The Challenge!

1 Apr

Valerie of Valerie Speaks has a challenge for those who claim that feminist porn exists: send some in, along with an explanation of how and why it qualifies as feminist. I, too, have heard of the existence of feminist porn, but have yet to see anything of the sort and am quite interested to see if anyone can come up with anything. I know gambling is illegal and all, but I’ll bet any takers $100 that it doesn’t exist.

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170 Responses to “The Challenge!”

  1. Rachael April 1, 2009 at 10:24 AM #

    I am curious as to how this will turn out. I wonder if, even if feminist porn doesn’t exist, there is porn that is at least compatible with feminism.

    I look forward to the results.

  2. Faith April 1, 2009 at 11:56 AM #

    Cyberdyke.net is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to feminist porn. All of the performers are real lesbian or bisexual women. Many of them are in real relationships with each other. While the main performers still seem to fall within the thin, white, pretty range, they do have a variety of body shapes and sizes shown.

    They do have a “dark play” area which is SM porn. It is fairly mild SM porn for the most part, however, and not at all like the usual mainstream heterosexual porn.

    There’s also beautifulagony.com which is very, very mild porn. Not even sure if it can honestly be called porn or not. It is nothing other than people masturbating. They do not show anything (I don’t think) but the face as the person masturbates and has an orgasm. That’s all you ever see…the face.

    (note: I am not advocating these sites or giving them the complete stamp of approval. Just giving an example of the only sites I’ve personally ever seen which comes even remotely close to being what I would call feminist.)

    • Nine Deuce April 1, 2009 at 11:23 PM #

      Cyberdyke loses. There’s too much gender role bullshit going on.

  3. Faith April 1, 2009 at 2:11 PM #

    I’d also like to add that on the cyberdyke site, there is little to no degrading language. The performers are not (that I have seen), referred to as sluts, bitches, hoes, whores, worthless cum dumpsters, etc. This is true even with the SM porn. And obviously since it is lesbian porn, the focus is on female pleasure.

    • Nine Deuce April 1, 2009 at 11:23 PM #

      I read a few of the descriptions, and this one bothered me quite a bit:

      Dark Mistress January puts Natalie on her knees to suck silicone cock. January then bends Natalie over like a slutty puppy for a doggy style fuck. No romance here! Natalie does get one kiss out of her Mistress, but it’s really just a rough fuck.

      • delphyne April 2, 2009 at 5:59 PM #

        Dearie me.

        Nothing like a few rape/abuse reenactments to get the juices flowing.

      • Faith April 6, 2009 at 9:30 PM #

        I didn’t see anything like that on the site when I looked over it (quite some time ago).

        But, yes, that would obviously disqualify the site.

  4. Peridot April 1, 2009 at 4:05 PM #

    Hopefully you’ll get better results to this request than I did: http://www.peridotash.com/?p=583
    Good luck!!!

    • Nine Deuce April 1, 2009 at 11:26 PM #

      I saw your post awhile back, and it led me to the conclusion that it doesn’t exist (we’ll see, though). I’m not really looking for porn as in porn I would use, but rather for porn that somehow manages to either be feminist or not be anti-feminist. And I’d like someone who’s invested in claiming there’s such a thing to produce some and explain how it qualifies. I’m not holding my breath.

  5. Faith April 1, 2009 at 5:34 PM #

    Oh, there’s also “For the Girls”…

    forthegirls.com

    It’s a site run by women for women with lots of emphasize on men’s bodies instead of women’s and a focus on female pleasure.

  6. Faith April 1, 2009 at 5:52 PM #

    “But are these actually feminist?”

    ::shrugs::

    I think that would depend on a person’s definition of feminist.

    Some women would say that they are feminist. Others – like hardcore radical feminists – would undoubtedly disagree that anything pornographic can be feminist, no matter what was presented or how. Particularly if they are anti-capitalist, which coincidentally, I actually am. So, aside from the capitalist part, these sites seem to me to at least come close to obtaining the feminist label.

    • Nine Deuce April 1, 2009 at 6:26 PM #

      That’s the part I wanted to see, people’s justifications for why a particular bit of porn is feminist.

  7. Charlie April 1, 2009 at 6:41 PM #

    Depending on one’s definition of feminist, of course…

    Good For Her in Toronto has announced the
    2009 Feminist Porn Awards
    , using the following criteria:

    In order to be considered for a Feminist Porn Award, the movie/short/website/whatever! must meet at least one of the following criteria:

    1) A woman had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc. of the work.

    2) It depicts genuine female pleasure

    3) It expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film and challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn.

    And of course, it has to be hot!

    You can also find links for the winners for the
    last

    three

    years
    .

    Granted, the criteria are rather vague and they certainly leave room for debate regarding whether a film that meets them is necessarily “feminist”. But then, isn’t diversity of opinion part of what makes life interesting? And anyway, almost all of the movies that are nominated that I’m familiar with meet all three criteria, for what that’s worth.

    • Valerie April 2, 2009 at 1:40 PM #

      Charlie, any feminist porn guidelines that include Taormino are not stringent enough. And I’m sorry if you’re not getting this, but the main point I’m trying to make is that even porn which attempts to be feminist and follows the guidelines set forth by people who consider themselves feminist will inevitably end up being anti-feminist because

      1) We live in a patriarchy where people equate sex with the violation of women and/or the aggression of men and can’t help depicting these acts when they think they’re just depicting sex.

      2) Porn is made for money. Feminism doesn’t make money.

      Also, diversity of opinion may make life interesting, so long as we are talking about art or toenail polish or what have you, but when your diverse opinion is one which I see as directly supporting the process whereby I was raped, you’ve crossed a line. In the same vein, I am not interested or entertained by the KKK’s diverse opinion that many of my friends should die. Call me a censorship-loving humorless something-or-other, but it’s just too personal.

      Finally, I posted a comment to your blog which you may or may not publish, but please do consider the possibility that when a blog run by a “sex positive” white dude encourages internet-accessing, free time-having, English-speaking women who identify as “sex workers” to answer a survey about whether or not their therapy has made them “do better at work” so that the answers can be used as a guide for better practice by mental health professionals, you are in fact aiding in the conducting of racist classist anti-research. Please ask yourself whether this approach does something other than tease out a sample of the population which agrees with the preconceived notions of the original researcher and attempt to legitimate that researcher’s uninformed biases by having that sample stand in for all the people who disagree with her strongly.

      When you’re done, I invite you to write me an essay.

      • delphyne April 2, 2009 at 6:05 PM #

        Oh yeah, Taormino. Who can forget what she said about Gonzo porn?:

        “I’ve always made the joke that if you’re going to go to all the trouble of sticking my head in a toilet — a dominant image in some gonzo porn — at least I better get a really good orgasm out of it.”

        If the phrase Tool of the Patriarchy didn’t exist already we would have to invent it for Tristan.

        • Nanella April 3, 2009 at 7:11 AM #

          Ugh. You mean Tristan “Every woman would enjoy anal sex if she just gave it a chance!” Taormino? I’ve met men who use Taormino’s propaganda as justification for coercing their partners, or attempting to coerce their partners, into having “backdoor fun”. There is no epithet strong enough to describe her…”tool of the patriarchy” is far too forgiving.

          • Nine Deuce April 3, 2009 at 3:26 PM #

            Yeah, I’m sure the people they interviewed for that heinous Details article love her.

      • Charlie April 3, 2009 at 10:15 PM #

        1) Sure- if we start with the assumption that we all equate all sex with violation of women and/or the aggression of men, then there’s no way for sex to be anything other an a reinforcement of patriarchy. Once you define sex that way, then yes, there’s not a single depiction or act of sex that can be feminist.

        If that’s the case, anyone who responds to your challenge is set up to fail because no matter what someone might suggest around “feminist porn”, your definition of feminist doesn’t allow for the possibility of it. If, however, there’s room for the possibility for people to have sex and have it be something other than anti-feminist, then there’s the possibility that a video depiction of that can be something other than anti-feminist. At least until they participate in the capitalist system of selling it, I suppose.

        2) If feminism doesn’t make money, then selling a book that critiques patriarchy can’t be considered a feminist act since the author makes money doing it. In which case, Dworkin’s books weren’t feminist. Is that what you’re arguing?

        3) When I was referring to “diversity of opinion,” I was (pretty clearly, I thought) referring to the diversity of opinion around what makes something feminist or not. To jump from that to assuming that I’m talking about the Klan is quite a leap. And as a queer Jew, while I’m not first on the Klan’s list of people they hate, I’m not all that far from the top of it.

        If you think that people who have different opinions that you do are your enemies, then there’s not much I can say. By that definition, I’m your enemy even though I don’t see my self that way, nor do I see you as my enemy. I don’t see it as an either-or. But that’s up to you.

        I’ve posted a reply to your comment. Feel free to read it. I don’t think there’s any value in taking up space on this blog about it.

        • Valerie April 6, 2009 at 12:38 AM #

          Charlie, I’m really not sure if you’re intentionally misinterpreting me here, but let’s try again.

          1. I’m not saying that all sex in existence is based on male aggression and female victimhood. I am saying that enough people see it that way inside of a patriarchy that the odds of enough of them getting together to make porn are infinitely small. Also that most of those who are convinced that they have somehow overcome the tendency to equate horrific situations with regular old sex in a sexyposi feminist way are extremely deluded and are still making anti-feminist propaganda.

          2) Again, I did not state that all sex is antifeminist, but that all depictions of sex which I have ever seen, including all the supposedly feminist porn I have ever seen, was antifeminist.

          2) Okay, now I’m sure you’re doing this on purpose. Obviously Dworkin made money selling her books, but very very little. Feminism makes by far less money than any other alternative, which you absolutely must have noticed has been a major roadblock in the highway to success for even the most mildly “feminist” porn.

          Feminism makes some money, but not enough for most people to want to write books about it. Feminism makes some money, as does working at McDonald’s, but not enough that people find it desirable. I feel like the point was pretty obvious and you’re picking at the language in order to avoid addressing it.

          3) Diversity of opinion around what makes something feminist (and therefore okay) or not is in fact a matter too deeply important and personal to my life and the lives of all women for me to take your “diversity” very lightly. Again, your endorsement of the sex industry is an endorsement of my rape. I should not have to laugh this off and talk about how special it is that we all have our own unique feelings.

          4) I never called you the Klan. I pointed out that people who endorse violent crimes against the person of those I care about, as you do, don’t get away with it by bringing up some disingenuous argument about “diversity.”

          By the which way, it appears that you’re a well-off educated white dude. I appreciate that you’re Jewish and queer. I also appreciate that you’re still somewhere in the top 1% of the heap, worldwide. Telling me how much the klan hates you kind of makes me think you might not be aware of that last point. Think on it please? You’re actually farther from the top of that list than most I know.

          5) Casually and amiably spouting rhetoric which endorses extreme violence against my person makes you kinda jerky. Yes, I know that you were doing it in the friendliest tone ever. It still makes you a jerk. Yes, I know that you wrote something or other about how you can’t understand why I’m so angreeeee and you don’t get why I think you’re my enemy just because of your harmless little rape-loving opinions. Yes, I get that you see yourself as needlessly attacked because you were so gentle and kind about the wording with which you talked about how awesome rape is and I was all harsh and shit.

          The best I can do is suggest to you that the adopting a superfriendly tone and talking about how it’s very important that a person who loves freedom let you have your say doesn’t actually make the meaning behind it any less heinous. And maybe that the first person to get annoyed isn’t necessarily the one who’s wrong; sometimes it’s just the one who’s got a clue.

          • Faith April 6, 2009 at 11:49 AM #

            “Feminism makes by far less money than any other alternative, which you absolutely must have noticed has been a major roadblock in the highway to success for even the most mildly “feminist” porn.”

            Some feminists have made money by “selling” feminism. However, regardless of the fact that many feminists are anti-capitalist and seek to eliminate capitalism, we all still live within a society that makes it a necessity to have money in order to survive. Feminist have to pay their bills just like everyone else. Criticizing feminists for making money is quite a lot like criticizing women who are anti-patriarchy, yet marry because they live in a country which makes marrying a man a necessity for their survival.

