no explanation, so not all hope is lost, I guess…?


Does Porn Harm Women?

(Trigger warning for sexual assault and rape.)

Of course it does. You’d have to be living under a rock to not see how porn has negatively impacted women all over the world. However, men some people do benefit from that negative impact, making it harder to recognize it as such. What women see as “harms” don’t count to these guys. They will settle for nothing less than a demonstrable increase in rape – and by rape, I mean the kind where guys jump out of bushes and brutally assault women. (You know, rape-rape, like in the movies!) And by demonstrable increase, I mean SCIENCE! Countless women’s testimonies just aren’t good enough. Where are the studies?! People are always saying that there is no proof that porn is harmful. This is quite puzzling, since there has been plenty over the years, from sociologists, psychologists, and now neurobiologists.

Thank you to Feminist Law Professors for the heads up, József Mészáros is releasing a paper titled, “The New Pornographers: Neuroscience Justifies a Robust Regulatory Response to Young People Raping and Taping”. There is a link to the 56 page draft of the paper if you’re interested.

Now, let’s talk about this disturbing trend of young men gang raping women and children and filming their assaults. While the occurrence is obviously not new, they seem to be happening in greater frequency. What is (perhaps) shocking is that men are becoming so confident in getting away with rape, more and more are willing to videotape their exploits. These boys were brash enough to post their crimes on YouTube. Should we be worried?

 

Booy read aloud from an agreed statement of facts about what happened to the unconscious teenager over the next couple of hours. She said the three men stripped off her clothes and took turns sexually assaulting the teenager, leaving her bruised and bleeding from her anus.

One of DeCosta’s co-accused grabbed a bottle of alcohol and poured it between the girl’s buttocks as the men watched her moaning in pain. The victim did not regain consciousness until later that morning when someone threw water in her face and she heard footsteps running out of the apartment.

A couple days later, the three men returned and showed the woman who lived in the apartment a digital video on the BlackBerry of her girlfriend being sexually assaulted.

DeCosta told the young woman, “You don’t want to know what I did with the broom” and retorted, “Nowadays all girls get raped.”

 

Yes, he bragged to the victim’s friend about raping her. (Her boyfriend also joined in.) What if he hadn’t shown the victim’s friend, and got away with it? Does this sound like the kind of guy that would post his exploits on RedTube? Would the users of RedTube be able to even identify it as rape? How many would just keep masturbating? How many rapes are posted as “amateur” porn? These are questions we need to be asking.

 


Link Roundup

Until I get some new content up, I’d recommend you all check out these wonderful posts on other feminist blogs. I think you will find them very useful in furthering your own understanding of feminism, and combating some common defenses/red herrings of hardcore porn.

“If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”

“Even if I somehow manage to avoid ever seeing porn, it is expected that I dress like a porn star, wax like a porn star, perform in bed like a porn star, and fully embrace all of my partner’s porn-fueled fantasies. I am told that if I don’t perform to his demands I will be cheated on, dumped, abused, and it will all be my fault. I am told that if I refuse to date men who who use porn I will be alone or at best am a controlling bitch and will probably be lied to anyways.”

Men explain why they like porn, so we don’t have to!

“I can’t imagine anything more unerotic that porn approved by sour faced feminists.
What makes porn exciting is the transgressive nature of the acts portrayed – the abuse and degradation that women seem to be happy to endure for money.
We watch porn to live out the fantasies that we cannot actualise.
Does it degrade women? Of course but not much more than conventional work does.”

Transactional Models of Sexuality are Anti-Sex

“Sex is pleasurable. And you can’t really argue that nature doesn’t actively encourage hedonism, even if it is tempered by empathy. Ergo, women have an interest in sex in their own right: because done right, it feels good. There is no reason for men to try to bribe women into sex—and in fact, a bribe implies that consent is not genuine.”

But, you’re erasing feminist porn!

Let’s get some perspective here, huh? When someone spends 99% of their time defending .0000001% of an industry while avoiding confronting the 99.9999999% of the industry that has real effects on women’s lives, that person looks a bit delusional/defensive/dishonest. Let it go, dude. Admit that you know porn is bad for women and you use it, participate in it, or profit from it anyway. You aren’t fooling anyone here, and I doubt that you’re even fooling yourself.

