Anti-Porn Feminist Survey

An interesting question was posed on The F Word. K asks, “I’m wondering though, what do feminists want out of the porn critique. I realise that feminism is not a wholly cohesive unit with a single direction, but still… what’s an approximate or rough kinda outcome you would like to see?”

This got me thinking. There are differences of opinion even in the anti-porn movement. What are the lowest common denominators that unite us?  These would probably be most representative of the views of the majority of women, women unfamiliar with feminism.  Additionally, is anything less than total liberation unacceptable, or is there a bare minimum that you would be willing to compromise for? So, I made a short survey to help answer these questions.

1.) What constitutes pornography?

2.) What is your ideal outcome of anti-porn feminism? How would porn change, would only softcore (Playboy, etc.) porn be acceptable, or would there be any porn at all?

3.) Do you distinguish porn from “erotica”? If so, what constitutes erotica, and would this still exist?

4.) How far are you willing to compromise (at least for the time being) to get rid of the worst elements of porn, or do you think compromise is unacceptable? Where do you draw the line?


That’s not feminism – Part 1

I stumbled upon a new article at Newsweek about prostitution. The article is written from an abolitionist perspective, but there are no mindblowing revelations to be had for anyone well versed in this kind of debate. What prompted this post is not the article itself, but the comments. As usual, they’re a treasure trove of examples of why “sex-positive feminists” ideas are so unfortunately not feminist.

This is awful – squeezing dubious facts into bad conclusions. You ought to be ashamed, for conclusion which emerges from malice and contempt bear those ills and spread worse moral degradation than lonely people seeking company ever could. Don’t you know Anything about youself? Newsweek should be ashamed to publish this- Unbelievable Ameican garbage. – Robert Macrae

Well, gee, it sounds so innocent when you put it like that! What about this guy, Robert? “The window did not open, and the room was very warm, and Amanda got an attitude about how much I was sweating. I wanted to drive my c*** down her throat until she gagged on it, but she insisted on doing it her way . . . Certainly not the experience I had been anticipating, as I have met with some very charming and accommodating Czech and Slovakian ladies who have gagged and slurped on my c***” Just a poor, lonely fellow?

I have been working on these issues for almost twenty years. I believe Ms. Farley’s alleged findings about johns are nothing but manipulated data. Newsweek made things worse by the dismissive way they treated people such as Tracy Quan and Melissa Ditmore. I have been communicating with these two bright and courageous women for many years. They are credible sources of information. Farley is not. The fact that Ms. Quan can recall a bad experience with a john creates no support for Farley’s generalizations. Someone who does another person harm needs to be held accountable.  

In Hawaii we had defacto legalization of prostitution from 1932 to 1944 with regulated brothels in the Chinatown area. Military personal lined up every morning to receive sexual services. A large portion of all the men who served and died in the Pacific during the war may have been customers. Are we supposed to believe that they were men who wanted to degrade and humiliate women? In 1942 prostitutes went on strike against the repressive regulations the police department had established for the brothels. After three weeks and with pressure from the military authorities the police acquiesced to most of the worker demands and the strike was settled. Do slaves go on strike? The fact that some women may experience slave like conditions in prostitution is no more an argument for the suppression of that industry than suppressing the cotton industry would have been to end slavery in the antebellum south. In every other industry where abuse occurs the fight has been for labor rights. It is this fight being waged by Quan, Ditmore, and thousands of sex workers internationally that has been treated with dismissal by the Newsweek story.  -Tracy Ryan

Because being a soldier means you can’t be a misogynist?? This argument is pathetic and basically amounts to, “If you’re against prostitution, you’re unpatriotic!” And surprise, the male commentators arguing in favor of prostitution chime in with stories of their fathers’ prostitution escapades while at war. “Hookset” contributes this almost adorable passage: Well, can definately say, my Dad did the same thing while in Vietnam. I’m sure large percentages have done the same thing to find comfort during the greatest horrors of their lives. Our govenment knew about these things, they knew it was good for the men. The same government that refuses to let it be legal here in the states. Ironic yes. What’s even more even more shameful is that women’s right advocacy groups would rather keep it illegal with no way to stop the problem. There solution is men should just stop doing what there doing. Why? Because if they accept legality then women are now doing a profession they feel “degrades” all women and doesn’t meet there agenda’s. Instead, they fight to keep it illegal. One man below said something amazing by proposing Labor Unions which would absolutely improve things and stamp out the problems with trafficking. They refuse to believe that an honest man like me exists and that I would do everyting in my power to stop trafficking if I ever saw it and had no legal percussions by reporting it. Thank god for our Vets, to bad some groups don’t show them the proper respect.