      • hexy April 8, 2009 at 6:52 AM #

        2) Porn is made for money. Feminism doesn’t make money.

        While I’d agree that (in my view) capitalism is inherently anti-feminist, I’d disagree that when operating within a capitalist system, making income cannot be feminist. Financial empowerment and liberation of women is absolutely feminist.

        Incidentally, I’m completely without stance on the feminist porn thing, simply reading with interest.

    • karinova June 25, 2009 at 7:55 PM #

      Except for #3b (“challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn”), I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what these criteria have to do with feminism.

      1. Just because a woman was involved in the production, doesn’t mean it’s automatically feminist (or even not-anti-feminist). Need I mention the Pussycat Dolls?

      2. How would a viewer possibly be able to evaluate that? And what is “genuine,” vis-a-vis feminism? Surely it’s obvious that one’s personal likes/dislikes do not exist in an cultural vacuum?

      3a. Eh? The “boundaries” of moviesex expand every year, and not necessarily in good ways. Just a few years ago, the donkey punch was an urban legend whispered amongst teenaged pre-rapists. Today, it’s a full-blown porn reality, and it’s even crept into mainstream cinema.

      To call this a list of feminist criteria is patently ridiculous. Did any thought go into it? It’s like it was typed up in 40 seconds by the most oblivious “postpostfeminist” I could imagine. Incredibly, these people think they’re helping.
      (Note, I’m not trying to attack you personally Charlie— I’m sure you didn’t author it. In fact, I’m
      glad you posted it where I could see it, because it is such an excellent example of “with friends like these…”)

      • karinova June 25, 2009 at 9:20 PM #

        …fucking WordPress.

        I DID close out those italics, I promise.

  8. Faith April 1, 2009 at 8:00 PM #

    “1) A woman had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc. of the work.

    2) It depicts genuine female pleasure

    3) It expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film and challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn.”

    Yep, and I’d add does not involve any degradation, shaming, or humiliation of women.

    I also think using real couples is a step in the right direction since these people aren’t just having sex with one another for the money. They are having sex with one another because they already enjoy doing so and because they already have some to a great deal of respect for the other person.

    • tor April 2, 2009 at 6:53 PM #

      I’ve seen lists like this come up a lot during discussions of what feminist or woman-friendly porn might look like. Interestingly I hardly ever see “Made primarily for a female audience” as part of the criteria.

      I guess I find this disheartening. Because porn can (and sometime does) fall into the Good For Her criteria listed above, but still ultimately caters to the male gaze and male sexuality.

      For me at least, porn could only be considered feminist if it primarily caters to female sexuality and desire. Everything else could only be considered compatible with feminism at best.

      I suppose what I’m getting at is that as a hetero woman I am less interested in whether porn depicts realistic female bodies and genuine female pleasure, and more interested in whether porn sexualises *men* in a way that is arousing for women.

      Of course, if this was part of the challenge criteria then it would automatically be over. There is no porn made for a (straight) female audience. Except for yaoi, maybe (which has its own weirdness with depictions of femininity and sexuality).

      • Nine Deuce April 2, 2009 at 9:05 PM #

        Is objectifying men feminist? I kind of think as feminism as a movement geared at everyone being human all the time, know what I mean? Not that I’m breaking out the violin for men in porn.

        But, I do get your point. A lot of people will claim that if the woman depicted isn’t faking her orgasms and weighs more than 100 pounds (or has tattoos or something), that the porn is feminist, when it’s still about the male gaze.

        • Jenn April 3, 2009 at 2:26 AM #

          Although the objectifying men route has it’s own pitfalls. What little female-oriented porn I have seen actually uses descriptions of the depicted men violating you. Of course, this isn’t feminist at all.

          We also have to not be too hasty to dismiss intergender, transgender, lesbian, bisexual, or transitioning feminists. For example, because I am “homoflexible” I generally prefer to look at women, although men are sometimes nice. For the life of me, I have never stumbled across lesbian porn that doesn’t go out of its way to be even more degrading than straight porn, or at least put in some bullshit gender script and allude to the penis in the room (or fail to recognize any sex other than that which involves penetration with a pseudo-phallus).

          So it doesn’t have to feature only men to look at. I maintain that it could do both. But I absolutely do agree that it is highly problematic that the dialogue is still that porn obviously for the consumption of men and with the male gaze in mind is deemed “feminist”. Feminist porn should obviously be constructed with the feminist in mind, whether or not she is straight or even considered a “she” in the gender binary bullshit.

        • tor April 8, 2009 at 5:56 PM #

          I don’t think objectifying men is feminist. But I do think that sexualising them – acknowledging men as a target for female desire – is indeed feminist. Or at the very least not antagonistic to feminism.

          Of course that raises the question as to whether it is possible to sexualise someone without objectifying them. Or stickier still, whether objectification is always pathological. I’m on the fence with that one. But I know many radfems would answer with a resounding “Yes” to the latter question.

  9. Alexandra Erin April 1, 2009 at 8:25 PM #

    Perhaps when this challenge is finished you can help me find some feminist salad dressing?

    • Nine Deuce April 1, 2009 at 10:18 PM #

      Salad dressing is not a feminist issue, porn is. Nice try, though.

      • Alexandra Erin April 2, 2009 at 2:48 AM #

        Are shoes a feminist issue? I think we could find several ways in which footwear can be problematic at every stage of its production, from the way it’s manufactured to the way it’s marketed to the way

        The people who tell you they’ve seen feminist porn probably won’t be able to deliver, but that’s because they’ve bought into and are trying to counter a fallacious argument. They’re tilting at windmills, which makes them only slightly less ridiculous than the person who’s erected the windmill and thinks it’s a giant of an argument.

        The porn I enjoy sure as hell isn’t feminist. But neither is the dressing I put on my salad.

        Because of the media I prefer (prose, still illustrations), fewer people are exploited and they are exploited less producing the porn than are exploited making my favorite salad dressing.

        The porn’s not feminist, but it’s not problematic.

        • Nine Deuce April 2, 2009 at 3:06 AM #

          Yes, shoes can be a feminist issue.

          The porn is not feminist, but it’s not problematic? Are you serious? You don’t think porn is problematic? Incredible.

          • Alexandra Erin April 2, 2009 at 4:52 AM #

            I’m serious. I’m increasingly convinced that you aren’t serious about anything, though.

            Look at this. Look at what you did:

            The porn is not feminist, but it’s not problematic?
            You don’t think porn is problematic?

            You dropped the definite article. You changed the topic from being “this porn I’m talking about, of which I partake” to “PORN”.

            Look, I’ve got a plate of food in front of me. I made it from pretty close to scratch. I’m going to say the food in front of me is not unhealthy. If you took that statement and turned around and said that I was claiming FOOD IS ALL HEALTHY, it would be ridiculous… ridiculous of you.

            No, my porn is not problematic, insofar as anything in this world can be not problematic. Moreover, it’s a necessary outlet for me. You see, the things I enjoy: being spanked, being tied up, being called names, are so far outside the mainstream that I can’t get a man to do them to me in real life.

            When I ask for it, I’m usually looked at like I’m crazy, sick, perverted, weird, etc., and the interest in me usually disappears.

            I can’t wait for the post-patriarchal world to get here so I can’t get a decent spankin’. Until then, porn. It’s not feminist, but neither is my salad dressing.

            • Wen April 5, 2009 at 1:00 AM #

              Your porn isn’t problematic? I’ve actually heard this argument quite a bit. By saying that it’s a necessary outlet for you, you’re disregarding the women that go into the making of that porn. For your orgasm, for your pleasure, you are risking someone else’s pain. Are you absolutely sure that your porn isn’t problematic? That someone–a human being of your own gender–isn’t emotionally and physically distressed while making those films? How sure are you? I think that’s a bit problematic, actually.

              • Nine Deuce April 5, 2009 at 1:01 AM #

                I was waiting for someone to catch that one.

              • isme April 6, 2009 at 5:06 AM #

                Well…actually that’s sort of an awkward subject.

                Two reasons:

                1) You are going to get the “it’s bad, but they already made it, me using it doesn’t hurt the girl more than she was” argument

                2) More importantly…exploitation of people to produce things isn’t really seen as a big deal. We buy oil from the Middle East, tacitly supporting rather nasty regimes. Alot of our diamonds comes from slave labour in Africa. Our clothes and shiny plastic crap comes from sweatshops in Asia. I’m sure you could add alot of your own examples.

                If a person is to accept (ok, avoid thinking about) that my lifestyle is based around the exploitation of other human beings, is it that much of a jump for that person to accept that a woman is a human being, but still enjoy watching her be raped?

                • Faith April 6, 2009 at 4:57 PM #

                  “1) You are going to get the “it’s bad, but they already made it, me using it doesn’t hurt the girl more than she was” argument”

                  It does hurt a woman to have someone use porn that hurt them while it was being produced. How would you feel if you were exploited in porn and then had to live with the knowledge that people were not only profiting from your pain, but getting off on it?

                  “2) More importantly…exploitation of people to produce things isn’t really seen as a big deal.”

                  I see it as a big deal. And I do everything I reasonably can not to support products that I know have harmed people – or the environment – in order for them to not be produced. In cases where I do use products (such as oil) for my car, I support all efforts to move away from the use of these products…such as supporting the development of alternative fuels and “green” cars.

                  “is it that much of a jump for that person to accept that a woman is a human being, but still enjoy watching her be raped?”

                  Goddamn skippy it’s too much to accept. I mean, really, what in the holy fuck?

                  • Laurelin April 6, 2009 at 8:33 PM #

                    “2) More importantly…exploitation of people to produce things isn’t really seen as a big deal. We buy oil from the Middle East, tacitly supporting rather nasty regimes. Alot of our diamonds comes from slave labour in Africa. Our clothes and shiny plastic crap comes from sweatshops in Asia. I’m sure you could add alot of your own examples.”

                    Yes, if some horrible things are happening in the world, that makes it okay for us to support other horrible things. What the hell?! What happened to personal responsibility, conscience and pride?

                    “is it that much of a jump for that person to accept that a woman is a human being, but still enjoy watching her be raped?”
                    YES. If you see someone as truly human, as a person who deserves respect, honour, dignity and integrity, then you do NOT enjoy watching torture.

                    If you do enjoy that, well you need to fucking get yourself sorted out, and fast.

                    • sparklematrix April 6, 2009 at 8:49 PM #

                      “is it that much of a jump for that person to accept that a woman is a human being, but still enjoy watching her be raped?”

                      Accepting that someone is a human being (within this instance) appears to be a casual biological observation. To truly appreciate another human being’s humanity doesn’t warrant a ‘jump’ – for the emotionally healthy.

          • James April 9, 2009 at 12:31 PM #

            “You don’t think porn is problematic? Incredible.”

            You honestly find that hard to believe? That’s the standard issue belief for the majority of feminists. It’s only the religious fundamentalist sections of our society where most people object as you do.

            The vast majority of people disagree with your position & I’m pretty surprised that that hasn’t quite sunk in.

            • Nine Deuce April 9, 2009 at 2:33 PM #

              You’re wrong that most feminists don’t think porn is problematic.

              • isme April 9, 2009 at 3:24 PM #

                Well…is it even possible to determine what “most” feminists believe? I mean, given that it’s such a large and varied denomination…claims that various groups are only pretending to be feminist don’t help either.

                • Nine Deuce April 9, 2009 at 4:55 PM #

                  I think that even the most pro-porn of feminists would admit there are problematic aspects. I didn’t say most think it’s evil, I said most think it’s problematic.

                  • James April 9, 2009 at 9:48 PM #

                    But what Isme said, basically. Let us not even get in to the can of worms that is proscriptive self-assertion versus proscriptive definitions & the Sarah Palin conundrum!