P.S. I added a few new links! Check them out:

Anti-Porn Tumblr – Lots of powerful quotes collected here.

Brave Lucky

Buried Alive


1 in 3 women watch porn?

This is a statistic I see tossed around quite often, citing Nielsen data. While I can’t find the actual data that posits that 1 in 3 porn viewers are women, all searches seem to point to Violet Blue.

 

In the first three months of 2007, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, approximately one in three visitors to adult entertainment Web sites was female; during the same period, nearly 13 million American women were checking out porn online at least once each month.

 

 

 

I’m going to assume that she didn’t just pull these numbers out of thin air. So why do they sound so unbelievable? Even James Deen was shocked!

 

“I’m not old and ugly. For the percentage of women interested in porn, I’m a guy who they would talk to in a bar.”

He says “percentage of women” like it’s a teaspoon of water in the ocean of smut, and it occurs to me that he doesn’t know how popular he is. I tell him that the latest data from Nielsen shows that . “What? That’s awesome! I had no idea it was so high!”

 

What does this mean? Do 1 in 3 women really like porn? What other explanation could there be? The real problem with this data is the conclusions being drawn from it. Technically, I would be one of those women that view porn more than once a month, and I hate porn.  I can honestly say that I still haven’t met a woman, out in the real world, who likes porn. I do know a lot of women who have accessed porn at one point or another, however. Some of them look for advice on how to please a man, and many more are tracking their partner’s online porn use.  Most women, at some point of time in their lives, will look at porn out of sheer curiosity. That’s how it started for me. Keeping this in mind, 1 in 3 is not so hard to believe anymore. 1 in 3 have viewed porn…that doesn’t mean they liked it, though.

 

Additionally, what “adult entertainment websites” were covered in this study? Would Playboy.com count as a porn site? How did they determine the sex of the viewer, such as in a multi-person household? Did they record differences in average viewer sex by content?

 


That’s not feminism. – Part 2

In the previous post, I showed you a pretty appalling comment ‘Hookset” left in reply to a woman who was trafficked for 13 years. Here’s a recap:

Here’s the deal though, not one man would ever support human trafficking. We oppose more than anything else!! This article is completely slanted towards Women’s Equality groups trying to bash men as a whole. We all know the problems in this industry and we know that the biggest is it’s not legalized and kept on the black market for foul play like you’ve unfortunately experienced. They don’t get the solution is to legalize and control it and want to do nothing but keep it illegal. They are offering no solution at all other than saying men should change their way which is complete “garbage”. Men would protect and make this industry safer than it’s ever been if it wasn’t for the hard liners using your “plight” as the propaganda to gain equality. Go through posts below and you will many other workers who are here by choice and are not “exploited” one bit. Trust me, you’ll get more sympathy from me than these crass ladies below and who wrote this article.

First, I’m going to detail the problems in this comment, piece by piece. He says not one man would ever support human trafficking, and yet it is men who force women into sex slavery, and men who rape those women because they can’t tell the difference between a “happy hooker” and a trafficking victim. Or more likely, they can tell the difference and don’t care. It is abundantly clear that Hookset is delusional, and he also seems to have a narcissist complex common to many punters, as you will see later on.

He hilariously goes on to say the article is biased towards Women’s Equality groups, as if that’s something to be ashamed of, and proceeds to explain to her about how the biggest problem is criminalization which seems to be a bona fide fact in Hookset’s universe. Note how he says radical feminists are using her plight, which he put in quotation marks, because he takes her experiences very seriously. He dismisses her perspective and instructs her to instead peruse the comments of more pleasant sex workers. This is yet another example of men using the “positive” women to silence those women who dare express anything “negative”, and is something sex-positives need to acknowledge as a problem.  Are you allies to women? Put your money where your mouth is. Not one sex worker or sex-positive feminist called Hookset out for patronizing a trafficking victim.  Not one.

 

Update 8/05/11: I’ve been working on this piece for a while, but unfortunately the original comments of the article have since been deleted, so I can’t continue… Damn my procrastination! If anyone knows how to retrieve a copy of the web page from a few days ago, contact me! There’s so much more that still needs to be covered.


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