Sounds like SUCH a nice guy, right? If this is representative of the average john, I might have to change mind on some things….wait!

Everything in this article is exactly what I saw and experienced during my 13 yrs of being forced into prostitution by a pimp (of course at the time I perceived him to be my boyfriend/father of my children.) I am shocked that the writer of this article was able to dig up these truths. What man would be willing to admit these things about themselves? I am very happy that they are speaking. Until we can understand what drives these men to buy sex will we ever be able to find a solution for human trafficking. I’ve always thought more effort needs to be put on the buyer to understand what goes through their mind and what drives them to think the way they do. Hell….. They have a pill for depression, why not a pill to make men act morally right. (Ok, maybe too much to ask for). Kudos to the writer of this article. I appreciate greatly that you wrote this story and are taking the time to dig up the truth. It’s not ok to buy another human being. Stand Up for what’s moral and right. – Wendy Barnes

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. – Hookset

I know that a lot of johns are delusional, but this is an eye opener.

…will be continued in part 2 ASAP!


Stalemate

I’ve been thinking recently about how I can be an ally to sex workers while simultaneously advocating the dismantling of the prostitution industry. Chiefly, is that even possible? So far, I have not received an answer to either of these questions. It disturbs me to think that I’d be at odds with the women in the industry, women who are vulnerable enough as it is. While I haven’t seen this topic elaborated on, I assume this alliance would still entail advocating for legalization of prostitution. Unfortunately, that is something I absolutely cannot and will not do, for one very obvious reason. Legalization will inevitably lead to growth of the prostitution industry, and along with it, human trafficking. That should not be an acceptable price to anyone who calls themselves a feminist. The end.


Well….

I have been avoiding porn for the past three months. I just went on youporn.com for the first time in awhile, and perused some of the videos as well as their comments. People know that porn has gotten more extreme over the years, but it seems that the past three months have seen a noticeable increase in misogyny – in male consumers’ perception of women, as opposed to just the content of pornography. Accusations that anti-porn feminists pick and choose examples of the extreme fringes of pornography become laughable as I stare at a particularly brutal advertisement for Brazzers on the front page of YouPorn. I saved it for posterity, and will write more soon.


Where is the respect?

I came across this video of porn star Eva Angelina at Expo Sex & Entertainment Mexico 2007, the Mexican equivalent of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo(AEE). For those who are not familiar with her, Angelina was one of the most popular and successful women in the industry in the past four years. She was the recipient of four AVN awards, but recently retired from the business.

Trigger warning – this post contains violent sexual language, sexual assault, and various horrible things.

From 0:54 onwards, she is giving an interview in which she talks about her experiences in the porn industry as well as her childhood. Angelina tells of some disconcerting facts such as getting wrapped up in drugs and that she started filming herself having sex at the age of 14. She also reveals that her mother suffered from mental illness and her boyfriend committed suicide. Unfortunately, a history of drugs or mental illness isn’t uncommon among porn stars, but that wasn’t what this post is about. Angelina expressed interest in writing a memoir, at the urging of her friends who described her life as being very interesting. One commenter had this to say about her potential endeavor:

“that book would be like : ya this one day i sucked a fat cock and this other day i got double teamed by two fat cocks and then i got fucked until my ass went numb for christmas i got to suck santas big fat fuckin dick and the day after i sucked another fat cock thats basically my life story (then it would have like a fact thing about the book in the back of it) facts on eva: sucked dick since 12 and also sucked over 38 dicks while making this book” (Because porn stars are not people with lives and hobbies, they can only be a set of holes for men to use.)

The top voted comments for this video are not much better:

“haha looks fade and her pussy cant stay tight forever but w/e might as well enjoy her until she becomes a total washed up whore”

“please honey no one cares about your life story…now take this cock and make it disappear..holla!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“she looks better with a cock in her mouth”

“I read Eva Angelina’s blog thing, I forget where. It was a random posting on some site. But she’s fucking insane. I would love meet her.”

“I did some research into the suicide rate of female porn stars, its shocking how many have done themselves in. I went to the same school as Hannah Harper, pretty crazy when you see her brother in town, I wonder what he thinks about his mates seeing his sister with all those cocks in her ass. I would die of shame.” (This woman committed suicide, and all he cares about is how ashamed her brother would be.. Anyone wanna bet on whether this guy watches said videos anyway?)