                • James April 9, 2009 at 9:49 PM #

                  Grrr…That shoulda been descriptive self-assertion. Gaddamn jargon, I oughta lay off of the stuff altagether.

              • James April 9, 2009 at 9:47 PM #

                Well I could challenge you to an anecdote war, but it’d be better to return to my point: it’s pretty much hegemonic that porn is perfectly ok in most secular circles. I don’t think that you should be too surprised to see people espousing that view.

                • Faith April 9, 2009 at 11:52 PM #

                  “it’s pretty much hegemonic that porn is perfectly ok in most secular circles. ”
                  That view is espoused in most circles that are formed of mainly to completely men.

            • Faith April 9, 2009 at 2:57 PM #

              “That’s the standard issue belief for the majority of feminists. ”

              That’s completely 350% false. While some feminists are more accepting of porn than others, I don’t know of -any- who do not have some objection or see some problem with porn. Even Ren (the porn performer/stripper) admits that porn is problematic even though she supports the right for it to exist.

              • James April 15, 2009 at 7:04 PM #

                Well it’s peculiar that mainstream feminist websites don’t write about it that much, then…

                & I also suspect you are making the standard issue conflation of “Certain types of porn” with “All porn”. Very sneak, highly distorting.

                • Nine Deuce April 15, 2009 at 7:14 PM #

                  You don’t get to play the “who voted you spokesman” game here, because that leads us nowhere but to the kind of relativism that renders all social movements impotent. I operate from the position that someone who fails to call out misogyny and then calls herself a feminist is full of shit. And I’m sorry, but what Gayle pointed out is misogyny. I don’t know shit about Taormino because I don’t have time to know everything about every pornographer/pornographer who calls herself a feminist, but I do know that I’ve got a problem with anyone who supports Max Hardcore.

                  James, I have to delete half of your comments because they’re trollish. Stop trying to needle people. Sure, it may be true that most young people these says, women included, don’t think there’s anything wrong with porn. I know that an anti-porn stance is a radical stance. But that doesn’t make it the wrong stance, it just makes it the minority one. If you want to come here and point out that it’s a minority stance to people who already know that, what is your point? To imply that we’re wrong? Then say so, and we’ll argue from there. And if that’s not what you mean, then why are you even engaging in this?

                  • James April 15, 2009 at 7:41 PM #

                    You don’t get to play the “who voted you spokesman” game here, because that leads us nowhere but to the kind of relativism that renders all social movements impotent.

                    You don’t own the word feminism any more than Sarah Palin does.

                    • Nine Deuce April 15, 2009 at 7:43 PM #

                      Sorry, but yes I do.

                    • James April 15, 2009 at 7:48 PM #

                      Why?

                    • Nine Deuce April 15, 2009 at 7:49 PM #

                      Because I believe in human rights for all women and she doesn’t. See my post about her. Search for her name in the box on the right, there’s only one post on her.

                    • James April 15, 2009 at 7:53 PM #

                      So was the meaning of the word feminism handed down to us from the Heavens carved into unalterable stone or was its meaning crafted by humans? If its the latter it would seem as vulnerable to shifting meaning as any other words does, seeing as approaching language in a proscriptive rather than descriptive manner leaves us all linguistic deviants of the highest order…

                    • Nine Deuce April 15, 2009 at 7:58 PM #

                      OK, then I’m not a feminist. No one is. The whole thing is bullshit. Forget it, I’m going to go get drunk.

                      Seriously, dude, I’m not listening to any more of this sophomoric nonsense about the shifting meaning of words. I’m very proud of you that you’ve gotten to the point in your education at which you’ve come to realize that discourse is always discourse. I was really proud of myself when I got to that point, too. But then I realized that we have to make do with the language we have and be as precise as we can and just get on with it if we ever hope to get anything done.

  10. Charlie April 1, 2009 at 10:33 PM #

    So out of curiosity, would the criteria that Good For Her uses, perhaps with Faith’s addendum, qualify as feminist porn? If so, then I think that at least some of the films they list on their site would meet the challenge.

    In which case, do I win the cash? ;-)

    • Nine Deuce April 1, 2009 at 10:46 PM #

      You gotta write the essay for Valerie, then we’ll see.

      The problem I see is this: we are so inured to seeing women objectified and degraded that a lot of things will slip right by. For example, on some of the sites that Faith mentioned, there are images that seem downright respectful in comparison with the average bit of mainstream porn. But what we don’t notice is that the woman is still performing pleasure (overdoing it for the camera in ways the man is not), is still the center of the camera’s focus (meaning the porn is still about presenting objectified female nudity rather than mutuality), is still generally in line with the beauty standards laid down by the fashion and mainstream porn industries. We don’t notice things like unequal nudity, body positioning, etc. that indicate female subjugation because they’re so normalized, so we see something with relatively less degradation and think, “Hey, here’s something different,” when really it’s just at a different point on the same continuum.

      • radfeminising April 2, 2009 at 3:08 AM #

        Nine Deuce,
        You are completely right about the fact that the degradation, humiliation & objectification of women is so normalised we don’t even see it anymore.

        Pornography and feminism DO NOT EVER go together. Women having pleasure DOES NOT ALWAYS mean its feminist. When women are the one’s making these “films” it DOES NOT MEAN that they are women-centred. It needs to be thought of just a little but more than that.

        Pornography is ALWAYS harmful to women. And I am sick to death of people (& especially women) refusing to acknowledge this in amongst the pleasure that is sought from pornography.

        Of course its all in the definition of what would constitute feminism for each of us. That is the frigging problem. We can define it any which way that we want and you know what happens? It looses all meaning. Men are even labelling themselves as feminists! GET STUFFED!

        But I know one thing. Whatever way you define feminism – pornography WILL NEVER fit into that definition. Pleasure, yes – pornography no!

        • Aileen Wuornos April 16, 2009 at 1:25 AM #

          Saying pornography is ALWAYS harmful to women is like saying smoking a cone will send you schizophrenic and psychotic.
          Totally fucking unrealistic & in my oh so fucking humble opinion (because I am queen of the internetz!!1) just fear mongering really.

          It can and DOES happen to some people – but not all. Just like pornography is in part responsible for sexual slavery, human trafficking, exploitation of men AND women etc, some is made with genuinely good intentions. Some is made with nothing but the actors desires in mind – and they make it because THEY want to.

          It’s just a pet peeve of mine when people say something is ALWAYS XYZ. It’s generally more problematic and artarded than the actual issue at hand and just irks me.

          Generally speaking positions & whatnot are chosen in porn because it’s the easiest way to “show off ” body parts to the camera. It’s done to draw focus to that area – not 100% to degrade & humiliate women. I also don’t see how having to maintain a constant erection isn’t also “overdoing” things? I’m not trying to create a WATM argument here it’s just a thought I had.

          I love having days off work :D

  11. isme April 2, 2009 at 7:34 AM #

    Well, what do you consider pornography to be? And then what criteria must it meet to be feminist, or at least not anti-feminist? I mean, you have pornography, and you have erotic art, or other depictions of people with their clothes off, and there is a distinction in there somewhere, but I’m not sure exactly where. If you take pornography to be about sex or nudity, but in an immoral way, then no, there won’t be any feminist pornography. If pornography does overlap with fairly tame erotica, does that stop it from being anti-feminist? A picture of a person sitting around doing nothing but who isn’t wearing anything could be considered pornographic, and I’d say that it doesn’t neccesarily come with any negative baggage. Given the amount of porn around, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some.

    I’m reminded of a guideline for good Christian porn I saw somewhere. The characters having sex have to be married (unless it is illustrating the bad things which happen to to non-marital sex), both must be seen to enjoy themselves equally, no dirty talk or other degrading goings on etc. Not sure what became of whoever was behind that rule.

  12. audreydarling April 2, 2009 at 8:25 AM #

    “1) A woman had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc. of the work.”

    I can’t remember where I read this, but it was something along the lines of “mills and boon are written by women, for women, and that doesn’t make them feminist”
    I suspect that same line of thought applies to porn, just because a woman has made porn and even if women consume it, it doesn’t define the images as feminist.

    • Nine Deuce April 2, 2009 at 12:37 PM #

      Amen.

      • radfeminising April 3, 2009 at 9:46 AM #

        I second (I mean third) that!!

  13. Faith April 2, 2009 at 11:36 AM #

    “We don’t notice things like unequal nudity, body positioning, etc. that indicate female subjugation because they’re so normalized, so we see something with relatively less degradation and think, “Hey, here’s something different,” when really it’s just at a different point on the same continuum.”

    I notice these things.

    • Nine Deuce April 2, 2009 at 12:11 PM #

      Sorry, Faith. I didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t. I was referring more to the people who give awards for “feminist” porn.

    • Liselotte April 17, 2009 at 10:09 PM #

      Unequal nudity?
      I see unequal nudity the other way around. In very hot summers, males can go to topless in public- even in most schools! Girls, however, are called “slutty” if they go backfree, bellyfree or shoulderfree- let alone topless.
      I always remember those days in schools. Everyone, from first grade to 13th, thought of it as most natural: boys are okay with shorts, girls have to wear a t-shirt too. Same in the city, same at home. Been the only one to object.
      And no, not only adults were sexualized that way: even little girls of 11 or 12 had to cover their “breasts” no matter how tiny.

      Now it’s true that in a “sex sells” way, advertisements and publicity like to use topless women rather than topless men. Why, you might ask? Cause males don’t see no topless nudity in public. They associate topless females with sex. The same goes with porn, of course.
      So the way to see it (less topless females= more equality) is simply wrong.

      • Nine Deuce April 17, 2009 at 10:15 PM #

        In porn, unequal nudity equals vulnerability on the part of the nude person, which equals domination/humiliation in most cases. The reason you don’t see women naked in ads and naked in public is that our culture is incapable of seeing a breast as anything but a sex object, and our societal religious hangover means that sex = obscenity and shame, so if women are hanging around naked everywhere, it’s disruptive. Also, men think they own women’s sexuality, and if women were walking around naked, then men would feel their ownership over the rights to women’s sexuality was threatened. If women could go around topless and not be sexually harassed, I’d be stoked, but that’s not the case.

        • Liselotte April 17, 2009 at 10:26 PM #

          >In porn, unequal nudity equals vulnerability on the part of the nude person, which equals domination/humiliation in most cases.

          Says who?
          I know there’s a power imbalance in a lot of porn, but is it really in the unequal nudity?
          I’d rather say: men equate nudity with sex so (since most men are into women and porn is mostly geared towards men) the depicted woman has to be nude or partial nude. What men look like or wear doesn’t matter that much to straight men.

          >The reason you don’t see women naked in ads and naked in public is that our culture is incapable of seeing a breast as anything but a sex object, and our societal religious hangover means that sex = obscenity and shame, so if women are hanging around naked everywhere, it’s disruptive. Also, men think they own women’s sexuality, and if women were walking around naked, then men would feel their ownership over the rights to women’s sexuality was threatened. If women could go around topless and not be sexually harassed, I’d be stoked, but that’s not the case.

          Agreed here.

        • James April 17, 2009 at 11:38 PM #

          Also, men think they own women’s sexuality

          No they don’t.

          • Nine Deuce April 17, 2009 at 11:38 PM #

            Many do.

            • Liselotte April 17, 2009 at 11:54 PM #

              Agreed

          • syndicalist702 April 18, 2009 at 1:03 AM #

            You mean you don’t. You can’t possibly speak for all men.

            • Liselotte April 18, 2009 at 9:03 AM #

              It’s what society teaches them, though. There’s always exceptions.

  14. Faith April 2, 2009 at 11:37 AM #

    “Because of the media I prefer (prose, still illustrations), fewer people are exploited and they are exploited less producing the porn than are exploited making my favorite salad dressing.”

    Do you not see the contradiction here in your statement? You say that porn is not problematic, yet you prefer still illustrations because “fewer people are exploited”?

    Um, hello?

  15. Faith April 2, 2009 at 11:38 AM #

    “When women are the one’s making these “films” it DOES NOT MEAN that they are women-centred. It needs to be thought of just a little but more than that.”

    Nope, it sure doesn’t.

  16. Faith April 2, 2009 at 11:40 AM #

    Ahem…the last comment in reply to Radfem…I meant that a woman making porn does not automatically equal something which is woman centered. Not that we don’t need to think about it more…

  17. Valerie April 2, 2009 at 1:26 PM #

    So far absolutely nothing has come of it because pro-porn feminists (who appear to be checking out the link nonstop starting sometime approximately two days after I posted the page) are lazy and unintelligent (hence their political views) and therefore can’t write anything coherent about their most deeply held beliefs concerning feminism.

    While I agree that there is a wide spectrum of materials depicting what the creator perceives to be sex/sexuality which are in some way intended to titillate, I absolutely refuse to believe the argument that nobody knows what porn is, nor do I have much patience for the sort of person who tries to sneak in WhiteChicksBlackDicks5 because I said that I don’t have beef with the Venus of Willendorf.

    Porn = graphic depictions of the sexual acts of people* the consumer doesn’t know, sole or primary intent use as masturbatory material by porn consumer

    (these people need not be real)

    • Nine Deuce April 2, 2009 at 2:34 PM #

      I didn’t think you’d gotten many responses, but when I read the challenge it reminded me that I often let it slip by when people tell me in comments that there’s such a thing as “feminist porn.” I get too bogged down in discussing the theoretical possibilites of such a thing existing and forget to just ask people to produce some and explain how it qualifies. Your challenge does just that, and hence rules. Please let me know if anyone takes you up on it.

    • delphyne April 2, 2009 at 6:09 PM #

      The last time I asked for some sex pozzies to come up with feminist porn the best they could offer was Bend Over Boyfriend (instructions on how to bugger your boyfriend with a strap-on), because even in sexual media that it supposed to be about our pleasure, women have to be instructed on how to please men.

      It doesn’t exist.

    • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 8:46 PM #

      Ah yes, that’s it! They are all lazy or unintelligent! There’s the zinger! And further more, they should not exist!

      Funny, I just threw someone off my blog for talking that way about ND.

      Maybe they are tired of having the same discussion, yet again, about feminist porn and the possibility that it exists? Maybe after round 307,865,422 of the sex/porn/bdsm wars they do not feel like repeating themselves, yet again?

      Nah, they’re just all stupid and lazy. That’s the ticket!

      • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 8:55 PM #

        To be fair, IACB’s language was much gnarlier than Delphyne’s in this post.

        But I still would like to read a bit of analysis about a bit of individual porn someone thinks is feminist explaining why they think so.

        • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 9:06 PM #

          delphyne wasn’t who I was refering too.

          • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 9:15 PM #

            Ah, I see. Well, here it goes, the thing people at your place claim never do…

            Valerie, I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that pro-porn feminists are unintelligent or lazy. They might be wrong, but let us not stoop to the level of people like Nic or IACB or Anthony Kennerson.

            • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 9:22 PM #

              groovy.

            • Valerie April 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM #

              You’re right, Nine. Internet-based pro-porn fauxminists who I have heard of are, to the best of my knowledge, unintelligent and intellectually lazy (Sorry Ren). If you could help me in my research by telling me about someone who isn’t, that would rock.

      • hexy April 8, 2009 at 7:06 AM #

        Also, some of us who followed Ren’s link are neither “pro porn feminists” or promoters of the idea of “feminist porn”. Don’t presume that every stat hit you get from that link represents a “pro porn” woman unable to address your challenge.

  18. buggle April 2, 2009 at 3:54 PM #

    Yes, this is really interesting. I used to hear that a lot when I would complain about porn hurting women- “what about feminist porn?” But I never really got any good examples. I think there is a spectrum, and some porn is “less bad” but that doesn’t make it feminist, or good for women.

  19. Jenni April 2, 2009 at 5:55 PM #

    What about No Fauxxx?
    http://www.nofauxxx.com

  20. Charlie April 2, 2009 at 7:24 PM #

    “Porn = graphic depictions of the sexual acts of people* the consumer doesn’t know, sole or primary intent use as masturbatory material by porn consumer”

    I’m intrigued by this. I happen to know quite a few people in the industry, both in the mainstream industry as well as the smaller segments that include women-run companies. So does that make it something other than porn when I watch it, as compared to its being porn with it’s watched by someone who doesn’t know the people on the screen?

    Further, there are many reasons people watch video depictions of sex. Masturbation is one of them, and it’s certainly the most common, but what happens when people have sex together while watching porn? Since that’s not masturbation, does that make it “not porn” in those circumstances?

    Why do you feel the need to single out masturbation as the marker of “porn”? Given the long history of denigrating self-pleasure, that seems to connect to the concept of masturbation as “self-abuse.” Is that your intention?

    For many of the feminist definitions of porn that I’ve heard (from across the spectrum of feminism), it seems that intent on the part of the producer, participants, purchasers and viewers of porn is an important part of the definition. But that places the location of “porn” somewhere other than the images themselves and means that two people can watch the same thing without it being porn for both of them. Or two people could create similar (or almost identical) videos, with one being porn and the other not.

    I also would like to address something that radfeministing said: “Of course its all in the definition of what would constitute feminism for each of us. That is the frigging problem. We can define it any which way that we want and you know what happens? It looses all meaning. Men are even labelling themselves as feminists! GET STUFFED!”

    Is seems ironic to me that a radical feminist would use “get stuffed” as a pejorative, given the common use of “get stuffed” as another way to say “get fucked”, as well as the links between being the one penetrated and being considered less than the one doing the penetrating. To use the sexually receptive role as a pejorative seems, to me, to be antithetical to the foundations of feminism and social justice.

    • radfeminising April 3, 2009 at 10:07 AM #

      Good point! But it also proves mine. I take your point about language & the effects that this has – particularly when I myself always use language with multiple layers of meaning. However – it is also very unsurprising that some kind of phallic interpretation can be made for anything.

      But yes, it is something that I need to and will address when it comes to the language I use as I am always unawares to the level of gendered meanings to my language – so thank you for your reminder!! :)

      In response to your comment:

      “For many of the feminist definitions of porn that I’ve heard (from across the spectrum of feminism), it seems that intent on the part of the producer, participants, purchasers and viewers of porn is an important part of the definition. But that places the location of “porn” somewhere other than the images themselves and means that two people can watch the same thing without it being porn for both of them. Or two people could create similar (or almost identical) videos, with one being porn and the other not.”

      I have also heard people use that argument about rape. For a woman it is rape. For a man it is his right. His property. For one it was part of the sex. For another it was nothing but assault. At what point does reality become an important aspect of our “definitions”. This is the problem with theory and no practice (and theory without praxis) and specifically third-wave pomo approaches to the matter. If one refuses to define me as a woman does that mean I am not a woman? Or is it when I define myself as a woman I am. Can rape also be sex??? Can sex be rape? Can it not be rape because it was pornography??? Who gets the power to define?? It certainly is not usually women….or Indigenous peoples….or Black people….of Third World peoples…..

      Ah, the pornography debate is one that lives strong. I am all for the free speech idea….but in this case I opt for complete censorship & a complete overhaul of the ideologies that sustain harmful practices to women – INCLUDING MY LANGUAGE!! Again, cheers for the reminder to pull my head in!

      In sisterhood, RF.

      • Charlie April 3, 2009 at 7:15 PM #

        Thanks for the kind thoughts and open mind. And in that spirit, since you signed your reply “in sisterhood”, I think it’s only fair that I let you know that I’m a man. And as an ally and strong supporter of radical approaches to question, confront, and shatter hetero-patriarchal hegemony, I hope we can continue the dialogue.

        • radfeminising April 4, 2009 at 8:42 AM #

          I did not know you were a fella at the time of replying. A good lesson learnt on my behalf. I’m new to the blogging thing and my separatist life has infiltrated even my responses to the net – I forget that men are also involving themselves in such discussions.

          If I had paid a bit more attention my response would be closer to Sam’s. It certainly changes the consequence because as we know, gender does matter. Again, a good lesson learnt for me.

          As for the “In sisterhood” sign off, you can safely assume it was not aimed at men, so you can disregard that as aimed at you, and assume it goes out to all the women! Thanks again for the reminder of my language….

          But yeah, your responses down below are getting a bit defensive on your part. This is the consequence that Nine Deuce may have been alluding to in that when men get involved in feminist discussions they become defensive & derail the conversation- the topic is lost…So can we get back onto the topic…

          BTW, I am not sure how you can support pornography AND the shattering of hetero-patriarchal hegemony. Pornography is a by-product of that system (& helps sustain these systems) and is made possible by that hegemony!!!!!!!

          I think this conversation is becoming circular. So maybe we should get back on track about proving unequivocally that there is no such thing as feminist pornography.

          RF.

    • Nine Deuce April 3, 2009 at 9:06 PM #

      I think what Sam was trying to say is that you took time out here to call out RF on her language, but she wonders whether you do the same to those within the porn industry that you are acquainted with. It’s common for men, when discussing things with feminists on feminist blogs, to latch onto things like that to derail/avoid points/discredit.

      • Charlie April 3, 2009 at 10:18 PM #

        Ah. Well, then, yes. I do.

    • Valerie April 6, 2009 at 12:58 AM #

      Oh Charlie, look how much you’ve been writing while I was away! Home come none of it was an actual response to my challenge? My inbox yearns for your presence.

      Imagine when I say consumer that I was referring to “target audience” and not your very unique case. Then, try to address my actual points instead of playing semantics games.

      Porn’s target audience does not know the performers and uses porn for masturbatory purposes. If some people who buy porn sometimes deviate from the behavior which the business that made the porn was expecting in their target audience, the porn is no less porn.

  21. Sam April 2, 2009 at 10:19 PM #

    One can only imagine the strained hand Charlie has from writing emails, posts, and letters to his multitudinous friends in the mainstream porn industry to urge reconsideration of their gobsmackingly sexist language.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Charlie.

    • Charlie April 3, 2009 at 4:59 AM #

      Sam- what it is that you’re trying to communicate through sarcasm?

      It looks to me like you’re trying to shut down the discussion, or at least my participation in it, without actually addressing anything I said. If so, I invite you to tell me why that is. But please let me know if I’m misinterpreting your words.

      Assuming for the moment that you are trying to shut me down, I want to ask you- is it possible for you to disagree with me without attacking or trying to silence me? Or would you rather use passive aggression to denigrate me? I’m prefer it if you responded to what I wrote, but that’s up to you.

      I don’t think you need to silence anyone on this blog. After all, there already is a moderator.

      • Valerie April 6, 2009 at 1:01 AM #

        Gag.

        Seriously dude, you’re being fairly passive aggressive and refusing to address my actual points yourself. And you’re also showing a nasty habit of saying horrible shit with a smile on your face then getting shocked when it pisses people off cause you were like, smiling.

        What is that? I think it starts with a “p”…

    • gayle April 15, 2009 at 6:18 PM #

      HA!

  22. Jenn April 3, 2009 at 2:34 AM #

    Let’s put it this way:

    I was addicted to pornography for 2+ years. I spent hours every day, probably around 10+ a week, surfing porn. I never paid a dime, so I obviously had to frequent many sites. If there is a genre of porn out there, chances are that I have seen it.

    Guess what I haven’t seen? Feminist porn. I haven’t seen anything that doesn’t violate my feminist sensibilities, very obviously, within the first two minutes of the feature. And unlike some feminists, I’m not even straight, so I like to look at women. If anything, I should be less sensitive to oppression than people who don’t get a tingly feeling from women (which, of course, means that my own sexuality is problematic because I’m unused to seeing women as anything other than something for me to consume, and I sometimes like it even as I am mentally appalled).

    I maintain feminist porn doesn’t exist. I think the simple reason that it doesn’t is because the people who have a frank and honest feminist sentiments, who aren’t in it for the money or the sexy-cool-hip street cred, have way better things to do with their time—like fight the gradual erosion of abortion rights or advocate for the victims of acid attacks—than make porn.