“I love sick porn girls.”

“Eva Angelina is really cute,but I agree it is shameful to be the parent,boyfriend,sibling of a pornstar.I would also die of shame.” (Again, these guys look down on the women in porn, but still watch them getting degraded. Acting in it is shameful, but masturbating to it isn’t.)

“I hope she can stay in the industry in a capacity where she wont have to drink sperm and be urinated upon on camera, Like a directing role for G/G movies or just a makeup consultant. It’s fun to watch hardcore sex but it is a degrading environment.”

“Yeah, but how about her asshole?! Man, there’s more pink in that thing than a case of Bubble Yum. And the diameter on that thing is like the size of a tea saucer. She’s an absolute gem, and I too hope she remains in the industry. I just hope she’s able to keep inhaling cocks with her current rate of enthusiasm. Longevity is a rare commodity in this sordid industry.”

“I like seeing her get violated” (5 thumbs up, by the way)

“yeah, its a fact that most pornstars have an IQ of 23”

“Do you think she became a pornstar because her daddy told her to do so? lol, she’s dumb as fuck”

“She started having sex at 13…Sad, this is the life of most porn stars though” (But masturbating to gonzo porn at 13 is not sad?)

“dude she’s fuckin smart like wayyy smarter than me for example. she knows how to bong a beer faster than the average bear n shit” (A compliment..maybe?)

“Does anyone really think there aren’t millions of girls just as dumb as any porn star? Plus they’re all uptight about sex to boot…

Also, why is her story so sad? Clearly she’s always been more sexual than normal, and she managed to turn it into a successful career. It’s not like her life is affecting you.”

“is this at a MEXICAN adult sex expo? lol. how sad.” (?????)

“she wont know you are banging her eather shes so loose from all the porno”

“I wonder if she ever feels a little fat”

“She IS fat. FAT”

“home video when she was 14! is it online???”

“Ya sure, your life is interesting. Laying on your back with your ankels behind your ears. ENTHRALLING. Theres a war in the middle east!!! Fucking waiste.”

“Well, porn is a job. It’s a lot better than going out and raping someone without their consent, in less safe conditions. Besides, some pornstars – such as Tera Patrick for example – have gone on to lead their own distribution companies, and are now multi-millionaires.”  (Wait, what??)

“I love pornstars, they are so messed up mentally, just like me”

“poor washed up whore 😦

but hey i’m not complaining”  (Wink, wink. Get it?)

And as a bonus, a comment on this video of a woman doing a striptease:

“This stripper is defective. Where can I buy one that strips like it should? =D” (Women are objects. Just kidding!….but not really.)

The same guy also commented on a video of police officers groping and photographing a drunk woman in the police station:

“She was waiting for a ride. She REALLY should have gotten one….from 3 guys lol XD

Slut…..”

And I will end the post with this gem from the same video.

“Sir, that was not sexual assault. That was Reality Pornography.”


Why Do You Hate Porn – Part 1

This blog is written with many different people in mind; for young girls who are struggling to find themselves amidst an increasingly hostile sexual environment as well as grown women who have just had enough.  It’s for women who are just starting to sense that something isn’t right about the world we live in and radical feminists who can already articulate what that something is. It’s also for skeptics; men who don’t understand what all the fuss is about and women identifying as sex-positive feminists who think accusations of misogyny in porn are exaggerated.

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual situations and rape.

It took two years for me to transform from an anti-feminist to an anti-porn feminist. At the time of writing this post, May 29th, 2011, I am 18 years old. The first time I saw porn, I was about 7 years old. It was an accident – I had stumbled onto a softcore website and instead of exiting the page, I explored. I was always a really curious kid, and still am. Most of it wasn’t horrifying, thankfully. There were lots of naked women, categorized according to hair color, age, weight, etc. They were objectified, but my 7 year old self could not yet understand that concept. I was never uncomfortable with nudity or sexuality. Some would say I was a little too comfortable with them.  The next part of this story still leaves me mortified. I saved the website to “Favorites”, so I could look more at a later time. Immediately, I regretted having done so, but I didn’t know how to remove it. I knew that it was illegal and highly inappropriate for a  7 year old to be looking at porn. Panicking, I found my brother’s friend who was good with computers and spun some story about popups and accidentally saving this “weird” website, so that he’d tell me how to get rid of it. When he saw what I had “accidentally” bookmarked, he gave me this funny look I’ll never forget. I was really embarrassed and continued trying to play dumb. Over the next few years, I ran into pornography several more times.  I was fascinated with sexuality, and I actively learned about the different aspects of it. If you were to have called me overexposed, well, I wouldn’t disagree.