    • isme April 3, 2009 at 1:49 PM #

      “who aren’t in it for the money or the sexy-cool-hip street cred”

      Hmmm…I was wondering. If we are to say that porn is anti-feminist because it is made for a male audience, is degrading, is made for money and so on…what do we say of people that take pictures of videos or pictures of themselves doing something in a sexual context, and distributing them on the net for no financial gain? I mean, does this constitute pornography, if it is not for money, nor constrained to the male fantasies of the day? Although hardly typical of…is “erotica” the word?…on the net, there are many, many people uploading all sorts of things, some of which are would be considered pornographic. Is the difference between pornography and “erotic art” that porn is done for the sake of making money?

  23. Laurelin April 3, 2009 at 7:20 PM #

    Feminist pornography cannot exist by definition. You cannot have a feminist ‘depiction of the whore’. Greek: porne = slave prostitute, raped daily in the public brothels of Athens, graphe= from graphos = I write, depict.

    ‘Whore’/ ‘porne’ is a misogynistic term, applied to women whom men can abuse with impunity, and near impunity. It comes from the sexual, political and economic subordination of women.

    My dear porn-defenders: If you’re going to try and pretend that feminist porn can be made, at least call it something else. I mean come on, little effort and basic background knowledge, huh?

    We live in a world in which women are routinely subordinated by sexual violence. The doctrine of submission and domination goes right into our very selves, so pervasive is it. I fail to see how nice happy egalitarian sexual material can be made in this context- but I will be happy to be proved wrong. However, I fear that attempts to do so will only harm women as a group, until we can free ourselves from these restraints.

    • Nine Deuce April 3, 2009 at 8:50 PM #

      Shhhh! You’ll give away the fact that it was a trick question!

    • Laurelin April 6, 2009 at 8:45 PM #

      Slight tangent on the ancient Greek thing… (yep, I am indeed an obsessive classicist!):

      I should also add that people should also take popular views on ancient Greek courtesans (hetaerae/ hetairai) with a pinch of salt. There is a huge tendency in the modern literature about them to glamourise what was actually a very hard and insecure life, in which one was liable to starve to death should one find oneself out of favour with men. The famous speech by Apollodoros/ Pseudo-Demosthenes, ‘Against Neaira’ (or ‘Neaera’), is a must-read for anyone who wants to pursue this further.

    • hexy April 8, 2009 at 7:10 AM #

      You cannot have a feminist ‘depiction of the whore’.

      I’m sure it’s no surprise that I quite heartily disagree. I expect many other sex workers who ID as feminists would as well.

      • Laurelin April 8, 2009 at 4:05 PM #

        My point is that the word ‘whore’ is a pejorative term used by men to denigrate women. Even more so is ‘porne’, with its class connotations. I do not believe it is a word that feminists should be using to describe women due to its weight of misogyny

        I think this old post of mine expresses best where I’m coming from on this: http://laurelin.wordpress.com/2007/01/19/the-power-of-words-ii/

        • hexy April 9, 2009 at 3:31 AM #

          Personally, part of my feminism involves rejecting the idea that there is anything shameful about class, or that the terms used to denote a person as low-class are insults.

          The word “whore” is also being reclaimed by sex workers worldwide… although I’m understandably reluctant to make a big deal out of that in most spaces. For one, most people are idiots when it comes to the theory and politics of reclaimed language, and for two, I will not be that person misogynist fuckwits point to when they insist THEY should be allowed to use the term.

  24. Lily April 5, 2009 at 4:28 AM #

    What about Annie Sprinkle’s (or a few other people) stuff from the 70s: basically self help videos about masturbation/manual sex/g-spot orgasms etc. Think Betty Dodson class with Tron-style background green-screened in.

    The films weren’t about male pleasure, weren’t intended for men, were made by women who identified as feminists and explicitly intended what they were doing to be feminist.

    • isme April 5, 2009 at 8:24 AM #

      They may not qualify as porn.

      I’m interested, though, in the point at which something to do with sexuality becomes pornography.

      • Lily April 5, 2009 at 4:33 PM #

        The people who made them called them porn, and they included graphic representations of sex or masturbation.

        • isme April 5, 2009 at 5:26 PM #

          They did? Hmmm…

          Though, it’s the definition of ND that matters for this discussion, though I don’t know if she has actually explained what she says constitutes porn.

  25. MariaS April 5, 2009 at 9:39 PM #

    Audio file of the women of WHISPER Action Group discussing pornography – an hour long but well worth listening to. (From the bottom of this page). I’m not sure when it dates from, possibly the early 1990s, but it comprehensively discusses all the usual arguments around porn: including, is “feminist” porn (defined broadly as porn produced by women)better than the normal sort? They basically say, a) it doesn’t escape the usual problematic objectification etc, and b) they’re sceptical that there was actually very much of this “feminist” porn around.

  26. RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 3:44 PM #

    I didn’t read all the comments, so these might be repeats: Candida Royale Films & Audacia Ray’s “the bi apple”…

    or maybe just google “the Feminist Porn Awards” and read about the films highlighted.

  27. Aileen Wuornos April 7, 2009 at 10:44 AM #

    Like a lot of people have said it really depends on your definition of feminist.
    Maybe the crash pad series? I haven’t seen any of its content though so I could never be sure. Or nofauxxx.com which to me just seems really, eh. Mediocre at best.
    Or Abby Winters.com, I know people who’ve worked for them and said nothing but positive things about how friendly the environment was.
    Or that one which is just peoples faces as they orgasm where you only see their face? I can’t remember what it’s called.
    But if you’re going for what people masturbate to then I guess it all depends on that. For me it’s Silence of the Lambs. Analyse that. Hahah.

    • hexy April 8, 2009 at 7:12 AM #

      Aileen: Beautiful Agony. The same people run I Shot Myself and I Feel Myself, which are again twists on the genre.

      I’ve known people who’ve worked for all of them.

      • Aileen Wuornos April 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM #

        oic. Cool beans. Thanks for filling me in on that one. If I didn’t find peoples sex faces creepy (there’s only so much therapy can really do for PTSD) I’d probably be all over those sites. I think I’ll just stick with jilling off to Silence and lady sovereign hahaha.

  28. Bean April 12, 2009 at 9:21 AM #

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. It’s intellectually lazy to have no interest in writing a five-page essay to someone about a piece of porn you feel is either “feminist” or “not anti-feminist,” despite the fact that said someone clearly could not ever be convinced that ANY porn was anything BUT anti-feminist, and is just going to use that essay to heat her home with.

    Yeah, I don’t think anyone is going to waste their time, either. Why should they bother fighting a battle they’ve lost before it was even declared?

    I know I’d have nothing to submit, because

    1) I’ve seen very little vanilla porn that I didn’t feel was completely vile, and the little I’ve seen that wasn’t I don’t think I even bothered to save.

    2) The porn (videos, since a discussion of stories would be long and complicated) which I feel to be about as unobjectionable as it’s currently possible to be – videos made by real couples (for no money, since that’s important), both of whom are vocal about their enthusiasm for said videos, which features them having a good time, laughing and expressing mutual pleasure – would undoubtedly be rejected outright on the grounds that they’re slightly kinky. We already know the general opinion of your friends on that one.

    Really, who’s going to bother? Someone really, really masochistic, maybe.

    It’s nuts that this so-called “challenge” is something that anyone is holding up as proof that the “other side” has nothing. If the “other side” really does have nothing, this isn’t the way to go about proving it.

  29. Dana April 12, 2009 at 2:26 PM #

    We just had a “feminist” pornographer come speak at our school last week. It was horrible and painful to sit through, especially since everyone else in the room thought she was hilarious and completely correct in her views, clapping at any chance they got. She also said she doesn’t think Max Hardcore should be in prison (though she said he should be in hell, not sure how that would help anything) saying that she doesn’t believe in what he does, but that she would die to defend his right to do it, or some such nonsense–copious applause followed.

    I’m of the belief that there is no feminist porn–not going to try to show you any. Her name was Tristan Tarimino (not sure on the spelling..). Have you heard of her? Opinions?

  30. kendallmck April 14, 2009 at 7:48 PM #

    How coincidental. I have just been asked by my good editors at Sadie to write an article on the Top Feminist Porn Flicks. I told them I’d have to think about it.

    I’m a little torn on this one. As a woman who enjoys erotic materials, I hate the idea that it’s impossible to create and distribute this stuff in a way that’s not inherently damaging to women’s liberation etc. But um, based on what I’ve seen, it kind of is.

    So if you do come across anything that remotely passes for “feminist” in your challenge, kindly send it along, because my writing gig kind of depends on it. Please and thank you.

    • Nine Deuce April 14, 2009 at 8:25 PM #

      It’s not looking good so far.

      • Nine Deuce April 14, 2009 at 9:23 PM #

        If it were me, I think I’d opt out of writing that. It seems to me like the tokenism involved in praising “feminist porn” (if it does turn out to exist) takes us further away from being able to discuss the problems inherent in mainstream porn. But I’m one of those anti-sex types (har har).

        • kendallmck April 15, 2009 at 5:51 PM #

          I already did explain that if I did end up writing the thing, I would be hesitant to label whatever I review as “feminist,” considering that a vast number of feminists, well, don’t see any porn as being “feminist.” I don’t feel comfortable co-opting the movement’s label for something that many people would see as being the opposite of feminist. I also told them that if I wrote it, there would be at least a paragraph or two explaining the controversy with “‘feminist’ porn” and why many feel that it’s an impossible oxymoron, as well as outline the problems with mainstream pornography, effectively making it a pretty lecture-y article and not the sexyfun fuck films fest it seems like they’re after.

          This is an issue I’ve been battling for years. I still don’t have an answer.

  31. Gayle April 14, 2009 at 10:41 PM #

    Her name was Tristan Tarimino (not sure on the spelling..). Have you heard of her? Opinions?

    I’ve heard of her. She’s yet another pornographer who makes (or has made) something of a living writing in favor of the “sex” industry in the alt mainstream press. Used to write for the Village Voice.

    She can go straight to hell. Leave Max whats-his-name to rot in jail.

  32. Gayle April 14, 2009 at 11:00 PM #

    “We just had a “feminist” pornographer come speak at our school last week.”

    Out of curiosity, why is a pornographer* speaking at your school, anyway?

    She’s being labeled a “feminist” pornographer only because she’s a woman pornographer. Interesting how that works.

    • Aileen Wuornos April 15, 2009 at 9:27 AM #

      Maybe they’re a film student. A lot of people start out in that industry & move on to “legit” films later – why? Because it makes them $$$

      • gayle April 15, 2009 at 6:03 PM #

        I went to film school. No one invited any porn people into my classes.

        • Aileen Wuornos April 16, 2009 at 1:31 AM #

          Well. Stranger things have happened ya know, and I just try and examine as many possibilities as possible. I like questioning myself (when I want to though ;)) – that’s why I read here.

          I’m not sure where I read it – but I know somewhere here (Australia) there’s been something like this before. Or maybe it was the U.S – it’s too early for my brain to function at its regular 95% capacity.

    • kendallmck April 15, 2009 at 6:24 PM #

      (Oh but I AM disappointed to hear her say anything even remotely supportive of Max Hardcore, who I think should be executed.)

      She was labeled as a “feminist pornographer” not just because she’s a woman – she was labeled as such because that’s what she considers herself and is very much active in the community. Nobody has ever called Jenna Jameson a “feminist pornographer.”

      • Nine Deuce April 15, 2009 at 6:28 PM #

        Actually, someone once told me they thought Jenna Jameson was a “feminist pornographer.” It was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I was talking to these three people in a bar in Atlanta, one of whom was male and two of whom were female, and the two women told me they thought that Jenna Jameson could be considered a feminist pornographer because she was producing porn instead of just starring in it, and so was creating a “woman-friendly space in a male-dominated field.” Interestingly, only the dude agreed with me that there was no way it was appropriate to call Jenna Jameson a feminist. One of the 6578 reasons I think women in Atlanta are all secretly heavily into taking acid.

        • Aileen Wuornos April 16, 2009 at 1:33 AM #

          Man, I’ve got limited issues with pornography but I’m not even going to try and defend THAT beauty. Jenna Jameson =/= feminist pornographer.
          wtf?
          I hope you seriously ripped them a new one after that.

      • gayle April 15, 2009 at 6:38 PM #

        Last time I read an article by her she was talking about blow jobs in porn and how men don’t want porn actresses to act like they are enjoying themselves as they give them. She wrote about how male directors instructed porn actresses to look like they were appalled, disgusted, scared, etc., while giving them. She concluded men want to view blow jobs as violation.

        She did not cast a feminist eye on this phenomenon. She did not criticize it at all. In fact, she presented it as a marvelous fact about men and about porn and even mentioned how it explained the popularity of a certain porn actress who keeps her hands behind her back and looks particularly vulnerable while she’s giving blow jobs.

        If your writing an article about the graphic representation of rape as entertainment in the Village Voice and you can’t even touch on the fact that their might be a problem inherent in that, you lose the right to call yourself a feminist. You’re officially on the other side.

  33. Laurelin April 15, 2009 at 11:02 AM #

    Don’t forget that she loves to tell women just how great anal sex is! How thoughtful of her to help men emotionally blackmail women into performing acts they may not want to perform!

    Yeah, that’s well feminist.

    A woman pornographer is still a pornographer.

    • kendallmck April 15, 2009 at 6:20 PM #

      Tristan Taormino lectures quite a bit on feminist and GLBTQ issues, is quite active in the lesbian feminist community, and advocates for the polyamory and non-traditional relationship community . As far as her anal “expertise,” I’ve read nothing from her that could even be considered “helping men emotionally blackmail women into performing acts they may not want to perform…” Rather, her goal is to de-stimatize anal sex and refute the idea that it’s something that only gay men and desperate, “easy” trashy women want or “good” girls reluctantly agree to do to please a partner. She never advocates for people engaging in sex acts they’re not comfortable with for the pleasure of someone else. Rather she tries to bust anal sex myths and get people to understand and confront their initial hesitation about anal sex and help them to comfortably explore it…if theywant to. There’s a fine line between talking people into something and educating and speaking truthfully about something and allowing people to come to their own conclusions, but I’ve never seen Tristan cross it. She would never encourage people to engage in acts they didn’t really want to, though she acknowledges that many of the reasons people give for not being open to anal are based on archaic, homophobic, and sexist stigmas. She’s there for the people who already want to learn more about anal and are interested in exploring it, but want to do so in a way that’s safe and pleasurable.

      I understand if people aren’t thrilled with her because she does advocate for, produce, and star in certain pornographic films, but let’s not paint her as some anti-feminist anal-rape encouraging menace. She’s done a lot to bring feminist issues surrounding sexuality to mainstream audiences.

      I also don’t see what’s wrong with “telling women how great anal sex is.” Did it ever occur to you that she says this not to convince a bunch of scared, unwilling victims to succumb to their misogynist boyfriend’s desires, but rather because, um, she’s a woman who enjoys anal sex and thinks it’s possible for other women to enjoy it too? As a woman who loves anal (yes, we exist, and not because we’ve been tricked by the patriarchy), I can assure you that we’re not all doing it because we finally caved into our boyfriends’ whining. Sheesh.

      I’m not even attempting to convince people here that she’s a feminist, or a “good” feminist, or the “right kind” of feminist, or that all of her actions are 100% liberationist and she can do no wrong, it just sounded like people on here didn’t know much about her, so I thought I’d shed some light.

      More info on her:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_Taormino

      • Laurelin April 16, 2009 at 12:25 PM #

        Did it ever occur to you that survivors of sexual violence who are reading this thread might not want to hear about your anal sex life? Or may not want to see what was used to destroy and humiliate them promoted as harmless?

        Whatever Taormino intends, is not the point. What she is doing is irresponsible- anal sex is used to torture and humiliate women by rapists. And many women *are* bullied and coerced into it.

        ‘She would never encourage people to engage in acts they didn’t really want to, though she acknowledges that many of the reasons people give for not being open to anal are based on archaic, homophobic, and sexist stigmas.’

        No, the reason women don’t tend to what anal sex is because it is *fucking painful*.
        The accusation of homophobia here is used by abusive men to shame women into agreeing to anal sex. And before you ask, I know it because it was done to me, and it was done to other women I have spoken to.

        As for ‘stigma’, a sex act is not a person that can have a stigma attached to them, or that can be unfairly disadvantaged or oppressed by others! It does not matter what ‘stigma’ is attached to anal sex- if a women doesn’t want to do it she doesn’t want to do it. The reason is irrelevent.

        If you have a gut reaction, a visceral reaction to an act then that means you don’t want to do it. If some women like anal sex, whatevs. But their liking of it does not mean that anal sex should be promoted gaily as if it were a harmless little game that only homophobic, oppressed, prim-and-proper prudes would refuse to do. Women not wanting to engage in a particular sex act are not lost souls who need enlightening. They are human beings with integrity that should be respected.

        if Tristin Taormino cared about the emancipation of women, she would not be making pornography or going on about the wonders of anal sex. Saying ‘Well you should never do an act you don’t want, and I would never *dream* of making you, BUT the reason you don’t want to is because you are an homophobic prude’ is manipulative, abusive and at best irresponsible.

        Taormino should know better. I’ll stick to listening to feminists who care about women’s freedom, thanks. Not someone out to make a pile.

        • delphyne April 16, 2009 at 5:07 PM #

          Brava Laurelin. I agree with every word.

          Tamaorino is an idiot and an enemy of women (friend of men who hate women though).

        • James April 16, 2009 at 10:18 PM #

          “No, the reason women don’t tend to what anal sex is because it is *fucking painful*.”

          Does this not render the predilection of male homo/bisexuals towards the act somewhat curious? I know that what Stephen Fry has to say on the matter is (as always) worth bearing in mind, but even his blase ambivalence would appear to be something of a minority opinion.

          I’m not calling you a homophobe, I just can’t understand why so many people would desire it if you are correct. It’d be pretty peculiar.

          I also don’t think it’s fair or accurate to equate the experience someone would have with anal rape to consensual anal sex, given that according to those in a position to advise people on the matter a lot of avoiding discomfort comes down to relaxing the sphincter. That’s something which I can easily imagine occurring during mutually desired sex, but is harder to envision during an assault.

          • Laurelin April 16, 2009 at 11:15 PM #

            James, I told you earlier in one of these threads to never address me again. No means no, sweetiepie.

            And don’t ever dare lecture me on anal sex or rape. As a man, you have no right. Fuck off.

        • kendallmck April 16, 2009 at 10:24 PM #

          Ok, let’s set aside Tristan for a moment…people have every right to form whatever opinion on her they want to based on what they know. Again, I said very plainly that I wasn’t trying to convince anybody here that she is, in fact, a feminist or convince people to like her – I was really just trying to share what I knew about her, which apparently wasn’t much, and I’m willing to concede to that. Given new information that I’ve learned about her from this thread, I don’t know that I’d even consider her to be a feminist – my real point was that she does, correctly or incorrectly. Moving on…

          Did it ever occur to you that survivors of sexual violence who are reading this thread might not want to hear about your anal sex life?
          Did it ever occur to you that I might actually also be a survivor of sexual violence? I think it’s pretty dangerous, not to mention hurtful, to talk to me like I’ve never experienced sexual violence, just because I’m talking about consensual sex right now.

          Rape and sexual assault and everything that falls under that umbrella are horrific, awful, hate crimes. My heart goes out to anybody who has experienced any degree of it. I am deeply apologetic if anything I said was triggering and/or upsetting. It wasn’t my intention – I was trying to contribute to the conversation in a constructive way. I didn’t realize that I was saying anything that would be triggering, since the topic of anal sex and the words were used and the discussion was established before I got here. I did not assume that admissions of enjoying consensual sex acts would be triggering, which perhaps was short sighted of me.

          I wasn’t bragging about my sex life or trying to get my jollies by being all TMI, but I have every right to correct the idea that no woman would ever enjoy anal sex act without being abused or coerced or “blackmailed”, which is what I was doing. I resent the implication that I’m a fucking tool of the patriarchy or a hater of sexual assault victims or a victim myself because I truly enjoy something that I have 100% enthusiastically and genuinely consented to.

          Or may not want to see what was used to destroy and humiliate them promoted as harmless?
          When you say “may not want to see what was used to destroy and humiliate them promoted as harmless,” you’re taking context out of the situation. Please understand that I am not trying to dismiss your or anybody else’s feelings, and if that’s truly how you feel about people talking about enjoying anal sex, I’m not about to tell you you’re wrong for feeling that way. But I think it’s important to note that “sex” and “rape” are not interchangeable. I would never “promote” sexual assault as being harmless, I was simply explaining that some women really do enjoy this sex act, which yes can be harmless when, and ONLY when, it is truly enthusiastically desired. I wasn’t saying that EVERYBODY should love it, or that it’s not possible for it to be used in a horrific way that violates someone’s human rights. Just because something can be used for evil, doesn’t mean the thing itself is evil.

          What she is doing is irresponsible-anal sex is used to torture and humiliate women by rapists. And many women *are* bullied and coerced into it.
          You will find NO argument from me about the second part here. Nobody in their right mind would refute this claim, which is very unfortunately true. But again, anal sex is not rape – rape is rape. Every and all conceivable types of sex are also used to torture and humiliate women by rapists, and many women are bullied and coerced into them as well, but I don’t think anyone would claim that enthusiastically consenting adults free from any kind of coercion shouldn’t have vaginal intercourse or oral sex etc. or call someone “irresponsible” for talking about why they like it and how it’s enjoyable when done respectfully.

          No, the reason women don’t tend to what anal sex is because it is *fucking painful*.
          Again, people have every right to not like whatever sex act they don’t like for whatever reason, including that they feel it’s painful which is obviously one of the best reasons to not participate in something. But this experience with anal sex is not universal – it is not painful for everybody. People are, you know, different. If it’s painful, or uncomfortable, or not enjoyable, IT’S OK TO NOT DO IT. If you enjoy it and it’s not painful and it feels good, IT’S OK TO DO IT.

          The accusation of homophobia here is used by abusive men to shame women into agreeing to anal sex. And before you ask, I know it because it was done to me, and it was done to other women I have spoken to.
          I don’t doubt that this happens, and again, I am truly sorry for your experience and the experiences of the women you know. I would never justify this type of abuse or coercion. I just want to clarify that when I was speaking about the homophobic stigma, I was talking about it in terms of men enjoying receiving anal play but being afraid that it meant they were gay (which happens a lot). Again, I apologize if this was triggering.

          It does not matter what ’stigma’ is attached to anal sex- if a women doesn’t want to do it she doesn’t want to do it. The reason is irrelevent.

          If you have a gut reaction, a visceral reaction to an act then that means you don’t want to do it.
          I don’t know why you think this needs to be explained to me or where you’re getting this idea that I believe people should be shamed, guilted, convinced, or talked into doing something they don’t want to do. If you don’t want to have anal sex, DON’T HAVE ANAL SEX. There are plenty of reasons NOT to participate in any number of sex acts, and “I don’t want to,” is certainly one of them and you’re absolutely right that whatever the reason is, it’s irrelevant – there doesn’t even NEED to be a reason: if you don’t want to, you don’t want to! Again, nobody in their right mind would refute this.

          Whether you want to believe this or not, there are people who actually enjoy something or want to try something but are afraid/ashamed/embarrassed because of incorrect assumptions or myths. I am a sex columnist and I have worked in a sex store, and I lost count of the number of times that I would get questions like “doesn’t that make you gay if you like xxxxx?” or “I want to try xxxxx, but doesn’t that mean I’m a slut/freak etc.?” or “xxxx feels really good, but isn’t it dirty or wrong?” These are the “stigmas” I’m referring to, and they are rooted in homophobia and puritanical and patriarchal ideas about sex. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with correcting homophobic or medically inaccurate assumptions about a sex act – of course I DO think it’s wrong to use any of that information to coerce an unwilling participant into submission. There is a big fucking difference between these two things.