Morbid curiosity. That’s the best excuse I can come up with for some of the things I looked up. By the time I was 11, I was familiar with BDSM as well as many fetishes and paraphilias. It seemed like nothing could surprise me anymore. One day, I went too far. I searched for “rape porn”. I knew it existed because…why wouldn’t it exist? It seemed obvious.  That was morbid curiosity, but it was also concern. I was worried that some of the women might not be paid actresses who were just pretending they were in agony. I felt like I had a duty to go and make sure it was all “fake”. Some of the scenes and websites were so realistic. It really tore me up inside to think that men could film a real rape to slip in alongside those films and no one would ever know. No one would ever ask, because hey, the girls are supposed to be crying right? And that blood? Fake. What if there was a girl out there who was assaulted and she had no idea that her rape was on the internet being used as masturbation material for some perverts? It killed me that I couldn’t know for sure – that no one could know for sure unless one specifically asked the women in those films. I thought checking out the sites would clarify things. Looking at those sites did not assuage those fears, however.

I knew about “rape” fantasies among women, but they were nothing like what I saw in porn. The violence and brutality and degradation exceeded any expectations I had. I remember thinking to myself, “This is what rape looks like. This is what happens to women.” I just knew deep in my gut, as if by some instinct. I felt hollow inside. It disturbed me that there was no….difference. I knew that if there was a double blind test, and I had to watch one of these videos and one confiscated from a rapist, I would not be able to tell which was the porno. As I clicked around, that emptiness was replaced with an increasing amount of nausea. At this point in the story, I left the room, but a “friend” has recounted to me what happened next.

A pop-up of child pornography appeared. There were little dark-skinned Asian girls standing in front of fat, old white men whose faces were blurred out.These kids were must have been between four and nine years old. That was real blood. That was really a man’s penis inside an 8 year old. That was real pedophilia. That was real, undeniable rape. She could not escape that fact no matter how hard she tried. And she really wanted to. She realized this was something she had never wanted to see, and wished she could undo it. It couldn’t be undone, though. It was stuck with her forever. It was stuck with those kids forever, who she desperately wanted to save. She wanted to make it so that none of that had ever happened to them, but she couldn’t. It haunted her. It really tore her up inside. She couldn’t tell her parents, tell anyone, because she was afraid legal action would be taken against her or her family. It took all her strength to not just vomit on the floor. She had to forget about it and move on, for everyone’s sake. It took her two days to get the sick feeling out of the pit of her stomach.

Surprisingly, none of this had an impact on my opinion of pornography. I still thought pornography was harmless. What I saw was just the “fringe” and had no bearing on mainstream porn. It was an insignificant piece of the porno pie.  At least, that’s what I thought back then.

To be continued in part two….


Introduction

I will go ahead and copy and paste the text from the “about” page to start things off:

This is a blog analyzing topics including, but not limited to,  pornography, prostitution, and sexism in the media. It features in-depth critiques as well as compilations of anecdotes on various types of misogyny. There will be graphic descriptions of sexual acts that some may find disturbing. The entire site has a trigger warning, but I will still include one at the beginning of posts when necessary, as a reminder. Comments from gay, bisexual, and heterosexual men who would like to speak of sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of men and how this changed their understanding of patriarchy are welcome, but do not expect these to take precedence over women’s experiences. This is a feminist space, and the female perspective is the most important here..

This is NOT a place where it is okay to turn discussions about the oppression of women into discussions about the oppression of men. “Debate” tactics such as, “but men also have problems” and “that’s a generalization” are not welcome. Refute the point or don’t, but do not skirt around the issue. (That goes for everyone, women included)

All women are invited to share their opinions, but if you are a man, you should have an understanding of the basics of feminism before you participate. Finally Feminism 101, which you can find in a link to on the right, would be a fantastic place to start. Most of your questions about feminist terminology and concepts will be answered there and it will save everyone involved a lot of effort if you take the time to go through that site.

If your comment is not posted, it’s because you are being an asshole, not because you hold an opposing viewpoint. I welcome thoughtful debate. As the inevitable stupid comments roll in, I will post examples of the kind of stuff that will not be approved.  Changes to the comment policy will be added as needed. If you would like to link to this blog, by all means, go ahead!