          And, for the record, the people who came in to my store seeking advice on how to “convince” their unwilling partners to participate in sex acts were given a stern lecture about sexual assault, told their business wasn’t welcome, and asked to leave.

          If some women like anal sex, whatevs. But their liking of it does not mean that anal sex should be promoted gaily as if it were a harmless little game that only homophobic, oppressed, prim-and-proper prudes would refuse to do.
          …and if some women hate anal sex, whateves, but their hating of it does not mean it should be considered a universally painful, damaging, patriarchal, abusive, victimizing act that women should be ashamed of or wrong for liking. There is a spectrum here – I don’t understand why you’re making everything so absolutist. There is a way to discuss sexuality that is informative, constructive, and non-coercive.

          For fuck’s sake, nobody is suggesting rounding up women and forcing them to take workshops on the virtues of anal sex, and telling them they’re homophobic prudes if they don’t like it. Seriously, where are you getting this? Saying “Many people think that liking anal sex makes you gay, and/or a ‘freak,’ but this is not true and if you want to explore it you should feel comfortable doing so” does not equal saying “you don’t like anal? Well, you’re a ‘homophobic, oppressed, prim-and-proper prude’ who should just get over it!” Christ on a cracker.

          Women not wanting to engage in a particular sex act are not lost souls who need enlightening. They are human beings with integrity that should be respected.
          Um, women wanting to engage in a particular sex act are also not lost souls who need enlightening. They are human beings with integrity who should be respected.

          if Tristin Taormino cared about the emancipation of women, she would not be making pornography or going on about the wonders of anal sex.
          The porn part I’ll give you, but not the second half. I don’t see the problem with expressing your enthusiasm about a particular consensual sex act that you enjoy, especially when you consider that a big part of feminism includes encouraging women to be comfortable with their sexuality, and feel entitled to a satisfying sex life.

          Again, I say this not to defend every single thing she’s ever done (many of which, from comments on this thread, are totally reprehensible), but liking anal sex, talking about why you enjoy it, and allowing people (both men and women, btw) to feel more comfortable exploring it if they want to does not seem to be inherently unfeminist to me.

          Saying ‘Well you should never do an act you don’t want, and I would never *dream* of making you, BUT the reason you don’t want to is because you are an homophobic prude’ is manipulative, abusive and at best irresponsible.
          Oh for fuck’s sake. Neither she nor I have ever said that. Again, there IS a difference between sweeping, coercive, shaming statements and addressing widely-believed incorrect assumptions.

          Yeah, I derailed this thread like whoa and I’m sorry for that. But I’m not about to sit around while I’m made out to be a rape apologist.

          • Laurelin April 16, 2009 at 11:38 PM #

            “Did it ever occur to you that I might actually also be a survivor of sexual violence? ”

            Yes.

            “I am deeply apologetic if anything I said was triggering and/or upsetting.”

            Thank you. Appreciated.

            “but I have every right to correct the idea that no woman would ever enjoy anal sex act without being abused or coerced or “blackmailed”, which is what I was doing. I resent the implication that I’m a fucking tool of the patriarchy or a hater of sexual assault victims or a victim myself because I truly enjoy something that I have 100% enthusiastically and genuinely consented to.”

            I never said any of these things. I said nothing about *all* women and I did not call you any of the names you have listed here. Nor shall I.

            “Please understand that I am not trying to dismiss your or anybody else’s feelings, and if that’s truly how you feel about people talking about enjoying anal sex, I’m not about to tell you you’re wrong for feeling that way.”

            I didn’t think that was what you were trying to do; I was pointing out the way in which Tristan’s words can and are used by abusive men.

            “But I think it’s important to note that “sex” and “rape” are not interchangeable. ”

            I did not say they were. Nor shall I.

            “I don’t doubt that this happens, and again, I am truly sorry for your experience and the experiences of the women you know. I would never justify this type of abuse or coercion. ”

            Again, thank you. I did not believe that you were saying rape is okay.

            “I don’t know why you think this needs to be explained to me or where you’re getting this idea that I believe people should be shamed, guilted, convinced, or talked into doing something they don’t want to do. ”

            Again, I was pointing out how the ‘stigma’ argument is used and how potent a weapon it is in the hands of abusers. I don’t know what men worry about (being seen as gay), and tbh I don’t really care- men are not my priority. What I do now is that such ‘oh you’re just saying you don’t wnat it because of the stigma’ statements are used against women.

            “There is a spectrum here – I don’t understand why you’re making everything so absolutist.”
            I don’t think I am being ‘absolutist’- I am pointing out the context in which anal sex is discussed and cheered on- one in which this act is routinely used to humiliate, punish and torture women. Most women in my experience have no initial interest in anal sex, have a visceral reaction against the idea of it, and have only partaken of it at the suggestion or emotional manipulation of men. We have to think of acting responsibly in such a social context, and we have to be aware of how our words can be used against us. This is especially pertinent in Taomorino’s case as she makes pornography which is also routinely used in the sexual abuse of women and girls, with prostituted women often made into living pornography. Things like ‘The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women’ can be used against women, and are: ‘see you just have to give it a chance’, ‘it won’t hurt if we do it properly’, ‘you must be homophobic if you don’t want to’ etc (all above excuses used on me).

            “For fuck’s sake, nobody is suggesting rounding up women and forcing them to take workshops on the virtues of anal sex, and telling them they’re homophobic prudes if they don’t like it. Seriously, where are you getting this? Saying “Many people think that liking anal sex makes you gay, and/or a ‘freak,’ but this is not true and if you want to explore it you should feel comfortable doing so” does not equal saying “you don’t like anal? Well, you’re a ‘homophobic, oppressed, prim-and-proper prude’ who should just get over it!” Christ on a cracker.”

            Okay, now I’m confused. A minute ago you were apologising for any hurt you might have caused- a gesture which I thoroughly appreciate- and now you are swearing at me. I fail to see how me pointing out how anal sex is used to torture women and how the arguments used by Taomorino and her ilk can and are used by abusive men merits this rant.
            Two things 1) I don;t doubt that women go to these ‘workshops’ willingly, but I likewise don’t doubt that women go to them under emotional durress, and 2) these arguments have been used against me in this way. No matter how much that upsets you, that is the truth. That is precisely what has been said to me, using the logic of pro-anal sex ‘sexperts’.

            “Oh for fuck’s sake. Neither she nor I have ever said that.”
            Don’t speak to me like that. I did not accuse you. I am telling you the subtext of Taomorino’s assertions. I tell you from experience.

            “Yeah, I derailed this thread like whoa and I’m sorry for that. But I’m not about to sit around while I’m made out to be a rape apologist.”

            I am also the mega-derailer.

            I did not call you a rape apologist. During this reply you seem to have got successively more pissed off with me after being initially apologetic. Now I can only assume that that is because you took what I said as a personal attack on you, which it was not. I attacked Taormino’s arguments, and showed decisively how they are utilised by abusive men to break down female resistence. I was very clear.

            • Laurelin April 17, 2009 at 12:25 AM #

              Missed this first time around:

              “Um, women wanting to engage in a particular sex act are also not lost souls who need enlightening. They are human beings with integrity who should be respected.”

              Nothing I have said violates the integrity of women who want anal sex. All I have done is prove that it is not unproblematic nor responsible to be dispensing advice about how wonderful anal sex is in a context of male sexual violence against women.

            • kendallmck April 17, 2009 at 1:32 AM #

              I was both apologetic and incredibly pissed off throughout the entire thing. I will never hesitate to apologize for hurting somebody, especially when discussing something as atrocious as sexual assault, but a lot of what you said and the way you said it was actually really hurtful, disrespectful and offensive to me. You’re absolutely correct in your observation that I became increasingly irritated in my reply (this can happen when you’re sitting for hours in front of a computer defending yourself line by line) and I definitelly took what you said as a personal attack – if you re-read your comment, it’s not really a stretch.

              So no, you were not “very clear.” At least not to me. I’m sorry if I misunderstood what you were saying, but, whether or not I’m correct, at no point did it not feel antagonistic to me. I’m choosing to not address the other points in your last comment, not because I don’t object to some of them (which I do), nor because I don’t agree with others (which I also do), but because I’ve been sitting at this desk for 12 hours and I’m about to die – the ol’ “I don’t have the time or energy for this” cop out. *Shrug* Did the best I could.

              • Laurelin April 17, 2009 at 2:29 AM #

                I’ve re-read my comment as you suggested, and I still don’t see how it could have been read as anything other than a rebuttal/ critique of Tristan’s arguments and their consequences. But then again, I wrote it knowing exactly what I meant, and of course it won’t necessary read that way to the observer who is not outside my brain.

                I suppose as I was attacking arguments made by TT that you agreed with (?), *that* is how you saw it as a personal attack. Okay, that makes more sense to me (I’m thinking as I’m typing!). It was not my intention to be offensive or disrespectful, but it was my intention to draw attention to the way in which these arguments can be used, and to show women the fallacy of these arguments.

                I’m not someone who expects answers to comments on threads, or who expects others to dedicate time and energy to answering them, fwiw. I don’t see ‘I don’t have time/ energy for this’ as a cop-out in the slightest!
                I do not perceive comment disagreements as a battle in which both parties must valliantly fight each other until there is a ‘winner’.

                But my words on TT’s arguments were meant for everyone to read, and I hope that I may have been some use to women reading. That’s my ultimate aim. I don’t want women to have to go what I went through, and I want them to be able to cut through the bullshit that is thrown at them by abusive men. I guess that is what I try to do. But I don’t see things in terms of battles with winners and losers as many people on the internet do. Hope that makes sense.

            • Laurelin April 17, 2009 at 5:37 PM #

              Okay it’s been suggested to me elsewhere that it sounds like I was saying that women who like anal/ talk about it are promoting anal rape- I did not mean that at all, and I’m sorry if I came across that way. I think it is irresponsible to promote it as harmless because it has the potential to do so much damage, but I do not for a minute think that women who like it are supporting rape.

              I will be try to be clearer in my use of language in the future. Cheers.

  34. undercoverpunk April 16, 2009 at 5:38 PM #

    Ok, ok, I KNOW it’s a trick question, 92, but *seriously,* I can’t take it anymore!

    Feminism is the radical idea that women are HUMAN (as in, deserving of humanity equal to that enjoyed by men).

    A human is MORE than an object. To be a human is to exist as a dynamic BEING=tangible body +PLUS+ soul/mind/spirit.

    Pornography is a visual “art” that reduces its participants (women) to sexual objects.

    Pornography is therefore, by definition, NOT feminist. Under any circumstances.

    Variables such as whether the woman enjoyed it, whether women were involved in the making of it, and whether women also objectify men are interesting considerations; but they are NOT evidence of pornography’s “feminist” qualities. The end.

    • James April 16, 2009 at 10:21 PM #

      Amateur porn included? A lot of that is just two people (standard, everyday couple looking for a new kink) + camera.

      Idk how exactly that could instantly be seen as something “reduces its participants (women) to sexual objects” unless there is also no such thing as feminist sex.

      • undercoverpunk April 17, 2009 at 1:50 AM #

        James, feminist sex is much more than a series of physical sensations that can be duplicated by reenactment with similar appearing objects and motions. Feminist sex is when Real Humans participate in a live act of mutuality that pleasures both their bodies AND their minds/emotions/spirits. It engages their entire beings.

        Pornography cannot do this. It cannot honor its participants’ full humanity. Because it objectifies them. It reduces them to an impersonal, 2-dimensional visual representation of an experience that should be a UNION of mind and body, rather than a separation of the two.

        I mean, I don’t want to speak for all the feminists here, but that’s my position on feminist sex versus porn.

        • James April 17, 2009 at 2:39 AM #

          Thanks for the definition, that’s really helpful. :)

          So if an act of feminist sex was filmed (by the couple) you would not consider it to be pornography? What would be your definition of it?

          • undercoverpunk April 17, 2009 at 1:06 PM #

            I would not call “feminist sex,” even when filmed by the participants, “feminist pornography.” The use of the camera introduces the precense (real or imagined) of an outsider’s non-participatory gaze. The gaze is merely visual, one that necessarily fails to convey the intangible (mind/emotions/spirit/soul). According to my definition, the essence of feminist sex is the inclusion of of one’s FULL humanity—seomthing that simply canNOT be represented, replicated, or conveyed by a camera. It’s a limitation of the media.

            Pornography has no place in feminism. By focusing so heavily on the visual, and on the anonymity of our desire’s focus/the object, we effectively separate body and mind. It is not feminist.

            • James April 17, 2009 at 5:35 PM #

              It would seem that our divergence largely stems from semantics, then. My definition of pornography is matter, of any medium, intended to arouse. This renders a lot of art (R. Crumb springs to mind, as well as a good deal of Titian, most likely) pornography, but the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive. If a couple participated in feminist sex (as you defined it) and filmed it for purposes of posterity & personal viewing at a later date then I’d deem the produce of that pornography.

              So far as I can tell your definition is a little more narrow? I might be wrong.

              Additionally (just as a general point, not in response to anything you said), I’m with Alan Moore in considering erotica to be a term people use to tell you what class they belong to, rather than what they enjoy. He happily describes Lost Girls as “Porn”, for example.

            • Liselotte April 17, 2009 at 10:37 PM #

              Is separating body and mind really so wrong or unfeminist?
              It’s like an independent, intelligent person (regardless of gender) had to constantly remind you of his/ her sexuality so you don’t “mindalize” him or “reduce him to his mind”. Face it, much like I can talk to a person without thinking of sex, I can as well have sex without a person without thinking of his personality. Or imagine having sex.
              What about a fantasy? I mean, no sex fantasy about an actual person you love, but rather about some generic sexy ideal person? Is that bad, too? Porn’s no different from these fantasies IMO. Porn actResses are with their anonymity symbols for our fantasies about “big breasted blondes”, “long (you know where!) blacks”, … They aren’t true persons (with personality and so on) in our sex fantasies, why do they have to be just because they’re played by real people? Or is everyone of you so politically correct and sees always a personality in the persons of your fantasies? I hope not, Jesus.
              The real problem lies in the production, but it’s not inherent at all.

              • undercoverpunk April 18, 2009 at 1:33 PM #

                Yes, I believe that the mind/body split is unfeminist. We have been conditioned and pornulated to such an extent that we do not believe the separation of body and personality/mind during the sex act is a BAD thing. I do.

                Our sex partners are not merely TOOLS of our physical pleasure. They are human beings deserving of human treatment. I’ve internalized plenty of the patriarchy’s phallocentric values of domination/submission that posit the participants as anonymous and (therefore) necessarily unequal; I’m not here to insist that I haven’t been affected. I’m pointing out that the continued fragmentation of body and mind as represented by pornography serves the values of the patriarchy. It’s not feminist.

                And, Jesus, I know this is the internet and everything, but I don’t like the impatient tone of that comment.

              • undercoverpunk April 18, 2009 at 1:37 PM #

                And by the way, I absolutely DO have sexual fantasies about my partner.

                • Liselotte April 18, 2009 at 2:21 PM #

                  >Our sex partners are not merely TOOLS of our physical pleasure. They are human beings deserving of human treatment.

                  Human treatment means always, under any situation and whenever possible, remembering every aspect of a person?
                  It’s not possible, say, to forget someone’s sexuality over his personality- just as you say it’s bad if in reverse?
                  I don’t buy this, I just don’t. Free love is the most important characteristic of matriarchy. Yes, this includes persons you neither are married with nor in love with.

                  >And by the way, I absolutely DO have sexual fantasies about my partner.

                  Even if you’re 100% monogamous and never have had other sex fantasies in relationships (which I don’t believe anyway, but just let’s assume, shall we):
                  You always, for your whole life, had a partner, from birth to (insert your age)? With not even a space inbetween?
                  I don’t believe THAT under any circustumances.

                  • undercover punk April 18, 2009 at 5:34 PM #

                    I would be much obliged if you would please temper your criticism and questions with some mutuality.

                    I do not believe that someone’s sexuality is the opposite of their personality such that you can reverse the concepts to ask a similar question. I believe that a person’s sexuality is a relatively small part of their full humanity. And that an individual’s intangible personality/mind/emotions/spirit contributes much more significantly to their full humanity than their sexuality does. We live in a hyper-sexual culture that dictates the kinds of relationships we will have and the social successes we can aspire to by the extent to which we are able/willing to conform to the culture’s extremely narrow, yet all-powerful, standards of sexiness and sexuality. This is particularly true of women’s social potential (see Susan Boyle). In light of this, it makes sense that we would over-estimate sexuality’s importance to our human value and personal happiness. But this doesn’t make it correct or true or IDEAL.

                    I did not say that my partner is the only person that I do or ever have fantasized about. Again, this was not a black-and-white statement. I clearly specified that I have, indeed, internalized the patriarchy’s sexual conditioning. I am working to reprogram myself and to recover from the emotional fragmentation that our hetero-patriarchal culture has conditioned me to believe is The Way.

                    I do not believe that a commitment of sexual exclusivity is required in order for two humans to enjoy feminist sex. The only commitment required is one of your full presence and attention to the human being with whom you are having sex—their body and their mind/emotions/spirit/personality. I believe the act is most enjoyable and fulfilling when you are (somewhat) familiar with the other human being’s unique personality, when you have an established connection of trust and respect between you. As I said before, “feminist sex is much more than a series of physical sensations that can be duplicated by reenactment with similar appearing objects and motions.” I believe that physical sexuality is just a small part of the human self that should be fully present during the beautiful practice of feminist sex.

                    This doesn’t mean that feminist sex is the only sex humans can or do enjoy. For me personally, though, feminist sex is my favorite kind of sex.

                    • Liselotte April 19, 2009 at 12:12 AM #

                      While I actually agree on most on your points, I’d still like to hear your answer on one particular topic: what do you do when you just don’t have a partner? I don’t restrict myself to a partner when I have one, not even in fantasies, but even if I did: whenever I just don’t have a partner, who am I fantasizing about? The persons I’m fantasizing about necessarily become generic and anonymous.

                    • undercover punk April 20, 2009 at 2:55 PM #

                      Liselotte, responding to below, you ask an exceptionally difficult question. I’ve been thinking about it, but I’m afraid my answer is somewhat incomplete.

                      Personally, I do not enjoy sexual relations with anyone that I do not have a pre-established basis of trust with. Call it insecurity, neurotic, high-maintenance, spoiled, whatever you want! I always end up feeling lonely. It’s not a conquest for me; I don’t feel that sense of satisfaction that other people seem to (or that I do when I’m with someone I care about). Any brief physical pleasure I *might* enjoy is too often overshadowed/tainted by the emotional frustration and confusion that follows. Again, this is ME. And yes, I have fantasies, both when I am with and especially when I am without a partner. They are not always “feminist” or “politically correct” fantasies, but I DO continuously question my desire and attempt to “train my brain” by steering it away from culturally conditioned cravings that I think are objectional. I’m not entirely successful, but it’s coming along slowly.

                      I believe that fantasies can be about mutual pleasure, they can be about people you know and love (or have known/loved in some way at some time). They are not exclusively or necessarily about one party objectifying or merely *using* the other to get off (as a tool of physical pleasure). I guess I think that fantasies are more than purely visual, even if mental images are part of it. I think there’s a strong emotional aspect to fantasy as well.

                      What do you think, are fantasies purely visual (and therefore impersonal)?

                      Anyways, I do not believe that glorifying anonymous sex will help women to see *themselves* or to be seen by others as fully human. I do not believe it is something we, as a society, should seek to propagandize or to promote as a healthy form of sexuality. Nevertheless, it is NO DOUBT a “slippery slope” when we start talking about what people can/should think about and enjoy!

                      I believe this discussion begs the question as to whether/to what extent our desires are culturally conditioned and to what extent our desires are “natural” and immutable. In my humble opinion, our desires are conditioned reactions to particular stimuli. I also believe that they can *and do!!!* change/evolve. (Traditional, foundational, radfem philosophy, I know!)

                      Yes, one aesthetic value system will surely be replaced by another. Which is why I think it’s sooo important to analyze the NON-visual VALUES which support aesthetic preferences. Especially when those preferences relate to human bodies!

                      I’ve been thinking a lot about the philosophy of aesthetics. From the surrounding comments, it sounds like you are too (standards of beauty). It’s a fascinating topic! Particularly in relation to women because our value is so entrenched in our physicality.

                      Ultimately, I think that de-personalization is bad for humans in general. And not feminist!

                      Thanks for the discussion! :)

              • pisaquari April 18, 2009 at 9:48 PM #

                You know, as a blond female with bigger breasts I really resent having my physical being a “symbol” for someone else’s fantasy. All it’s gotten me is assault, groping, objectification and unwanted attention.

                The thing about all these fetishes and physical preferences as *fantasy* is that it’s the physical features which trigger the interest–not the presence of a television or monitor screen to denote “fantasy.” Men don’t stop at computer monitors/movies because fetishes aren’t about the medium they are delivered by, simply the sight of whatever it is that peaks the interest/arousal–and many women can attest to that.

                Also, I’m not convinced men’s preference for big breasted blonds is really *their* fantasy. Let’s pull all the cultural and societal pushing of this image for a few decades and see if such preference still holds.

                • Liselotte April 19, 2009 at 12:16 AM #

                  So perhaps it’s black with small breasts in a few decades, or asian grandmothers?
                  Does that really matter, how much our perception of beauty is dictated? It will always be, it even is in the most matriarchal tribal societies- just differently from ours. Nobody says it’s absolute or everlasting. But does that make it wrong?

                  • pisaquari April 19, 2009 at 1:49 AM #

                    “Does that really matter, how much our perception of beauty is dictated?”

                    Yes. Dictation of perception is problematic, period.

                    “It will always be”

                    Why is that?

        • syndicalist702 April 18, 2009 at 1:09 AM #

          I am totally in agreement with you about that. Nothing can replace that direct, intimate contact.

          Absolutely nothing.

          • Liselotte April 19, 2009 at 12:20 AM #

            I don’t say to give it up at all. But sometimes you’re touching yourself, you know, with a sex fantasy. And if you currently don’t have a partner (and even then!) it has no direct, intimate contact and probably is not about a real person but rather about some generic men and/ or women. If porn is wrong, then this must be too?

  35. James April 16, 2009 at 10:25 PM #

    It’s not so much the shifting meaning as the reliable constant of ownership. Namely: not yours, not anyone’s. You can’t claim property rights (intellectual or otherwise) over language, as the bloggertarians would most likely have it.

    Might make purging, excluding and alienating people a little trickier for you, but that is how things are. As someone who’s ideology was previously proclaimed by Stalin I know it can be a hindrance & a nuisance, though.

  36. student April 19, 2009 at 11:58 PM #

    Dana,

    It sounds like you were at the talk by Tristan I was at (sooo unbearable to sit through! :-( ).

    Would you mind e-mailing me at realwordnerd at AOL dot com?

    I’d just like to say hi to another anti-porn fem in the area (if you really are in the area!).

  37. somebody May 18, 2009 at 2:22 PM #

    It exists. There is a woman named Erika Lust who is a feminist and she makes porn for women. And there are others, too.

  38. Ashley October 21, 2009 at 9:24 PM #

    I am constantly being asked by a friend why i am against ALL porn, and “what about amateur porn” or “feminist porn” and frankly, the idea of feminist porn is becoming hard for me to even picture? It nearly sounds like an oxymoron…

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